Because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants. (Rev 2:)
Who, especially if they were to bear the last name of Iscariot would dare to name their son Judas? Yet Judas was at one time a very common name to give a child, especially if that child was Jewish. Judas is the same as Judah, only a Greek form of the name. According to Genesis 29:35 the name means "praise," although my concordance says it means "celebrate." Either way, the word is intended to evoke good feelings and an attitude of pride. We find in Matthew chapter 13 the Pharisees naming the brothers of Jesus, and Judas was one of the names mentioned. Again we have this name brought to the forefront as one who had led a rebellion against the oppressive nation of the time, Judas of Galilee, a public hero among the Jews. History tells us of two great Jewish heroes who went by the name of Judas Maccabees who saved the nation from the ax of oppression. In the Gospels we read that two of the disciples of Jesus bore the name Judas, and in the Epistles we find letters written from one by the name of Jude, another form of the word Judas.
Who was Judah, and why had the name come to be so prevalent and so popular? Judah was a son of Jacob, the namesake of the nations of Israel, God's people, the children of Israel. Judah was the tribe from which the king was to be chosen, from which David was of. Jesus was of the tribe of Judah. The Temple, God's domain, the place He called His home, was in the land of Judah. In fact, the entire people of God, those we call (and who call themselves) Jews have their name taken because of their being from the long-unconquerable land of Judah.
Yet the actions, the misdeeds of one single man has caused that name to have fallen into disrepute and considered right along with the word "devil."
Our actions can, and do have consequences, especially if we are high in the public eye.
I've discussed Judas in order to establish how a name can be corrupted by the actions of a single person. On the flip side, a name can become popular and evoke an attitude of great respect by the mere mention of the name. We have David, Solomon, Abraham, Abe Lincoln, Ruth, Esther, and others, many of which I have no doubt are coming to your mind this very moment.
Aside from Judas, perhaps the most notorious of names in the Bible, outside that of Delilah, is Jezebel. One reason for Jezebel's fame is because she has been mentioned in the New Testament as someone to beware of or even to the influence of those like her. Let's take a look at the reference to Jezebel and see what we can learn, shall we?
18And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass; 19I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.
Such a glowing commendation Jesus is giving this church. Wouldn't you like your Lord to say you are charitable, that He recognizes your faith and service? Isn't that what the church is all about? And then to have Him say of you that your works are now even more than they had been, that you are growing in His favor? What can Jesus possibly have against such a church as this? Let's read on, there's more:
20Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. 21And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.
Such an odd turn of events. We have a church doing well, but within that church there is something going on that ought not to be there. Paul's letter to the Corinthians comes to my mind, the one where he chastises the church for allowing a man to openly display his relationship with his father's wife, his step mother (I assume her to be). Is it a sin to be courting a man's step mother? It would seem so, but if we consider that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and many others were married to their half sister, or their first cousins, I can't see how God looks down on such a relationship. But here we're talking about a step-mother, not a near relative. Let's consider some possibilities. Let's say the man is having a relationship with his father's wife right under his nose. Corinth had a reputation for moral corruption, even to having temples where prostitutes did their thing, all in the name of the gods. To them the idea of any kind of sexual act was acceptable, no-holds barred. But this was not a Greek temple of worship, it was a church founded on the principles of God as established by Jesus. Such behavior would not be tolerated. We read of no other sin being exemplified or castigated, just this one. So it would appear that the church, considering their background, is doing rather well. This is especially seen to be true by the second letter Paul wrote commending them on their dealing with the situation at hand.
Another possibility: What if this man's father was no longer alive? Now we have a situation where a man is dating a woman who has no blood relationship with him whatever. For instance, my step-mother was 70 years old when she married my father, and she had never been married, nor to our knowledge (and I assume by having known her that it is true) she had never had a relationship with any man of any kind. A very unusual situation indeed. Let's say my father died shortly after the two had married. I lived on the road, so I rarely ever saw my step-mother. I knew her less than I knew many of my casual acquaintances. What would have been the sin had I married my now widowed step-mother who had never mothered me in any way? Would this have been against God's law? What if my step-mother had been fifteen years younger than my father, who was about 65 when he remarried. Now my step-mother is only five years older than I am. How does that change the picture, if it does at all?
Of course we assume this man was not of this latter portrayal but rather his father is alive and well, and perhaps even consenting to this relationship. But even if it was a relationship of no consequence, the picture of what is being allowed by the church, with no one even saying a thing about it, opens the door to more serious behavior, there being no end in sight because of there being no limits set (see Amos 2:7). We see this in the churches today. When I was young it was a part of the duty of the church to confront people that might even give an appearance of wickedness, behavior that might compromise one's testimony, and the testimony of the church body that allowed this behavior. I now attend a church that says nothing to nobody about what they are doing wrong. It's an old established church, one with people who try to understand the Word of God, and live what they find. I've attended this church for a year and a half, and I've found it to have failed, as have all the others (other than those they call cults) when it comes to confronting others about their lifestyle, even to turning a blind eye to those things they desire to avoid.
Today I received a directory with pictures and addresses and the like of each of the members of the church. Very nice. And I read what was on one of the pages of this book. Let me quote a portion of what it says:
"We engage to watch over one another in brotherly love...."
What does this mean to you, to watch over one another? Of course it goes on to say to pray for one another and other such taken-for-granted actions. And one might well interpret these words to mean no more than that. But let's consider a family, which the Church is to be, the Family of God. What do we expect of our own earthly family? If I'm doing something that will lead to a life of distress, or that might injure myself or someone else, would you, as a family member, turn a blind eye to what I was doing? What kind of family would that be? Of course I might well (and knowing me, I very well might) say it's none of your business and to butt out. Then I could go joyfully into my oblivion, and blame you for not saying something to stop me. But you would then know that you did what you were supposed to do, and the blame would rest entirely on me for being so bullheaded. Your conscience would be clean. But what if you said nothing to me, figuring it was none of your business. What would your feelings be about yourself when I finally got my comeuppance? What do you think God would have to say to you (Ezek chapter 33)?
