Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The bowls of divine wrath - Revelation Chp. 16

Revelation 16:1-2

The bowls of divine wrath
Chronologically this chapter is close to the time of the second coming of Christ, and the judgments described fall in rapid succession. There can then be no doubt here, not only that the series reaches on to the time of the end, but that the whole of it is to be placed close to the same time. Daniel indicated that these closing days of the Tribulation will be a time of world war (Dan_11:36-45). World events are now pictured by John as rapidly coming to their climax.
The First Bowl
John recorded that he heard a loud voice from the temple instructing the seven angels to pour out the seven bowls of God’s wrath on the earth. This is undoubtedly the voice of God speaking from His heavenly temple. The adjective translated “loud” (megalēs) is frequently used in this chapter (Rev_16:17 also refer to the loud voice). But the same Greek word is used in connection with intense heat (Rev_16:9), the great river Euphrates (Rev_16:12), the great day of God Almighty (Rev_16:14), a severe earthquake (Rev_16:18), the great city (Rev_16:19), Babylon the Great (Rev_16:19), huge hailstones (Rev_16:21), and a terrible plague (Rev_16:21). The judgments being poured out are greater, more severe, and more intense than anything that has happened in the preceding events. When the first angel… poured out his bowl of wrath, it produced ugly and painful sores on those who had the beast’s mark and worshiped his image.
The question has been raised as to whether the bowls of the wrath of God are chronologically subsequent to or identical with the seven trumpets of the angels. There is clearly much similarity between the trumpet judgments and the bowl judgments. They both deal with (a) the earth (Rev_8:7) or the land (Rev_16:2), (b) the sea (Rev_8:8; Rev_16:3), (c) the rivers and springs of water (Rev_8:10; Rev_16:4), and (d) the sun, moon, and stars (Rev_8:12) with only the sun mentioned in the bowl judgments (Rev_16:8-9). The fifth trumpet dealt with demon possession with the sun and sky darkened (Rev_9:1-3), which is similar to the fifth bowl in which darkness will cover the earth and sores will cause agony among men (Rev_16:10-11). The sixth trumpet deals with the river Euphrates (Rev_9:13-14), and the sixth bowl will dry up the Euphrates (Rev_16:12). The seventh trumpet implies that the Great Tribulation is coming to its end (Rev_11:15-19), and the seventh bowl of the wrath of God records a loud voice from heaven, saying, “It is done!” (Rev_16:17) with resulting destruction of the earth by earthquake and hail, which is also included in the seventh trumpet (Rev_11:18-19).
Similarities, however, do not prove identity, and a comparison of the trumpets with the bowls of God’s wrath reveals striking differences even though the order of the judgments is the same. In the trumpet judgments, generally speaking, a third of the earth or heaven is afflicted, whereas in the bowl judgments the effects of the judgments are on the entire earth and are much more severe and final in character. Accordingly it seems best to follow the interpretation which has long been held in the church that the seven bowls are an expansion of the seventh trumpet, just as the seven trumpets are an expansion of the breaking of the seventh seal. The order is climactic and the judgments become more intensive and extensive as the time of the second coming of Christ approaches. All indications are that the bowl judgments fall with trip-hammer rapidity on a world that is reeling under previous judgments and a gigantic world war. Some bowl judgments are selective and extend only to the wicked (Rev_16:2, Rev_16:8-11), and several affect parts of nature (sea, rivers, sun, etc.).
In the first bowl judgment people who followed the Antichrist received painful sores. Sores also come with the fifth bowl (Rev_16:10-11).

Revelation 16:3

The Second Bowl
After the second trumpet blew (Rev_8:8-9), “a third of the sea turned into blood,” killing “a third of the living creatures” and destroying “a third of the ships” (Rev_8:8-9). In the second… bowl, however, every living thing in the sea died (Rev_16:3). It is probable that the ocean here did not chemically correspond to human blood, but that it looked like blood and had the same effect in killing everything. Just as in the second trumpet, the blood here is analogous to the first plague in Egypt (Exo_7:20-25). As most of the earth’s surface is covered by the seas, this is a worldwide, tremendous judgment. The Second Bowl Judgment - Now the second angel pours out his bowl on the sea, and it turns into blood like that of a dead man, and every living thing in the sea dies.
We have already seen that God will cause a third part of the sea to turn to blood during the 2nd trumpet, but this second bowl includes the entire sea. Imagine when all living creatures in the seas die. Think of the unbearable stench and the potential for disease.
This judgment may well interfere with commercial shipping and send whole populations into confusion as people grope for an adequate supply of water, not to mention destroying what is left of the fish industry.

Revelation 16:4-7

The Third Bowl
Just as the third trumpet made “a third of the waters” bitter (Rev_8:11), so the third… bowl extends the judgment of the second bowl on the sea to rivers and springs and they became blood (Rev_16:4). John heard the angel in charge of the waters proclaim that God the Holy One is just in His judgments (Rev_16:5). For God’s work in turning the waters to blood is in response to the shedding of the blood of… saints and prophets (Rev_16:6). This is echoed by a word from the altar declaring the judgment just (Rev_16:7; cf. Rev_15:3). The Third Bowl Judgment -The third bowl, a sequel to the second, carries with it an interesting explanation as to why God will permit it. God will destroy the only remaining sources of water, the rivers and fountains or springs of the deep, by letting them turn to blood.
Whether this means literal blood is inconsequential, for if Christ can turn water to wine, He certainly can turn water to blood. What is significant is that it will become corrupt blood, which will breed disease and pestilence. One of the basic needs of humankind is water. Unless God provides water from another source or engineers by some process can turn this corrupted water into pure water, the world will be in a state of riot and confusion, seeking this necessity of life.
All of this describes devastation beyond what we can comprehend. The judgment of God has fallen. Sometimes, God uses wars to bring His will about. At any rate, this no doubt does away with a good part of humanity. Notice here, this is not the people saying that God is righteous. This is the angel saying God is righteous. At no time do the people repent. The angel here is saying that this judgment that God has brought is justified. This God mentioned here is the I Am. It seems that blood in their water supply is in punishment for the blood of the saints and prophets. Throughout the ages, the world and its evil system has been opposed to God and His people. They deserve this punishment. As bad as these judgments are, they are deserved. As it was said before, everyone likes to think of God as love, but few remember, also, that He is the Judge of the world. Thank God His grace saved me. He is longsuffering, not willing that even one should perish. However, there is a day of reckoning when the God of the entire world will judge fairly. This seems to be that time.

