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Like the apostle John on the isle of Patmos, we are on our own Patmos in the midst of The Sea of Iniquity. Perhaps there is something contained within the reports that will bless the believer before flying away to the new heaven and earth, and where there is no more sea.

The Patmos Reports

IntroductionPatmos, wilderness, temptation, fasting, bread, hireling, wolf, temple, church of Satan, Jew, watch, pray, Thyatira, Solomon, Eli, Noah, Enoch, John the Baptist, sheepskin, Philip, the Rock, Lamb, nonprofit, mustard seed, Prince of God, holiness unto the Lord,

Like the apostle John on the isle of Patmos, we are on our own Patmos in the midst of The Sea of Iniquity. Perhaps there is something contained within the reports that will bless the believer before flying away to the new heaven and earth, and where there is no more sea.

Report Bookmarks

1. The Alpha and Omega

2. The Church of Satan

3. Be Watchful

4. One Sat Upon the Throne

5. The Lamb

6. The Seven Seals

7. The Sealed Servants of God

 

1. The Alpha and Omega

 

When the Lord Jesus Christ was tempted in the wilderness, he was offered the kingdoms of the world if he would worship Satan. (Matthew 4:1-11) Of course, he didn't succumb to the bait and this demonstrates what kind of metal the Son of God was made of, and techniques the temper uses to trip us up. I am not talking about the devil's boys tripping up ho-hum Christians that slipped their hand up in a meeting, walked down the aisle to shake the preacher's hand, and joined a church. I am talking about the children of Light: the people who have been saved, baptized in the Holy Ghost, and ordained by the Lord to carry out his work. These sons of God are a real threat to the kingdom of darkness. (John 15:16

In the wilderness temptation, the newly baptized and Holy Ghost commissioned Jesus Christ had fasted forty days before his initial duel with the devil. The scripture indicates he was not hungry until after the engagement and as you may have read, there is special dynamite power in fasting when it comes to dealing with obstinate spirits. On one occasion, after the disciples found their spirit casting away abilities hampered, the Lord taught on mountain size devils: “This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.” (Mark 9:29 Matthew 17:21) Of course, if you are familiar with different Bible versions, fasting is omitted in some newer translations, much to the glee of Satan. So is fasting in the marital counseling of I Corinthians 7:5. However, the importance of prayer and fasting is noted in other scriptures. (Acts 13:2 and 14:23)A

Once I fasted for a prisoner I wrote to on death row. He was going through the last stages before execution had to leave the small solitary cell he lived in for years, his meager possessions, and spend the last week in “The Death House.” In its confines, he was under constant surveillance lest he killed himself before Louisiana did. (I guess the State didn't want to be robbed of that pleasure.) Well, I was impressed to fast on his behalf two weeks before the date and was amazed I wasn't hungry. As usual, I attended a weekly potluck and Bible study, and then again the next week. It was rather odd to see my friends, knowing they were going about their regular duties and eating, and I was secretly fasting away. (Matthew 6:16-18)

Eventually, my friend's execution date arrived and passed, but I didn't hear anything. Suddenly I was hungry and ate a big meal until my tummy was tight as a drum. Some people say you have to take as many days coming off your fast as you fasted, and start by drinking broth, and eating a bit of toast. So if you fasted 14 days, you should take 14 days to work up to regular portions again. I found this bunk. Anyway, my friend got a stay of execution for a while, but finally, he was killed. But, before they strapped him in Ol' Sparky, he gave his testimony about the Lord Jesus Christ who had forgiven him of his sins and saved his soul.

The Lord Jesus, having been prepared for the wilderness temptations by fasting, found he didn't have to go looking for Satan because Satan came looking for him. I suspect he was easy for the devil to find, as he was a huge ball of spiritual light and the devil's boys can find us, too, the children of light, just as easily. The temper said to Christ: “If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.”

In the wilderness, our Lord Jesus Christ represented a new believer, and the devil was tempting him not to trust God to meet his ministerial needs. That old subtle serpent suggests a fellow can make a living (supply himself bread) by changing something worth little into something worth much. Preachers do this all the time, for example, by recording a message for a few cents, and selling it for fifty times what it cost, plus postage and handling. Now that's what is called turning a stone into bread! However, the Lord teaches us not use the methods of the world when it comes to ministry.

Christ's scriptural response to the first temptation was: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” So, do what God says to do, and God (your employer) will take care of your necessities one way or another. Of course, there are the “skepticalites” that will bring up hypothetical situations: “Well, does that mean you can lie around and watch TV all day, and God will send a pizza over?” Do we need to go there? The Son of God said, “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.” (John 4:34) That doesn't sound like lying around like a gold brick.

The skepticalites also point out: “You've got to make a living, and the workman is worthy of his hire.” Well, I guess that depends on who chose you for ministry in the first place. As for the ministers of the Lord Jesus Christ, we have received our abilities and gifts freely from God, and we are to freely give...

“And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.” (Matthew 10:7-10)

I also read, Paul, a tentmaker by trade, labored with a fellow craftsman while lodging with him but when it came to church work, he stated his compensation was to provide his services freely: “What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.” (I Corinthians 9:18)

It is a radical concept, don't you think? Paul's paycheck was no paycheck! Dare I say that Paul is an example for us today? (Philippines 3:17-19 4:9 II Thessalonians 3:9-10) His not-for-hire practice also showed a difference between him and the phony preachers out there. (II Corinthians 11:5-15) And besides, the hireling you give a paycheck to and call “Pastor,” doesn't give a hoot about you in the first place. As the Lord stated: “But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.” (John 10:12-13) After all, a whore may do whatever you want her to do, and tell you she loves you, but “if you ain't got the money, honey, there is no free ride.”

Therefore, we ought not to be like the den of thieves down at the church building, and make the house of God - the family of God - a house of merchandise by hawking wares like old fashioned street vendors, or provide services for a fee.

In the second temptation, Satan omitted words of scripture and quoted out of context. Of course, if you never looked up Psalm 91, you might fall for the same trick. Perhaps you had better do that now.... The devil said: “If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.” (Matthew 4:6)

You see, Satan had taken the Lord Jesus to the highest part of the temple, where he and his boys like to observe religious activity from towers, and obelisks called steeples. And while the devil had the Lord Jesus on the pinnacle, he suggested taking advantage of the supposed Psalm 91 promise and gain the public's attention by jumping off the building. You know, he could stand up there for a while until he drew a large crowd, leap off, and God's angels would let him light on his feet to their astonishment. Then he could preach the gospel and save a lot of souls. Of course, the truth would be, by conjuring up a stunt to preach the gospel like a circus act, it would be to his detriment and death. Do these practices by performing preachers happen today? You betcha.

