The Bottomless Pit

When we compare the events recorded in Revelation we can’t help but notice how relevant announcements are. So far angels, thunder, lightening, earthquakes, trumpets, and other things have been used to announce events. We see this repeated throughout Revelation. In some chapters the symbol is introduced and defined. In other cases the symbol is defined in other chapters. When that occurs, much more details is added to the symbol and the event at hand. That is seen throughout the Bible. It is the writing style God decided to use before He told Moses to record the first book that would later lay the foundation for the Bible. In many ways that is God’s signature of authenticity.

When we study the Bible, we look for those types of patterns. Those patterns tell us not to guess at interpretations or answers, but to search scripture for each and every answer. When you are a serious student of the Bible, that becomes common sense. The highest form of study I’ve run across and verified in the Bible is the study of parallel chapters. That is where a prophecy is recorded in one book, and its fulfillment recorded in another book. It is the most reliable form of Bible Study I know of and the most reliable because the Bible not only confirms how the prophecy was fulfilled, but proves the Bible was divinely inspired. Unfortunately, not many people use the study of parallel chapters to confirm the fulfillment of a prophecy. It takes too much time and study. The introduction and summary of the chapter have to be confirmed along with the context of the two chapters. Key words are the only thing that lead you from the prophecy to its recorded fulfillment. You have to know what key words to search. Or you have to totally rely on the Holy Spirit to lead you to the recorded fulfillment. Still, the chapters need to be verified so they can be properly presented. Studies like that cannot be rushed or forced. God can lay His hand on details within a recorded fulfillment until the time is right to reveal the information. That frustrates some people. So they try to invent other methods to study scripture. Methods that are less than reliable and in the long run, rely on the individual or other sources outside the Bible. I prefer to stick to methods used in the Bible and proven by the Bible.

It would be interesting to search for parallel chapters within the Book of Revelation. Or look for prophecies in other books, then match the fulfillment recorded in Revelation. But that was not the intent of this book. If we run across parallel chapters, they will be confirmed according to the rules for parallel chapters. So far parallel chapters have not been detected within the first eight chapters of Revelation. But we are seeing some interesting parallels in Revelation. Many of the symbols are repeated in the same order. This of course follows the same pattern found in Genesis and other books that followed. An event or scene is introduced, and elaborated upon in the next chapter, or a later chapter. Both chapters describe the same event. The event or series of events are first recorded with few details. Later the series of events is repeated and more details are added.

If there are parallels in Revelation, the book will reveal those parallels itself. The first sign is revealed by paying attention to key words. In many cases those key words are symbols. Common sense tells us to search other parts of Revelation, and let Jesus explain what those symbols represent. That is what we have been doing in this book. No guesswork. Just gathering facts from different parts of Revelation, putting them together, and letting Jesus’ book explain itself. As we go deeper into Revelation, we should see reasons to go back over information we’ve already covered. That tends to be a sticking point for some people who think they got it right the first time. But when it comes to studying with Jesus, He has His ways of keeping us humble. We have to learn to expect and accept that fact.

Revelation 9:1-2 RSVA And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key of the shaft of the bottomless pit; (2) he opened the shaft of the bottomless pit, and from the shaft rose smoke like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened with the smoke from the shaft.

Chapter 8 ended with an eagle delivering a message about the last three trumpets. For one thing, eagles don’t talk. How can an eagle deliver a message? The announcement for these last three trumpets was a symbol. A symbol reminding us that all these figures are symbols and they originated in Heaven. Something we have to keep in mind. When we get to symbols like the star in verse 2, people look at that sentence in a rather logical manner. The star fell from Heaven to earth. Of course earth is not a symbol, but the planet the star fell upon. Then the logic kicks in. If the earth is physical, the star must be physical. When we look back on the other trumpets and seals, the earth has always been physical. The other elements involved have always been symbols people on this planet should be familiar with. Why would that pattern change?

Once again the symbol for the star here has been interpreted within the story by the word, “he.” Stars have been identified as angels back in chapter 1. “As for the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.” (Revelation 1:20 RSVA). Since the star has been identified with the word, “he,” in the story about the fifth trumpet, “and he came from Heaven,” the context identifies this star as an angel.

When we look at that key as a symbol, we could guess what it means until the cows come home. That is an old cliché meaning, a long time. But when we look at how keys are used in Revelation, we find some interesting facts.

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand upon me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one; I died, and behold I am alive for evermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. (Revelation 1:17-18 RSVA)

Jesus has the keys to Death and Hades, or hell. When we check the Greek word, key could be singular or plural. It may be the same key, or a separate key for each. Of course the context identified that key as being singular is a fashion. Jesus holds that key. It is the knowledge of both life and death. That is explained in the same sentence. On the other hand, translators may have looked at that key as symbolizing two points of knowledge. Now let’s look at the basic points of that knowledge.

Jesus is also known and the Author of life. We all know how He died and rise from the grave. In other words, Jesus is the only one with experience on both sides. Jesus holds the key to life because He is able to take to place of sinners when we face the judgment process. And Jesus has of course overcame death and defeated the grave. The question in Revelation chapter 9 is, does the angel hold the key to life or hell? When we look at the context of the story, hell would be the simple answer. So why is this angel given the key to open hell? The key is not physical but symbolic. Because that key points to knowledge Jesus has to share, we have to look at this trumpet as a learning process. Not an opportunity to show off what we think we know. But to study at that the feet of our Savior. All we are doing is following the simple instructions Jesus wrote about in the first few chapters of Revelation. Jesus arranged this book to reveal exactly what He wrote about. In the beginning of Revelation we learned that we had to put all the facts and explanations together to get the full view. The key is a symbol designed to point us back to Jesus and His experience. The experiences we can learn from. At this point we are learning from Jesus’ experience with life, death, and His experience as a Author. The knowledge Jesus has will be revealed and explained as we progress through the fifth trumpet.

Why is that pit translated, “bottomless?” A quick check of the original Greek shows the word,”bottomless,” was added. The proper translation had a bottom. It was a pit designed to hold something like a cistern or a well. It seems the original Greek leads us back to another connection with water. The second and third trumpets also used water as a direct symbol relating to people. Here we see an indirect symbol, a pit related to water. Rather strange how Jesus used a symbol of a pit to get us to uncover a message. What is that message? At this point we have no idea. We could begin guessing. Or we could leave the book of Revelation, Jesus’ letter, and go back to the world for an interpretation. That would be like taking ten steps backwards. The introduction to this scene is telling us that key is more than physical. Knowledge is opening up that pit. There are people in that pit. Now the satanic powers that took those people into that pit are free to cover the earth. Something is being released, That smoke is telling us something, but what?

Smoke represents two things in Revelation. Smoke is either associated with prayers from the saints, or with something sinister.

And this was how I saw the horses in my vision: the riders wore breastplates the color of fire and of sapphire and of sulphur, and the heads of the horses were like lions’ heads, and fire and smoke and sulphur issued from their mouths. By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed, by the fire and smoke and sulphur issuing from their mouths. (Revelation 9:17-18 RSVA).

Later in the same chapter, the sixth trumpet explains what that smoke does. First it blocks out the sun in the firth trumpet. Then that smoke kills people. Here we have a series of linking symbols that uncover a story. The key leads us to knowledge from Jesus. That knowledge is focused on teaching us what is inside that pit. The pit is designed to hold water. Which represents people. If smoke poured out of that pit, the people inside would be surrounded by that smoke. Blinded by that smoke. That same smoke darkens the sky and blocks out the sun. Light is also linked to knowledge. Jesus is opening more than a door, He is setting up a choice. We can ether learn from Him, or we can be blinded by that smoke. What does that smoke have in it to blind us? The explanations continue.

Revelation 9:3-6 RSVA Then from the smoke came locusts on the earth, and they were given power like the power of scorpions of the earth; (4) they were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any green growth or any tree, but only those of mankind who have not the seal of God upon their foreheads; (5) they were allowed to torture them for five months, but not to kill them, and their torture was like the torture of a scorpion, when it stings a man. (6) And in those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will long to die, and death will fly from them.

This is where the story begins to get interesting. We have to consider the fact, not only does that smoke kill, it also conceals. We see something described as locusts coming out of that smoke. Locust is the first detail we need to look at.

For if you refuse to let my people go, behold, tomorrow I will bring locusts into your country, and they shall cover the face of the land, so that no one can see the land; and they shall eat what is left to you after the hail, and they shall eat every tree of yours which grows in the field, and they shall fill your houses, and the houses of all your servants and of all the Egyptians; as neither your fathers nor your grandfathers have seen, from the day they came on earth to this day.'” Then he turned and went out from Pharaoh. (Exodus 10:4-6 RSVA).

In the first book of the Bible, locusts were used to deliver a curse. Of course the locusts coming out of that pit deliver another curse. Not the same curse mentioned in Exodus, but a curse all the same. No one has a better description of locusts than Joel.

Joel 1:1-8 RSVA The word of the LORD that came to Joel, the son of Pethu’el: (2) Hear this, you aged men, give ear, all inhabitants of the land! Has such a thing happened in your days, or in the days of your fathers? (3) Tell your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation. (4) What the cutting locust left, the swarming locust has eaten. What the swarming locust left, the hopping locust has eaten, and what the hopping locust left, the destroying locust has eaten. (5) Awake, you drunkards, and weep; and wail, all you drinkers of wine, because of the sweet wine, for it is cut off from your mouth. (6) For a nation has come up against my land, powerful and without number; its teeth are lions’ teeth, and it has the fangs of a lioness. (7) It has laid waste my vines, and splintered my fig trees; it has stripped off their bark and thrown it down; their branches are made white. (8) Lament like a virgin girded with sackcloth for the bridegroom of her youth.

There is no doubt Joel linked locusts to education, learning, and remembering. The locusts cut that away. Not in a single attack, but a series of attacks. Parents were responsible for teaching their children. As time marched on, parents stopped teaching. Their children were left with nothing to teach. The link in the chain was broken. Joel wrote about a nation. The Hebrew word Joel wrote down could easily be translated as an army, force, or hoard of locusts. Joel could have been writing about the same attack John saw in Revelation. In short terms, locusts point to a lack of knowledge caused by an outside, organized force. Of course that is a force that originated in hell.

The next symbol to look at is scorpions. Each of us has an idea what a scorpion represents, but what does the Bible say about scorpions? I found one interesting symbol. “Yes, my father laid heavy burdens on you, but I’m going to make them even heavier! My father beat you with whips, but I will beat you with scorpions!'” (1 Kings 12:11 NLTse). Who would have thought that scorpions was a symbol for taxes? But we have to consider both the source and context before we plug it into Revelation chapter 9. The source is of course king Rehoboam. The context is taxes. Which is not the same context in Revelation chapter 9 where we have seen education and learning as the main theme. The search continues. Ezekiel wrote about a similar vision.

“Son of man, do not fear them or their words. Don’t be afraid even though their threats surround you like nettles and briers and stinging scorpions. Do not be dismayed by their dark scowls, even though they are rebels. You must give them my messages whether they listen or not. But they won’t listen, for they are completely rebellious! Son of man, listen to what I say to you. Do not join them in their rebellion. Open your mouth, and eat what I give you.” Then I looked and saw a hand reaching out to me. It held a scroll, which he unrolled. And I saw that both sides were covered with funeral songs, words of sorrow, and pronouncements of doom. (Ezekiel 2:6-10 NLTse).

Ezekiel pointed out the threats and words people will use against him. And how easy it is to slip into their ideas and concepts. That is exactly what John saw in his vision. Ezekiel received a scroll containing funeral songs, words of sorrow, and pronouncements of doom. That is something Jesus would like to warn us about. Now we can see how scorpions symbolize verbal attacks. Combining that with the smoke, we can see their conversations are obscured. At least their threats are obscured by a smoke screen.

Grass and trees are identified later in the same sentence. “Only those of mankind who have not the seal of God upon their foreheads;” It may seem rather strange to see a series of symbols, and only a few are explained in the story. Then to suddenly find a few symbols that are not explained in Revelation, but in other books in the Bible. We have to look back at the context of this trumpet, and that key that points to knowledge. We are in a new learning phase. But we have to know what we are learning as well is why we are learning it. To protect us from those locusts seems to be the logical explanation.

That seal from God must have a connection with the learning process we see in that key and other symbols used in this vision. The seal is a choice and something we need to work on. It is not the type of seal we hear preached about. The kind of seal you get when you join a certain church, make a donation, or any of those other promises we find difficult to understand. God’s seal is not the easy fix we hear about in this world. Or a seal with no explanation required. God’s seal has nothing to do with blind faith.

There is that matter of five months. We are supposed to keep a sharp eye out for dates we can place on a timeline. We are not given a stating or ending date. Up to this point in Revelation all we know for sure is, this all happens after John’s time. And the world sees a series of curses, and chances to grow their faith in God.

Based on one popular Bible verse, that five months could spam a much longer time frame. “‘You said your children would be carried off as plunder. Well, I will bring them safely into the land, and they will enjoy what you have despised. But as for you, you will drop dead in this wilderness. And your children will be like shepherds, wandering in the wilderness for forty years. In this way, they will pay for your faithlessness, until the last of you lies dead in the wilderness. “‘Because your men explored the land for forty days, you must wander in the wilderness for forty years–a year for each day, suffering the consequences of your sins. Then you will discover what it is like to have me for an enemy.’ I, the LORD, have spoken! I will certainly do these things to every member of the community who has conspired against me. They will be destroyed here in this wilderness, and here they will die!” (Numbers 14:31-35 NLTse).

When we look at this particular story, there doesn’t seem to be much of a link to the fifth trumpet in Revelation chapter 9. But is there? In Revelation chapter 9 we are still on a journey to the promised land. I included enough of the story in Number to see the Israelites decided to second guess or doubt God’s promise of safety. Instead they decided to rely on their instincts. That turned out to be a mistake they paid for with their lives. The main theme in the fifth trumpet is a parallel. Can we apply the same day equals a year scenario here? If we did, that five months would be 5×30 = 150 years. That is a long time span. But that equation doesn’t give us a starting or ending date.

When we look at the sequence of learning we’ve experienced while studying this trumpet, and apply that to what John wrote about death, could that be telling us how people prefer to study about death more than studying about or with Christ? Let’s face it. That is a distinct possibility on the spiritual side if the subject. People waste their time studying the mark of the beast instead of the God’s seal. The only thing mentioned in this trumpet vision that will save them. Is that another underlying message we are supposed to see? What else can we find out about God’s seal? Part of that seal is a learning process. As we continue to look at this vision, we are given more details about those locusts.

Revelation 9:7-10 MKJV And the shapes of the locusts were like horses prepared for battle. And on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were like the faces of men. (8) And they had hairs like the hairs of women, and their teeth were like the teeth of lions. (9) And they had breastplates like breastplates of iron. And the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle. (10) And they had tails like scorpions, and there were stings in their tails. And their authority was to hurt men five months.

How can a locust be shaped like a horse? It can’t. They never have and never will look the same. Evidence that Jesus is using symbols. We’ve seen horse before. Horses in Revelation represent death, wars, and other features fitting the context of whatever comes out of that pit.

Revelation 6:4-8 MKJV And another, a red horse, went out. And power was given to him sitting on it, to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another. And there was given to him a great sword. (5) And when He had opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, Come and see. And I looked, and lo, a black horse. And he sitting on it had a balance in his hand. (6) And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures say, A choenix of wheat for a denarius, and three choenixes of barley for a denarius. And do not hurt the oil and the wine. (7) And when He had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, Come and see. (8) And I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him sitting on it was Death, and Hell followed with him. And authority was given to them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with the sword and with hunger and with death and by the beasts of the earth.

One feature we have to pay attention to is the money system the devil introduced to this world. How is that system going to deliver a sting that makes people suffer? I don’t think I have to explain that. We also see one more verse with a horse.

Revelation 6:1-2 MKJV And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures like a sound of thunder, saying, Come and see. (2) And I saw. And behold a white horse! And he sitting on it had a bow. And a crown was given to him, and he went forth conquering and to conquer.

We also see Christ on a horse. When we see that, it may not seem to have much to do with those locusts coming from that pit. But it is something we have to keep in mind as we look at the other symbols.

The horse were prepared for battle with crowns on their heads. Does a normal king enter battle with a crown on their head? No. They may as well place a target on their chest to make them easier to spot. Those horses must not be afraid of showing their crown or rank on the battle field. Which makes me wonder if people are able to see that those horses are ready for a fight. Those horses had men’s faces. Another disguise or smoke screen. The men’s faces had long hair. They had teeth like lions, and each wore a breastplate made of iron. What do we get when we combine all of those elements. Where have we seen them before? Jesus road a white horse. Jesus also wore a crown. Time to take a look at those other features.

Revelation 6:2 MKJV And I saw. And behold a white horse! And he sitting on it had a bow. And a crown was given to him, and he went forth conquering and to conquer.

Revelation 1:13-14 MKJV (13) And having turned, I saw seven golden lampstands. And in the midst of the seven lampstands I saw One like the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the feet, and tied around the breast with a golden band. (14) His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow. And His eyes were like a flame of fire.

Isaiah 59:16-17 MKJV And He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor. Therefore His own arm brought salvation to Him; and His righteousness sustained Him. (17) For He put on righteousness like a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on His head. And He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was covered with zeal like a cloak.

From these examples we can see how the description of those locusts contains a number of symbols also used to describe Christ, the Author of Revelation. Why would Jesus use the same symbols to describe a threat and Himself? There is only one reason. Christ is well aware of Satan’s plans to offer a substitute. A substitute for what? Based on the amount of symbols and their meaning we can see Satan is offering a substitute for everything. That is the main theme throughout the fifth trumpet. There is one more symbol we have to look at. Why do men have teeth like a lion. Instead of guessing, let’s look at the Bible.

Revelation 5:5 MKJV And one of the elders said to me, Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the book and to loose the seven seals of it.

1 Peter 5:8 MKJV Be sensible and vigilant, because your adversary the Devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking someone he may devour;

These two verses show how a lion can represent Christ or the devil. Symbols are not always constant, but rely on the story and context to interpret them. Now that we know symbols are directly identified by the story and its context, we can see how the symbols that make up those locusts and horses add up to a deception. The devil in charge of that pit sends out an army that attempts to look like Christ but is far different to God’s people who are sealed. Those locusts can’t touch God’s people because they know Christ and can spot an imitation a mile away.

Revelation 9:11-12 MKJV (11) And they had a king over them, the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in Greek his name is Apollyon. (12) The first woe is past. Behold, after these things yet come two woes.

The story verifies who the leader of that pit is. Abaddon and Apollyon means destroyer. Those locusts were sent to destroy this world. God restrained them to a degree for a time. This trumpet signifies a release. Any association with those locusts is fatal. It can result in the loss of your eternal life.

The locusts have a close resemblance to Christ, but are out to destroy. We should be smart enough to see the difference. But do people know Christ? That is the question. When we see how Jesus trains us from one chapter to the next, we are safe in His hands. But when we ignore those lessons, or if we depend on someone to study for us, we loose that seal that protects us. How can’t we tell a locust from Jesus? It seems impossible. But it can happen at any moment.

Satanists in the Capital

Our Time Explained in Jude

This letter is from Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ and a brother of James.”: Smart Christians read through the entire Bible. Many of us older Christians tend to read through the Bible on a yearly basis. After you’ve read through the Bible twenty of thirty times, details begin falling into place. You develop a way of allowing the Holy Spirit to work in ways most people miss. Anyone who has read through the Bible a few times looks at that first sentence in Jude, “this letter is from Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ and a brother of James,” and hears the voice of the Holy Spirit telling them, “you’ve seen that before.” Some may pass that voice inside their head off as an original, self produced idea. When self comes into play, the Holy Spirit withdraws. But when you listen to the Holy Spirit, take the lead, and follow directions, the world of the Bible opens its doors. You find the answers that have been there in black and white for thousands of years. And you can’t believe your eyes. You can’t believe some theologian hasn’t found that information and why the churches haven’t told the world. That is exactly how Jude introduces his letter.

Jude 1:1-4 NLTse This letter is from Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ and a brother of James. I am writing to all who have been called by God the Father, who loves you and keeps you safe in the care of Jesus Christ. (2) May God give you more and more mercy, peace, and love. (3) Dear friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people. (4) I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

The Bible is written with certain rules, or patterns every writer in the Bible followed. Of course we know Jesus wrote Revelation and John wrote down exactly what he was told to write. Anyone who has read through Revelation knows, John saw a vision, then that vision was explained by an angel, elder, or other being in Heaven. Based on that pattern we know when we look for explanations in Revelation, those explanations are found in other chapters in Revelation. It is that simple. If people follow any other pattern, we instantly know they are sharing a man made concept or idea.

Jude may be the easiest book in the Bible to study by simply following the general rules of Bible study, which is simply following leads and directions from the Holy Spirit. When we read the first sentence and are told to look back at a similar introduction, we follow directions and look at that introduction. Which is found in one of Paul’s books we refer to as Romans.

Romans 1:1-6 NLTse This letter is from Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, chosen by God to be an apostle and sent out to preach his Good News. (2) God promised this Good News long ago through his prophets in the holy Scriptures. (3) The Good News is about his Son, Jesus. In his earthly life he was born into King David’s family line, (4) and he was shown to be the Son of God when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is Jesus Christ our Lord. (5) Through Christ, God has given us the privilege and authority as apostles to tell Gentiles everywhere what God has done for them, so that they will believe and obey him, bringing glory to his name. (6) And you are included among those Gentiles who have been called to belong to Jesus Christ.

In Romans we find links no one could have ever placed there without a lot of planning. Here we have two authors discussing the same subject. A subject they had no real knowledge of, the future. That information was given to them by the only source who could see the future and knew exactly what was going to happen. Which is why most people read the Bible. They know the Bible contains information about the future and the Bible is the only reliable source of information about the future. Deep down inside people know the Bible is the only reliable source on the future, particularly the last days. That is what draws the majority of people to the Bible. The problem is, most people don’t bother to read the Bible themselves. They prefer to take the word of people who claim to be experts on the Bible and the future. They don’t realize how the Bible has been designed to provide its own answers. All the answers. And supply those answers in a simple form everyone from every nation and every language is able to understand.

When I followed instructions, clues, and directions found in Jude, I couldn’t believe how stories in the Bible explained everything in Jude in such great detail, there was no reason to rely on any other source. When you study scripture by following simple directions found in scripture, the results should also be self explanatory with no further narrative necessary to explain the message. That is exactly what came out of this simple study on Jude. You can take the scripture as is and understand the full message. Explanations here simply explain how to look for, identify, and follow simple instructions in scripture.

As we’ve seen, the introduction, the first sentence in Jude explains what directions to follow. To verify that rule, we compare the two chapters. When we compare Jude to Romans chapter 1, we can’t help but see they both cover the same subject. They have to follow the same subject. As we can see, Paul went into far greater detail than Jude. When we combine the two stories, we see exactly how the Bible has power to magnify details on its own. The Bible never had to rely on any outside sources.

As we compare Jude to Romans chapter 1 we look for additional evidence they cover the same subject. We see parallels in the writing.

Jude: urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people.

