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“This is what the Lord says, He who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar–the Lord Almighty is His name: ‘Only if these decrees vanish from my sight,’ declares the Lord, ‘will Israel ever cease being a nation before me,’ declares the Lord. This is what the Lord says: ‘Only if the heavens above can be measured and the foundations of the earth below be searched out will I reject all the descendants of Israel because of all they have done,” Jeremiah 31:35-37
God never changes.
Though many have come to believe that the God portrayed in the Old Testament possesses a wholly different character than the God portrayed in the New Testament. Let scripture assure you, that the God of the Bible is one and the same [Deuteronomy 6:4; Mark 12:29].
He created the sun, moon and stars to govern the light [Genesis 1:16 & 18; Psalm 136:9]. They mark out seasons, days and years for us. They have since the fourth day of Creation and they will until the earth shall be no more [Genesis 8:22]. We know this is true, because God promised us in His Word and His Word is truth [John 17:17]. His promises have never failed. And the governing light that He established will never fail.
In Jeremiah, we read that if in fact these bodies of light did fail, then God would no longer recognize Israel as His chosen, holy nation. And if human beings could actually measure heaven and plumb the depths of the earth, then God would hold all of the descendants of Israel responsible for their sins and reject them, rather than forgive them.
So is this evidence of the harshly hateful Old Testament God who is seemingly contradictory to the loving God of the New Testament? Not at all!
God declares this impossible circumstance to illustrate that He is unchanging and His love faithful despite our sinful shortcomings. The sun, moon and stars will continue as long as the first Creation. The seas will remain. And even in the end times when God’s wrath is visited upon the earth, mercifully only one third of the sun, moon and stars are blotted out, and only one third of the sea rendered useless [Revelation 8:8-12]. Even then, God’s love for His chosen people and all people will stay His hand and extend His forgiveness.
But in the new heaven and the new earth neither sun nor moon, neither stars nor seas will exist [Revelation 21:1 & 22:5]. Here Israel will cease to be a nation before God’s face–not because God has rejected His people–but because all the faithful in heaven will be one nation belonging to God. No people groups will be separate. Everyone will be citizens of one kingdom belonging to Jesus Christ.
Can you see God’s unchanging nature throughout scripture? If not, pray and read. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes and reveal to you the truth of who God is.
“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever…to Him who alone does great wonders…who by His understanding made the heavens…who spread out the earth upon the waters…who made the great lights–…the sun to govern the day…the moon and stars to govern the night, His love endures forever.” Psalm 136: 1 & 4-9
Every created thing changes, and these changes precipitate from either our sin nature or our redeemed nature.
As human beings made for eternity we want to believe that our race is evolving and growing bigger. Better. Stronger. Scientists hawk this lie to school children from the youngest age. Television and politics agree. Even history books have been rewritten to conform with non-theistic origins.
But the sad truth is that each of these proclaims the untruth of evolution while also affirming the scientific law of chaos. It’s a conflict. Everything in the universe tends towards disorder, not order. Everything falls apart with time, it doesn’t naturally, or even selectively, improve.
Yet sadly, while youth are being taught that they came from rain on rocks that spawned a slime that crawled out onto dry land and sprouted legs, they begin to act like the very animals they were told they came from. Morals are abandoned. Selfishness–as in survival of the fittest–reigns. Self-as-supreme-authority dictates the cultural values and norms of our day. Defiance and violence follow.
But unlike the fairy tale of human evolution or the truth of our deteriorating sinful nature, God never changes. And His love endures forever.
Though we can never ourselves attain godhood, through His Holy Spirit, we can be redeemed and made more like Christ every day [John 13:35]. While our sin nature seeks to leach our mortal lives until they are utterly destroyed within us [John 10:10], God heals. God restores. God regenerates. God gifts us with eternal life [John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-9].
And even though the world around us degenerates into sinful chaos, denying the existence of God and crowning self as sovereign [Romans 1:25], God’s love endures forever.
