Revelation chapter 22

Come, Lord Jesus!

“He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. Revelation 22:20 NIV

When I was growing up as a kid, I heard my father say this phrase repeatedly, “Yes, Lord Jesus, come!” I never knew where he got it from until years later. But I did know it was a phrase I was not eager to make my own. In fact, every time I heard him say it, I would silently pray, “Not yet, Lord Jesus, not yet!” You see, I was young and I had a lot of living I wanted to do. The thought of Jesus coming before I had a chance to grow up and experience all life had to offer was not exactly attractive to me. Even as I got older I was not eager for the Lord to return. But as I have matured and experienced “all life has to offer,” I have found myself praying the prayer my father has prayed all these years: “Yes, Lord Jesus, come!” The Scriptures talk about creation groaning in anticipation of Christ’s return and God’s restoration of all things.

For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. And even we Christians, although we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, also groan to be released from pain and suffering. We, too, wait anxiously for that day when God will give us our full rights as his children, including the new bodies he has promised us. – Romans 8:22-23 NLT

I really do find myself groaning, wanting to be released from the pain and suffering around me. As I talk with young couples whose marriages are on the verge of disintegration, as I see loved ones and friends dying from cancer or struggling with disease, as I watch the rapid moral decline of an entire generation, I can’t help but long for the Lord to return. This world is not my home. What we see happening all around us is a distortion of what God intended. This is abnormal and, as believers, we know that we are out of place in this environment. Sure, there are times I love this world and all the toys, treasures, and pleasure it offers, but they are little more than smoke and mirrors designed to take my mind off the future reality that God has in store for me. The entire book of Revelation is about the future. It is about what is to come. And what is to come is the restoration of all things to their proper, God-inspired, righteous state.

We have heard over and over again as we have read through Revelation that the day is coming when there will be no more sorrow or pain, no more tears or weeping, no more disease, sickness, sin or sadness. Verse 3 of this chapter tells us there will no longer be any curse (Revelation 22:3). It will be a time of abundance, blessing, joy, peace, and prosperity. We will live in the presence of God – uninterrupted by sin and its influence. All that we long for now will be fulfilled. Everything we were created to enjoy and experience will become a reality. We can’t even begin to understand what that day will be like. But we do know this: None of it will take place until the Lord returns. Until that day we will continue to groan and long for the promise to be fulfilled. So the older I get the more I find myself saying, “Yes, Lord Jesus, come!” I am ready.

Father, I become increasingly disenchanted with this world the longer I live in it. While there is much I enjoy about it, there is a lot that saddens me and disappoints me. It is broken. It is filled with the effects of sin and the influence of Satan. Any joy we experience here is an incomplete joy. Any peace we experience here is short-lived. Any prosperity we experience is fleeting and hollow. But the day is coming when we will live in the midst of perfect righteousness, surrounded by the Light of the Lamb and enjoying the constant outpouring of Your blessings. I long for that day. I long for Your Son’s return. May I fall increasingly out of love with this world and more in love with the idea of His return. Yes, Lord Jesus, come! Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men
kenm@christchapelbc.org

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Revelation chapter 21

It Is Done!

“He said to me: ‘It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life.‘” Revelation 21:6 NIV

We are getting close to the end. One more chapter to go and we will have finished reading and journaling through the entire New Testament this year. And as we come to the end of the book of Revelation, we are reminded that we are one day closer to the end of all things as we know them. A day is going to come when God is able to say, “It is done!” He will complete the plan He has had in place from eternity past. And chapter 21 gives us a glimpse of what that day will look like. In it John sees a new heaven and a new earth. The old world will have passed away. God will evidently destroy the first creation in order to cleanse it from all the effects of sin. Then He will replace it with a new heaven and a new earth. Over in 2 Peter 3:12-13 we read, “…the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! But according to the promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”

There will be a newness to everything. “And He who sits on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new'” (Revelation 21:5 NASB). There will be a new heaven and a new earth, and a new Jerusalem. This new Jerusalem is the church of God in its new and perfect state. This heavenly city, which will descend from heaven and be suspended over the earth during the Millennium, will be the place where all the saints live both during the 1,000 year reign of Christ and for eternity. God and His Son Jesus Christ will dwell there with the people of God. “Look, the home of God is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will remove all of their sorrows, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. For the old world and its evils are gone forever” (Revelation 21:3-4 NLT).

