If I only (fill in blank) God would approve of me more, right?

There’s one concern that ought to outweigh all others – and that is this: To be able to answer the question, “How can I be right with God?”

How can a person know that they stand in God’s favor and not under His judgment?

How can they be confident that when this life is over, they’re accepted and not condemned before the Heavenly Judge?

What is righteousness? It simply means to BE in the right; being in the place where God approves us.

Under the Mosaic Covenant, righteousness was conditioned on obedience to the Law. For ancient Israel, being right with God was about what a person did or didn’t do. It was based in their works, how well they performed in light of the commands and statutes of God. The blood of the sacrifice provided a covering to hide their guilt from God. As soon as they sinned, they were no longer right until they brought another sacrifice and once more covered over their guilt.

The only time they could be confident they were okay with God was when the smoke of their sacrifice ascended to heaven. But how long would it be before they sinned once more & another sacrifice would be needed?

While Israel’s righteousness was based on their performance of and obedience to the law, ours is based, not in our performance, but in Christ’s.

The only way a person can be right with God is to obey Him. For Israel, that obedience was to the Law; our obedience is to believe in Christ – who lived a life of perfect righteousness before God.

Being right with God is all about works – the only issue is whose works we stand in – ours or Christ’s! Either we come to God in ourselves, bringing our own merit and effort, or we come to God in Christ, standing in His merit.

The prophet Isaiah tells us what a righteousness based on our works is like. In Isaiah 64:6 we read, “We are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags.”

The Apostle Paul was someone who went through a radical transformation when he realized that being right with God was not about what he did but by believing in what Christ had done.

Philippians 3:4-9
4bIf anyone thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: 5circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; 6concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

Paul was a standout among his peers when it came to morality and keeping the rules of his religion as a Jew. When Jesus met him on the Road to Damascus, Paul came to realize that the righteousness he needed wasn’t based in his works, his performance, but came through faith in Christ who had already performed FOR him.

He goes on to say in Philippians 3:8-9 “8Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith.

There it is right there…we can attempt to gain acceptance and righteousness with God through our own works, or we can be right with Him through the One He’s already accepted.

Which do you choose?

Psalm 27:4 “One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple.”

David knew the only way to enjoy fellowship with God was to be right with Him, and the only time he felt truly right with God was at the tabernacle, offering sacrifice to Him.

The same is true for us – our confidence in fellowship with God comes through sacrifice, but not the offering of a goat or bull; our sacrifice is Jesus Christ, and what He offered on the cross was enough for all time.

His is a perfect sacrifice that forever cleanses those who come to Him. Our righteousness, and so our fellowship with God, is not the see-saw experience of the Israelite under the law, it’s a confident expectation that because Jesus is eternally right with God and we are in Him, then we too are right with God & can enjoy the most intimate communion with Him every moment of every day, no matter where we are or what we’re doing.

Now we have the answer to that most important of all questions – “How can a person be right with God.” Through faith in Jesus Christ; that what He did in living a sinless and perfect life, then dying for us and rising again from the dead, provides the ground upon which we can stand accepted by God for all eternity.

Christian, God already accepts you completely in Christ! You cannot make God accept or love you more!

Your fellowship with God is not based on your performance, on whether or not you’ve been a good boy or girl. your fellowship with God is based on your new relationship with God through faith in Jesus and what HE’S done.

In other words, the Father looks at you in the same way He looks at the Son, with full and unreserved acceptance and love. YOU now are His son, His daughter, and as such,your standing before God is based on relationship, not performance.

Many of us base our approach to God like a service based on our efforts instead of realizing we are His sons and daughters. We think that it’s all up to us, that we have to perform and that our closeness to God is based on how well we’re doing. We think God’s acceptance and blessing is based on what we do.

What God would have us know today is that because of what Christ HAS DONE, we cannot make ourselves more acceptable to Him! The great secret of intimacy with God is to let go of self-effort in earning our way to His favor, and instead, taking by faith what is already ours.

