Sunday, January 21, 2018

The Coming Beasts, Perplexity, Despair And Hope

Below are a couple of excellent reads from Rapture Forums, which may be one of the best sites around. 

By Jack Kelley

Then another sign appeared in heaven, an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. (Rev 12:3) – KJV 3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. wonder: or, sign And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.

13 1 And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. name: or, names 2 And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. 3 And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.

At first glance all this looks pretty confusing, but the heads, horns, numbers, and crowns are all symbolic. When used this way head means knowledge/wisdom, while horn means authority. Seven is the number of perfection, and 10 denotes completion, meaning nothing is lacking. Seven is also more often used in the spiritual sense, and ten usually refers to earthly things. The seven heads and ten horns symbolize perfect wisdom and complete authority.
The facts that both Satan and the beast have seven heads and ten horns show us that when Satan is cast to Earth, he will immediately in-dwell the beast, who we call the anti-Christ. This is the point at which the Great Tribulation begins on Earth. Some people see the beast as a system or government, but the use of so many personal pronouns in Rev 13 indicates the beast is a person, with all of Satan’s power at his command. Then there’s the fact that a second beast, known as the false prophet, will build a statue of the anti-Christ, and cause it to breathe so it can speak. (Rev 13:15Rev 13:15 English: King James Version (1611) – KJV 15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.)

How do you build a talking statue of a system, or a government?

The crowns denote rulership. Notice that Satan has seven crowns and they’re on his heads, while the anti-Christ will have ten crowns on his horns. Also, in the description of Satan the heads come first, but with the anti-Christ the horns are first. The Lord tends to list things in descending order of importance. This means that Satan will rule out of his super natural wisdom, his predominant power (Ezek 28:12,17 – KJV 12 Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. 17 Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.), and the anti-Christ will rule because Satan will give him the authority to do so.

The Beast Of Rev. 17

Then the angel carried me away in the Spirit into a desert. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns.(Rev 17:3Rev 17:3 English: King James Version (1611) – KJV 3 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.)
Here we see a beast ridden by a woman. This beast also has seven heads and ten horns, but no crowns, and is covered with blasphemous names. This beast can not be the anti-Christ but has to be another view of Satan. We can see this because the seven heads are listed first, as they were with the dragon in Rev 12:3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.)
Furthermore Rev 17:8 tells us this beast once was (before John’s time), now is not (in John’s time), will come up out of the abyss (after John’s time). The anti-Christ was not around before John’s time, but Satan was, and from Rev 13 we know he’ll come back. But what caused him to go into hiding?

Condemned And Defeated

On the night before His death Jesus promised the Holy Spirit and said that the Prince of this world (Satan) would now stand condemned. (John 16:11) Paul said that at the cross, Jesus made a public spectacle of the (spiritual) powers and authorities, triumphing over them by the cross. (Col 2:15)
In his first letter to the Church John wrote about the spirit of the anti-Christ and said it was already in the world (1 John 2:18). Paul agreed, calling it the secret power of lawlessness that was already at work in the world (2 Thes 2:7). In the past, Satan had enjoyed an unrestricted presence in the world. But from John’s time on that would not be the case. He would be limited to working in secret through disobedient men until sometime in the future when he’ll appear again to the great astonishment of the unbelieving world. What force has restrained him from John’s day until ours to the point where the vast majority of people in the world today, believer or not, deny his very existence? Will the world be astonished when he appears again because they didn’t think he was real?
According to Paul, this restraining power is the promised Holy Spirit, resident in the Church. He’ll continue to restrain the secret power of lawlessness until He’s taken out of the way (literally out of the midst) of the world. And then at the proper time, the beast will once again be revealed to do his worst before finally being destroyed (2 Thes 2:7). Rev 13:4 says the unbelieving world’s reaction to Satan’s reappearance will be to bow down and worship him.

Mystery Babylon

The subject of Rev. 17 is mystery Babylon, the false religion. I believe this second vision of the beast was given to John at such a late point in the Book of Revelation to provide some background on the Satanic nature of religious Babylon and show why it has to be completely destroyed.
The seven heads represent seven hills on which the woman sits. The woman signifies the pagan religion that originated in Babylon. Later it was moved to Rome where in the 4rd century it was merged with the church and hidden behind the veil of Christianity. The fact that no crowns are mentioned and the woman is the rider (and therefore in control) indicate that one of Satan’s strategies is to work through this false religion to deceive the world.

