Revelation Chapter 19
“And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honor, and power, unto the the LORD our God: for true and righteous are His judgments: for He hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of His servants at her hand. Again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever” (Revelation 19:1-3, emphasis added).
The language used in this opening statement of Revelation 19 shows that God has already judged Babylon prior to when this scene takes place and “hath avenged the blood of His servants.” “For He hath judged the great whore . . . and hath avenged the blood of His servants” (Revelation 19:2, emphasis added).
Everything in the closing scenes of this earth’s history will be done openly and with complete transparency, and heaven’s inhabitants are in full agreement with all that has transpired. And “God hath put in their [‘the ten horns’ (Revelation 17:16)] hearts to fulfill His will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast [Satan], until the words of Elohim shall be fulfilled” (Revelation 17:17).
Before Jesus returns to earth, God will use Satan to bring Babylon down and avenge the “blood of His servants” which Babylon has shed, upon the “great whore.” As it was with ancient Babylon, so it is with modern-day Babylon; its destruction is permanent as conveyed in the words “the smoke of her torment rose up for ever and ever.”
Let us look at a couple passages of Scripture in order to understand what “for ever and ever” means. In Exodus 21:1-6, we read, “Now these are the judgments which thou shalt set before them. If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing. If he came in by himself, he shall go out by himself: if he were married, then his wife shall go out with him. If his master have given him a wife, and she have born him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her master’s, and he shall go out by himself. And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free: then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him forever” (emphasis added). He would be that man’s servant as long as he should live.
In 1 Samuel 1:22, we read, “But Hannah went not up; for she said unto her husband, I will not go up until the child [Samuel] be weaned, and then I will bring him, that he may appear before the LORD, and there abide forever” (emphasis added). Samuel was to abide before Yahuwah for as long as he lived.
In Jonah 2:6, we read, “I [Jonah] went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me forever: yet hast Thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God” (emphasis added). Jonah was not in the belly of the whale for eternity, but the three days and three nights that he was in that belly seemed like "forever." The word “forever” as used in the Bible is used conditionally and is relative to the situation.
Before ancient Babylon, which existed during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, was destroyed God had foretold that the city would never again be inhabited, and thus it has been for the past twenty-five hundred years. It has been the haunt of wild animals ever since.
“And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia. And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye His servants, and ye that fear Him, both small and great. And I heard as it were a voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the LORD God omnipotent reigns” (Revelation 19:4-6).
The twenty-four elders who have sat on their thrones surrounding the throne of God watching the proceedings during the trial of earth’s inhabitants, bow in adoration and worship God, having witnessed the fairness and the justice of God in His dealings with earth’s inhabitants. “Also unto Thee, O LORD, belongeth mercy: for Thou renderest to every man according to his work” (Psalm 62:12, emphasis added).
God has been ordering everything for the everlasting good of the Universe, and there is great joy in heaven because the reign of Satan and sin on earth is coming to an end. As our representatives, for those of us who live and have lived on the earth, the twenty-four elders praise God for bringing things to a conclusion! “Amen; Alleluia.” Even though “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy, He will not always chide [reprove or rebuke]: neither will He keep His anger forever” (Psalm 103:8-9). There is a limit even to God’s patience! He has allowed sin to run its course for just over 6,000 years now, and He will soon put a stop to what is going on down here on the earth.
“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he said unto me [John], Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. And I fell at his feet to worship him, And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: Worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 19:7-10, emphasis added).
John wanted to worship the angel who had been showing him the vision but was told not to do so, for only the LORD our God is worthy of worship.
We have all received the wedding invitation. Jesus said, “Come unto Me all ye who are heavy laden and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). The invitation to the wedding feast was originally given to the Jewish nation as we will see in the following parable. “My oxen and fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage” (Matthew 22:4).
In Matthew 22:2-14, Jesus gave the following parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king [God, the Father, our Creator], which made a marriage for His Son [Jesus], and sent forth His servants [the prophets] to call them that were bidden [Jewish nation] to the wedding: and they would not come. Again He sent forth other servants [the apostles], saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared My dinner: My oxen and My fatlings are killed [Jesus], and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: and the remnant took His servants [the Apostles and early Disciples], and entreated them spitefully, and slew them [beginning with Stephen (Acts 7:59)]. But when the King heard thereof, He was wroth [angry]: and He sent forth His armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned their city [Jerusalem in AD 70). Then He said to His servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy [the Jewish nation]. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. And when the King came into see the guests, He saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment [‘the fine linen of the righteousness of saints’ (Revelation 19:8)]: And He saith unto him, Friend, how came thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the King to His servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; and there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:2-14, emphasis added).
