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Our last study was on the reliability of the Bible. We determined that the Bible is its own best interpreter, that it’s true author is God, that it is a reliable source of absolute truth, that it focuses on God’s covenant people, and that it can be read and understood by anyone who is an honest seeker of God and His truth. We showed how God has used Bible prophecy to establish the credibility of Himself (above other false gods) and of the Bible.
Let’s briefly review the prophecy we studied in our last lesson. It appears in Daniel chapter 2. This prophecy provides a prophetic outline for the world’s history from Daniel’s time until the Second Coming of Christ. It also provides a prophetic framework that other later Bible prophecies repeat, enlarge, and elaborate on. Daniel interpreted the dream that God had given to King Nebuchadnezzar sometime around 603 BC. The king saw a metal image that represented a succession of empires from his own day until the Second Coming of Jesus.
Our study of this prophecy in Daniel 2 gives us some principles that we can use when interpreting other Bible prophecy.
In this study, we will discover another vital principle of correctly interpreting Bible prophecy. All scripture must be read in its context to be properly understood. There are an almost limitless number of “Bible teachers” who string together dozens of Bible texts, taken out of context, to teach principles and ideas that have no Biblical basis at all. The Bible is so broad and extensive in its content that you can find individual phrases and short passages to prove any point that you want to make. It is vital that we read the Bible with the intention to discover what God is trying to communicate to us, not in order to prove our own theories. This attitude is particularly important when considering Bible prophecy. It is vital that every passage be studies in its context. There are a number of contexts that must be considered when studying a particular passage or topic. Each passage must be considered in the context of the book and chapter in which it appears – or its literary context. Each passage must also be considered in its historical context. The words and ideas must be considered according to how they would have been understood at the time in history when they were written. All Bible passages must be considered in their theological context. The Bible is not primarily a history book. Rather it is an account of the relationship between God and His people. The theological context deals with how a particular passage reflects the character of God. But there is another context that many Bible teachers and students overlook. And yet it is perhaps the most important context to consider, especially when studying Bible prophecy. That often forgotten context is the context of the overall message of the entire Bible taken as a whole. We often will look for the central theme of a particular passage or book. Sometimes we will search for the central themes that a particular Bible writer emphasizes in all his writings. But often we fail to consider the central theme of the whole Bible. The central theme of the Bible is especially important when studying apocalyptic prophecy. Apocalyptic prophecy always deals with the “big picture”. In this study, we will take a look at the central theme of the Bible as a whole.
Let’s begin with another Bible storacle. If you remember from last lesson, a storacle is a term coined by Doug Bachelor of Amazing Facts. A storacle is a Bible story that is also an oracle with both spiritual and historical significance. This Bible storacle is about Prince Absolom, one of the sons of King David. The following story is quoted from the Amazing Facts Storacle Lesson entitled, “The Rebellious Prince”. “ A bsalom was the most handsome, cunning, and ambitious of David's sons. The Bible says, &quot;But in all Israel there was none to be so much praised as Absalom for his beauty: from the sole of his foot even to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him.&quot; 2 Samuel 14:25. But this determined young prince wanted more than just the admiration of the people for his stunning appearance. He wanted the power of his father's throne. He wanted to be king of Israel--at any price. First Absalom killed his older brother, Amnon, after Amnon mistreated his sister Tamar. Amnon was David's firstborn son and in line to follow David as king. Then, after Absalom wormed his way back into his father's favor he began to sow subtle seeds of doubt throughout the kingdom about David's leadership, judgments, and laws until he &quot;stole the hearts of the men of Israel.&quot; 2 Samuel 15:6. Finally, his sinister plan erupted into a full-blown rebellion as Absalom tried to assassinate his own father and kidnap the kingdom. David and his followers were forced to flee from Jerusalem. But after a severe battle a few days later, David was once again secure on his throne, and handsome Prince Absalom was slain. A sad story indeed, but this was not the first such royal family feud. In another great kingdom long ago, very similar events led to the most tragic rebellion of all time. The kingdom was called--heaven!” - Quoted from the Amazing Facts Storacles of Prophecy Lesson number four entitled, “The Rebellious Prince” (www.amazingfacts.org/projects/storacle_lessons.asp).
