Sunday, May 27, 2012

Romans Chapter 2 Part Two

Romans chapter 2 - Part Two Romans 2:16 The Greek text of this verse begins with the phrase “in the day.” The words this will take place are not in the Greek but are supplied to tie this verse back to the main idea of this section (Rom_2:5-13), namely, God’s righteous judgment (Rom_2:5). Rom_2:14-15 are actually a parenthetic idea (as indicated in the NIV). This was brought to mind by Rom_2:13 and the Jewish prejudice against the Gentiles. The certainty of divine judgment is emphasized by the words God will judge (lit., “God judges”). The Agent of divine judgment is Jesus Christ (cf. Joh_5:22, Joh_5:27; Act_17:31). This judgment will deal with men’s secrets (lit., “the hidden things of men”) and will reveal those things and prove God’s judgment right (cf. 1Co_4:5). Paul’s gospel is not the standard of God’s judgment. The idea is that the righteous judgment of God is an essential ingredient of the gospel Paul preached and a reason for trusting Jesus’ finished redemption. The day is referring to the “final day of judgment”. “Secrets” primarily refers to the motives that lie behind men’s actions. I John 3:21 "Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, [then] have we confidence toward God." God judges the heart. Your sins may be secret to man, but nothing is hidden from God. Jesus Christ is the Judge of all of us. We will stand or fall by Him. If He is our Savior and Lord we will go to heaven, if we have not accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord, we are lost. “My Gospel”: Not his own personal message, but the divinely revealed message of Jesus Christ which is “good news” in light of the bad news of judgment. In this section (Rom_2:1-16) God is seen as the Creator-Sovereign of the universe conducting the moral government of His human creatures. God’s absolute standards are known. God punishes the wicked and rewards the righteous impartially according to their works, which reveal their hearts. Since no human being — Jesus Christ excepted — can be declared righteous (justified) by God on the basis of his own merit, every human is condemned by God. At this point in Paul’s argument the way a person can secure a righteous standing before God has not yet been presented. Here the emphasis is on the justice of God’s judgment, leading to the conclusion that nobody on his own can be declared righteous by God. Romans 2:17-20 Condemnation against unfaithful Jews Condemnation Because Of Their Hypocrisy Paul undoubtedly had the Jews as well as moral Gentiles in mind in the group he addressed as “you who pass judgment on someone else” (Rom_2:1). But there he did not refer to them by name as he did here — if you call yourself a Jew (lit., “if you are named a Jew”). In Greek this is a first-class conditional sentence in which the conditional statement is assumed to be true. Paul was addressing individuals who were truly called Jews and who, in fact, gloried in that name. This fact is followed by a list of eight other moral and religious details in which the Jews gloried in their sense of superiority to the Gentiles, all of these included as part of the “if” clause (Rom_2:17-21). Previously called Hebrews and Israelites, by the first century “Jew” had become the most common name for the descendants of Abraham through Isaac. “Jew” comes from “Judah,” (meaning praise), one of the twelve tribes and the designation for the southern half of Solomon’s kingdom after his death. From the time of the Babylonian captivity, the whole race bore this title. Their great heritage, however, became a source of pride and complacency which lead to judgment instead of praise. The Jews knew they were God’s chosen. They were proud, but they looked down on those who were not Jews thinking themselves better than others. Paul is telling them here that it is wrong to depend on the fact of their Jewish heritage to save them. The verbs used in this list are all in the present tense or have the force of the present, which emphasizes the habitual nature of the action: (1) The Jews rely on the Law; they put their confidence in the fact that God gave it to them. (2) The Jews brag about their relationship to God (lit., “boast in God”; cf. Rom_2:23), which means they glory in their covenantal ties with God. As a result of these two things the Jews (3) know His will (they have an awareness of God’s desires and plan) and they (4) approve of (dokimazeis, “to test and approve what passes the test”) what is superior (diapheronta, “the things that differ and as a result excel”; the same Gr. word in Php_1:10 is trans. “what is best”). They have a concern for spiritually superior standards. These abilities of Jews exist because they (5) are instructed (lit., “are being instructed”) by the Law. Their catechetical lessons as youths and the regular reading of the Law in the synagogues provided this continuing instruction. Paul tells these self-righteous people that they are without excuse. They had the law, but yet they did not understand. They were trying to instruct others and didn’t even comprehend themselves. 1 Corinthians 1:31" That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord." Though the next verb (in Rom_2:19) continues the first-class conditional structure begun in Rom_2:17, it also marks a transition of thought. It is the perfect tense of a verb which means “to seek to persuade,” in which tense it has the meaning “to believe.” (6) Many Jews were convinced and as a result believed certain things about themselves in relationship to Gentiles. Paul listed four of these: a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, an instructor (paideutēn, “one who disciplines, a trainer”) of the foolish, and a teacher of infants. (7) This belief by Jews rested in their having in the Law the embodiment (morphōsin, “outline, semblance”; used elsewhere in the NT only in 2Ti_3:5) of knowledge and truth (the Gr. has the definite article “the” with both nouns: “the knowledge and the truth”). Their form of religion was just that, a form. This was a technical keeping of the law without any understanding of what the law really stood for. Because they possessed the law, the Jews were confident that they were spiritually superior teachers; guides to blind pagans, wise in God’s ways, and able to teach babes. This is like memorizing a bunch of words without any idea of what they meant. There is no purpose in memorizing, unless you know what the meaning of the Scripture is. God is not pleased with us technically keeping His laws. He wants our love and obedience. The Light of God is something you cannot turn on and off. If you have the Light, it shines in your life not just one day a week. If you feel you have got to go to church, you probably don’t have the Light. It should be a joy for a Christian to go to church. Church should not be an obligation that you fulfill. To go to church should be the desire of your heart. Romans 2:21-24 Without doubt as Paul enumerated this list of moral and religious distinctives, he got repeated affirmative responses from his Jewish readers. The Jews gloried in their special spiritual position, which contrasted with the Gentiles. The apostle then summed up all these distinctives in the clause, (8) You, then, who teach others. Matthew 7:4-5 "Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam [is] in thine own eye?" "Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye." This scripture is saying [practice what you preach]. Most preachers will tell you, when they are preaching, the message is for them as well as the congregation. Then Paul asked the question, Do you not teach yourself? This question is followed by a series of questions on specific prohibitions in the Law — against stealing, committing adultery, hating idols — each of which a Jew (“you” throughout Rom_2:17-27 is sing., not pl.) was guilty of doing after telling others not to do those things. Many ministers in our day need to review this verse. Ministers are not exempt from God's