What was the difference between those called and those chosen? All were called, but only those who had put on the “wedding garment,” which is the “fine linen of the saints,” were chosen. An examination (judgment) is made prior to the marriage supper, and anyone found not having on the “wedding garment” is taken away, in spite of being called “friend.” It does not matter how cozy a relationship you think you have with God, you must have that garment on. The King called this man “friend,” but he was bound “hand and foot” and cast into outer darkness. God does not play favorites, nor does He overlook our faults; He provides the remedy and expects us to make use of it. God is a respecter of no man, and the garment which He has provided; He expects His children to wear which has been purchased with the blood of His Own Son. It is a priceless garment, for it is His righteousness we must wear that is imparted to the repentant sinner transforming him into a saint. Nothing that man can do can improve on its quality or purchase it. Our only claim to it is our great need and helplessness. And all we have to do is ask, and He will abundantly fulfill our petition!
Any garment other than this one which has been provided, is like the fig-leaf garments Adam and Eve covered themselves with when they sinned against the LORD. The LORD took from them the “fig-leaf garments” and clothed them with the skins of the lambs which He had slain. “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make them coats of skins, and clothed them” (Genesis 3:21). God slew those lambs with His hand to provide them with those garments. We see this analogy again played out in Genesis 22:8. “And Abraham said, My son, God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering.”
God required a lamb as a burnt offering. In the story of Cain and Abel, we find that Abel’s offering, “of the firstlings of his flock,” was accepted by God, but Cain’s offering of the best “fruit of the ground,” which he had produced by his own hand, was not accepted (Genesis 4:4). Our works, produced by our own efforts, amount to nothing and will not be accepted by God. Only obedience to the expressed will of the LORD will suffice and “without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin” (Hebrews 9:22).
When the LORD set up the sacrificial service for the Hebrews, this illustration was repeated to teach the descendants of Israel and the rest of mankind, the truth that “God would” eventually “provide Himself a lamb” for the sins of all mankind. As with Adam and Eve, we must be clothed with the garment provided for us by God and as was illustrated in the previous parable found in Matthew 22. When John the Baptist saw Jesus approaching him, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29, emphasis added). God will not save us in our sins, but from our sins. “Thou shalt call His name Jesus [Yahushua - Yah saves]: for He [God] shall save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).
It is one thing to have a garment provided for you and quite another to actually put that garment on! The necessary garment to be worn for the marriage supper of the Lamb has been provided; it is up to us to put it on. On the whole, mankind is very proud and self-righteous. Jesus told the religious people of His day: “Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and the Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:20). The Pharisees of Jesus' day were very religious and made sure people knew it. They talked it, walked it, dressed it, and pretended to live it, but it was totally self-promoting and did not honor or glorify God and was superficial. They were like the child who is told by his parent to do something but does everything except what he was told to do. When he goes to his parents for commendation, he instead receives condemnation! The parent wants nothing more than to commend, not to condemn, their child. So it is with God!
In the parable, “both bad and good” were found. Even the “good” had to wear the garment provided by the King for the guests, and they did so gladly realizing that in their own righteousness they were not good enough to enter into the marriage feast. “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). The “good” in the parable may have more difficulty with this assessment than the “bad” because they may not realize their need. That is why Yahushua told the people of His day, “I came not to call the righteous [self-righteous], but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32). No one needed to tell me I was going to hell before I came to Yahushua; I knew that if there was a hell, I was headed there. Unless one realizes his need, the remedy will not be accepted. Many take it into their own hands to cure what ails them and do not leave it to the Doctor. We must leave our case in the hands of the Great Physician.