Think about it: Do we win people to the Lord by the power of God's Spirit, or by the power of spaghetti dinner outreach or with religious rock bands, comedians, musicians, and magicians or by herding camels into the sanctuary for a Hollywood extravaganza or by building elaborate cathedrals with stained glass windows, and dressing priests in ballroom gowns? My friend, if we are not dependent on the power of God to save the lost, then it is spiritual suicide to use a gimmick, a ruse, or jump off a building to gain attention to our cause. Of course, the skepticalites will justify: “But everyone is doing it, and is quite successful.” Like the old question poses: “If everyone else jumped off a cliff, would you jump off too?”

In the third temptation, the devil went for broke because he wasn't getting anywhere. Somehow he showed the Lord Jesus all the worldly kingdoms and their glory, and said: “All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” (Matthew 4:9) Perhaps Satan showed him the capital of the world which represented all the kingdoms - Jerusalem - the very city he would be killed at for refusing the deal.

Let me confess that I am a little slow on learning the obvious points of scripture sometimes. For about 25 years, I thought when Satan offered someone the world or anything, he'd get it for a season. Then it dawned on me. The devil is a pathological liar from the beginning, the father of all lies, and his offer means nothing in the first place. For you see, after one bows a knee to Satan, they belong to him, and for whatever purpose he has planned. (II Timothy 2:26) It's his treat that leads to the trick.

If you think about the third temptation a bit, you can see how the Lord was offered, and we can be offered, a large or small kingdom for doing things the devil's way: for taking the advice and guidance of someone in the stead of God. This reminds me of hired pastors who are run by the church board, or boss, and in order to hold their job, they will worship and do what the board or boss requires. This happens when men submit to other men. “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ and the head of the woman is the man and the head of Christ is God.” (I Corinthians 11:3)

Maybe the devil offers you a ministerial kingdom with a cozy country church and parsonage, which is located near good hunting and fishing areas. Or he offers a church which has a modern artistic color-coordinated professionally designed sanctuary, and a Christian school in a peaceful suburban setting, close to shopping malls. Or he offers the leadership position of a billion member universal church, whose subjects will kiss your ring of royal religious ranking as they bow to you while sitting on your regal rear.

However, when the Lord heard the third temptation, he struck back with the sword of the Spirit, and identified who the tempter was, Satan, and cast him away. After all, the first sign to follow them that believe is: “In my name shall they cast out devils....” (Mark 16:17) Have you cast out any devils lately?

To summarize the three temptations, consider they appeal to one's pride:

1. If you can make a name for yourself as a son of God, a minister, you can take what is of little worth, and turn it into much and make yourself a living.

2. In order to make a name for yourself, you will have to use fleshly enticements, or dramatic performances and gimmicks, to increase interest in your ministry.

3. If you make a name for yourself, you can carve out a custom kingdom, which will necessitate someone else being your god, rather than the Lord Jesus Christ.

Actually, I read in the book of Revelation no one has made a name for themselves in heaven besides the Lord. The twenty-four elders are not named, the two prophets are not named, and even the apostles are not named. There is a reason for this. In the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, his name is the name that is above every name that can be named, and he alone stands in the center, and is the only light and glory of God. And no matter how popular present and past preachers seem to be, the Lord Jesus Christ is always the beginning and ending, the first and last, The Alpha and Omega. Amen.

“And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow and his eyes were as a flame of fire And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen and have the keys of hell and of death.” (Revelation 1:13-18)

 

2. The Church of Satan

 

There are two times in scripture the term “synagogue of Satan” is used, and it is about them that say they are Jews and are not. (Revelation 2:8-11 3:7-13) Just to say or think it leaves one feeling uncomfortable. Well, to start off, did you ever wonder why the New Testament usually refers to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as Jews (the members of Juda's tribe), and not to the members of the other tribes? Even in modern times we only hear about the Jews, but not the descendants of the Reuben, Gad, Aser, Nepthalim, Manasses, Simeon, Levi, Issachar, Zabulon, and Benjamin. If you ask me, that is rather peculiar, but maybe not.

By the time our Lord Jesus Christ appeared in the flesh, the Jews had the predominate role in Israeli society. They read their tribal pedigree and saw Jacob called Judah a lion's whelp, and pridefully understood the Messiah was to come from their tribe. (Genesis 49:8-12) However, when he showed up, most Jews were disappointed to find Jesus was an unemployed carpenter from a hick town in Galilee, and their religious and political leaders conspired to kill him. After all, he was not authorized by their divisive denominations to teach, preach, cast our devils and heal sicknesses. And, as part of their plot, the Jews twisted his words to arrest and try him as a would-be terrorist. He had said: “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”(John 2:19) Of course, he was speaking of his body being the temple of the Holy Ghost. So if you are waiting for the temple to be built - wait no longer. It was rebuilt on the first day of the week, three days after it was destroyed. Alleluia!

Somehow the Jew's temple of that time has been named after Herod the Great, the king and antichrist who murdered the little children in the Bethlehem region. He was hoping to destroy the legitimate heir to the throne who was living there with his mother and Joseph. Herod, in fact, used the temple as a front for doing the works of Satan and levied heavy taxes on his subjects for the elaborate buildings and maintenance funds. He was like politicians and priests today that hide their evil works behind the façade of government and religious buildings, statues, costumes, crosses, steeples, flags, and manmade traditions that nullify the commandments of God. (Matthew 15:1-9) If you really want to know what was going on in the temple, as well as other so-called holy places, you can study Ezekiel Chapter 8, and have your peepers opened to the truth. Maybe we ought to look and summarize on it now.

Ezekiel Chapter 8

Verses 3-6: At the northern inner entrance to Jerusalem was the “image of jealousy.” It was an idolatrous and abominable thing held in high repute and its standing there was like lifting a welcome lamp that lead to their city of sin. And where there was and is this idolatry today, are the enemies of Christ, every evil work, and where fornication abounds.

Verses 7-13: Because the secret imagination of the seventy was evil, they practiced their abominations behind closed doors. Outwardly they presented themselves as God's chosen pious public officials, but nothing could be farther from the truth. They believed they were not accountable to God, and used their positions as cloaks to cover their indulgences. Later, some would be known as Pharisees, Sadducees, and Herodians the denominational derelicts and rulers who, in reality, conspired against the God they claimed to serve.

Verse 14: By the gate of the door of the Lord's house, women wept for Tammuz, an exalted religious leader who had died, and not unlike popular popes, and other spiritual kingpins of today. The women should have, however, been weeping for themselves and the judgment that was to come. Jesus addressed the same phony feminine faddists on the way to the cross: “Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck. Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us and to the hills, Cover us. For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?” (Luke 23:28-30) By the way, these same weepers were at Jairus' house when the Lord Jesus raised the young maid.