As a side note, when a verse is quoted on the screen, you don’t need to look it up in your Bibles. When you see a text reference on the screen, then you should look up the text in your Bible. Study outlines are available so that you can look up the context of all the verses after you have finished the presentation. You are encouraged to always study the Bible for yourself to verify the things that are taught in the presentations. Never simply take the word of a teacher or preacher without studying the topic for yourself in the Bible.
This world is presently experiencing natural disasters of unprecedented magnitude and frequency. We can look around us at the world we live in and see that it is very different from God’s original perfect creation.
Rev 21:1-4 1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth ; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away , and there is no longer any sea. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, &quot; Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He shall dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be among them , 4 and He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away .&quot;
God promises us in the Bible that He will recreate the earth and make it new again. He will recreate it just as it was in the beginning – perfect and good.
God said that His original creation was “very good”. The Bible says that God will eventually recreate the world so that it it once again like it originally was – He will “make all things new.” We can look around at our world and it is very far from God’s original perfect creation. War, violence, crime, hatred, famines, plagues, droughts, hurricanes, earthquakes. All of these things were obviously not part of God’s perfect world. So the big question is, “What happened to God’s perfect creation?”
The Bible tells us that this world’s problems did not originate here. The book of Revelation says that there was war in heaven.
We should pause very briefly at this point to discuss the literary structure of the book of Revelation. Let’s keep in mind that the book of Revelation is unique in all of scripture. It is the only book that documents a single vision from god from beginning to end. We must always remember that God chose all of the imagery and symbols that are used in Revelation. He chose imagery and symbols that would be familiar to the apostle John (the author of Revelation), because the imagery and symbols come directly out of the Old Testament. There are more direct references to the Old Testament in the book of Revelation than there are verses in Revelation. It is virtually impossible to understand the book of Revelation without a good understanding of the Old Testament. We will talk more extensively about this in later lessons. There is also one other point that we should note here. The vision which God gave to John and which he recorded in the book of Revelation was organized in a very specific literary style. This style came from Hebrew literature, and it is called a chiasm. There are just a few points that we should understand about a literary chiasm, that are essential to a correct understanding of the book of Revelation. The vast majority of Bible interpreters have overlooked the issues involved in Revelation’s literary style. As a result, they have come up with a whole host of fanciful interpretations that are nowhere near the meaning that God intended to convey. Remember that we are talking about the overall context of the Bible in this lesson. Revelation is one very good place to look for that context. But in order to correctly understand Revelation, we must read Revelation in its proper context – and that includes its literary and historical contexts. Here are some main points that we can derive from the literary style of Revelation: The different sections of Revelation may be related to one another, however, they stand as distinct sections Each section begins with a sanctuary scene (more about that in a later lesson) The book of Revelation is NOT organized in chronological order In western literature, we typically have an introduction followed by a very long build-up that ends in the climax and a rapid resolution. In a chiasm, however, the climax comes in the center, with distinctly parallel build-up and resolution phases. In Revelation, we can see that the central issues are identified in the sections on the Great Controversy (Rev 12-14) and the Fall of Babylon (Rev 17-18). The action climax comes in the sections on the 7 Trumpets (Rev 9-11) and the 7 Last Plagues (Rev 15-16).
The book of Revelation contains what theologians call apocalyptic prophecy. Apocalyptic prophecy focuses on the big picture of the issues at stake in this world. It is as if Jesus were pulling back the curtain of time and showing us the whole past and future history of our world in a moment. Therefore, Revelation is a good place to find the issues that are involved in the central theme of the Bible. In the very heart of the book of Revelation, it identifies the original cause of all this world’s problems. The problems of our world did not originate here. Revelation tells us that before there was war, pain and suffering on earth, there was war in heaven.