Revelation 16:8-9

The Fourth Bowl
This judgment focused the intense heat of the sun. In response people cursed… God and refused to repent (cf. Rev_16:11). By contrast, the fourth trumpet (Rev_8:12) darkened a third of the heavens but did not include additional intense heat. It is clear from this and other prophecies that dramatic changes in climate will occur in the Great Tribulation. The Fourth Bowl Judgment - The Sun Scorches Men - Their mouths already parched from lack of water, those who are unrepentant suffer even more intense thirst when God causes the sun to "scorch" them with "great heat". But even this does not drive the rebels to their knees in repentance. Instead, they blaspheme the name of God "who has power over these plagues; and they did not repent and give Him glory."
How right the angel was who said to God, "True and righteous are Your judgments". (16 v.7) Like Pharaoh, their hearts have become hardened (Exodus 7:13, 22, 8:15, 19, 32, 9:7, 34, 35).
The environmentalists are telling us every day that we are destroying the Ozone layer above the earth. Every time a person sprays their hair or uses an aerosol spray of any kind it does away with Ozone. The scientists tell us that this is so thin that it might just go away altogether. And if it did, people would die by the thousands from harmful rays from the sun that had not been filtered to make them safe.
You see, God put this earth together very intricately and man, in changing God's ways, has messed up the atmosphere. An interesting thing to note in connection with this is that it takes just a very thin coat of the shed blood of Jesus to protect us from the enemy. What a comparison. With this type of rays from the sun, they would be covered with sores. This terrible plague is vented at the beast and its followers. The worst thing they could possibly do was to curse God, and that is just what they did. They did not repent, their hearts had been hardened. They either were not aware of God's power or just did not want to give Him the glory. Either way, they are in trouble.
This type of "heat" would burn up all crops, cause droughts, and probably even melt the entire polar ice region.

Revelation 16:10-11

The Fifth Bowl
This judgment was directed toward the beast’s throne, imposed darkness on the earth, and inflicted painful sores (cf. Rev_16:2) on people. Again they cursed… God and refused to repent. This is the last reference in Revelation to a failure to repent (cf. Rev_2:21; Rev_9:21; Rev_16:9; cf., however, Rev_16:21). The fifth bowl is similar to the fifth trumpet (Rev_9:1-11) in that both will bring darkness, but the fifth trumpet has to do with demon possession rather than physical pain. The Fifth Bowl Judgment - Darkness: What's John talking about when he refers to the judgment falling upon the throne or seat of the beast and his kingdom? It's probably best to think of the beast's throne as a reference to his entire kingdom since his kingdom was full of darkness. Some see this to mean the city of Babylon, but his kingdom will be worldwide.
Notice also that tremendous darkness envelops the beast's kingdom. This same phenomenon occurred in Egypt during the plagues; the whole land was consumed in darkness so oppressive that Moses said you could actually feel it. That's the sort of thing that will come upon the kingdom of the Antichrist at this time. This divine judgment will give a physical illustration of their spiritual darkness.
You see, the beast may have control of evil men upon the earth, but he cannot control God or nature.
This "darkness" here was not just physical darkness, which is bad enough; but this "darkness" is of the spirit, as well, bringing depression, attempted suicide, and all sorts of evil attacks on the mind.
Two things indicate that this darkness will prevail for some time on the earth: the predictions of other prophets, and the effects on human beings. This judgment, a repetition of the 9th plague of Egypt, is to be understood literally:
"Woe to you who long for the day of the Lord! Why do you long for the day of the Lord? That day will be darkness, not light." (Amos 5 v.18)
"Who can withstand his indignation? Who can endure his fierce anger? His wrath is poured out like fire; the rocks are shattered before him" "but with an overwhelming flood he will make an end of Nineveh; he will pursue his foes into darkness." (Nahum 1 v.6,8)
"That day will be a day of wrath, a day of distress and anguish, a day of trouble and ruin, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness". (Zephaniah 1 v.15)
Christ's own prediction was: "But in those days, following that distress, "the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light" (Mark 13 v.24). The effects on people, described in Rev. 16 v.10 ("Men gnawed their tongues in agony"), indicate that the relief from the heat will soon produce an exasperating, frustrating darkness. We may forecast that human ingenuity in producing electricity may solve this problem, but we must remember that the water supply produces electricity, and with the tampering of the water supply, as seen in the second and third judgments, people may be incapable of continuing to draw electrical power and illumination from the rivers and bodies of water.
These judgments are so clearly supernatural that everyone will know that they descend from the God of heaven. But instead of falling down before Him to become the recipients of His mercy, people only "cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done." They not only blaspheme God, but refuse to change their ways. Let it be understood that those who reject the Lord do so not because of philosophical doubts or unexplained answers to unanswered questions, but as a result of hardness of heart and love for sin.

Revelation 16:12

The Sixth Bowl
According to John’s revelation, the sixth angel poured out his bowl and dried up the river Euphrates to prepare the way for the kings from the East. There has been endless speculation about “the kings from the East,” with many expositors trying to relate them to some contemporary leaders of their generation. A survey of 100 commentaries of the Book of Revelation reveals at least 50 interpretations of the identity of the kings of the East. The simplest and best explanation, however, is that this refers to kings or rulers from the Orient or East who will participate in the final world war. In the light of the context of this passage indicating the near approach of the second coming of Christ and the contemporary world situation in which the Orient today contains a large portion of the world’s population with tremendous military potential, any interpretation other than a literal one does not make sense. This is the only understanding of these words which will suit the context, or the requirement of this series of prophecies.
This is related to the great river Euphrates because this is the water boundary between the Holy Land and Asia to the east (Rev_9:12-16). While the implication is that the water is dried up by an act of God, the fact is that dams have been built across the Euphrates River in this century to divert water for irrigation so that there are times even today when there is little or no water in the Euphrates. The Euphrates River is frequently mentioned in Scripture (e.g., Gen_15:18; Deu_1:7; Deu_11:24; Jos_1:4). The drying up of this river is also predicted in Isa_11:15. The Sixth Bowl Judgment - Euphrates Dried Up: The sixth bowl judgment comes in 2 parts. (1) the drying up of the Euphrates River, which will be a preparation for the "battle on the great day of God Almighty;" and (2) the tremendous demon forces that will bring the rebellious armies of the world to the Valley of Megiddo for the purpose of opposing the Lord.
The Euphrates River is the eastern border of the land God gave to Abraham (Gen. 15 v.18). It is about 1800 miles long and so large that it forms a natural barrier against the armies of the world. Most people are not particularly conscious of the fact that it served as the eastern border of the Roman Empire. The sixth bowl judgment will dry up that river to make way for the "kings of the East."
It is likely that when the Euphrates River - the natural boundary between east and west is dried up," the "kings from the east" will march a sizable army across to battle with the King of kings. That army will probably be 3 to 5 million strong. These forces will be joined in the valley of Megiddo by huge armies from all over the world, and while that valley is vast as Napoleon has said, "the most ideal, natural battlefield in the world", even it has a limit to how many people it can hold.
This river could have dried up because of the problems caused by some of the other vials. There will be such a drought that this waterway will dry up and these armies from the east will come into Israel on dry land.
These kings from the east have befuddled Bible prophecy scholars for many years, for few scholars mentioned anything about them. That is, until the communist takeover of China after WW2. Since then it has become apparent that this largest of all countries, by population, has a prophetic role in end time events.
China is controlled by some of the most dedicated Communists in the world. They are not "reformers" or "progressive" as our media tried to represent them a few years ago. They are a ruthless group of elite gangsters who have never wavered in their plan to use China as a military platform from which to conquer the world. The events of the next 2 decades, if indeed we have that long, will prove that point. One thing we can be certain: China is not going to go away. John the Revelator saw them as players on the world scene in the end times.
Even so, the Bible has very little to say about China. In fact, what is said includes more than just China, for the terms "kings from the east" really means "kings for the rising sun," which would include Japan and possibly other Asian countries.
The Euphrates River, one of the first rivers mentioned in the Bible, has served for centuries as the natural dividing line between East and West.
The significance of the rise of China to become a principal player among the nations of the world was not lost on Dr. John Walvoord. He saw the prophetic significance of the Chinese rise to prominence back in 1967 when he wrote:
The fact that the rise of Asia has occurred in the 20th century with so many rapid and unexpected developments is further evidence that the world is moving toward its final climax and the end of the times of the Gentiles. In Asia, as in other parts of the world, the stage is being set for the final drama in which the kings of the east will have their important part.
If he were writing on that subject today, he might be inclined to say the curtain is about to rise. We are the first generation to witness the sleeping giant of China reach the potential of fulfilling this prophecy. No one doubts that unless something drastic and unforeseen occurs soon, China will gain control of most of the countries of the East, with whom she shares many religious and cultural similarities.
It is realistic to believe that she could be led in these very days by her master, the dragon, "that old serpent, the devil," to so rebel against God that she would actually join the armies of the world in opposition to the coming of Jesus Christ. What is needed to bring her to that point? Very little! Merely the deceiving spirit forewarned by John the Revelator. She is almost there today and could gain control of the entire Orient in 10 or 20 years.
Remember, the events of Revelation Rev 16 v.12 do not take place until 7 years after the rise of Antichrist, which follows the Rapture of the church. More than enough time to be fulfilled and just one more reason to believe Christ may return for His church in our generation.