Verses 15-16: The twenty-five senior priests who officiated at the temple were really worshipping the sun as they performed religious rituals. In other words, they were practicing sun god idolatry in plain view, and much to the Serpent's satisfaction. But to their unaware audiences, the seemingly sanctimonious ones were, and are today, a pack of satanic swindlers. If you have never spent much time down at the ol' church building, you may miss all manner of sin going on, from the preachers down to lowly parishioners. Believe me, I know, for I have been taken in by it, and heard from others who have fled from these filthy faiths. Thus, the Lord commands: “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.” (Revelation 18:4-5)

Now consider this about those that call themselves Jews, and are not, but are of the synagogue of Satan: The only person who can call himself a Jew today with certainty is our Lord Jesus Christ. Did you ever think about it? He has the paper and pedigree in the Bible to prove he is of the line of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Judah. And did you wonder how Matthew and Luke could cite Jesus' lineage? It was because there were records in the temple that documented the ancestry of the Israelites. However, at the temple's destruction, those records were destroyed except Jesus' because his is preserved in scripture. My friend, there is no one on the face of the earth who has evidence of being a Jew, or of any tribe, though God knows who they are. Besides, what need is there for a genealogy of Jews, for the only way to heaven is through the Lord Jesus Christ, and to be born “not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:13) If one wants to be a Jew, one can claim so, and there are no records to say otherwise.

But why would one want to be called a Jew? Is it because they desire to associate themselves with the most famous Jew, Jesus Christ? I think not. So, why? Well, sometimes it is politically or economically advantageous to gain the support of the so-called Jews, even if one is a Methodist, Baptist, or Catholic. But this is what I believe the reason is:

The people who call themselves Jews may think they are Jews because it was told to them by their parents, but others want to associate themselves with the people who discarded Jesus as Messiah and crucified him. In other words, it can be a slithery way to identify oneself as an antichrist, while contending at the same time to be one of “God's chosen people.”

So then, we can read in Revelation 2:9, there are a people that call themselves Jews but are pretending to be Jews, whose synagogue is a synagogue of Satan. Can you imagine what is really on their agenda? They desire and do what pleases the devil: the things God hates. Therefore, they lift up the Ten Commandments, not be revered as God's moral laws, but what moral laws to break to fight against God! And by warring against the Almighty, they gain Satan's approval, Satan's treats, and Satan's powers to do the more. You may ask, “What is in the devil's details in all of this?” It's the same plan he had two thousand years ago, which is to crucify and kill the body of Christ. This is a fact and no secret, and is plainly stated in Revelation 13:7 about the beast, the chief antichrist of all antichrists: “And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them....”

Make a note: There is a difference between a synagogue and a church. The Jew's synagogue is not only the name of the congregation but also the name of the building where the congregation meets. The Christian church, on the other hand, is always and only the congregation of people which meet in the name of Jesus Christ. In fact, there is no need for Christians to congregate in a religious building, for anywhere two or three are gathered together in his name, there he is in the midst of them. (Matthew 18:20)

In contrast, religious buildings - goat pens - are a necessity for Satan's false religions, and his definition of a church is synonymous with a religious building. The little children's rhyme, accompanied with sign language, is far from the truth: “Here's the church, here's the steeple, open the doors, and see all the people.” A church, wrongfully defined as a congregation and a building, is to make you think one is just as important as the other or in most cases, the church building is more important. As you may know, the biggest project many so-called churches ever have is financing and paying for religious buildings. Also with buildings comes the expense of the pastors or priests, staff, employee benefits, insurance, maintenance, etc. You may have noticed in the New Testament, however, the place God's churches meet in are homes. (Romans 16:5 I Corinthians 16:19 Colossians 4:15 Philemon 1:2) Those who imply or insist you must meet in a special building to worship, or to be in the presence of the Lord, teach opposite to the Christ they say they serve: “Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers believe it not.” (Matthew 24:26)

I also read in the word, no synagogue received the Lord Jesus as their Saviour, though some individuals did. And how ironic that the Lord Jesus Christ was never given his due, and invited into the sanctuary of the temple where the Jews said God's presence dwelt and the very God they claimed to serve was the very God they rejected, and murdered by due process of law.

Now, in light of that, as there is a synagogue of Satan, there is a church of Satan, too: and they meet in a religious building, a façade, calling themselves Christians, but they are not. Could it really be so? Could the serpent's plan be so devious and devilish that whole bunches of people are bundled together like poisonous tares, under the same religious roof, and under the same denominational banners, to fight against God? (Matthew 13:24-30 36-43)

You may ask, " How can I tell what church is a church of Satan?" Read Ezekiel Chapter 8 again, and Matthew Chapter 23, and noting the abomination that maketh desolate in Matthew 24:15-18. The same abomination that makes desolate today stands in most church buildings, and is the same image of jealousy which is worshiped, and revered, and to that which they pledge their allegiance to in sun god worship.

 

 

3. Be Watchful

When our Lord Jesus Christ told the angel of the church in Sardis to be watchful, did you wonder if he, or the church, had a choice? (Revelation 3:1-6) As you can read, when God created the universe by saying, “Let there be light...” the elements had to conform to the Word of God with no options. And when the Lord Jesus commands his followers to “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation,” they will conform to the Word of God, though they might not conform right away. Unbelievers, on the other hand, can not conform.

Some think Sardis is not an interesting case compared to Thyatira, which suffered that woman Jezebel to teach and seduce God's servants or Laodicea, which was wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked. Listen. The angel (pastor) at Sardis, and not the church necessarily, had a reputation he was alive and he was dead: two opposing reputations at the same time. This dual condition is like the Bristlecone Pine trees. They are said to be the oldest living plants, scrubby, grow on barren mountains, and manage to live thousands of years - but not forever. Their environment is so hostile, large portions of their bark die off leaving patches of bare dead wood, while connected segments of living bark sustain the tree. From one perspective they live, and from another they are dead. In any case, I guess you could say the trees are in the process of dying a slow death. How about you?

Solomon the king had two opposing reputations, also, of being wise and foolish. His wisdom brought the famous to his feet for instruction but his folly was having at hand hundreds of foreign wives. Also, he foolishly increased his country's riches beyond measure, and trusted in imported Arabian horse powered chariots for defense. And though he was used by the Lord to pen three books of scripture, he ended his life not being watchful, and worshiped idols atop of hills to please his stable of pagan mares. (I Kings 11:1-8) If the wisest man that ever lived was not watchful, surely we ought to be, and can be through the power of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Another example of not being watchful is found in Eli, the high priest of God. He was entrusted with raising the prophet Samuel, but did not watch over or discipline his own sons and in not being ware, he brought upon his family the judgment of God. In one day, his sons were slain, he fell backward out of his chair breaking his neck, and his daughter-in-law died in childbirth after naming her son Ichabod, which means, “The glory has departed.”