Revelation 12 gives us a description of the war in heaven. Here is how it describes the first participant in this war. Rev 12:1-2 1 And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; and she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth. The first character in this war is a pure and holy woman.
We need to pause here and note that the book of Revelation is full of symbols and imagery. Some expositors take the view that God showed John a “movie of the future” and that John then described the visions of modern times and machinery in terms that he could understand. With this line of reasoning, they conclude that the locust-like creatures of the fifth Trumpet were just the way that John described modern helicopters. Similarly, there are other churches that teach that the woman we just read about in Revelation 12:1-2 is Mary, the queen of heaven. But God did not show John a “movie of the future”. God showed John a vision full of spiritual significance and issues. He portrayed those issues in symbolic terms and imagery. Any student of the Bible would recognize those symbols and the imagery as the same ones God had used in the past when communicating with His prophets. Almost every symbol used in Revelation appears somewhere else in the Bible as well, particularly in the Old Testament. Most appear numerous times. And the best part is that the Bible gives the interpretation of the vast majority of these symbols in very plain language. So we do not have to speculate about what these symbols represent. We can use the Bible as its own best expositor to explain the meaning of the imagery of Revelation and of the spiritual issues that the symbols address.
Eph 5:25-32 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her; 26 that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless. 32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church .
The first participant in this war is a woman. That seems an odd participant in a spiritual war. It is clear from these Bible texts that God often refers to His church as a woman. This particular woman is obviously a pure and holy woman. She is surrounded by symbols of light – the sun, moon and stars. Light is usually a symbol of righteousness in the Bible. The twelve stars symbolize spiritual leadership of the church – the twelve patriarchs of the Old Testament and the twelve apostles of the New Testament. The first participant in this spiritual war is God’s faithful church.
Here is how Revelation 12 describes the second participant in the war. Rev 12:3-4 3 And another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems. 4 And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven, and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child.
We do not have to guess about the meaning of the symbol of the dragon. This particular symbol is explained within the very same passage that we are studying.
The third participant is described in Revelation 12:5. Rev 12:5 5 And she [the woman of 12:1-2] gave birth to a son, a male child who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne.
This “male child” is obviously Jesus. Jesus was born to be ruler of all mankind. Jesus was caught up to God and His throne. Yes, Mary physically gave birth to Jesus, but more than being Mary’s Son, Jesus was the Son of the “church”. Jesus was the Son of the promise. According to the Bible, He was the “Son of David” and “Abraham’s seed”.
Although the devil was behind the many attacks on Jesus throughout His life, in most cases the devil did not threaten Jesus personally. In most cases Satan worked through human agencies to attack Jesus. He uses similar methods to attack God’s people even today.
Within a year or two after Jesus was born, wise men from the East came to see Him and worship Him. These men had studied the ancient prophecies of the Bible and recognized the prophetic signs that heralded the coming of the Messiah. Before coming to Bethlehem, they stopped to see King Herod, who was ruler of the Jews.
Although Herod was a Jew, he was not a spiritual man. He ruled Judea under the authority of Rome. He was concerned about his own political power. When the wise men from the East visited him with news of the birth of the Messiah, He viewed this as a threat to his personal power and authority.
Not knowing exactly when the purported “Messiah” was born, King Herod ordered soldiers to kill every baby boy born in Bethlehem that was under two years of age. Satan had used this same tactic almost 1500 years earlier in order to try to destroy Moses in Egypt. Revelation 12:5 says that the dragon (Satan) stood before the woman (God’s true people – the church) in order to devour her child (Jesus). Satan acted through the human agencies of King Herod and the armies of the Roman Empire.
But God warned Joseph of the danger to Jesus in a dream, and they fled from Bethlehem to Egypt before the slaughter began.