Revelation 16:13-16

John was then given a symbolic and comprehensive view of the preparation for the final bowl of God’s wrath. He saw three evil spirits that looked like frogs coming out of the mouths of Satan (the dragon) and the two beasts (Antichrist [Rev_13:1-10] and the false prophet [Rev_13:11-18]). One need not speculate on the identity of the three frogs, for Rev_16:14 explain that they are spirits of demons performing miraculous signs. These demons go throughout the world influencing kings to assemble for the battle on the great day of God Almighty (“Almighty” [pantokratōr] is also used in Rev_1:8; Rev_4:8; Rev_11:17; Rev_15:3; Rev_16:7; Rev_19:6, Rev_19:15; Rev_21:22).
While the meaning of this symbolic presentation is clear, there is a major problem involved in what the demons do. The coming world government in the Great Tribulation will be established by the power of Satan (Rev_13:2). Here, however, Satan, the world ruler, and the false prophet unite in inciting the nations of the world to gather for the final world war. Actually the war is a form of rebellion against the world ruler. Why then should satanic forces be let loose to destroy the world empire which has just been created?
The answer seems to be in the events which follow. Satan, knowing that the second coming of Christ is near, will gather all the military might of the world into the Holy Land to resist the coming of the Son of Man who will return to the Mount of Olives (Zec_14:4). Though the nations may be deceived in entering into the war in hope of gaining world political power, the satanic purpose is to combat the armies from heaven (introduced in Rev_19:1-21) at the second coming of Christ. The three unclean spirits are demons who support the activities of Satan, the beast and the false prophet. By means of miracles, they will convince the eastern "kings" and all the armies and kings of the earth and of the whole world to gather in Palestine to fight against the second coming of Christ (Rev. 19 v.19). This is Satan's final attempt to prevent Christ's return.
These unclean spirits will no doubt perform supernatural signs as part of their deception. Undoubtedly they will work lying wonders to deceive the eastern kings, seducing them to make the difficult journey to their doom at Armageddon.

The war is said to continue right up to the day of the Second Coming and involves house-to-house fighting in Jerusalem itself on the day of the Lord’s return (Zec_14:1-3). The reference to “the battle” (ton polemon, Rev_16:14) is probably better translated “the war”. Thus it is better to speak of “the war of Armageddon” (see Rev_16:16) rather than the “the battle of Armageddon.” The war will be going on for some time, but the climax will come at Christ’s second coming. “Armageddon” comes from the Greek Harmagedōn, which transliterates the Hebrew words for Mount (har) of Megiddo. That mountain is near the city of Megiddo and the Plain of Esdraelon, the scene of many Old Testament battles. To gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty this is the battle of Armageddon.
You see, it tells you here that these are "spirits of devils". In other words, they are the followers of the devil. Demons are the fallen angels who followed Lucifer out of heaven. These "spirits of devils" have power to do miracles, just like the Egyptian magicians copied some of Moses' miracles. Their power is limited, just as was the Egyptians. When Moses threw his rod down and it became a snake, the Egyptians threw two rods down and they became snakes. The only difference was that Moses' snake swallowed their snakes, Exodus 7:9 -12.
The Bible says that at the end, the devil will have power enough to call down fire from heaven. His miracles will be so convincing that people will believe a lie. This is deception to the utmost. These evil spirits are so deceiving, that they convince these armies to come against Israel. They willingly come to the battle of Armageddon, believing they will win. This battle is actually the forces of evil coming against God Himself. This war has actually been going on for centuries, but here is the culmination of it all.

Accordingly John heard the warning coming from Christ Himself: 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.
Christ’s return is often compared to the coming of a thief. It implies suddenness and unpreparedness as far as unbelievers are concerned. Just as Christians are not to be surprised by the Rapture of the church (1Th_5:4), so believers at the time of the Second Coming will be anticipating His return. Blessing is promised to the one who is prepared for the coming of the Lord by being attired in the righteousness or clothing which God Himself supplies. We see here that this comes unexpectedly. The garment spoken of here is the robe of righteousness. We must not despair of His coming and fall away into sin. We need to walk in righteousness after we receive our robe of righteousness, washed in the blood of the Lamb.
Verse 15 is an exhortation to the surviving believers to be watchful and alert (Matt 24:32-25:13), and to remain faithful and loyal to Christ during a time of intense persecution. To have garments, rather than be naked, relates to spiritual preparedness. Armageddon is the place where this great battle is to be fought is in Israel. The blood will run to the horses bridle in this valley of Megiddo during this battle. This valley is called by the name Jezreal, also. There have already been twenty battles fought at this very spot, but never a battle of this magnitude. This battle will be the twenty-first (3 x 7). Three means God. Seven means spiritually complete. God Himself will settle the outcome of this once and for all. This truly will be the war to end all wars. Shortly after this battle, Jesus will set up His Kingdom.
Verse 16 identifies the place of the final battle as Armageddon, from the Hebrew Har Megiddon (the Hill of Megiddo). The hill country of Megiddo and the adjacent valley of Esdraelon have been the site of many important battles (Judge 5:15; 2 Kings 9:27; 23:29).
Taken as a whole, the sixth bowl of the wrath of God is preparation for the final act of judgment before the Second Coming, and is the later stage of development related to the river Euphrates, anticipated earlier (Rev_9:14). The time factor between the sixth trumpet and the sixth bowl is comparatively short.