Romans: Through Christ, God has given us the privilege and authority as apostles to tell Gentiles everywhere what God has done for them, so that they will believe and obey him, bringing glory to his name.

I highlighted similar comments to get people started. It is a good idea to highlight key words, or in this case phrases sharing the same concept. Jude explained, God is the source of information. Paul added important details. All the information was given to us through Christ.

As we progress, we see more evidence than what we need to grasp onto and understand the message in great detail.

Jude: May God give you more and more mercy, peace, and love.

Romans: May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.

As we expect, Paul added far greater detail. Paul also explains how to gain the confidence and power to understand scripture the way it is meant to be understood. We need faith and prayer. Some refer to that as a spiritual gift.

Romans 1:7-11 NLTse I am writing to all of you in Rome who are loved by God and are called to be his own holy people. May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. (8) Let me say first that I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith in him is being talked about all over the world. (9) God knows how often I pray for you. Day and night I bring you and your needs in prayer to God, whom I serve with all my heart by spreading the Good News about his Son. (10) One of the things I always pray for is the opportunity, God willing, to come at last to see you. (11) For I long to visit you so I can bring you some spiritual gift that will help you grow strong in the Lord.

After we see the patterns placed in Jude and gain the confidence to follow leads Christ placed in Jude, we run into very important information. A small comment in Jude is explained in unbelievable detail by Paul in Romans.

Jude: I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

Romans 1:18-32 NLTse But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness. (19) They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. (20) For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. (21) Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. (22) Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. (23) And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles. (24) So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. (25) They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. (26) That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. (27) And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved. (28) Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. (29) Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. (30) They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. (31) They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. (32) They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too.

There could not be any easier study in the Bible. Key words led us directly to Romans chapter 1. Key phrases and thoughts verified the fact, Jude and Paul wrote about the same subject. Paul added details to Jude we need to gain a better understanding. In this case, at this particular moment in earth’s history, it seems Paul was writing the news for 2021. We can no longer deny, we are in a spiritual war against people who sided with demons.

Paul explained all the details we see today and exactly what the devil used to gain control over those who chose to follow him. It is all there in black and white. No one can argue with the facts that have been penned more than 2000 years ago. We have to ask ourselves, why isn’t that information taught by church leaders? Paul answerd that question. Money and self satisfaction is more important to those people than spending a few hours studying at the feet of Jesus. They prefer to make gods of themselves. We see that mentality in spending bills passed in congress where they claim they are in control of the weather, sexuality, and other attacks on the first few chapters in the Bible describing creation. We have people on the news claiming science is above God. We are told to trust in science. It is far more than evident, science has declared war against God, and we are left with a choice. Do we follow man made science or God?

After we’ve established the direct link between Jude and Romans, we can go onto other steps in Bible Study. The next step is as easy to follow as the first step. Jude and Paul made references to stories in scripture. There is one thing about apostles we need to understand. Paul lost his sight. During that time, Jesus explained the Old Testament to Paul, placing all the prophecies in the proper order. Paul went out and preached about that experience and what he learned directly from Jesus. Peter and the other disciples had a similar experience during Pentecost when the Holy Spirit explained all the prophecies about Jesus. Peter explained where those stories are found in scripture and how scripture explained all the details. After learning those details, the apostles traveled around teaching people how those stories in scripture fit together. The apostles expected people to study on their own, spending personal time to learn at Jesus’ feet, like they did. Apostles wrote about what needed to be studied, using small portions of stories in scripture and expected their students to read those stories. It is as simple as that. Which is our next step. To gain a better understanding, we look for stories Paul and Jude quoted from. We turn to those stories and read them. Nothing could be easier.

Romans 1:17 NLTse This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”

Hebrews 11:6 NLTse And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.

Once we use key words to locate scripture Paul quoted, we read the introduction to that story. In this case the chain reference used by e-Sword was a valuable tool. In most cases the chain reference in e-Sword led directly to the stories Paul and Jude quoted from. In every case the chain reference contained a number of choices. Key words Paul and Jude used identified the story they referenced. Once we find the right story, we stand in awe at the information and details added to the original thought.

Hebrews 11:2-3 NLTse Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation. (3) By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.

There is a reason Jude and Paul quoted particular stories in a particular order. As we go through that list of stories and read each one, we can’t help but understand exactly why that particular order was used. Especially when we find ourselves living through the experiences those authors wrote about more than 2000 years ago.

Jude 1:5 NLTse So I want to remind you, though you already know these things, that Jesus first rescued the nation of Israel from Egypt, but later he destroyed those who did not remain faithful.

Numbers 14:20-23 NLTse Then the LORD said, “I will pardon them as you have requested. (21) But as surely as I live, and as surely as the earth is filled with the LORD’s glory, (22) not one of these people will ever enter that land. They have all seen my glorious presence and the miraculous signs I performed both in Egypt and in the wilderness, but again and again they have tested me by refusing to listen to my voice. (23) They will never even see the land I swore to give their ancestors. None of those who have treated me with contempt will ever see it.

Jude 1:6 NLTse And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority God gave them but left the place where they belonged. God has kept them securely chained in prisons of darkness, waiting for the great day of judgment.

2 Peter 2:1-8 NLTse But there were also false prophets in Israel, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will cleverly teach destructive heresies and even deny the Master who bought them. In this way, they will bring sudden destruction on themselves. (2) Many will follow their evil teaching and shameful immorality. And because of these teachers, the way of truth will be slandered. (3) In their greed they will make up clever lies to get hold of your money. But God condemned them long ago, and their destruction will not be delayed. (4) For God did not spare even the angels who sinned. He threw them into hell, in gloomy pits of darkness, where they are being held until the day of judgment. (5) And God did not spare the ancient world–except for Noah and the seven others in his family. Noah warned the world of God’s righteous judgment. So God protected Noah when he destroyed the world of ungodly people with a vast flood. (6) Later, God condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and turned them into heaps of ashes. He made them an example of what will happen to ungodly people. (7) But God also rescued Lot out of Sodom because he was a righteous man who was sick of the shameful immorality of the wicked people around him. (8) Yes, Lot was a righteous man who was tormented in his soul by the wickedness he saw and heard day after day.

Jude 1:7-8 NLTse And don’t forget Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns, which were filled with immorality and every kind of sexual perversion. Those cities were destroyed by fire and serve as a warning of the eternal fire of God’s judgment. (8) In the same way, these people–who claim authority from their dreams–live immoral lives, defy authority, and scoff at supernatural beings.

Genesis 18:20-21 NLTse So the LORD told Abraham, “I have heard a great outcry from Sodom and Gomorrah, because their sin is so flagrant. (21) I am going down to see if their actions are as wicked as I have heard. If not, I want to know.”

Genesis 19:24-29 NLTse Then the LORD rained down fire and burning sulfur from the sky on Sodom and Gomorrah. (25) He utterly destroyed them, along with the other cities and villages of the plain, wiping out all the people and every bit of vegetation. (26) But Lot’s wife looked back as she was following behind him, and she turned into a pillar of salt. (27) Abraham got up early that morning and hurried out to the place where he had stood in the LORD’s presence. (28) He looked out across the plain toward Sodom and Gomorrah and watched as columns of smoke rose from the cities like smoke from a furnace. (29) But God had listened to Abraham’s request and kept Lot safe, removing him from the disaster that engulfed the cities on the plain.

Jude 1:9-10 NLTse But even Michael, one of the mightiest of the angels, did not dare accuse the devil of blasphemy, but simply said, “The Lord rebuke you!” (This took place when Michael was arguing with the devil about Moses’ body.) (10) But these people scoff at things they do not understand. Like unthinking animals, they do whatever their instincts tell them, and so they bring about their own destruction.

Daniel 10:13-14 NLTse But for twenty-one days the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia blocked my way. Then Michael, one of the archangels, came to help me, and I left him there with the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia. (14) Now I am here to explain what will happen to your people in the future, for this vision concerns a time yet to come.”

Daniel 10:19-21 NLTse “Don’t be afraid,” he said, “for you are very precious to God. Peace! Be encouraged! Be strong!” As he spoke these words to me, I suddenly felt stronger and said to him, “Please speak to me, my lord, for you have strengthened me.” (20) He replied, “Do you know why I have come? Soon I must return to fight against the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia, and after that the spirit prince of the kingdom of Greece will come. (21) Meanwhile, I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth. (No one helps me against these spirit princes except Michael, your spirit prince.

Jude 1:11-13 NLTse What sorrow awaits them! For they follow in the footsteps of Cain, who killed his brother. Like Balaam, they deceive people for money. And like Korah, they perish in their rebellion. (12) When these people eat with you in your fellowship meals commemorating the Lord’s love, they are like dangerous reefs that can shipwreck you. They are like shameless shepherds who care only for themselves. They are like clouds blowing over the land without giving any rain. They are like trees in autumn that are doubly dead, for they bear no fruit and have been pulled up by the roots. (13) They are like wild waves of the sea, churning up the foam of their shameful deeds. They are like wandering stars, doomed forever to blackest darkness.

Genesis 4:3-8 NLTse When it was time for the harvest, Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the LORD. (4) Abel also brought a gift–the best of the firstborn lambs from his flock. The LORD accepted Abel and his gift, (5) but he did not accept Cain and his gift. This made Cain very angry, and he looked dejected. (6) “Why are you so angry?” the LORD asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected? (7) You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.” (8) One day Cain suggested to his brother, “Let’s go out into the fields.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother, Abel, and killed him.

Numbers 22:4-7 NLTse The king of Moab said to the elders of Midian, “This mob will devour everything in sight, like an ox devours grass in the field!” So Balak, king of Moab, (5) sent messengers to call Balaam son of Beor, who was living in his native land of Pethor near the Euphrates River. His message said: “Look, a vast horde of people has arrived from Egypt. They cover the face of the earth and are threatening me. (6) Please come and curse these people for me because they are too powerful for me. Then perhaps I will be able to conquer them and drive them from the land. I know that blessings fall on any people you bless, and curses fall on people you curse.” (7) Balak’s messengers, who were elders of Moab and Midian, set out with money to pay Balaam to place a curse upon Israel. They went to Balaam and delivered Balak’s message to him.

Numbers 25:1-5 NLTse While the Israelites were camped at Acacia Grove, some of the men defiled themselves by having sexual relations with local Moabite women. (2) These women invited them to attend sacrifices to their gods, so the Israelites feasted with them and worshiped the gods of Moab. (3) In this way, Israel joined in the worship of Baal of Peor, causing the LORD’s anger to blaze against his people. (4) The LORD issued the following command to Moses: “Seize all the ringleaders and execute them before the LORD in broad daylight, so his fierce anger will turn away from the people of Israel.” (5) So Moses ordered Israel’s judges, “Each of you must put to death the men under your authority who have joined in worshiping Baal of Peor.”

Numbers 16:1-3 NLTse One day Korah son of Izhar, a descendant of Kohath son of Levi, conspired with Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth, from the tribe of Reuben. (2) They incited a rebellion against Moses, along with 250 other leaders of the community, all prominent members of the assembly. (3) They united against Moses and Aaron and said, “You have gone too far! The whole community of Israel has been set apart by the LORD, and he is with all of us. What right do you have to act as though you are greater than the rest of the LORD’s people?”

Numbers 16:8-11 NLTse Then Moses spoke again to Korah: “Now listen, you Levites! (9) Does it seem insignificant to you that the God of Israel has chosen you from among all the community of Israel to be near him so you can serve in the LORD’s Tabernacle and stand before the people to minister to them? (10) Korah, he has already given this special ministry to you and your fellow Levites. Are you now demanding the priesthood as well? (11) The LORD is the one you and your followers are really revolting against! For who is Aaron that you are complaining about him?”

Numbers 16:19-33 NLTse Meanwhile, Korah had stirred up the entire community against Moses and Aaron, and they all gathered at the Tabernacle entrance. Then the glorious presence of the LORD appeared to the whole community, (20) and the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, (21) “Get away from all these people so that I may instantly destroy them!” (22) But Moses and Aaron fell face down on the ground. “O God,” they pleaded, “you are the God who gives breath to all creatures. Must you be angry with all the people when only one man sins?” (23) And the LORD said to Moses, (24) “Then tell all the people to get away from the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.” (25) So Moses got up and rushed over to the tents of Dathan and Abiram, followed by the elders of Israel. (26) “Quick!” he told the people. “Get away from the tents of these wicked men, and don’t touch anything that belongs to them. If you do, you will be destroyed for their sins.” (27) So all the people stood back from the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. Then Dathan and Abiram came out and stood at the entrances of their tents, together with their wives and children and little ones. (28) And Moses said, “This is how you will know that the LORD has sent me to do all these things that I have done–for I have not done them on my own. (29) If these men die a natural death, or if nothing unusual happens, then the LORD has not sent me. (30) But if the LORD does something entirely new and the ground opens its mouth and swallows them and all their belongings, and they go down alive into the grave, then you will know that these men have shown contempt for the LORD.” (31) He had hardly finished speaking the words when the ground suddenly split open beneath them. (32) The earth opened its mouth and swallowed the men, along with their households and all their followers who were standing with them, and everything they owned. (33) So they went down alive into the grave, along with all their belongings. The earth closed over them, and they all vanished from among the people of Israel.

Jude 1:14-16 NLTse Enoch, who lived in the seventh generation after Adam, prophesied about these people. He said, “Listen! The Lord is coming with countless thousands of his holy ones (15) to execute judgment on the people of the world. He will convict every person of all the ungodly things they have done and for all the insults that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” (16) These people are grumblers and complainers, living only to satisfy their desires. They brag loudly about themselves, and they flatter others to get what they want.

Genesis 5:22-24 NLTse After the birth of Methuselah, Enoch lived in close fellowship with God for another 300 years, and he had other sons and daughters. (23) Enoch lived 365 years, (24) walking in close fellowship with God. Then one day he disappeared, because God took him.

Jude 1:17-19 NLTse But you, my dear friends, must remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ said. (18) They told you that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to satisfy their ungodly desires. (19) These people are the ones who are creating divisions among you. They follow their natural instincts because they do not have God’s Spirit in them.

We do hit bumps in the road when we study scripture. They may be unexpected turns, or leads placed in our head by the Holy Spirit. In this case I was influenced to look for a story Jesus shared with His disciples. After finding and reviewing the story Jesus told, I reviewed Jude and found, he was referring to books and information written by the apostles. Which lead to another story with more details.

Matthew 7:12-23 NLTse “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets. (13) “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. (14) But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it. (15) “Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. (16) You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? (17) A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. (18) A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. (19) So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. (20) Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions. (21) “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. (22) On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ (23) But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’

Acts 20:26-32 NLTse I declare today that I have been faithful. If anyone suffers eternal death, it’s not my fault, (27) for I didn’t shrink from declaring all that God wants you to know. (28) “So guard yourselves and God’s people. Feed and shepherd God’s flock–his church, purchased with his own blood–over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as elders. (29) I know that false teachers, like vicious wolves, will come in among you after I leave, not sparing the flock. (30) Even some men from your own group will rise up and distort the truth in order to draw a following. (31) Watch out! Remember the three years I was with you–my constant watch and care over you night and day, and my many tears for you. (32) “And now I entrust you to God and the message of his grace that is able to build you up and give you an inheritance with all those he has set apart for himself.

Jude 1:20-22 NLTse But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, (21) and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love. (22) And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering.

Romans 15:1-8 NLTse We who are strong must be considerate of those who are sensitive about things like this. We must not just please ourselves. (2) We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord. (3) For even Christ didn’t live to please himself. As the Scriptures say, “The insults of those who insult you, O God, have fallen on me.” (4) Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled. (5) May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. (6) Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (7) Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory. (8) Remember that Christ came as a servant to the Jews to show that God is true to the promises he made to their ancestors.

Titus 2:11-15 NLTse For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. (12) And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, (13) while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. (14) He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds. (15) You must teach these things and encourage the believers to do them. You have the authority to correct them when necessary, so don’t let anyone disregard what you say.

Galatians 6:1-7 NLTse Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. (2) Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. (3) If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important. (4) Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. (5) For we are each responsible for our own conduct. (6) Those who are taught the word of God should provide for their teachers, sharing all good things with them. (7) Don’t be misled–you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant.

Jude 1:24-25 NLTse Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. (25) All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.

After reviewing the information in this study it is clear to see how scripture explains scripture. There is no reason to pull in any other sources. We review the information as the Bible and Holy Spirit present it, and we don’t need any long drawn out explanations. We know exactly what scripture is describing in our time. We also see what our role is in the last days. We are supposed to be reaching out to other people during that time. But how? Story after story remind us, only God knows the future. God communicates to this world through Jesus. We have no idea how to reach people. But Jesus does. Without Jesus and the Holy Spirit we are stuck with a host of wrong answers. The same is true with reaching people and delivering the right message. We don’t have the right messages to reach people. But Jesus does. When we decide to work with Jesus, it is a commitment. We will see unbelievable results in personal messages just like we’ve seen in this simple study. With Jesus we place ourselves in a position where the devil and all his followers cannot stop us.

Parallels in Revelation: Chapters 1-12

God’s Throne in Revelation Rev Ch 4

When we turn the page and begin to read the story in Revelation chapter 4, we are tempted to begin interpreting the passages based on what we’ve been taught. In this case, we are going to look at a few details, and also look for key words that need an explanation. Then we are going to gather all the information on those key words.

Revelation 4:1 MKJV After these things I looked, and behold, a door was opened in Heaven. And the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me, saying, Come up here, and I will show you what must occur after these things.

The first words, “After these things,” establishes a timeline. To find out what details this event follows, we have to look back at chapter 3.

Revelation 3:20-22 MKJV (20) Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him and he with Me. (21) To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame and have sat down with My Father in His throne. (22) He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

The Bible is telling us, we can’t hope to understand this story unless we understand the previous story. In other words, we have to learn to listen to Jesus to progress through this series of visions and symbols. We just learned another important Bible Study lesson. How to follow directions.

We have to be in tune to how the Bible is designed to direct us to one place or another for answers. Answers to what? Answers to questions the Holy Spirit places in our heads. The Holy Spirit uses printed words in the Bible to place questions in our heads. Those directions show us how to locate answers. It is as simple as that.

The simple Bible Study method learned at the beginning of Revelation chapter 4 is, this book is written as a book. It is designed to be read as a book. Like any other book, it can only be understood as a whole. No book or novel in this world can be explained by pulling out a single sentence and adding preconceived ideas about what the reader thinks the rest of the story is trying to convey. No one would do that with any of the classic novels. Why do people give Jesus less respect than an author who has sold millions of books? The Bible is and always will be the best selling book in the world. The major difference is, the Bible is the only inspired book from cover to cover. The Bible deserves more respect than any book in this world. Jesus earned respect in ways no other author has been able to earn or convey in words. It’s time we place the Bible where it should be. In terms of its literary style, each book in the Bible follows the same literary rules as all other books. Each chapter and story has an introduction and a summary. Each book in the Bible uses repetition to draw the reader’s attention to important details. Each book in the Bible describes the scene before explaining what happened at that location. The difference is, the Bible shows bits and pieces of the future. The Bible was inspired by the only living God who can look into the future. That does not give readers literary freedom to take a sentence about the future then attempt to explain that scene based on their personal feelings. That my friend is leaving the original Author behind while attempting to play god.

Parallels in Revelation: Chapters 1-12
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When we read the Bible, we have to be aware of our senses. Every author wants to take the mind of the reader out of their environment and into the scene where the event they described takes place. That’s exactly what a great author does. Book publishers look far and wide for authors with that special gift. What the world doesn’t understand is, that gift comes from God. The same source that inspired the Bible.

When we open a book, we are placing our minds in the hands of the author. Yes, words can and will influence our thoughts and imagination. Every great author knows how to captivate the imagination. If the Bible is not doing that for you, that’s because the world has done something to steer your imagination away from God’s inspired Word. When you turn your imagination away from God, your heart is not far away.

What turns people away from God? Let’s look at the facts. The devil watches every move you make. The devil closely observes every influence in your life. When the devil sees circumstances in your life turning you towards God, Jesus, and His Word, the devil sends ten detours to deflect your path. How does the devil do that?

Maybe your first introduction to Jesus and the Bible was at a funeral. When you were a child, your grandmother died. You loved her. Death was a new experience for you. Your mind told you, this life will never change. The times you spent with your grandmother were the happiest moments of your life. You talked, laughed, cooked, and gardened together. You could still smell the flowers and see the colors swaying in the summer breeze. There was not a subject in the world your grandma could not explain. Then suddenly that security and happiness were gone. You went to the funeral. The preacher opened the Bible and read a few words. You didn’t know anything about the Bible, but the preacher told you God took your grandmother away from you. The devil was also there. He took a few words from that preacher and introduced thoughts he wanted to stick in your mind for the rest of your life. You looked at God as someone who only takes. You looked at that large black book the preacher read from as a book of horrors. In one scene the devil branded the depths of your mind and soul for eternity. What was natural event in life was twisted around by the devil as an unnatural form of pain and revenge sent from God. You only received a small part of the story of life and death found in the Bible. An example showing how the devil uses tiny parts of the Bible to introduce concepts he wants to paste into your mind and imagination. The devil doesn’t want anyone to read the Bible. Little bits and pieces are okay as far as the devil is concerned. If the devil makes you think all you need is little bits and pieces of the Bible, he accomplished what he set out to do. The devil convinced you to disrespect God’s literary skills.

Other people are given different impressions. Events the devil uses to set their minds against God and the Bible. The devil prefers to scar people for life at an early age. Then pick at those wounds day after day for the rest of their lives. The devil looks in your brain, knows how it functions, and knows how to place memories in just the right spot so when the Holt Spirit wants to leave an impression, the devil has his scar tissue covering the most sensitive and impressionable sections of the human brain, mind, and emotions.

When Jesus walked this world, He healed the most serious illnesses and deformities. Jesus cured the blind so they could see. Jesus relied on God’s power, who knows how the eye is designed, and how the devil was able to either injure or mutate those eyes. Jesus cured lepers, a woman suffering from defective reproduction organs, a woman hunched over from bone disease, paralyzed men, and a number of other diseases.

Each of those diseases carries a sort of spiritual concept or idea. Each is designed to reach people who were attacked and wounded by the devil long before they opened the Bible for the first time. Before anyone opens the Bible, the devil has already been hard at work for years to set up different types of mental prejudices and preconceived ideas to mislead people in the scriptures. Without the Holy Spirit, the devil has no way of knowing exactly how the Bible works. The Bible proved, the devil has no way of knowing how any prophecy will be fulfilled. So the devil uses a shotgun approach to mislead people. He introduces as many false beliefs, concepts, ideas, and doctrines as he can. The devil may not know what the Bible is actually saying, but he can come in with with a million wrong concepts.

God always has a plan on the spiritual level. Everyday the Bible reaches people on a spiritual level the devil can’t figure out, and can’t properly prepare for. Some people see their lives in the blind man in one story. Or maybe it is in the woman who is rejected by society because of her bleeding issue. Maybe one of the stories about a leper described how a person felt when they finally turned to the Bible for an answer. People turn to the Bible for answers at the lowest moments of their life. And the Holy Spirit supplies the answers they are looking for. The Holy Spirit directs them to a spiritual symbol in the Bible, and circumstances in life reveal the spiritual meaning. Anyone and everyone can have that connection with the Holy Spirit. But not everyone does. Too many people allow the devil to keep picking at the scars the devil placed on their mind and heart so they never heal.