"Am I my brother's keeper?" Cain inquired of God. We see all through the Bible, especially in the Old Testament that, yes, we are our brother's keeper. If we've been given a job, this is true especially of the Church, and we're not doing that job, what will be the outcome at the Judgement?
"A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump." When we let a little bit of what doesn't belong remain, it takes over everything that should be there. This applies to any aspect of life, the ball always drops to the bottom of the barrel, the rotten apple will always rot the good apples. The good apples never heal the bad.
"But if I go to the club with the guys and show them my good ways, it might change them and they'll become Christians too." How we can lie to ourself in order to continue doing what we feel like doing but know we shouldn't.
"To teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication." What church would seduce their members to commit fornication? Aren't all churches dedicated to teaching just the opposite of teaching their congregation to commit fornication? We might think so, it used to be so; but when we see the church news, we find that the longtime established churches have moved those who commit fornication, and every other kind of sin, from the back door of the church to the pulpit. And what do you suppose these preachers are preaching?
But we're not seeing here a church that is doing poorly, that's going backwards, but a church praised by the Lord, and told their last works are better than their first. This is not Corinth, but a church on the way to the top. How can it be teaching its congregation to commit fornication?
Let's consider the first bride of the Lord, that is, the Church in the wilderness, the nation of Israel. God abandoned her because of her idolatry, her appealing to other sources for her support and rescue rather than relying on Him and His provision. This He called "Harlotry." Over and over we read where God called his "bride" a harlot. Keep this in mind: God calls His unfaithful bride, His compromising wife a "harlot," a "Whore."
Most of us have heard of the two types of sin, that is, those of us with gray hair. I don't hear much about these sins being referred to as such any more, but their titles are still relevant. First we have the sin of commission. That is, we have sin we either intentionally or unintentionally or unknowingly commit. In the Old Testament under the law there are penalties, and thereby sacrifices made for this type of sin. Those sins we commit, having planned them, carried a heavier penalty than those that were committed unwittingly or spontaneously. This carries true with our legal system today. Crimes committed out of fear or were not premeditated do not carry the same degree of punishment as does a premeditated crime or one committed out of passion.
Then there is the sin of O-mission. This sin is one we commit by not doing what we know we are to do, or that we've been told to do. Anyone who's been in the military ought to know this violation very well, and if they're like me, they've faced the consequences for such neglect. The example I gave earlier falls into this category. When we see our brother or sister do something wrong, and we do nothing to try and correct their misdirection or their faulty reasoning, then we've committed the crime of omission. This too is clearly spelled out in the Old Testament (Ezek 3:16-21; 33 all, John 13:14; 1Thes 5:14; Col 1:28-29). This is also true of our legal system today. If a parent doesn't correct their child, then the parent stands responsible for what the child has done. The problem with this law comes under pressure in today's society where the very legal system that holds a parent responsible for what their child does, also restricts the parent from punishing the child, the very thing needed to correct the bad behavior. But that's another issue, not to be dealt with here.
If a man has a wife, the mother of his children, and the mother does nothing to guide his child in the way he or she should go. What do you suppose he might think of his wife? The Church is the bride of the Lord. She is to instruct her children in the ways of the Father, and to insure they know and understand what He expects of them. If the wife merely allows the child to play in the romper room all his life and suck on a bottle of cold milk, what will become of that child? Will the child become a man in the image of his father? Could the father expect to be able to turn his business over to him the way God did Jesus at His baptism? How much more so is this true of God's wife, the Church?
"Because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach." To suffer means to "Let be, allow." We allow those in the church to teach whatever they want as long as we don't know about it. "Don't ask, don't tell" is the way the Army used to express it, and I suppose they still do. What you do behind our back we can't be expected to do anything about. If you do it in front of us you only put us in a hard position, so don't do that to us. Of course these people, those who teach the permissive doctrines of Jezebel don't do so in the classrooms..... Correction, now many churches do allow just such teaching from the classrooms, and even from the pulpit. I've already, in other studies, shown how there are churches teaching the correctness of same-sex marriages, even to the performing these marriages. And some churches even have such couples preaching from the pulpit. There are also those long time traditional churches that have taken to teaching how Jesus is just another incarnation of God along with Buddha and other such "spiritual" leaders. Is this the teachings of Jezebel do you suppose? If not, then what is?
She calls herself a prophetess. Jesus said there are many people who will come forth, especially in the last days (which we know these to be) who will teach false doctrines and detract even the elect, if that were possible, from the straight and narrow way. How better to convince a firm believer to stray than to teach that the broad path of compromise is in fact the narrow way to the Pearly Gates of Heaven? Jesus said absolutely to follow Him, and we learn from Paul and others that we must strive to be like Jesus. But what do the churches teach? Don't they teach that you can make it in just as you are? That you don't have to change in order to make it into God's presence? Do you find that concept in the Bible?
I should say here that if you want to pick and choose in the Bible you can prove anything you want to prove. But you have to change and ignore a lot of conflicting doctrines in order to prove that Jesus will accept us warts and all.
A prophet is one who speaks for another, this is especially so of one who speaks the Words of God. We find Elijah, a prophet of prophets, who's every word God honored and allowed to come to pass, standing against 400 priests, and 450 prophets of Baal (1Kings 18:19). Although these were prophets, they were not speaking the words of God. Only one, a lone voice, spoke the truth. Take note that these false priests and prophets "sat at the table of Jezebel." She denied and tried to destroy the true voice of God, while she honored and supported those who told her what she wanted to hear. She took a few steps beyond committing the sin of omission, and delved deeply into the sin of commission. Sin first begins with remaining quiet, not causing waves. This is what the enemy wants, because it gives free reign to those who want to undermine the truth, and to implement the doctrines of those who desire to destroy and abolish. The enemy is very vocal, they are not afraid to spread their propaganda under the guise of righteousness. Once leaven is allowed in, you can be sure, the entire lump is on its way to being leavened.