Revelation 16:17-20

The Seventh Bowl
The seventh angel then poured out his bowl into the air. John heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, It is done! A similar pronouncement followed the seventh trumpet (Rev_11:15-19). Here also John saw lightning flashes and heard thunder, which was followed by a severe earthquake (Rev_16:18). John was then informed that this will be the greatest earthquake of all time (other earthquakes are mentioned in Rev_8:5 and Rev_11:19), and the resulting description indicates that it will affect the whole earth with the possible exception of the land of Israel. The great city which split into three parts refers to the destruction of Babylon. The most important event, however, is that the cities of the nations collapsed. The huge earthquake will reduce to rubble all the cities of the nations (Gentiles). The stage is thus being set for the second coming of Christ. Obviously in the collapse of the world’s cities there will be tremendous loss of life and destruction of what is left of the world empire.
Though Jerusalem is mentioned in Rev_11:8 as “the great city, which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified,” “the great city” here is specifically Babylon, as indicated in Rev_16:19. God will give Babylon the cup filled with the wine of the fury of His wrath, that is, she will experience a terrible outpouring of His judgment. Some have suggested that this city is Rome, but is called Babylon because of its spiritual declension. While this has been debated at length by scholars, it is preferable to view “Babylon” as the rebuilt city of Babylon located on the Euphrates River, which will be the capital of the final world government.
In addition to the terrible earthquake and probably because of it, John recorded, Every island fled away and mountains could not be found. These verses (Rev_16:18-20), if taken literally, indicate topographical changes in the earth which eventually will also include great changes in the Holy Land in preparation for Christ’s millennial kingdom. This "great voice out of the temple" was probably God. In Genesis, when God made the earth in six days, then He said "it is finished". When Jesus hung on the cross six hours, He said "it is finished". I believe that is just what this "It is done" means here. I believe this is at the close of the six-1000 year days of work for the earth, just before the 1000 year Sabbath of rest. God would be the one to decide, and I believe this is Him speaking here.
The Seventh Bowl Judgment - The Wrath of God: - Then flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since man has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake. The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed.
God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath. Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found. From the sky huge hailstones of about a hundred pounds each fell upon men. And they cursed God on account of the plague of hail, because the plague was so terrible.
When the seventh angel pours out his bowl into the air a voice will be heard from the Temple of God before the throne, conveying a most welcome message: "It is done!" It is most welcome because it signifies the consummation of the Tribulation, the conclusion of the day of God's wrath on the ungodly, the end of the time of Jacob's trouble.
This final judgment of God will appear in the form of the world's greatest earthquake, one that "has never occurred like it since man has been on earth." As prophesied in Haggai chapter 2 verses 6-7 "For thus saith the Lord of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land;" "And I will shake all nations and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts."
In chapter 11 verse 8 we see where the witnesses were killed described as "the great city". This is Jerusalem where it is spiritually called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.
The massive earth quake will split Jerusalem into 3 parts. When the Mount of Olives splits in two, it will create a chasm into which the believers can seek refuge until the awful carnage is completed. Its interesting to note that there is a fault line that runs under the Mount of Olives that moves in exactly the same direction that the Bible prophesies.
Zech. 14 verses 3 to 5 says: "Then the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle. And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south. And you will flee by the valley of My Mountains, for the valley of the mountains will reach to Azel; yes, you will flee just as you fled before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah."
Jerusalem is being prepared for the central role it plays during the millennial kingdom. This is where New Jerusalem will come down out of heaven and rest.
In addition, "cities of the nations collapsed," meaning that all of the cities of the world will be destroyed. In addition, every island will vanish and the mountains will not be found. This will indicate a complete renovation of the earth, which may be a fulfillment of 2 Peter 3 v.10, which predicts that the entire earth will be destroyed, and "the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare." When it is done, the earth will basically flat with no seas, no islands and no mountains, preparing it for restoration to something like its pre-flood condition.

Revelation 16:21

In addition to the earthquake, huge hailstones of about 100 pounds each fell on people. Such huge masses of ice supernaturally formed would destroy anything left standing from the earthquake and would no doubt kill or seriously injure those they hit. In spite of the severity of the judgment and its cataclysmic character the hardness of human hearts is revealed in the final sentence: And they cursed God on account of the plague of hail, because the plague was so terrible.
The question is sometimes raised why eternal punishment is eternal. The answer is that people in the hardness of their hearts will not change; they deserve eternal punishment because they are eternally unrepentant. With the final destruction coming from the seventh bowl of the wrath of God, the stage will then be set for the dramatic and climactic second coming of Christ, revealed in Rev_19:1-21. Before this event, however, a future detailed description is given of Babylon in chapters 17-18. If this were not enough catastrophes, great hailstones, weighing about 100 pounds apiece will come down out of heaven. It is difficult for us to conceive of hailstones that large or the devastating effect they will have on the people they hit.
"This is what the Lord said in Job 38 v.22, 23. He has filled His armory full of hail and snow "against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war."
Even now, these men do not repent. Instead of repenting and asking for God's help, they curse Him. You see, in all of these plagues, God wants them to repent and turn to Him.