Satan used similar tactics to again try to destroy Jesus at the end of His life. Satan provoked the Jewish leaders to accuse Jesus of false crimes. The Jewish high court – the Sanhedrin – were not permitted to put anyone to death, so they worked through the Roman government to put Jesus to convict and to crucify Jesus. You see Satan using the same tactics over and over again. Satan uses religious authorities to influence the civil government to persecute God and His people. We will see that same kind of pattern again at the end of time.
On that dark day in AD 33 when the holy Son of God hung on a cross, Satan believed that He had finally won the war that began in heaven so long ago. But what he failed to realize that was by murdering the sinless Son of God, he had actually struck a fatal blow to himself.
Jesus did not stay in the grave. He was resurrected on the third day and after encouraging his disciples for a period of 40 days, he was caught up to heaven before their very eyes.
We have seen three participants in this war so far – The devil, Jesus, and God’s faithful church. But there is one more important participant. This combatant is not depicted directly in Revelation 12, but does appear in that passage’s parallel section of Revelation 17-18. Rev 17:1-6 1 And one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and spoke with me, saying, &quot;Come here, I shall show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, 2 with whom the kings of the earth committed acts of immorality, and those who dwell on the earth were made drunk with the wine of her immorality.&quot; 3 And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness; and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast , full of blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns. 4 And the woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a gold cup full of abominations and of the unclean things of her immorality , 5 and upon her forehead a name was written , a mystery, &quot; BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH .&quot; 6 And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus . And when I saw her, I wondered greatly.
When God’s people turned from Him to false gods and idols in the Old Testament, he referred to them as an unfaithful harlot and accused them of spiritual adultery. The pure woman of Revelation 12 represents God’s faithful followers. The harlot, Babylon, represents those who claim to be followers of God, but who have turned from following Him to other gods and idols of their own making. The Jewish leaders of Jesus’ day filled this role. They claimed to be God’s chosen people, and yet they were so caught up with their own power that they failed to recognize the very Son of God when He was in their midst. They had fallen so far from God that they actually murdered the Messiah King whom they professed to be waiting and praying for. In that day, the Jewish leaders constituted the harlot Babylon. But the harlot has not left us. She has only taken a different form. She has a key role to play in the final hours of earth’s history. We will take a whole lesson to study the harlot Babylon later in this series.
Ezek 28:12-19 12 &quot;Son of man, take up a lamentation over the king of Tyre, and say to him, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, &quot; You had the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty . 13 &quot; You were in Eden, the garden of God ; every precious stone was your covering: the ruby, the topaz, and the diamond; the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper; the lapis lazuli, the turquoise, and the emerald; and the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets, was in you. On the day that you were created they were prepared. 14 &quot; You were the anointed cherub who covers , and I placed you there. You were on the holy mountain of God; you walked in the midst of the stones of fire. 15 &quot; You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, until unrighteousness was found in you . 16 &quot; By the abundance of your trade you were internally filled with violence, and you sinned ; therefore I have cast you as profane from the mountain of God. And I have destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. 17 &quot; Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor . I cast you to the ground; I put you before kings, that they may see you. 18 &quot;By the multitude of your iniquities, in the unrighteousness of your trade, you profaned your sanctuaries. Therefore I have brought fire from the midst of you; it has consumed you, and I have turned you to ashes on the earth in the eyes of all who see you. 19 &quot;All who know you among the peoples are appalled at you; you have become terrified, and you will be no more.&quot;'&quot; You will notice that this passage says that it is directed at the king of Tyre. But we very quickly see that it is referring to more than just the king of Tyre. The passage says that he “had the seal of perfection”, that he was “in Eden, the garden of God”, and that he “was anointed as the covering cherub”. Although the statements are directed at the king of Tyre we can see that they were actually referring to Lucifer – or Satan. This illustrates a significant point. Satan often works through sinful men. Satan is often the real perpetrator behind the monumental acts of evil that are perpetrated by the people of this earth. The dragon, Satan, worked through the apostate Jewish leaders and through the Roman empire to try to kill Jesus. The passage, along with the one that we read in Isaiah, show that sin and rebellion against God originated in Heaven with Lucifer. Lucifer’s original sin was that of pride. He was not satisfied to serve God as the highest official in the heavenly courts. He wanted to be equal to God Himself. And he was very convincing in his arguments to the other angels. Revelation 12:4 indicates that a third of the heavenly angels followed Lucifer in His rebellion against God.