What about those who see what's happening and desire to cast out the leavening factor? Have you ever been in such a situation? It's happened many times. By the time something is decided to be done, the tares and the wolves have taken charge of the organization, and the only thing left for the dissenter to do is to leave the church. This is (I suppose) a daily occurrence around the world, and for this reason we have thousands of different denominations, many going under the same banner, but totally different in their thinking.
We read in the Word these warnings against false prophets:
12Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. 13Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. 15Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. (Mat 7:)
9Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. 10And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. 11And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 12And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 13But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. (Mat 24:)
23Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. 24For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. 25Behold, I have told you before. (Mat 24:)
24But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. 25Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep. 26Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets. (Luke 6:)
1But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. (2Peter 2:)
If I may I'd like to interject a comment in regard to what Peter is saying here. Notice how Peter says they will bring in their heresies privily. This means they will do it off to the side, in an underhanded way. If you notice when false doctrines become doctrines in the church, or when there's a conflict that causes a church split, it begins with rumors, talking to individuals off in the corner of the room. Then when they get enough supporters, trying to make sure those who would be against their double-dealings never hear about it until it's too late, then they make their move. They have corrupted what was perhaps a decent and forward moving church, much like what John is describing in the church of Thessalonica.
When Peter says "even" denying the Lord, it causes a person to not recognize what is happening right under their nose. We think "yes, it appears that this might be happening here in my church, but the people involved aren't denying the Lord, in fact they're our most outstanding elders, and our greatest prayer warriors. So this can't be referring to them." The word Peter uses means "including, up too, even to." What Peter is saying is that they will even go so far as to deny the Lord. But they will use any means to cause a person to falter just a little, or sway from the straight and narrow just enough to miss the mark, or to cause them to follow their "pernicious ways." Pernicious by the way means "ruin, loss, perdition, perish, waste." Consider waste for a moment. If a person causes someone to be sidetracked for even a short time, that time and effort has been lost, that might otherwise have been spent doing good. In the wilderness Korah convinced 250 leaders to follow him, and that only for a moment. Yet that moment caused the loss of the lives of not only him, his family, and those who followed them, but also those who objected to the judgement brought upon the rebels. A single step out of line can have disastrous results.
When I was young it was expected in (seemingly) every church, and of every church member, to follow very strict guidelines if we wished to remain a part of the church. And being outside the church meant condemnation at the Judgement. (If this is not so of all churches, then I was totally unaware, as I am now, of this fact). Over time tiny moves were made into the realm of liberality, both in the world, and in the churches. I don't know of anyone who saw what was occurring until the change was so great and widespread that it was too late to correct it. Such a gradual and dramatic change can now, looking back, be clearly seen in the schools. Those in the church world are (now) so happy to be out from under the restrictions of the binding church of the past, and so taken up with the worldliness of the modern day, that they are glad for the change. That says to me they were not in tune with the Spiritual aspect of the Church of long ago, but they were merely following the trend of the day, doing what was expected of them.
In the above passage Peter adds that the truth is evil spoken of. Those not led by the Spirit of God, but have gained influence in the church because leaven hadn't been watched to see if it was bubbling, will reach a point where they will condemn those who speak the truth. Those not knowing one way or the other will follow whoever seems to be the strongest, articulate, accommodating, and the most outspoken in any debate. We especially see this process in action at election time. Such a person is usually the enemy because the true members of the church, actively seeking to learn the ways of the Lord, have been taught that it's not nice to make waves. They have learned to keep their beliefs quiet, even though the words preached say just the opposite, that is, we should speak out. We don't hear what people say, we follow what they do, their example. And as I said here, it's the outspoken ones, the ones working for the devil, who are not afraid to speak their piece, to name names, and to cause conflict. Paul tells us: "12But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we. 13For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. (2Cor 11:)"
Can you imagine Satan or his angels sitting back and not making waves? Sheep are followers, they don't make waves. Sheep are what Jesus said we are, and what we're to be. Wolves are not quiet. They're sneaky, but they also make a lot of noise. They are not known for their timidity. We are to be sheep. But we're also to know which voice we are supposed to listen to. If we hear a howling and a growl, it's a good sign that it's not the Lord speaking.
Back to the passages on false prophets. We're still on Peter's discourse:
3And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not. 4For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; 5And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; 6And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; 7And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: 8(For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) 9The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: (2Peter 2:)
1Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 2Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 3And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. (1John 4:)
I'd like to make another interjection at this point. It has come to my attention (a-hem!) that there are some people who have been taught that they need not worry about all this because there's a cloud piloted by Jesus Himself who will come and secretly rescue them from the evil day to come when God pours His wrath on the world. I don't wish to argue the point, but I'm wondering if those who have been told this has also been fully instructed concerning the rest of the story. Notice that when Noah's name and Lot's name is mentioned, the word "righteous" is also included. I wonder why? Might their being righteous have anything to do with their being rescued? They were not sons of Abraham, which was in itself what the Pharisees and the Jews believed would save them. Could it be that such a concept is being taught in the churches today, that merely bearing the name Christian will be cause to avoid the wrath? I wonder how many Jews felt the same way? I see David, Moses, Job, Joseph, even the Apostles, and as righteous as they were, they endured the fires of trial, and they died. I see Daniel and the three Hebrew children. And when I look at them I see men who in spite of their faith and their loyalty to the Lord had to go through the lion's den and the furnace. I see the people of Israel in Egypt and I see people who were not taken up on a cloud to avoid the plagues that God cast on Egypt. They were there to witness the whole thing, just as long as they were under the blood and had rid their house, their lives, of every speck of leaven. In other words, they were as were Lot and Noah, they were righteous, and they were obedient. Have I missed anything? I think too how Paul said to stand in that evil day. Why would I have to worry about standing, and enduring to the end if I'm eating fried chicken up on a cloud when the Tribulation comes? Do I smell a conflict? Perhaps some false doctrines Paul warned us about? Nawww, can't be. Can it?