Some people are in fact reached by a sermon in one way or another. Let’s look at the facts. The person giving that sermon doesn’t know a thing about the scars you carry. They may not even know about the concept of how and why the devil covers people with scars. Somehow the Holy Spirit was able to reach that preacher when they were writing down that sermon. Actually that preacher has no idea what part of their sermon will reach an individual or how it will touch them. But the Spirit does. The Spirit is working working overtime to reach not only you, but a number of people sitting in those pews. You have no idea how other people are influenced by the words that preacher is saying. But that is only the beginning. Expecting a sermon to remove those scars is like looking at a bottle of medicine and saying you have faith it will heal you. Opening the Bible with the Holy Spirit at your side is like diving into that medicine and allowing that healing power to flow into every part of your body. So why do so many people allow the devil to convince them, the preacher has all the answers? Why do so many people stop at the first healing step, and allow the devil to stop them in their tracks? The Spirit is opening doors, windows, taking the roof off your soul to open your mind to concepts that preacher never saw, and you could never expect to see. Something is holding you back, and that something is not God. It is you and your cooperation with the devil.

Now let’s take a look at how the Holy Spirit works with an individual when they open the Bible. In Revelation chapter 4 we have an introduction. John is introducing us to God’s throne. A door is open in Heaven. Are you walking through that door, or are you going to allow fear to hold you back? Or is the the devil using the things he taught you over the years to hold you back? The author of Hebrews also wrote about God’s throne. We should take a look at what the inspired word says about God’s throne.

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. (Hebrews 4:16 NLTse).

Whoever wrote the Book of Hebrews knew something about the healing power that emanates from God’s throne. It’s time we stop thinking that power comes full strength from any other source, and go the only source of healing that can and will remove all those scares from our body, mind, heart, and soul.

Parallels in Revelation: Chapters 1-12
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Jesus opened another story for us by sending us back to the Tabernacle. I’ve written a number of books on the Tabernacle, but every time I read the story in the Bible, I find out I missed 99% of the spiritual meanings locked inside those stories. That is another feature that makes the Bible unique.

The Tabernacle has an alter in the outer courtyard. It is the first thing you would pass if you were to walk through the Tabernacle. In short terms, the alter represents Jesus’ sacrifice outside the city gates. Outside the walls of the stone temple.

Past the alter is the Tabernacle tent. The tent is designed with two chambers, the Holy and Most Holy. The first room contains a few important items, the lamp, incense alter, and the table. The lamp sheds light. “Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalms 119:105 RSVA). The alter represents prayer, which is communication with God. “The smoke of the incense, mixed with the prayers of God’s holy people, ascended up to God from the altar where the angel had poured them out.” (Revelation 8:4 NLTse). The table is set with bread, bowls, and eating utensils. The table represents an opportunity to sit down with Jesus, where He will illuminate your mind and prepare you for the next step. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20 RSVA).

The last room is the Most Holy room. “Place the incense altar just outside the inner curtain that shields the Ark of the Covenant, in front of the Ark’s cover–the place of atonement–that covers the tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant. I will meet with you there.”

(Exodus 30:6 NLTse). The Most Holy room contains the Ark of testimony with the Ten Commandments covered by the mercy seat. Now comes the hard part.

Why are some people afraid to approach God’s throne? Is it because the devil has trained them to fear God and His Ten Commandments? Israel displayed that fear when God spoke to them and gave them those Ten Commandments for the first time. Israel told Moses to go up to God, then come back and tell them what He had to say. That explains a lot. The devil saw how effective fear can be. The devil found how easy it was to use God’s Ten Commandments against Him. And the devil is still up to his old tricks.

You are either going to fear or respect those Ten Commandments. Don’t give me that baloney about fear means respect. Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name. (Deuteronomy 6:13 KJV). In this context the word fear means to reverence. It also means to be frightened. But which one do you choose? Are you afraid of God and His law, or do you reverence God and His law? Let’s examine the facts.

The Most Holy room represents the judgment process that takes place in front of God’s throne. People are either judged by the law, or Jesus stands in their place. That is the simple explanation Christians have to be taught to accept. In one sense it is true. In reality it doesn’t tell the whole story. Fear without reverence amounts to nothing. One without the other is useless. You have to learn to understand fear. That is why the lamp, incense alter, and table is in front of the thin curtain that separates the Holy from the Most Holy place.

When we take a second walk through the Tabernacle, we first notice the alter of sacrifice. Many people never get past that alter. That’s all they’ve been told about the plan of salvation. That is as far as Satan wants people to go. People have been trained to think that’s as far as they need to progress. Beyond that alter is a water basin called a laver. The laver represents cleansing and humility. Two attributes a person must posses before entering the first room in the Tabernacle. Since many people have been taught to remain at the alter and progress no further, they are satisfied with thinking, all they need to do is claim Jesus’ sacrifice and they are safe. That is stopping at the alter of sacrifice and progressing no further.

People have a tendency to jump from the alter of sacrifice into the mysterious inner room containing the Ark and Commandments. All they know is fear. They skipped the cleansing, which is removing misleading concepts the world teaches. They skipped the humility part of the Tabernacle. They also skipped over the light, the learning process with Jesus, and the prayers. Of course many people tried that concept of prayer, but we have to remember, the disciples were smart enough to ask Jesus how to pray.

When people make a process of their own, or accept a man made process over the progression designed into the Tabernacle, of course they are going to be consumed by fear when they decide to jump in front of God’s throne without following proper protocol. That is only natural. But when we do stop at the alter, study and understand Jesus’ sacrifice, go to the laver to be cleansed and humbled, return to that alter to review what we’ve learned, then progress into the first room, we are ready to be illuminated, fed by Jesus, and pray before approaching God’s throne.

Here is one example showing how the Spirit guides us through His Word. I turned to Revelation chapter 4. This time I was guided to the word, “throne.” I used a Bible program to provide a list of verses the word throne is found in the Book of Revelation. The information I found surprised me.

Taken from the MKJV

Rev_1:4 John to the seven churches which are in Asia. Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is coming; and from the seven spirits which are before His throne;

Rev_3:21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame and have sat down with My Father in His throne.

Rev_4:2 And immediately I became in spirit. And behold, a throne was set in Heaven, and One sat upon the throne.

Rev_4:3 And He who sat there looked like a jasper stone and a sardius. And a rainbow was around the throne, looking like an emerald.

Rev_4:4 And around the throne I saw twenty-four thrones. And on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white clothing. And they had crowns of gold on their heads.

Rev_4:5 And out of the throne came lightnings and thunderings and voices. And seven lamps of fire were burning in front of the throne, which are the seven spirits of God.

Rev_4:6 And a sea of glass was in front of the throne, like crystal. And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind.

Rev_4:9 And whenever the living creatures gave glory and honor and thanks to Him who sat on the throne, who lives forever and ever,

Rev_4:10 the twenty-four elders fell down before the One sitting on the throne. And they worshiped Him who lives for ever and ever, and threw their crowns before the throne, saying,

Rev_5:1 And I saw a book on the right of Him sitting on the throne, written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals.

Rev_5:6 And I looked, and lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, amidst the elders, a Lamb stood, as if it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.

Rev_5:7 And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him sitting on the throne.

Rev_5:11 And I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, and the living creatures and the elders. And the number of them was myriads and myriads, and thousands of thousands,

Rev_5:13 And I heard every creature which is in the Heaven and on the earth, and under the earth, and those that are in the sea, and all who are in them, saying, Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him sitting on the throne, and to the Lamb forever and ever.

Rev_6:16 And they said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him sitting on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb;

Rev_7:9 After these things I looked, and lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, out of all nations and kindreds and people and tongues, stood before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palms in their hands.

Rev_7:10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God sitting on the throne, and to the Lamb.

Rev_7:11 And all the angels stood around the throne, and the elders, and the four living creatures, and they fell before the throne on their faces and worshiped God,

Rev_7:15 Therefore they are before the throne of God, and they serve Him day and night in His temple. And He sitting on the throne will dwell among them.

Rev_7:17 For the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will feed them and will lead them to the fountains of living waters. And God will wipe away all tears from their eyes.

Rev_8:3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer. And many incenses were given to him, so that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints on the golden altar before the throne.

Rev_12:5 And she bore a son, a male, who is going to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her child was caught up to God and to His throne.

Rev_14:3 And they sang as it were a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. And no one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousands who were redeemed from the earth.

Rev_14:5 And in their mouth was found no guile, for they were without blemish before the throne of God.

Rev_16:10 And the fifth angel poured out his vial on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom became darkened. And they gnawed their tongues from the pain.

Rev_16:17 And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air. And a great voice came out of the temple of Heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done!

Rev_19:4 And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God sitting on the throne, saying, Amen! Hallelujah!

Rev_19:5 And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all His servants, and the ones fearing Him, the small and great.

Rev_20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and Him sitting on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And a place was not found for them.

Rev_21:5 And He sitting on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And He said to me, Write, for these words are true and faithful.

Rev_22:1 And he showed me a pure river of Water of Life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.

Rev_22:3 And every curse will no longer be; but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His servants will serve Him.

32 verses found, 40 matches

Revelation 32 verses found 40 matches

The first thing I noticed when I looked at this list was the description of God’s throne and court in chapter 4. That is followed by a list of actions originating from that throne. Another detail I noticed was the sequence Revelation followed. First we saw a description of Jesus, followed by a description of God on His throne. There may be a very good reason for that. John recorded a lesson Jesus taught. God was very pleased with Jesus’ ministry, efforts, ability to follow directions, and of course His sacrifice. God gave everything to Jesus. Jesus gave all the credit to God, and returned all the power and control to God. It was a lesson in giving. The story also showed how God and Jesus are of one mind, set on a single goal.

We also see how Jesus wrote Revelation with the same flow all novelists and writers use. They first describe a scene, then tell you what occurred at that scene. We have evidence that Revelation is not a book of hidden mysteries, but a story written by God’s Son. Jesus wrote that book to be understood.

We see, the “throne of God,” repeated a number of times. Keep in mind, Revelation was constructed and written by Jesus. Here we see the respect Jesus has for His Father, and the type of respect we should have for God.

Putting verses together has a unique way of bringing out facts and details. But we have to be careful when we approach a study of this type. If we only look at one sentence in a story, we run the risk of missing 99% of the facts. One sentence will never show us the context the sentence was used in. We also miss important details linked to other parts of Revelation as well as other books in the Bible designed to provide answers. In short, we can easily fail when we rely on single sentences.

This list was provided to support a point we are looking at. We can take one word or phrase, quickly find where and how that word or phase was used in the same Bible book, and other books in the Bible, and continue our research. Computer programs have revolutionized Bible Study, making it much easier and quicker to put lists and facts together. But we have to take the next step. We have to determine which sentences have a direct bearing on the subject at hand, go to those chapters, read them, determine if the context is the same, and put those entire stories together. We have to look at the events involved. We have to examine the timeline by looking at connecting factors and surrounding events. We may only know the timeline of one event mentioned in each of those stories. That will help establish the relationship between two series of events. We have to look for references to other books in the Bible, and read those stories. All in all, with a good computer program, we are only a click away. Links between verses are placed in those programs for a reason. We have to learn how to use the tools we are given, and the common sense God placed within mankind at creation.

Another detail we have to think about for a moment. Satan’s throne is mentioned only once in Revelation. What does that tell us? We have 31 verses with God on His throne, and only 1 verse with Satan on his throne. But where is the majority of study focused today? On Satan and his throne. Doesn’t that show us how misguided this world is? Doesn’t that make a point we should heed? If we are seeking truth, do we go to men or groups focusing on a single sentence in Revelation? Or do we listen to those who focus on Revelation as a whole?

It’s interesting to see how one word can open a floodgate to information and facts we never considered before. That’s the way the Bible was written. The Bible needs to be absorbed. Or as Jesus put it, consumed. Not just a line or two, but the entire story the way Jesus had it recorded.

The 5 W’s of Bible Study

This is one Bible Study method many people are familiar with. It is refereed to as the 5 – W’s of Bible Study. Who, What, When, Where, and Why. Each question is listed and answered. Make sure you stick to information in the Bible and do not add in outside reference material. Think of using this method as placing God’s Word on trial. Think of yourself as cross examining God’s Word. Anything outside the Bible is circumstantial evidence and not allowed. This can take some digging, but as a general rule, answers are found by looking back a chapter or two. References can also be used from other books in the Bible.

The key point to using the 5 W’s is to stick to the Bible. This Bible Study method can and will sharpen your Bible Study skills. You learn to look back, review, research, list, and in most cases, write down what you find. All of those steps are designed to slow you down so the Holy Spirit can get in a few words, comments, and ideas.

Who seems to be the easiest question to answer. in most cases you will be studying a person in a story. In most cases the name is prominent and repeated throughout the story. Which should make the name easy to find. This helps you to focus on a single subject. In this case a single person. We all need practice at focusing when we study scripture.

What may be a little more difficult to explain. That is why this book is packed with actual Bible Study examples showing how each rule is applied and used within a Bible Study. What is usually linked to the subject, or event the person is going through.

When can be expressed in a date, time, or series of events. Dates can be found at the beginning of the story, and at times, the beginning of a book in the Bible. When can also be an explanation of the previous event. This event or story followed that event. Try to avoid commentaries when trying to place a date. In many cases commentaries can be nothing more than guesses or personal opinions.

Where is generally the location. Where can be a city, field, mountain, or other physical feature that may have a spiritual bearing on the subject and lesson at hand. Concentrate on the location and let your mind linger on the scene. This often helps to see reactions on the faces of people involved. The scene can also get your mind into the political or religious motives at that particular time. Where will help tie together all the W’s.

Why is where you want to spend your majority of time. As soon as the first 4 W’s are tied together, the why will begin to reveal itself. Why is normally found with a combination of stories that led into the event being studied, and later chapters or stories that recorded the results. Why takes a lot of time and study. Why is listed at the end of the 5 W’s because it takes the What, When, Who, and often times the Where to understand the Why. As soon as you examine the Why, you will see how they all fit together.

The 5 W’s also help identify a loose, sloppy Bible Study from one that put in the right combination of study methods. Many word studies and proof text studies take little or no effort. And as usually designed to convey a preconceived idea. On the other hand, studies like the 5 W’s show a level of interest, time, and attention not found in every Bible Study.

Patterns in Isaiah 25 The LORD’S Banquet

Patterns in the Bible may be a little difficult to spot. When you find a pattern in scripture, how do you use that pattern? What do you learn from those patterns you find? In a sense, patterns open up a new view on scripture. When you begin to see how patterns were added to the Bible, you will see another portion of God’s literary skills. God has unlimited ways of teaching lessons. Patterns are one method with limitless ways to open new views of information that was in the Bible all that time, but you skipped over it a number of times.

Isaiah 25:6-9 NLTse In Jerusalem, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will spread a wonderful feast for all the people of the world. It will be a delicious banquet with clear, well-aged wine and choice meat. (7) There he will remove the cloud of gloom, the shadow of death that hangs over the earth. (8) He will swallow up death forever! The Sovereign LORD will wipe away all tears. He will remove forever all insults and mockery against his land and people. The LORD has spoken! (9) In that day the people will proclaim, “This is our God! We trusted in him, and he saved us! This is the LORD, in whom we trusted. Let us rejoice in the salvation he brings!”

What crosses your mind when you think of God’s banquet? Do you think of the banquet Jesus is preparing in Heaven? Do you think about the emotions you’ll feel when you see Him serving? What impression will that make on you? Do you think about the food laid out on the table? How many varieties of nuts will there be? Almonds, pecans, cashew, pistachio, Brazil, Hazelnuts, and more. Fruits of all varieties. Apples, bananas, pineapples, mangoes, pears, peaches, apricots, persimmons, figs, dates, papaya, and many more we never heard of. They are all different. Eat all you want! God will make more. We haven’t even mentioned vegetables. What a feast. How will grains be prepared? How many varieties of fresh bread will there be?

Is that the only feast you think about? Is that the only feast you want to attend? Is the feast in Heaven the only banquet your concerned about? What about the last supper Jesus shared with His disciplines before He was taken to the cross? Do you think about those lessons or do you wait for someone to explain the details? Don’t you think about your reaction when Jesus bends over to wash your feet? Would you have listened when He tried to tell the small group about what was about to happen? Do you listen now when Jesus tries to explain the prophecies He fulfilled? Are you listening or are you numbered with the majority of Christians claiming God doesn’t talk to us anymore?

What about the banquet Jesus invites you to everyday? Do you ever think about the table set in the Tabernacle? The small personal table Jesus sets to invite you to diner and a chat. Do you accept His invitation or are you like people in the parable? They were too busy to attend a wedding banquet the king planned for his son. What happened to those people? It seems everyone is concerned with one person wearing the wrong clothes. No one wants to think about those people who decided not to attend. That lesson is too personal. The point cuts too close to the heart to pray about or preach.

People say bread on that small table in the Tabernacle represents God’s Word. Do they think Jesus only offers one type of bread day after day? Is that why people want to turn down the invitation? Did the god they serve run out of lessons to teach, experiences to share, and love to give? Or is life too busy with too many other more important matters to think about, too many issues Jesus won’t understand because He grew up in another time and age, too many problems in life you want to solve yourself, or maybe it’s a lack of interest, or a lack of love. Maybe it’s a lack of, faith, or knowledge about Jesus. Why do people turn down His invitation day after day leaving Jesus to dine alone, waiting for your company?

When we examine the key words it’s not difficult to see banquet and feast stand out. The difficult part is finding a chapter with the same theme in the introduction and summation. In other words the same context and lesson. The New Testament has a number of stories about banquets. A quick search of banquet and feast will show a number of parables about banquets as well as accounts recording details of the last dinner Jesus shared with His disciples before the cross. There is also a description of the banquet prepared in Heaven after Jesus’ return. Most of the parables point to that banquet in Heaven. They all use a number of spiritual symbols. One of those chapters with a parable about that feast prepared in Heaven contains an introduction and summation with spiritual ties to Isaiah 25.

Luke 14:16-24 NLTse Jesus replied with this story: “A man prepared a great feast and sent out many invitations. (17) When the banquet was ready, he sent his servant to tell the guests, ‘Come, the banquet is ready.’ (18) But they all began making excuses. One said, ‘I have just bought a field and must inspect it. Please excuse me.’ (19) Another said, ‘I have just bought five pairs of oxen, and I want to try them out. Please excuse me.’ (20) Another said, ‘I now have a wife, so I can’t come.’ (21) “The servant returned and told his master what they had said. His master was furious and said, ‘Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’ (22) After the servant had done this, he reported, ‘There is still room for more.’ (23) So his master said, ‘Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full. (24) For none of those I first invited will get even the smallest taste of my banquet.'”

This is the simplest parable in the gospels explaining the banquet Jesus taught about. Some writers say a king prepared a wedding feast for his son. Luke kept the details simple, repeating only a few key words, banquet, excuse, and servant. In this translation servant is singular which placed a different view on the story. Many people will agree the man represents God, the banquet here shares the theme of the wedding feast, which points to Jesus’ return. Now look at the excuses and symbols which are not repeated, but related on spiritual terms. The first man wants to work in his own field. What is that telling you? On the spiritual level the field represents the world. The field is the world, and the good seed represents the people of the Kingdom. The weeds are the people who belong to the evil one. (Matthew 13:38 NLTse).

Isaiah is leading us into an unexpected study once we investigate the impact those banquets have on our lives. Where are you at on your Christian walk? Are you still into the milk of the word? When I challenge people to step up, they often use the excuse they are not at a level to share the word. They are only qualified to share information given to them by their preacher or conference to share. They don’t know how to talk with God. Most people have no idea the pathway to God’s throne is open to them. Either that or they don’t like to face the severe honesty it takes to face God.

Approaching God’s throne is an easy process. All you need to do is follow simple instructions in Hebrews 10 and other parts of the Bible. Plead for and accept the cleansing of Jesus’ blood. Ask Him to cover you and wash your sins away. Ask Jesus to make you clean so you can approach God’s throne to sit at His feet and learn. Then LISTEN.

When you approach God’s throne, Satan will cast all his seeds at you – all the cares of the world. Satan will tell you – “you deserve an answer on this or that.” Satan will fill your mind with a thousand distractions and do anything to keep you from hearing God’s voice. “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Luke 16:13 NLTse). What are your thoughts on? Satan wants you to fail. He wants you to ask God for a hundred favors. Satan wants your prayers to focus on what God can do for you and neglect asking what you can do for God. Satan does not want you to see or hear the knowledge He is holding out for you. God is your Father. For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. (Romans 8:16-17 NLTse). God wants to do more than solve your problems. He wants you to understand everything about those problems and learn from them so you don’t repeat mistakes. That way you’ll be equipped to help teach others. It’s such a simple process. If you are not hearing God and He is not taking you into visions to show you stories in the Bible related to problems you face and the studies you are working on, you need to begin right away. You can’t delay. You’ve already wasted too much time, wasted too much of your life, and missed too many opportunities to serve God. That was the main reason Judah was sent to Babylon. They had to learn how to serve. They also had to learn how to look for the Messiah when He arrived. That’s why Daniel was given a vision. It contained a message to the Jews in Babylon. It showed them not only what to look for in the Messiah, but when to look for Him. How much more could God have done? People we’re just not listening. You can decide to either repeat those mistakes or learn from them. All of this is so simple I can’t see why the world doesn’t understand. Sometimes I feel the world does not want to listen. Like the parable says, people were too busy making excuses.

Pray to Jesus in the evening and the morning and throughout the day.

Pray out loud whenever you can.

Night time is time to rest and get away from this world.

Take this time to reconnect with God.

God can reach you through His Word.

Read scripture in the evening and in the morning.

Keep in contact with God like a friend.

God communicates through a series of events.

Look for patterns in His Word, your life, and world events.

Pay attention to conversations with people. God also communicates through people.

Approach God’s throne by praying to Jesus to cleanse you with His blood.

Lay your sins in front of Jesus.

Listen to what He has to say.

Ask Jesus to purify you and place you at the foot of God’s throne.

Ask about a few subjects one at a time and wait for an answer.

Ask God about scripture you are studying.

Listen to scripture that comes to mind.

Pay attention to parallel themes.

Pay attention to parallel events in your life and the world related to the subject your studying.

Learn to identify and suppress distractions while in prayer.

Don’t let your mind wonder.

Repeat the details you learned.

Write to keep a record.

Other details will come out while writing.

Learn to share.

With a little practice you’ll be able to listen to God’s voice in ways you never imagined. While praying about scripture your studying, pay attention to scenes in your mind. Look at people, their reactions to events, the scene they are in, clothes they are wearing, how they are considering choices their facing. Soon you’ll be seeing details in single scenes as well as how they relate to other stories in the Bible. And as always, consider context. Once you begin seeing how God’s Spirit is able to relate stories from different books and time periods, you’ll understand God’s timing and develop skills to see repeated patterns you never saw before, as well as gain a respect for God’s Spirit few people are brave enough to experience.