This is a very significant question. Take a moment to think about how God could have dealt with the rebellion of Satan and the angels that turned from God to follow him. God could very easily have destroyed them on the spot, with the simple utterance of a word. But if God had done that, it would have engendered fear in the rest of the angels who did not rebel. Remember that Satan was fairly convincing in his arguments. He was able to convince about a third of the angels that he was right and that God was wrong. Remember that before this time, there was no such thing as a lie within all of God’s creation. If God had simply destroyed Satan and his followers immediately on the spot, then the rest of the angels may have had reason to doubt God and to wonder if perhaps Satan was correct in his allegations against God. The angels would then be following God out of fear rather than love. They would be fearful of raising another disagreement with God because they might then share Satan’s fate of instant destruction. A second way that God could have dealt with Satan’s rebellion is that He could have simply changed their will. God could have caused them to only be able to love and obey Him and never to rebel against Him. He could have taken away their free will and their ability to choose. But the worship that He would receive from them at that point would have been hollow and meaningless. Love is only genuine when it is freely given. God created both men and angels to enter into a relationship of love with them. He wants worship and obedience only out of true love, not out of fear or out of mindless programming. Instead of destroying Satan immediately or “reprogramming” away his free will, God chose to deal with the situation in a different way. Let’s see what He did…
Instead of destroying Satan and his angels, or “reprogramming” them, God chose to give them a period of probation. He cast Satan to the earth, and gave him the opportunity to prove that he was right. In this way, the rest of the heavenly angels would be able to see the inevitable results of rebelling against God. They would be able to see that loving obedience to God results in happiness and prosperity, and that rebellion against God results in hatred, selfishness, sickness, war and death. Notice in the passage that Satan knew that he had only a short time to prove himself. God gave him a definitive amount of time to demonstrate that his way was better.
Remember from the beginning of our study that God had made the earth to be perfect and without sin. God gave Adam and Eve very few rules to follow. He gave them the ten commandments. He also instructed them not to eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good an devil. God had provided for their every need in the Garden of Eden. They had no need to eat from that tree. Yet God had placed the tree there to provide for the possibility of disobedience. God did not tempt man to sin. But he made it possible for them to sin. Remember that true love requires freedom of choice. After giving them this instruction, look what happened next.
Gen 3:1-6 1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, &quot;Indeed, has God said, 'You shall not eat from any tree of the garden'?&quot; 2 And the woman said to the serpent, &quot;From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; 3 but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat from it or touch it, lest you die.'&quot; 4 And the serpent said to the woman, &quot;You surely shall not die! 5 &quot;For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.&quot; 6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. Gen 3:14-15 14 And the LORD God said to the serpent, &quot;Because you have done this, cursed are you more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; On your belly shall you go, and dust shall you eat all the days of your life; 15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.&quot; When God cast Satan out of heaven and to the earth, He allowed him to tempt Adam and Eve to sin. Remember that Satan is a liar and the father of lies. He never appears in a form that appears wicked. Up until that moment, the snake was not a threat to Adam and Eve. It was part of God’s perfect creation. Eve had no reason to distrust the snake. But the snake was Satan in disguise. Revelation 12:9 refers to Satan as “that serpent of old”. But Adam and Eve did not have to yield to Satan’s temptations. They could have refused to eat the fruit, and Satan’s rebellion would have ended. But instead, they chose not to trust God and to obey Him, and instead yielded to Satan’s temptations. Notice that Satan promised them the things that he desired himself. He promised them great wisdom and equality with God. It was not God’s will that Adam and Eve follow Satan and rebel against Him. But because of His foreknowledge, He knew that they would choose to rebel. He could have simply allowed them to die with Satan in their rebellion and sin, but instead, He put in place a plan of redemption to give them the opportunity to be reconciled again to Him. The Bible later tells us that the “seed” of the woman refers to Jesus. The real battle is between Jesus and Satan. God would place enmity and strife between Jesus (and those that choose to follow Him) and Satan and his followers. Satan and his followers would cause great harm to Jesus and His people, but Jesus would eventually crush the head of “that serpent of old”, the Devil.