laws. We must not be just hearers but doers of God's law. James 1:23-25 "For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:" "For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was." "But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth [therein], he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed." The best sermon any man or woman can preach is the one we live every day of our life. Here we are not only talking about ministers, but every Christian’s walk. Paul indicted such a Jew for hypocrisy: You who brag about (“are boasting in”; cf. Rom_2:17) the Law, do you dishonor God by breaking the Law? The law was given by God to help mankind. These Jewish leaders had twisted God's law to fit what they wanted. Many of the customs they required the people to do, they did not do themselves. They had no feelings about putting burdens on others, but were not willing to do them themselves. The high priest’s office was founded to be a go between for God and his people. It was originated as an honorable holy office. By the time this was written, it had really decayed into something terrible. They were even buying the priesthood. These had become power lovers, rather than men of God. An honest Jew would have to respond to Paul’s questions by admitting his guilt and his hypocrisy. Paul did not condemn this hypocrisy of the Jews on his own authority; he quoted their own Scriptures (the close of Isa_52:5, in the lxx). Their hypocrisy dishonored God; also it caused Gentiles to blaspheme God. “Why should we honor God,” Gentiles may have reasoned, “when His Chosen People do not follow Him?” This is quoted from Isaiah 52:5. These Jews had missed the whole point of being the chosen of God to have the law. Just their arrogant behavior made the non-Jews think that it was not good to be a believer. Instead of them living a better life for having known God, they oppressed others and ran them away from God. Romans 2:25-27 Condemnation Because Of Their Trust In Rites The Jews trusted not only in the Law of Moses, as the preceding paragraph shows (Rom_2:17-24), but also in circumcision as the sign of their special covenantal relationship with God. But Paul argued that trust in the rite itself was meaningless and was a basis for God’s judgment. Circumcision has value if you observe (“are practicing”) the Law. Conversely, if you break the Law (and they did), you have become as though you had not been circumcised. In the Greek this second part of Rom_2:25 is interesting: “If you are a lawbreaker, your circumcision has become a foreskin.” In other words a Jewish lawbreaker is just like a Gentile lawbreaker; the Jews’ rite of circumcision counts for nothing. For the Jew, circumcision was a sign of the covenant. Here is a complete definition of circumcision as given in Genesis 17:11: Cutting away of the male foreskin was not entirely new in this period of history, but the special religious and theocratic significance then applied to it was entirely new, thus identifying the circumcised as belonging to the physical and ethnical lineage of Abraham. Without diving revelation, the rite would not have had this distinctive significance, thus it remained a theocratic distinctive of Israel. There was a health benefit, since disease could be kept in the folds of the foreskin, so that removing it prevented that. Historically, Jewish women have had the lowest rate of cervical cancer. But the symbolism had to do with the need to cut away sin and be cleansed. It was the male organ which most clearly demonstrated the depth of depravity because it carried the seed that produced depraved sinners. Thus, circumcision symbolized the need for a profoundly deep cleansing to reverse the effects of depravity. Under the new covenant provided by Jesus which is the covenant of grace, the meaning of circumcision has to do with the heart. 1 Corinthians 7:19 "Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God." Philippians 3:3: "For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh." The opposite is also true. If those who are not circumcised (lit., “if the foreskin,” a word used by Jews as a slang expression for a Gentile; cf. the comments on Rom_2:25) keep (phyllasē, “guard” and therefore “keep” or “observe”; cf. 1Ti_5:21) the Law’s requirements (and apparently some Gentiles did), will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised? God will regard the believing Gentile as favorably as a circumcised, believing Jew. Colossians 3:11 "Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond [nor] free: but Christ [is] all, and in all." The circumcision that counts is of the heart and not of the flesh. God is not interested in our flesh. He is Spirit and He is interested in our spirit which is made in His image. Matthew 6:28-34 "And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:" "And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these." "Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, [shall he] not much more [clothe] you, O ye of little faith?" "Therefore take no thought, saying, what shall we eat? Or, what shall we drink? Or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?" "(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek :) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things." "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." "Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day [is] the evil thereof." Jesus also came to heal our bodies. III John 1:2 "Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth." Paul concluded that a Gentile who obeys (“fulfills”) the Law judges a Jew who, despite his having the written code and circumcision, is a lawbreaker. A Gentile who obeys what the Law requires, even though he does not know the Law (Rom_2:14) is in God’s sight similar to a circumcised Jew. This thought would be revolutionary for Jews who considered themselves far superior to Gentiles (cf. Rom_2:17-21). A Gentile’s humble obedience to the law should serve as a stern rebuke to a Jew who, in spite of his great advantage, lives in disobedience. To whom much is given, much is required. These Gentiles were living better lives with less knowledge than the Jews. These Jews are not setting the good example for God that that they need to. Galatians 6:15 "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature." Romans 2:28-29 These verses form the conclusion to the entire section that begins with Rom_2:17. Being a true or genuine Jew is not a matter of outward or external things (such as wearing phylacteries, paying tithes, or being circumcised). Genuine circumcision is not the physical rite itself. Rather, a genuine Jew is one inwardly and true circumcision is… of the heart and by the Spirit. “He is a Jew”: A true child of God; the true spiritual seed of Abraham. “Circumcision is that of the heart”: The outward rite is of value only when it reflects the inner reality of a heart separated from sin unto God. “Spirit…letter”: Salvation results from the work of God’s Spirit in the heart, not mere external efforts to conform to His law. In the case above it would be possible for a Gentile to be a better Jew than the natural Jew, because the Gentiles' heart is right with God. God looks on the heart of man and judges the heart. Only you and God know the relation that you have with God. Men look at the outward man, but God sees the heart. The NIV has rendered the Greek words “in spirit” as “by the Spirit,” as though they refer to the Holy Spirit. However, it is better to understand this verse as saying that circumcision of heart fulfills “the spirit” of God’s Law instead of mere outward conformity to the Law. Some Jews followed the Law’s regulation outwardly, but their hearts were not right with God (Isa_29:13). A circumcised heart is one that is “separated” from the world and dedicated to God. The true Jew receives his praise… not from men (as did the Pharisees) but from God, who sees people’s inward natures (cf. Mat_6:4, Mat_6:6) and discerns their hearts (cf. Heb_4:12).