No more sorrow, no more death, no more crying and pain. All things will be new. The old will have passed away, including all evil. In his commentary on Revelation, Matthew Henry says it this way: “All the effects of former trouble shall be done away. They have been often before in tears, by reason of sin, of affliction, of the calamities of the church; but now all tears shall be wiped away; no signs, no remembrance of former sorrows shall remain, any further than to make their present felicity the greater. God himself, as their tender Father, with his own kind hand, shall wipe away the tears of his children; and they would not have been without those tears when God shall come and wipe them away. All the causes of future sorrow shall be for ever removed: There shall be neither death nor pain; and therefore no sorrow nor crying; these are things incident to that state in which they were before, but now all former things have passed away.

Surrounded by the pain and sorrow that so often makes up this world, it is hard to imagine what this will all be like, but I am looking forward to it! We must remind ourselves that a day is coming when all this will be done away with. We will live in the presence of God and in the light of His glory. There will be no more sin and sorrow. Instead we will have perfect fellowship with God and with His Son. What a day that will be!

Father, thanks for reminding me that Your plan is being worked out in perfection even as I write this sentence. You are in complete control and one day You are going to bring all this to a close. You will say, “It is done!” And we will enjoy eternal life in Your presence. Help me to keep this thought in my mind in the midst of all the suffering and sorrow that surrounds me in this life. It will all someday pass away. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men
kenm@christchapelbc.org

Revelation chapter 20

The Millennium!

“Then I saw thrones, and the people sitting on them had been given the authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony about Jesus, for proclaiming the word of God. And I saw the souls of those who had not worshiped the beast or his statue, nor accepted his mark on their forehead or their hands. They came to life again, and they reigned with Christ for a thousand years. – Revelation 20:4 NLT

No, the Millennium is not the name of a space ship from a Star Wars movie. It is the literal 1,000 year reign of Christ that will take place here on the earth the end of the 7 years of tribulation. For 1,000 years Christ will reign in Jerusalem and it will be a time of great peace and prosperity. Satan will have been defeated and confined for the entire 1,000 time period. Righteousness will flourish unhindered. It will be a time of unprecedented peace (Isaiah 2:4). Everything on earth will flourish (Isaiah 35:1-2) because Christ will be on the throne.

And the LORD will be king over all the earth. On that day there will be one LORD––his name alone will be worshiped. – Zechariah 14:9 NLT

He was given authority, honor, and royal power over all the nations of the world, so that people of every race and nation and language would obey him. His rule is eternal––it will never end. His kingdom will never be destroyed. – Daniel 7:14 NLT

Many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the Temple of the God of Israel. There he will teach us his ways, so that we may obey him.” For in those days the LORD’s teaching and his word will go out from Jerusalem. – Isaiah 2:3

Can you imagine what this will be like? Can you even begin to consider what a world without Satan and his influence would be like to live in? Jesus Christ, ruling from a literal throne in the city of David. It’s the scene the disciples had in mind when Jesus showed up the first time. It’s the scenario they had hoped He would bring about, but instead He died a cruel death on a Roman cross. God had a different plan with different timing. His Son would reign, but first He had to suffer and die. He would one day rule, but first He had to redeem sinful man by shedding His own blood as a payment. The day is coming when He will rule from Jerusalem. For 1,000 years He will reign in righteousness and the world will enjoy peace and prosperity like never before. He will bring what every politician has promised, but failed to deliver. Men will finally enjoy the kind of world they have always wanted. But even this will come to an end. At the close of the 1,000 year time period, Satan will be released (Revelation 20:7) from his imprisonment. But even this is completely under God’s control. It seems that in spite of the peace and prosperity that men will have enjoyed throughout the 1,000 years, many will turn to Satan and follow him when he is released. They will turn against God and join forces with Satan in an attempt to overthrow Christ and His kingdom.

There is no clearer picture of man’s depravity than this. In spite of having experienced the perfectly righteous rule of Christ and the benefits it affords, these men will rebel once again. They will be easily captivated by the lies of the enemy and be convinced that life under the rule of Satan will be better than life under the rule of Christ. But they will fail. God will prevail. He will completely destroy them and cast Satan into hell for eternity. Satan will have his last moment in the spotlight, but he will not succeed.

