|Grace Bible Church|
Tree of Life
A Weekly Review
Week Ending 102515
The Doctrine of the Pivot. Part 7.
Point 5 in the Doctrine of the Pivot deals with America and Biblical prophecy and the role of the Pivot in the last days. We are looking at the identification marks of the Harlot or the Whore of Babylon found in Rev 17 and 18. Remember when we identify certain organizations or places we are not judging the people involved in them, but we are dealing with some of the false teachings that they have been promoting. We have noted the first three identification marks concerning Babylon the great, the Harlot of Babylon and America’s function and role, if any, with her.
Identity 1 is found in REV 17:1, “Come here, I shall show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters,” The many waters are identified in REV 17:15, “The waters which you saw where the harlot sits, are peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues.” So, the waters represent the people and nations around the world that have been affected by the doctrines and teachings of the Great Harlot.
Identity 2 is found in REV 17:2, “The kings of the earth committed acts of immorality, and those who dwell on the earth were made drunk with the wine of her immorality.”
And we noted that the kings of the earth who have “committed acts of immorality with her” refer to nations, including Germany under Hitler who was convinced by the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) and the Papacy that the Jews were responsible for all the evil in the world. In fact, historians tell us that the holocaust was promoted by the RCC while the silence from protestant pulpits did the same through their silence. There are times when our silence causes us to be just as guilty as those making noise!
Identity 3 is in REV 17:3, “I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, full of blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns.”
This identity has a lot of applications that are in view in the word of God. Here, there are four major players involved:
a. The woman who is sitting;
b. The scarlet beast;
c. The seven heads;
d. the ten horns;
Now, we know who the woman is, she is the great harlot church. The beast called the scarlet dragon we find in Revelation chapter 12:3 where Satan is called a red dragon; REV 12:3, And another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems.
Later on in the book of revelation the great dragon is identified; in REV 12:9, And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan.
Then we have the seven heads, and most scholars believe that the seven heads which are also found in Dan 7 refer to the Seven Great empires in the Ancient World which are to be united again in some way during the Tribulation period. If so they would be the following:
1. Egyptian Empire – Mostly Egypt today
2. Assyrian Empire – Northern Iraq today
3. Babylonian Empire – Mostly Iraq today
4. Medo- Persian Empire – Mostly Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan today
5. Grecian Empire – which are mostly Syria and Egypt today.
6. Eastern Roman Empire – Mostly Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey and Jordan today.
7. Ottoman Empire – Turkey and the rest of the Middle-east today.
Now, if we were studying the book of Revelation, I believe that we would probably conclude that they are very close to the interpretations that are given in Dan 7 and Revelation 12-18. And the reason why I’m given you these is because I think it is no mere coincidence that many of these places are in the news daily. This falls back under the principle of MAT 16:3b, where our Lord said Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times? And that is one of the main principles concerning the times in which we live, we need to “be able to discern the signs of the times.” And there are many biblical passages which reveal the signs of the times in which we live. For example in MAT 24:14, the Lord said that the Gospel would be preached to all the nations. When do you know of a time that this would be possible other than the times we are in right now? Before the internet, it wouldn’t be possible for every nation and every language to hear the Gospel with the strike of a key, now the possibilities are limitless!
In MAT 24:3-5 we read that cults will be everywhere. MAT 24:3-5, And as He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many.”
In the old days, if you didn’t believe in God, you were burned at the stake and considered to be of the devil, and it was NOT accepted in society. Now, when you turn on your television you see advertisements for psychics who want to tell you your future. You hear of Hollywood stars having their own personal psychic, and it’s accepted as something normal. In MAT 24:6-8we read that there will be an increase in wars. No period in all human history has witnessed so many wars as we have in the past century.
MAT 24:6-8, “And you will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.”
The International Red Cross estimates that over 100 million people have been killed in wars in the last 100 years alone. Also notice that in verse 7, the Lord spoke of increases in famines. Over 50 million people throughout the word are living with HIV-AIDS, and famines affect one out of six people on earth today. In MAT 24:7 we also read that there will be an increase in earthquakes. Since the beginning of this century, there have been more earthquakes than in the last 2000 years and that is including data that was learned throughout the past ten years concerning nations whose history saved, recorded an now passed on. The point is that all of these predictions and facts do identify the place of the great harlot even in the last days. Since June of 2015 there have been an average of 2700 earthquakes a month.
In Dan 12:4 we are told that in the last days, “There will be an enormous increase in travel, and education shall be vastly increased. But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time; many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase.”