The Lord Jesus gave Sardis the remedy for being alive and dead at the same time: “Be watchful and strengthen the things which remain.” This was followed by the consequence of not being watchful: “I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.” Has a familiar ring to it, doesn't it.

The ring is in the Lord's dramatic teaching about the destruction of Jerusalem, which is also a prophecy of the end of this world. (Matthew Chapter 24, Mark Chapter 13, Luke 17:20-37) It was not a public teaching as most think, but given to only the four inquiring disciples, Peter, James, John and Andrew. (Mark 13:3) If you are not of their curiosity, there is no need to read on, because you are probably a pretend Christian at best, and won't understand.

In his private lesson, the Lord Jesus said it would be as it was in the days of Noah and Lot when he returns, and the world would be judged. Noah, a preacher of righteousness, was watchful for himself and his family, and survived God's flood that lifted them up to safety, while judgment was carried down in the depths below. And Lot, who was vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked, was watchful of the unlawful deeds of Sodom, and evacuated with his daughters to the mountains, while the wrath of God rained in the valley. Evidently Lot's wife wasn't watchful, and was left behind, instead, to watch her cherished possessions go up in smoke.

Our Lord Jesus concluded the teaching: “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.” (Matthew 24: 42-43) Like the goodman, the good men of God should always watch over their houses (families) that they are not broken up by Satan, even as they always watch for the Lord's return. I suggest watching for the Lord is how you automatically watch for the thief as well. The devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy your family with his family, and can break in through the light of television, radio, the internet, videos, DVDs, magazines, alcohol, drugs, friends, and ignorant Christians. Are you watching for the Lord? Are you watching for your family as head of the house? Many are not.

You may ask, “What is the faithful and wise way to be watchful for my family?” My friend, the answer is very simple: Give them their meat - the word of God - in due season. (Matthew 24:45-46) You see, if you really believe Jesus Christ saved you from your sins, you will, for the love of the Lord, raise and influence your house in the same word of God that saved you. Ironically, many people say they love the Lord, but they do not like to read and study his word. Can they really know and love him? The Lord Jesus says to those types: “If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God neither came I of myself, but he sent me.” (John 8:42) Yes, if you love God, you will love the Word of God, and God's word. And of course, you must feed yourself from his word in order to feed your family, and you should pray.

Our Lord Jesus Christ coupled watching and praying together in his lesson at the garden of Gethsemane. (Matthew 26:36-46 Mark 14:32-42 Luke 22:39-46) He had asked Peter, James, and John to watch and pray for him as he agonized about the cross. The disciples were willing, but their flesh was weak and they fell asleep. But if we do not watch and pray as the Lord instructs, we will enter into temptation - testing. Yes, testing that we might see what kind of spiritual stuff we are made of. The disciples at this point were still babes, and the same night they boasted they would follow the Lord unto death, the three of them could not find a way to stay awake at the critical hour. They failed the test, and saw, like a pop quiz at school, how they were really doing in class. And, if we do not do well and correct ourselves, we may fail and succumb to other temptations: even the temptation to deny the Lord as Peter did.

It is a fact, therefore: If we do not watch and pray for our own households, we will enter into temptation and I can guarantee you, having learned the hard way, you will have wished you had watched and prayed before the test. Do you really love your family? If you do, you will watch and pray for them, especially if you are the head of the house. Don't be fooled if your children get a college degree, look successful in the world's eyes, own a beautiful home, and are a bragable bunch to your friends. What if they spend eternity in hell? Did you know, many parents dread it when their friends ask how their children are doing, because, by the world's standards they are not successful? But if your family is saved and born again of the spirit of God, they are more successful then the parents who have a doctor for a son with one foot is in hell, and the other on a banana peel.

Unfortunately most Christians consider an hour too long to watch and pray. If they did, it might cut into their time to watch the idiot box, read the Videospaper, play computer games, or shop. But be assured, if you practice watching and praying, the Lord will bless you more than you can imagine.

Are you in the same alive and dead condition as Sardis was because you are not watching for your household? If so, I suspect, as a true believer, you must and will conform to the Lord Jesus' will - no options. It is as simple as making a decision to take up the watch, whether in the middle of the night, on the way to work, on your daily walk, or showering, or housecleaning, or mowing the lawn, and forming the first prayerful words. If you cannot pray in your native tongue for long, pray in the sprit, and you will never run out of words. Somehow, get an hour in everyday for starters, even if it is by increments. Better to do it now than later, and spare your house the pain of your neglect. Be watchful!

 

4. One Sat on the Throne

Many preachers insist the beginning of Revelation Chapter 4 has to do with the “rapture.” This recent nineteenth-century doctrine teaches (or strongly suggests) the last generation of Christians is removed to heaven before experiencing any tribulation for the faith below. Older folk like the rapture message because the brevity of this life is evident, and the thought of death and being buried in a box bothers them but the younger folk don't care to hear it much because they have lots to do before they leave. Of course, not many who talk the rapture, act as if they believe in the rapture, and are ever making plans for future vacations, marriages, children, grandchildren, how their stock market portfolio is to pan out, and what they will do in the golden years of retirement. Amusingly they claim a great desire to go to heaven, but are doing all they can to keep from going, and major on their health - whether frail or fit. Many, also, who maintain the time is rapture ripe, have bought a funeral plan in advance. Are they like the five foolish virgins, who appear ready to meet the bridegroom day or night, and carry a flashlight but have no batteries? (Matthew 25:1-13)

Most of the rapture bunch thinks they are excluded from the great tribulation against the sons of God. But just yesterday, a nineteen-year-old woman in an Islamic country, who converted to Christianity, had her tongue cut out by her Muslim daddy. She died. Perhaps he hadn't heard about the rapture, as well as other antichrists that have killed believers in the past. The Lord Jesus Christ told us: “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.” (Matthew 24:9) The word “shall” gives a Christian no options compared to “will.” Do you think the devil's boys treat the Body of Christ differently then they treated the body of the Lord Jesus Christ two thousand years ago? Nope.