1 Corinthians Chpt. 1 Part Two

1 Corinthians Chapter One – Part Two 1 Corinthians 1:18 The causes of division From a human point of view, the message of the gospel, at the heart of which was the suffering and dying Savior, seemed foolishly contradictory. No less so was the principle that he who would be greatest must be the servant of all (Mat_23:11-12). But this was precisely what Paul meant to affirm in his analysis of the causes of division in Corinth. A Misunderstanding Of The Message Fundamentally the Corinthians needed a renewal of their minds (Rom_12:2). They were trying to live their Christian lives on the basis of unsanctified common sense which has self-preservation as its ultimate goal. This kind of life is self-seeking, self-serving, and ultimately self-destructive (Luk_9:24-25). It was that very point which Paul wanted to drive home to the Corinthians. The message of the Cross cuts to the heart of self-centeredness. To the unbelieving world it would seem as if this type of preaching was foolish. “Foolishness” translates the word from which “moron” is derived. Every person is in either the process of salvation (which is not completed until the redemption of the body, or the process of destruction. One’s response determines which. To the Christ rejecters who are in the process of being destroyed, the gospel is nonsense. To those who are believers, it is powerful wisdom. To truly understand the magnitude of what Jesus did for us on Calvary, we must study the Sacrifice of the un-blemished lamb sacrifice in the book of Leviticus. I will just say a few words here about this, but I suggest you get our study on Leviticus, and study that for depth on this. All sin is punishable by death of the sinner. There must be bloodshed to do away with the sin. Jesus became our substitute on the cross. He shed His precious unblemished blood and paid our penalty in full for us. We are counted not guilty of any sin, because Jesus abolished sin for those who will believe this and accept it for themselves. You can see why the world would not understand this. With His blood He has saved us and by His power He has raised us with Him to eternal life. Ephesians 2:6 "And hath raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus:" This is a mystery almost unexplainable, but even now, all Christians are seated in heavenly places with Christ Jesus. Paul saw it as central to salvation which he understood to be a process begun by justification, advanced by sanctification, and climaxed in glorification. Paul spoke most pointedly in this verse and in the letter as a whole to the second of these phases, progressive sanctification. “The message of the Cross” is the message of self-renunciation, of obedience to God which may lead as it did in Jesus’ case to humiliation and death, but which ultimately leads not to self-destruction but to preservation (Mar_8:34-35) and exaltation (2Ti_2:12; Rev_22:5). That was the recurring theme in these verses (1Co_1:17-18, 1Co_1:23-24; 1Co_2:2, 1Co_2:8), an idea those who are perishing consider foolishness (cf. Luk_9:23-25). 1 Corinthians 1:19 As he often did, Paul illustrated his point by an example of Israel who, following humanly wise counsel, formed an alliance with Egypt as a defense against Assyria, when in fact only the miraculous intervention of God was able to save them (cf. Isa_29:14; 2 Kings 18:17-19:37). It is a very strange thing, to me, how it is so difficult for those with great book learning to come to Christ. The analytical mind cannot comprehend the things of the Spirit. We have studied, over and over, in these lessons just what wisdom is important. The gift of wisdom from God is to be sought. The accumulated learning that you get from worldly education will never help you receive the gift of wisdom from God. We are told that the Holy Spirit of God must teach us for us to truly understand. What seems to be wise to the world is but foolishness to the Lord. God is not interested in your mind or your intellect, He wants your heart. It is written: Quoted from Isaiah 29:14 to emphasize that man’s wisdom will be destroyed. Isaiah’s prophecy will have its ultimate fulfillment in the last days when Christ sets up His kingdom and all of human wisdom comes to an end. 1 Corinthians 1:20-21 It was the same with all human wisdom, whether of the esteemed Jewish scholar or Greek philosopher. Paul was paraphrasing Isaiah 19:12, where the prophet was referring to the wise men of Egypt who promised, but never produced wisdom. The scribes and Pharisees had head knowledge of God and His teachings but they missed the Lord Jesus Christ as their Messiah, because they did not understand the things of the Spirit. You cannot figure out God. You must believe as Abraham did, and it was counted unto him as righteousness. Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." The wise want evidence but the believers have faith in someone they cannot see with their eyes. Fact is the opposite of faith. A dispute was a Greek word with no Old Testament counterpart, identifying those who were adept at arguing philosophy. The brilliance of man cannot appreciate the plan of God (Isa_55:8-9). It is not self-confident erudition but self-effacing faith that allows one to enter the narrow way. In the Wisdom of God: God wisely established that men could not come to know Him by human wisdom, since it would exalt man. God designed to save helpless sinners through the preaching of a message that was so simple; the “worldly wise” deemed it nonsense. Human wisdom has a tendency to run a person away from God, rather than cause him to come closer to God. Childlike faith is what it takes to please God. From the human side, salvation requires and comes only through faith. Preaching the Word of God as the Spirit gives you utterance is the power that causes many to believe. How can you believe, except you have a preacher? I have said it many times throughout all of these lessons, but the 2 great powers in this world are the written and the spoken Word of God. You cannot study your Bible very long without receiving Jesus as Savior and Lord. You cannot hear the true Word of God preached many times without receiving Jesus as your Savior. The Word convicts you and saves you. It says: “them that believe”. Believe what? That Jesus died for your sins and came to save you. We must believe that He is, and that He saves those who believe. 1 Corinthians 1:22-25 It was not on man’s terms and initiative but on God’s that man found what he needed, the power of God and the wisdom of God. In the preaching of Christ crucified God called people by opening their eyes of faith to believe the gospel. Paul found that the Greeks sought after wisdom, when he was ministering in Athens. This was thought to be one of the foremost areas for learning in the world at that time. They were constantly analyzing every new thing that came along. We know from the teaching of Jesus in the four gospels that the Jews were always demanding signs from heaven. Unbelieving Jews still wanted supernatural signs, yet they refused to accept the most glorious of all the supernatural signs: the works of God, the provision of salvation through a virgin born, crucified, and risen Messiah. In fact, the sign was a stumbling block to them. This was nothing new, because Elijah had run into this very same thing. When he called down fire from heaven to devour the offering, it was to prove whether the prophets of Baal were representing the one true God, or whether Elijah’s God was the One True God. I Kings 18:21 "And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD [be] God, follow him: but if Baal, [then] follow him. And the people answered him not a word." I Kings 18:38-39 "Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that [was] in the trench." "And when all the people saw [it], they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, he [is] the God; the LORD, he [is] the God." Read all of this account in the 18th chapter to get the full impact. God had proved Himself over and over to the Israelites. It was time for faith to operate in these people without a sign. The only true sign and the only true wisdom this alone was the message Paul would preach because it alone had the power to save all who believed. The Jews had been for years expecting their Messiah to come and free them from the oppression of the Romans. They were expecting a mighty warrior king like David. They believed themselves to be God's chosen people, and the teaching that all men were brothers was not acceptable to them. The Greeks would not accept any teaching that they could not accumulate the facts and come up with a theory about. The crucifixion of Christ did not fit into either of their theories. Look with me at the following Scriptures which show how Jesus is their stumbling rock. I Peter 2:7-8 "Unto you therefore which believe [he is] precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner," "And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, [even to them] which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed." Even though the Jews had the law, they could not justify this crucifixion of Jesus. They could not go beyond this one point. There would be no salvation without the crucifixion. To all that are called, the message of the cross, which seems so pointless and irrelevant to man’s proud, natural mind, actually exhibits God’s greatest power and greatest wisdom. Jesus tore the middle wall of partition down, when He was crucified on the cross. There is just one way to be saved, and that is through belief in Jesus. It does not matter whether you are a Jew or any other nationality. It is Jesus who saves. The power was given to Jesus by the Father. Matthew 28:18 "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, all power is given unto me in heaven and in earth." Read Revelation chapter 5 verse 13 and chapter 11 verse 6 in connection with this. Let us look at this same thing in some Scriptures from Romans. Romans 11:33-35 "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable [are] his judgments, and his ways past finding out!" For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been his counselor?" "Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?" Romans 11:36 "For of him, and through him, and to him, [are] all things: to whom [be] glory forever. Amen." The things that man thought of as weakness or defeat brought about the greatest victory that man has ever known. Of course, I am speaking of the crucifixion. 1 Corinthians 1:26-31 Were not the situation so grievous one could almost imagine a smile of incredulity on Paul’s face as he wrote these words and urged the Corinthians to survey their own congregation. From human viewpoint wisdom, influence, and high breeding were apparently in short supply. If God had chosen on the basis of such criteria, He would have passed them by. But when God called, he turned the world’s standards upside down and usually chose the ordinary rather than the outstanding in order that no one may boast before Him (1Co_1:29) but only in the Lord. We see that this is true. God does not go down and call the king away from his kingship to follow Him and be His worker. He went and got some fishermen, who were unlearned in the law. God did not choose the scribes and Pharisees, or the priest, or high priest to be His apostles either. He chose the simple people who were not burdened down with their own importance. Usually God chooses someone who is very shy in the flesh {like Moses}. God chooses those who would be totally dependent on Him. Those who would not decide on their own what to do, but would seek the will of God in every matter are the ones He would use. God is looking for a few people who will serve Him, in whatever task He has for them to do. For Christ alone personified the wisdom from God (1Co_1:30) and in Him the Corinthians experienced righteousness, that is, justification (Rom_4:24-25), holiness, that is, sanctification (2Th_2:13-15), and redemption, that is, glorification (Rom_8:23; Eph_4:30). God disdained human wisdom, not only by disallowing it as a means to knowing Him, but also by choosing to save the lowly. He does not call to salvation many who the world would call wise, mighty and noble. God’s wisdom is revealed to the foolish, weak, and common, that is, those considered nothing by the elite, who trust in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. God clearly received all the credit and the glory for causing such lowly ones to know Him and the eternal truths of His heavenly kingdom. The following Scripture in Luke explains this very well. Luke 21:15: "For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist." In the wisdom of God the plan of salvation was accomplished by a crucified Christ hidden from the wise and learned but revealed to simple believers (cf. Mat_11:25-26). If you are nothing in the sight of the world, you have one qualification that God is looking for. He takes those from complete obscurity {by the world's calculation} and makes them His helpers. The only power, or wisdom, or strength we need is Jesus in us. We do not need a highly educated mind by the standards of the world. He gives us the mind of Christ. I Corinthians 2:16 "For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ." The spoken Word of God created all the earth, and everything in it, and around it from nothing. No saved sinner can boast that he has achieved salvation by his intellect. If we are truly His, everything we are and hope to be is because He ordained it. That leaves no room for self-glory. The creation is flesh. The Creator is Spirit. Even our salvation is by divine intervention into our affairs. The redeemed not only are given salvation by God’s wisdom rather than by their own, but are also graciously given (by His doing), a measure of His divine wisdom, as well as imputed righteousness (Rom. 4:5; 2 Cor. 5:21), sanctification from sin (Eph. 2:10), and redemption by God (Eph. 1:14; 1 Peter 1:18-19) in order that, above all else, the Lord will be glorified (Gal. 6:4).