When a doctor gives us his prognosis of our medical condition, we do not normally question him, but God, in Isaiah 64:6, gives us His prognosis of our situation and has the remedy. The Heavenly Physician gives us His prescription as stated in the counsel given to the church of Laodicea found in Revelation 3:17-18. God told the church at Laodicea that one of their problems was that they were naked and needed to “be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear.” They needed the wedding garment just as the man in the parable of Matthew 22 needed the wedding garment. God does not tell us our need and then leaves us to remedy the problem on our own. Far too many in this world have never been told that Jesus not only came to die for our sins, but He came to save us from sinning itself. This is truly “good news” and is called the Gospel. Many have only been told a half-Gospel. “And as many as received Him, to them He gave power to become the sons of God” (John 1:12, emphasis added).
It does no good to have a lamp if it is not plugged into a source of power. The people who receive Jesus were not just to be called the sons or daughters of God but were to become like the sons and daughters of God in character because they will have been “born again” by the Spirit of God. We must have the power that God makes available to us. Multitudes claim to be followers of Christ and to be saved because Acts 16:31 reads, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved,” but that is as far as they go; they base their salvation on that one verse and reveal to the world that the power of God does not dwell within them.
“Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe and tremble” (James 2:19). So are the devils going to be saved? No, and why not? They believe! The devils know more than we do that there is only one God. They had lived with Him until they were expelled from heaven with Satan (Revelation 12:9). They know who Jesus is also (Mark 1:23-24).
Belief is the starting point in a person’s experience. When a child is born, there is a natural progression in the child’s development. When a child does not develop normally, whether it be physically or mentally, we get concerned and seek to know the cause, and if there is a remedy, do we not?
How about spiritually? Should there be growth in a follower of Christ? Should we be concerned when we see retardation or stagnation in a “Christian’s” experience? In his letter to the churches, Peter urged his readers to “grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). And how does one who professes a belief in Christ grow? “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2). But just like humans we cannot stay on a milk diet forever. “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk and not of strong meat. For everyone that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Hebrew 5:12-14).
Many who call themselves believers in Christ are suffering from spiritual anemia and spiritual malnutrition because many expect their pastors to feed them, and they look to them instead of looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of their salvation (Hebrews 12:2). They may attend religious services once or twice or even three times a week, but they have never learned to feed themselves by reading and studying the Word of God for themselves and learning the science of prayer. As a result, many will be found wanting, not having a wedding garment on! Many do not dare to think differently from what their denomination or pastor or priest teaches and may becoming hopelessly entangled in error which they would have discovered and been freed of had they taken it upon themselves to study for themselves. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). Most have not taken it upon themselves the responsibility to study matters out for themselves and have entrusted their eternal destiny to another man/woman.
God has provided the wedding garment for all who have been invited to the wedding feast, but it is left with us to put it on. This is a matter of eternal death or eternal life, and should we fail of eternal life, we have only ourselves to blame. Salvation is a personal issue, and we are not saved by which church we attend or which religion or belief system we adhere to.
“And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, Whom Thou hast sent” (John 17:3, emphasis added). This is not like the casual relationship that exists between friends. When the word “know” is used in this verse, it implies the most intimate relationship known to man and woman.
In the Old Testament, “know” denoted the sexual experience between a man and a woman that brought forth children; the most sacred, intimate and pleasurable act given to mankind by our loving Creator. This intimacy is similar to the relationship that God would have with us, His children, throughout eternity and beginning right here and right now. “In Thy presence is fullness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Psalm 16:11). Our lives with God, in turn, are to bring forth spiritual children.
Eternal life is promised only to the righteous and never to the wicked. We do not become righteous by doing what is right. We become righteous by permitting the Spirit of God to come into us and change us. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the LORD, are changed into the same image from glory unto glory, even as by the Spirit of the LORD” (2 Corinthians 3:18). God makes us righteous. God is working to place the Universe on a secure basis so that sin will not intrude into His creation ever again. “What do ye imagine against the LORD? He will make an utter end: affliction shall not rise up the second time” (Nahum 1:9).
We must be cleansed of the disease of sin in order to be allowed into heaven. America did not allow those with Ebola to come into this country because of the fear of it spreading. Earth has been under quarantine from the rest of the Universe until the disease of sin has been taken care of. There will be no more provision for dealing with sin should it ever resurface in the Universe. God only begat one Son! When Jesus was begotten by the Father, He was not immortal, so He was able to die. But when He was resurrected, He was given immortality like those who will be resurrected when Jesus returns.
