Sometimes people talk about other people and say: He is not in a good place, meaning that such a person might not think straight, or perhaps has to handle great tragedy and is therefore unstable, heartbroken and even depressed. When I hear it, I immediately think that a place can change and that it refers to a season of sadness and disappointment in life rather than something permanent.
Our world is not in a good place. At least half of America is in a state of anger and dismay, offended and confused. New lockdowns leave people discouraged and uncertain. If the hardship of 2020 was not enough nobody wants it to spill over into a new year. The state of the world is to be expected. People without an anchor in the Gospel of Jesus with promises of hope, grace and supernatural intervention, will struggle.
What concerns me much more, however, is the place of the Church, the body of Christ. The Church (I include all denominations and movements to make up the true body of Christ) is divided, strung up in political arguments, teaching modern controversies and powerless reasonings. Christians are tossed about in a stormy sea of world events like irrational floaters. That is not who we are. We are the Church of Jesus Christ and should be a securely anchored beacon of light and life. We are in the stormy sea with them, but we are not shaken even when we feel the waves. We are the source of faith, love and steadfast courage because we are affixed to the Source of Life. We are supposed to be the good place – a place of rescue.
Speculation about the end times is rife at the moment, like always in a global crisis. It is for sure not the first time the whole world feels unsettled and alarmed. Books are written left, right and centre – and it is not wrong in so far it is not alarmist and fearmongering. Suddenly everybody is making video’s and podcasts that discuss world events, forcing it into the Biblical prophecies of Daniel and Revelation. So-called “prophets” stand in front of white boards with black pens drawing timelines and “predicting” the next step. When one clicks on one of these, the spooky accurate YouTube algorithm pours out a bunch of similar topics. Well, see for yourself. There are many men and women with serious faces and a touch of arrogance speaking with certainty about future events whereby the politics of the day are convincingly aligned with Biblical symbols.
What their motivation is, is beyond my understanding. It is not encouraging or hopeful. Do they have the need to be right? Some of them sound like the lamenting doomsayers of old, emphasizing the “you ain’t seen nothing yet” scenario. . With widened eyes and round lips one can almost “hear” the whooo – sound that we used to dramatize ghost stories of old. Hell is going to be hotter and worse than you could ever imagine. Are you ready for the torture and suffering through the tribulation and destruction of the beast, the devil, Babylon, the dragon, the false prophet and the whole of hell and its angels unleashed upon you? If you think it is bad now, they will tell you how horrific and gruesome it is going to become.
In most cases Israel and the physical Middle-East is a focal point. They talk about the Eastern Gate, the Third Temple, the ashes of the red heifer, the re-introduction of animal sacrifices and the important role of the Jews in the prelude to the Second Coming.
I have published a series on Revelation in 2016 after a summer Biblestudy in 2015 on the topic. [Pebbles 42 – 67]. It follows a classical-historical approach to interpret Revelation. It is not a dispensational analysis. The roots of my study of Revelation come from Bible School teaching in the early nineties. Once, years after I have done the course, I mentioned my enthusiasm for this approach to Revelation to the lecturer. He was quite surprised and said no-one else ever referred back to that course.
Somewhere in 2013, I was invited to a lecture on a Wednesday night in our local church. The speaker was Dr Paul Spilsbury. In two hours, he laid the foundation for the interpretation of Revelation. I was blown away with the rational, sober discourse by which all the Old Testament images and symbols from Creation are threaded right through to their ultimate fulfillment in Jesus and the splendour of heaven which God planned for us through all of history. It is breathtaking and thrilling, leading your soul into a dance of joy in awe of God’s faithfulness and grace.
[The Throne, The Lamb & the Dragon. A reader’s guide to the Book of Revelation is Spilsbury’s book title and comes highly recommended]
The focus of this approach is on Jesus and Jesus only as the perfect fulfillment of God’s plan. Jesus is God’s mind, the big idea from Creation to the second Coming where everything fits into God’s perfect plan. Spilsbury stirred my interest and I started serious research on the topic. It was like mining into gold, silver and all the precious stones with all the dazzling colour, fragrance and stunning beauty of the most amazing things you can imagine. I was so under the impression of the greatness of God that led me to awe, silence, reverence and time and again felled me down on my face just like John in the first chapter of Revelation.