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The fall of Babylon - Chpt. 17

Revelation 17:1-2 The fall of Babylon (chaps. 17-18) Babylon — the source of so many heathen and pagan religions which have opposed the faith of Israel as well as the faith of the church — is here seen in its final judgment. These chapters do not fall chronologically within the scheme of the seals, trumpets, and bowls of the wrath of God, and expositors have had difficulty in determining precisely the meaning of the revelation in these chapters. In general, however, in Rev_17:1-18 Babylon is seen in its religious character climaxing in a world religion which seems to fit the first half of the last seven years preceding Christ’s second coming. Rev_17:1-18 also records the destruction of Babylon by the 10 kings (Rev_17:16). Rev_18:1-24, by contrast, seems to refer to Babylon as a political power and as a great city and as the seat of power of the great world empire which will dominate the second half of the last seven years before Christ’s return. Babylon, referred to about 300 times in the Bible, is occasionally viewed as a satanic religious program opposing the true worship of God, but primarily it is viewed as a political power with a great city bearing the name Babylon as its capital. The end times bring together these two major lines of truth about Babylon and indicate God’s final judgment on it. Archaeologists tell us that Babylon is the cradle of civilization. Located on the shores of the Euphrates River, the ruins of this city have revealed some of the most ancient documents of past generations. This city begun by Nimrod, who was a rebel before the Lord, authored some of the greatest evils ever to fall on humankind. Two of these evils will be destroyed during the Tribulation period. Revelation 17 is the destruction of the religious Babylon that takes place about the center of the seven years after the Antichrist declares himself to be God and no longer news the One World Religion. In chapter 18 we will read about the destruction of the commercial, political Babylon when takes place at the end of the Tribulation. In ancient days Satan seemed to make Babylon the capital of this evil operation. From this headquarters was started false religion, humanity's attempt for self government in defiance of God's will and city dwellings for commercial and social purposes contrary to God's command to "be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth." (Gen. 1 v.28) These great evils, which have damned the souls of millions by substituting counterfeit solutions to natural human problems that would ordinarily lead a person to God, will all be destroyed at the end of the Tribulation period. Chapter 17 describes the coming judgment of God on the religious system that has enslaved the human race in superstitious darkness for centuries. The woman is a great city: "The woman you saw is the great city that rules over the kings of the earth" (Rev. 17 v.18) Many have taken this to mean that the woman represents the capital city of Antichrist's kingdom, but his cannot be, for Antichrist himself rules over the kings of the earth. If then the women is not the Antichrist, what other possible explanation can we have for such unanimous world dominance? The only answer is the one system before which all kings, dictators, and nations have been forced to bow down throughout history, that is, the Babylonian religion of idolatry. One cannot go anywhere in the world without being confronted with some semblance of the idolatry. No system in the world's history has enslaved more people than this awful religion. It should not take us by surprise that this prostitute woman, the religious system, is referred to as a city. When used symbolically, a woman is always intended throughout the Scripture to signify a spiritual or religious movement. If a good woman, it is "Jehovah's wife" or "the bride of Christ". If an evil woman, such as "a prostitute," it represents the evil religious system of idolatry. Since the woman who rides the beast gets her authority from the beast, the Holy Spirit uses this description to show how religious Babylon and governmental Babylon are so intertwined they are presented together. However, they are destroyed at different times. The prostitute (religious Babylon) is destroyed by "beast and the kings of the earth," who "hate the prostitute" and kill her. This clears the way for Antichrist to fulfill the lifetime dream of Satan to get people to worship him. She is destroyed in the middle of the Tribulation; Babylon the governmental system will be destroyed at the end, when commercial, political Babylon is destroyed (Rev. 18). With "Mystery Babylon, the Mother of Prostitutes" out of the way, "all inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast, all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world". (Rev. 13 v.8) The Vision of the Woman - Ten details describe this woman: 1. The great prostitute 2. Who sits on many waters 3. With her the kings of the earth committed adultery. 4. The inhabitants of the earth were intoxicated with the wine of her adulteries. 5. A woman sitting on a scarlet beast 6. Dressed in purple and scarlet 7. Glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls 8. She held a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries. 9. On her forehead: Mystery Babylon the Great, the Mother of Prostitutes and of the Abomination of the Earth. 10. 10. Drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus Even before we come to the angel's interpretation of this vision, it is clear that we are not dealing with a mere human being, for no one woman can commit fornication with the kings of the earth, nor can a woman be "drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus." Religious Babylon Destroyed One of the seven angels (in Rev_16:1-21) who had one of the seven bowls invited John to witness the punishment of the great prostitute, who sits on many waters. This evil woman symbolizes the religious system of Babylon, and the waters symbolize “peoples, multitudes, nations, and languages” (Rev_17:15). This "whore" here is not a literal woman. In Hosea, his wife (who was a whore) was speaking of Israel. Here, this "whore" is speaking of the idolatrous church. This statement "sitteth upon many waters", speaks of large groups of people. This is not the true church. This is the apostate church. God calls it the harlot church; the church that is not faithful to God, the church that is worldly. This church, while claiming to be Christian, finds many reasons to conform to the beast and the evil world system. This will be the one world religion which will appear which the church (Christians) have been raptured. This, without question, is the part of the church that has compromised with the world and is no longer a chaste virgin in the sight of God. I truly believe that a large portion of the church falls into this category today. Worldliness has crept into our churches. The sad thing is that if she would repent, God would take her back, but she will not repent. The Bride of Christ is called a city, and that is the portion of the church which has not compromised. The other (opposite) side of that is the harlot. It is also called a city but is evil because of compromise. This is not only the apostate church in Rome, but the apostate in many other churches, as well. Again, the waters let us know that this apostate church is throughout the masses of people. The angel informed John that the kings of the earth had committed adultery with the woman; in other words, they had become a part of the religious system which she symbolized (cf. Rev_14:8). We see here, that this universal apostasy (unfaithfulness to God) does not affect just one class of people. This unfaithfulness is from the very rich and powerful (kings) to the very poor. The same way a drunken person naturally has no earthly idea what he is doing, this apostate group is so carried away with the world that they, too, do not realize the terribleness of what they are doing. God will judge this idolatrous church. Judgment begins at the house of God. Revelation 17:3-5 John was then taken in the Spirit (or better, “in [his] spirit,” i.e., in a vision, not bodily; cf. Rev_1:10; Rev_4:2) to a wilderness where he saw the woman herself. She was sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names. The beast had 7 heads and 10 horns. The beast is an obvious reference to the world government (Rev_13:1). The 10 horns are later defined (Rev_17:12) as 10 kings who had “not yet received a kingdom.” The 7 heads seem to refer to prominent rulers of the yet-future Roman Empire. This "wilderness" here, I believe, means the world. This "scarlet coloured beast" shows evil world power. Since this woman sits upon this beast, it