Romans Chapter 2 - Part One

Romans chapter 2 - Part One

Romans 2:1

Condemnation according to divine standards
In any generalization such as the preceding blanket indictment of pagan humanity (Rom_1:18-32) exceptions to the rule always exist. Obviously some pagans had high ethical standards and moral lifestyles and condemned the widespread moral corruption of their contemporaries. In addition the Jews morally stood in sharp contrast with the pagan world around them and freely condemned the Gentiles. Both groups of moralists might conclude that God’s condemnation did not apply to them because of their higher planes of living. But Paul insisted that they also stood condemned because they were doing the same things for which they judged others.
Therefore, Paul declared, at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself. Everyone in the entire human race has turned away from God and commits sins even though there are differences of frequency, extent, and degree. In addition the entire human race, especially moral pagans and the Jews, stood condemned before God (and have no excuse [cf. Rom_1:20]) because God’s judgment is based on three divine standards — truth (Rom_2:2-4), impartiality (Rom_2:5-11), and Jesus Christ Himself (Rom_2:12-16) — which are absolute and infinite, condemning every person. It is very easy for us to see sin in other's lives when many times we are unable to see the very same sin in our own life. Many ministers have the attitude that they are exempt, because they preach. The same law applies to us all. There are not 2 sets of rules; one for the congregation and one for the preacher. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Everyone needs Jesus as Savior and Lord.
Both Jews who was Paul’s primary audience here, and moral Gentiles who think they are exempt from God’s judgment because they have not indulged in the immoral excesses described in chapter 1, are tragically mistaken. They have more knowledge than the immoral pagan and thus a greater accountability.
“Condemn thyself:” If someone has sufficient knowledge to judge others, he condemns himself, because he shows he has the knowledge to evaluate his own condition.
“Doest the same things:” In their (the Jews) condemnation of others they have excused and overlooked their own sins. Self righteousness exists because of two deadly errors. (1) Minimizing God’s moral standard usually by emphasizing externals; and (2) Underestimating the depth of one’s own sinfulness.
Romans 2:2-3

The first divine standard of judgment is truth. Nowhere in Scripture is God identified as “Truth” as He is as “Spirit” (Joh_4:24), “Light” (1Jn_1:5) and “Love” (1Jn_4:8, 1Jn_4:16), though Jesus did call Himself “the Truth” (Joh_14:6). But God is called “the God of truth” (Psa_31:5; Isa_65:16). Truth — absolute, infinite truth — is unquestionably one of God’s essential attributes. God will not punish anyone on hear-say evidence. God judges in Truth. He knows what the Truth is even before we begin.
“According to the truth”: The meaning is ‘right.” Whatever God does is by nature right.
As a result when God’s judgment of people is declared to be based on literally “According to” “truth,” no escape from that judgment is possible for anyone. All are without “excuse” (Rom_2:1) and without “escape.” One may be moral and he may even judge his contemporaries as totally enmeshed in a depraved lifestyle, but yet he is judged by God because he does the same things (cf. Rom_2:1). This was covered in depth in verse one above. “Condemn thyself:” If someone has sufficient knowledge to judge others, he condemns himself, because he shows he has the knowledge to evaluate his own condition.
Romans 2:4

By not exacting His divine penalty on sinful humanity immediately, God is displaying the riches of His kindness (chrēstotētos, “benevolence in action,” also used of God in Rom_11:22; Eph_2:7; Tit_3:4), tolerance, and patience (cf. Act_14:16; Act_17:30; Rom_3:25). God’s purpose is to lead people toward repentance — a return to Him — through His kindness. (This word for “kindness” is chrēstos, a synonym of chrēstotētos, also trans. “kindness,” used earlier in the verse.) Both words mean “what is suitable or fitting to a need.” Chrēstos is used of God in Luk_6:35 and 1Pe_2:3 and of people in Eph_4:32. “Despisest”: Meaning to despise or to think down on, thus to underestimate someone’s or something’s value, and even to treat with contempt.
“Goodness”: This refers to “common grace,” the benefits God bestows on all men.
“Forbearance”: This word, which means “to hold back,” was sometimes used of a truce between warring parties. Rather than destroying every person the moment he or she sins, God graciously holds back His judgment. He saves sinners in a physical and temporal way from what they deserve, to show them His saving character that they might come to Him and receive salvation that is spiritual and eternal.
“Longsuffering:” This word indicates the duration for which God demonstrates His goodness and forbearance, for long periods of time.
Together these three words speak of God’s common grace, the way He demonstrates His grace to all mankind.
“Repentance”: The act of turning from sin to Christ for forgiveness and salvation.
Not realizing (lit., “being ignorant of”) God’s purpose, people showed contempt for (kataphroneis, “you thought down on”) God’s attributes and actions (cf. “suppress the truth,” Rom_1:18). People knew of God’s Being through natural revelation (Rom_1:19-21, Rom_1:28), but did not know the purpose of His kindness.
Romans 2:5-6

Why are people ignorant of God’s intention to be kind? (Rom_2:4) And why do they despise it? It is because of their stubbornness (lit., “hardness”; sklērotēta, whence the Eng. “sclerosis”) and their unrepentant heart(s). So God’s wrath against people’s sins is being stored up like a great reservoir until the day when it will all be poured forth in His righteous judgment. On that day God will give to each person according to what He has done (quotation of Psa_62:12 and Pro_24:12). God’s judging will be based on the standard of truth (Rom_2:2) and it will be impartial (Rom_2:11). The English word “sclerosis” (as in arteriosclerosis, a hardening of the arteries) comes from the Greek word. But here the danger is not physical, but spiritual hardness.
“Impenitent heart”: A refusal to repent and accept God’s pardon of sin through Jesus and cling to one’s sin is to accumulate more of God’s wrath and earn a severer judgment.
“Day of wrath … judgment”: Refers to the final judgment of wicked men that comes at the Great White Throne at the end of the Millennium. Although Scripture everywhere teaches that salvation is not on the basis of works, it consistently teaches that God’s judgment is always on the basis of a man’s deeds.
Paul describes the deeds of two distinct groups: the redeemed in verses 7 and 10, and the unredeemed as shown in 8-9. The deeds of the redeemed are not the basis of their salvation but the evidence of it. They are not perfect and are prone to sin, but there is undeniable evidence of righteousness in their lives. We are all storing up things in heaven now. Some who walk in the Light of Jesus are storing up good treasures in heaven.
Matthew 6:19-21 "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:" "But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:" "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
If our deeds are evil, the wrath of God will be our just payment. If we are working for God, only a warm welcome awaits us, and the statement (well done thy good and faithful servant). In verse 7 we see the rewards awaiting the believer.