The amazing thing about this passage is that it reminds me that there is one place where Christ should reign supreme right now. And that is in my life. He should be on the throne of my life, ruling and reigning completely. He has defeated the enemy in my life. He has freed me from slavery to sin in my life. My life should be a microcosm of what that 1,000 year reign will be like. Satan is no longer in control of my life. I have been set free. I have the Holy Spirit living within me. I am a new creature. I belong to Christ. Yet, I still find it so easy to fall prey to the lies of Satan and rebel against my Savior. In spite of the fact that His rule in my life brings me prosperity and peace, I can so quickly rebel against Him. I can forget His blessings and turn back to the one who has been out to destroy me all my life. Yet I have the opportunity to live a life that illustrates what it means to have Christ reign in power and authority. I can demonstrate what having Christ on the throne of my life looks like. He can and does bring peace and prosperity now. When He rules, I enjoy blessing and abundance. When He reigns, I have joy and a freedom from sin’s influence. Paul put it best when he said, “I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. So I live my life in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20 NLT).

Father, Your Son is to rule and reign right now – in the lives of those He has redeemed. Yet we so often allow ourselves to be deceived by the enemy and listen to his lies once again. We turn away from Christ and reject His rule in our lives. There is a day coming when He will reign for 1,000 years, unhindered, uninterrupted and unchallenged by Satan. But I have the ability to experience that same kind of peace and prosperity right now. May I live my life in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God and allowing Him to rule on the throne of my life – unhindered by the influence of sin and Satan. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men
kenm@christchapelbc.org

Revelation chapter 19

His Bride Has Prepared Herself!

“Let us be glad and rejoice and honor him. For the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb, and his bride has prepared herself. She is permitted to wear the finest white linen.” (Fine linen represents the good deeds done by the people of God.) – Revelation 19:7-8 NLT

As the book of Revelation begins to come to a close, it chronicles the coming to a close of the end times. And one significant event will be the marriage supper of the Lamb. As His bride, the Church has belonged to Christ all along, but He will consummate His marriage to the church with a great celebratory feast. And the Church, the body of believers, will come to that feast arrayed in fine linen, the righteous acts of the saints. “Righteous acts flow from a righteous character, which is entirely of the grace of God” (Charles Ryrie, Revelation). But the righteous acts don’t do themselves. Each of us must work out our own salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12). We are given the garments to wear, but we must still put them on. God has given each of us the capacity or ability, through His indwelling Holy Spirit and as a result of His grace, to perform righteous acts. He is creating in us a righteous character from which should flow righteous behavior. It is that behavior that clothes us and makes us ready for the marriage supper of the Lamb. We are each preparing for that day. That should be our focus. That should be our highest priority. But notice that it is a corporate endeavor. It is the Church that is being presented, not individual believers. Together, we are the bride, not individually. So it is the righteous acts of the Church globally that clothe her and prepare her for her final presentation to Christ. It makes you wonder just how righteous our acts really are as a corporate body. If the “fine linen represents the good deeds done by the people of God,” just how fine will that linen be? The thought of appearing at the wedding feast dressed in shabby clothes should petrify all of us. But do we even think about it?

All we will bring to the wedding feast will be what we have on. And that will consist entirely of any righteous acts we do while we are here on earth. Our entire lives should be spent in preparation for this one event. It should be our primary focus and motivation for our actions and activities here. The whole marriage metaphor has to do with purity, devotion, fidelity, and faithfulness. As the Church, we are betrothed to Christ. We belong to Him. We are apart from Him right now. But He is returning to claim His bride. We are to be preparing for that day. We are to remain pure and faithful to Him. We are to be getting ready for the marriage feast that will conclude the marriage ceremony. And it is our behavior while here on earth that will clothe us for that day. Yes, we have the righteousness of Christ. And yes, the Holy Spirit makes it possible for us to do righteous deeds, but we must STILL do them. We must remain faithful and true. We must live our lives for Him in anticipation of that day.

Father, I want to live in anticipation of that day. But honestly, I don’t think about it enough. And I don’t think about the importance of my actions. My deeds, done in the power of the Spirit, and made possible by the cross of Christ, are what will play a part in clothing the bride of Christ for that great event. Help me to stay focused on that reality. I want the Church to be clothed in purity, and it will be. Because Jesus Christ has made it possible. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men
kenm@christchapelbc.org

Revelation chapter 18

Rejoice!