means that her power comes from this evil beast in Revelation 18 verse 2, as It supports her. This woman, it appears, has decided to trust the powers of this world over God's power. Seven denotes spiritually complete, ten denotes world government, and horns denote power. You can easily see, since she is on top of this thing, she guides it, but receives her support from the beast. The word "scarlet" can be very good or very evil. In this case, it is very evil. This great evil (blasphemy) that this woman (church) has committed is spiritual adultery (the watering down or changing of the Word). The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and was glittering with gold, precious stones, and pearls. Her adornment is similar to that of religious trappings of ritualistic churches today. While purple, scarlet, gold, precious stones, and pearls can all represent beauty and glory in relation to the true faith, here they reveal a false religion that prostitutes the truth. The elegant clothing and jewelry of the woman show her wealth and attractiveness, but her activities are filthy and abominable to God. Her mystery name is Babylon the Great verse 5. Ancient Babylon is a type or prefigure of this future Babylon. The harlot will do what literal Babylon did in the past: (1) Oppress God's people, and (2) Propagate a false religious system. Much of the world's idolatry can be traced back to historical Babylon (Gen. 11:1-9), including the mother-child cult of Semiramis -Tammuz (Jer.44:16-19; Ezek. 8:9, 14), which entered other cultures as Ashtaroth - Baal, Aphrodite-Eros, Venus-Cupid, and even Madonna-Child. Semiramis, who was both Nimrod's wife and mother, was worshiped as the "mother of god" and a "fertility goddess" because she had to be extremely fertile to give birth to all the pagan incarnate gods that represented Nimrod. Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. The color scheme of this one world religion as defined in Rev. 17 v.4 is most revealing: "The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet." If you are familiar with pictures of the Vatican Council as published in national magazines, you will have observed that the bishops and cardinals wore purple and scarlet robes. You will also see that the pope and other church leaders are "glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls." They hold "a golden cup in their hand, filled with abominable things and the filthiness of their adulteries." These abominable things and adulteries are the idolatry and worship of gods other than Jesus Christ. In Rome can be seen all manner of idols in the very headquarters of the Roman Church. More costly surroundings can scarcely be found than in the Vatican. The Catholic Church is many times decorated this way, but I believe this includes all of the apostate church, Protestant and Catholic. Perhaps this is people sitting on a church pew, but not really being the bride of Christ. There are some in all churches, but most assuredly the church in Rome. You can see great masses of gold, silver, and jewels. Usually when a church building is decked out like this, it is in an area where there is abject poverty. "purple" indicates that this was in the church, because purple means godliness. This was a false godliness. This "golden cup" also indicates this is inside the church, because gold symbolically means the purity of God. We know this "cup" belonged to God. To me, it just means that the sins of the world have been brought into the church. This "fornication" here spoken of, I truly believe is spiritual adultery or compromise with the world. God will tolerate most anything except the worship of someone else or something else. I truly believe this has to do with the watering down of Jesus. In her hand the woman held a golden cup… filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries (cf. “the wine of her adulteries” in Rev_17:2). This confirms previous indications that her character and life are symbolic of false religion, confirmed by the words written on her forehead: MYSTERY BABYLON THE GREAT THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. The word “mystery” should be separate from the title which follows because the word “mystery” is not a part of the title itself; it describes the title. The Bible is full of information about Babylon as the source of false religion, the record beginning with the building of the tower of Babel (Gen. 10-11). The name “Babel” suggests “confusion” (Gen_11:9). Later the name was applied to the city of Babylon which itself has a long history dating back to as early as 3,000 years before Christ. One of its famous rulers was Hammurabi (1728-1686 b.c.). After a period of decline Babylon again rose to great heights under Nebuchadnezzar about 600 years before Christ. Nebuchadnezzar’s reign (605-562 b.c.) and the subsequent history of Babylon is the background of the Book of Daniel. Babylon was important not only politically but also religiously. Nimrod, who founded Babylon (Gen_10:8-12), had a wife known as Semiramis who founded the secret religious rites of the Babylonian mysteries, according to accounts outside the Bible. Semiramis had a son with an alleged miraculous conception who was given the name Tammuz and in effect was a false fulfillment of the promise of the seed of the woman given to Eve (Gen_3:15). Various religious practices were observed in connection with this false Babylonian religion, including recognition of the mother and child as God and of creating an order of virgins who became religious prostitutes. Tammuz, according to the tradition, was killed by a wild animal and then restored to life, a satanic anticipation and counterfeit of Christ’s resurrection. Scripture condemns this false religion repeatedly (Jer_7:18; Jer_44:17-19, Jer_44:25; Eze_8:14). The worship of Baal is related to the worship of Tammuz. After the Persians took over Babylon in 539 b.c., they discouraged the continuation of the mystery religions of Babylon. Subsequently the Babylonian cultists moved to Pergamum (or Pergamos) where one of the seven churches of Asia Minor was located (cf. Rev_2:12-17). Crowns in the shape of a fish head were worn by the chief priests of the Babylonian cult to honor the fish god. The crowns bore the words “Keeper of the Bridge,” symbolic of the “bridge” between man and Satan. This handle was adopted by the Roman emperors, who used the Latin title Pontifex Maximus, which means “Major Keeper of the Bridge.” And the same title was later used by the bishop of Rome. The pope today is often called the pontiff, which comes from pontifex. When the teachers of the Babylonian mystery religions later moved from Pergamum to Rome, they were influential in paganizing Christianity and were the source of many so-called religious rites which have crept into ritualistic churches. Babylon then is the symbol of apostasy and blasphemous substitution of idol-worship for the worship of God in Christ. In this passage Babylon comes to its final judgment. Just as God marked the 144,000 with the name of the Father, and just as the bride of Christ is marked with the name of Christ, we see here this group marked on the forehead. This name alone makes you know how evil and worldly this church is.This worldly part of the church, though nominally Christian, is yet more faithful to the world than to God. Notice here, that the church that pretends to be Christian and is not, does more to cause harm than those worldly people who claim to be lost. The worldly church always persecutes the faithful church. This evil in the church is an abomination to God. It is a mystery how this could happen in the church. As the fountainhead of idolatry, Babylon the harlot is the MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH; the harlot has killed many of God's saints and Christian martyrs throughout the ages, and will do so again during the Tribulation period. Revelation 17:6 The woman symbolizing the apostate religious system was drunk with the blood of the saints. This makes it clear that the apostate religious system of the first half of the last seven years leading up to Christ’s second coming will be completely devoid of any true Christians. As a matter of fact the apostate church will attempt to kill all those who follow the true faith. John expressed his great astonishment at this revelation. The faithless part of the church is guilty of the blood of the saints. In Matthew 12:20 we read that Jesus says "He that is not with me is against me". This watered down church is actually causing great problems for those who are sold out to God. We do know that Rome had a great deal to do with the death of the martyrs and even had a hand in crucifying Jesus. Of course, the Jews (church) of that day had even more to do with the crucifixion of Jesus. However, the most blame for His death has to be placed on each of us. Sin placed Jesus on the cross. He went to the cross to crucify sin. His sacrifice stopped us from being a servant to sin. The wonder of it all is, that with the Bible as their guide, how could these people get so far away from God and still occupy a pew? The answer is quite simple. They never read or study their Bible themselves. They allow someone else to read it and tell them what it is saying. I truly believe that much of the problem lies at the shepherd's feet. So many preachers are overlooking the need for the spiritual growth of their people. In the 34th chapter of Ezekiel, it says God will take the sheep away from the shepherds that do not care for them. Shepherds BEWARE! We are not to be as concerned with "our" needs as we are with the needs of "our people". We see from the last few scriptures above that this is probably speaking of Rome and the Catholic Church, who have brought the compromise. Even more than that, it is speaking to individuals in all churches who have compromised themselves. "Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away”. 