Romans 2:7-11

God will bestow eternal life on those who by persistence in doing good seek (pres. tense, “keep on seeking”) glory, honor, and immortality. Notice that even though eternal life is a free gift; we must continue walking in the salvation Jesus has provided for us. We must continue walking in the Light. We must be doing the Word and not just hearing the Word.
Verse seven is not simply speaking in duration, because even unbelievers will live forever, but also in quality. Eternal life is a kind of life, the holy life that the eternal God has given to believers.
We see in verse 8 what awaits those who are not walking with Jesus in His Light.
On the other hand wrath and anger will be the portion of the self-seeking… who reject (lit., “keep on disobeying”) the truth and follow (pres. tense, “keep on obeying”) evil (adikia, “unrighteousness”; cf. Rom_1:18). God is not unaware. He will punish those who do not obey. From Genesis to Revelation we see blessings for those who live for God and curses to those who are the children of disobedience.
Each one who does (“keeps on producing”) evil will receive trouble and distress, whereas each one who does (“keeps on working”) good will have glory, honor (cf. “glory and honor” in Rom_2:7), and peace. This just recompense by God is without regard to ethnic background or any other consideration except what each person has done.
A person’s habitual conduct, whether good or evil, reveals the condition of his heart. Eternal life is not rewarded for good living; that would contradict many other Scriptures which clearly state that salvation is not by works, but is all of God’s grace to those who believe (e.g., Rom_6:23; Rom_10:9-10; Rom_11:6; Eph_2:8-9; Tit_3:5). A person’s doing good shows that his heart is regenerate. Such a person, redeemed by God, has eternal life. Conversely a person who continually does evil and rejects the truth shows that he is unregenerate, and therefore will be an object of God’s wrath.
The statement first for the Jew, then for the Gentile (lit. “Greek”) does not imply special consideration for Jews. Instead, in the light of the divine standard of impartiality (God does not show favoritism), it emphasizes that the entire human race is dealt with by God. Just as the Jews were given the first opportunity to hear and respond to the gospel, they will be first to receive God’s judgment if they refuse. Israel will receive severer punishment because she was given greater light and blessing.
The phrase “the day of God’s… judgment” (Rom_2:5) taken by itself may seem to lend support to the idea of a single general judgment of all humanity. However, the Scriptures do not support such a concept. This phrase must be interpreted in conjunction with passages which clearly indicate that several judgments of different groups occur at different times (cf. judgment of Israel at Christ’s Second Advent, Eze_20:32-38; the judgment of Gentiles at Christ’s Second Advent, Mat_25:31-46; the great white throne judgment, Rev_20:11-15). The focus of this passage is on the fact that God will judge all peoples, not on the details of who will be judged when. God is not impressed with our worldly wealth, importance, position, influence, popularity or appearance. We are what we are, because God chose for it to be that way. If you are jealous of some one's wealth or place in society, blame God. The real reason might be that God could not trust you with the wealth or importance. It might even be for your own good.
We do not even choose our own nationality, God does. We were born and raised in a particular family because God arranged it that way. Why should anyone be so proud of themselves, this being the case? The only wealth that really amounts to anything is what we have stored in heaven.
Romans 2:12

Jesus Christ
God’s impartiality in judgment is also seen in the fact that He will deal with people in accordance with the dispensation in which they live. “The Law was given through Moses” (Joh_1:17), which marks the beginning of the dispensation of Law. The Law was provided for God’s Chosen People Israel, and the Gentiles were considered outside the Law. Therefore Paul declared, All who (lit., “as many as”) sin apart from the Law (lit., “without Law”) will also perish apart from the Law. Gentiles who sin will perish, but the Law of Moses will not be used as a standard of judgment against them. On the other hand the Jews who sin under (lit., “in the sphere of”) the Law will be judged by the Law. The Gentiles are not excused from God’s judgment, but they will not be judged according to the standard (the Mosaic Law) that was not given to them. “Sinned without law”: The Gentiles who never had the opportunity to know God’s moral law will be judged on their disobedience in relationship to their limited knowledge as we studied in chapter 1, verses 19 and 20.
“Sinned in the law”: The Jews and many Gentiles who had access to God’s moral law will be accountable for their greater knowledge.
To those whom much is given much is required.
Luke 12:48: "But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few [stripes]. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more."
The Lord is a just God. He judges each according to their knowledge. If we know to do good and do it not, it is counted sin to us.
III John 1:11 "Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God."
We mentioned before that even nature tells you of God. Our conscience tells us when we are sinning. We all know right from wrong. The Jew had the law, so they will be judged by their law, if they do not receive Jesus. All will be judged guilty of sin, who have not accepted complete pardon through Jesus Christ our Lord. All deserve death. We receive our life in Jesus Christ who is Life.
Romans 2:13

Reading the Mosaic Law was a regular part of each synagogue service, so that Jews were those who hear the Law. However, being recognized as righteous was not the automatic concomitant of being a Jew and hearing the Law. Those who will be declared righteous (a forensic action usually trans. “justified,” e.g., Rom_3:24; are those who obey the Law (lit., “the doers of the Law”). James made the same point (Jas_1:22-25). God does not give eternal life or justification to those who perform good works, but to those who believe (trust) in Him and whose conduct reveals their regenerate hearts. Just to hear the law and to do nothing about it would not help at all, or just hearing about Jesus will not save you either. We must act upon what we hear. The burden is laid on the person receiving salvation to accept it. We have a free will which God will not violate.
Romans 10:9-10 "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." "For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."
Romans 2:14-15

The Jews looked down on the Gentiles partly because they did not have the revelation of God’s will in the Mosaic Law. But, as Paul pointed out, there are moral Gentiles who do by nature things required by the Law. Such persons show that the Law is not to be found only on tablets of stone and included in the writings of Moses; it is also inscribed in their hearts and is reflected in their actions, consciences, and thoughts. The Law given to Israel is in reality only a specific statement of God’s moral and spiritual requirements for everyone. Moral Gentiles by their actions show that the requirements (lit., “the work”) of the Law are written on their hearts. This is confirmed by their consciences, the faculty within human beings that evaluates their actions, along with their thoughts that either accuse or excuse them of sin. This is why Paul called such Gentiles a law for themselves (Rom_2:14). Without knowing the written law of God, people in pagan society generally value and attempt to practice its most basic tenets. This is normal for cultures instinctively to value justice, honesty, compassion and goodness toward others, reflecting the divine law written in the heart.
“Law unto themselves”: Their practice of some good deeds and their aversion to some evil ones demonstrate an innate knowledge of God’s law, a knowledge that will actually witness against them on the Day of Judgment. “Work of the law”: Probably best understood as “the same works the Mosaic Law prescribes.”
“Conscience”: Literal meaning “with knowledge.” That instinctive sense of right and wrong, that produces guilt when violated. In addition to an innate awareness of God’s law, men have a warning system that activates when they choose to ignore or disobey that law.
Paul urges believers not to violate their own consciences or cause other to because repeatedly ignoring the conscience’s warnings desensitizes it and eventually silences it.
Conscience is an important part of human nature, but it is not an absolutely trustworthy indicator of what is right. One’s conscience can be “good” (Act_23:1; 1Ti_1:5, 1Ti_1:19) and “clear” (Act_24:16; 1Ti_3:9; 2Ti_1:3; Heb_13:18), but it can also be “guilty” (Heb_10:22), “corrupted” (Tit_1:15), “weak” (1Co_8:7, 1Co_8:10, 1Co_8:12), and “seared” (1Ti_4:2). All people need to trust the Lord Jesus Christ so that “the blood of Christ” might “cleanse [their] consciences” (Heb_9:14).