“Be glad over her, heaven, and you saints, and Apostles, and prophets; because she has been judged by God on your account. – Revelation 18:20 BBE

It is Christmas day. The day we celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. It is a day of rejoicing. A day of joy and celebration. But there is another day coming when rejoicing will take place in heaven and on earth. It is the day recorded in Revelation 18 when Babylon falls. The city of Babylon represents all things evil and wrong with this world. It will be an actual city, the headquarters of the Antichrist himself, but it is also a symbol of mankind’s efforts to build a society that functions apart from the reign of God. From the tower of Babel until this point in the story recorded in Revelation, men have been trying to establish themselves as gods and set up their cities as heaven on earth. In his book, The Interpretation of St. John’s Revelation, R.C.H. Lenski says this: Mystical Babylon is the representative of religious degeneracy, not civic wickedness.” The great Babylon is more than just another great cosmopolitan city. It will be the home of the great religion of the day, where the Antichrist is worshiped. It will be a city of great power and wealth, where commerce is king and mankind’s worship of money is readily apparent. You can see this by the mourning that takes place in this chapter (Revelation 18:15). But it will also be a city where immorality is worshiped. This city’s destruction will bring a sense of loss to many, including the world’s leaders (Revelation 18:9). Babylon represents mankind’s attempt to do life without God. It is a picture of men who have determined to worship anything and everything but God Himself. “The wickedness of Babylon has been very great; for she had not only forsaken the true God herself, and set up idols,, but had with great art and industry drawn all sorts of men into the spiritual adultery, and by her wealth and luxury had retained them in her interest” (Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible).

But we are told that her destruction will be great and complete. God will destroy her. And while the world will mourn over their loss, heaven will rejoice, along with all the saints, apostles, and prophets (Revelation 18:20). Like the fall of the Tower of Babel, Babylon will fall, because man cannot compete with God. While He may allow us to play at being gods, the day is coming when He will put an end to the charade. He will bring the madness to a close. God will show just how powerless men are without Him and how futile it is to try and stand against Him. “So will Babylon, the great city, be thrown down with violence, and will not be found any longer” (Revelation 18:21 NASB). There is only one kingdom that will stand in the end. There is only one city that will exist in the end. The city of God where Jesus Christ will reign in power and authority. The baby who was born in a manger will rule on a throne and He will be worshiped by more than a few lowly shepherds. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord.

Father, You are all-powerful and nothing can stand against You. Thank You for reminding me of that this morning. Men at their best are no match for You. Our power, wealth, intelligence, and industry is nothing in comparison to You. We can worship what we have built, but You can destroy it all in an instance. And anything we worship in place of You will ultimately fail us. Because it can never replace You. Never let me forget that Father. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men
kenm@christchapelbc.org

Revelation chapter 17

But the Lamb Will Defeat Them!

“Together they will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will defeat them because he is Lord over all lords and King over all kings, and his people are the called and chosen and faithful ones. – Revelation 17:14 NLT

Have you ever felt like things just couldn’t get any worse? Like God has some how lost control and your world is spinning out of control, with nobody in charge? Well, read the 17th chapter of Revelation and you will get an idea of what things must feel like to those who are in Christ during the final days of the tribulation. A false religious system will have sprung up during the first half of the tribulation period and it will have millions of adherents (Revelation 17:15). This will be a worldwide and ecumenical, and will have its headquarters in the newly established Rome, where the Antichrist will reign. This church will be apostate, yet powerful and influential. There will be a ten-nation federation that joins forces with the Antichrist with one common purpose: To wage war against Christ and His kingdom (Revelation 17:14).