2 Timothy 3 verse 5 a person claiming to be a Christian on the outside but who is not on the inside. It's so easy to point to someone else, but in so doing we should examine ourselves as well. Revelation 17:7-8 The angel explained the meaning of the woman and of the beast she was riding. The beast… will come up out of the Abyss, the home of Satan (Rev_11:7) and the place from which demons come (Rev_9:1-2, Rev_9:11). This indicates that the power behind the ruler is satanic (cf. Rev_13:4) and that Satan and the man he controls are closely identified. Their power is one. The fact that the beast was, now is not, and will come up in the future is another indication of what was introduced in Rev_13:3. The supernatural survival and revival of both the world ruler and his empire will impress the world as being supernatural and will lead to worship of the beast and Satan. The Vision of the Beast - Five details describing the beast are given: 1. Blasphemous names (v.3) 2. Had seven heads (v.3) 3. And ten horns (v.3) 4. The prostitute rides it (v.7) 5. The beast was, and is not, and will come up out of the bottomless pit (Abyss) and go to his destruction (v.11) The careful Bible student will immediately recognize this beast even before examining the angel's interpretation. In the first place, it is similar to the beast of Rev. 13 and doubtless represents what all beasts used symbolically represent: either a king or a kingdom that opposes God's will. When John sees the great prostitute, he is "greatly astonished?" Actually, some parts of this vision should have been familiar to John, for it is obviously the same beast as that described in chapter 13. The angel introduces his explanation with the words, "This calls for a mind with wisdom" (v.9), which indicate that only someone with the wisdom of God (found in the Word of God) can understand this vision. Go to chapter 13 and re-read the first 2 verses and the descriptive comments of those two verses for an accurate description of what the beginning of verse eight's meaning is. This word "perdition" means ruin, loss, or damnable. "The beast that thou sawest" "Whose names were not written in the book of life". The false religious system of the end times will be very convincing and popular among the unsaved, but those who have committed themselves to Christ will understand that anything idolatrous is not of God. Revelation 17:9-11 The angel informed John, This calls for a mind with wisdom (cf. Rev_13:18). The truth that is being presented here symbolically requires spiritual insight to be understood, and the difficulty of correct interpretation is illustrated by the various ways it has been interpreted in the history of the church. The angel informed John that the beast’s heads are seven hills on which the woman sits. Many ancient writers, such as Victorinus, who wrote one of the first commentaries on the Book of Revelation, identified the seven hills as Rome, often described as “the city of seven hills.” This identification has led to the conclusion this passage teaches that Rome will be the capital of the coming world empire. Originally Rome included seven small mountains along the Tiber River, and the hills were given the names Palatine, Aventine, Caelian, Equiline, Viminal, Quirimal, and Capitoline. Later, however, the city expanded to include the hill Janiculum and also a hill to the north called Pincian. While Rome is often referred to as having seven hills or mountains, different writers do not necessarily name the same seven mountains. We will see in this scripture that the city of seven hills is where this evil system has its headquarters. This is a marvel to the world who are not fully aware of the implications of the Bible it shows. Of course the bride of Christ, the Christians who have their names written in the Lamb's book of life since the world began, are aware of all of this and why it happened. The seven heads of the Beast represent, seven mountains, on which the woman “sitteth”. The city of Rome was known throughout the ancient world as a city built on seven hills or mountains. John notes that the wise mind will make the proper identification. The woman apparently represents idolatrous, anti-God civilization, centered at Rome but with worldwide influence (v.15). The identification of the seven heads as Rome shows that the Beast will initially have his major base of operations at Rome. It is thought by many studying the end times that after the Harlot has been killed, the beast will move his headquarters to the actual city of Babylon during the last three and one half years. This view is also supported by Rev_17:10, Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for a little while. John was writing from his point of view in which five prominent kings of the Roman Empire had already come and gone, and one was then on the throne (probably Domitian, who caused the persecution which put John on the island of Patmos). The identity of the seventh king, the one to come after John’s time, is unknown. A close study of the passage does not support the conclusion that this refers to the city of Rome. This reference is to rulers rather than to physical mountains. This is supported by the text which explains, They are also seven kings (lit., “the seven heads are seven kings”). If the mountains represent kings, then obviously they are not literal mountains and refer not to a literal Rome but to persons. The seven heads of this beast mentioned are kings of the Roman Empire. The best definition is that they represent five kings up to the time of John; the sixth, Domitian, was the Roman king at the time of John, who then skips forward to the end time for the seventh head, which will bring the king of the revived Roman Empire. This Roman Empire was in great power; it fell, and will be revived again. Then see verse 11 as this is describing the antichrist who will be the eighth and final king who will rule the entire world (kingdom). A rather interesting scripture regarding the Holy Spirit's description of the beasts that represent kingdoms appears in the book of Daniel. When one thinks of world governments, they take on a beautiful shape, as did king Nebuchadnezzar's dream in Daniel. In his dream, the beast contained 4 different types of metals. Each section of that image represented one of the four coming world kingdoms which at that time were coming (Nebuchadnezzar's Babylon was already there and was the first of the four). Two governments had already come and gone at that time were Assyria and Egypt. Those 4 beasts found in Daniel 2 verse 35 are explained as Daniel interprets Nebuchadnezzar's dream for him. The four beasts in his dream is Babylon represented by head of gold. The two arms of silver represented the kingdoms of Media and Persia. The belly and thighs of brass (or bronze) represented Greece. And the fourth kingdom described the Roman Empire as the legs or iron. When God describes the coming world kingdoms, He uses beasts to symbolize them. Human beings look favorably on government as a great help to them, whereas God looks on government as a great hindrance to them, as does anyone who has studied history and observed government's bestial treatment of humanity. Whether this scripture is describing kings or kings doesn't matter as they still mean the same which makes up the beast described here. The seven kingdoms or empires throughout history that have ruled over Israel and much of the known world are: • Egypt • Assyria • Babylonia • Medo-Persia • Greece • Rome - The Roman Empire existing at the time of John which ceased to exist • And then the seventh, the revived Rome which has not yet come • Then the eighth and final will be the Antichrist (see verse 8) This revived Roman Empire is represented in the book of Daniel by the 10 toes in the image of Daniel 2:41 - 44 and by the 10 horns on the fourth beast of Daniel 7:7, 20, 24, and in Revelation by the 10 horns on the first Beast (13:1; 17:3, 12, 13). It will exist as a major power only a short while, since it will then give its authority to the Beast (11-13). Rev_17:11 adds that the final world empire will be headed by an eighth king.