19Or if I send a pestilence into that land, and pour out my fury upon it in blood, to cut off from it man and beast: 20Though Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness. 21For thus saith the Lord GOD; How much more when I send my four sore judgments upon Jerusalem, the sword, and the famine, and the noisome beast, and the pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast? 22Yet, behold, therein shall be left a remnant that shall be brought forth, both sons and daughters: behold, they shall come forth unto you, and ye shall see their way and their doings: and ye shall be comforted concerning the evil that I have brought upon Jerusalem, even concerning all that I have brought upon it. 23And they shall comfort you, when ye see their ways and their doings: and ye shall know that I have not done without cause all that I have done in it, saith the Lord GOD. (Ezek 14:)
12Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 13But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. (2Tim 3:)
28Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. 29For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 30Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. 31Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. (Acts 20:)
Do I hear wolves howling? And what are those shaggy little things following the howler? Could they be lost sheep who have listened to the wrong voice, a voice claiming to be the one with the truth? I wonder what would happen if those sheep were to close their ears to the world and read the Word for themselves, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit of course.
There are false prophets in the churches. How can we tell who are the false prophets, and who are the prophets speaking the Words of the Lord? That's a hard question, and one I wish I had the answer to. So far I've seen few who are really preaching the Word. I say this truly. I see many preachers who have people I've talked to hang on their every word, and swear by them and their understanding of the Word. And I have to agree that the people they follow indeed sound very sincere and well informed. I wish I had the apparent dedication and knowledge they, the preachers, have. But there are too many things they preach that do not align with what I find in the Word. That doesn't make them wrong, and it certainly doesn't make me right. But at the same time I must go by what the Lord shows me, and I can't accept anything that conflicts with any part of the Word.
Another thing that bothers me about what all these well trained, and I hope well meaning people have in common, is that they have everything in common. They all agree on everything. I believe the truth does not agree with what the world believes. I think the truth is located on a very narrow, difficult road to find, and even harder to follow. This is the road that Abraham walked, that Noah walked, that Daniel walked, and that Jesus walked, and that the Apostles walked. I'll take their road and leave the brightly lit road full of "easily understood" doctrines to the lost sheep and the wolves. Although it sounds like I'm condemning those who preach and teach the common road, really I'm not. I respect many of those I've seen and that I've heard of. I believe many of them are very sincere and will sacrifice for those in their care. But I also believe in the old adage that says "He was sincere, but he was sincerely wrong." Jesus told a parable about a man who did many wonderful works, healing the sick and raising the dead, all in the name of Jesus. And that man was condemned and rejected (Mat chapter 7). Where would I be if I followed such a person, one who gave all the signs of being the greatest of Christian? Jesus Himself tells us of a false prophet who will come and present himself performing mighty wonders that would even convince the elect if the elect weren't in tune with the true voice of God (which is the way I interpret His words). How many people, mighty in the churches, will follow that false prophet to oblivion? I'm afraid far too many, mostly because they are so dead-sure they know the truth, and that their leader, the one they trust and listen to, is telling them that what this prophet is saying is the truth.
The way the Indians of the plains killed buffalo by an entire herd was to have one Indian on each side of the lead buffalo, waving blankets at him to keep him moving in the direction they wanted the herd to go. They directed that one lead buffalo to a cliff, and by the time the lead buffalo saw what he was being led to, it was too late because the weight of the following herd, the ones he was the leader of, forced him over the cliff, along with most of those who were following him. Have you ever seen pictures of a 50 car pile up on the L.A. freeway? That's the very same principle described here, demonstrating that humans are no more intelligent than is a buffalo. You may feel entirely confident in what you believe, and what (and who) is being taught to you. But when you follow, especially when you don't allow room for error (such as on the freeway), the odds are that you're going to wind up suffering the consequences of the one you follow.
21And Moses said unto Aaron, What did this people unto thee, that thou hast brought so great a sin upon them? 22And Aaron said, Let not the anger of my lord wax hot: thou knowest the people, that they are set on mischief. 23For they said unto me, Make us gods, which shall go before us. (Ex 32:)
Here is a perfect example of the herd principle described above. Even though this pastor, this leader (Aaron), was in tune with God, and selected for his position by God, he led the people he was in charge of to the cliff, because that's what the people he was leading wanted of him. This is the denomination difficulty. Doctrines are established that can not be violated or even questioned. When the churches seek a pastor, one who is supposedly led by the Spirit of God, they seek one who will fit into the mold that has been created for him. Then the denomination's head office chooses a person that believes as they do, their doctrines, and selects (or approves) a pastor to fill a church's needs. The Lord has no room within which to work, so the pastor, regardless of his own understandings or beliefs, has no option but to build the golden calf, the god the congregation calls for, that will cause the church to fall into oblivion.
In the story of Aaron and the golden calf, we find that the people were joyously praising the calf they had built for themselves, the leader they had created to replace the God they had promised to love and obey. They delighted in the very thing that would cause their destruction. And so it is today in the churches, they take pride in the thing they trust to save them, that is in reality their road to destruction.