But in the midst of all this news of impending doom is the reminder that God is in control. “Together they will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will defeat them because he is Lord over all lords and King over all kings, and his people are the called and chosen and faithful ones” (Revelation 17:14 NLT). God will be victorious over this ten-king federation because of Jesus Christ. He and His followers who are alive during those days will resist the attacks of Antichrist and his followers. Christ will defeat them and those who are in Christ will share in His victory because they have remained faithful in spite of all the difficulties surrounding them. Isn’t that what we are called to do? To remain faithful in the midst of all the persecution, pain, and temptations to give in? If we do so, we will share in His final victory. We must remind ourselves constantly that God is in control and nothing happens that He is not intimately aware of and ultimately in control of. John is reminded of this in chapter 17. “For God has put a plan into their minds, a plan that will carry out his purposes. They will mutually agree to give their authority to the scarlet beast, and so the words of God will be fulfilled” (Revelation 17:17 NLT). What these ten kingdom leaders will do, they do because God has put the idea in their heads. They will be carrying out the very purpose of God when they attack the people of God. They will align themselves with the Antichrist because that is exactly what God wants them to do – all so that the will and the word of God might be fulfilled. God is in control. That seems to be the over-arching them of this book. What a timely reminder to those of us who live in uncertain times. God is in control. He is in control of kings, presidents, nations, organizations, economies, armies, and every individual who walks the face of the earth. Sure, they may reject Him and live under the false impression that they are independent agents, but at the end of the day, they are all under His sovereign control.

God reigns above the nations, sitting on his holy throne. – Psalm 47:8 NLT

He determines the course of world events; he removes kings and sets others on the throne. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars. – Daniel 2:21 NLT

The purpose of this decree is that the whole world may understand that the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world and gives them to anyone he chooses––even to the lowliest of humans. – Daniel 4:17 NLT

I praised and worshiped the Most High and honored the one who lives forever. His rule is everlasting, and his kingdom is eternal. All the people of the earth are nothing compared to him. He has the power to do as he pleases among the angels of heaven and with those who live on earth. No one can stop him or challenge him, saying, “What do you mean by doing these things?” – Daniel 17:34-35 NLT

Our God reigns. Our God rules. Our God wins! In spite of all that we see going on around us, we have to constantly remind ourselves that He is in control. He has a plan. He is going to complete that plan to perfection and in His time. We can trust Him.

Father, thank You for this reminder that You are in control – of kings, presidents, and rulers. You are in control of nature. You are in control of my destiny and the destiny of this world. I can trust You – even when things look bleak. Forgive me for letting anxiety and doubt to rule in my heart so often. You have never given me a reason to doubt You. And You never will. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men
kenm@christchapelbc.org

Revelation chapter 16

They Refused to Repent

“They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him. – Revelation 16:9 NIV

If you’ve ever struggled with the concept that in order for a man to repent and turn to God he must first be called by God, chapter 16 of Revelation ought to change your mind. Here we have a picture of the final days before the final battle between God and the forces of evil on the earth. God is bringing consecutive judgments on the earth and its inhabitants – seven of them to be exact. And they are anything but light. They include horrible sores on men and the waters of the earth turning to blood. The sun will give off excessive, scorching heat. There will also be a period of supernatural darkness on the earth. The River Euphrates will completely dry up and then there will be a massive lightning storm accompanied by earthquakes that change the topography of the earth, accompanied by massive hail stones as large as 100 pounds each! Yet in the midst of this unbelievable time of terror and destruction, we are told that men will refuse to repent and glorify God. That is amazing to me!

With all those things taking place around them and to them, these people will blaspheme God rather than turn to Him. They will refuse to turn from their sin and rebellion and worship the very one who is causing all this to happen. But “affliction if it does not melt, hardens the sinner” (Jamieson, Fausset, & Brown). Back in Revelation 11:13, there were those who appeared to give glory to God, but it would be short-lived. Like Pharaoh, who would give in to the demands of Moses, then later harden his heart, these same people would go from glorifying God to blaspheming Him. Even in the midst of all the chaos and confusion, men will refuse to worship God. And they will die in their sin. But unless the Spirit of God turns a man’s heart to God, it is impossible for Him to repent. Jesus said, “that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father” (John 6:65 NASB). The hearts of these people will be so dark and sin-riddled, they will unable to see the futility of their sin and the seriousness of their condition, even in the face of pending doom and destruction.

But if you think this all seems unfair, make sure you read verses 5-7. “And I heard the angel who had authority over all water saying, “You are just in sending this judgment, O Holy One, who is and who always was. For your holy people and your prophets have been killed, and their blood was poured out on the earth. So you have given their murderers blood to drink. It is their just reward.” And I heard a voice from the altar saying, “Yes, Lord God Almighty, your punishments are true and just” (Revelation 16:5-7 NLT). We are reminded that, in spite of what we might think, God is just, righteous, and true – even in bringing His wrath and judgment to bear on the earth. He remains holy and completely right in all His actions. He has given the world ample opportunity to turn to Him. He sent His own Son to die for them. Yet they refused to believe and repent. So now He is finishing what He began. He is fixing what sin destroyed. And He is completely just in doing so.