This is confirmed by the fact that the seven heads also represent seven Kingdoms. (Rev 17:9) Five of them had fallen by John’s time, one was currently in power, and the remaining one would come later. The five previous kingdoms were Egypt, Assyria, neo-Babylon, Persia and Greece. The current one was Rome, and the one to come is the one we call the revived Roman Empire. Each one had a version of the pagan Babylonian religion that influenced the decisions of the kingdom.
The ten horns are ten Kings who in John’s time had not yet received a kingdom but for one hour will receive authority as kings along with the beast. (Rev 17:12) This hour is the hour of trial that’s going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the Earth, out of which the Lord has sworn to keep us (Rev 3:10). The Greek word translated “from” in Rev 3:10means out of the place, time, or cause of the event referred to, in this case the hour of trial. The Greek word for hour also has a figurative meaning and that’s the way it’s being used here. Figuratively it means a certain definite time or season. The time or season being referenced is the Great Tribulation.
After the Church is gone and the restraint against Satan is lifted he’ll come out from hiding and inhabit an earthly king to rule openly again. We first saw this in Rev 13 and in Rev 17 we can see it confirmed.
The beast who once was, and now is not, is an eighth king. He belongs to the seven and is going to his destruction.(Rev. 17:11)
Together Satan and these kings will take up arms against the Lord, but he’ll overcome them because He’s Lord of lords and King of kings. And when He does, we’ll be with Him.
“They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.” (Rev 17:14) In this comparison of Rev. 13 and Rev. 17 we’ve seen that Satan has been working on several levels to thwart the plan of God. One of his most successful strategies has been to use religion as a tool. And we’ve also seen more evidence that the Church has to be gone before his end game can begin. You can almost hear the footsteps of the Messiah.