Noah went his own way, he did not follow the crowd, which included everyone else in the world. We see this in David, and in other great men and women of the Bible as well. Those Hebrew children who came out of Egypt promised to do whatever God told them to do. (Did you make this promise? Keep in mind what happened to the Israelites who broke their promise to God.) God said He was going to prove them, His people, to see if they would indeed follow Him and obey Him, to see if they were worthy of His special land (Ex 20:20). In the same way Adam proved himself unworthy and disobedient, and was ejected from the Garden, so did the millions of Jews prove themselves unworthy. Keep in mind, these were slaves, not only were they slaves, but highly abused slaves in a foreign and hostile land. What did these ex slaves continue to threaten to do? Rather than fulfill their promise, and to allow themselves to be proved, they wanted to return to the land of bondage and the little bit they had there, believing it much better than what God was providing. We say "I wouldn't do that! I'd be a Joshua, a Caleb. I wouldn't have eaten of the tree of knowledge. I'd been happy and loving every moment of being with the Lord walking with Him in the Garden." Uh huh, sure. Take a look at your life now and see if that's what you're doing, or anything near like it. I wish I could present myself as an example of such a person, but I fall so short of it that I'm not even on the list. I'm afraid I'd have chomped on those apples until there was nothing left but the worms. I would have probably been one of the first to fall in the wilderness. I'd like to think better of myself, but I can only go by what I am doing now, not what I wish I were doing, or what I say I'd do if I were given the opportunity to prove myself. I'm being proved right now, every day. and every day I fail. How about you?
22Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.
We're back to our passage in Revelation. In case you've forgotten we're looking at Jezebel to see what it is about her that God dislikes. So far we see she's a false prophet, and that she has compromised the church, a church doing good otherwise I might add.
Here in this verse we find that Jezebel refuses to repent. This is interesting because all through the Old Testament I find the word "repent" stressed as something we must do. Again in the New Testament the very first words we hear coming from the mouth of the one destined to announce the Messiah is the word "repent." Then came Jesus and the first word He said was "Repent." Again I see this word used often in the Epistles. The only place I no longer hear the word, except in passing, is in the churches. Has something changed by any chance? Has God changed His mind since the days of the writers of the Bible? Is it like I hear that since Jesus died God no longer cares what we do, that He can't see our sins because they're hidden under the blood of Jesus? Is this what you hear? Or is it just me? If it's just me, shame on me. But if it's otherwise, and this is an important message that's being left out of the churches, perhaps that shame should be placed elsewhere.
Jezebel is out to seduce the Church, and apparently she has accomplished her objective very well. We read here that if she doesn't repent (something that is no longer preached as a necessary thing), she and those who commit adultery with her will be cast into great tribulation. This is an interesting statement because it comes on the heels of the prediction of the Great Tribulation, the wrath of God. Now, remember, we're looking at a good church, doing good things, and moving ahead. We might think that if there was a single church that might be expecting to be taken out of the world during the Tribulation, it's this one. But the One who is in charge of what is called the Rapture of the Church is warning these good Christians that they had better either straighten up, not listen to this Jezebel, or endure the wrath to come. An interesting paradox, wouldn't you say?
Jezebel, and those who follow her advice (I take this to mean those who accept her watered-down, compromised version of the Word), will be cast into Tribulation. Let's look at the Tribulation as described by John and see if we can find a woman that fits this description:
6And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,
Another interjection if I may. In a moment we're going to see that we are entering the Great Tribulation. Jesus said in His discourse regarding this period that the Gospel would be preached to all the world. Today we believe if we send out missionaries to battle it out with doctrinal swords that we are fulfilling this commandment. Not so. In fact the Gospel of the Kingdom isn't something that can be preached, it must be demonstrated, we see this in the life of Jesus, and again in the lives of the Apostles. They were living and breathing the Gospel of the Kingdom because they were dwelling, in part, in the Kingdom. This is where we should be. But instead of dwelling in the Kingdom, or better said, allowing the Kingdom to dwell in us through the Holy Spirit, God the Father, and Jesus (as described in the 14th through the 16th chapters of John), we deny there is such a thing. We imagine a Heaven way up yonder somewhere rather than preaching the Kingdom as Jesus preached it. Jesus gave us many parables, and almost none of them could be conceived of as occurring anywhere but here on earth. Yet we bypass this logical understanding, and continue to preach our pie-in-the-sky fables, directing our listeners away from the truth. Could this be the work of our lady Jezebel do you think?
1Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. 2And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. (Mat 25:)
3And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. 4These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. 5And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God. (Rev 14:)
2For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. 3But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity ["Singleness, generosity, sincerity, without self-seeking"] that is in Christ. (2Cor 11:)
First, notice how different this last verse reads when there's an understanding as to what the word "simplicity" means in the Bible. It's a lot different than what's preached, wouldn't you say?
We read of virgins in the Bible and it makes no sense to us. What did Jesus mean when He said the Kingdom of God is like virgins? What makes one virgin wise and another foolish? Are the 144,000 an army of bachelors? Or could it be that, as Paul describes here, the virgins are those who haven't listened to the voice of Jezebel as she tries to woo them away from the "simplicity that is in Christ," their single-minded direction toward God and His purposes for the world and for us? Is it possible they aren't compromising themselves and dabbling in the pleasures of the world and the self-seeking the churches approve and practice?
7Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. 8And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, BECAUSE she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.
The wrath has come, and notice who the wrath is to be upon. Doesn't this remind you of what John said of Jezebel in the second chapter? Is this the wrath on the woman who seduced the Christians in the doing-well church of Thyatira? But that couldn't be. Remember, Jezebel is part of the church. Wouldn't that then mean the Tribulation is not only on Jezebel, the false prophet, the promiscuous woman that went around seducing the churches, but upon the churches that she had seduced as well? Imagine the doctrines that would come crumbling down if that were to be the case. We must by all means corrupt.... I mean we must correct this understanding so we needn't reevaluate our standing with the Almighty. If this were allowed to stand as it seems to be stated, that would mean we must do something beyond be baptized if we wish to avoid the Tribulation and dance in golden slippers. Let's see if there's some way we can get around this understanding, shall we? Let's play theologian (I love to play games, don't you? I hope I don't lose this one the way I lose every other game I've attempted.)