His love is just as unchanging as He is. He loved us from the moment He created Adam from dust and breathed life into his nostrils [Genesis 2:7]. He loved us from the moment our sins crushed the last breath out of His Son, Jesus Christ, on the cross [Matthew 27:50; Luke 23:46; John 19:30]. He has always loved us. He loves us now. And He will always love us with an eternally unchanging, never failing, infinitely merciful yet holy love [Jeremiah 31:3].
Even atheists want everyone else around them to behave with godly obedience, mercy and love toward them–so long as no one tries to impose any regulations on them. Because everyone wants God’s love and the good things that it produces in their lives. But not very many choose to abdicate their self-appointed throne to get it.
God is unchanging. His infinite love for us never changes and never fails. Will you lay aside your life and be transformed by that love [John 15:13]?
“The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.” Revelation 22:17
God’s Holy Spirit desires Christ’s return and the advent of the New Heaven and the New Earth. The bride of Christ–His church preparing herself for the wedding feast of the Lamb in heaven [Revelation 19:7 & 21:2]–longs for that day. If God’s Spirit indwells us [Romans 8:9-17; Galatians 5:16-25], if we have truly accepted Christ as our bridegroom [Isaiah 61:10 & 62:5; Jeremiah 2:2; Matthew 25:1-10; Revelation 21:9], then our spirit cries out, Come, Lord Jesus, come!
So great should our joyful anticipation be for the return of Christ and our heavenly home, that those around us hear about it. The Good News should overflow our lips like a spring fed cup–because our lives are so finite like the cup and God’s love so infinite like a constant spring. Our joy should be a very good kind of contagious, so that those around us will not only hear but desire to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior–that all the world will call out to Jesus to, Come!
Come into our hearts. Come into our lives. Come into every ounce of our being. Everything we say and do surrendered to Christ alone. Come. Return to take your people home. Return with your glorious light and free us from the darkness of sin , sorrow, suffering and death. Come, Lord Jesus, come!
Blessed–extremely and eternally joyful–is everyone who hungers and thirsts for righteousness [Matthew 5:6]. For Jesus is our righteousness [1 Corinthians 1:30], and He freely fills us with that which we could never attain for ourselves [Isaiah 64:6].
The translation of, wishes…free gift, here comes from the Greek, dorean–freely. A better translation of this idea would be, Let the one who is thirsting come, let him who desires take the water of life freely.
Freely. No one makes Jesus do what He does for us. No one made Him die on the cross. No one makes Him forgive us for our sins. No one makes Him stand before the Father in our stead, covering our sins with His own righteousness, holding the door open to eternal life. He wants to do it. Freely.
And we are free to choose to accept or reject this gift, freely given to us. Generously lavished without interference, limit or restriction on those who accepting find. We are not forced to accept Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf or the eternal life it brings. Neither are we limited in the abundance of life we receive, nor are there restrictions on who may receive this gift.
Except that it is received freely, just as it is given freely. No coercion. Just the purely loving response by grace through faith of accepting God’s gift of our own free will [Ephesians 2:8].
Have you freely accepted God’s grace? Does your soul cry out, Come? Does your joy overflow into the world around you so that they desire to know Him too?
“One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, ‘Come, I will show you the punishment of the great prostitute, who sits on many waters. With her the kings of the earth committed adultery and the inhabitants of the earth were intoxicated with the wine of her adulteries. Then the angel carried me away in the Spirit into a desert. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns. The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls.” Revelation 17:1-4a
When the destruction of sin concludes, an angel takes John to see what happened to the mother of false religion–Babylon [Revelation 14:8]. She is said to be a wayward woman who sits on many waters [Jeremiah 51:13].
Ancient coins often depicted prosperous cities as a wealthy goddess sitting on a throne on a river bank. It perhaps symbolized the international trade that could be had thanks to the water access.
However, the Proverbs liken the purposes of the heart to deep waters [20:5] and the wayward woman to a deep ditch [23:27]. Being drawn into the purposes of the unrepentant heart and the temptations of self-as-god–a.k.a. spiritual waywardness–is like falling into deep waters and sinking. Most believe that they can swim or navigate by their own strength, but that is the ultimate deception of the enemy–to make the deceived believe that they are in control, when actually they are drowning.