Gen 3:7-13 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. 8 And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, &quot;Where are you?&quot; 10 And he said, &quot;I heard the sound of Thee in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.&quot; 11 And He said, &quot;Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?&quot; 12 And the man said, &quot;The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.&quot; 13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, &quot;What is this you have done?&quot; And the woman said, &quot;The serpent deceived me, and I ate .&quot;
Gen 3:22-24 22 Then the LORD God said, &quot;Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, lest he stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever&quot;-- 23 therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. 24 So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim, and the flaming sword which turned every direction, to guard the way to the tree of life .
Romans 3:23 says that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
John 3:16-17 16 &quot;For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. &quot;For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him. God loved men so much that He did not just condemn the world to destruction when Adam and Even sinned. Instead, He devised a plan of redemption so that people could be reconciled back to God. But the reconciliation, like the rebellion, had to be a free choice. The reconciliation came at a great price. It came at the price of the suffering and death of God’s only son, Jesus Christ. Through Jesus’ blood on the cross, the sins of everyone in history, past and present, were atoned for. But not everyone will be saved. Salvation is available to everyone, but it is granted only to those who choose, of their own free will, to believe in Jesus and to accept His death on their behalf.
Rev 12:13-17 13 And when the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child. 14 And the two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, in order that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she was nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. 15 And the serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, so that he might cause her to be swept away with the flood. 16 And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and drank up the river which the dragon poured out of his mouth. 17 And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus . Satan was defeated once and for all at the cross. Satan knows this and it has filled him with hatred of Jesus. Satan had his opportunity to tempt Jesus to sin, and he failed. He had his opportunity to hurt Jesus personally and to kill Him, but Jesus overcame death and the grave. Since Satan cannot now hurt Jesus personally, he has turned his hatred against those whom Jesus loves. Satan has turned the focus of his war with God against God’s people on earth. Anyone who chooses to place his faith in Jesus becomes the special target of Satan’s wrath.
This is so important for us to understand. When the themes of the Great Controversy are presented to people, they often react by saying that these things are too philosophical. They often say that sermons should focus on more practical issues like how to have better marriages or how to raise Godly children, etc. But it is so critical for understand the ultimate cause of the evil in this world. We do not war against flesh and blood, but against spiritual forces. If our problems are only of earthly origin, then we will seek only earthly solutions. But when we understand that we have been engulfed in a spiritual war, we will seek spiritual answers. The worldly problems are just the outward manifestation of a spiritual war. The war will be fought and won in the spiritual realm, not in the worldly one.
Our weapons in this war are the spiritual forces of righteousness.
Ps 98:7-9 7 Let the sea roar and all it contains, the world and those who dwell in it. 8 Let the rivers clap their hands; let the mountains sing together for joy 9 Before the LORD; for He is coming to judge the earth ; He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity .
John 5:28-29 28 &quot;Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs shall hear His voice, 29 and shall come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.