Some will counter, “What about Elijah? He didn't die.” The Lord Jesus said: “But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.” As you recall, John the Baptist wasn't raptured but was beheaded dead instead. (Matthew 17:12-13)

Others site, “Well, there's Enoch.” Listen: Every Christian that died just left his body behind “and was not, for God took him.” (Genesis 5:24) Something to consider, don't you think? Like the Lord Jesus said, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” (John 11:25-26)

You can look at it in different ways:

1. When you die physically - not spiritually - God will resurrect you in a supernatural body.

2. When you are dead in Christ, you already have eternal life.

3. When you take your last breath in this world, you simply take the next breath with the Lord.

Therefore, at some point, you will blink your eyes and be in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ. “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (I Corinthians 15:55) The apostle Paul wrote: “Behold, I show you a mystery We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." (I Corinthians 15:51-52)

Did you see it? We ALL shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye. Does it make a hoot of a difference if the believers asleep in the Lord get to glory a twinkle before the rest? (I Thessalonians 4:14-18)

Also, many ear-ticklers teach Revelation Chapters 4 through 22 is all in the future, will only be viewed from the portals of heaven after the rapture, and is not relevant for the here and now. (Just something to entertain one, I guess, like television.) However, as I read the book, John wasn't called through heaven's door to sip pabulum and peek out portals, but, rather, to eat the strong meat of the heavenly perspective on things below - revelation into the past and PRESENT and future. It makes about as much sense to think the events of Revelation are always out in the nebulous future which never arrives, as the Old Testament events are always back in the primitive past, and are not for here-and-now practicalities.

John, you see, had to perceive the Lord Jesus Christ's church correctly on earth before he could be enlightened from heaven's perspective. (Revelation Chapters 1-3) I did say the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, and not the Roman church, or the Baptist church, or any other of Pharaoh's tax-exempt churches, didn't I?

Looking back on Revelation 1, 2, and 3, only Jesus Christ is plainly identified as the center of his church, for no one else is worthy to hold that position, or share it. Not even mentioned is the flickering flame of a Roman pope, Martin Luther, Jesus' mother, or, can I point out without reprisal, Billy Graham? By the way, my friend saw a daily devotion one time called, “Day by Day with Billy Graham,” and he was inspired to write a song and called it, “Day by Day with Jesus.” It's your choice who you go it day-by-day with, and there are many wandering stars to choose from. (Jude 13)

Now, if you compare the church on earth with the church in heaven, you may notice there is only one who heads the church in both locations: and it is the same person or Godhead. Godhead, by the way, is a scriptural term (not Trinity) and is in regards to our God, the Lord Jesus Christ: “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” (Colossians 2:9 Acts 17:29 Romans 1:20) Important Revelation scriptures point this out:

“And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.” (Revelation 1:12-13)

“And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.” (Revelation 4:2)

“And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.” (Revelation 14:14)

Now some people don't like such verses because it doesn't fit into their trinity doctrine. Once a Lutheran questioned me: “You do believe in the trinity, don't you?” Of course, he didn't know what the trinity was, nor could he explain it but some ask this question to come across as devoted righteous religious representatives. It is like those who say they are born again but don't have an inkling of what it means. The Lord Jesus informed Nicodemus, the great Israeli theologian who had not been born again: “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:7-8) I suspect, though, he was a hard case to convert, if he did, because of his seminary background.

Well, the description of God being one, compared to God being the Trinity, or, the Triune Godhead, is a bit easier for a scriptural mind to fathom then what eggheads preach. How about you? Remember the Lord's admonition: “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” (Matthew 7:15) Did you know diplomas used to be written on sheepskins - SHEEP'S CLOTHING - to serve as impressive credentials to those who were awarded them? Today, preachers and teachers are still coming in the authority of their sheepskin diplomas, issued from the will of man (but not from the will of God) to raven your resources.

By the way, do you remember the first time the Holy Ghost revealed to you that Jesus Christ is God? I do. As a new believer I had heard he was God, but one has to learn it from the Holy Ghost for it really to be real. (John 14:26) It was when Jesus taught: “If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?” (John 14:7-9)

Even now, I am touched by our Lord Jesus' reply to Philip. Yes, Philip had known him, Jesus the Messiah and yes, Jesus was saying he was and had been Philip's heavenly Father the whole time they had been together. What a wonderful tingly truth to embrace. Evidently Thomas got this revelation first, and proclaimed Jesus as, “My Lord and my God.” (John 20:28)

Before I was a believer, though, I would argue that Jesus never said he was God. Even now, I have no idea where I learned that. In scripture, however, we can read of the Lord Jesus driving the Jews into a lynching frenzy when he publicly stated he was God: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” (John 8:58) You see, he was identifying himself as I AM: the God Moses had talked to on Mount Sinai and the same God who wrote the Ten Commandments in stone with his finger! This is why the Jewish unbelievers would not call him Lord - meaning God - but they would call him master or rabbi, which were common names for common teachers and pastors. Judas Iscariot never addressed Jesus as Lord, because he could not, or did not choose to acknowledge his preeminence. And like Judas, many people under the banner of Christianity can not address Jesus as Lord, because they are not submitted to him as God. Curiously, though, they address their hired ministers with a religious title as if it were his first name. Been there - done that.

That reminds me. Once when I was the janitor of a denominational church, some of us were having lunch, and the pastor's wife was there. She was babbling on about Larry did this, and Larry said that as if we knew who Larry was. I couldn't for the life of me figure out who he was, and interrupted the conversation to find out. She meant her husband, Larry, who she and everyone always called “Pastor.”

And, as another side note, at the last supper, when each disciple asked the Lord Jesus if he were the betrayer, all but Judas addressed him as Lord. He said, “Master, is it I?” And Jesus answered, “Thou hast said.” (Matthew 26:25) In other words, Judas said he was the betrayer by addressing Jesus as master when he should have addressed him as Lord.

A couple of chapters down the road from John 8:58, Jesus again revealed himself as God: “I and my Father are one.” (John 10:30) My friend, don't let anyone try to convince you there were two of them acting in a united harmonious way. I was told this as part of the trinity doctrine, but it is not so and you can check it out in Strong's concordance, and compare it with the other uses of “one.” Jesus was saying, he and the Father were, and are, the one and same God. Also, while you have your concordance handy, see that the term “God the Father” is used twelve times, but “God the Son” and “God the Holy Ghost” are never used as the trinity boys are prone to parrot.

