We have spent the summer looking into the character and nature of God through His attributes. Americans in general and Christians in particular on the whole have a very anemic and shallow view of God partly because we have not spent time seriously reflecting on what the Scriptures teach us about God. This weak and shallow understanding comes to light especially as we look at the last two attributes. Love and wrath. I have saved two of the biggest attributes for last. I debated with myself about which I should do first. Should I do wrath first and get that out of the way and end on the high note of love? Or should I do love first so we have a context for understanding wrath as coming from a loving God? My choice is obvious, but one of my reasons will be clear next week.
Like the seventh seal and the seventh trumpet, the seventh bowl is a vivid vision of the final judgment. Like the other cycles, this cycle ends with the Second Coming and the final wrath. It is done. As Jesus cried it is finished when the wrath of God was poured out on Him, so God announces that His wrath is done being poured out on earth. We were told this in Revelation 15: Revelation 15:1 Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and amazing, seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last, for with them the wrath of God is finished. The reference to Babylon is a symbolic word for the world opposed to God. Babylon is all that is evil, dark, satanic, anti-Christian, anti-truth, anti-holy. Babylon is the symbol of Satan’s kingdom on earth manifested through wicked men and evil systems of government and religion. The bowl poured out in the air and on the earth delivers the final crushing blow to everything opposed to God. And even then, they have no repentance, no remorse, only curses and blasphemy. To press home the gravity of the final judgment every image and symbol imaginable is used.
A few weeks ago we saw from Eph.6 there is a war that we Christians are constantly engaged in. a horrible, hellish battle for our very lives. o a severe struggle against a tremendous, terrible enemy. against Satan & his evil spirits. against all kinds of sin & evil & error that are out to destroy us eternally. & we were also shown just who this enemy is. o how spiritually, superhumanly strong & cleverly subtle he is so that we need God's might & weapons to stand & win. Now today we begin a more detailed study of SATAN'S SUBTLE STRATEGIES. & we consider how he attacks 1st through counterfeit assailants, 2nd through the mind, 3rd through experience, & 4th through practices. we begin then looking at Satan's subtle attacks through counterfeit groups, particular this morning through heresies. & tonight through false religious groups.
Well, what a terrible enemy that wars against us, Eph.6 has been telling us! not one who is flesh & blood; neither one who is just evil principles & influences. but a huge host of powerful, personal, superhuman & subtle, spiritual beings out to get God & us by using every trick of the trade. And so we saw last time one of SATAN'S SUBTLE STRATEGIES in his war against us is to attack through counterfeit assailants. through counterfeit-Christian ideas & beliefs. or through heresies—doubt & denials about the doctrinal truths of Bible. o & about their importance & necessity to be a true Christian. Well, today we consider another way the devil wars through the attack of counterfeit-Christian groups. -that is, also through FALSE RELIGIOUS GROUPS.
In India cows are holy. Muslims wage Holy War. Catholics have holy water. Monty Python searched for the Holy Grail. Israel is called the Holy Land. We observe holy week. What is truly holy today? What is truly sacred? Is anything sacred anymore? Have we lost a sense of what is holy? Have we become so familiar with what is unholy that we have made our peace with it and become comfortable with it? Does anything make us blush or ashamed? With easy divorce, marriage is no longer sacred. With abortion, life is no longer sacred. With sexual immorality, sex is no longer sacred. With casual familiarity toward God, worship is no longer sacred. The more our culture banishes God from the public square, the more it also throws off any sense of what is holy or sacred. When we lose a sense of the holiness of God then nothing is holy or unholy. And with this goes any notion of sin, that anything is against a holy God. What can be done? How do we recover a sense of the sacred, of reverence and awe? The best place to start is at the source, at the beginning, with the One who is holy. We need an encounter with the Holy God like Moses and Isaiah and Peter and Paul. When talking about the holiness of God the classic text is Isaiah 6:1-8.
A couple of months ago this plastic card arrived with a detailed prophetic time-line of the seven years of tribulation. Let me read just a few of the details listed here. January 20, 2013 the first seal is opened at the presidential inauguration as the anti-Christ is sworn into office. April 1, 2014 the 7 year tribulation began. September 11, 2015 Black Friday, US dollar crashes followed by global financial collapse. October 21, 2015 First Trumpet, Yellowstone super volcano erupts and earthquakes burn and destroy one third of trees and grass. September 7, 2018 Black Friday US will be completely destroyed, one third of humanity killed. August 25, 2020 First Bowl then one a month after that until January. February 11, 2021 Jesus appears. Another person on the internet says: We can be confident the Tribulation is Sept. 14, 2015 to Aug. 7, 2022 and Jesus steps down on the mount of olives Aug. 7, 2022. First rapture is according to readiness on Sept. 14, 2015 (Rev. 7.9) according to the condition set out in Matt. 24.40-42, Luke 21.36 and Rev. 3.10). Amen. How true Jesus' words were, "Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come" (Matt. 24.42) but we do know the day. It’s a good thing we are studying Revelation since apparently without knowing it we are already in the Tribulation. Unless of course all these prophetic interpretations which take most of Revelation literally aren’t true. And the constant stream of failed predictions is a pretty clear indication they aren’t true. That’s the first sign of a false prophet.
What is the most beautiful thing you have ever seen? What was so beautiful, it took your breath away or fixed your gaze and mesmerized you? What is beautiful beyond words or description? Do you enjoy and find delight in beautiful things? Do you love beauty? Atheists say that the existence of suffering and evil is evidence there is no God. I reply beauty is evidence for the existence of God. Suffering and evil are our own doing. Beauty has no practical reason to exist except to reveal to us the nature and glory of our creator.