Rev 7:9-17 9 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands ; 10 and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, &quot;Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.&quot; 11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying, &quot;Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.&quot; 13 And one of the elders answered, saying to me, &quot; These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and from where have they come ?&quot; 14 And I said to him, &quot;My lord, you know.&quot; And he said to me, &quot; These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb . 15 &quot;For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne shall spread His tabernacle over them. 16 &quot;They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; neither shall the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; 17 for the Lamb in the center of the throne shall be their shepherd, and shall guide them to springs of the water of life; and God shall wipe every tear from their eyes.&quot;
Dan 7:9-10 9 &quot;I kept looking Until thrones were set up, and the Ancient of Days took His seat ; His vesture was like white snow, and the hair of His head like pure wool. His throne was ablaze with flames, its wheels were a burning fire. 10 &quot;A river of fire was flowing and coming out from before Him; thousands upon thousands were attending Him, and myriads upon myriads were standing before Him ; the court sat, and the books were opened . God the Father presides at the judgment and all the holy angels are present.
All the holy angels are present at the judgment, watching to see the outcome of each case.
Jesus fills a double role in the judgment. He is both our Judge and our Advocate. That is very good news. The God-man who came to earth to die for our sins is our judge. As each case comes before Him, He turns to the Father and says this one accepted My sacrifice on His behalf and placed his faith in Me. I stand before this court in His place. My life stands for his.
After the redeemed have been judged righteous based on their faith in the blood of Jesus, they will take their own seats in the heavenly courts to review the books and to confirm God’s judgments upon those who rejected Jesus and upon the fallen angels. This is a very important process. Remember that God wants us to follow Him only out of love. Before He executes the final sentence on those who have rejected Christ, He wants us to confirm His judgments for ourselves, to be absolutely convinced that the judgments were correct. The lives of every person who rejected Christ will be recorded in the books of heaven and will be opened for us to see. You may have thought that a close friend or relative of yours was a very good and kind person, and yet they did not appear in the resurrection of the righteous. The record books will show when and how they rejected the pleadings of God through the Holy Spirit for them to submit their lives to Christ. There might be others present in the resurrection of the righteous that you would not have expected there. When you look them up in the books, every sin in their life will have been scratched out of the books with a note marked as “PARDONED” written in the blood of Jesus.
Rev 18:1-5 1 After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illumined with his glory. 2 And he cried out with a mighty voice, saying, &quot; Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great ! And she has become a dwelling place of demons and a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird. 3 &quot;For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the passion of her immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed acts of immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich by the wealth of her sensuality.&quot; 4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, &quot; Come out of her, my people, that you may not participate in her sins and that you may not receive of her plagues ; 5 for her sins have piled up as high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities .
Rev 19:11-16 11 And I saw heaven opened; and behold, a white horse, and He who sat upon it is called Faithful and True; and in righteousness He judges and wages war. 12 And His eyes are a flame of fire, and upon His head are many diadems; and He has a name written upon Him which no one knows except Himself. 13 And He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood; and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. 15 And from His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may smite the nations; and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. 16 And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, &quot;KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.&quot;
Jesus, the Christ, will come in the clouds, leading the armies of heaven. He will come as King of kings and Lord of lords to rescue His faithful followers from this world of sin. One day soon you will see this sight.
Satan, the fallen angels, and all those who have rejected Jesus’ offer of salvation will be destroyed. Sin and sinners will be forever removed from God’s perfect creation.
Rev 7:9-12 9 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; 10 and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, &quot;Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.&quot; 11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying, &quot;Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.&quot;
Rev 21:1-5 1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, &quot;Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He shall dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be among them, 4 and He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.&quot; 5 And He who sits on the throne said, &quot;Behold, I am making all things new.&quot; And He said, &quot;Write, for these words are faithful and true.&quot;
The conflict of the ages – the battle between Christ and Satan – is portrayed in Revelation in many different pairs of symbols. The pure woman and the harlot Babylon. The seal of God and the mark of the beast. The holy city New Jerusalem and Babylon, the city of pride. The Lamb and the beast. We will study these symbols in more detail in later lessons. But the overall meaning is very clear..