… The beast who once was, and now is not.… belongs to the seven and is going to his destruction. The eighth king is obviously identical to the final world ruler, the man who heads up the final world empire destroyed by Christ at His second coming. One possible explanation of the difference between the seventh and eighth beast is that the seventh beast itself is the Roman Empire marvelously revived in the end time, and the eighth beast is its final ruler. These verses show that in the end time, particularly during the first half of the last seven years, there will be an alliance between the Middle East ruler (the Antichrist) and the apostate world church of that time. This will come to a head, however, at the midpoint of the seven years, when that political power becomes worldwide. The beast, the final world kingdom ruled by the Antichrist, is the eighth king or kingdom. He is of the seven in that he is the culmination of all the previous, pagan, idolatrous empires and the reason many think the Antichrist will arise up out of the revised Roman Empire. But then he will go into perdition, the lake of fire, the second death. Put another way, the beast that John saw is the Antichrist, the satanic ruler of the last and most powerful empire in human history, who will serve as Satan's instrument to attack Israel, persecute believers, conquer the world for Satan and oppose Christ. Scripture portraits him as an intellectual genius Dan. 7 v.8; an outstanding orator Dan. 7 v.20; a military leader without parallel in human history Dan. 7 v.23; a shrewd calculating and manipulating politician Dan 8 v.25; 11 v.21; and the ultimate religious charlatan 2 Thess. 2 v.4; The angel briefly reviews the detailed description of him given in Rev. 13 verses 1 -10. Revelation 17:12-14 Rev_17:12 explains that the 10 horns… are 10 kings. While many commentators have tried to identify 10 successive kings in the past, the passage itself indicates that they are contemporaneous kings who are heads of the countries which will form the original alliance in the Middle East that will support the future world ruler. They will receive authority for one hour… as kings along with the beast. While the 7 heads may be chronologically successive rulers of the Roman Empire who are singled out as prominent, the 10 horns by contrast are contemporaneous with each other, and as the text indicates they will receive political power for a brief time. Reading in Daniel 2 v.45 the ten toes of the fourth beast (Roman Empire) were made of iron and miry clay making a brittle substance. This is speaking of the 10 kingdoms or kings which will emanate from the Roman Empire and be in existence at the time of Christ's return. Their worldwide power will come in association with the beast. One hour indicates a relatively short time (18:10, 17, 19). This is speaking of the reforming of the old Roman Empire. Presently the old Roman Empire has been reformed by ten common market nations in Europe today. There are more currently, but only 10 will come to prominence during the end time. In my opinion, these "ten horns" are those ten common market nations. The headquarters for these ten nations is in Rome. These rulers of a ten nation federation will unite to give their political authority and military power to the beast to conquer the earth and make war against Christ (16:14; 19:19) The purpose of Satan through the Beast and fellow kings is to establish an invincible kingdom that Christ cannot overcome when He returns. But Christ is King of all kings, and will overcome the beast and his kingdom when He returns (19:11-21). Those who follow Christ are called and chosen by Him, and faithful to Him (19:7-8, 14) At this point in his career the Beast will have total control of the world, for he will command ten "kings" who rule the nations of the earth: The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. These are of one mind, and they give their power and authority to the beast" Then the Beast's kingdom starts to come apart. He hears rumors of insurrection, which fill him "with great fury to destroy and annihilate many," in Daniel's terminology (Dan. 11 v.44). It is to fulfill prophecy. Kings and Kingdoms, good and evil, have to do exactly what God wants. Sometimes they are not even aware of why they are doing it. God puts the idea into their head, while all the time, they think it is their clever idea. He marches to the Valley of Megiddo, where he meets other armies of the world, and there they do an amazing thing as we see in the next scripture. The 10 kings will unite their power to support the beast (Rev_17:13), the Middle East ruler who will emerge in the end time and will make a covenant with Israel seven years before the second coming of Christ. Their antagonism to Christ is indicated throughout the entire seven years. And when Christ returns, these 10 kings will war against Him but will be defeated (Rev_17:14). Interestingly Christ the Lamb is also the Lord of lords and King of kings (cf. 1Ti_6:15; Rev_19:16). These shall make war with the Lamb. This will occur when these kings kill His faithful followers and come out to fight against Christ in the Battle of Armageddon. Those who join with Christ to overcome them are called "chosen, and faithful," titles used in other Scriptures to describe true believers (1 Pet. 2:9). You see, as has been said so many times before, we Christians are in a battle. Our leader is the Lamb (Jesus Christ). We are fighting a very real enemy. The devil and his demons are our enemies. This war we are in is a war of the spirit. We must come against the devil in hand to hand combat everyday. Our weapon is the two edged sword (Bible). This war is fought by an army of believers who always have their weapon (Bible) at their side. Besides having it at their side, they have its contents inside of them (their food is the Word of God). When they are in hot combat, the sword comes from their mouth. They are willing to lay down their lives for the cause of Jesus. The flag we Christians fly is the banner of righteousness. It is red because of the blood of our leader, it is white because of the righteousness of believers, and it is blue for our heavenly calling. This is a voluntary army. This battle is in the final hours before the return of the Lord. This army will be made up of boys, girls, men and women. God has called a vast army, as He did in Gideon's day. This group will be sold out completely to God. They will be willing to give up homes, family, friends, wealth, and position in their community to work for God. They will be loyal to Jesus even to the death. They will have a peculiar uniform described in Ephesians chapter 6. This uniform will be provided to us by our Lord (Jesus). Loins girded about with truth, breastplate of righteousness, feet shod with the preparation of the gospel, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, and sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. The big difference is that this army will have patches on their knees. This battle will be fought with much prayer (on our knees). You see this victory is the Lord's. We must fight the good fight. Give it everything you have. The war is peaking now. God needs good Christians who will not compromise for any reason. The battle is hard, but the rewards are beyond comprehension; a home in heaven forever with Jesus and the opportunity to hear Him say, "Well done thy good and faithful servant". You see, we soldiers shall be kings and priests (Rev. 1 v.6; Rev 5 v.10), but He will be Lord and King over all. We are the called, chosen and faithful. Hallelujah! Revelation 17:15 Rev_17:1 stated that the woman “sits on many waters.” These waters are now interpreted as peoples, multitudes, nations, and languages. This indicates that there will be one ecumenical world religious system, embracing all nations and languages. The Prostitute Explained - Then the angel explains to John the meaning of the water on which the woman is sitting: It is the peoples of the earth. Peoples, multitudes, nations, and languages designate all humanity in the book of Revelation. As in the saying, "sea of humanity" Those who are followers of the evil system will be from all nations. There will be hundreds of millions lost. Revelation 17:16-18 The chapter closes with the dramatic destruction of the