Part 4 Challenges to a Short Course on Revelation
by Osmer Harris
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Yes, I tried to change the look to accommodate someone who said I make these too long.
Things to come -
Having made a brief outline of things to come, I stated, “After what seems like days of panic there will be three and one half years of relative peace.”
You rebutted that statement with, “The 2nd half of Daniels seven years is the Great Tribulation..”
While that might be excruciatingly correct, you gave no scriptural backing as a foundation for your argument and, in essence you have assumed that there will be little to no tribulation effects until you say so, and that the horrors of this seven-year period come only at the 2nd half. Since you feel that the horrors are exclusive to the second half what do you do with the escalating acts of violence against Christians, and bizarrely against the opposing Muslim sect that loses the day’s battle? If escalating violence for the sake of power does not get your attention, how about the concept of shoving my religion down your throat by cutting off your hand or your head, raping and then beating your wife merely because she is not a Muslim, burning down your church with all it’s members in it, all merely because you will not bow before my god.
You say that Christians must go through the tribulation. If that is a solid, strict concept in your mind then you have placed all of us in the Great Tribulation, a time of judgment against the nations and Israel, ignoring scripture that states, “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,” 1 Thessalonians 5:9 KJV, and effectively called God a liar.
God is cleaning house -
Whether you call it Jacob’s troubles, as Ezekiel did, or a time of wrath, or judgment, it is all serving the same purpose, God is cleaning the house – so to speak. I feel compelled to point out what Jesus made very clear, it will be as in the days of Noah and Lot. In both examples God delivered them, by removing them from the judgment, and immediately the method of destruction came. Read this in Luke 17, Matthew 24, Genesis 6:11-7:6, Genesis 18:20 – 19:26
If God is cleaning house, why?
Because Israel violated the covenant, over and over again. Psalms 89:31-33 ESV if they violate my statutes and do not keep my commandments, (32) then I will punish their transgression with the rod and their iniquity with stripes, (33) but I will not remove from him my steadfast love or be false to my faithfulness.
Because of the pride, evil, and iniquity of the world. Isaiah 13:11 JPS And I will visit upon the world their evil, and upon the wicked their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the tyrants.
There are passages scattered all over the bible defining why God is bringing judgment upon the earth. Look at the example of Noah and you will find that the earth was filled with violence and every thought of man was continually evil. Look around you, is it that much different today?
Is it important how he cleans house or what he calls it?
John, in Revelation 6:2 states, “And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.” This is the beginnings of the seven-year period, and yet you already have a man with bow without arrows and yet conquering. We are nowhere close to the mid-point, the time of the Great Tribulation, as you have pointed out, and yet you would be hard pressed to say that wrath has not begun.
We do not know how much time passes until the second rider shows up. Revelation 6:4 KJV “And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.” Again we are distanced from the mid-point and yet you cannot deny that some form of pain is being pressed into the world.
This has nothing to do with the believer.
Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
Calling God’s actions by other names does not change his intent. This passage in Romans calls it wrath and tells us it is revealed from heaven. Is what John sees directed at the negligent Christian community? NO! God’s wrath is directed at ungodliness, the unrighteousness of men, and those who hold the truth in unrighteousness. Undoubtedly any of these aspects are demonstrative of our own bad behaviors as Christians, that is not what he talking about.
Let’s look at Romans 1:18 for a moment.
“ungodliness” – The Greek word is asebeia, meaning NO reverence for God. Even within the church body there are those that have no respect for God.
“the unrighteousness of men” - Unrighteousness is the Greek word adikia, meaning the act of injustice. Webster’s dictionary tells us that injustice is any violation of another’s rights.
“who hold the truth in unrighteousness;” - Hold is the Greek word katecho and means to suppress, bridle or withhold. This last aspect, while not necessarily an act of violence is an act of abuse for in doing so they are keeping people away from truth by a variety of methods. And for what means?
This is not the mislead Christian, stumbling over some concept as they walk out this lifestyle of ours. This is intentional acts of impeding others from finding the truth. Paul told us (1Jn 4:3, 2Jn 1:7) that the antichrist is already in the world.
Ephesians 5:6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things comes the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.