The scripture goes on: “Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I showed you from my Father for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not but for blasphemy and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.” (John 10:31-33) You see, they knew he was saying he was God the Father in the flesh. Interestingly, Jesus, being a man, did not make himself God like they said, but being God, he had made himself a man. (John 1:1-14) On another occasion, he publicly stumped the Pharisees on the same subject, by asking how the Messiah could be David's descendant and the Lord at the same time. (Matthew 22:41-46 Luke 20:41-47)

Now, I said all of that to say this:

If you receive Jesus Christ as the one and only authority of the church in earth and in heaven, you, too, can be caught up to the throne of God through the Book of Revelation. There you will be shown things past, present, and future, “for the time is at hand.” (Revelation 1:3 22:10) Our Father wants us to do this, and it happens when we love him so dearly, and solely, we can put our head upon his breast, and listen to his heartbeat. (John 13:25) Now, I would call that being raptured, wouldn't you? Amen.

 

5. The Lamb

In John's Gospel, the Lord Jesus was identified as “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29) He was also revealed as the bread of life, the light of the world, the door, the good shepherd, the resurrection, the way, and the vine. Keep in mind, though, only Lamb was capitalized, which indicates it is one of God's personal names.

When the Word became flesh he came as a man and was not only from God (the Son of God) but from man (the Son of man). If you think about it, he could have come in any form or shape he wanted to. (John 1:18) But he came as himself and looked like a man or, better stated, he came as himself and men look like him. Man was created in God's image, and an image is what you see in a mirror or photograph, but it is not the genuine thing. Jesus Christ is the genuine thing, though. Man, on the other hand, created in God's image, is like, or similar, in emotions, desires, thoughts, and looks, but in a finite sort of way.

In scripture, the Lord Jesus is called “the Lamb” sixteen times: fourteen times in Revelation, and two times in John. (John 1:29, 36) It is his most frequent name used in the REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST, but other names in that book are: “Son of man” 2 times, “Son of God” 1 time, “Jesus” (only) 6 times, “Jesus Christ” 6 times, “Lord Jesus” 1 time, and “The Word of God” 1 time. Is God teaching us something by repetition?

Consider this also:

“Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.” (Revelation 3:12)

Spiritually the Lord has written his name on us, and it is like a heavenly passport, which is embossed with his Holy Ghost seal of approval. (II Corinthians 1:21-22) What is the new name of God? Jesus? Jehovah? Yeshua? Of course, the new name is just for those who have been born again of his spirit. Do you personally know the Lord Jesus Christ? Do you KNOW his name or do you just parrot things you have been taught by the tare teachers of today? Many can recite, “Jesus is my personal Lord and Saviour,” but have not an inkling of what it means.

John, who personally listened to the beating heart of Christ, was taken up through heaven's door, and first described the Lord God Almighty in the solid-like terms of jasper and sardine stone. (Revelation 4) By this, we understand God is more tangible, real, and permanent than anything in this world, and fittingly, one of his names is the Rock. (Deuteronomy 32:4, 18 I Corinthians 10:4) Then, in Revelation 5, John contrastingly described the Lord as “a Lamb as it had been slain” standing in the midst of the throne, and he was, and is, the focus of attention.

As you recall, after the resurrection, the Lamb retained the crucifixion marks, which were not scars, but open wounds. (John 20:26-28) These wounds are his Medals of Honor, so to speak, and his Purple Hearts and I wonder if wounds suffered by believers in the cause of Christ are born in eternity as well. So then, after some find themselves in glory, and notice their flawless new physical features, they may also notice other saints with grievous wounds. Yes, one day we all may know, without a doubt, who picked up their cross and followed fully in the Father's footsteps. Do you think the Lord in heaven looks handsome as people in this world think of handsome? Or does he still bear the brutalizing wounds received before and during his crucifixion? If he does, this prophecy of his appearance may be more profound then thought: “his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men....” (Isaiah 52:14) Did you catch it? He was physically abused more than anyone was. It will not be by the Lamb's form, or comeliness, or beauty that enraptures us for all eternity, but it will be by his great love - period.

The Lord Jesus was standing, but not worshipping after he returned to heaven to take his throne again. For you see, he was, and is, the Rock who had revealed himself as the gentle Lamb, and returned from the world where he was beloved by some, and slain by others. And after his death, the conspirators made merry and gave gifts one to another, for the torment of his word had ceased. (Revelation 11) Later, others would teach mockery of his last supper, by proclaiming they were literally drinking his blood, and eating his body by magic, and pridefully tote around his dead image on a cross like a hunter's trophy. They also would come to salute one another in their veiled victory greeting, “Merry Christmas.”

Christmas, my friend, is the devil's merry celebration of killing Jesus Christ over and over again in the Roman Catholic Mass: it is the Christ-Mass. One day, however, these religious hypocrites will beg unto the mountains and rocks: “Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come and who shall be able to stand?” (Revelation 6:16) It is a fact: On the day of the Lord, some shall see his wounds as the eternal wounds suffered for their sins, and some shall see his wounds as the wounds they inflicted on the Lamb which came back to life. Look out!

Revelation 5 is the thrilling episode when the Lamb received worship and praise as the King of the universe. It is, also, the revelation that Jesus, who came to teach, preach, heal, and bear our sins at Calvary, is the same one who has always sat upon the throne of heaven and he is the same God who opens the mysteries of his book to us.

Do you understand the journey he made to show us the way to his heavenly home? It was the plan God always had in his heart even before the foundation of the world. At some point, the plan manifested, and he was born a man, grew, matured, entered into ministry, died for our sins, was buried, arose from the grave after three days, and ascended back to heaven. If you appreciate a bobble someone gave you as an expression of their affection, how infinitely more precious the wounds of the Lamb. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for saving our souls!

“Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever. (Revelation 5:12-14)

 

6. The Seven Seals

John the apostle was given the Revelation of Jesus Christ for all believers, and his account is the authorized one. Nowadays many claim they have gone to heaven, too, and travel the world telling of their experience, while collecting offerings or charging a fee, and writing and selling books about it. Perhaps they were sold a ticket to paradise and are trying to recuperate their investment. This is contrary to what Paul taught about those who have been caught up to heaven:

“It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth ) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth ) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities.” (II Corinthians12:1-5)

First of all, Paul wouldn't say if it was he or someone else who had gone to heaven, for he didn't want to draw special attention to himself, or anyone else. And secondly, he stated it was unlawful to utter those things seen, because heaven is so holy, and wholly out of this world, one could not explain it in words anyway. I knew such a man, and once while praying he went to the “heavenlies,” but couldn't explain it later. Yet, many Johnny-come-latelies are giving detailed accounts of their experiences. John the apostle's official account of heaven is for all believers' and this happens when we are caught up in the Spirit of the word of God. (Revelation 1:10)

But to be caught up, you must have the seven seals of the book (God's seal) opened by the Lamb, (Revelation 6:1) and this principle applies to all scripture. It is your choice: you can be a good little parrot and recite whatever you have been taught - right or wrong - or you can get your revelation on Revelation from the Lord Jesus Christ. I was a bit older when the Lord saved me, and wasn't brainwashed as much as some who have been in bogus churches all their lives. One great revelation is, there is only one church, and it is not a nonprofit business of a State or Nation.