When you dine with Jesus are you going to stay with milk or are you ready for meat? In the Bible meat refers to anything solid. You can read the details in Leviticus and Deuteronomy. Two of the major offerings for the Tabernacle consisted of the first fruits and a second offering before the final harvest. There is one thing about milk you have to realize. Milk will do nothing to produce more milk, cattle, or anything. If you are stuck on milk you will never be able to produce anything. Look at the first fruits. A cherry has one seed to produce another tree which will make more cherries. Other fruits have many seeds. Consider the pomegranate. If you’ve ever eaten one you know it’s filled with seeds. This is the reason Jesus used pomegranates in the Tabernacle. Pomegranates have very little flesh. They hardly seem worth the trouble to eat. Jesus used this as a symbol of His humility. Jesus takes very little for Himself because He placed the majority of His attention on the seeds He planted.

This translation shows the servant as singular. Luke wanted to emphasize the point Jesus is the one who came to invite us all to the banquet in Heaven. Even when Jesus invited people like the priests and Pharisees, they looked for excuses not to believe, not to accept the invitation He extended to them. After everyone was invited there was still more room. God will always make more room like the food He has prepared for the banquet. Eat all you want, God will make more. This also shows the invitations have to continue. Jesus pointed to our work and cooperation in His ministry. The most important thing about the invitation is what people will see and experience. There he will remove the cloud of gloom, the shadow of death that hangs over the earth. He will swallow up death forever!

What does it take on our part? Isaiah tells us God only requires a little trust from us. In that day the people will proclaim, “This is our God! We trusted in him, and he saved us! This is the LORD, in whom we trusted. Let us rejoice in the salvation he brings!” Remaining on milk and refusing solid food with seeds to spread is doubting God and His ability. It’s not our works that changes people, it is God’s. All we need to do is become a living example and deliver messages God designed. One more detail we need to review is shown in Isaiah’s introduction to chapter 25.

Isaiah 25:1-5 NLTse O LORD, I will honor and praise your name, for you are my God. You do such wonderful things! You planned them long ago, and now you have accomplished them. (2) You turn mighty cities into heaps of ruins. Cities with strong walls are turned to rubble. Beautiful palaces in distant lands disappear and will never be rebuilt. (3) Therefore, strong nations will declare your glory; ruthless nations will fear you. (4) But you are a tower of refuge to the poor, O LORD, a tower of refuge to the needy in distress. You are a refuge from the storm and a shelter from the heat. For the oppressive acts of ruthless people are like a storm beating against a wall, (5) or like the relentless heat of the desert. But you silence the roar of foreign nations. As the shade of a cloud cools relentless heat, so the boastful songs of ruthless people are stilled.

Isaiah opened this chapter like no other in his book. This introduction mirrors many of David’s prayers in Psalms. It may seem strange to find an introduction explaining important aspects of prayer in a chapter containing a prophecy about the banquet God is preparing a banquet. But how do you plan on making it to that banquet? What steps are you going to take? We know Jesus is the bread of life. “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes has eternal life. Yes, I am the bread of life! Your ancestors ate manna in the wilderness, but they all died. Anyone who eats the bread from heaven, however, will never die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and this bread, which I will offer so the world may live, is my flesh.” (John 6:47-51 NLTse). It goes a lot deeper than believing Jesus is the bread of life. Jesus’ life represented much more than salvation. “People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4 NLTse). Jesus meant more than physical bread… we need much more than a casual knowledge of Jesus and a prayer for the salvation He offers. We have to know His Word. We have to commit ourselves to preparing our heart, mind, and soul to be His servant.

Praise to God has to be personal. It has to come from the heart. It has to be real and tangible. It takes practice. Soon you will see a direct relationship between your praise for God and the answers He gives you. Praise God for everything. Praise Him for your house you live in. Praise Him for all the times He came trough for you when everything looked hopeless. Review the details and how God arranged a sequence of events to teach a lesson as well as see you through those rough times. Praise God for your family and friends. Praise Him for the moments you spent alone with Him. Praise God for the message and beauty He sent through a sunset. Praise God for the messages He gave you and the people He sent you to. Review little details in your praise. The more you praise God the more you will see His protection and tender loving care – the easier you will hear His voice. Notice how God always seems to do the unexpected? Notice how problems are solved in ways you never imagined? Notice how God sends you to people you never expected? God reaches out to more people in more ways than anyone can imagine. It is like the generous variety of food He prepares for His banquet. God not only loves diversity, He also loves, cares for, and reaches out to all individuals as we see in the Introduction to Luke 14.

Luke 14:1-6 NLTse One Sabbath day Jesus went to eat dinner in the home of a leader of the Pharisees, and the people were watching him closely. (2) There was a man there whose arms and legs were swollen. (3) Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in religious law, “Is it permitted in the law to heal people on the Sabbath day, or not?” (4) When they refused to answer, Jesus touched the sick man and healed him and sent him away. (5) Then he turned to them and said, “Which of you doesn’t work on the Sabbath? If your son or your cow falls into a pit, don’t you rush to get him out?” (6) Again they could not answer.

There are two questions that instantly come to mind. What does the introduction to prayer in Isaiah have to do with Jesus eating dinner with a Pharisee? The other question is what dinner is Luke referring to? Luke’s simplicity brings to mind a number of dinners recorded in the gospels. One day Jesus met Matthew and told him, “follow me.” Matthew got up and not only followed Jesus, he was so excited he invited Jesus to dinner and invited all his friends. Being a tax collector the only people who associated with Matthew were other tax collectors. This was early in Jesus’ ministry when priests and Pharisees only started to gather information on the man who healed a leper and send him to the priests to administer the offering. Eating with tax collectors was a mark on the negative side as far as the religious leaders were concerned.

Near the end of his ministry Jesus had dinner with Simon, a man Jesus cured of the leprosy. During that dinner Mary came in to anoint Jesus for burial and wash His feet. Some people at that dinner were not happy with a sinner like Mary being around while they were eating.

At another dinner four men lowered their paralyzed friend through the roof of the build, placing him right in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.” But some of the teachers of religious law who were sitting there thought to themselves, “What is he saying? This is blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!” Jesus knew immediately what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts? Is it easier to say to the paralyzed man ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk’? So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!” (Mark 2:5-11 NLTse).

What do those dinners have in common? Religious leaders opposing Jesus were present. Here is a very important point you need to learn before you understand Isaiah or any of the other books of the Bible. Isaiah is a lesson book unlike other books in the Bible. Isaiah communicated with God in many ways. Isaiah teaches us how God communicates with us. God spoke to Isaiah. God also gave Isaiah visions. God also communicates in dreams. Isaiah also shows us how to see common threads in the Bible. Isaiah also teaches us how God’s Spirit leads us to other common threads. Here we see common threads in dinners Jesus attended. Jesus healed people at each of those dinners physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Those were points religious leaders couldn’t see. Now ask yourself why. The answer is plainer than you think. Those religious leaders did not communicate with God. What would God’s Spirit tell them about Jesus if they knew how to listen? How much do people miss today if they don’t know how to communicate with God? If they don’t know how to listen to His voice?

Those religious leaders forgot how to pray. Compare yourself to them. We all make the same mistakes. We all think it’s no use talking to God about what He already knows, or details we think we have figured out. The most important aspect they forgot about prayer, and we forget, is confessing our sins then listening – really listening. God’s Spirit can be brutally honest. People know that. That’s why people avoid that aspect of pray. It’s called confession.

Let’s look at the mistakes those religious made to see if we can learn a few lessons about ourselves. Put yourself in their place. Be honest about what those religious leaders thought and how they justified things they did. The sacrificial system was a big item. Their system consisted of inspecting lambs, rejecting them, paying a small price to take the animal off the hands of the sinner, then charging a high price for an animal they deemed perfect. Of course the lamb purchased from the sinner was taken around the back of the court to a waiting bin. Then transferred to the bin holding perfect sacrifices for sale the next day. Those religious leaders convinced themselves it was a way of serving God by raising money for God. How much money did God get? How much of that money was used to alleviate pain and suffering of poor people, orphans, and widows? That was a second sin those religious leaders neglected to confess. They justified their neglect by convincing themselves widows, orphans and poor people were suffering vengeance from God based on past sins. Those religious leaders convinced themselves they served God by inflicting more pain and suffering on widows, orphans, and poor people, as well as lame, blind,.and sick people. Religious leaders created their own little world where they lived lives of luxury with additional privileges, while people they were supposed to serve suffered under heavy burdens. Another piece of their plan was convincing themselves part of their role in serving God was to go to extremes showing how God blessed them. Those religious leaders led a life masquerading like priests, while no one with as much authority and responsibility was farther from God then themselves.

That was one example showing how people drift from God. The distance is small at first. Change a rule here, another there. Finally they forget to confess sin altogether. Pride is a dangerous cliff with a big drop. Now take this example and compare it to kings in Jerusalem Isaiah had to deal with. Didn’t those kings forget how to pray? Didn’t they forget how to listen to God? The Bible compared those kings to David for a reason. Other kings in Jerusalem were not like David. What were the differences? David spoke to God. When David didn’t want to listen, God sent a prophet. David listened to the prophets then confessed his sins. David was a man after God’s heart. David could never give up His relationship with God. It would have broken his heart – like loosing his first love. God was David’s first love. The last kings in Jerusalem forgot how to communicate with God like David did. Then God sent prophets. A lot of them. They still didn’t listen. Like those religious leaders in Jesus’ time, the kings didn’t want to confess their sins, they couldn’t see their sins, they didn’t talk to God, and they didn’t listen. The Bible says they hardened their hearts.

So what do we do now with these examples from the Bible? We’re seeing how Isaiah leads us to texts with the same theme. As we see how lessons build and expand, we learn to understand context and how God wrote the Bible. We also see how God’s Spirit brings parallel chapters together for us to see how spiritual lessons are taught using a series of examples.

It’s easy for me to see patterns because my training and experience in engineering helped tune me into looking for patterns as well as focus my mind on learning how things are constructed. I was in engineering when drawing with computers was introduced. The first computer was as big as a room. I had to lay the pattern out on paper to calculate points, angles, and distance with a hand calculator. Then I went to the computer to draw a roll cage and cab for a new tractor design. In an attempt to make things easier, I draw half the cab then asked the computer administrator how to select and flip one half , mirroring it to make up the other half. I was surprised to hear, “the computer can’t do that.” No one thought of that. As years passed computer programs grew. We worked on one advanced system with a lot of features built in to make our job easier. Unfortunately that company didn’t corner the market like one of their competitors. As you can imagine, we had a lot of problems because customers with the more popular system couldn’t read the files we sent them. Once emailing files became popular, we had to switch to the more popular program other companies were using. I was surprised to find the most popular program which became an industry standard was missing a lot of the features the system we had been using included as standard. So I found out how to write simple programs called macros. After I finished writing macros, also known as short keys to put the features I needed into the new program, I began keeping track of processes I constantly repeated. When I noticed I used the same process everyday, I would jot down the steps on a post it note. Next time I needed to repeat that process, I entered into the macro mode to create a new short cut. I went through the alphabet with the control key, also the alternate key as well as a third method added in an updated version, the shift-alternate key combination. I created more than a hundred short cut keys to draw on a computer more efficiently.

God doesn’t use short cut keys to reveal lessons in the Bible, but we can use lessons in the Bible to save us the trouble of learning lessons the long, hard way. What you need to do is develop skills to see patterns repeated in the Bible. The Bible is written like a song. Songs will teach a lesson or tell a story then go into a refrain, words that are repeated. The first and easiest part of a song to memorize and repeat is the refrain. Right? God repeated lessons in a rhythm. Learning a few simple Bible Study rules will show you how to find those rhythms. The easiest way to teach a child is with rhymes. Now we can look for the rhyme on the summations for Isaiah 25 and Luke 14.

Isaiah 25:10-12 NLTse For the LORD’s hand of blessing will rest on Jerusalem. But Moab will be crushed. It will be like straw trampled down and left to rot. (11) God will push down Moab’s people as a swimmer pushes down water with his hands. He will end their pride and all their evil works. (12) The high walls of Moab will be demolished. They will be brought down to the ground, down into the dust.

Luke 14:27-35 NLTse And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple. (28) “But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? (29) Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. (30) They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’ (31) “Or what king would go to war against another king without first sitting down with his counselors to discuss whether his army of 10,000 could defeat the 20,000 soldiers marching against him? (32) And if he can’t, he will send a delegation to discuss terms of peace while the enemy is still far away. (33) So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own. (34) “Salt is good for seasoning. But if it loses its flavor, how do you make it salty again? (35) Flavorless salt is good neither for the soil nor for the manure pile. It is thrown away. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!”

As usual, Isaiah is using symbols again. This time it is Moab. Isaiah is using Moab to send us back to scripture. Afterward Lot left Zoar because he was afraid of the people there, and he went to live in a cave in the mountains with his two daughters. So that night they got him drunk with wine again, and the younger daughter went in and had intercourse with him. As before, he was unaware of her lying down or getting up again. As a result, both of Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their own father. When the older daughter gave birth to a son, she named him Moab. He became the ancestor of the nation now known as the Moabites. When the younger daughter gave birth to a son, she named him Ben-ammi. He became the ancestor of the nation now known as the Ammonites.(Genesis 19:30, 35-38 NLTse). We have to look a bit further back to understand why God is allowing Moab to be pushed around. It wasn’t only because of their birth. Their father had problems long before their time in the cave. We have to look at these types of symbols in a constructive manner. What made Moab what he was? Where did he get his influence and education from? Who brought him up? We can see Moab and his brother Ben-ammi grew up in isolation influenced by three people. We’re not told much about Lot’s daughters, but we are told a great deal about Lot.

Lot left his home when God called Abram. Lot’s cattle grew much like Abram’s showing us Lot was also blessed by God. Soon there wasn’t enough grass and water for all of Lot’s and Abram’s cattle, so they decided to separate. Lot took the best fields near Sodom. One day Abram heard Sodom and a number of other nations were over thrown by a confederation of kings. After talking to God, Abram called 318 of his faithful friends to attack the vast army that carried Lot and his family away captive. Those 318 men must have had a close personal relationship with God to face the world’s largest army at that time. Even though the odds were against them, those 318 men followed Abram to victory. Not a soul was lost. Once again God led a small number of people against a large army, who days and weeks earlier defeated an army made of number of combined nations.

Later Sodom’s wickedness reached levels beyond imagination and control. God had no choice but to destroy the city. God sent His angel who visited Abram before destroying Sodom. Abram pleaded with the angel who agreed to spare Sodom if five righteous people could be found. In the end, Lot left with his wife and two daughters. The angel only found four people willing to accept his word and leave the city. Of course the experience in the cave showed how righteous Lot’s daughters were. The point is, Abram knew 318 men willing to risk their lives to save Lot and his family. Lot could not convince a single person to leave the city with him. Once Lot separated from Abram, he lost something. Lot lost the ability and drive to lead people to God. Something in Lot’s life took God’s place in his heart. The inability to share God showed up in his two sons Ben-amm and Moab.

It’s not difficult to see the Lesson in Isaiah 25 repeated in Luke 14. Lot took the best for himself but never really thought ahead in spiritual terms. Lot saw fields of green grass and an abundance of water for his cattle translating into profit for himself. Lot not only took his eyes off Abram, he took his eyes off his duty to God. Once again we see God using a contrast to teach a lesson when we compare Abram’s victory to Lot’s failure. By the way, whatever happened to all of Lot’s cattle? In Sodom we find Lot living in the city. A strange place to find a shepherd. Lot left with nothing. Lot withdrew to that mountain retreat with nothing but his daughters. Everything Lot thought was important was taken away.

That’s the same lesson Jesus was trying to teach. Sure Lot did nice things. He opened his home to strangers. But he lost the ability to reach people. How? Lot lost communication with God. Remember David talked with God. The worse things got, the more David talked with God. Lot saw the city around him falling into all kinds of sin. Not much different than we see the world today. The closing moments of Sodom showed how little Lot was able to share with his family and neighbors. Other members of Lot’s family decided to stay because they didn’t believe him. A last second show of faith is not enough to change hearts. That’s why Jesus talks about building. It takes time. It takes a foundation, walls, roof, planning, hard work, dedication, and funds. All the things it takes to build a spiritual relationship with God. Of course God provides funds, but how do we use them? To glorify God or take the best for ourselves. Think about that.

Jesus draws our minds back to battle fields Isaiah walked through. Jesus knew the relationship between these chapters long before anyone discovered the spiritual connection long before they were written. Look at key words Jesus used. Construction, building, calculating, cost, complete, and finish are a process leading to carrying your cross. Jesus didn’t tell them to know about the cross. He told them to carry their cross. To know the cost of that cross they had to carry. Jesus also repeated the word discuss to draw your attention to it. Who are you going to discuss your cross with? Does your preacher know anything about the cross you carry? Only what you can tell him about it. So the information he gives back to you can only be less than the information you give him. That’s what people do. They go to someone they trust and the image and meaning of the cross diminishes. The only way it can increase is to go to the One who knows what it’s like to not only carry a cross, but die on it.

It wouldn’t be right to put the meaning of those symbols together without teaching you how to repeat the process so you can use it to properly interpret other symbols, not to mention using this pattern to see if interpretations other people teach are correct. How do we know Moab represented Lot’s relationship with God? Or shall we say lack of a relationship? People come up with a number of interpretations for Moab in Isaiah 25. How do we know which one is correct? How do we know Moab is a symbol pointing to Lot’s relationship with God? We learn to look at context. Moab is mentioned in the summary, so it has to agree with the introduction by following the same theme as well as teach the same lesson. Look back at the introduction. “O LORD, I will honor and praise your name, for you are my God. You do such wonderful things! You planned them long ago, and now you have accomplished them.” Isaiah is praying to God. The introduction is a window looking into Isaiah’s relationship with God. Remember Isaiah is teaching us how God communicates with prophets as well as how prophets communicate with God. In this case God used a contrast to teach the same lesson. As we looked back on the story of Lot’s life we found other contrasts teaching the same lesson. This is what’s known as context. Plain and simple. It is so simple no one should forget those lessons once they learn them.

There should be no doubt the prophecy and its fulfillment are related. They have to be. We also know key words in prophecies lead us to texts explaining exactly how its been fulfilled. There is no guess work. Since the prophecies and fulfillments are related, so are the chapters. Based on God’s pattern in His Word, the introductions and summaries are spiritually related. In this example Isaiah 25 began with a personal prayer to God. Isaiah recorded an example showing how he communicated with God. So the introduction to the parallel chapter must also teach a theme about relationships with God. Jesus showed His relationship with God in the introduction of Luke 14 which also contains a contrast, religious leaders showing the lack of a relationship. Isaiah used Moab as a symbol in the summary. Since the introduction in Isaiah 25 shows a relationship with God, the summary must follow the same theme. This shows us what aspect of Moab to use in Isaiah 25. As a symbol Moab represented a number of things at different times depending on the context. Now we see how the introduction in Isaiah 25 led us to the proper interpretation.

How deep does the lesson go? Isaiah 25 tells us about God pushing Moab away. Why? To answer that question we can look at the contrast in the introduction of Isaiah 25. Isaiah, God’s prophet is drawing closer to God looking for an answer. Since Moab is being pushed away, context shows a lack of communication with God. Isaiah 25’s parallel chapter Luke 14 shows more details in its summary. Moab never took up their cross. They weren’t interested in measuring the cost. They didn’t lay a foundation. Moab had a history of fighting their own wars. We see another parallel between Isaiah 25 and Luke 14 in the summaries when we compare Moab pushed away like water and salt thrown away. If you look back at the two texts you can see other related words I didn’t highlight. Once we understand the lesson we can go back to see how push is related to thrown. Now you can look back at the two related texts and see a new list of related words. This gives us a brief view of measuring the cost of our cross. Part of that cost is understanding God’s Word. Part of that cost is taking time to develop our relationship with Christ and His Spirit to see one detail after another open up, then look back time and time again to see what details were missed the first time. I can tell you for a fact, every time I study, God takes me back over what I’ve learned and shows me a list of details I missed. This always happens. It will always happen when you put time into a relationship with the Infinite God.

The Unforgivable Sin

There’s been a lot written about the unforgivable sin. An Internet search of the unforgivable sin will display 1,440,000 results in 0.61 seconds. Of course they don’t agree. People have their own ideas about the unforgivable sin and few have any Biblical proof to back up their concepts and idea. What does the Bible actually say about the unforgivable sin? Is the unforgivable sin one sin or an accumulation of sins?

A lot of people feel it’s their duty to narrow the unforgivable sin down to a single sin. Yes. You commit that one sin, you crossed the line and are lost forever with absolutely no chance of being forgiven. If you pay attention you’ll find out the people suggesting the idea a single sin is the unforgivable sin are the same people writing a million articles claiming there is a single anti-Christ, and a single world leader will take over in the last days. When we put all those stories together we can see how all those claims lack evidence. Those stories turn out to be nothing more than an attempt to make the authors look wiser than the rest of the human race. Those type of studies prove nothing else outside of human pride.

Today we are going to look at three major changes in world history. Actually a number of changes in world history because we need to be true to a Bible study by looking at the events that lead up to the greatest changes in world history. No one can argue the flood that destroyed the earth in Noah’s time was one of those events. The other is the fall of Jerusalem. For good reason Christians study those events knowing they have some kind of connection with the last days we are looking at in 2021. And if we want to study the unforgivable sin, we have to study what Jesus said about the unforgivable sin and the events that led up to that conversation.

The first event is of course the flood.

The LORD observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil. So the LORD was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart. And the LORD said, “I will wipe this human race I have created from the face of the earth. Yes, and I will destroy every living thing–all the people, the large animals, the small animals that scurry along the ground, and even the birds of the sky. I am sorry I ever made them.” (Genesis 6:5-7 NLTse).

The question of course is, what led to God’s decision? We can of course look at the verses that let to this decision.

Then the people began to multiply on the earth, and daughters were born to them. The sons of God saw the beautiful women and took any they wanted as their wives. Then the LORD said, “My Spirit will not put up with humans for such a long time, for they are only mortal flesh. In the future, their normal lifespan will be no more than 120 years.” In those days, and for some time after, giant Nephilites lived on the earth, for whenever the sons of God had intercourse with women, they gave birth to children who became the heroes and famous warriors of ancient times. (Genesis 6:1-4 NLTse).

We see a lot written about the sons of God with daughters of the earth and giants having intercourse with women. The key word here is warriors. Those giants bred warriors, which leads us to the thought of war. Men are called warriors after fighting and winning battles. Which is where they gain their reputation as warriors. We should notice the first word in this chapter is, “then.” Which of course tells us, this chapter is a continuation of the previous chapter. In short, the Bible tells us, the previous chapter will explain why the world needed warriors.

Genesis chapter 5 contains a written account of the descendants of Adam. There is only one verse in that chapter that actually leads us in the opposite direction.

Enoch lived 365 years, walking in close fellowship with God. Then one day he disappeared, because God took him. (Genesis 5:23-24 NLTse).