Vain words, what does that mean? Empty words, devoid of truth, nullifying God in the lives of people, causing people to be disobedient, and therefore subject to wrath.
Colossians 3:5-6 KJV Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: (6) For which things' sake the wrath of God comes on the children of disobedience:
In this case the wrath of God is coming upon the children of disobedience, this covers a lot of people, and verse 5 defines what makes them disobedient. The Greek word for disobedience is apeitheia and means obstinate opposition.
Ponder the meaning of the word obstinate for a moment: Stubborn; pertinaciously adhering to an opinion or purpose; fixed firmly in resolution; not yielding to reason, arguments or other means.
Christ, having already suffered once-
Luke 24:44-47 ESV Then he said to them, "These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled." (45) Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, (46) and said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, (47) and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
Romans 5:9 KJV Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
Romans 8:1-4 ESV There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (2) For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. (3) For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, (4) in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
Ephesians 2:3 KJV Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
Ephesians 2:3 speaks in the past tense when it says, “and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” That is not who we are once we accept Jesus Christ as our redemption and life.
1 Thessalonians 1:10 KJV (10) And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
Luke 21 is one in which you need to show the context.
Luke 21:23 KJV But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.
In Luke 21:20 Jesus says, “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.” So based upon this passage who is he speaking of? Israel, and specifically Jerusalem. As such he is talking about the Jews. So to say wrath upon a people he is talking about wrath upon the Jews. Why? Because Israel rejected him, over and over. They will turn to him now. Can you see in this instance that God is directing his wrath toward a specific people group, and not a generalized body of Christ.
Nobody wants God wrath upon them.
I suspect that most people feel vulnerable to wrath because they lack an understanding of who they are in Christ Jesus.
Romans 3:21-25 GW Now, the way to receive God's approval has been made plain in a way other than Moses' Teachings. Moses' Teachings and the Prophets tell us this. (22) Everyone who believes has God's approval through faith in Jesus Christ. There is no difference between people. (23) Because all people have sinned, they have fallen short of God's glory. (24) They receive God's approval freely by an act of his kindness through the price Christ Jesus paid to set us free from sin. (25) God showed that Christ is the throne of mercy where God's approval is given through faith in Christ's blood. In his patience God waited to deal with sins committed in the past.
We understand this concept of God’s approval as being our receipt of his righteous blessing because we have faith in Jesus Christ. A word used commonly in many translations is propitiation. It merely means that Jesus Christ’s actions for us and toward us was enough. Sin, our broken condition, required, a payment, and that was usually done through a bloody sacrifice. If you watched the movie or read the book, “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” then you got a small dose of understanding, for the Witch made it clear that she had the right to blood for the representative man-child had committed treason against the kingdom and his own kind. Aslan did not argue the point, but made himself the sacrifice instead of the boy. The price paid for your life was made by Jesus Christ upon the cross. All that is left is your acceptance of the one who made it on your behalf; Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Many believe the tribulation is here.
When it comes to severe tribulation, a simple look at the Muslim countries of the world and you will find that Christians are already going through it, and have been for many years. The violence against Christians has taken a dramatic upswing with the rise of Muslim majority populations and recent political takeovers. You are not going to stop this with violence, only prayer can hold it back, for you are dealing with powerful, devilish angels that fell with Satan, and their influence on people that seem to enjoy invoking pain upon people while their main motivation is power.
2 Thessalonians 2:5-8 CEV (5) Don't you remember that I told you this while I was still with you? (6) You already know what is holding this wicked one back until it is time for him to come. (7) His mysterious power is already at work, but someone is holding him back. And the wicked one won't appear until that someone is out of the way. (8) Then he will appear, but the Lord Jesus will kill him simply by breathing on him. He will be completely destroyed by the Lord's glorious return.
Even if the passage tells us plainly that someone is holding back the evil one, isn’t it plain to see that not everyone is being restrained. Look, Paul already made that clear in 2Thessalonians 2:7 when he said, (CEV) “His mysterious power is already at work”. Whose power? Satan’s, as he works through evil people. We have seen this repeated throughout history. One of the most vile was Antiochus as he desecrated the temple, a sign of things to come.
What then is holding the antichrist back?