Sin is being left to run its course to full maturity in order that it might be seen by all for what it is. What God has been restraining by His Spirit is being let loose. Sin has had just over six thousand years to mature into what we see happening in the world today. God in His wisdom, permitted Satan to carry on his rebellion, and the entire Universe is now in complete agreement that God should put an end to it. What the inhabitants of earth have gone through will be the safeguard for eternity that sin will never “rise up a second time.” My wife and I often talk about the way things were when we were children in comparison with what is going on in the world today. Evil is rapidly coming to maturity and when it has ripened fully, it will be forever destroyed along with those who cling to their sins. We are told that as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be when the Son of man returns. And how was it in those days? “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5).
When God pronounces those words found in Revelation 22:11-12, the fate of every man, woman and child is fixed for eternity. “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” There will be no more second chance granted to man to remedy his inherited, fallen, human nature. No place called “purgatory” where one will suffer until purified. The remedy for sin is available to each and every one of us right now while we are alive on earth. God has promised not only to forgive us our sins if we will confess them but that He will "cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).
Even though we are saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8), we are judged by our works. “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works . . . and they were judged every man according to their works” (Revelation 20:12-13, emphasis added).
So how do we make sense of being saved by grace but judged “according to our works?” Let us make it clear that we are saved by God’s grace as stated in Ephesians 2:8 and elsewhere in the Scriptures: “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is a gift of God.” A gift cannot be earned or purchased; it is given due solely to the graciousness of the Giver.
How can one tell whether God’s grace has taken effect and is still in effect in one’s life? Grace is not passive; it is active and produces results. It is the work of the Spirit of God dwelling within man. Many have a very restricted view of what grace is and thus have problems with being judged according their works. Many only see grace as the forgiveness of God, but the Scriptures also say “the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God [the Spirit of God] unto salvation to everyone that believeth” (Romans 1:16, emphasis added). How much power is available in “the gospel of Christ?” Limitless! God spoke, and the Universe came into existence. How does one define that type of power? That power is His Spirit that He gives to each individual when they are “born again.” We can and will have the power of Elohim dwelling within us for eternity. Just as God, the Father, dwelt in Jesus by His Spirit, so God, by His Spirit, will dwell in us giving us His power to live in harmony with Him.
Remember that we are not the only ones being judged. God is being judged as we are told in Revelation 14:7; “for the hour of His [God] judgment is come,” and we are His witnesses (Isaiah 43:10), and will be giving our testimony in God’s behalf (Revelation 11:7). The ninth commandment is “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor” (Exodus 20:16). Far too many professed followers of Jesus are giving a false witness for God to their neighbors by their lives, and those neighbors may be making their decisions for or against God by how the professed followers of Jesus conduct themselves. Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13). Are you making others thirsty for God? Or are you turning others away from Him?
Do we, and can we rightly represent God? We are told, “We are ambassadors for Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:20). An ambassador represents his/her nation; how are we representing the kingdom of God?
Every tree is judged by its fruit. An apple tree produces apples because it is an apple tree; it never has to produce apples to prove that it is an apple tree! It produces apples because it is an apple tree; it is the nature of the apple tree to produce apples. James asked, “Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? Either a vine, figs? So can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh” (James 3:12). A fountain bears one or the other, but not both. A follower of Messiah will bear the fruit of the Spirit as shown in Galatians 5:22-23 and not the works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21). If those fruit of the Spirit of God are not seen in someone’s life who is professing to be a follower of the Christ then they are not a follower of Christ or have never been told about God’s indwelling Spirit, and what It does for an individual or how to maintain that connection with Him, illustrated in the story of the Vine and the branches (John 15:1-8).
“Either make the tree good [which is what must happen to us by the indwelling Spirit of God], and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt [our condition in the inherited, fallen, human nature we have by birth], and his fruit corrupt: for a tree is known by his fruit” (Matthew 12:33, emphasis added). Just as the fruit is the evidence of what type of tree it is; the fruit of our lives is evidence of whether God’s grace has taken effect and is still in effect in our lives. If you have planted a garden you know that you do not have to plant any weeds to get them to grow; they grow naturally just as sin does in our lives. But any plant of use to mankind must be planted and cared for by the one who has planted it. So it is with our lives. We must let the LORD, our heavenly Father, plant His Spirit within our being so that the fruit of the Spirit may be seen in our lives (Galatians 5:22-23). It is up to Him to pluck up the weeds (sins) which He will do, when we have given Him permission. He will never go over our free will. Once we have connected with God, we must maintain that connection through personal Bible study and prayer.
“Ye shall know them by their fruits; not by what they profess. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree brings forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit. Every tree that brings not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. [This is how the wicked will be destroyed; they are burnt up and not tortured throughout eternity.] Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not everyone that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:16-21, emphasis added). God is inspecting the fruit of our lives. We too may be fruit inspectors. When we see someone who professes to be a follower of Christ and does not have the right kind of fruit we know that they have not the Spirit of God and need to be prayed for and worked for.
Being born into a Christian denomination accounts for nothing nor attending church services; “You must be born again” (John 3:3) “of the Spirit” (John 3:5). Profession is nothing in God’s eyes, but God makes provision for us to be changed into His likeness; it is left with us to allow Him to do so, and the fruit we produce will either confirm whether we are indeed abiding in Christ, as the branch to the Vine, or that we are living apart from Christ. Even if we have at one time been “born again,” we must stay connected to God through personal Bible study and prayer. Matthew 12:33 says, “Make the tree good.” It is God’s desire and good pleasure to make us good by imparting His Spirit to dwell within us.
The fruit seen in the lives of Christians is not the result of their own efforts but is the result of their connection to God and the indwelling Spirit of God, and therefore merit them nothing. “Believe thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me [through His Spirit]? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of Myself: but the Father that dwells in Me [by His Spirit], He doeth the works” (John 14:10, emphasis added). The Father’s Spirit dwelling in Yahushua was doing the works and giving Him the words to speak. Jesus said, “I can of Mine Own self do nothing” (John 5:30, emphasis added). That is how much we can do without Yahuwah’s Spirit abiding in us – nothing. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance” (Galatians 5:22-23). The Spirit of God living in us produces these qualities of character. Jesus was completely dependent upon the Father’s Spirit dwelling in Him in order to live the life He lived while on earth. He came to become not only our sacrificial Lamb, but also to become our Example by showing us how to live in this world. Different places in the Scriptures tell us how to live (Psalm 15), but Jesus came to show us how to live. Knowing and doing are two separate issues; having the Spirit of God dwelling in us supplies the power to live God-like lives. The lamp cannot give us light unless it is plugged in. The lamps pictured in the Old Testament could not give light unless there was oil [God’s Spirit] in them. So we must be connected to God (John 15:1-10). We are not to strive to let our light shine. Jesus said, “Let your light so shine” (Matthew 5:16). If God’s Spirit is dwelling within us, It will shine through us; we must stay plugged into the source of power and His Spirit dwelling within us.
Peter walked on the water as long as his eyes were fixed on Jesus, but once he took his eyes off of Jesus, he sank. So it is with us! As long as we keep our eyes fixed on Him, we can stay dry even amid life’s storms. “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
And in all of this, God is being judged! Is His grace sufficient for us as the Bible tells us? “And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Those who are weak realize their need for an outside source of power, while those who are self-sufficient may not realize their need. Jesus said, “They that are whole have no need of the physician [They have needs, but do not realize or are not willing to acknowledge their need], but they that are sick [Sinners realize their need.]: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Mark 2:17).
Peter told Jesus that he would never leave Him or forsake Him, but Jesus told Peter that when he was converted he would be able to strengthen the brethren. Peter was at that time self-reliant and not God-reliant. Those who think that they are reasonably good do not realize their need of the help Yahushua came to offer to mankind, while the wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked (sinners) realized their need and came to Jesus. We all need the help that Jesus came to give mankind, but not all will realize their need and come to Jesus for healing. The children of Israel in the desert told Moses that all that the LORD had told them, they would do and yet a few days later they were committing adultery because they, like Peter, were self-sufficient and thought they could do it in their own strength. “And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient” (Exodus 24:7).
Is God able to keep us from falling into sin? “Now unto Him that is able to keep us from falling [sinning], and to present us faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 24, emphasis added). The Bible says He can. Do we believe what it says? “According to your faith be it unto you” (Matthew 9:29). If we do not believe it can happen, it will not be done. God rewards our faith and confidence in Him.
We are to be God’s witnesses of His ability to keep and fulfill His promises in us, through us, and to us. When people question if a sinner can be made perfect, they are in fact questioning God’s ability to make and keep them perfect. See Job 1:1, Luke 1:6, and Revelation 14:5.