By Ronald Graham
“And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;” Luke 21:25.
These days are certainly bewildering. It just keeps getting better doesn’t it? Everyone reading this commentary is certainly aware of all the distressing news now hitting us between the eyes. One might call this current round of events mystifying to say the least. Which of us would have ever dreamed that America would someday give up her sovereignty or make it illegal to preach from the Bible? It probably even baffles the mind of even the staunchest of pessimists. Many who consider themselves patriots are watching all this happen yet for the most part are in denial. It just can’t happen to America .
“Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken,” Luke 21:26. Men and women are going to be witnessing some very strange occurrences going on in these last days. 
As everyone knows men’s hearts fail them all the time, but what the Bible says is going to be much more severe and with a much greater frequency rate. Men will be confused, and confounded, and their minds will be overwhelmed by the crazy things they witness that just aren’t normal, at least not the normal they’ve been accustomed to.
Living and growing up in America today, is there any reason to be in despair? How does a sixty-ish year old man who grew up in the fifties and who became accustomed, as a young man living in America, to all the freedoms this country had to offer, possibly get used to a totalitarian government taking over his once free country?
Soon this middle-age man will be moving into a mode of a well deserved retirement and possibly even slowing down a bit. Looking at the events of the day, would this gentleman have any reason to despair? The destruction of the United States of America is at hand and even the bravest of hearts can turn to despair when they see something that was at one time so fine, turned into to something so dreadful it makes true patriots ill.
I wonder sometimes how people cope with current events. How many may be in the midst of or even totally engulfed with a deep feeling of despair these days. Is there any light at the end of the tunnel? Some may have thoroughly lost hope. But what is it that they’ve lost hope in? 
Is it that they see no way out of the current worldwide economic crises? Perhaps they despair over the state of moral decay in America today. Although many didn’t see it coming, and even more still don’t see it, socialism has been thrust upon us. Even many believers seem to be at the end of their ropes. Despair seems to be the flavor of the day. Those who are lost and perishing have no real hope and so perplexity and despair can certainly set in and devastate men’s lives.
What then, should we despair at all the insanity currently permeating our land? Absolutely not. “Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;” Romans 12:12. I once heard it said that to despair is to turn one’s back on God. The definition of despair is: a profound feeling of hopelessness. Anguish, gloom, depression, despondency, desolation, and misery are but a few of the synonyms that go along with this same definition. As believers an attitude of despair certainly doesn’t befit us.
We are secure in our life in Christ. The kind of hope believers have in Christ gives us a sense of security that covers us like a safety blanket. As we see the destruction of America coming down the road our anticipation grows for the soon return of our Lord and savior Jesus the Christ. We are mocked and ridiculed by the unbeliever, but we are undeterred.
Many people have placed their hope for the future in a man. Their kind of hope is of no avail. Man will always fail to hold up his end. Sooner or later, no matter who the man is, there will be disillusionment. One man has been thrust upon us, seemingly bestowed with a supernatural power to influence the weak minded to follow him and his foolishness. Thus it will take much longer for those individuals to see the fallibility of such a man. Sadly many of these weak minded souls will never see the truth. A huge number of Americans are so completely blinded by this man that it seems he’s placed a hypnotic trance over them. After all these months they still don’t see the idiocy of his mindset.
Can you remember watching all the hysterical wailing by both men and women as Obama won the presidential election? If you’ve forgotten the insanity and would like to be reminded just Google it or do a search of YouTube. There are plenty of videos that will remind the masses of just how much influence this man wields over the weak minded. Has Obama told the truth or fulfilled even one of his campaign promises? Only to the homosexual community. Come on people, talk about disillusionment. It’s time for those of you who voted for him to open your eyes to the truth. There is absolutely no hope for the future of American, or the world for that matter, with Obama at the helm.
Soon, if not already, you who voted for Obama will come to the realization that you’ve made a huge mistake. When this happens, you may well be overcome with despair, knowing you’ve helped with the destruction of America.
“Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time” 1 John 2:18. Obama is certainly one of them, anti-Christ that is. Everything he does is in direct opposition to God, that’s anti-Christ. That, my brethren, is what the Apostle John is referring to in his epistle to the church. He speaks of the spirit of anti-Christ. Obama is filled with the spirit of anti Jesus Christ. We can see it in all his works and attitudes. Unless you are born again his agenda will be difficult to comprehend. You who voted for this man be on your guard, because as you begin to realize how evil he is despair may well overcome you, especially as you realize how terribly deceived you’ve been.
Having lived in a country of many freedoms, most assumed it would remain forever as a free nation. Christians figured it would remain so at least until the rapture of the Church. The completely open satanic nature of this man will turn out to be a tragedy for America . Those who believe in him, those who’ve placed their trust and even their lives in his hands, are being lulled into a condition of passivity and false prosperity of political rhetoric and lies about our improving economic conditions. The awakening that hits them will be severe and painful. Many will think peace and safety but it will all be empty lies. When those weak minded individuals finally realize they’ve been duped it may well be too late.
Our freedoms are very quickly eroding. Some are already gone and unless the Rapture happens within the next year or so everyone will feel the wrath of Obama’s changes firsthand. This ultimate change thrust upon America will remove all our freedoms; we the people will have little or no remaining rights. Despair will set in on a huge scale and many nonbelievers may very well despair unto death. “Men’s hearts failing them for fear” Luke 21:26a. Many of my brethren can’t or won’t even consider the possibility of the coming persecution affecting the Church. Little do they know it’s already here.