Whenever we back up in scripture, it reveals details normally overlooked. In this case, we instantly notice there was one man who didn’t have to live through the flood, the destruction of every living creature on the land. Of course God chose Noah and his family, but there was also Enoch and the lesson he teaches. Enoch was close to God. This closeness to God is what prompted God to take Enoch to Heaven, thus sparing Enoch the experience of seeing the earth destroyed in the flood. This is one lesson God wanted us to see.

As we search backwards to find what caused the destruction of the earth, we find a number of events that lead to God’s decision.

When it was time for the harvest, Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the LORD. Abel also brought a gift–the best of the firstborn lambs from his flock. The LORD accepted Abel and his gift, but he did not accept Cain and his gift. This made Cain very angry, and he looked dejected. (Genesis 4:3-5 NLTse).

One day Cain suggested to his brother, “Let’s go out into the fields.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother, Abel, and killed him. (Genesis 4:8 NLTse).

One day Lamech said to his wives, “Adah and Zillah, hear my voice; listen to me, you wives of Lamech. I have killed a man who attacked me, a young man who wounded me. If someone who kills Cain is punished seven times, then the one who kills me will be punished seventy-seven times!” (Genesis 4:23-24 NLTse).

The first sin we see is Cain refusing to follow God’s orders. Cain decided to do things his own way. Which mirrors or builds upon Eve’s and Adam’s sin. Which was to disobey God. In the Bible, disobeying God quickly moved to murder, which is the highlight of Genesis chapter 4. Whenever God repeats something, He wants us to pay attention to that detail. Disobeying God quickly led to murder. We are given two physical examples of murder. We would have to dig much deeper to see the spiritual side. At this we need to stick to simple terms the Bible is telling us. Disobeying God, doing things your own way leads to murder. The destruction of life.

The seconds event is the fall of Jerusalem. When we look at the fall of Jerusalem, we see how it boiled down to a single event, a single command from God those in Jerusalem chose to accept then chose to ignore.

This message came to Jeremiah from the LORD after King Zedekiah made a covenant with the people, proclaiming freedom for the slaves. He had ordered all the people to free their Hebrew slaves–both men and women. No one was to keep a fellow Judean in bondage. The officials and all the people had obeyed the king’s command, but later they changed their minds. They took back the men and women they had freed, forcing them to be slaves again. So the LORD gave them this message through Jeremiah: “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I made a covenant with your ancestors long ago when I rescued them from their slavery in Egypt. I told them that every Hebrew slave must be freed after serving six years. But your ancestors paid no attention to me. Recently you repented and did what was right, following my command. You freed your slaves and made a solemn covenant with me in the Temple that bears my name. But now you have shrugged off your oath and defiled my name by taking back the men and women you had freed, forcing them to be slaves once again. “Therefore, this is what the LORD says: Since you have not obeyed me by setting your countrymen free, I will set you free to be destroyed by war, disease, and famine. You will be an object of horror to all the nations of the earth. Because you have broken the terms of our covenant, I will cut you apart just as you cut apart the calf when you walked between its halves to solemnize your vows. Yes, I will cut you apart, whether you are officials of Judah or Jerusalem, court officials, priests, or common people–for you have broken your oath. I will give you to your enemies, and they will kill you. Your bodies will be food for the vultures and wild animals. “I will hand over King Zedekiah of Judah and his officials to the army of the king of Babylon. And although Babylon’s king has left Jerusalem for a while, I will call the Babylonian armies back again. They will fight against this city and will capture it and burn it down. I will see to it that all the towns of Judah are destroyed, with no one living there.” (Jeremiah 34:8-22 NLTse).

The agreement was rather simple. If Jerusalem released all the slaves, they were safe. They released the slaves, and God kept his part of the agreement by sending Babylon’s army away. As soon as things appeared to be going their way, the people in Jerusalem went back on their word and placed the people back into slavery. The single determining factor leading to the fall of Jerusalem was slavery.

The third story we need to look at is of course Jesus’ discussion on the unforgivable sin.

“I tell you the truth, everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, the Son of Man will also acknowledge in the presence of God’s angels. But anyone who denies me here on earth will be denied before God’s angels. Anyone who speaks against the Son of Man can be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. “And when you are brought to trial in the synagogues and before rulers and authorities, don’t worry about how to defend yourself or what to say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what needs to be said.” (Luke 12:8-12 NLTse).

Looking at that small portion of Jesus’ discussion presents a number of questions to most people with an open mind. We can’t expect to take a small portion of any spiritual conversation and expect to understand what it means. First of all, we have to look at what led Jesus into that discussion.

Meanwhile, the crowds grew until thousands were milling about and stepping on each other. Jesus turned first to his disciples and warned them, “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees–their hypocrisy. The time is coming when everything that is covered up will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all. Whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be shouted from the housetops for all to hear! “Dear friends, don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot do any more to you after that. But I’ll tell you whom to fear. Fear God, who has the power to kill you and then throw you into hell. Yes, he’s the one to fear. “What is the price of five sparrows–two copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows. (Luke 12:1-7 NLTse).

Most Christians know the yeast of the Pharisees is their teachings. Their opinions on spiritual matters. How do Christians know this? Because Jesus clearly identified the symbol. Then at last they understood that he wasn’t speaking about the yeast in bread, but about the deceptive teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. (Matthew 16:12 NLTse).

After looking at a symbol Jesus clearly identified, we learn a simple Bible Study rule. Symbols are more often than not defined within the story they are found in. In this case, Jesus gave the clear definition in a different story found in a different book. The fact of the matter is, in Matthew chapter 16 Jesus revealed the meaning of the symbol yeast in the story he told that day. Now we will look at how Jesus used a series of spiritual words to identify the spiritual meaning of yeast on Luke chapter 12.

The time is coming when everything that is covered up will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all. Whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be shouted from the housetops for all to hear!”

What is covered up, in the dark, and in secret? Nothing fits this answer better than the truth. When the truth is defined as hidden, whatever has been shared and taught up to that point is nothing short of a lie. Which is the deceptive teaching Jesus clearly identified in Matthew chapter 16. The fact of the matter is, without the Holy Spirit guiding us through the scriptures, we cannot see the spiritual meaning unless it has been revealed in clear, simple terms. If the definition carries the slighted hint of a spiritual overtone, we will miss it. Unless we have the Spirit and we know how to slow down and examine the structure of the conversation, we will miss the spiritual meaning.

The good thing about the Bible is, people can be taught how to pray, slow down, work with the Spirit, and properly examine the text until the spiritual meaning is revealed. In this example found in Luke chapter 12, Jesus repeated terms to draw our attention to the spiritual meaning. A Bible Study rules tells us to look at key words. Key words are words that are the same, similar, or related. At times key words can be contrasts. When we look back at Jesus’ explanation of yeast, Jesus used similar and related words. Covered, secret, and dark are related within the context of the conversation. Whispered is also related within the context of the conversation. Jesus also used a contrast for each of those key words. Covered and revealed are contrasts. Secret and known are contrasts. Dark and light are contrasts, and whispered and shouted are contrasts. That leaves us with a list of 4 contrasts and a total of 8 key words all used to define the spiritual meaning of yeast. Jesus used all those key words to reveal the spiritual meaning of yeast. There is something hidden that will be revealed. Look at a loaf of bread. The yeast appears hidden by the crust. Slice into that bread. You still cannot see the actual yeast, but you clearly see evidence of yeast in the hundreds and thousands of air bubbles that cannot be hidden. Common sense tells people, yeast made those air bubbles. The Spirit shows us how to cut through the crust to get to the clear and evident message inside. Common sense tells us the yeast and hypocrisy of the Pharisees is what has been taught up to that point.

We are trying to define the unforgivable sin Jesus talked about in Luke chapter 12. Before Jesus talked about the unforgivable sin, like every great teacher, Jesus gave us the answer before we had the opportunity to ask the question. Not only did Jesus give us an example of an unforgivable sin, He also gave us an example of working with the Spirit to read and understand scripture. Then Jesus repeated another word, kill. That word point us back to our first example of sin past the point of being forgiven. The word kill links us back to what lead up to the flood.

Of course there is not one sin that leads to damnation and eternal death any more than there will be one world leader, or one deception the devil will use to trick the world. I have no idea why so many preachers teach along those lines. Which is exactly what Jesus warned about at the beginning of this lesson. All I know is, the doctrines of one sin, one world leader, and one deception is always followed by a plea for donations. Those teachers use 1-3 verses out of the Bible they claim to be proof texts. Proof of what? That form of study proves one thing. They are not working with the Spirit to read and understand scripture. They are not following the pattern of teaching Jesus followed and the Spirit reveals, and shouts out to those who are listening. The pattern of key words Jesus used is only one method used to understand scripture. When people are working with the Spirit, they can see those patterns and understand the spiritual message. If people choose to work on their own, they will miss every spiritual message in the Bible.

No one will argue the point, we need the Spirit to understand scripture. Almost all preachers pray before teaching from the Bible. Then disconnect the open line and go about business using their own wisdom. The point is, if we pray for guidance and receive it, we should always be able to explain exactly what the Spirit revealed, how, and why it was revealed. That is one area many teachers are lacking. We need the Spirit to study scripture and teach from the scriptures. The Spirit leads us into all knowledge. The Spirit also convicts us of our sins. The Spirit teaches us what is right and wrong. Without the Spirit, we are nothing but evil, just like the world was when it was destroyed by the flood. We don’t want to get to that point. But we are only responsible for our own decision to listen to the Spirit when studying the Bible, and listening to the convicting powers of the Spirit when we sin. That has always been a personal choice.

When we put these three events together we see a spiritual message we would most likely miss if we relied on our own common sense, knowledge, and skill. In the Bible, God’s decision to destroy this world in a flood was foreshadowed by stories about murder, killing people. Jerusalem’s fall centered on slavery. And Jesus’ lesson on the unforgivable sin centered on denying the Holy Spirit. Together these three points tell us a spiritual story. There is a physical death and a spiritual death. There is physical slavery and spiritual slavery. Both define a life without the Holy Spirit who saves us from a spiritual death and spiritual slavery.

The conscience is a difficult thing to explain, because everyone faces their conscience on their own level. We are all guilty of ignoring our conscience to one degree or another. Some are guilty of fighting against their conscience with every waking moment. There is not a single sin that anyone fights against. It is always a multitude of sins people struggle with. One sin leads to another, and another until we are buried in our sins. Christians who pray to be forgiven cannot imagine or teach about people who are at war with their conscience. You cannot teach about fighting against the Holy Spirit when you are working with the Spirit. But we can see the signs. Sure, science tries to define those battles, and at times claim they can cure the side effects of a guilty conscience. In reality, science is powerless when it comes to God’s convicting Spirit. They cannot wish the Spirit away, teach he Spirit away, nor can they prescribe drugs to counteract the Spirit. Christians who deal with God’s Spirit on a daily basis only know what it feels like to be forgiven and can only teach about that forgiveness to one degree or another. Which brings up another factor preachers love to teach about. That one way to be forgiven. The doctrine that teaches, all you need to do is pray to Jesus to be forgiven. Pray to Jesus and no matter what your sin is, no matter how many times you have sinned, you are forgiven. Some go as far as teaching, it only takes one prayer and you are forgiven for life. The once saved always saved doctrine. Although those doctrines consist of shreds of truth, like their studies reveal, they are not telling the full story. Like their studies show, their concepts are made up of a few select samples from scripture and a ton on human understanding. The Spirit is lacking from their studies, doctrines, and examples.

The convicting power of the Holy Spirit is personal, to be experienced on an individual basis. There is not a single person who can deal with the Spirit on a convicting level for you. Anyone who suggests they can deal with your sins on any level is a liar. They are trying to take the place of the Spirit. Exactly what Jesus warned about. Without the Spirit there is no true repentance. Everyone who read Jesus’ lesson on the unforgivable sin know that. Sure they will read explanation after explanation until they find one that seems to calm their conscience for a period of time. But that type of peace is temporary at best.

People have been trying for generations to calm their conscience. Cain tried it. Cain tried to side step what he did and get God to feel sorry for him. Imagine, trying to get God to feel sorry for the sinner and forget about the one who was harmed. God does not work that way. Adam tried to deal with his convictions by playing the blame game. First Adam blamed Eve. Then Adam tried blaming God. We can see that didn’t work. But the blame game has been alive and thriving all these years.

When we look at the fall of Jerusalem, we some a detail that brings us to the doors of 2021. The rich people in Jerusalem owned slaves. Why did God use that as the final, determining factor for the downfall of Jerusalem? On the physical side God taught a valuable lesson. The rich people freed the slaves like God told them. They agreed to free the slaves. If the rich people made an agreement with God, why did they break that agreement? After a few days it became more than evident, rich people in Jerusalem could not perform day to day activities to survive. Rich people couldn’t cook, clean, fetch water, wash their cloths, or do any of the other day to day activities the vast majority of people did with little thought. Rich people found it impossible to do what the vast majority of people did naturally. God showed us, rich people are the last people in the world we should choose as leaders.

Today in the so called, democratic societies we find all over the world, people choose leaders who are just like those rich people that caused the fall of Jerusalem. Common sense would tell us, that is the worst possible choice. God gave us a clear example showing how dangerous that choice is. But people all over the world throw common sense out the window by choosing rich people who are unable to survive on their own to rule over their nation. Look at a few examples we see today. Governments all over the world claim they can control the weather. They claim they can change the weather. They claim, without their leadership, the world will soon self destruct. There is no mention of God. As a matter of fact, a short review of world news will reveal a number of governments attempting to destroy God. China is one of those countries. China is famous for religious persecution. Communists are famous for religious persecution. Marxism knows it cannot exist along side religion. Marxist have plans to eliminate religion on a world wide basis. Many democracies throughout the world are now quick to join marxists teaching, including the elimination of religion.

Looking back on 2020, we see churches were first on the list to attack and close down when the media and political factions focused on the covid-19 crisis. Social media persecuted Christians long before the covid crisis. Christians have been censored by social media giants for years while at the same time establishing a new social media dedicated to witchcraft, demons, satanism, and sacrifices to demons. TikTok is a meeting place for satanists. Other social media such as Facebook and Twitter censor Christians on a daily basis while sponsoring the spread of satanic thoughts and teachings. Hatred, prejudice, discrimination, and favoritism are just a few of the practices they pull out of their playbook to alter views and eventually eliminate God. When was the last time you saw those social media networks discuss love, forgiveness, or justice? On the contrary, social media, news media, and political groups have been working over time to redefine love, forgiveness, and justice. Love is now centered on obscure sexual practices and the right to conduct those practices at any cost. Forgiveness has been replaced by shame. Justice has been replaced by their personal brand of equality. An equality they are of course exempt from practicing. Media networks are making billions of dollars and not one of them is willing to set an example of equality by sharing any of their funds. They are just like the rich who caused Jerusalem to fall. They are greedy and unable to survive without their slaves.

Slavery causing Jerusalem’s fall carries a number of lessons for today’s modern world. China relies on slave labor. China cannot survive without slave labor. North Korea’s rice crop failed in 2020. To survive, North Korea has been selling slaves to China for $700 a head. But slavery is only the tip of the iceberg. For the past four years radical factions in Europe have been protesting and rioting over what they refer to as sexual suppression. People demand sexual equality. What the hell is sexual equality? Sexual practices are supposed to be an intimate act between 2 people in private. Most prefer those acts to be between a man and a woman. But extremists in Europe want those practices out in the open and they demand everyone accept those practices. On one extreme, radicals demand the state pay for sex change operations. Far extremes involve bondage and other other sexual practices. Extremists complain they cannot reach their sexual potential by play acting master and slave. They claim they need the right to own real slaves to fulfill their fantasies. We all know, sacrifices and murder are next on their list. In short, the flood and fall of Jerusalem foretold the decrepit society we are experiencing today.

Killing and murder were rampant before the flood. Today the world has borrowed on old concepts to invent new methods of legalized murder. These new concepts borrow from concepts of human sacrifice. And of course appease the demons who introduced them. Abortion is one of the obvious links to human sacrifice. Most people know about the normal, everyday abortions performed hundreds of times a day. That has been extended to scientific research using parts of aborted babies to conduct experiments to develop cures and of course tests and research to develop drugs as well as military weapons. The abortion industry is also involved in organ harvesting and resale. A form of harvesting that can only be compared to ancient sacrificial rituals based on the fact, organ harvesting is performed on live babies outside the womb without the use on anesthesia. Science would like people to believe babies cannot feel pain. The media and many politicians support and defend that belief. How could they support such a thing? Because organ trafficking is a very profitable business and politicians are getting their piece of the pie.

Organ harvesting has been extended to adults in China. Justifying the sacrifice of one human life to save another based on the fact, China harvests organs from convicted criminals. Some of those so called criminals are guilty only of crimes China classifies has religious practices. At this point is is not known if China includes slaves purchased from North Korea and other nations in their organ harvesting industry. Many of the people linked to prostitution, sex trades, including minors, are also linked to slave trading, and organ trafficking. Just one example of how one sin leads to another, and another. In short, people involved in those trades have shut down their conscience, trading a conscience for profit.

The world is to a large degree led by people who mastered the art of dulling their conscience. World leaders began their political carriers giving into little temptations usually beginning with accepting bribes, which turned into misappropriation of tax dollars, to kick backs, to all out theft of tax dollars, and using inside information for investments. Each of those are highly illegal. Of course the Spirit is alive and well and is working over time to convict politicians and turn them away from the inevitable course the Spirit has seen thousands travel over the years. In an all out personal battle, politicians war against their conscience. At times feeling like they have it under control. The weapons they use include denial. They deny the existence of the Spirit and God. They convince themselves it is a myth used to control masses. They substitute science for God. When those don’t work they advance to phase two. They convince others to commit the same crime with the belief there is safety in numbers. From there they advance to the next weapon, convincing the general public they did nothing wrong. They believe if they can hide their crimes from the general public they can hide them from God. When that doesn’t work, they lead others to a life of sin. Not as sever as their own, but they believe there is safety from God in numbers. Then something happens. Their conscience leads them to greater sins promising higher profits, and with increased funds they seek the peace that has always eluded them. That is nothing short than a fall into the grave. Nothing they can do will give them the peace and satisfaction they desire. No amount of money can buy them one moment of peace. That is when they strike out at others. They strike out through fear. The fear of being discovered. The fear of facing their crimes. The fear of loosing their souls. There is nothing left than to create diversions to avert those fears. In short terms we refer to that stage as insanity. In the Bible that insanity is linked to demon possession. Christians may not be able to understand those deeper phases, but they can see the signs.

The devil is not that creative. It seems he ran out of new sins to commit. After all, God only needed 10 Commandments to cover all sin. The devil has been taking sins and mixing them together to create his own brand of new, deeper sins. Satan’s demons influence people with a lie. Then teach people how to make it appear that lie is the truth. Demons teach people to talk to others, convince them their lie is the truth. After that black art is perfected, it is time to move on to stealing. Demons teach people to justify stealing. Demons tell people, those people owe you. With politicians the excuse is wrapped around the false impression they are actually helping people, or defending the government they stand for. The thefts grow, branch out, pull people so deep, murder becomes the next step. Threats to cover up their theft. Demons constantly teach people how to create and use excuses. The blame game takes center stage in the life of lies, theft, and murderer. The battle within the conscience pushes out God by silencing the conscience until the demon’s victim is considered lost forever.

Hundreds of times a day young girls about 13 years old are kidnapped, bought, and sold. They are drugged, threatened, beaten, and forced into the sex trades. Men force those girls into the most heinous, degrading sex acts. Those girls live in a world of control, fear, and endless shame. Demons work with their owners to break down the will of those girls to dehumanize them. If the girl gets pregnant, the baby is sold on the black market. When the woman is no longer useful to their owner, they are sold to organ traffickers. Their hair, skin, blood, eyes, heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, and more is sold on the black market. If their organ traffickers have a shred of humanity, the women are killed or anesthetized before being dismantled. Science believes the best organs come from living victims and drugs can ruin the organs. When we consider science, we have to consider the source. Governments have been known for spending much more money on ending human life than on efforts to cure cancer and other diseases. By now we should know, we should fear the government who tells us to trust the science. We never know what they are involved in and where that will lead.

Prophecies Revealing the Messiah Isaiah Chapters 40 Through 62

Isaiah 58:6-12 Your Salvation Will Come Like the Dawn

Isaiah 58:6-12 NLTse “No, this is the kind of fasting I want: Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people. (7) Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help. (8) “Then your salvation will come like the dawn, and your wounds will quickly heal. Your godliness will lead you forward, and the glory of the LORD will protect you from behind. (9) Then when you call, the LORD will answer. ‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply. “Remove the heavy yoke of oppression. Stop pointing your finger and spreading vicious rumors! (10) Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon. (11) The LORD will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring. (12) Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities. Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls and a restorer of homes.

Luke 6:20-38 NLTse Then Jesus turned to his disciples and said, “God blesses you who are poor, for the Kingdom of God is yours. (21) God blesses you who are hungry now, for you will be satisfied. God blesses you who weep now, for in due time you will laugh. (22) What blessings await you when people hate you and exclude you and mock you and curse you as evil because you follow the Son of Man. (23) When that happens, be happy! Yes, leap for joy! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, their ancestors treated the ancient prophets that same way. (24) “What sorrow awaits you who are rich, for you have your only happiness now. (25) What sorrow awaits you who are fat and prosperous now, for a time of awful hunger awaits you. What sorrow awaits you who laugh now, for your laughing will turn to mourning and sorrow. (26) What sorrow awaits you who are praised by the crowds, for their ancestors also praised false prophets. (27) “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. (28) Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. (29) If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. (30) Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. (31) Do to others as you would like them to do to you. (32) “If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! (33) And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much! (34) And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return. (35) “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. (36) You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate. (37) “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. (38) Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full–pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”

Okay, I can see your all thinking – if this prophecy about helping the poor and depressed, which is a major part of our commission was fulfilled or taught by Jesus on His sermon on the mountain, than why not use Matthew? Well Matthew is spread out over three chapters and we need to follow the general rule of Bible Study — the introductions and summations have to agree. As we can see, Isaiah sets the tone for the prophecy and Jesus explained details. I would suggest you read Isaiah 58 and Matthew’s detailed account together. This will give God’s Spirit the time He needs with you to explain more details than found in this study. And of course, the goal is to get you to a point of learning to work on your own with God’s Spirit to understand His Word.

I have to admit, I had a bit of trouble locating parallel chapters to this prophecy. Looking at the key words, the first word I used to search was oppressed. That didn’t lead to any parallel chapters with matching introductions and summations. I went onto the next choice, hungry, which led to a number of interesting chapters. Luke 6 was the best match when comparing the introduction and summation.