You are free to go to and from move almost anywhere in the world today. And knowledge increasing is revealed by the fact that anything you need to know about anything or anyone is at your fingertips via the internet! The equivalent of over 300 million pages of text is now sent over the internet every day! 2TH 2:3-5 talks about an increase in apostasy or living for self and pleasure rather than having morals and following God.
2TH 2:3-5, Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so‑called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things?
Today, many churches teach the Bible, but don’t teach it as the very words of God…and most don’t even know the doctrine of the filling of the Holy Spirit. This is teaching “information” without power! The Holy Spirit is the power behind the Word of God being REAL in our life. So, they add “other” things to the teaching of the Word.
In MAT 24:37-39 we read of unrestrained violence in the last days. MAT 24:37-39, “For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. For as in those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking, they were marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so shall the coming of the Son of Man be.”
The gang mentality and environment that the kids have to deal with every day is so evil. They kill because you say the wrong thing or wear the wrong color. There is no value to the human life. When Noah and Lot warned their respective people of God’s coming judgment and destruction, the people would not listen. Instead they treated Noah and Lot as extremists or fanatics. We are told it will be just like that when Jesus Christ returns. As in the days of Noah and Lot, the soon return of the Lord Jesus will be a snare unto the people who do not heed the warning and give their lives to Him. (Luke 17:26-30). LUK 17:26, “And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it shall be also in the days of the Son of Man: they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building; but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed.”
End Time Sign – INCREASE OF KNOWLEDGE. Dan 12:4 …even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.
End Time Sign – ABILITY TO ENFORCE THE MARK. REV 13:17 …And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
End Time Sign – MAN OF SIN REVEALED. 2TH 2:3 …Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.
Paul here is saying that “THAT DAY”, the second coming of Christ, will not come until the falling away happens and that man of sin is revealed. This falling away is the apostasy that took place with the Roman Catholic Church, merging Christianity with Paganism, and that man of sin who was “revealed” to the world during the Protestant reformation is none other than “the” Pope(s) of the RCC.
End Time Sign – VIOLENCE AND SEXUAL IMMORALITY. LUK 17:28-30…Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built. But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.
What was it like in Noah’s day and Lot’s day? We need to go to two other Bible verses to see what it was like. Gen 6:13 tells us that in Noah’s day the “earth was filled with violence.” JUD 1:7 it says that in Lot’s day, Sodom and Gomorrah had given itself over to “fornication and strange flesh”. So violence prevailed in Noah’s day and sexual immorality (including homosexuality) prevailed in Lot’s day. And this would be a sign of the end times before Christ Jesus returns. 2014 was a catastrophic year for millions caught up in violence while 2015 the murder rate increased sharply. So our question is, does violence and sexual immorality (including homosexuality) prevail in the world today? Very much so, yes! Not only does violence and fornication rage across the whole world, homosexuality has become a “norm”. Since 2001, at least 14 countries have fully legalized homosexual marriage, Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, New Zealand, France, with some parts of Mexico and America doing the same. And there are more countries being added to this list all the time.
End Time Sign – RISE IN SPIRITUALISM
1TI 4:1, Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.
Have we seen this? Well, just look at the television and movies today.
End Time Sign – NATURAL DISASTERS. LUK 21:25-26 …and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. Now, all of these things fall under Identity #3 again: Identity 3 – REV 17:3, “I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, full of blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns.” And so the next phrase we need to note is the phrase called the “ten horns” And again if we were studying the book of Revelation, I believe that we would probably conclude that the ten horns refer to the following ten kings over the 10 kingdoms which would probably be very close to the following:
King #1 Egypt
King #2 Sudan or Libya
King # 3 Lebanon
King # 4 Syria
King # 5 Turkey
King # 6 Jordan
King # 7 Iraq
King # 8 Iran
King # 9 Afghanistan
King # 10 Pakistan
Concerning the place and the role of the RCC and the papacy, no other church, religion, kingdom or institution matches her like the papal Church of Rome does. And God is calling His people out of Babylon and the other fallen churches of the world which many are known as Babylon’s daughters. Because it’s not just the Roman Catholic Church that God wants to call His people out of. There is a great ecumenical movement happening today that is trying to unite all churches and faiths together who are called by many “Babylon’s daughters.” The big question we need to deal with is Has America lost its way and sold its soul. Because probably the most subtle form of being a daughter of Babylon is the influence of what is known as mega-churches that exist and are up and coming.