Some think, “Oh if I only read the Bible more often…or prayed more often…or evangelized more…that God would love me more and His favor would shine upon me more”. No! Christian, because of Christ, God loves you and accepts you just as much now as if you did all those things…those things are good, but those things will not incur more favor with God. Since God has fully accepted Christ, since you are IN Christ, God has fully accepted you! By saying these things to yourself, you are creating your own works based righteousness, not God based. Essentially telling yourself that if you do these things under your own effort, that God would accept you more.

There are those who say that a message like this is dangerous because it sounds like it doesn’t matter what we do – that because God accepts us in Christ, obedience doesn’t matter.

Can the Christian live a morally careless life and still be right with God? Can a believer live IN sin and be righteous In Christ at the same time? Of course not!

The evidence we are truly God’s sons and daughters is a growing family resemblance – we will look ever more like our Father. The fruit of genuine faith is not perfection but growth toward it.

As you stand before God, do you come in yourself, or Christ? If you come in Christ, then know this, God fully accepts and loves you without reserve. God yearns for you to just bask in that love and acceptance and that you would forever be free from fear and worry.

As Christopher quoted a few days ago, 1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.”

If you come in yourself, and think that you can be right before God in your own works, you are tragically mistaken. You see, you’re basing your ideas on what God accepts by comparing yourself to other people instead of God’s standard. God doesn’t measure you against other people, grade on the bell curve – His standard is perfection.

Since no one but Jesus meets the criteria, no one gets in any other way but through Him.

Ideas we can use in witnessing to others, and ministering to new Christians

I. Foundation Verses and Their Major Points (in sequential order):

A. Matt. 16:1-4
B. Matt 16:5-12
C. Matt 26:1-13 (esp. v. 10-13)
D. Luke 4:8
E. Luke 4:16-19 (digression)
F. Luke 19:1-10
G. Romans 2:4
H. Matthew 16:26
I. Ephesians 5:1-7
J. Mark 13:28-31

A. Matt 16:1-4
1. Read v. 1-4
2. Explain:
– The Pharisees and Sadducees wanted a sign that Jesus was who
He said He was; Jesus said an adulterous nation seeks a sign.
– The Pharisees and Sadducees naturally thought that God would give them a sign if they were to believe someone who was really the Son of God; Their forefathers Abraham, Moses, etc. had signs from God when God wanted to get His point across.
– Jesus says in v. 4 that the only sign they will get is the same sign the prophet Jonah got – three days in the belly of the beast. Basically, Jesus is talking about His death, burial, and resurrection.
– Jonah was in the belly of the beast three days; Jesus was dead for three days before he resurrected.
– First of all, we learn from this that we have to show those we evangelize to that there will be no sign from God, just because you ask for one; If you say “God, I don’t believe in you, but if you show me a sign, I will believe in you!”, then chances are it won’t happen. You have to accept with faith that Jesus is Lord in order to be saved; Faith is VITAL to becoming a child of God.
– Another point from this is that NOW is the time for repentance! They must know that the Second Coming is imminent.
– Read 1 Cor. 1:21-22 (echos two points: You need faith to be saved, and the Jews request a sign).
– Read Romans 5:1 to echo point of salvation by faith alone
– They need to know also that Jesus’ death on the Cross is the thing which will save them, and the ONLY thing that will save them.

B.
1. Read v. 5-12
2. Explain:
– The disciples thought Jesus was warning them because they did not bring any bread with them; Jesus was actually warning about the “leaven” (doctrine) of the Pharisees – the ways in which they made up rules as they went along.
– When witnessing we need to understand that the idols and false doctrines of the world is what blinds the world from seeing Jesus for who He really is – the Son of God and the Messiah. We need to expose the lies the people we evangelize to are believing in, and the false Messiahs they are focusing on (money, power, sex, drugs, etc.). These false doctrines and lifestyles are clearly wrong to God, and they all server as a distraction from the truth of Jesus Christ being their saviors (as apposed to money, power, sex, drugs, etc.)
– These things are tools the enemy uses (as any other sin) to keep people on the wrong path, so that they feel too guilty about what they do to face their God.
– We need to also warn these people to stay true to themselves and to be careful what kind of leaders they choose, spiritually or otherwise. For there are many false prophets out there, especially in these days where we’re getting closer to Jesus’ second coming.