Rulers throughout history have propagated the false religion began at Babylon–out of greed, hunger for power, tradition et al.
The Holy Spirit takes John to the desert where Babylon, the counterfeit woman to Israel [Revelation 12:6], is found sitting on a beast the color of sin–scarlet [Isaiah 1:18]. She herself is dressed in finery, mimicking the royalty of Christ and the jewels of the heavenly foundation. But make no mistake, her proposition is false, her offerings deadly.
She offers many waters. Easy going. Whatever you want, whatever you feel, whatever you think is good for you–go that way. But Jesus offers living water [John 4:10 & 13-14], and small is the gate and narrow the way that leads to eternal life—and few find it [Matthew 7:14].
Which water runs through your life? The many watered death of Babylon, false religion and self-as-god? Or the living water of Christ?
“The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East. Then I saw three evil spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. They are spirits of demons performing miraculous signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty. ‘Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed.’ Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.” Revelation 16:12-16
The mighty Euphrates, fourth river of Eden [Genesis 2:14], covenanted border of the Promised Land [Genesis 15:18; Exodus 23:31; Deuteronomy 11:24; Joshua 1:4; 1 Kings 4:21 & 24]. In modern times, the Euphrates appears to be nowhere near Israel’s borders, running instead from Turkey across Northern Syria and through Iraq. Only for a short time under the reigns of King David and his son Solomon did Israel’s territory extend all the way east to the great river [1 Kings 4:21; 1 Chronicles 18:3].
Still, it is significant that the river is removed altogether when the sixth bowl of wrath is poured out. With it, God’s covenanted Promised Land with the Israelites is without border, a border that delineated both divine protection and spiritual alignment in scriptures. Jacob fled from his father-in-law into the country of refuge across this river [Genesis 31:21], while enemy kings are noted as having come from beyond the river [1 Chronicles 19:16; Isaiah 7:20].
God’s hand of protection is removed from the earth along with his mercy [Isaiah 11:15; Jeremiah 46:6] to prepare for the final war–Armageddon. A demonic spirit comes out of Satan, his antichrist, and the false prophet, each one. The frog-like demons represent unclean spirits, since the frog was considered an unclean animal. They aid with the deception of the antichrist and the false prophet, and help unite the governments of the entire world against their Creator God.
Armageddon likely is a re-pronunciation/respelling of Har Mageddon, meaning the mountain of Megiddo. Throughout history, the plain of Megiddo, located in the main pass that runs northeast through the hill country between Sharon and Jezreel, was a frequent battleground because of its strategic location [i.e. Judges 5:19; 2 Kings 23:29; 2 Chronicles 35:22; and in modern times–1468 & 1917].
Just as Jesus’ return to rapture the church to heaven will be like a thief in the home of the unsuspecting [1 Thessalonians 5:2 & 4; 1 Peter 3:10; Revelation 3:3], so will his appearance at the last battle be like a thief to the earthly governments who have fallen asleep, those who have not only denied God, but forgotten Him. There is a difference. But Jesus is warning them that, Hey look, you’re going to be defeated by virtue of aligning yourselves with the unholy trinity, but you don’t have to shame yourselves in the process. Be ready.
This can also be taken as reminder to believers to be ready for His return. Jesus coming will only seem like a thief in the night to the unsuspecting. We not know the exact day or the hour [Matthew 24:36], but we can see the signs of the times, recognize that it is near, and be ready for His return [Matthew 24:1-35].
Do you know the signs of the end times? Study God’s word to understand them better. Do you see the signs all around? Is your heart prepared so that Jesus’ coming does not take you by surprise?
“I looked, and there before me was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one ‘like a son of man’ with a crown of gold on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. Then another angel came out of the temple and called in a loud voice to him who was sitting on the cloud, ‘Take your sickle and reap, because the time has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.’ So he who was seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested.” Revelation 14:14-16
By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way [Exodus 13:21]. John sees the white cloud with the Son of Man [Daniel 7:13; Revelation 1:13 & 6:2] seated on it–Jesus, wearing the victor’s crown. But Jesus is also holding a sickle.