22Behold, I will cast her into a bed [from "Be far spent, wear away, turn to flight"], and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. 23And I will kill ["Destroy"] her children ["Daughters") with death; (Rev 2:) (see Rev 21:8, 20:14, 2:10-11.)
Ooops! Wrong verse. This is the same verse we saw earlier, and it says even the children of Jezebel will suffer the same punishment as the mother. This would mean we couldn't escape the punishment even if we joined another church where she had influence. Let's look for something else:
44Behold, every one that useth proverbs shall use this proverb against thee, saying, As is the mother, so is her daughter. 45Thou art thy mother's daughter, that lotheth her husband and her children; (Ezek 16:)
This won't do. It only adds to our problem. Don't fret, I'll find something to get us off the hook (I hope).
5Why then is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding? they hold fast deceit, they refuse to return. 6I hearkened and heard, but they spake not aright: no man repented him of his wickedness, saying, What have I done? every one turned to his course, as the horse rusheth into the battle. 7Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of the LORD. 8How do ye say, We are wise, and the law of the LORD is with us? Lo, certainly in vain made he it; the pen of the scribes is in vain. 9The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken: lo, they have rejected the word of the LORD; and what wisdom is in them? 10Therefore will I give their wives unto others, and their fields to them that shall inherit them: for every one from the least even unto the greatest is given to covetousness, from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely. 11For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly ["Despise, bring into contempt:], saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace. 12Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: THEREFORE SHALL THEY FALL AMONG THEM THAT FALL: IN THE TIME OF THEIR VISITATION ["Reckoning"] THEY SHALL BE CAST DOWN ["Stumble, falter, fail, ruin"], saith the LORD. (Jer 8:)
Uh oh, I goofed again. I don't like this passage, it doesn't say what I want it to say. So I'll look for something else. There has to be a verse or two to back up my desire to do nothing and still avoid the Tribulation. I'm suspecting you hope I find one for you as well. I'll keep looking:
13For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely. 14They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace. 15Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the LORD. 16Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. 17Also I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. But they said, We will not hearken. (Jer 6:)
Failed again. This looks almost like the passage I just threw out. Since it's here, let's take a look at what God has to say (for a change). What does it mean when God says they healed my people slightly? Healed means to mend, to stitch up. I picture someone like myself who stitches up a pair of pants rather than make them like new. I mend something in order to make it last until I can do with it what I should do with it now. If it's no good, I should throw it out and replace it. I wonder how that might apply to a doctrine?
Slightly means "Bring into contempt, despise, ease, make light, trifle"). Here I think of a father who tosses off a quick answer to a small child who asks a question he doesn't want to bother with, something to get the child off his back, yet make the child feel he has been given what he wants. Does this sound like anything you've experienced lately? I have.
Notice what happens to those who treat their listeners this way, and what happens to the listeners who accept what they're told.
Well, I gave it a shot, and it looks like I'm just not very good at playing theologian. Oh well, I told you I wasn't good at games. I wonder how those who make a practice of this game do it so successfully?
9And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, 10The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: (Rev 14:)
Of course the Christian won't be around to see this, I'm sure you agree with that statement. One way or another the Lord is going to either shield us, or He will rescue us from this judgement, and that because you, like me, you're such a wonderful and obedient follower of our Lord.
Let's take a look at some types and shadows of this event and see what we can learn from them. First we find that we, the Church, are the new bride of Christ. That is to say, we have superseded the nation of Israel and now stand in her stead. This being the case, we can look at the first bride and see what we can expect if we act like her. Does this sound reasonable to you? I see that when God punished a nation, other than when He had Israel punish and take the place of the wicked Canaanite nations, it was the nation of Israel being punished by way of the heathen nations around them. Israel didn't do what she was supposed to do, and therefore God punished her, and eventually cast her out. I know for myself I will become much more angry at someone I love and trust when I feel betrayed than I would toward a person who has despised me from the beginning. I never learned to trust them in the first place, and they made no promise to be loyal to me and to earn my trust. Again, does this ring true for you as well? If this be the case, and since we're in the image of God, therefore experiencing the emotions of God, than wouldn't He, as do we, become much more angry at His bride who made a vow to Him than He would a world of people who never even acknowledged Him?
If it does prove out that there's a possibility that it's the compromising, self-seeking Church He's to pour out His anger on, where will that leave you and me? I mean, instead of being the innocent bystanders to the event, or the one whisked away to a cabana in the sky, we'd be the very target of God's wrath! We'd be the ones cursing Him because of the boils and the wormwood water that befell us. What a turn of events that would be! How different this is than any doctrine I've ever heard a whisper of. But of course I'm way off base on this one. You can surely see that. Ask anyone, and they'll tell you how wrong I am and how none of us need worry about the wrath of God. (Whew! That was close. I'd sure hate to be right on this one!!)
We read in the verses above that Babylon is fallen, is fallen. What does that mean? First of all, who was it that was taken to Babylon in the first place? It's the wicked, heathen nations that we associate with Babylon, isn't it? Hmmm. Somehow I get the idea that Babylon is associated with God's people. It's the place they were sent because of their disobedience and their, shall I say it, their fornication with the world. Hmm again. I wonder if that has any connection with us today. We have a lot of toys that are a part of the world, in fact entertainment and self-fulfilment is our middle name, and this applies to the Christian as well as it does the world. Any connection I wonder? I'm sure there isn't. Imagine, only the poorest of Christian would escape the wrath if this was to be the case, and that only because he or she didn't have the money to play around with the world and it's amusements.
Babylon is fallen, is fallen. When the Jews were given leave to rebuild their precious Temple, most of the people had become quite comfortable in the compromised world they found themselves a captive of. They weren't slaves in Babylon like they were in Egypt. They had become a part of the world they found themselves living in. Even the Levites, the priestly tribe, was found to be terribly lacking in the groups who elected to return to their mother land. No priests? No priests, and they're going to rebuild the Temple? Who could imagine such a scenario?