woman. The beast (the world ruler, the Antichrist) and the 10 horns (10 kings) will hate the prostitute and will bring her to ruin. While the exact time of this event is not given in this passage, it would seem to occur at the midpoint of the seven years when the beast will assume the role of world dictator by proclamation (Dan_9:27; Mat_24:15). When the ruler in the Middle East takes on worldwide political power, he will also assume the place of God and demand that everyone worship him or else be killed (cf. Dan_11:36-38; 2Th_2:4; Rev_13:8, Rev_13:15). The world church movement, which characterizes the first half of the seven years leading up to the Second Coming, is thus brought to an abrupt end. It will be replaced by the final form of world religion which will be the worship of the world ruler, Satan’s substitute for Christ. With the Coming Destruction of the Babylonian Prostitute during the tribulation age the Antichrist will permit the one world (apostate) church to govern his actions during the first three and one half years of the Tribulation while he is gathering more and more power. But in the middle of the Tribulation, when he feels he can become an autocratic ruler, he and the ten kings will throw off the prostitute because, in reality, while being dominated by her, they "hate the prostitute". None of the world's political leaders have enjoyed subjugation to religious leaders, but have continued in a servile role only for expediency. When it is no longer necessary, the ten kings will "bring her to ruin and leave her naked", meaning they will confiscate her temples, her gold, and her costly apparel. In so doing, they will unwittingly be the instruments of God in destroying this awful Babylonian system once and for all: "For God has put it into their hearts to accomplish his purpose." Here, we see these evil ten nations turning against the world and the world church. This power, these evil nations have been, and are being used to rule the little people. This fire speaks of war. These ten nations will do away with this church, even though it is the apostate church. When Will the Prostitute Religion Be Destroyed - The religious Babylon of Rev. 17, which is destroyed, comes in two parts. One occurs during the first part of the Tribulation when the governmental system of Babylon (pictured as this ugly "beast") is gaining world control but has to permit the "prostitute" to sit on and ride the beast. We see this as meaning she exercises a degree of control over the Babylonian system by bringing the nations of the world under her idolatrous religious power. During the first half of the Tribulation she incurs the wrath of the ten kings who see her use the authority of the Antichrist to advance her religious causes. So they plot to kill her. The reason we know this killing of the prostitute of "mystery Babylon" is done in the middle of the Tribulation is twofold: 1. "The deadly wound" of Antichrist is healed by the indwelling of Satan himself, simulating the resurrection of Christ, in the middle of the Tribulation. 2. From then on the world does not worship mystery Babylon but the image of the beast. The False Prophet will do away with all religion except the worship of Antichrist Satan, which he will enforce. That begins in the middle of the Tribulation, that's described in Rev. 13. This is the time when people will have to take the mark of the beast and swear their loyalty to the beast of face death. No middle ground, either accept Jesus or accept the beast. Since the woman who rides the beast gets her authority from the beast, the Holy Spirit uses this description to show how religious Babylon and governmental Babylon are so intertwined they are presented together. However, they are destroyed at different times. The prostitute (religious Babylon) is destroyed by "beast and the kings of the earth," who "hate the prostitute" and kill her. This clears the way for Antichrist to fulfill the lifetime dream of Satan to get people to worship him. She is destroyed in the middle of the Tribulation. Then Babylon the governmental system will be destroyed at the end of Tribulation, when commercial Babylon is destroyed (Rev. 18). With "Mystery Babylon the Mother of Prostitutes" out of the way, "all inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast, all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world". (Rev. 13 v.8) Religious Babylon Destroyed - Archaeologists tell us that Babylon is the cradle of civilization. Located on the shores of the Euphrates River, the ruins of this city have revealed some of the most ancient documents of past generations. This city begun by Nimrod, who was a rebel before the Lord, authored some of the greatest evils ever to fall on humankind. Two of these evils will be destroyed during the Tribulation period, according to Rev. 17, 18. In ancient days Satan seemed to make Babylon the capital of this evil operation. From this headquarters was started false religion, humanity's attempt for self government in defiance of God's will and city dwellings for commercial and social purposes contrary to God's command to "be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth." (Gen. 1 v.28) These great evils, which have damned the souls of millions by substituting counterfeit solutions to natural human problems that would ordinarily lead a person to God, will all be destroyed at the end of the Tribulation period. Chapter 17 describes the judgment of God on the religious system that has enslaved the human race in superstitious darkness for centuries. You see, all are subject to God whether they are following the beast or God. Even the devil has to do exactly what God tells him to do. Some of this has happened to fulfill God's word. The devil is not only subject to God, but he is subject to us, as well, through the mighty name of Jesus. We may dismiss the devil, just as Jesus did. The only difference was that Jesus used His own power, and we have no power of our own. We do it in the name of Jesus. It is Jesus' power. This is part of God’s sovereign purpose to bring evil leaders into judgment, for God has put it into their hearts to accomplish His purpose by agreeing to give the beast their power to rule, until God’s words are fulfilled. The final description of the woman is given in Rev_17:18 : The woman you saw is the great city that rules over the kings of the earth. The reference to the woman as a city is another link with ancient Babylon, this time regarded as a religious center for false religion. The apostate church represented by the woman was a combination of religious and political power. As stated in Rev_17:5, the city and the woman are a “mystery,” and are therefore a symbolic presentation. Rev_17:18, however, introduces the next chapter which seems to refer to Babylon more as a literal city than as a religious entity. Many have taken this to mean that the woman represents the capital city of Antichrist's kingdom, but his cannot be, for Antichrist himself rules over the kings of the earth. If then, the woman is not the Antichrist, what other possible explanation can we have for such unanimous world dominance? The only answer is the one system before which all kings, dictators, and nations have been forced to bow down throughout history, that is, the Babylonian religion of idolatry. One cannot go anywhere in the world without being confronted with some semblance of the idolatry. No system in the world's history has enslaved more people than this awful religion. It should not take us by surprise that this prostitute woman, the religious system, is referred to as a city. When used symbolically, a woman is always intended throughout the Scripture to signify a spiritual or religious movement. If a good woman, it is "Jehovah's wife" or "the bride of Christ". If an evil woman, such as "a prostitute," it represents the evil religious system of idolatry. Here we see again, Rome. In its heyday Rome was thought of as the capital of the world. They truly did reign over all of Europe. We conclude, then, that chapter 17 describes the destruction of the religious system, whereas chapter 18 denotes the destruction of "Satan's seat," the commercial and governmental city of Babylon, marking the prelude to the consummation of the Tribulation. No longer does the seer John have the ecclesiastical religious system in view but now turns the spotlight of God's judgment on the commercial and governmental systems that originated there. Babylon has had the most harmful effect on mankind of all the cities of the world. For all idolatrous religion, greed-based commerce, and secular government were begun there. At the end of the Tribulation, God will destroy them all in the seventh or last vial judgment in fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 47:1 - 9 (Isaiah 21:9).