C. Matthew 26:1-13, (esp. focus on 10-13, give explanation of 1-9)
1. Read said verses
2. Explain:
– In v. 1 – 9 a woman anointed Jesus with expensive oil. The disciples, esp. Judas (as you see in another Gospel where it is more detailed), is upset because the oil could have been sold for money to “give to the poor”. Note, Judas wanted to steal the money.
– In v. 10-13 Jesus tells His disciples that what the woman is doing for him is a benefit to the spread of the Gospel and a memorial onto his burial.
– He also says that what the woman was doing will be a memorial unto her. I understand this to mean that our deeds as Christians and our witnessing will be rewarded when we are in Heaven.
– I also think this to mean that we should preach the Gospel around the world as a memorial unto Christ Jesus. So if we know that we should do it, we should make it clear to those who we convert that it doesn’t stop at becoming a Christian; they should also get acquainted with the word and start evangelizing too.
– This duty to the poor mentioned in these verses is explained in one of our upcoming verses.

D. Luke 4:8
1. Read Luke v. 4:8
2. Explain:
– Jesus was being tempted, but He stood fast, and quotes a very important verse from Deuteronomy: Worship God and Him alone!
– We must make sure we press this upon new Christians. As said before, being a Christian means abandoning any doctrine or “idol” which keeps up from abiding in Christ constantly!

E. Luke 4:16-19 (digression)
1. Read v. 16-19
2. Explain:
– We have an obligation to the same people Jesus preached the Gospel to:
– The spiritually poor
– The spiritually blind
– The broken hearted
– The captives, in order to set them free

F. Luke 19:1-10
1. Read Luke 19:1-10
2. Explain:
– In these verses the man, Zacchaeus did what Jesus had commanded another man to do, and that was sell his possessions to give the money to the poor and right all the wrong he had done.
– We must also teach others by example to do the same thing, especially those who are seeking to become and grow as Christians, because a Christian does that – he helps the needy and rights his wrongs.
– These verses also talk about reclaiming the lost; we must teach others by example to do the same thing!

G. Romans 2:4
1. Read Romans 2:4
2. Explain
– We must teach others to turn away from their sins.
– We must also teach them that failure to repent is a disgrace to the fact that God allows us to repent to show His goodness, instead of immediately punishing us.

H. Matthew 16:26
1. Read Matthew 16:26
2. Explain:
– We must learn to make sacrifices for God
– This pleases God greatly
I. Ephesians 5:1-7
1. Read Ephesians 5:1-7
2. Explain:
– Be an imitator of Christ
– Do not partake in the said activies
J. Mark 13:28-31
1. Read Mark 13:28-31
2. Explain:
– This verse speaks of the Second Coming
– All people, Christian or not, NEED to know that the second coming is imminent and they should spread that message!

The People of the Tribulation

The People of the Tribulation
By Matt

The time of Tribulation that is to befall the earth for seven years following the Rapture will change our world drastically. This will include the world’s demographics– the groups of people in the world. Currently, peoples are grouped according to government, station in life, and other factors. Spiritually, people are grouped into believers and nonbelievers. But these classifications will spread out in the Tribulation. Let’s dive into God’s Word and find out just what specific people, as well as type of people, will face the Tribulation.

Important Figures
Jesus Christ
Prior to the Tribulation, Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of lords, will shout from heaven to rapture His Church. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 says that “the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” When he was instructed to write Revelation, the apostle John saw a vision of the risen Lord. He records, in Revelation 1:12-20:

Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death. Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this. The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches.”