As you may or may not know, the reason people incorporate as churches, evangelical associations, and other religious groups, is to receive tax exclusions and benefits, special clergymen tax breaks, avoidance of fiscal and personal liabilities, and to invest and hide mammon behind a cloak of pious activity. Such non-profit organizations are run by an elite group or family while the outside donors are paying for the bulk of property and building investments, as well as salaries and benefits to board members and staff. A church also can be sold like other companies, but I haven't heard of the sellers distributing the profits back to those who paid the bills. And many ministers live high on the hog through non-profit corporations and though they may not personally own the house or mansion they live in, the jet they fly, or the car they drive, their ravenous pack controls it all through the board.

Some well known multimillion-dollar ministries are mom and pop operated corporations. Yes, they may come across on radio, television, and in mailings as your good ol' Christian buddy, but the only thing they know about you, and care to know about, is how much booty you have contributed. You ought to know them, however, by what they gather in their fruit collecting baskets and plates. (Mathew 7:15-20) Some have taken in hundreds of millions of dollars of donations, and “in the name of God,” invested it in the stock market and real estate to perpetuate their family business. Little did you know, and little did they tell you about the dynasty they were building, and you thought your donation was going for immediate needs to preach the gospel. Bunko bunk, if you ask me!

Other nonprofit businesses are the whitewashed denominational sepulchers, whose hireling pastors can have portions of their income hidden in the budget, by listing benefits and allowances apart from their salary. Sometimes these figures are not on the same page. So, when the naive review his salary, they may not see other incomes: parsonage or parsonage allowance free utilities, telephones, the internet, cable, house insurance, family health insurance car or car allowances bonuses, holiday and birthday gifts, paid vacations educational tuitions (which affords better job opportunities) and seminar respites including travel, hotel, and restaurant expenses. Of course, if he is meeting his secret lover at the seminar (male or female), the church doesn't pay for them. There are also those folded bills slipped into the preacher's hand or coat pocket for performing weddings and funerals, and honorariums paid to preach at other churches. And if these preachers are preaching about tithing, they are probably tithing only on their base salary, but not on the pork, which the Lamb addressed in his denunciation of the denominational hypocrites. (Matthew 23:3, 23) These thespians tithe on some things, but behind the scenes, they are finding loopholes not to tithe on others.

In the same way, their kids tithe only on their net paychecks, after taxes and personal expenses are automatically paid out. No wonder our Lord Jesus Christ commands us to “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.” (Revelation 18:4-5)

Do you get it? The nonprofit organizations and denominations are not the ministries and the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, but are State organizations, conducting the religious business of the State. In the same way, the Egyptian priests operated and were given tax benefits and porky pig pie by Pharaoh. (Genesis 47:22-26) The Lamb's unsealed word reveals these things.

You may wonder how the seals of the book of Revelation and the other scriptures are opened. This is only possible when the Lord Jesus saves us from our sin and we receive the Holy Ghost.

As a new believer, one of the first things the Lord Jesus revealed to me was his personal teaching ministry. He said the Holy Ghost would guide us into all truth, show us things to come, and glorify and reveal the word of God. (John 16:12-15) I wondered, “Why would one have to go to the seminary and be ordained as a preacher?” Since then, I don't know how many times I have asked the Lord a question (knowing there was no way to come up with the answer myself) and he would supernaturally drop it into my mind. Why, just yesterday, I felt him urging me to have a lesson on his short parable “The Mustard Seed,” and he gave me a long lecture. Of course, if those nonprofit corporate preachers would teach the truth about the Teacher, they would soon be out of their tenure as all good pastors of the Lord desire to be. For the pastors of God want the lambies to grow up and learn from Christ themselves, and do not want to be wet nurses to grown sheep. Even a retarded human adult does not suck on his mother's paps.

And yet, with early insight of the Holy Ghost being the Teacher, I used commentaries quite a bit. This got me puffed up and I was humbled every now and then. For examples: One of the first times I gave a Bible study, I planned to use and define a word found in the Greek New Testament as the big boys do. Well, it was a mouthful of a word to pronounce, and I stumbled over it like my Japanese friend reciting, “Little Larry loves luscious lime lollipops.” Another time I was pridefully telling an old saint I had an unabridged Matthew Henry commentary, and he informed me he was “way beyond commentaries.” On another day, I had a chance to peek in the same man's Bible and hoped to see all his notes like the many I had written in my Bible. However, I remember he had only underlined in Genesis Chapter 1 the repetitious phrases, “and God said...and it was so....”

Listen: The inspired scripture was penned by men of God. So, when you are reading Matthew, for instance, you are gathered together with Matthew in the name of the Lord, and the Holy Ghost expounds upon the word as he did on the road to Emmaus. (John 24:13-32) And in the same way, you can do this with your friends, for when two or three are gathered together in his name, there the Lord is in a supernatural way. (Matthew 18:20) It is your choice.

This is, also, very practical since we are to go into all the world and preach the gospel, and don't need to be hauling around a hundred other Christians to pat us on the back every step of the way. And what is more, two or three is a quorum to hold church, and a good quorum it is. Our Lord Jesus Christ illustrated this point with small groups of disciples, as when he raised Jairus' daughter from the dead, was transfigured in the holy mount, taught on the destruction of the temple and end of the world, and expounded on all things in the scripture concerning himself. If it is just you and your wife, or a child, or a friend gathering, the Lord will talk to and through you. Amen.

Also, there are fewer devils around in small groups which is an advantage. In the groups of three disciples mentioned above, we do not hear of a devil being present but in the group of twelve apostles, there was always Judas Iscariot, a type of counterfeit board member, bishop, deacon, or superintendent, who was a devil from the beginning. (John 6:64-71) Interestingly, because Judas was a bogus believer, he is an example of how to treat undercover beastly boys who say they are Christians but are not. You treat them like Christians, because they say they are, but they are eating and drinking damnation all the time they sit at the Lord Jesus' feet. Judas partook of the Lord's Supper, and in effect, was eating and drinking the word of God to his own destruction. (I Corinthians 11:23-34) It was spiritual poison to him, and he took his final stand with the people that were conspiring to kill the Lord, and then murdered himself. (John 18:5)

You may have noticed, if you are truly consumed with the Lord Jesus Christ, there are not many others that are but if you can find such as person, take advantage of it. Also, most people in institutional churches can only talk about superficial things, and are void of spiritual insight above their belly, and prefer it that way. In fact, in the many fleets of phony fellowships, their most intimate time is at the galley, when they gather with their ballasted bellies in the name of the Baptists, or Methodists or the Roman Catholics, etc. These bundles of tares are not gathering in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, but in another name which binds and knots them together, and into the fiery boiler they shall go. (Mathew 13:24-30)

It is always an exciting time when God's seal - the seven seals - are opened, and he reveals the truth to us for the here and now, and for the future.