Let’s travel back in time a couple thousand years and take a look at how the believers of the first century Church were treated. They were persecuted and martyred for their steadfast faith in Jesus the Christ. “Yes Ron, but that was back in the days when knowledge and wisdom were sorely lacking. Men feared the unknown. People had a fear of Christians and their beliefs”. Fine, let’s move forward in time now a few hundred years. What was happening to the believers of that era? How were they treated at the hands of folks who were a little more enlightened than, say, the first century persecutors? More persecution and more martyrdom. Do the research for yourself and you’ll find that from the early church’s history right up until our present day there have been literally millions upon millions of Christians killed, martyred for their faith in Jesus Christ.
“Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you;” John 15:20. Why, in the name of God, do so many of my brethren in the United States at least, feel they are exempt from such an end? Personally, I see the church in the good ol’ U.S. of A., especially in these last days, as quite arrogant. To think for a moment that in this day and age Christians can’t possibly be martyred if they live in the U.S. is to ignore the truth of the scriptures. All born again believers are God’s children. Even though millions of believers have perished under the sword in the past two thousand years, and thousands of believers are being put to death today in many different countries around the world, the church in America is immune to such treatment. That type of persecution can never happen in America . Not in the land of the free and the home of the brave. Correct?
Well, guess what? No born again believer, who stands up for their Lord and vocally proclaims the message of the cross and does not cower, will be exempt from the persecution that’s on the way. Satan delights in stealing the joy of the brethren, we all know that to be true, he’s even more delighted when he can convince the unbelieving masses that those who follow Jesus Christ are evil and a detriment to any normal and progressive society. When he can get people to see his lies as the truth he can convince them of anything. The first thing he’ll want to do is to get rid of the stone walls (believers) that inhibit his unfettered advance. That means he needs to turn perfectly decent law abiding people into animals on the prowl to persecute the Church, and if possible remove those arrogant Christians from existence.
Knowing this ahead of time can lead believers to despair, but it shouldn’t. We, as Christ’s followers, know where we are going. We know this world is not our home and we should be in a mode of anticipation as we see the end approaching. To despair because of what’s happening before our eyes displays a lack of faith in Christ. This can be caused by a lack of knowledge of God’s word and even a lack of belief in what the Bible tells us will come about in the last days. Believing that God’s word is irrelevant and partly fable or mostly a myth is a real good indication some will end up in very deep depression and despair. Remember to despair is to turn ones back on God. Allegorize the Bible and you will find much to despair about.
The following quote shows up in many of the emails I receive, “I’ve read the end of the Book and God wins.” Yep, I agree God’s plan is being accomplished. God wins in the end as they say. But don’t you see, God won before the foundation of the world. As a matter of fact there was never even a contest. In God’s mind there was no win or lose scenario. God always knew Satan’s destiny. This was no surprise to God. He even placed all the names of His redeemed in the Lambs book of life before the foundation of the world. Nothing surprises God. And no, I’m not a Calvinist.
Believers can take heart in knowing that God knows each of us intimately and is completely aware of whatever our plight is. If we are living happy blessed lives or unhappy lives full of despair God knows where we are and what we are thinking. “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:” Romans 8:16. And I can assure you God isn’t going to take it well when He sees any of His children wallowing in the depths of despair. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1. God expects us to stand and be strong in the faith and trusting Him and His word.
If I could convince the brethren to study their Bibles I know that they would become certain that God can take away their despair through His word. Our hope as believers is in Christ, and by reading His word believers can avoid the pitfalls of despair. There’s hope for all believers nestled between the pages of God’s word and you won’t find anything to despair about in the Bible. 
Yes, our hope is in Christ. We are believers because we believe Jesus died, was buried, and rose again on the third day. That’s our hope, that’s our strength. That’s His promise to His people. Fear is to be nonexistent for the believers as we know for certain where we will spend eternity. “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” Romans 8:15.
Day by day as we see this world slipping further and further into the abyss our hope grows exponentially. 
Nothing in this world can touch the soul of a believer, not even the supernatural evil underworld of malevolent demons. Jesus has given us new life and that life is only accessible through Christ. Oh sure, outside influences bombard our minds and even our subconscious at times. It’s a constant battle with supernatural beings that inhabit other dimensions and that constantly infiltrate our dimension to wreck as much havoc as possible. Try as they might, nothing can touch those who belong to Christ.
If we believers could only grasp just a smidgen of how great and powerful God is and how much bigger He is than the lowly demonic hoard that wants to corrupt us and destroy us, we would never despair again. No matter how far this country slips into the wrong direction. We should never despair about our future since we know our future will be nothing less than awesome, full of joy and peace where God’s will is done for eternity.
“And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” Romans 8:17. Don’t despair at the coming evil but rejoice in knowing you are a joint-heir of the King. That when you suffer persecution you suffer with Christ.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35-39.
His Kingdom is within sight. So shout out your love for Christ if you dare. “I love you Lord Jesus and I’m waiting for Your soon return”. Now, shout it again.

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