Before I get too excited, please allow me to touch on one subject in our modern conversation – the mark of the beast.
Have you heard of it? Of course. People talk. Do you know where it is in the Bible? I will help – Revelation 13:16-18:
He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, 17 and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
18 Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.
Have you heard of the seal of God? Perhaps not. It is six chapters before the chapter on the beast. Revelation 7: 2,3:
Then I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God. And he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, 3 saying, “Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.”
I do not hear Christians talk about the seal of God. Do you think it is not important? All I hear is Bill Gates, vaccinations and tattoos with speculation on the mark of the beast. What utter, ridiculous nonsense do we entertain? We should be informed and wise otherwise we will be deceived.
Do you remember the story of Egypt and the angel of death visiting the Egyptian first-born? Do you still know what was on the doorposts to keep the Israelites safe? The blood of the perfect lamb as God instructed them to celebrate the first Passover.
You are sealed, Child of the Most High God! You are sealed with the precious Blood of the Lamb, the Son of God on your forehead, symbolizing your mind, will and emotions. You are safe in the hands of God just like those slaves of old. He does not change.
The mark of the beast is on the forehead, symbolizing thinking and on the right hand, symbolizing actions.
It is a parody of the prayer symbols of the Jews – the small leather boxes with scroll of Scripture inside (Tefillin) worn on the forehead and tight hand. The Scripture inside is: Exodus 13:1-16; Deuteronomy 6:4-9;11:13-21.
Look around you! Do you see people with the mark of the beast? Of course. There are things pronounced in the world today as truth with which a Christian can never go along. It is the mark of the beast. People who speak the lies and act accordingly carry the mark of the beast. They buy and sell – symbolic of materialism, earthly riches and lost souls.
For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? (Mark 8:36)
The attack on Christian values and principles is the tribulation that the Bible speaks of. It is worsening – there is no doubt. We need to become stronger and smarter. There are thousands of Christians who pay with their lives for their faith, but there are also thousands who dilute their faith with compromise when they accommodate leftist dogma. I will not compliment the intolerant, street-shouting anger with the name liberal. Classic liberalism speaks of freedom of speech and opinion. Today everybody who does not agree with the violent leftist issues, is victimized and persecuted. That is not liberalism.
Our freedom, our liberty, however, is deeper than anything this old world can offer in the chaos and confusion of our day.
And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32)
Truth is not a philosophical what. Truth is a who. There is only one person on the face of the earth in the entire history of mankind who said: I am the truth… (John 14:6)
We never need to doubt. We know the truth – in person, in relationship.
Look at world events with a fresh perspective. “See” what Jesus and all the prophets intended. Our eyes are not on political chaos, economic demise or social disruption. All that is the fine dust on the scale of God. (Isaiah 40:15)
The bigger question, no doubt, is what moves the scale of God?
The answer is simple. It can only be one thing – Jesus.
Jesus and a church in revival mode is the anchor for the world. Look up at the Cross and “see” the mark – the seal of God on you.
Rejoice Pebblepals! Rejoice.
Oh yes! With regards to the Jews. There is no sideline Abrahamic Covenant for them. God has ONE plan and ONE covenant. The Abrahamic covenant is fulfilled in Jesus. The Jews have no special treatment. They will mourn for the One they have pierced.
“And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. (Zechariah 12:10)
At the moment more Jews are accepting Jesus as the Messiah than all the Jewish conversions in the past two thousand years combined. Now that stirs my soul into excitement!
Again I say rejoice. We “live” the prophecy of Revelation from the beginning of the end times in 70AD when Jerusalem was destroyed… Jesus said:
Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. (Matthew 23:36)
Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. (Matthew 24:34)
A generation in the Bible is forty years. Jerusalem was destroyed after a cruel Roman siege, forty years after the crucifixion. It was the beginning of the end times.