In the end, there will be only two groups – those who follow Christ and those who follow Satan. There will be no middle ground. The Great Controversy – the conflict of the ages – is being waged on the battlefield of the human heart. The central issue is worship – who receives the worship and allegiance of every person’s heart and mind.
The final battle of this war has already been fought – 2000 years ago on a cross on a hill called Calvary. In the struggle over the eternal destiny of every man, woman, and child, only one more question remains…
the great controversy begins mavule
The Great Controversy Discoveries In Prophecy T T
Daniel 2 10 Divisions of Rome 476 AD - Present The Rock… Christ’s Eternal Kingdom
Principles for Interpreting Prophecy: 1) Pray for God's Guidance 2) Compare Scripture with Scripture (allow the Bible to interpret itself) 3) Prophecy focuses on God's covenant people 4) Visions are symbolic of theological issues, they are not "movies" of the future 5) Principle of repitition and enlargement
And there was war in Heaven... - Revelation 12:7
Adapted from: C. Mervyn Maxwell, God Cares, Volume II , pp.60-61. The Literary Structure of the Book of Revelation Introduction 7 Churches 7 Seals 7 Trumpets Great Controversy 7 Plagues Fall of Babylon Millennium Conclusion New Jerusalem
How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning [Lucifer], son of the dawn. You have been cut down to the earth, you who have weakened the nations! But you said in your heart, "I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit
on the mount of the assembly in the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the most high. - Isaiah 14:12-14
How did God choose to deal with Satan's rebellion?
For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to you O earth and sea; for the devil has come down to you with with great wrath, knowing that his time is short. - Revelation 12:12
And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, "From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall shurely die." - Genesis 2:16-17
To the woman He said, "I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth, in pain you shall bring forth children; yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you. - Genesis 3:16
To Adam He said... "Cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles shall grow for you; and you shall eat the plants of
the field; by the sweat of your brow you shall eat bread, until you return to the ground, because from it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return. - Genesis 3:17-19
The consequences... 1) They hid from God 2) They accused each other 3) They and their world were cursed 4) They were separated from God and cast out of the garden 5) Satan received dominion over the world God had given to them
Sin Damages Relationships!! 1) With God 2) With each other 3) With the world
But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God. - Isaiah 59:2
How did Adam's and Eve's decision affect us today?
Therefore, through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all have sinned. - Romans 5:12
What was God's response to mankind's decision to follow Satan into sin?
What is Satan's intention at this point in the war? Revelation 12:13-17
Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. - I Peter 5:8 NKJV
How do we prevail against the atacks of Satan?
Be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil...
For our strugle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day... - Ephesians 6:11-13
The Full Armor of God ~ Girded with Truth ~ Breastplate of Righteousness ~ Gospel of Peace ~ Shield of Faith ~ Helmet of Salvation ~ Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God ( Ephesians 6:14-17 )
And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives even unto death. - Revelation 12:11
What will happen at the end of this war? Psalm 98:7-9
Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is declaring to men everywhere that all should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead. - Acts 17:30-31
He [God] made Him [Jesus] who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. - II Corinthians 5:21
Who will participate in the Judgment? Daniel 7:9-10
And I looked and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne...and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand. - Revelation 5:11
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ... - 2 Corinthians 5:10 And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. - I John 2:1
Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world?...Do you not know that we will judge angels? - I Corinthians 6:2-3
1) God the Father 2) All the Holy Angels 3) Jesus 4) All the Redeemed Saints
What is God's final plea to those still in Babylon just before the final judgment? Revelation 18:1-5
At the time when the final judgment is ending, some of God's true followers - perhaps even the majority - will still be part of Babylon, the false church!
What will be the final outcome of this war? Revelation 19:11-16
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow...and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. - Philippians 2:9-11 Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,
And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone... - Revelation 20:10
This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. - Revelation 20:14-15 And death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire.