December 23

Revelation 19-20, Psalm 47

About a year ago I was sharing with an Orthodox Jewish patient of mine with excitement, mentioning all of the events which seemed to be coming together to make the Battle with Gog and Magog be fulfilled (Ezekiel 38-39). I was explaining how inexplicably Russia, Turkey and Iran seemed to be strangely unifying and how this might be the beginning of ushering in the end times (people debate whether this battle will occur once or twice, and debate as to when, but I am of the belief that it will occur at least once and before the tribulation). Though I was excited, her response was the exact opposite. She said that she has 7 children and soon will have grandchildren and hoped that these events might be far away. She knows of the time of Jacob's trouble described in Jeremiah 30:7, "Alas! For that day is great, So that none is like it; And it is the time of Jacob's trouble, But he shall be saved out of it." When I speak about end times with others, their reaction all depends on which side they see themselves on. For those who have trusted Christ as their Lord and Savior, this time can not come quick enough. We can throw our arms up in triumph and praise the King of Kings sharing victory with our Lord. But, for those who choose to reject His free offer of salvation, this time represents judgment in it's most severe form.

We read in Revelation 19:6-7, "And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, "Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready." Paul said in 2 Corinthians 11:2, "For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ." Since, we His bride are engaged to Christ, we are to be completely devoted to Him, with our worship directed to Him alone, with our love for Him exceeding all other loves. To love anything or anyone else more than Him, we are committing spiritual adultery. So, who makes it through to the Millennial Kingdom described in Revelation 20:4-6? There are the Old Testament saints which we get a picture of in Luke 16:19-31. There are those who have put their faith in Christ and have died or been raptured prior to the Tribulation period. There are those mentioned in Revelation 20:4, "And I saw the thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years." These are the tribulation saints who lost their live during this period. Lastly we have those who live through the tribulation period trusting in Christ and survived, including the 144,000 Jewish believers who were marked in Revelation 7. This entire group is described in the wonderful news described in Revelation 20:6, "Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years." Though we see that Satan will be released at the end of this period, this entire group is sealed and protected and will not and can not flip sides. Those who have died prior to the Millennial kingdom with their glorified bodies will be unable to reproduce. Those who make it through alive will be able to reproduce, and it is their offspring who will have the free will to stay with Christ who rules on the throne or join Satan who is released at the end of the thousand years. We see the conclusion at the Great white throne judgment in Revelation 20:14-15, "...This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire."

This is the exciting conclusion of God's story. The question remains for everyone is whether or not their name is included in the Book of Life. Many are afraid of this time and for a good reason. Many trust in their good works, but deep down they have to ask themselves what amount of goodness do they need to achieve to attain eternal life in heaven. Jesus said these sobering words in Matthew 7:21-23, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord', shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!" Hell is often joked about, but it is nothing to joke about. It will not be a place where people hang out and drink with their buddies, laughing with an occasional jab with a pitchfork by the devil. It is a place of total darkness, total isolation, total torment and anguish, forever separated from God. People like to question God's fairness, but we must remember that God leaves the choice of heaven or hell up to us. We have free will, and we get to choose our eternal destination. But the choice completely rests on one thing: have we accepted or rejected Christ's sacrifice to cover the required payment of our sins.

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Marj Lancaster