 

7. The Sealed Servants of God

 If you have been around as a Christian for any length of time, you have heard of the hundred and forty and four thousand sealed servants of God in Revelation Chapter 7. Most, I guess, think these are special Jewish believers in the future, and some think they are wandering around now. But I wonder, how can they be only Jews (from the tribe of Judah) if they are from all twelve tribes? Well, that is another subject. Nevertheless, whether it is a literal number or not, it surely has spiritual significance. Sometimes, though, we do not think outside the bread basket. Take the time our Lord Jesus Christ told the disciples, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.” (Matthew 16:6) The boys had forgotten to take bread for the trip and naturally assumed the Lord was talking about grub. He wasn't talking about bread for the belly, but he was talking about spiritual truths in natural terms.

One reoccurring theme in the last book of the Bible is the revelation of the sealed servants of Jesus Christ, we, his church.

In Chapter 1, we are the seven candlesticks Chapter 4, the twenty-four elders Chapter 6, the souls of them that were slain for the word of God (You probably don't want to hear about that one.) Chapter 11, the two witnesses (That one either.) Chapter 12, the woman clothed with the sun Chapter 13, the saints Chapter 14, those having their Father's name written in their foreheads Chapter 15, them that had gotten the victory over the beast Chapter 18, my people Chapter 19, the servants, the bride, the wife, the armies Chapter 20, the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus (Don't want to go there either?) Chapter 21, the tabernacle, and that great city, the holy Jerusalem and Chapter 22, thy fellowservants, the brethren of the prophets, and them which keep the sayings of the book.

So, if you desire to look at the above groups as different groups, you can, but they are all the same group: the body of Christ, past, present, and future. Therefore, may it be suggested that the hundred and forty and four thousand, in Revelation 7:2-4, is the whole church as well, and what does that reveal to us?

“And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.”

If you remember, Israel means The Prince of God. This hundred and forty and four thousand are the children of the Prince of God, Jesus Christ, and his church. They are protected from the trumpets of tribulation God inflicts on unbelievers to humble them but the sons of God are not necessarily protected from the devil's infliction of tribulation.

There are many references to the Lord Jesus' church members having a spiritual seal, engraving, mark, God's name, and the name of God's city on, or in them. This reminds me of the seal of approval Moses placed on the high priest's mitre and the spiritual seal we ought to have applied to ourselves:

“And thou shalt make a plate of pure gold, and grave upon it, like the engravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO THE LORD. And thou shalt put it on a blue lace, that it may be upon the mitre upon the forefront of the mitre it shall be. And it shall be upon Aaron's forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts and it shall be always upon his forehead, that they may be accepted before the LORD.” (Exodus 28:36-38)

Of course, this plate was like a billboard to those who saw it, but more importantly, the priest was to practice holiness. If you keep in mind that scientists tell us the forefront of the brain is where our conscious thoughts are, surely the obvious application is for our conscious life to be focused on being holy, and set aside for the work of Jesus Christ. And if we practice holiness, we ought not to need a sign saying so. In the same way, if you have a ministerial office from God, you do not need a sign on you door to say so, a church bulletin informing so, a business card introducing so, or a license to prove so. And we surely ought not to sashay around in gaudy religious ballroom gowns and prom dresses as some do. They are cross-dressers who like to dress with crosses.

The scribes and Pharisees needed religious signs because they were not practitioners of the true faith, and banked on men believing in outside appearances, and being gullible. Like the man was asked about the visiting prophet coming to his church, “How do you know he is a prophet of God?” And he answered, “Because the pastor told us so.” And as it came to pass, a basket was passed around, and the prophet picked his preferred fruit from the congregation - Granny's Greenbacks. Listen: As you can know them by the shingle that hangs on their door, you can know them, also, by what kind of fruit they are hankering for you to hand over.

In another situation, a man went to hear a woman sing at a local church after listening to her group on Christian television. When the troupe's performance ended, the pastor asked for an offering, and seeing they didn't get much, he passed the plate a few more times. Anyway, the singer got into the pilfering too and said God told her there was a grandma with a hundred dollar bill tucked in her purse for that very emergency, and it was meant to go into the offering. Of course, this is probably a rare thing for a woman to do with money - hide it away somewhere for a rainy day. If the singer were smarter, though, she would have waited until she was on television again, prophesied to all the women that the emergency money was in their underwear drawer, and the pickin's would have been plenty the first time.

The next night the TV station was having a telethon, and she came on stage all bubbling and emotional as she handed the host her love gift for the season. She forgot, however, to mention the emergency work of grandma and the other lambies in the holdup the night before. We ought not to be easy marks for the devil's boys though, for we are marked and sealed by God.

We have a mark to save us from the judgment of God's wrath:

“And he called to the man clothed with linen, which had the writer's inkhorn by his side And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark and begin at my sanctuary.” (Ezekiel 9:3-6)

We have two names written on us, like a heavenly passport, with God's official seal of approval:

“Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.” (Revelation 3:12)

We have the name of our Father on our mind:

“And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads.” (Revelation 14:1)

And we, the church, whose life is dominated by the Lamb, shall see, and be, and reign with him for ever and ever:

“And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face and his name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there and they need no candle, neither light of the sun for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.” (Revelation 22:3-5)

Are you sealed with the seal of God, or is your fate sealed by the world's corrupt religions and their devilish denominations? Are you a sealed servant of the Lord, or are you in a theatrical production put on by the scribes and Pharisees, the Baptists, the Methodists, the Mormons, the Pentecostals, or the Roman Catholics?

And finally, it is asked, are you a sealed servant of Jesus Christ, or is your holiness in the outward sign of a phylactery tied to your forehead or hand or in a cross you hang around your neck or dangle from your earlobes or in that abominable crucifix on your wall or in your synagogue of Satan stained glass windows or in your sun god steeple that tops off your temple or in your corrupt and copyrighted non-canon word you tote to church or in your dust collecting family Bible on the cocktail table or in your grandpa was a minister, or that your brother is a priest, or that your uncle was a missionary? Well, if it is, “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” The time is now!

“Behold, he cometh with clouds and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him.” (Revelation 1:7)

You either will be coming with Jesus Christ when he comes, or be below for the wrath he brings. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

God loves you.  Read your Bible.

 Maranatha

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.  Amen