What is a Mega-church? The common definition of a mega-church is a church that has at least 2,000 or more in attendance each week. The mega-church mentality is more than just numbers. The majority of church-going Americans attend a church with 200 or fewer members. Nonetheless, it is the mega-church model that many churches claim as their pattern. The mega-church mentality involves a certain leadership, a kind of personality, a plan for growth and expansion, and a set of goals and priorities, dreams and aspirations. Mega-church pastors hold the most TV airtime, write the most popular Christian books, and affect more church leaders than any other single group of people.
Is the Mega-church Good or Bad? The mega-church promotes counterfeits, like all suffering is from the devil, all sickness is from the devil, all poverty is from the devil and even all death is from the devil. Anything that is not positive, they teach is satanic which type of thinking is really a form of witchcraft. The mega-church promotes counterfeits, like all suffering is from the devil, PHI 1:29, For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,
The mega-church says all poverty is from the devil. Yet, the Bible says in REV 2:9, the Lord is speaking and says, ‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich). The problem that a lot people have is what their opinion is of “true riches.” It is true that God’s will in 3JO 1:2 is, Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers. However, what is the true prosperity of the word of God all about? It is about soul and spiritual prosperity not an increase of materialistic prosperity. Our Lord said in MAT 6:19-20, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal;”
Mega-churches also teach that all death is from the devil which is totally ridiculous because that would mean that Satan defeats every member of the human race because everyone dies physically. And not only that but look at 1Sa 2.
1SA 2:1-3, Then Hannah prayed and said, “My heart exults in the Lord; My horn is exalted in the Lord, My mouth speaks boldly against my enemies, Because I rejoice in Thy salvation or deliverance. There is no one holy like the Lord, Indeed, there is no one besides Thee, Nor is there any rock like our God. Boast no more so very proudly, Do not let arrogance come out of your mouth; For the Lord is a God of knowledge, And with Him actions or motivations are weighed.”
In other words, the Lord has control of everything.
God created all the wealth on this earth, HAG 2:8, “The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine, declares the Lord of hosts.”
PSA 24:1, The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, The world, and those who dwell in it.
PSA 50:10, “For every beast of the forest is Mine, The cattle on a thousand hills.”
So God created all the wealth on this earth BUT there are times, as a part of His plan we do go through times of need, times of suffering, times of death. How much clearer can you get than passages like PHI 1:29?
PHI 1:29, For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,
ACT 5:41, So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name.
ROM 5:3, And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance;
The point is that the deception of the mega-churches is based upon saying such things as all sickness, suffering and death is from the devil, when in reality it is a part of the plan of God. Mega-churches also often place an improper emphasis on size and numbers to the neglect of spiritual development. God has given us His plan for church growth, which has nothing to do with numbers. “The building up of the body of Christ” is true church ‘growth,’ which results in attaining…to mature manhood,” (EPH 4:11-16). The growth of the church should first of all be personal and spiritual, not numerical. In an effort to avoid this numbers-game pitfall, true spiritual leaders must prioritize spiritual growth above numbers growth. In addition, they should be hesitant to expand the church’s numerical size without accompanying growth on the spiritual level.
Mega-churches also allow individual members to get lost or become anonymous in the crowd, thus neglecting the specific needs of specific people. According to the biblical model of church interaction, members should be active serving one another, loving each other, and ministering to one another’s spiritual needs; GAL 6:1-10.
GAL 6:1-10, Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ. And let the one who is taught the word share all good things with him who teaches. Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.
The larger the church, the easier it is to forsake one of the most important aspects of church life which is fellowship with members of the body of Christ and submission to the legitimate spiritual authorities which exist. Mega-churches tend to foster an entertainment model for church, rather than properly emphasizing involvement and interaction. Now, mega-churches are usually really good at what they do. They’ve got top-notch musicians, expensive Audio Visual equipment, plush seating, amazing architecture, talented speakers, engaging drama, advanced technological accoutrements, and even good coffee served fresh in the lobby. But does all of this really foster spiritual growth? Some would say, “yes.” Others would question that claim, since it is easy for a member to be drawn into the entertainment of the experience rather than the spiritual impact of the service. Sitting back and enjoying the show is not what church is to be about. Mega-churches are often built and organized based on the interests and desires of the congregation, rather than growing up into Him in all aspects. Though there doesn’t seem to be anything inherently sinful or wrong about mega-churches, we should occasionally stop to think about whether the mega-church mentality is really the way of doing church.
We know that the early church grew by thousands, and those thousands were added to the church (Acts 2:41– Acts 4:4). However, there is more evidence to suggest that the “church” was a loosely organized collection of smaller house churches, not a massive single mega-church. Whatever our stance on the mega-church model, let us be sure that we make the teaching of the word of God our touchstone for church growth. I could say all of that just by saying, “Beware of the dog and pony show!”