1 Corinthians Chapter One Part One

1 Corinthians Chapter 1

1 Corinthians 1:1

Salutation and description of the writer and readers
The legitimacy of Paul’s apostleship and its denial by some is hinted at in this letter (1Co_9:1-27), but receives explicit defense in 2 Corinthians. In the first words in 1 Corinthians Paul affirmed his appointment to this position by the will of God to represent not his own interests but those of Christ.
First we need to ask, who is this Paul? We know that he was a Pharisee. We, also, know that he was a Roman. His mother was a Hebrew and his father was a Roman. Paul was his Roman name even though it is taken from a Greek name Paulos, which means little. His Hebrew name was Saul which means asked. Paul was a native of Tarsus, a city of Celicia. We are told that he was a student of Gamaliel. He was a Pharisee of the Pharisees.
He was so against Christianity and it's teachings that he persecuted Christians. On his way on one of his many journeys to capture Christians and put them in jail, he encountered the Lord Jesus Christ, in a great and blinding Light. Paul was sought out of God to be an apostle to the Gentiles. Notice, in the verse above that it was God's will for Paul to be an apostle. The word "apostle" means ambassador, messenger, or delegate. It, also, means he that is sent. I like the last meaning best. In this case, it means one sent with authority. He had the power of attorney from the Lord Jesus. We must look at who sent him: Jesus Christ.
Sosthenes was probably Paul’s amenuensis and may have been the synagogue ruler publicly thrashed by the Jews (Act_18:17). If so, he illustrates how God can turn the worst circumstances to a believer’s ultimate advantage. Sosthenes {of safe strength} had been the ruler of the synagogue at Corinth. The fact that Paul calls him brother makes me believe that he converted to Christianity.

1 Corinthians 1:2

The church belongs to God, not man. Had the Corinthians recognized this, their problem of division might not have existed. Those who compose the church have been sanctified, set apart by God as His possession. The burden of Paul’s letter was that the Corinthians’ practice might more nearly approximate their position. Christ Jesus as Lord was to be obeyed. Herein was unity for Christians not only in Corinth but everywhere. This church had been established on Paul's second missionary journey. Notice that Paul writes this letter to individuals in the church at Corinth.
In other lessons we have talked about the word "sanctified" meaning set aside for God's purpose. Another meaning is to make holy. Notice how they are made holy. It is in Christ Jesus. The word “Saints” means sacred, blameless or religious. Saints are all, in every place, who call upon the name of Jesus.

1 Corinthians 1:3

Grace was what brought them together and what they needed to display mutually so that relational peace would be maintained. These qualities, especially needed in the Corinthian church, were produced by God in those dependent on Him. Grace is one word that is really hard to explain, because it is so all forgiving. It means unmerited favor. The grace of God toward man is unexplainable. It is really love to the utmost, and I might add, undeserved love.
The grace of God toward man brings great peace as a result of God’s saving grace. The only way to know real peace is in the Lord Jesus. I will just mention in passing, that the Father and Jesus are spoken of separately. Lord Jesus Christ is the true name of Jesus on the earth. Jesus means Savior and Christ means the Anointed One. When you couple that with Lord, you have said a lot. All agree, who are not even Christians that He was the Anointed One. They cannot deny the miracles. The next step is accepting Him as your Savior. The ultimate is when you know Him as your Lord.

1 Corinthians 1:4

Thanksgiving for the effects of God’s grace
Thanksgiving for a church so rife with problems may seem a bit strange. If Paul’s only resources had been his own, the prospects of reforming a group like the Corinthians would have been dim indeed. But God was at work and that, for Paul, was a matter of thanksgiving.
However prone the Corinthians may have been to self-exaltation, it was because of God’s grace alone that they were members of the body which existed in Christ Jesus.
Paul uses this greeting in all of his letters.
Paul feels very grateful to God for the church He allowed him to begin here in Corinth. These people, even though they were sinners, were very receptive to the message God had given them through Paul. Paul was always careful to give whatever thanks there was to God. We will find that people who are caught up in sin, and know they are, are easier to reach for God than the educated who want to analyze everything. This is why the Lord Jesus said that harlots and publicans would go into the kingdom quicker than the religious.
Matthew 21:31-32 "Whether of them twain did the will of [his] father? They say unto him, the first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, that the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you." "For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen [it], repented not afterward, that ye might believe him."
The self righteous did not even know they needed to repent. The harlots and publicans knew they had sinned, and asked, and got forgiveness for their sin.
Note that in Matt. 21:31 what they are speaking of. This is not the prodigal son of Luke 15:11, but the parable of the two sons, one who said he would work in the vineyard but didn’t and the other who at first said no but then repented and went.

1 Corinthians 1:5

It was only because they were a part of His body that they had been so enriched with the speaking and knowledge gifts such as tongues, prophecy, discernment of spirits, and/or interpretation (1Co_12:4-11). These gifts were not given to be abused as the Corinthians had done, but to be used for the good of all the church. In the present, the believer has everything the Lord has to give and, therefore, everything he needs. The two particular blessings spoken of here are related to presenting the truth of God’s Word.
The only knowledge worth having is that which the Lord sends to us through His Word and is explained to us by His Holy Spirit. We explained that knowledge is accumulated learning. That is the reason it is so important to study the Bible every day.
Utterance: In regard to speaking for God, believers are able to speak when God wants them to because of His enablement. Prayer reaches out for that ability, and diligence in the study of God’s Word aids it.

1 Corinthians 1:6

The presence of these gifts also bore testimony to the effectiveness of Paul’s message about Christ. Though it might have been feebly delivered (1Co_2:1-5), God securely implanted His Word. This is a reference to the moment of salvation when the gospel was heard and believed and settled in the heart. At that moment, the enabling of verse 4 took place, because the individual became a recipient of the grace of God.

1 Corinthians 1:7-8

Because it was God’s work, Paul had no question about the outcome. Because the Corinthian believers were justified by God’s grace, they would stand before Him blameless (anenklētous, “free from accusation”; cf. Col_1:22) when Christ returns. This is speaking of the ability to minister in a given area. The five fold ministry of the church was active here. They were not just sitting around waiting for the coming of the Lord, but were using the gifts of the Spirit that the Lord had given them to help them minister.
“Gift” in Greek is specifically “a gift of grace.” While the blessings of speech and knowledge were primarily for evangelizing the lost, the spiritual gifts (chapters 12-14) edify the church. Because these gifts are given to each believer (12:11-12) without regard for maturity or spirituality, the Corinthians, though sinful, had them in full.
Coming or “Revelation” of Christ: Paul looks to the blessing of future grace. At the Lord’s second coming, His full glory, honor, and majesty will be revealed in blazing splendor (Rev. 4:11; 5:12), at which time all true believers will be fixed solidly forever as holy and without sin, in full resurrected glory and purity, to live in heaven with God forever.
Thus they could eagerly await (apekdechomenous; used seven times in the NT of the return of Christ: Rom_8:19, Rom_8:23, Rom_8:25; 1Co_1:7; Gal_5:5; Php_3:20; Heb_9:28) for Him. This is referring to the coming of the Lord for His church, or the Rapture. Not the Day of the Lord which is a term referring to judgment on the ungodly.
All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. This is speaking of the fact that the penalty for their sin had already been paid by the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Now, they could come boldly before the throne of God, and they would be just as if they had never sinned. They are blameless, because they are washed in the blood of the Lamb. The day, spoken of here, is judgment day, when we all stand before the Lord to be judged. He will find us not guilty of any sin, if we are His.