If you’re not familiar with antiquitous farm equipment, you may still recognize a sickle as the blade usually wielded in portrayals of the grim reaper. Jesus is anything but grim. He is not death incarnated to frighten the nations into submission. On the contrary, He is a merciful and loving Savior, friend to all who know Him as Lord.
Still, the sickle he wields–just like the double-edged sword of His mouth, His word–will cut two ways. The harvest of the faithful to eternal life [John 4:35] and of those who rejected God to eternal death in the fires of hell [Joel 3:13; Jeremiah 51:33].
John 12:24 and 1 Corinthians 15:42 liken our eternal soul-man and our physical bodies to a seed. We are each born with a young faith plant in our hearts and enough childlike faith for food to sustain us while we are nurtured in the truth. But what happens when God’s word is not taught? When prayer and praising God Almighty are not apart of the life that a child leads? It’s like leaving a seed to dry up and die. It may look whole on the outside, but it will never grow into the plant that it was meant to be.
We are the same way. And those who have grown in their faith will be good, mature plants. When our end comes our souls will live on. But those who allow their faith to lie dormant, or to shrivel and die, they will grow other plants in their heart that have no place in heaven. When their end comes, their soul will not find peace with God as they never made that peace in life.
One swift fell of the sickle. The hour and day unknown. What’s in your heart? Growing faith? Or growing discord with God?
“A second angel followed and said, ‘Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great, which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries.’ A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: ‘If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, he, too, will drink of the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment rises forever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name.” Revelation 14: 8-11
The first angel proclaims the truth of who God is. The second angel proclaims the truth of false religion in human history. It began at Babel with Nimrod, the mighty hunter before the Lord [Genesis 10:9]. He incited the post-flood world to denounce God and show Him that people didn’t need their Creator, they could live all by themselves and for themselves. He encouraged people to worship images and idols of made up beings for their own good pleasure, not the least of which were statues of his wife Semiramis who called herself the Queen of Heaven.
The Babylonian seed of rebellion against God is so significant in human history that scripture mentions Babylon no less than 315 times. About 100 of those occur in Jeremiah as a warning to repent of the sin began Babel before captivity overtook the Israelites. But in the end, all false religion is not of God, so it will not last [Acts 5:38-39]. Jesus has the victory over false religion.
The third angel proclaims the truth of who Satan and his unholy trinity are. There will be no forgiveness for those who worship the antichrist or accept his name on their forehead or hand. Because those who do, do so by rejecting the One True God. After a lifetime of opportunities to acknowledge God for who He truly is, these unfaithful will belligerently denounce Him as Lord and God and accept another in His place. And when the antichrist is shown for who he truly is, the day of God’s wrath, the day of judgment will already be upon the world. It will be too late to realize Oh, there really is a God? and switch sides out of fear and convenience rather than love and understanding.
The Greek enopion here translates as before the angels and Jesus. This same term occurs 95 times in the New Testament and is sometimes rendered as in the presence of [Luke 1:19, 8:47, 13:26, et al], sometimes as in the sight of [Luke 1:15, 14:10, 15:18, et al], sometimes as in earlier than/previous [Luke 1:7] and sometimes used as before as in the sense of in front of [Luke 1:76, 4:7, 12:9, et al]. It is clear in scripture that God is all-seeing, there is nowhere that any can hide from His searching out [Jeremiah 23:24]. Even with the Creation restored and the new heaven and new earth established, there will still be eternal death in the fires of hell and this will not be hidden from the Lord’s sight.
But it is not God’s will that any should join Satan and his fallen angel followers in this eternal torment [2 Peter 3:9]. Even now He stays His hand, waiting for one more to come to a saving knowledge of Him. Is He waiting for you? Have you committed your life to Him? Or is He waiting for others that you know? Can they see your light? Do they know God because of you?