Prophecies Revealing the Messiah Isaiah Chapters 40 Through 62
Prophecies Revealing the Messiah Isaiah Chapters 40 Through 62 Download the eBook here

Isaiah introduces a concept not exactly new to the Bible. Moses told Israel a set of concepts to live by known as the Law of Moses. Maybe that’s why that list of common sense guides showing how to live peacefully in this world has always been difficult to follow. Man has never been known for following laws viewed more like suggestions. Before God gave Moses that set of laws, Israel was of course freed from bondage in Egypt. Now do you see why this sequence of studies follows a particular pattern? One thing Israel’s release from bondage represented is found in their attitude towards the law. Living in an environment where every moment of their lives, following rules and regulations, they left a bad taste in their mouths. The last thing any of those Israelites wanted was a new set of rules. Isaiah did nothing more than repeat those concepts of how to live together. Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people. Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help. Do any of those laws seem too difficult to live by?

Although those seem like simple guidelines to follow, this world has a difficult time living by them. Is it so hard to treat people with justice, lighten burdens of people who work for you, and share what you have with those in need? It must be a difficult thing to do because Moses laid down the law, Isaiah reminded them, and Jesus repeated it with details so plain no one had an excuse to ignore them. Jesus told us, God will bless those who follow His command and help others. Isaiah tells us a part of the blessing. “Then your salvation will come like the dawn, and your wounds will quickly heal. Your godliness will lead you forward, and the glory of the LORD will protect you from behind. Then when you call, the LORD will answer. ‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply.” Why does Isaiah link helping others, treating them with justice and dignity with salvation? Doesn’t most of the world think all you have to do is claim Jesus’ sacrifice as your own to receive forgiveness for all your sins? If that’s true, than what about the learning process mentioned throughout the Bible? What about Jesus telling His disciples to take up their cross? Why did His disciples have to suffer and die for God’s Word if all they had to do was claim Jesus’ death to be saved? Let’s admit it, nothing but Jesus’ sacrifice can provide forgiveness for all the sins we committed. Without His sacrifice we would be lost. But as Paul tells us, “We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. (Romans 6:6 NLTse). Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these sins. There is only the terrible expectation of God’s judgment and the raging fire that will consume his enemies. (Hebrews 10:26-27 NLTse).

Maybe this is why the world has so much trouble listening to God’s voice. Isaiah tells us if we follow God’s simple instructions, “Then when you call, the LORD will answer. ‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply.” What is the connection? Does the Bible explain the answer or is the explanation basically common sense like those laws Moses recorded?

The main theme in Isaiah’s prophecy, although explained in detail by Jesus, seems to escape many Christians. I remember years ago in a study class with about 30 adults capable of repeating every interpretation to their coveted future prophecies could not answer a simple question that came up in the preprinted class study guide. The question was, “how do you share the love of Jesus?” The teacher read and skipped over the question. I raised my hand and asked, “how do you share Jesus’ love?” The teacher answered, “you share the love of Jesus by teaching about Jesus.” I asked, “what do we teach about Jesus?” The teacher answered, “the love of Jesus.” I asked, “what are we supposed to teach about Jesus’ love?” Not one person in that class had an answer. None of them had any type of relationship with Jesus. They were like those Pharisees who thought they knew all the prophecies but didn’t know a thing. So they rejected any type of relationship with Jesus who stood in front of them. Since that time I’ve asked that same question in many churches when the opportunity came up. No one was able to answer the question. No one seems to have studied Isaiah 58 or any of the New Testament chapters adding more details on the subject of Jesus’ love or how we are supposed to act towards one another.

What kind of end time church are they in when they don’t know anything about Jesus’ love, but claim to be the chosen church based on their doctrine? Pride tells them they are the only church able to accurately interpret future prophecy. To them, those interpretations and doctrines out weight common sense, the ability to love, and the ability to communicate with Jesus.

Isaiah was pretty vague. What does it mean to lighten burdens, let the oppressed go free, and remove chains binding people? My guess is people’s minds become confused because they drift back into Isaiah’s time, then convince themselves we don’t have those problems any more. They relate Isaiah’s theme to slavery, and since not many Christians today are involved in slavery, consider this message obsolete. Well they’re wrong. Don’t you feel oppressed at work some times? Don’t you find yourself doing the same thing over and over again at work then suddenly one day you have an idea how to ease your burden? When you take your idea to management, what was the reply? If your a manager, do you allow pride to shoot down every idea from the people your in charge of? Do you think Satan stopped using oppression to distract people? What do you think Satan is trying to achieve with oppression? Are you hearing sermons with a shallow view on oppression, summing it up with a vague explanation? Let’s look at what Satan plans on accomplishing with oppression. For one the oppressor is drawn away from God by power, prestige, and wealth. What about people who are oppressed? It forces them to take a new look at God. Some people may draw closer to God while other people will question Him and His existence.

What about big business? They oppress just about everyone with high energy prices and other costs like health care. Then there’s taxes. The Bible tells us about high taxes Solomon imposed that were increased by his son. Taxes continued as kings collected more money from everyone, especially the poor. They collected taxes for all their projects. Solomon built houses for his wives, the women he was in bed with. Today we pay taxes to support businesses government officials are in bed with. Those kings claimed high taxes were necessary for a proper military. But when invading armies posed a threat, everyone important person was called into the city and those gates locked out the majority of people paying those high taxes. Has anything changed?

It’s one thing to identify oppression, quite another to learn how to alleviate it. How well would you score? Do you talk to people in line at the store and comfort them when God’s Spirit puts you in position to bless others? When the cashier just faced the customer from hell, do you pray to find a way to cheer her up and remind her the whole world is not like the customer no one can never please? What about the parking lot? Do you help the old woman load her bags into the car? Do you let rude drivers pass you so they can pester the next driver, or recognize your act as a blessing? How does helping one another work at home? Do you assign tasks then help? Do you plan little surprises for your spouse? Do you email or text them little messages during the day to let them know you care? When you hear someone request prayer, do you stop everything and pray for them so they can see love and concern in action? Most people only promise to pray. It’s been said so many times, the words, “I’ll pray for you,” have become only a cliché. How many chances do you have to change the world around you? How many of those chances do you let slip by? In a way neglecting those opportunities puts a burden upon you. Those missed opportunities are either softening your heart or hardened it. You know there is a reason people share bad news with you. Admit it, there is a reason you share your burdens with people. Now that you know these secrets, learn how to treat people the way you want to be treated.

There’s a reason Jesus reworded Isaiah the way He did. Jesus wanted to make it personal. God blesses those who are poor, hungry, and weep. How do you think God blesses them? Did you ever hear of God making money, food, or a tender word suddenly appear out of thin air to help people? Come on you know the answer. God uses His people to reach out and help those people. That’s the way the world is supposed to work. But too often people calling themselves Christians are too scared to leave their fox holes. They want to remain as secluded as they can. They are afraid to reach out to help people with the gifts and blessings God gave them to share. For a great reward awaits you in heaven.

Prophecies Revealing the Messiah Isaiah Chapters 40 Through 62
Prophecies Revealing the Messiah Isaiah Chapters 40 Through 62 Order the paperback from Amazon

Most Christians heard this line, but how many actually know what it means? “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked.” Why do most sermons stop at the first sentence but don’t dwell on the rest of what Jesus said? Is it because He provided the answer and preachers like to impress you with their stories? Is it because they don’t understand the answer? Or is it because they think those people listening to them aren’t ready to understand or accept the simple answer? “Do good to them.” Ask that question about how to love Jesus and see what answer you receive, if any. People aren’t sure how to do good. Why not? There are two types of love. One is from Heaven while the other is an earthly fabrication. You guessed it. Love from this world is a compromise. Loving like the world teaches is not showing your a child of Heaven.

Every once in a while I see people breaking up in what they call a love affair by posting updates on Facebook. They post all those worldly concepts about love, something like, “deceptions are easy but truth is hard to find. Trust is easily broken. Lies are soon revealed. You never know what you had until its gone.” You can see the pattern. People speak from emotions inherited from the world. None of those sayings will ever accomplish anything. Wisdom from this world will never show you what true love is. All it will do is provide a moment of comfort followed be a deeper need to seek real love. But few will ever find true love. They search with their eyes but they are blind. They listen with their ears but they’re deaf. “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full–pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”

Let’s face it, people get involved in relationships based on what they can get out of them. Relationships seeded in greed can only sprout thistles and thorns that will eventually sting. I’ve seen the effects. I think we’ve all seen the effects of those thorns. So where do we learn about the love that only comes from Heaven? The key word is learn. Did you miss it? Did it slip by? Here it is again. Now pay attention. “If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much! And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return. “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid.” “Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon. The LORD will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength.”

Now do you get it? Love doesn’t drop out of the sky when the right person comes along. Love has to be learned before it can be experienced. You have to learn to add, subtract, multiply, and divide before you can do algebra or calculus which reveals the wonders of mathematics. You have to work on love like working out. Body building takes time. No one walks into a gym, does a few bench presses and walks out built like an athlete. Why would love be any different? You have to build up everything else in this world – your vocabulary, the ability to write, a knowledge of science, geography, stamina, muscles, everything. Why should love be any different? Our problem is we want to fall in love when everything else in the world has to be built up and conditioned. So we convince ourselves all we need to do is wait for the right person who we think will make us whole and for a while everything seems so much better. That’s the concept of love in this world. Like the toxic weeds Satan developed, that kind of love is like a drug. It’ll give you a great high for a while but coming down is a pain. Yep – love from this world is like a drug. It’ll cost you some money. It’s easy to take. Then it lets you down and leaves you looking for more of the same.

Now look at Jesus’ solution. He is saying your not ready until you’ve learned to love your enemies. Jesus doesn’t want to send you out into this cruel world until you’re ready. God is like a Father. He doesn’t want to see you hurt. His advise is to be ready. Work out your love until it is so muscle bound the world can’t help but take notice. Develop your intellect to a degree you are ready to solve any problem the world can throw at you. If that sounds impossible it is. You’ll never be prepared for every problem, but God is. Before your ready for love you have to first learn to love God who will show you how to love your enemies. Then you’ll be ready for the one love God has prepared for you. You don’t want God to send them a product half assembled? Think about it. Two lives with missing pieces will not make a whole. But that’s exactly what the world wants you to believe.

Sure there will be learning curves. Satan doesn’t want you learning how to leave this world behind. He feels safe when you rely on him. He feels threatened when he sees you going to God. Satan feels like he lost and he is a sore looser. But trials make us stronger. But watch out. Don’t dwell on set backs. As we’ve seen, oppression leads to distraction, which leads to wasting time, which leads to spending less time with God. If we dwell on set backs it delays our learning process. It’s the same with any relationship. If only one person dwells on negative aspects it will rob you of time together and what you can accomplish. When it comes to a relationship with God, He is never the one that dwells on problems. You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate. Together these two chapters teach us about the love coming only from Heaven. Time to begin the lesson.

Isaiah 58:1-5 NLTse “Shout with the voice of a trumpet blast. Shout aloud! Don’t be timid. Tell my people Israel of their sins! (2) Yet they act so pious! They come to the Temple every day and seem delighted to learn all about me. They act like a righteous nation that would never abandon the laws of its God. They ask me to take action on their behalf, pretending they want to be near me. (3) ‘We have fasted before you!’ they say. ‘Why aren’t you impressed? We have been very hard on ourselves, and you don’t even notice it!’ “I will tell you why!” I respond. “It’s because you are fasting to please yourselves. Even while you fast, you keep oppressing your workers. (4) What good is fasting when you keep on fighting and quarreling? This kind of fasting will never get you anywhere with me. (5) You humble yourselves by going through the motions of penance, bowing your heads like reeds bending in the wind. You dress in burlap and cover yourselves with ashes. Is this what you call fasting? Do you really think this will please the LORD?

Isaiah’s introduction reminds me why I had to leave the organized church. All I saw was people bragging about what they knew. Everything was centered about their interpretations on future prophecies and those doctrines and traditions they coveted and defended so vehemently — as if their salvation depended on it. Jesus said, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God. For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes– so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them.’ But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, but they didn’t see it. And they longed to hear what you hear, but they didn’t hear it.”

(Matthew 15:8-9, 13:15-17 NLTse). Isn’t it time to listen?

Preachers today have given up on love, substituting man made knowledge for one of the greatest gifts from Heaven. Piety has taken the place of God’s voice. Obedience is given to a stone church and its leaders – while it is being withheld from God our Creator. They come to the Temple every day and seem delighted to learn all about me. They act like a righteous nation that would never abandon the laws of its God. They ask me to take action on their behalf, pretending they want to be near me. Like the Pharisees, preachers today place knowledge of the law in place of knowing its Author. Generations separated Isaiah from Jesus but nothing separated that attitude from those religious leaders.

Luke 6:1-12 NLTse One Sabbath day as Jesus was walking through some grainfields, his disciples broke off heads of grain, rubbed off the husks in their hands, and ate the grain. (2) But some Pharisees said, “Why are you breaking the law by harvesting grain on the Sabbath?” (3) Jesus replied, “Haven’t you read in the Scriptures what David did when he and his companions were hungry? (4) He went into the house of God and broke the law by eating the sacred loaves of bread that only the priests can eat. He also gave some to his companions.” (5) And Jesus added, “The Son of Man is Lord, even over the Sabbath.” (6) On another Sabbath day, a man with a deformed right hand was in the synagogue while Jesus was teaching. (7) The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees watched Jesus closely. If he healed the man’s hand, they planned to accuse him of working on the Sabbath. (8) But Jesus knew their thoughts. He said to the man with the deformed hand, “Come and stand in front of everyone.” So the man came forward. (9) Then Jesus said to his critics, “I have a question for you. Does the law permit good deeds on the Sabbath, or is it a day for doing evil? Is this a day to save life or to destroy it?” (10) He looked around at them one by one and then said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” So the man held out his hand, and it was restored! (11) At this, the enemies of Jesus were wild with rage and began to discuss what to do with him. (12) One day soon afterward Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night.

Jesus pointed those religious leaders back to David and of course scripture. We’ve already looked at this text in a number of studies. But general Bible Study rules tell us to look at texts and the chapter to see a far deeper lesson Jesus is pointing to.

1 Samuel 21:1-6 NLTse David went to the town of Nob to see Ahimelech the priest. Ahimelech trembled when he saw him. “Why are you alone?” he asked. “Why is no one with you?” (2) “The king has sent me on a private matter,” David said. “He told me not to tell anyone why I am here. I have told my men where to meet me later. (3) Now, what is there to eat? Give me five loaves of bread or anything else you have.” (4) “We don’t have any regular bread,” the priest replied. “But there is the holy bread, which you can have if your young men have not slept with any women recently.” (5) “Don’t worry,” David replied. “I never allow my men to be with women when they are on a campaign. And since they stay clean even on ordinary trips, how much more on this one!” (6) Since there was no other food available, the priest gave him the holy bread–the Bread of the Presence that was placed before the LORD in the Tabernacle. It had just been replaced that day with fresh bread.

Because the texts Jesus is pointing to is located in the introduction of a chapter, we also have to look at the summary and look for the related theme.

1 Samuel 21:10-15 NLTse (10) So David escaped from Saul and went to King Achish of Gath. (11) But the officers of Achish were unhappy about his being there. “Isn’t this David, the king of the land?” they asked. “Isn’t he the one the people honor with dances, singing, ‘Saul has killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands’?” (12) David heard these comments and was very afraid of what King Achish of Gath might do to him. (13) So he pretended to be insane, scratching on doors and drooling down his beard. (14) Finally, King Achish said to his men, “Must you bring me a madman? (15) We already have enough of them around here! Why should I let someone like this be my guest?”

Notice the theme? David lied to a priest than a king. See the spiritual lesson hidden in the texts? Why did David lie? David was running away from Saul who wanted to kill him. What’s your first reaction to a problem? You try to solve it yourself. In David’s case he resorted to lies in an instant. Jesus sent us back to scripture to gather more knowledge, so let’s take a look back to see how the author led into the story. At last Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, for we have sworn loyalty to each other in the LORD’s name. The LORD is the witness of a bond between us and our children forever.” Then David left, and Jonathan returned to the town. (1 Samuel 20:42 NLTse). Notice the important point, “the LORD is the witness of a bond between us and our children forever.” Now we look ahead to see what those events led to. So David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. Soon his brothers and all his other relatives joined him there. Then others began coming–men who were in trouble or in debt or who were just discontented–until David was the captain of about 400 men. (1 Samuel 22:1-2 NLTse). See the connection and progression? David’s responsibility is growing. As a boy he only had to worry about his father’s flocks and a giant. Working for Saul, David was in command of a company of soldiers. God was teaching David lessons about leadership. Remember how lessons about love have to be learned? Here is an example containing lessons related to love and leadership. Jesus’ disciples had a problem with both those subjects. They wanted leadership roles before they learned how to love like Jesus. They didn’t see how love and leadership had to intertwine and grow together.

When we look ahead we see those events led to another serious point to consider. A point we would miss if we weren’t looking at the progression in the story and of course praying. One day the prophet Gad told David, “Leave the stronghold and return to the land of Judah.” So David went to the forest of Hereth. (1 Samuel 22:5 NLTse). See what happened? David was relying on himself so God sent a prophet. Why? David forgot to pray. Don’t you think David prayed before he ran off after a that lion or that bear? Don’t you think David prayed before he went after that giant? What about those battles he fought for Saul? When we look at David’s progression we see two things. His increased reliance on God and increased knowledge. The two are connected. David’s responsibilities increased parallel to his communication with God. That’s what people saw in David and trusted in. People trusted more in David’s relationship with God than they trusted in David the man. They believed David was God’s anointed king because they could see David’s relationship with God. Think about how that relates to the lesson on love.

David’s life teaches us positive aspects of following God, but like all of us, David had a history of drawing close to God then drifting away. When times look good we all have the tendency of making decisions on our own. Like children who only call their parents when they need help, we only pray from the heart when we’re in trouble. When David become comfortable, things changed. One time he sent his army out to fight without him. While the people he was supposed to be serving, protecting, and teaching were off fighting a war, David stayed behind to run the country. One night he looked across the street and saw a woman. David already had more wives than any of us care to count, but to David, this one was different. While his men were off fighting a battle, David pursued a conquest of his own. David knew the woman was married. Having drawn away from God and making his own decisions it didn’t seem to matter to David. He invited her over for a fling. After all, who would know? Once wasn’t enough for the king. After a while the woman gets pregnant, so David does what he got used to doing. David comes up with a new sure fire plan. After all, when he lied to a priest and king God still protected him?

David’s momentary lack of communication with God destroyed his common sense. David had that woman’s husband killed and married her. David made her the queen of Israel. God had enough. David refused to listen so God sent the prophet in. So the LORD sent Nathan the prophet to tell David this story: “There were two men in a certain town. One was rich, and one was poor. The rich man owned a great many sheep and cattle. The poor man owned nothing but one little lamb he had bought. He raised that little lamb, and it grew up with his children. It ate from the man’s own plate and drank from his cup. He cuddled it in his arms like a baby daughter. One day a guest arrived at the home of the rich man. But instead of killing an animal from his own flock or herd, he took the poor man’s lamb and killed it and prepared it for his guest.” David was furious. “As surely as the LORD lives,” he vowed, “any man who would do such a thing deserves to die! He must repay four lambs to the poor man for the one he stole and for having no pity.” Then Nathan said to David, “You are that man! The LORD, the God of Israel, says: I anointed you king of Israel and saved you from the power of Saul. I gave you your master’s house and his wives and the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. And if that had not been enough, I would have given you much, much more. Why, then, have you despised the word of the LORD and done this horrible deed? For you have murdered Uriah the Hittite with the sword of the Ammonites and stolen his wife. From this time on, your family will live by the sword because you have despised me by taking Uriah’s wife to be your own. (2 Samuel 12:1-10 NLTse).

You might ask why after so many sins, God still loved David and called him a man after His own heart. It’s because David repented after seeing his sins. David repented of his sins as well as his lack of communication with God. As soon as David saw how far he drifted away from God, he prayed to restore that connection. David fell to the ground and prayed for the child as well as the mother and himself. David re-connection with God was so deep, his advisers could not understand it. That’s another point David missed. He neglected to explain that connection to people, not even his closest friends. After the child died, David got up to eat. After talking with God and listening… David knew he had a son waiting for him in Heaven. David knew when we get there he would receive the little child and raise him in the perfect environment of Heaven. David also knew God was concerned about him and wanted him to take care of himself. So David got up to eat. There is one detail we have to learn from David’s prayers. David remained focused on the subject at hand. David’s Psalms are an example of prayer. Notice how he always concentrated on one subject?

Psalms 11:1-7 NLTse

(1) I trust in the LORD for protection. So why do you say to me, “Fly like a bird to the mountains for safety!

(2) The wicked are stringing their bows and fitting their arrows on the bowstrings. They shoot from the shadows at those whose hearts are right.

(3) The foundations of law and order have collapsed. What can the righteous do?”

(4) But the LORD is in his holy Temple; the LORD still rules from heaven. He watches everyone closely, examining every person on earth.

(5) The LORD examines both the righteous and the wicked. He hates those who love violence.

(6) He will rain down blazing coals and burning sulfur on the wicked, punishing them with scorching winds.

(7) For the righteous LORD loves justice. The virtuous will see his face.

David learned to pray in order. Many of his prayers share the same structure. David praised God, told God his problem, then let God know he had confidence God knew the right answer. The only thing we don’t see in David’s prayers is how God answered them. David’s prayers should be studied. David recorded some of his conversations with God when Saul was chasing after him. But let’s stick to the details at hand. David prayed on one subject at a time. You never see David praying like we see people pray today which consists of a list of items to drop in God’s lap like we expect God to solve all those problems without any further participation on our part. When God sent a prophet to David there was a major lesson to learn. Today we see little if any listening when we pray. We may as well write out a prayer list and E-mail or text it to God. “Here God this is what we want you to do today. Let me know when you finish.” Does the pot tell the potter what to do? Then why do we give God orders then hang up the phone? Prayer has become much like ordering a pizza and waiting for it to be delivered. When David laid on that stone floor for hours, he listened to God. When David prayed to God while on the run from Saul, David listened to God. The first time God answered through a prophet. As David honed his listening skills, God personally spoke to David.

My favorite Psalms are those where David praised God, presented his petition, then praised God at the end of his prayer by telling God he knew God would do the right thing. The main point is, David stuck to one point in his prayer and didn’t jump around from subject to subject like we do today. I’ve read a number of books on prayer. Not one of them teaches people how to listen. I’ve talked to many people about how they listen to God and I hear the same answer over and overt again. When they try listening to God their minds are filled with a hundred details and they can’t concentrate. We’ve been conditioned by the world to write a prayer list then run through the whole thing in one sitting. Is there one verse of Biblical proof showing that’s how we should pray? None that I can find. All the examples in Psalms show us to concentrate on one subject at a time. A prayer list is okay, but shooting it up to God like a shotgun blast doesn’t hit the target. How are we supposed to listen when we pass on a long list to God and sever the prayer connection? Prayer was never meant to be a one sided connection. Study those Psalms and look for a prayer pattern you like and use it. Try a couple of different styles. But remember to stick to one subject at a time and spend time listening to God’s reply which is infinitely more important than your list. By the way, God already knew what was on your prayer list long before you wrote it. That is one detail you may want to praise Him for when you begin praying. “LORD I thank you for knowing what is on my prayer list and I come to you today to discuss one matter. I really want to know what you want to do about this subject. Jesus cleanse me with your blood, remove all my sins, make me pure, and especially purge me of all those worldly thoughts and preconceived ideas about you and what you are capable of. Jesus place me at the foot of your Father’s throne and let me learn from His infinite wisdom.” Then sit quietly and listen to God’s answer on that one subject of prayer.