Paul had preached this message to the Thessalonian church and is now reminding them again. We, who are believers, are the one that is holding him back, and with him the onslaught of evil.
John MacArthur’s commentary conservatively tells us that the restraints can have many aspects, “These include: (1) human government; (2) preaching of the gospel; (3) the binding of Satan; (4) the providence of God; (5) the Jewish state; (6) the church; (7) the Holy Spirit; and (8) Michael, the angel. Whatever now restrains the Antichrist of verses 2Th_2:3-4, 2Th_2:8-10 from being revealed in the fullness of his apostasy and evil, must be more than human or even angelic power. The power that holds back Satan from bringing the final apostasy and unveiling of his Satan-possessed false Christ must be divinely supernatural. It must be God's power in operation that holds back Satan, so that the man of sin, the son of destruction, won't be able to come until God permits it by removing the restraining power.”
The problem I have with the human government side of this is: within the United States, laws are changing rapidly. Those of us who speak out against the weakening of laws or the removal of protections by law are becoming labeled as terrorists. We are no longer looking for those who wish to destroy the nation as the enemy, but those who wish to preserve it’s sanity as the problem. Jonathon Cahn wrote the book “The Harbinger”, a sign of things to come. In it he describes how this nation has not repented, even though the calls and signs have come to do so. We have failed to repent and turn this around and this nation will be punished for its arrogance. There is always a chance for repentance; all it takes is for a few people with backbones to pray. Pray that God withholds the enemy. I believe that many have been doing that over this nation or we would have seen far greater destruction by now.
Joel Richardson’s book, “The Mideast Beast” scripturally defines why the antichrist will be a middle east Muslim. Sure, he will come off as a moderate at first, but that is while his forces continue to bleed out the middle eastern Christian community. Israel will have suffered a tremendous attack and therefore have the need to sign a peace treaty. That treaty will correspond with the rapture of the church, the introduction of the antichrist, and a rapid increase in violence and destruction globally.
In trying to refocus for a moment; I have no doubt that multiple scenarios will be come together at one time. With the level of violence in the Arab world already as high as it is and little to bring it under control, how do you expect that to not spill over into America and other, so-called civilized nations. We have Mosques in almost every city with Mullahs teaching the edicts of the Qu’ran, therefore it is a logical assumption that a hatred of those outside the faith (Islam) is being taught as well.
(We assume that the word might be Jihad, the confusion for us that do not understand, is that Jihad is a way of life for the Muslim, the Qu’ran teaches this, and deception is the highest and most honorable form of Jihad, therefore Jihad is quite probably being performed on a daily basis around you.
The problem with Islam is: The potential for explosive harm is there. Do not be foolish enough to think it cannot happen, for it already is. Don’t even try to tell me that while this antichrist declares peace that there will be peace; there will be pandemonium. What makes it worse is that while the impact of his control will be centrally felt and located in the middle east, those Muslims living in this country will attempt to assert control and power as well, and they will attempt to invoke Sharia law over you, where ever they can.
If you read this and the rapture has come.
Turn your lives over to Jesus Christ even now. Ask the Holy Spirit to empower you and he will. Cry out in the name of Jesus Christ, for that name alone carries power. You can stop the enemy in his tracks. The story of the three Hebrew men that Nebuchadnezzar had thrown into the furnace is not merely to entertain you. It was meant to show you that God is in control and stop the effects of the enemy. Put your trust in him and speak specifically against these things. In the name of Jesus command them to turn away. Call down God’s vengeance upon them. Ask God to hide you. Do what ever the Holy Spirit speaks to your heart to do. Listen to him for he will direct you.
This is not a time of fear but of power. I know this for I saw it as I read the scriptures. Detractors will die as they sit in unbelief, either that or they will convert to Islam, worshiping the beast and his false prophet, and they will condemn themselves to the flames that the antichrist is condemned to. Do not do that, no matter what the cost. Turn your eyes upon Jesus Christ and he will bring you, his saints, into the kingdom. A kingdom filled with joy, and you will reign with him for the thousand years.
Turn your life to him now and enjoy a hope, knowing that eternity with the one who has loved you since time began is yours. You can have hope. There is a life with him, and his name is Jesus Christ.
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