Father, I don’t always understand Your ways, but I try to trust them, because I know You are holy, just, and right in all Your ways. Affliction isn’t always easy for me to handle. Sometimes I just want it to go away. Yet I know You have a purpose for it, just like You will in the last days. And while the days we are going through right now are nothing compared to what is to come, I pray that we would be willing to share the gospel with all those around us and that You would be preparing the hearts of many to hear. I know you use times of affliction to call men to Yourself, and we want to see that happen this coming new year. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men
kenm@christchapelbc.org

Revelation chapter 15

The Song of Moses and the Song of the Lamb

“And they were singing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb: ‘Great and marvelous are your actions, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations.‘” – Revelation 15:3 NLT

This is the shortest chapter in the book of Revelation, yet it is anything but light. It not only sets up chapter 16, it glances backward to the Lord’s former judgments, and anticipates the glory of heaven that is soon to come. It also introduces the last 7 judgments of the Lord known as the “bowl judgments”.  The time period is midway through the tribulation. In this chapter we have the beginning of the end of the last 3 1/2 years where the Lord will set everything right. Verse 1 tells us that with the coming of these last seven plagues, the wrath of God is finished or complete.

But as in chapter 14, right in the middle of all the messages of wrath and judgment is singing. John sees a vision of a sea of glass on which are standing those believers who, having resisted the Antichrist and refusing to worship him, suffered martyr’s deaths. They are singing two songs. The song of Moses and the song of the Lamb. These are both songs of victory, praising God for what He has done and what He is about to do. They are praising God in the midst of all the judgment and wrath for His coming final victory. The song of Moses takes us all the way back to Exodus 15. It is a reminder of the song Moses sang after God had delivered the people of Israel by splitting the Red Sea and allowing them to walk across on dry land, and destroying the army of Pharaoh.

“Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the LORD: ‘I will sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously; he has thrown both horse and rider into the sea. The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my victory. He is my God, and I will praise him; he is my father’s God, and I will exalt him! … With unfailing love you will lead this people whom you have ransomed. You will guide them in your strength to the place where your holiness dwells. …The LORD will reign forever and ever!'” – Exodus 15:1-2, 13, 18

The Lord is my strength and my song. He has become my victory. You will lead this people. You will guide them to the place where Your holiness dwells. What a reminder that God is not done yet. He is still at work and He will complete that work. I can trust Him. This is all about deliverance and judgment. God will deliver His people and judge His enemies. He will have the final victory. He will triumph gloriously!

But there is another song. The song of the Lamb. We see this song in Revelation chapter 5.

“You are worthy to take the scroll and break its seals and open it. For you were killed, and your blood has ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. And you have caused them to become God’s Kingdom and his priests. And they will reign on the earth. … The Lamb is worthy––the Lamb who was killed. He is worthy to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing.” – Revelation 5:9-10, 12 NLT

No victory would be possible without the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Had He not been killed, our ransom would not have been paid. Our victory is IN Jesus. He is to be praised and honored because He is the one who made it all possible. It reminds me of the words of the old hymn, Victory In Jesus.

I heard an old, old story,
How a Savior came from glory,
How He gave His life on Calvary
To save a wretch like me;
I heard about His groaning,
Of His precious blood’s atoning,
Then I repented of my sins
And won the victory.

O victory in Jesus,
My Savior, forever.
He sought me and bought me
With His redeeming blood;
He loved me ere I knew Him
And all my love is due Him,
He plunged me to victory,
Beneath the cleansing flood.

It really is victory in Jesus. His work on the cross is what will make future victory possible. He has guaranteed the outcome. So why wouldn’t we sing?