So what do prayer skills have to do with the introductions to Isaiah 58 and Luke 6? Everything! Look at the introduction to Isaiah 58. “Shout with the voice of a trumpet blast. Shout aloud! Don’t be timid. Tell my people Israel of their sins!” How are you supposed to know what to shout if the message doesn’t come from God? Prayer is everything. It is communication with God. Read between the lines. “Yet they act so pious! They come to the Temple every day and seem delighted to learn all about me. They act like a righteous nation that would never abandon the laws of its God. They ask me to take action on their behalf, pretending they want to be near me.” Those people didn’t listen to God so they drifted away. The only way to stay close to God is listen to Him. The trend continued past those religious leaders who questioned Jesus when His disciples ate grain on the Sabbath. “The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees watched Jesus closely. If he healed the man’s hand, they planned to accuse him of working on the Sabbath.” And who would complain about healing a suffering man on the Sabbath? If they knew how to pray and listen to God, those religious leaders never would have questioned Jesus. Notice they watched Jesus, but we can see they didn’t listen to what He taught.

We all have trouble listening to God. David had his problems. One time the king of Tyre came to David. He wanted to learn about the God David served. But David didn’t think a Pagan king would have any interest in God. And David became more and more powerful, because the LORD God of Heaven’s Armies was with him. Then King Hiram of Tyre sent messengers to David, along with cedar timber and carpenters and stonemasons, and they built David a palace. And David realized that the LORD had confirmed him as king over Israel and had blessed his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel. (2 Samuel 5:10-12 NLTse). We can see how David let the distractions of this world stop him from performing his duty to God. After moving from Hebron to Jerusalem, David married more concubines and wives, and they had more sons and daughters. (2 Samuel 5:13 NLTse). David fell victim to one of Satan’s greatest deceptions – success and power. Doesn’t that happen to all of us? Things are going well and we forget God or put our relationship with Him on the back shelf? No wonder Peter told us to welcome trials. Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad–for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world. So be happy when you are insulted for being a Christian, for then the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you. (1 Peter 4:12-14 NLTse).

What could have happened if David or Solomon witnessed to Hiram? He was the king of Tyre, the world trade center at the time. Hiram believed in staying out of religion to the extent of allowing every religion to freely practice within his kingdom. To Hiram it was the only way to increase trade through Tyre’s port, keep peace, and reduce the chance of an invasion. During his reign no one would dare attack Tyre because of its relationship with other kingdoms, both economical and religious. Having contact with all the worldly religions peaked Hiram’s search for the one true God. It’s strange to think the man anointed king and given the gifts, ability, and responsibility to tell the world about God missed the opportunity of a life time. If David had shared God with Hiram and told Hiram how God’s Spirit communicates with us, it would have opened streets and avenues within the world trade center no one could have imagined. Hiram could have reached people from all over the world from every religion. God doesn’t need more people hiding in fox holes. God needs people able to step out to face those giants, no matter what form they come in.

Keeping the gospel away from people goes way beyond David. When Jesus wanted to heal the man with that deformed hand in the synagogue those religious leaders used the Sabbath as an excuse to withhold one of God’s blessings. Don’t you think that giant David slew made an impression on the whole nation of Israel? Those religious leaders didn’t stop to think about how healing one man could have impressed all those people in the synagogue and beyond. Those religious leaders didn’t think of how one gift would glorify God. They were only thinking about themselves. “At this, the enemies of Jesus were wild with rage and began to discuss what to do with him.” What was Jesus’ reaction? “One day soon afterward Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night.” Jesus didn’t rely on what He learned in the past or felt at the moment. Jesus went back to DAD to discuss the situation. Jesus didn’t know how to explain the Sabbath to those religious leaders who thought they knew everything. Jesus knew He had to be patient and wait for God’s Spirit to set up the right circumstances to reach those people. It’s amazing to see a part of that answer is in this chapter of Isaiah.

Isaiah 58:13-14 NLTse “Keep the Sabbath day holy. Don’t pursue your own interests on that day, but enjoy the Sabbath and speak of it with delight as the LORD’s holy day. Honor the Sabbath in everything you do on that day, and don’t follow your own desires or talk idly. (14) Then the LORD will be your delight. I will give you great honor and satisfy you with the inheritance I promised to your ancestor Jacob. I, the LORD, have spoken!”

Those religious leaders were concerned only about their own interests. They followed their own desires and idle talk. Now you can see how Jesus answered more than their initial question. When Jesus referred to Isaiah 58, He included scripture around that lesson about helping the poor and depressed. We see the same result when we study other texts Jesus quoted. Now we can see why Jesus prayed. Answers He received were for questions before anyone asked them. Imagine the impact this had on Jesus’ faith. It could have had the same effect on other people if they spent time to look back into God’s Word. Jesus also taught lessons using parables like He did in the summation for Luke 6.

Luke 6:43-49 NLTse “A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. (44) A tree is identified by its fruit. Figs never grow on thornbushes, nor grapes on bramble bushes. (45) A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart. (46) “So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say? (47) I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. (48) It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against the house, it stands firm because it is well built. (49) But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.”

Jesus presents a choice. Good and evil are the only choices. There is no middle ground. Those priests made a carrier out of middle ground. Their religion was based on sitting in the middle trying to work their way up to God’s grace. Anyone who didn’t agree with them was deemed to far away to be saved. Unless of course you got back in line with their doctrines which takes your eyes off God placing your faith in man made doctrines. We have the same circumstances today. Of course every religion claims they got it right this time. But what about their fruit. When they produce members condemning the rest of the world are they producing good fruit or brambles? If they preach isolation are they spreading good seeds or weeds? When they make salvation a one step process, are they showing their good fruit or is their tree bear?

“So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say? Yet they act so pious! They come to the Temple every day and seem delighted to learn all about me. They act like a righteous nation that would never abandon the laws of its God. They ask me to take action on their behalf, pretending they want to be near me.” There is a direct relationship between Isaiah 58 and Luke 6 when you compare the introduction of Isaiah with the summation in Luke 6. This may seem unusual, but God has a way of teaching through repetition. We have to be prepared to notice and contemplate. As long as we compare the same parallel chapters we know we are learning the same theme. I remember my dad would always say, “don’t complain unless you have a better idea.” I think that was the best advise a father could give a son. Jesus also gave that advise, in His own way. Jesus told us how to worship God. “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you.”

Let’s face it, it’s never easy to turn a large ship around in a storm. If your waiting for your local or national church to turn around, you’ve got a long wait ahead of you. With God change has always been and will always be an individual effort. Jesus fed masses but healed individuals. Are we feeding people or healing them? The answer is both, but face the facts. When Jesus fed people they carelessly left baskets of bread lying on the ground. You have to expect that when you begin your ministry feeding people. But healing is another matter. Like Jesus we can heal. Like Jesus we have to place people in the capable hands of God’s Spirit to let them work it out together. We really can’t expect to accomplish more than Jesus did even though He said, “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.” (John 14:12 NLTse).

Time for you to experience some of those greater works. Matthew 27 is another chapter explaining how Isaiah 58 was fulfilled. Take your time, highlight those repeated words, give time for God’s Spirit to work with you. Look up the Old Testament scripture Jesus quoted. Look back and look ahead. Hone the skills you are learning – the most important being – draw closer to God and learn more about His Son Jesus.

Matthew 27:32-43 NLTse Along the way, they came across a man named Simon, who was from Cyrene, and the soldiers forced him to carry Jesus’ cross. (33) And they went out to a place called Golgotha (which means “Place of the Skull”). (34) The soldiers gave him wine mixed with bitter gall, but when he had tasted it, he refused to drink it. (35) After they had nailed him to the cross, the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice. (36) Then they sat around and kept guard as he hung there. (37) A sign was fastened to the cross above Jesus’ head, announcing the charge against him. It read: “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” (38) Two revolutionaries were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. (39) The people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery. (40) “Look at you now!” they yelled at him. “You said you were going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days. Well then, if you are the Son of God, save yourself and come down from the cross!” (41) The leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders also mocked Jesus. (42) “He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself! So he is the King of Israel, is he? Let him come down from the cross right now, and we will believe in him! (43) He trusted God, so let God rescue him now if he wants him! For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.'”

Matthew 27:1-10 NLTse Very early in the morning the leading priests and the elders met again to lay plans for putting Jesus to death. (2) Then they bound him, led him away, and took him to Pilate, the Roman governor. (3) When Judas, who had betrayed him, realized that Jesus had been condemned to die, he was filled with remorse. So he took the thirty pieces of silver back to the leading priests and the elders. (4) “I have sinned,” he declared, “for I have betrayed an innocent man.” “What do we care?” they retorted. “That’s your problem.” (5) Then Judas threw the silver coins down in the Temple and went out and hanged himself. (6) The leading priests picked up the coins. “It wouldn’t be right to put this money in the Temple treasury,” they said, “since it was payment for murder.” (7) After some discussion they finally decided to buy the potter’s field, and they made it into a cemetery for foreigners. (8) That is why the field is still called the Field of Blood. (9) This fulfilled the prophecy of Jeremiah that says, “They took the thirty pieces of silver– the price at which he was valued by the people of Israel, (10) and purchased the potter’s field, as the LORD directed.”

Matthew 27:61-66 NLTse Both Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting across from the tomb and watching. (62) The next day, on the Sabbath, the leading priests and Pharisees went to see Pilate. (63) They told him, “Sir, we remember what that deceiver once said while he was still alive: ‘After three days I will rise from the dead.’ (64) So we request that you seal the tomb until the third day. This will prevent his disciples from coming and stealing his body and then telling everyone he was raised from the dead! If that happens, we’ll be worse off than we were at first.” (65) Pilate replied, “Take guards and secure it the best you can.” (66) So they sealed the tomb and posted guards to protect it.

Parallels in Revelation: Chapters 1-12

Chapter 19 War in Heaven

There is no doubt that Jesus identified the dragon in the vision He showed John. The dragon represents Satan. But how many preachers take the extra moment to show you how the vision identified the symbols it contains? How many preachers show you how Revelation was designed to teach you how to read and understand that book? Not many. Let’s not forget the fact, Satan introduced the monetary system this world uses and depends on. That is the key. The world depends more on the monetary system Satan invented than on the Creator of this world. And Satan knows how to use that money system to control and manipulate people. Especially when they have no idea who is manipulating them, how, or why. That’s why we have to be extra cautious. That’s why it is a lot safer for us to study on our own at Jesus’ feet. We have to learn to put away those worldly sources of information and learn to rely on Heaven for all the answers. One other detail we have to consider. Satan wants nothing more than to hide, remain in the back ground, and not be seen, or identified. So his army of battle horses is gong to flood this earth with lies, half lies, false leads, and empty hope. And he is doing a rather fine job of it.

Revelation 12:7-9 NLTse (7) Then there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and his angels. (8) And the dragon lost the battle, and he and his angels were forced out of heaven. (9) This great dragon–the ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world–was thrown down to the earth with all his angels.

We have to realize, Satan was kicked out of Heaven and sentenced to this world where he spends the rest of his life trying to deceive everyone. Satan has more experience than we could imagine. But Satan does not have the Holy Spirit. When Satan interprets scripture he is only guessing. That should help to identify close to 2/3 of the teachers you need to avoid. Guessing at symbols is a sure sign of a distance or void between that person and God’s throne.

Satan was able to deceive a third of the angels in Heaven. Angels who saw God, worshiped God, and talked with God. Angels who saw a perfect Heaven, and understood every letter of God’s law. You may think you are safe with the odds in your favor at 2:1. But you have no idea how often you reject God and His angels. When you reject God and His angels, who do you think steps in to take their place?

Satan has more experience deceiving people than anyone on this planet. We have no idea how many years Satan was allowed to deceive the angels in Heaven. That’s another factor we have to keep on mind. Especially when we hear those theories and watch those movies about a few people out witting the devil after he ceases world power. Based on scripture, that is impossible.

Since we stumbled upon the devil, we should look at a few details about him. But I do not want to enter into a full study about the devil. I have seen far too many people lead downhill with such an obsession.

Parallels in Revelation: Chapters 1-12
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Isaiah 14:12-21 NLTse “How you are fallen from heaven, O shining star, son of the morning! You have been thrown down to the earth, you who destroyed the nations of the world. (13) For you said to yourself, ‘I will ascend to heaven and set my throne above God’s stars. I will preside on the mountain of the gods far away in the north. (14) I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the Most High.’ (15) Instead, you will be brought down to the place of the dead, down to its lowest depths. (16) Everyone there will stare at you and ask, ‘Can this be the one who shook the earth and made the kingdoms of the world tremble? (17) Is this the one who destroyed the world and made it into a wasteland? Is this the king who demolished the world’s greatest cities and had no mercy on his prisoners?’ (18) “The kings of the nations lie in stately glory, each in his own tomb, (19) but you will be thrown out of your grave like a worthless branch. Like a corpse trampled underfoot, you will be dumped into a mass grave with those killed in battle. You will descend to the pit. (20) You will not be given a proper burial, for you have destroyed your nation and slaughtered your people. The descendants of such an evil person will never again receive honor. (21) Kill this man’s children! Let them die because of their father’s sins! They must not rise and conquer the earth, filling the world with their cities.”

Isaiah was told to record this description of Satan for a reason. Once we see how close Satan was to God, we can see how we have no chance against him on our own. We also see how high Satan had his sights set. He wanted to take God’s throne. No wonder there was a battle in Heaven. Jesus stepped up to defend His Father. That’s what every good son should do. But Jesus defended God by coming to this world to die at Satan’s hands. The Universe had to be shown how far Satan would go. If Satan wanted God’s throne, murder was not out of the question. We can see how Satan loves to destroy nations and all the people in them. There is more.

Revelation 12:10-12 NLTse (10) Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens, “It has come at last– salvation and power and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters has been thrown down to earth– the one who accuses them before our God day and night. (11) And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die. (12) Therefore, rejoice, O heavens! And you who live in the heavens, rejoice! But terror will come on the earth and the sea, for the devil has come down to you in great anger, knowing that he has little time.”

We can see how John and Isaiah reflected each other’s views on the devil. He is sentenced to this planet and has his sights set on destroying everyone and everything. If Satan can’t rule Heaven, he can at least rule this world. With that in mind, we can see how we have to deal with his distorted idea of power. The more people he can get to follow that distorted version of power, the better he feels about himself. People follow that distorted idea of power without realizing where that idea originated. They don’t read scripture with the Spirit who can explain those details. God uses His power to teach people in this world. Satan uses his power to hide and distort that information.

We also see how Jesus had to use His own blood to defeat Satan. That is far from a normal way of winning a war in this world. In this world wars are won by making more people on the other side shed blood. That is not the case in this war between Jesus and Satan.

Parallels in Revelation: Chapters 1-12
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When we see how different this war between Christ and Satan is, we can see how important it is study the details we are given. It is also important to listen to Jesus, who sees everything happening behind the scenes. What chance do we have against an enemy we can’t see, feel, our touch? We are all but helpless. If we ever plan on winning a single battle, we have no alternative than to take orders from the One who has already defeated the enemy.

When Satan was thrown down to the earth, it was a sign showing how he lost the battle and war in Heaven. For the time being Satan is allowed to torment this world. He will spread out grief and suffering. His main focus will be on those who witness for Jesus. Satan can tell the difference between those who witness based on their own ideas and concepts, and those like John who witness for Jesus based on their visits to Heaven and the information Jesus shared with them. Satan uses man made ideas and flaws to his advantage. Satan finds it easy to plant seeds in the minds of people who don’t believe God and the Holy Spirit communicate with this world. Satan can introduce, formulate, and manipulate ideas. Look what happened in the dark ages when laws were passed telling the world only a select few were capable of reading and understanding scripture. Satan loved those days and would like nothing more than to brings those days back to one degree or another.

What about Jesus’ victory? We have a collection of stories about Jesus’ life and His sacrifices here on this planet. But do we study them enough? The Old Testament is filled with over three hundred prophecies about Jesus and His ministry. What kind of general publishes books about His plans hundreds of years before He puts them into action? Not any General from this planet. Imagine that. Place your plans in a number of books, then enter into a new phase of the war with your greatest enemy. Why did Jesus do that? Was that to impress us or send us a message? How often have you studied those battle plans? How often have you heard people preach about those battle plans? One thing is certain, Jesus’ followers know something about those battle plans and the lessons they teach.

We know very little about that war in Heaven. There are no casualty reports like other stories in the Bible. We have no reports about numbers in the two armies. But we do know Satan had one third of the angles on his side. Jesus must have gathered every other angel in Heaven for that war. No one was neutral. Everyone dedicated their time and effort to the war. We also know God spoke everything into existence in this world. Why was there a physical war in Heaven when God could have put an end to Satan and his followers in a second? There are a number of spiritual weapons mentioned in scripture. Did the angels use weapons? We have no way of knowing. Statues have been made with angels carrying swords. But that information was conjured up by man’s imagination. We know little about Heaven and less about that war that was once fought there. Even placing a date on that war is difficult. Was that war fought before or after Jesus’ sacrifice on this planet? Many details point to after Jesus’ sacrifice and ascension. Wars consist of battles. There may have been a series of battles to win before the final victory was achieved. Revelation offers us some comfort by telling us that Satan and all his followers will be utterly destroyed in the future. That will end sin in the Universe.

There has to be a reason why sin was able to rage in Heaven for a time. Satan was able to build forces to stand against God. To plan on taking God’s throne. Why? Based on accounts in Eden, Satan has a history of promising more. Satan cannot create. There is no account or record of any angel creating anything. Only God and Jesus have been credited with creation. Satan may be able to manipulate what he was given. Which is this world. Scientists have been able to come up with a variety of new and specialized creatures by cross breeding, and more recently, genetics. Was Satan able to manipulate life forms through genetics? Where did weeds, thorns, thistles, and mosquitoes come from? When were insects given the ability to carry diseases? We have seen some manipulations in our generation. Did Satan work through human agencies or is he able to manipulate life forms on his own? We don’t know. At this point we don’t have the answers. We do know it is possible. Look at genetic manipulation on the Internet. Men have been experimenting with that science for years. Some times the results can be beneficial. Sometimes the results are hazardous. There are a number of highly funded research projects in the field of military genetics. It makes sense on the human side to develop super soldiers. But is Satan using that research to one day develop a line of super angels to defend himself and defeat God? Think about that. God waited until Satan gathered one third of the angels in Heaven. If God would have waited any longer, the odds may have turned in Satan’s favor. Of course God could have ended everything with one word or thought. But what if Satan is working on a new plan to manipulate angels and humans? Satan is not giving up until he turns to ashes in that lake of fire. What might we see in the future that points to the last moments before those last seven plagues begin hitting the earth? At least one branch of science may not be too far from the truth.

Revelation 12:13-18 NLTse (13) When the dragon realized that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. (14) But she was given two wings like those of a great eagle so she could fly to the place prepared for her in the wilderness. There she would be cared for and protected from the dragon for a time, times, and half a time. (15) Then the dragon tried to drown the woman with a flood of water that flowed from his mouth. (16) But the earth helped her by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that gushed out from the mouth of the dragon. (17) And the dragon was angry at the woman and declared war against the rest of her children–all who keep God’s commandments and maintain their testimony for Jesus. (18) Then the dragon took his stand on the shore beside the sea.

Based on the information John provided, our best guess can be that Satan was thrown down to earth after Jesus rose from the grave.

She gave birth to a son who was to rule all nations with an iron rod. And her child was snatched away from the dragon and was caught up to God and to his throne.

Then there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and his angels. And the dragon lost the battle, and he and his angels were forced out of heaven. This great dragon–the ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world–was thrown down to the earth with all his angels. Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens, “It has come at last– salvation and power and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters has been thrown down to earth– the one who accuses them before our God day and night. And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die. (Revelation 12:5 NLTse), (Revelation 12:7-11 NLTse)

When we look at the sequence of events, we see a few details that become relevant. Jesus defeated the devil with His blood. That could be taken in the physical sense, but at what time, and what is the exact repercussion for the devil? Satan may have been restricted from Heaven before Christ died. Jesus’ blood may be a sign pointing to the final defeat of Satan, or the evidence God needed to pass a final verdict in Satan’s trial.

From the Book of Job we can see how Satan was allowed to pass between this world and God’s throne for a time. When and if that privilege ended, we have no way of knowing. We do know that God can and will restrict Satan. Why does Satan obey those restrictions? Does Satan understand that he could be destroyed with a single word from God? That would mean that Satan feels fear and has to deal with it. Satan knows his time is coming, but he clings onto life as long as he can. In some ways, Satan has human attributes.

What if God destroyed Satan? What if Satan crossed the line and lost his life? Would this world change? There are a million concepts on temptation. Some believe temptation comes from the devil like we all have a good angel and evil angel telling us what to do, and what not to do. If Satan was destroyed, would that put an end to sin? Or is sin ingrained in men’s minds, and they will continue to sin without the influence of outside sources?

There seems to be a change in symbolism here. At first the woman appears to be a physical woman delivering a physical child through birth. If we compared stories in the Gospels, the woman would have to be Mary giving birth to Jesus. That is physical in nature. But after Jesus returned to Heaven, the symbolism seems to turn take on more of a spiritual tone. Are there other examples of this in Scripture? Of course there are. Moses was a physical man. Moses was also a type of symbol pointing to Christ. So was David and others in the Bible. The same with cities and other locations such as Jerusalem, Babylon, and others. Why not this woman in Revelation?

There is another factor we cannot over look. “When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.” And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home. (John 19:26-27 NLTse). In this scene Jesus not only assigned John the task of taking care of His mother, but also made John part of His family. Joseph had sons from a previous marriage and the Bible does mention the fact, Jesus had brothers who could have taken care of Mary. But Jesus had a good reason for making this request. On the spiritual side, John became the son of the woman that was persecuted by the dragon. And John experienced that persecution first hand. John was a disciple, then an apostle. John worked hard to bring more disciples and apostles to Christ. In essence, John was a living symbol of the people who the dragon waged war against.

I know there is a lot of date setting and details other people read into this section about the dragon pursuing the woman and her offspring. I also know there are a number of churches who take a few words out of this story in Revelation and use them to place a label on their faith and identify themselves as God’s one and only remnant church. But John never wrote a word about a remnant church.

As for those 1260 days. That same number was mentioned in the previous chapter. We can take a look at it to see what details we can find there.

Then I was given a measuring stick, and I was told, “Go and measure the Temple of God and the altar, and count the number of worshipers. But do not measure the outer courtyard, for it has been turned over to the nations. They will trample the holy city for 42 months. And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will be clothed in burlap and will prophesy during those 1,260 days.” (Revelation 11:1-3 NLTse).