Babylon is fallen. First of all, before we consider what it means that Babylon is fallen, let's look at what the word Babylon means. Babylon, as you might have guessed, means "confusion." Babylon is a place of confusion. In order to punish the tribe called Judah (Jews), God sent them into Babylon. Babylon didn't take God by surprise, and capture His people. God told the Jews that they will go to Babylon. This is where He wanted them for a period of 70 years. We see this again in Genesis where God told Abraham that He would send His people into Egypt where they would serve a people that hated them, and this for 400 years. Egypt and its bondage was no accident, any more than the Babylon we live in today is taking place unbeknownst to God. We, the Church in particular, are as confused, if not far more so, than is any other group of people in the world. I can think of no other group, under one banner, that has more conflicting doctrines, and is so angry with those "brothers and sisters in the Lord" that disagrees with them. Christianity has a reputation for killing its own whenever it gets the chance. And we do this "in the name of the Lord." Is it any wonder the world looks down on and hates the Christian church?
Did we get this way by accident? Is God so blinded by the blood of His Only Begotten Son that He can't see what's happening to His Church, right before His eyes? Of course not. Nor is He blind to our sins. He's testing us. We're under liberty, Paul makes that clear to us. We've been given free reign in order to see what we will do with that liberty (Gal 5:13; James 2:8-13). Will we serve Him, and others faithfully? Will we obey His commandments and love Him with all our heart? Will we care for one another, especially those we count our enemies as He would? Or will we fail the test, as did all but two of the millions who were tested in the wilderness of Sinai?
Let's you and I take a look at the Hebrews who came out of Egypt to see what we can learn from them. We see that almost everyone who came out of Egypt, who was set free, failed the test. Today we live in a period of of testing (I know this conflicts with church doctrine and I haven't substantiated this concept in any way, but bear with me and see if I can pull this together anyway, I'm playing it by ear since I haven't considered this aspect before, at least not in this light.) At the end of this trial period (40 years in the wilderness times 50 years, the number of the anointing, the Holy Spirit, the Church age equals what?) we see where Joshua led Israel into Canaan where he experienced war in order to take the land that had been promised him. Joshua is the same word as Jesus ("Jehovah saves" Mat 1:21). At the end of this period in which we live we see where a company of people called the 144,000, the firstfruits of the body of Christ, will lead the Church in to the Millennium, and if this (the 144,000) is the same people as Joel described, perhaps they experience war as did Joshua, either in the physical or in the Spiritual since it's a Spiritual age (Kingdom) in which we live. I'll let you take it from there if you think I might be on to something. There are other comparisons such as how in both cases we find that the children of those who enter the Promised Land turn against God, and against His prophets and His rule.
Babylon is fallen. What does fallen mean? According to my Greek lexicon the word means to "fall down, to fail." Could that mean to have failed the test as the Jews failed their test? We speak of a fallen woman, meaning someone who used to have respectability, but has become promiscuous. We read in Isaiah a description of something very similar to what we see here. Here's what Isaiah said:
21How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers. 22Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water: 23Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards: they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them. 24Therefore saith the Lord, the LORD of hosts, the mighty One of Israel, Ah, I will ease me of mine adversaries, and avenge me of mine enemies: 25And I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin: 26And I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellors as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called, The city of righteousness, the faithful city. 27Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness. 28And the destruction of the transgressors and of the sinners shall be together, and they that forsake the LORD shall be consumed. (Isaiah 1:)
Read the above passage carefully and see if it doesn't sound as if it belongs right there in Revelation alongside the passages regarding the city of Babylon. This city, the city of Zion, the first bride of God, had become a fallen woman, and God, the Husband, punished her. His purpose in punishing her was to bring her back to Him, to be faithful again. And one way He intended to accomplish this task was to rid the city of all those who were not faithful the same way He reduced the nation of Israel in the wilderness. We read in Matthew where God will cut the Tribulation short in order that there will be some left to enter into the Millennium (Mat 24:21-22). This tells me that there are some, a very few, who will be left to continue His efforts after the Tribulation. If this is the case, and if the patterns we see in the Old Testament follow, then only the most righteous of the Church will make it through, as we see in Noah. Where does this leave me then? It leaves me polishing my rusty suit of armor I've been neglecting that is intended to see me through the Spiritual battle.
Babylon is fallen. In the second chapter of Revelation we found a church that is doing well, but is on it's way to failure if it doesn't watch who it listens to. We find a church with leaven about to boil, and thereby destroy itself. Is it possible that this is what we see in Babylon, a church that has played the fool and been compromised by the harlot Jezebel, and therefore worthless to the Lord and His purposes?
1And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will show unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: 2With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. 3So 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. 4And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: 5And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. 6And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration. (Rev 17:)
"I will show unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth." Again, doesn't this sound to you like the description of Jezebel we read earlier?
We have three groups of people mentioned here that have had dealings with this woman, and that have been corrupted by her. First we have kings. The word "earth" confuses us because we associate the earth with the world, that being the world of people outside the Church. When we look at the interpretation of the word, and how it has been used elsewhere, there is certainly a great deal of evidence that it could, and does carry this meaning. It does mean the world, but it also has been interpreted as country, land, and the primary meaning of the word is "soil." What are we, you and I composed of? What is it Jesus said the Seed of the Word would be planted in? Didn't Jesus say in a parable that He purchased a field (Mat 13:44)? What is that field He purchased, and what did He purchase it with? Consider the Sower and the Seed. Does this add to the story?