Father, I don’t sing enough about the glory and greatness of Your Son Jesus Christ. I am grateful for my salvation, but He has accomplished so much more than that. He has guaranteed the victory over sin and death. He has guaranteed the final victory over Satan and this world. His death and resurrection are what make the final outcome a positive one. It is why there can be singing in the midst of judgment. The end is NOT in question. It is guaranteed. And that is something worth singing about. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men
kenm@christchapelbc.org

Revelation chapter 14

A New Song

“This great choir sang a wonderful new song in front of the throne of God and before the four living beings and the twenty–four elders. And no one could learn this song except those 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. – Revelation 14:3 NLT

I don’t know why, but this chapter brings to mind the old Carpenter’s song. I know you’re going to hate me for this because you won’t be able to get it out of your head now. But part of the lyrics are:

Sing, sing a song,
Sing out loud, sing out strong,
Sing of the good things, not bad,
Sing of the happy, not sad . . .

Chapter 14 opens up in with an image that is direct contrast to what John saw in chapter 13. In place of the dragon and the two beasts, we see the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ Himself standing on Mount Zion surrounded by the 144,000 Jews who have come to have a saving faith in Him during the tribulation period. And they are singing a “new song.” What is this song? According to Jamieson, Fausset & Brown’s commentary on Revelation:

The song is that of victory after conflict with the dragon, beast, and false prophet: never sung before, for such a conflict had never been fought before; therefore new: till now the kingdom of Christ on earth had been usurped; they sing the new song in anticipation of His blood-bought kingdom with His saints.

This is a victory song. These 144,000 have survived the worst the enemy had to throw at them. They had made it through the tribulation and the assault of Satan. They had remained spiritually pure (Revelation 14:4). They represent just the beginning of the Jews who will come to faith in Christ before God is done (Revelation 14:4). And unlike those who worshiped the Antichrist and ended up with the mark of the beast on their hand or forehead (Revelation 13:16), these individuals have the name of God written on their foreheads (Revelation 14:1). They belong to Him. So they sing a new song – a song of joy and victory. God is on the verge of defeating His great enemy once and for all. Yet in the midst of it all, He will give those who are alive on the earth one more time to respond to His “eternal gospel” (Revelation 14:6). He gives them one more opportunity to choose between the worship of God or the Antichrist.

“Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has arrived, and worship the one who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water!” – Revelation 14:7 NET

Chapter 14 is full of good news and bad news. It is a chapter of contrasts. The redeemed are singing a new song. Yet the judgment of God is falling on those who refuse to acknowledge Him as God. But in the midst of it all He is giving them one more chance to repent and worship Him. In this chapter we clearly see God’s holiness, judgment, justice, and wrath, but also His love and mercy. Even to the end He is calling for men to return to Him as the only source of their salvation from the judgment to come. We worship a holy God who must ultimately punish sin and those who rebel against Him. But He will not cease calling men to repentance – even right up until the end.

Father, I can’t wait until the new song is sung. I can’t wait until you bring all of this to an end. This world is not my home, I just passing through. My treasures are laid up in heaven. We live in a fallen and flawed world, but You are going to restore everything back to the way it was meant to be. You are going to continue redeeming men to a right relationship to You right up until the end. Because You are faithful and true. And You are going to keep Your promises to the people of Israel. You will restore many to a right relationship with You again. Not because of anything they have done, but because You are faithful and true. Thank You for reminding me of that this morning. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men
kenm@christchapelbc.org

Revelation chapter 13

An Unholy Trinity

“All the world marveled at this miracle and followed the beast in awe. They worshiped the dragon for giving the beast such power, and they worshiped the beast …,Then I saw another beast come up out of the earth. He exercised all the authority of the first beast. And he required all the earth and those who belong to this world to worship the first beast, whose death–wound had been healed. – Revelation 13:3-4, 11-12 NLT