At the end of the Tribulation, Jesus will return in glory with the armies of heaven and will establish His kingdom for 1,000 years on earth. This will be a reign of righteousness and peace. John describes the return of Christ this way: “Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” (Revelation 19:11-16)

The Antichrist
Called the “man of sin” and “son of perdition” in the Bible (2 Thessalonians 2:3), this man will arise to power following the Rapture and will ascend to the throne of earthly rulership over the world. At one point in the Tribulation, the Antichrist will appear to die and appear to be resurrected (Revelation 13:3). This will result in the entire world following after him and worshiping him. The Bible indicates in the next verse that the world will worship Satan (the dragon) as well as the Antichrist himself. However, at the end of the Tribulation, judgment will come upon the Antichrist. When our Lord appears in glory, He will cast the beast into the lake of fire (Revelation 19:20).

The False Prophet
The False Prophet will exercise all the authority of the beast (Revelation 13:12) and will lead the world in worshiping the beast. He will perform great signs, deceive the world, and order the creation of an image of the beast to be worshiped (Revelation 13:12-14). He will also institute the mark of the beast, which will be ordered to be given to everyone on their forehead or right hand. Nobody will be able to buy or sell without the mark. (Revelation 13:16-17).

The Two Witnesses
These two will appear in Jerusalem in the Tribulation and will have authority go prophesy 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth (Revelation 11:3). They will preach the Gospel message and will be supernaturally protected during their ministry. Revelation 11:5-6 elaborates:

And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner. These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire.

When their ministry is finished, the Two Witnesses will be killed by the beast and will lie in the street for three and a half days. The world will rejoice over their deaths, and celebrate the end of the torment that these Witnesses brought. After three-and-a-half days, the Witnesses will be resurrected and ascend to heaven in a cloud (Revelation 11:7-12).

Groups of People
The 144,000
These will be 144,000 chosen people from Israel, composed of 12,000 each from the twelve tribes: Judah, Reuben, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Manasseh, Simeon, Levi, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin. They will be sealed by God on their foreheads and supernaturally protected (Revelation 7:3-8).

The Tribulation Saints
John writes this about the Tribulation saints in Revelation 7:9-10:

After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

These are those left behind in the Rapture who will receive the Lord Jesus Christ during the Tribulation. Like the Church, they will be those individuals who recognize that Christ died on the cross for their sins and will accept His offer of grace and mercy. They will oppose the Antichrist and his government, and many of them will be martyred. However, martyrdom will be a release from such a period of terror; Revelation 7:17 says that God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.

The implementation of the mark of the beast will present challenges for believers, since they will refuse it. Those who openly refuse to worship the beast will be executed by the government (Revelation 13:15). Without the mark, believers will not be permitted to buy or sell on the world market. This could make survival more difficult, since the ability to obtain food, medicine, and supplies will be hindered. Some have speculated that believers may form some sort of black market to survive.

Worshipers of the Beast
A second group of people who will live in the Tribulation. These people are those who do not receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. They will be deceived by the Antichrist and will eventually take the mark of the beast when it is implemented. This mark, which may be in the form of a tatoo, a brand, or other visible mark, will be required of people to buy or sell in the world market. Those who take the mark of the beast will worship his image, and will be cast into the lake of fire in the end.

Outline of End-time events

I. Events Before, During, and After the Seven-Year End-Time Period (this seven-year period is the 70th “seven” of Daniel, Daniel 9:27)

A. Events immediately before the seven year period

1. Church raptured (John 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18; Revelation 3:10)

2. Restrainer removed (2 Thessalonians 2:7)

3. Judgment seat of Christ (in heaven, 1 Corinthians 3:12-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10)

B. Events at the beginning of the seven-year period

1. Antichrist (the coming “ruler”) makes a covenant with Isreal (Daniel 9:26-27)

2. Two witnesses begin their ministry (Revelation 11:3) note: some bible scholars say the work of the two witnesses will be in the second half of the tribulation)

C. Events in the first half of the seven-year period

1. Antichrist arises to power over the Roman confederacy (Daniel 7:20; Daniel 7:24) note: some identify Antichrist’s initial rise to power with the first seal judgment (Revelation 6:1-2)