1 Corinthians 1:9

This was so because God… is faithful and He had called the Corinthians into fellowship with His Son Jesus Christ. But one cannot enjoy fellowship with Christ while being at odds with other members of His body (Mat_5:23-24). So it is on this note that Paul made his transition from what God had done in the past and will do in the future to what the Corinthians needed to do in the present, namely, mend their divisions. God is faithful: Because of God’s sovereign and unchangeable promise, believers are assured of this grace; past, present and future, and will remain saved, assured of future glory at Christ’s appearing.
I believe the important word in the Scripture above is fellowship. There are three Scriptures in 1 John that can say this much better than I can.
I John 1:3 "That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship [is] with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ."
I John 1:6 "If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:"
I John 1:7 "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."
We see closeness here with the Lord Jesus. Fellowship, in the verse above, means union. God is faithful and will do everything He promised to do. Many are called, but few are chosen. In fact, all are called, but only those who receive Jesus as Savior and Lord are chosen.

1 Corinthians 1:10

Divisions in the Church
Dissension in their church was the first problem openly addressed by Paul.
The reality of division
Paul appealed to brothers, not to adversaries, in the most authoritative fashion, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the 10th reference to Christ in the first 10 verses, leaving no doubt as to the One Paul believed should be the source and focus of Corinthian unity. His appeal was for harmony, not the elimination of diversity. He desired a unity of all the parts, like a quilt of various colors and patterns blended together in a harmonious whole. We are told that on the day of Pentecost, when the wind of the Spirit came, they are of one accord. Paul has begun to show them of the error in their church. First of all, he explains that they must be together, that division is not what God would have. If they are truly in Christ Jesus, then they would be one in Him. Paul is explaining to them that there is one message from God that saved them, and they must stick with that message.
We have discussed how many times people will hang on to one or two of their habits sometimes when they come to Christianity, and will try to teach that along with Christianity. This is the way false doctrines come into the church. In our day, it is how Christian rock crept into our churches. Even Paul, unwillingly taught things that were a leftover from his teachings by Gamaliel. It is hard to unlearn some things.

1 Corinthians 1:11-12

Instead of this unity, however, the fabric was coming apart at the seams, or so Chloe’s servants said. While the divisions were certainly real, it is possible, on the basis of Paul’s remark in 1Co_4:6 that he made adaptations with regard to party heads so that the names cited — Paul, Apollos, and Cephas — were illustrative, in order to avoid worsening an already deplorable situation. Chloe was probably a prominent person in the Corinthian church who had written or come to visit Paul in Ephesus to tell him of the factions in the church. It is not known whether Chloe was a man or a woman.
We see from this there are divisions in the church Paul had established in Corinth. Contentions, here, means quarrels. This is still going on today. Strangely enough this is still going on today in the form of denominations. Some will say I am a Baptist, others say I am a Methodist; others will say I am a Christian. We must be careful not to be a Baptist Christian. We must be a Christian Baptist, if Baptist is our choice of denomination to join. I could have said that of all denominations, not just the Baptist. We must always remember that, we are first a follower of and a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, and then join whatever denomination best takes care of our needs. We do not join Jesus like you would a club. Christianity is a family. If we are believers in Christ, we are all born into Him. We have a tendency, like these people here, to relate our Christianity to the one who led us to the Lord.

1 Corinthians 1:13

The three questions in this verse were rhetorical and expected a definite no. The universal body of Christ is not divided, and neither should its local expression be. No man won salvation for the Corinthians, nor did any of them owe their allegiance to anybody except Christ. No human leader, not even an apostle, should be given the loyalty that belongs only to the Lord. Such elevation of leaders leads only to contention, disputes, and a divided church.
Christ is not divided and neither is His body, the church. Paul depreciates his worth in comparison to the Lord Jesus so the answer to this is definitely no! Christ is not divided, then or now.
The message is Christ and He crucified. Even if Paul or anyone else other than Jesus had been crucified for you that would not save you. The only salvation that is real and able to save you, is the salvation the Lord Jesus paid for with His precious spotless blood. Only His blood cleanses from all sin.

1 Corinthians 1:14-17

Paul’s imitation of Christ apparently touched every aspect of his ministry. According to Joh4: 2 Jesus did not baptize, but left it to His disciples. This was usually Paul’s practice too. Could Paul then have believed baptism was necessary for salvation? Such is impossible (cf. 1Co_4:15; 1Co_9:1, 1Co_9:22; 1Co_15:1-2). We see that Paul did not want them to think of him as Christ. Had they been baptized by him, he is afraid some might confuse that with him being their Savior. Paul is very well aware of the dangerous effect it would have if he allowed anyone to worship him.
Cripus was the leader of the synagogue in Corinth, who was converted under Paul’s preaching (Acts 18:8).
Gaius: Since Romans was written from Corinth, this man was probably the host referred to in Romans 16:23a. “Gaius, my host and the host of the whole church, greets you.” His full name was most likely “Gaius Titius Justus” and the whole church or congregation met in his house.
Not that baptism is pointless. It was commanded by Christ (Mat_28:19) and practiced by the early church (Act_2:41), which makes it, with the Lord’s Supper, an ordinance of the church. But it is what an ordinance gives testimony to, not what it affects, that is more important.
Paul’s primary charge was to preach the gospel (1Co_9:16) not with words of human wisdom. Brilliantly persuasive eloquence may win a person’s mind but not his heart, whereas the unadorned words of the gospel, though seemingly foolish by human standards, are made effective by the Spirit of God (1Co_2:4-5). Nothing is known of this family.
Paul preached the gospel and set up churches where he went. His primary goal was to set up churches complete with believers who would continue to teach the gospel to those he had given the gospel to. Others who were given that responsibility did the baptizing.
Actually, just baptizing someone does not save them. They must hear the message of God and be convicted in their heart. They must repent of their sins and receive their forgiveness. The preaching of the cross of Christ is what saves people. When we are convinced in our heart that Jesus did this for us, and we accept Him as our Substitute for our sin, we will be saved. Salvation comes from believing Jesus in our heart and confessing this with our mouth. Romans chapter 10 verses 9 and 10 are the real way to receive the salvation provided for us as a free gift from God.