How mighty is your God? If He cannot do what He has promised, you had better switch gods, because you may not be worshipping the real God! If God can create the Universe by speaking it into existence; do you believe He can keep a person from sinning (Jude 24)? People who followed Christ in the past used to be called believers. Are you a believer or a doubter?
It is one thing to know what is coming in the future, as revealed in Daniel and Revelation, but quite another thing to be ready to go through that time as described in these books. It will require an experience as is best described in Psalm 91. We must have that experience so “he that dwells in the secret place of the most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty;” so we can say with utmost assurance, and not with presumptuousness, “He is my refuge and my fortress: my God in Him will I trust” (Psalm 91:1-2). “For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion: in the secret of His tabernacle shall He hide; He shall set me up upon a rock” (Psalm 27:5). When we meet the conditions as stated in the Scriptures, every promise will be realized. A great lie being perpetrated in the world today is about God’s unconditional love. His love is described as many things, but unconditional is not one of those. You will not find that word mentioned in the Scriptures or anything to support such a false concept of God. The little word “if” is used throughout the Scriptures and shows there are conditions by which God’s promises can be claimed.
I have quoted Psalm 91 before because it above all that is written in the Bible means everything to those who will be living during the last days! We must have a living, personal, vital connection with the LORD God.
“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war. His eyes were a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns; and He had a name written, that no man knew, but He Himself” (Revelation 19:11-12, emphasis added).
Today, within the Judeo-Christian Communities, there is much discussion concerning the Hebrew names of God (Elohim). There is little agreement on how to pronounce or write the names of God (Elohim). I am not fluent in Hebrew and do not consider myself an adequate judge in this matter. There are multiple ways that the names being used for both the Father and the Son are being spelled. One condemns the other for the Hebrew word used for the name of the Father or His Son and vice versa. When the One Who is called Jesus or Yahushua or Yeshua or Yahshua returns, all of this discussion and heated debating will come to an end because He has a name “that no man knew, but He Himself.” My wife and I have chosen to use the spellings that we have because what has been presented to us makes the most sense. But that by no means makes us right or wrong. We are attempting to do what we believe is correct without being dogmatic about the issue as some have chosen to do and in the process may be the means of turning people away from God.
Many will be ashamed in that day for the spirit that was so often manifested in those discussions that too often ended in producing more heat than light!
Very few ever spell or pronounce my surname correctly without my help, and that never bothers me. How small do we think our God is that we dare to become so dogmatic over this issue? What kind of a character is God being portrayed as having in all of this wrangling over His name? Is it more important to know the individual and what He is like than to know His name? I think Jeremiah 9:23-24 answers that question.
“And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean” (Revelation 19:13-14). The 144,000 are clothed in beautiful white garments made of “fine linen” as will all the redeemed throughout eternity.
“The mystery of godliness: God manifest in the flesh” (1 Timothy 3:16), our flesh! While this is speaking of Jesus primarily, it is also speaking to our experience where “the word is made flesh” (John 1:14) once again in us, and God is revealed unto the world through us. Jesus said His words were “spirit and they are life” (John 6:63), and we partake of the very life of the LORD as we spend time with Him in His Word. By His Word He created the Universe and by His Word He recreates us.
After we repent of our sins and turn to God for cleansing, and as we spend time with God in prayer and the personal study of His Word and meditating on His Word, we partake of His Spirit and become transformed into His likeness. What food does to the body, so the Word of God does in our lives! It changes us; makes us strong and healthy and vibrant followers of God. And the more we meditate on His Word the more we get out of His Word. It is like when we masticate (chew thoroughly) our food before swallowing it; the more we chew the more of the nutrition we get from our food we eat. The more we meditate on the Word of God the more we get out of it. A quick reading of the Word before we rush out the door cannot give us the nutritional value of God’s Word that we would get if we just sat down and spent time in thoughtful contemplation of the Word of God.
If you don’t presently read the Word, do so and see what happens in your life. Those of us who do, know what can happen in one’s life. That in a nutshell is how we exchange our “filthy rags” for the “fine linen,” the “righteousness of the saints” which we must have in order to attend the marriage supper of the Lamb. This white garment was provided for us in the redemption Christ wrought out for us on the cross, and it is left with our decision whether we will wear it or not. If we choose not to wear it we will find ourselves, like the man in the parable, taken out of the wedding feast and loose our eternal life, even though we have accepted the sacrifice of Yahushua for our sins but have not allowed Him to cleanse us from our sins.