In Revelation chapter 12 the woman was protected for 1260 days. God sent down two witnesses for the exact same time period. Is that a coincidence, or are they related? Since the two witnesses represent the Old and New Testament, how are they used to protect the woman? Isn’t the entire book of Revelation written to protect Jesus’ followers? Those who have God’s seal upon them. When we put those two stories together in the sequence they were presented, we can finally make sense of all the conjecture and guesses this world has been feeding Christianity as a whole. The book of Revelation mentions a limited number of symbols and physical items assigned to protect God’s people who are sealed. The alter is a one of those symbols. Being at God’s throne is another location mentioned a number of times in Revelation. Jesus’ blood, is another. Knowledge is a large part of that protection plan. Where we get that knowledge is covered in a number of chapters in Revelation. Chapter 11 identified the Old and New Testament as one of those protective measures. But no where does John write about an institution. Common sense would tells us that churches manipulate God’s Word to attract people. To call them into their church. We know the definition of a church is to call people out. When we look at how a few words have been manipulated and for what purpose, a few questions should cross our minds. If we compare those actions to what we’ve learned while reading Revelation like a book, like it has been written, we can see a cross section of Satan’s forces at work. Take a few words out of Revelation. Tell people how difficult it is to understand a book about prophecy. Give people with advanced training the task of unraveling those prophecies. Make it sound like it takes years of training to understand more than three words in Revelation. Satan does his best to place his own seals on Revelation and the rest of the Bible. Satan never earned the right nor was given the authority to remove a single seal from the book John described in Revelation. That angered Satan. So he created ways of placing his own seals upon the entire book of Revelation. But each of Satan’s seals are fake. Those who have God’s seal can and will see how fake those seals are. They will be like John. God’s seal comes with an angel to stand next to you and explain each and every word, symbol, and event in every one of those stories and visions in Revelation. If those warnings apply to you, you will hear and understand those warnings. If those events coincide with a message you need to deliver, you will understand each and every one of those symbols, the events, and how that event relates to the world around you. Compare Revelation to the other books John has written. John’s Gospel told us about how the Holy Spirit worked behind the scenes in Jesus’ ministry on earth. John’s letters talk about Jesus’ love and concern for this planet. Revelation is no different. It is a combination of Jesus’ love and the Holy Spirit working in your ministry. When your ministry in this world parallels Jesus’ ministry in Heaven, you will know it. You will feel it. You will know Jesus’ true witnesses in a heartbeat. All the doubts and confusion about Revelation will disappear. You will hear God’s voice and feel His seal upon you.

Parallels in Revelation: Chapters 1-12

How to Approach God’s Throne

I felt I had to take a break from Revelation to add in a sort of educational chapter. After reading and writing about Revelation chapter 4, I asked a number of people if it was still possible to approach God’s throne. For the most part, people didn’t want to answer, or didn’t know the answer. But a few did.

Approaching God’s throne is a personal matter. Each person has their own unique way of approaching God’s throne. Some people skip God’s throne while still meeting personally with Jesus while others grasp onto the theme in Hebrews chapter 4 telling us to, “boldly stand before God’s throne.” Let’s face it, personally talking with God and Jesus have been a rather obscure subject to say the least. Either people will agree or disagree. Few people will look at the subject of approaching God’s throne and a learning opportunity. There are a few, but that is a minority of people. An even smaller minority are those who want to share their moments at God’s throne. Those people are few and far between.

When it comes to direct communication with God, doubters go as far back as Moses. No one heard God’s voice for about 400 years. Then one day this well known figure, who could have, and should have done something about slavery in Egypt when he was next to Pharaoh’s throne shows up dressed like a common shepherd. What happened Moses? You were a prince then disappeared. Now your back here telling us God is going to free us from slavery. Why didn’t you do something about it when you were a prince?

It seems God placed Moses in a tight spot. Moses could have taken action when he was next to Pharaoh’s throne. In a sense, Moses did take action by killing a single Egyptian. That didn’t solve anything. Moses had no idea about the big picture. Maybe God had a plan to use Moses when he was in Pharaoh’s court. We have no way of knowing if Moses altered God’s plan to a certain degree. That will be interesting to find out when we get to Heaven. In the long run, God had a plan that worked. In hindsight, Moses placed himself in a tight spot.

No Israelite in Egypt heard God’s voice for over 400 years. Of course they prayed. If you were a slave, you would be praying to. But God didn’t answer. So when Moses showed up and said he talked with God, people doubted. We are still plagued with that mentality. Try sharing something new with someone who thinks they have a direct line with God. Some people have the attitude, “if God didn’t go through them with a message, that message must have come from the other side.” I’ve run into that mentality many times. I ask them how they communicate with God, and they normally shot back with a few verses about false prophets, which has nothing to do with the subject at hand. But those verses about false prophets is their man made defense mechanism they use for every circumstance they don’t agree with.

Parallels in Revelation: Chapters 1-12
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It took a few choice miracles or plagues, depending on their point of view to convince people, Moses was meeting with God and delivering messages from God. And then there was Pharaoh. The guy who knew each and every one of those Egyptian gods were fake. He thought he was in control and that God Moses talked about was as fake as the gods Pharaoh and his family made up. Pharaoh was a tough nut to crack. In his world everything outside his control was fake. People still have that mentality today.

Eventually God got Israel out of Egypt and into an environment they could mellow out and think. One day God decided to show Himself to Israel so they could believe He was real and could talk to them. Of course every Israelite that left Egypt with Moses saw all those plagues. They saw Egyptian crops being ruined as their crops flourished. They saw Egyptian cattle dying when not one of their cows or sheep showed any signs of being sick. They saw water turn to blood, hail from from the sky, frogs, locusts, and other bugs controlled by God. They should have had a firm belief in God. Something went wrong. After spending their entire lives learning how to fear every god from A to Z, that fear clung onto Israel like the chains that kept them as slaves. Since they were used to someone telling them what the gods demanded, they asked Moses to play that part as a go between themselves and God.

God offered the priesthood to every Israelite that came out of Egypt. And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. (Exodus 19:6 KJV). They turned down that offer.

We see the same pattern repeated when Jesus began His ministry. And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. But he passing through the midst of them went his way, (Luke 4:28-30 KJV).

No one seemed to hear God’s voice for a few hundred years between the end of the Old Testament and the beginning of the New Testament. Once again God was silent for a time, and people just thought that pattern would continue. Or they invented new ways to make people think, God spoke to a select few in some mysterious way. So don’t ask for details, just follow their lead.

Parallels in Revelation: Chapters 1-12
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After the apostles, the same thing happened. No one seemed to hear God’s voice. It seemed the contact with the Holy Spirit Jesus promised was meant for a few choice people, and when they died, this world was left to figure things out on their own. The world grew dark and it seemed it needed a new religious leader. So a group of people got together and selected the most likely candidates God would eventually speak to. One after another was set in solitude to see if they heard God’s voice. After a number of attempts, one man came out of the room and told the committee, he heard God’s voice. That was good enough for that pious committee. They made that man their new leader and created a new religion based on the belief that God talks to one man here in earth, and the rest of the world has to follow dictates from that single man for God to bless this earth. That concept has stuck with this world ever since, and people who don’t fall in line are looked upon as outcasts or part of a cult. The devil won. He convinced the majority of this world that concept of one man between themselves and God was the only choice this world had. For some reason people read the Bible, and instead of taking God’s Word, and following God’s instructions, they decided to take the word of slaves. They decided that the choice that group of slaves made was the only choice. Scholars skipped right over God’s offer to be a nation of priests and clung onto the decision that Israel made. They convinced themselves and much of this world that Israel’s decision was somehow inspired. Reading that story the way it was written shows how Israel rebelled against God. But Satan took out the few words he needed to form a new religion, and had his agents spread it all over the world. Satan thought he had his prison door shut and locked. But God has always been at His best when it came to reaching people in prison.

Today it is rare to find people who approach God’s throne. It is rare to find people who know anything about approaching God’s throne. Or are open minded enough to learn anything about approaching God’s throne. Why is that? We just covered a few of the concepts the devil found to be effective. There are more. Take out a few choice lines in the Old Testament, add in a long speech about how God chose a few choice prophets to talk to, and you have a theology that forges the same chains that one man concept created. In the long run, the devil doesn’t want anyone to approach God’s throne, talk to Jesus, work with the Holy Spirit, or read scripture. Those are a few things the devil fears the most.

As soon as you enter God’s presence, you are in a place the devil can’t touch you. His influence is gone, and you are opening yourself to total, untainted truth. The thing is, you have to learn to put away so many things this world has taught you. But when you approach God’s throne, you take the first step to separating truth from fiction.

I’ve talked to a number of people over the past week to get their view points on approaching God’s throne. It’s good to know God still has a number of people who will talk to Him. It may seem rather strange to think of God as feeling lonely or rejected. After all, God has billions or requests to deal with from billions of people everyday. God hears their prayers. People ask for favors, blessings, and ask God to deal with countless situations every second of every day. God knows how to deal with each of those situations. If you ever approached God’s throne, you know how God will tell you how to deal with your situation. God will give you step by step instructions you can’t argue with. If you follow those instructions, the problem is solved. The problem is, the devil is watching, and launches a hundred more attacks.

At times God will take you back a few steps to remind you how you got yourself into that mess. God is also a Teacher and Father who never wants you to repeat your mistakes. Correction from God may be a little difficult for some people to accept. That is one reason some people avoid God’s throne. You just have to learn to get over your pride.

I have may own way of approaching God’s throne. It may not be right for you, but at least you have something to think about. I look at Jesus as a way to God’s throne. To me it makes sense to cleanse myself, to make myself pure enough to approach God’s throne. After all, Aaron the high priest had to wash himself and dress in the proper way to enter the Tabernacle and to offer a sacrifice. I ask Jesus to be forgiven for my sins and to be cleansed. Then I find myself in God’s presence. Not so much to make requests, but to listen and learn. I may ask one question, then another. I may go through three or four questions before I hear a response. When I do hear a response, I know it is God’s voice. I could never second guess or argue with any of the answers God offers. They make total sense. God backs them up with stories from scripture. God’s answers are often verified by real life events that confirm His answers and messages.

There are of course as many ways to approach God’s throne as there are people. We all have our own unique personalities. One person may see God’s throne as this, another as that. When we approach God’s throne, we have respect for other people and their stories about being at God’s throne. There is no doubt about that.

The thing about books like Revelation is, people tend to get caught up with trying to figure out the future. That’s something the devil has planted in our brains. The devil wants people to believe, if they can figure out the future, that somehow draws them closer to God. That could not be further from the truth. Common sense tells us, God knows everything about the future. So why would anyone think, God wants us to figure out the future, then tell God what the future holds? That is reverse thinking. It is actually insane. All God wants is people to go to Him for answers. But this world has been trained to go to every other source but God. People have been convinced, God doesn’t talk to this world. But David tells us different story.

The one thing I ask of the LORD– the thing I seek most– is to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, delighting in the LORD’s perfections and meditating in his Temple. For he will conceal me there when troubles come; he will hide me in his sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock. Then I will hold my head high above my enemies who surround me. At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy, singing and praising the LORD with music. Hear me as I pray, O LORD. Be merciful and answer me! My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “LORD, I am coming.” (Psalms 27:4-8 NLTse).

If David could enter God’s Sanctuary, why not us? If God protected David, why not us? God does not play favorites. God can’t love one person more than another. So why does the world teach us, God favors some people over others? That doesn’t make sense when we take the Bible as a whole. It’s time to make a decision. Is your view of God based on what the world wants you to think, what the devil wants you to believe, or direct contact and communication with God? What is our source of information?

Parallels in Revelation: Chapters 1-12

God’s People are Sealed

Chapter 7 is where the Book of Revelation begins to take a turn. The sixth seal was just opened and described. It is by far the strangest seal with twists and turns all its own. Trying to figure out what a darkened sun, blood moon, falling stars, and an earthquake have in common is not an easy thing to do. For some people it is so easy, they pass through that seal in a nanosecond without ever giving it another thought. But that’s not what we learned from the first five seals, or the first five chapters in Revelation. We learned to take our time. To allow the Bible to provide each and every explanation. We learned how the Bible points us in one direction to find the answer and more than confirmed the answers and interpretation for every symbol.

The Book of Revelation is not much different than any other literary work. Like every other book, it follows a theme. Like every other author, Jesus has His personal style of writing, and sticks to it. Like many other books, Revelation uses symbols to add back ground and meaning to the story. And like every author who uses symbols, those symbols are explained within the story. The author explains what those symbols mean. Why does this world have respect for every other classic novelist, but when it comes to Jesus, that respect flies out the window. It doesn’t make any sense to take any book or novel, take out a few choice sentences, then offer long winded explanations on what they think it means. Or what they think the author should have written. Or what they think the author should have added. Or tell people how some strange culture effected the thought pattern of the author. That explanation is totally ridiculous. But I’ve heard it before. People try to identify John as the author of Revelation. They take Jesus out of the picture. Then they try to present themselves as the authority on the times and society John lived in. Then they try to play psychologist. They make it sound like John had some type of disorder or suffered from illusions. Then they try to tell people what John meant to write. For one thing, they never lived in the time or society John lived in. How could they be the expert they claim to be? To claim Jesus choose a man suffering from some mental illness is utterly ridiculous. Jesus could have cured any type of illness in a second. To make the claim, “John misquoted Jesus,” is the greatest mistake I’ve seen people make. Jesus is the Author of Revelation. Jesus proof read and checked every jot and tittle John penned. There are no mistakes. The inspired Word stands perfect. That is exactly what people have a difficult time understanding. How can this sinful world hope to identify and recognize perfection when it appears? What does this world have to measure against perfection? Nothing. So this world invents new ways to pick apart Revelation and other books in the Bible. This world invents new ways to pick apart, dismantle, question, criticize, and critique each and every word throughout the Bible. No one stands a chance of standing up against an entire book in the Bible. No one can argue with any book in the Bible when it is taken as a whole. So they cut it into little tiny pieces like they are preparing to view it under a microscope. That is nothing but a distraction.

Parallels in Revelation: Chapters 1-12
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The most difficult thing for people to do when they approach the Bible is to forget everything they have been taught about the Bible. People cannot lay doctrines, ideas, and concepts aside long enough to read an entire story or scene in the Bible and accept it in the literary form it was written. One popular Bible Study method is called higher criticism. It is so popular and common, they don’t try to hide the fact their study methods are meant to criticize the Bible, its Author, and every inspired word.

I don’t claim to be an expert on higher criticism, nor do I want to be. Talk to twelve people using that method and you’ll wind up with twelve different explanations. They hardly agree with themselves. How are they ever going to agree with God? Take a critic. Any critic. No two critics are going to write the same review on a restaurant, motel, plane flight, book or any product in existence. Why expect a hoard of critics to agree on God’s inspired word?

The critical form of Bible study is based on human nature, personal experiences, and views. Many of those circumstances are products of the critic’s choices in life. They created their own life, their personal environment, and life style. They claim to be experts on ancient Hebrew, Greek, Roman, and other cultures. But they never lived in that period or experienced those cultures. Their concepts and ideas are based on books they’ve read, and in many cases, stories based on a few artifacts dug from the ground and accompanied by long winded explanations with few facts to back them up.

Take a rich man. A man who tasted the best in life and excepts the best in every phase of life. Sit him down and put a burger from a fast food chain in front of him. Have him taste that burger, then write a review. Take a homeless man. A man who searches a dumpster for his next meal. Give him the same burger. Will he write the same review as the rich man? No. Views on the Bible based on the higher criticism method show the same results. Whether or not they admit it, their comments are based on the culture they live in. Not some culture they claim to be experts on.

To accept any story in the Bible, we have to know how to leave all the concepts, ideas, and doctrines forged into our heads over the years behind in Egypt and Babylon where they belong. Those were empires famous for forcing religion upon people. Modern Christian religions do the same thing today. They repeat the same ideas over and over again until the masses are convinced, it is the truth. And there is never any reason to research the matter any further. But let’s look a little deeper for a moment. Are those concepts based on scripture? Do they in fact allow scripture to support and verify scripture? Or do they use the age old approach of using one example to show how scripture identified a symbol. Then they switch over to the critical method of their choice, and use methods outside the Bible to make whatever point they want you to believe. It happens all the time. The old bait and switch trick. To be on the safe side, you have to put all of that behind you whenever you open the Bible. You are approaching God’s throne for answers. And this world and its opinions no longer matter.

Parallels in Revelation: Chapters 1-12
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Revelation 7:1-4 MKJV And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth so that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. (2) 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, (3) saying, Do not hurt the earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. (4) And I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred and forty-four thousands, having been sealed out of every tribe of the sons of Israel.

Between the sixth and seventh seal, Jesus inserted another story. Why is there a chapter between the sixth and seventh seals? That has stunned and confused people for a number of years. It confuses me. Some authors use this form of writing to highlight important points they want to emphasize. Why would Jesus be any different?

This chapter begins with the words, “after these things.” Which can be taken in a number of ways. If chapter 6 ended with a sequence of events, this would be the next event to follow. If it was a comment by the author, it would mean that after John saw the vision of the six seals opening, the scene changed and he was introduced to a new vision. That explanation reminds us how Jesus is in control of everything John sees and hears.

John is in Heaven. Looking over the edge of Heaven, so to speak, John sees the earth. Four angels are at four corners holding back something we can’t see, the wind. We can’t see the wind, but we can see effects winds have on this planet. Will there be winds in Heaven? Just a question to ask to help get your mind off what you have been taught about this chapter.

Those winds are identified as, “winds of the earth.” They surround the earth and are placed there to effect the earth. How John was able to see winds, without seeing their effect is a mystery. We can’t see the effects winds have on this world until after they pass. Then we see how the wind moves flags, trees, and at times causes mass destruction. We can feel wind on or skin. At times we can hear wind moving objects. But those winds are being restrained. How do you restrain wind? No man can. So how can any man possibly translate the meaning of those winds based on personal experience? All of mankind’s experiences with wind are based on after effects. John is being shown a scene that includes wind before it is allowed to do its thing. No one on earth has any experience with any type of wind before its creation. We have no choice but to place the interpretation of those winds in Jesus’ hands. What an introduction to a new chapter.

Sticking with the subject of wind, the symbol is interpreted and identified using the simple rule of repetition. The phrases, “to hurt the earth and the sea,” and, “ Do not hurt the earth or the sea or the trees,” identified the four winds. Somehow John caught a glimpse of the damage those winds were about to cause on the earth.

Now that we’ve seen how Jesus arranged this story to introduce and define a symbol, we can look at one of my favorite symbols, God’s seal. It has long intrigued me. Not the symbol itself but the fact, most people waste countless hours studying the mark of the beast, while ignoring God’s seal. It makes me wonder whose side they are on. What is God’s seal? Can we see it?

We have to look at, examine, and respect Jesus’ literary style. He first introduced wind. Something we can’t see, but we see the effects. Jesus then introduced God’s seal. In effect, Jesus defined that seal as something we can’t see, but we can see the effects. That makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is the inability of theologians to explain the simple literary process Jesus used, and how to study and accept that style over all the gibberish we receive from this world.

How do we explain God’s seal? There doesn’t seem to be a lot written about that seal. But when we accept that seal as a symbol of something we can’t see, but we do see the effects, that may be enough to lead us to another story in the Bible. My choice is found in John chapter 3.

John 3:5-8 NLTse Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. (6) Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. (7) So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ (8) The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.”

Like everything else, when we look at the full story, we get the answers we are looking for. In this case I didn’t include the full story. But I did include Jesus’ answer to one of Nicodemus’ questions.

We are questioning God’s seal. What is God’s seal? We know that seal identifies people who will make it to Heaven. When we looked at another story about wind, we found that story is based on the same context as the Revelation chapter 7, who will enter Heaven’s gates. In John chapter 3, Jesus tells us who. Those who are born of water and the Spirit. We are going no where without the Spirit. As for water. That is another symbol all together. But we can see why the angels are told to hold those winds back from harming the water while the sealing process is on progress. The water has something to do with those who receive God’s seal.

Revelation chapter 7 has a rather long list of tribes with a designated number from each tribe who received God’s seal. Did you notice sealed is written in the past tense. Does that mean those people were sealed before the vision? Or does the way it is written give us a new clue?

I know there are a million people who think they figured out what those numbers represent. With so many guesses out there, which one is right? Which one can explain exactly how Jesus defined those numbers. They are His people. Jesus should know. But we have all those people insisting they have an answer. At times they act like those people numbered in Revelation chapter 7 are their people. Some even make that claim. But right after those numbers are listed, Jesus introduced a new number.

Revelation 7:9-10 NLTse (9) After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands. (10) And they were shouting with a mighty shout, “Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb!”

How could any number of those interpretations be correct when they ignore the sentence directly after that mysterious number? And most of them are not Jews. They are, “from every nation and tribe and people and language.” When people remove facts, they can make everything from the Bible appear as if it supports their concept.

At the very least those people know something about salvation. Wasn’t that what Nicodemus went to talk to Jesus about? Nicodemus knew there was more to salvation than what he had been taught. There was more to salvation then Nicodemus taught. The Spirit was able to make a connection with Nicodemus before that meeting with Jesus. Something was working inside Nicodemus. Something he couldn’t explain. But something Jesus was able to explain. Important facts we have to consider whenever we read the Bible.

Those people from that mass number knew about God’s throne, and were able to sing praises in front of God’s throne. Something a lot of people have a difficult time explaining. Something a lot of people never experienced. But something the Bible explains and John saw scenes of. In this case the number is once again symbolic. The crowd John saw was symbolic. Everything in Revelation chapter 7 is symbolic. And everything is explained when you approach God’s throne.

Revelation 7:11-12 NLTse (11) And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living beings. And they fell before the throne with their faces to the ground and worshiped God. (12) They sang, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and strength belong to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

Jesus added a countless number of angels to that countless number of people in front of God’s throne. Then Jesus listed a specific number of elders and living beings? Why did Jesus use such a wide variety of numbers in such a short space? It could be showing the countless number of people who do know and follow God. It could remind us not to number, and for lack of a better phrase, judge people, or try to determine who is sealed and who isn’t. Those numbers are designed to remind us about a lot of facts.

The song they sung shows us those angels, elders, and beings know something about God. It is very different than the song people from this world sang. A reminder that we have to learn to work with those from Heaven to get the full story.

Revelation 7:13-17 NLTse (13) Then one of the twenty-four elders asked me, “Who are these who are clothed in white? Where did they come from?” (14) And I said to him, “Sir, you are the one who knows.” Then he said to me, “These are the ones who died in the great tribulation. They have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb and made them white. (15) “That is why they stand in front of God’s throne and serve him day and night in his Temple. And he who sits on the throne will give them shelter. (16) They will never again be hungry or thirsty; they will never be scorched by the heat of the sun. (17) For the Lamb on the throne will be their Shepherd. He will lead them to springs of life-giving water. And God will wipe every tear from their eyes.”

To emphasize the cooperation between Heaven and this world, Jesus included an example. John had no idea who those people were. One of those elders had to explain it to John. We have a reliable explanation and interpretation direct from God’s throne. How many times does Jesus have to explain this before it hits home? Jesus knows how difficult it is for some people to let go of this world. Jesus has first hand experience with people like that. They killed them. Jesus had to die to show how He knows about those people and understand them. Jesus also forgave them. There are so many points we had to learn before that seventh seal was opened.