The "soil" Jesus was concerned with was not the renegade world that could care less about Him, but the land He bought and payed for with His own blood. That's you and me folks. It's the Church. And as we take a critical look at the churches we find many, if not all, are failing miserably to live up to what Jesus set as an example for us. You might not feel this way about your church, but you can stand on the corner outside your church and point your finger at a few that do fit this description. And while you're out there pointing a finger, notice the people standing outside their church, the ones you're pointing at, aiming a finger right at you.
The field of soil, these earthen vessels, they are not fulfilling their purpose. All of them (us) believe they are, but that's only because there's a woman riding on a beast that has convinced us that it is so.
Those in the Church are called what? Aren't we all supposed to be kings and priests? If we're kings, what kind of kings are we? How many "kings" do you see trying to rule over their own life, leastwise who are properly suited to rule over the lives of those who have chosen to follow our Lord? I see those calling themselves royalty who are acting all the world just like the world they're to be separate from. "Touch not the unclean thing." What are those unclean things we're not to touch? Does anyone have any idea?
We see how this woman has influenced kings and the earth. But we also see she is doing something else. She's sitting on many waters. Water we know represents the Holy Spirit. I don't think I have to provide evidence for this, it's all through the Bible, and I suspect it's preached in one form or another from just about every pulpit. This woman is "sitting" on the waters. Earlier we read where Peter said the truth will be evil spoken of (2Peter 2:2). Doesn't this sound to you like the waters, those who are speaking the words of the Holy Spirit, are being kept quiet by those who are listening to the woman Jezebel? Elijah, as you will recall, being one of the very few, and the most outspoken of those willing to speak at all, was pursued by Queen Jezebel who wanted to keep him quiet, and this by way of killing him. She didn't want the "truth" to conflict with her false doctrine and the worship of devils. This is the way of the churches today. If a person says a word outside the doctrines of the church they attend, they will be quieted. Today that doesn't mean death necessarily, but in the recent past it has meant just that. We call those who die for having spoken out against the wrongs of the church of the day "Martyrs." Martyr doesn't only mean those who are killed, it's another word for "witness." When a person's witness conflicts with the established church, they are put out of the church, doomed to hell, and castigated by their family and fellow church members. The fear of such reprisal is intended to, and does keep people from speaking the truth in church.
Many waters are being sat upon this very day. When the rules against killing people who disagree with the ruling power is lifted, watch out!
There's another interesting parallel we see in the above passage. Notice that the whore is the mother of harlots. When we read of Jezebel we see that she is also harlot and a mother with children just like her.
"I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns."
Blasphemy means to "Vilify." I think of someone who bears the name of Jesus, indicating they are like Jesus, and are representing God as did Jesus, but who isn't living up to the image they're creating.
Waters isn't the only thing this woman sits upon. She also sits on the Beast. The beast we know, or at least we assume to be the ruling government of the world to come. When a person sits on something, they control it. We see how the church controlled the government most of these past two thousand years. And we find many ungodly crimes committed by these ruling powers, mostly in the name of Christ. What can we expect in the future? As we look back on those times we find that it's the Church, those who disagreed with what the Church leaders were doing, that the "Beast" and the "Harlot" were oppressing. A person can do or practice whatever religion or ethics they chose, just as long as they went along with the church, and they called themselves Christian. As I look at the times, our day, and the direction it has been and is taking, I see a revival of just such a time as we've witnessed. And as I read the Bible, I see such a day predicted, by the prophets, and by Jesus Himself. Our choice will be which side of the line we will stand on. Will we stand up and have our head cut off? Or will we take the safe route and stay sitting when we're told to sit? It appears all the world to me that the churches are training their congregations to follow the leading of the church, to stand when told to stand, to sit when told to sit, to pray when told to pray, and otherwise, to just shut up. When the pastor points at the man who calls himself the Lord reincarnate, the people will do as they're told to do, and accept what they're told to accept, no questions asked.
"The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:" The woman is arrayed in the clothing we associate with royalty. As we see in the Old Testament, Jezebel was a queen, and as a queen, what would she be wearing? This harlot is decked with gold and jewels. This is interesting for several reasons. For one we read in the last chapters of Revelation how the "City," which is the bride of Christ, will be decked with jewels and precious stones. Those jewels are the saints. At this point, as I read this, the jewels that should be serving the Lord and His people are instead bedecking the woman and adding to her power and grand appearance. There will come a day when the Lord will call His people, His elect, out of Babylon. Will you hear that voice? How can you be sure?
There's one other mentioned in the Bible who is bedecked with gold and jewels and scarlet and purple. That is the High Priest. The jewels he wears represent the tribes of Israel, God's people. The gold, as in the Temple, portrays the glory and righteousness of God. But instead of these symbols being worn by the High Priest, which is Jesus, they're adding glory to the woman, the church itself. The church is serving itself in the name of the One it's supposed to represent. If you'll read I'LL BUILD MY CHURCH you'll see where the church is doing just that, it is serving itself, the building and the doctrines of the denomination, and not the Lord or His people as it's designed to do.
The golden cup, which is to represent the cup Jesus drank just before the cross (His sacrifice for the Church: Mat 20:22-23), and pure, unadulterated communication with the Lord (1Cor 10:21; 11:25-28) is instead being held up proudly by the harlot, claiming it her own. It is not filled with the glory of God, but with the filthiness of her abominations. And in the churches today we're seeing more and more the filthiness and the abominations being presented, and preached as righteousness from the pulpits. And those churches that have not gone so far as to accommodate such behavior, are no longer preaching against it, at least not with any force. And this is understandable since the governments and society in general is against any such demonstration that opposes the filthiness of the world and people's right to practice it. It is no longer politically correct to point out the sins of others. It strikes of intolerance, and only those who worship tolerance are allowed to be intolerant to those who preach against wickedness. One day this attitude will be a part of the watered-down version of the Church Jesus is the cornerstone of. And when the time comes, He will separate His jewels from the mud balls who see themselves in a glorified light (Mal 3:17; Ezek 9:4).
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