I have to be honest. I discovered something in my reading this morning that I have never seen before. In chapter 13 we have the introduction of the Beast or the Antichrist. Most of us are familiar with the name. There seems to be speculation every year as to who the Antichrist might be, with the names of various celebrities, government officials, and powerful individuals being thrown out as possibilities. But the truth is, we don’t have a clue as to who this person might be. But there is a second beast mentioned in chapter 13. It is the False Prophet or the Antichrist’s lieutenant, so to speak. So in one chapter we see the Dragon, which represents Satan. We have the appearance of the Beast or Antichrist onto the global stage. Then we meet the second Beast, who functions as the second-in-command to the Antichrist. These three represent what many theologians refer to as The Unholy Trinity. Together they form this triumvirate of power that is a poor imitation of God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Satan has always been an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). He is the great deceiver who attempts to replicate the power and authority of God. So this unholy trinity makes all the sense in the world. It fits Satan M.O. As his time begins to run out, Satan will unleash a final assault on mankind. And he will do so by attempting to replicate what God has done in the world. Satan will give the Antichrist his power, throne, and authority (Revelation 13:2). Just as God has given Christ all authority and has seated Him at His right hand in heaven, so Satan will give Antichrist power and authority here on earth. Not only that, but the Antichrist will apparently suffer some kind of fatal wound, but Satan will restore him to life. In other words, Satan will resurrect Antichrist, and as a result, every person on earth at that time will worship Satan and the Antichrist. Isn’t it amazing how unimaginative Satan is? All he can manage to come up with is a poor rip-off of what God has already done through Jesus Christ. But it will have its desired affect. The people will be so taken with the Antichrist that they will say, “Is there anyone as great as the beast? Who is able to fight against him?” (Revelation 13:4 NLT).

But any similarities between Antichrist and Jesus Christ Himself are few. This individual will speak blasphemies (Revelation 13:5). He will speak against God, His name, His tabernacle, and all those who dwell in heaven. He will also make war with the saints who are on earth at that time. This will be those 144,000 who become Christ-followers during the Great Tribulation. Unlike Christ, the Antichrist will be against all that God stands for and all that Christ died for. Which is exactly why he is called ANTI-Christ. Yet everyone on earth will worship him. Except those whose names have been written in the Lamb’s book of life (Revelation 13:8). They will remain faithful to the one true God and His Son.

The third individual in this unholy trinity is the False Prophet, the Antichrist’s right-hand man. He will get his authority from Antichrist and operate on his behalf. In fact, one of his jobs will be to make all those on earth worship Antichrist. He will perform great signs and deceive those who dwell on the earth (Revelation 13:12-14). He is a poor imitation of the Holy Spirit. He will be the antithesis of the Holy Spirit. While the Holy Spirit convicts of sin, the False Prophet will encourage it. The Holy Spirit comforts and encourages. The False Prophet confused, deceives and ultimately, destroys. He will actually sentence to death any who do not worship the Antichrist (Revelation 13:15). And He will cause a mark to be placed on the foreheads of any and all. This mark will determine who can buy and sell goods, and will act as a mark of ownership – that they belong to Satan. Yet the Word of God says that He “set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come” (2 Corinthians 1:22 NIV). In His letter to the Ephesians, Paul reminds us “when you heard the word of truth (the gospel of your salvation) – when you believed in Christ – you were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 1:13 NET). For believers, the Holy Spirit is our mark of ownership. But He is not a mark on our forehead. He lives within us.

Satan can only attempt to imitate what God has done, because he can’t replicate it. The Antichrist and the False Prophet will both be men. They are not divine. Their power is limited and comes from Satan himself. Unlike God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, this unholy trinity is not eternal and all-powerful. They are limited in their power and influence and their days are numbered. That is the central message of the book of Revelation. God is going to bring all this madness to an end. Yet it is amazing to see men falling down and worshiping Satan himself. But in his commentary on Revelation David Guzik gives this insight:

“It may seem fantastic to some that the world would be led into worship of a man and of the devil. But by nature, men have an undeniable religious impulse, and they also have an undeniable rebellion against God. What men want most is not the elimination of religion, but their own religion. They say they want the kingdom, but they don’t want God in it.”

Even today, men and women worship the kingdom of Satan. They worship the things of this world. They bow down before temporal things, making them the gods of their lives. In doing so, they worship Satan himself. We were made for worship. The question is whether we will worship God or Satan. In those days, man’s rebellion against God’s rule and authority over their lives will reach a crescendo. The worship of Satan will no longer be subtle and hidden, but outright and complete. But the story isn’t over yet. God isn’t done yet. Let’s see what chapter 14 has to say next.

Father, Satan is such a loser. He is unimaginative and unable to mount a threat against Your kingdom. He is destined for defeat. But He will do his best to destroy men in his attempt to destroy You. But He loses in the end. He has already lost. All because of what Your Son Jesus Christ has done. He has defeated Satan, sin and death. And for that I am eternally grateful. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men
kenm@christchapelbc.org