In the above passage, Jesus is referred to as the “Word of God.” Words are thoughts made audible. When we study the life of Christ on earth, we can look into the very thoughts of God. “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). God's thoughts are made audible to us through the life of His Son who lived in dependency upon His Father; Who lived and dwelt in His Son through His Spirit. And so in the last days God will be revealing Himself through His children’s lives.
King Jesus leaves heaven riding on a white horse, with the armies of heaven following. “And out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron: and He treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS” (Revelation 19:15-16).
This picture is quite different from that of the meek and lowly Jesus as we often picture Him. Isaiah 53:2 tells us that when Jesus would come the first time, “He shall grow before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.” There was to be no outward attraction to draw us to Jesus when He first came; only the beauty of heavenly truth was to attract us to Him and not any outward display. “For this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth” (John 18:37). The religious people of His day could not understand Him because He was not like them. Their religion consisted of outward display only. They crucified their Creator, but would not enter the court of Pilate for fear of contaminating themselves (John 18:28); they judged Jesus by what they were and what they could understand. Their hearts (minds) were closed to Him where the heart of the problem of mankind is seated. “O generation of vipers, how can ye being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh” (Matthew 12:34).
But Jesus is coming with all His glory, honor, majesty, and authority. Jesus told those who were clamoring for His death: “Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven” (Matthew 26:64). And as we found out in an earlier chapter, those men who had put Him to death will be resurrected to see Him coming in the clouds of heaven (Revelation 1:7; Daniel 12:2). While a “rod of iron” to the wicked brings terror; to those who know Jesus as their Good Shepherd, the “rod of iron” brings comfort and assurance (Psalm 23:4).
While the righteous are being called to the marriage supper of the Lamb, the wicked are being called to be the “main course.” “And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; that ye may eat the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great” (Revelation 19:17-18).
“And I saw the beast [Satan], and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him that sat on the horse, and against His army” (Revelation 19:19).
When I started studying Daniel and Revelation twenty-four years ago, scientists were petitioning their governments to develop the technology to blast asteroids out of the sky. Then a movie came out about just such a scenario. Whether that technology will ever be developed, I do not know, but if it is, I believe it will be used in this battle when the armies of earth see Yahushua coming through the heavens to rescue the righteous.
Satan will not go down quietly, but he most certainly is going down in the Battle of Armageddon! Isaiah is not referring to this scene, but I hope you will appreciate its appropriateness. Its words apply to man but are applicable to Jesus in this scenario, “No weapon that is formed against Thee shall prosper” (Isaiah 54:17).
“And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped the image. These were both cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of Him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeds out of His mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh” (Revelation 19:20-21). Please notice the beast and the false prophet which are pictured as two separate entities are referred to as “he deceived” and not as “they deceived.” I believe that the beast, the false prophet and the dragon which are mentioned together in Revelation 16:13 are all the same entity, Satan, and we are told in Revelation 16:14 that "they are the spirits of devils."
“Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing [Fighting against God!]? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together against the LORD, and against His anointed [Jesus], saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. [People do not like the restrictions God has placed on them for their own safety.] He that sits in the heavens shall laugh: The LORD shall have them in derision. Then He shall speak unto them in His wrath, and vex them in His sore displeasure” (Psalm 2:1-5).
Speaking of the wicked, Psalm 37:13 tells us, “The LORD shall laugh at him, for He sees that his day is coming.” God will put an end to what is taking place on this earth and nothing can stop Him. The part pertaining to the beast and the false prophet being cast into the lake of fire will be discussed in the following chapter.
Much of the discussion of this chapter pertained to being ready for the marriage supper of the Lamb. Just knowing what is about to happen would be of no benefit to you if you are not ready to spend eternity with God and the Lamb. May each of us wear the wedding garment that has been purchased for us at such a great cost of suffering to the Father and to His Son!
- 1. What is the "testimony of Jesus?"
- 2. Who will be the main course for the fowls to eat?
- 3. What will be Jesus' new name?
- 4. Will Jesus come as a lamb or lion when He returns?