2. Israel living in peace in the land (Ezekiel 38:8)

3. Temple sacrifices instituted (Revelation 11:1-2)

4. World church dominates religion and the Antichrist (Revelation 17)

D. Events perhaps just before the middle of the seven year period

1. Gog and his allies invade Palestine from the north (Ezekiel 38:2; Ezekiel 38:5-6; Ezekiel 38:22)

2. Gog and his allies destroyed by God (Ezekiel 38:17-23)

E. Events at the middle of the seven year period

1. Satan cast down from heaven and energizes the Antichrist (Revelation 12:12-17)

2. Antichrist breaks his covenant with Israel, causing her sacrifices to cease (Daniel 9:27)

3. The 10 kings under the Antichrist destroy the world church (Revelation 17:16-18)

4. The 144,000 Israelites saved and sealed (Revelation 7:1-8)

F. Events of the second half of the seven year period. These three and one half years are called “the Great Tribulation” (Revelation 7:14; cf. “great distress,” Matthew 24:21; “time of distress,” Daniel 12:1; and “a time of trouble for Jacob,” Jeremiah 30:7)

1. Rebellion (apostasy) against the truth in the professing church (Matthew 24:12; 2 Thessalonians 2:3)

2. Antichrist becomes a world ruler (1st seal, Revelation 6:1-2) with support of the Western confederacy (Revelation 13:5; Revelation 13:7; Revelation 17:12-13)

3. Antichrist revealed as “the man of lawlessness,” “the lawless one” (2 Thessalonians 2:3; 2 Thessalonians 2:8-9)

4. War, famine, and death (2nd, 3rd, and 4th seals, Revelation 6:3-8)

5. Converted multitudes from every nation martyred (5th seal, Revelation 6:9-11; Revelation 7:9-14; Matthew 24:9)

6. Natural disturbances and worldwide fear of divine wrath (6th seal, Revelation 6:12-17)

7. Antichrist’s image (an “abomination”) set up for worship (Daniel 9:27; Matthew 24:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:4; Revelation 13:14-15)

8. The false prophet promotes the Antichrist, who is worshiped by nations and unbelieving Israel (Matthew 24:11-12; 2 Thessalonians 2:11; Revelation 13:4; Revelation 13:11-15)

9. Mark of the beast used to promote worship of the Antichrist (Revelation 13:16-18)

10. Two witnesses slain by the Antichrist (Revelation 11:7)

11. Two witnesses resurrected (Revelation 11:11-12)

12. Israel scattered because of the anger of Satan (Revelation 12:6, Revelation 12:13-17) and because of the “abomination” (Antichrist’s image) in the temple (Matthew 24:15-26)

13. Jerusalem overrun by Gentiles (Luke 21:24; Revelation 11:2)

14. Antichrist and false prophets deceive many people (Matthew 24:11; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-11)

15. The gospel of the kingdom proclaimed (Matthew 24:14)

16. Israel persecuted by the Antichrist (Jeremiah 30:5-7; Daniel 12:1; Zechariah 13:8; Matthew 24:21-22)

17. Trumpet judgments (Revelation 8; Revelation 9) and bowl judgments (Revelation 16) poured out by God on Antichrist’s empire

18. Blasphemy increases as the judgments intensify (Revelation 16:8-11)

G. Events concluding the seven-year period

1. The king of the South (Egypt) and the king of the North fight against the Antichrist (Daniel 11:40)

2. Antichrist enters Palestine and defeats Egypt, Libya, and Ethiopia (Daniel 11:40-43)

3. Armies from the East and the North move toward Palestine (Daniel 11:44; Revelation 16:12)

4. Jerusalem is ravaged (Zechariah 14:1-4)

5. Commercial Babylon is destroyed (Revelation 16:19; Revelation 18:1-3; Revelation 18:21-24)

6. Signs appear in the earth and sky (Isaiah 13:10; Joel 2:10; Joel 2:30-31; Joel 3:15; Matthew 24:29)

7. Christ returns with the armies of heaven (Matthew 24:27-31; Revelation 19:11-16)

8. Jews flee Jerusalem facilitated by topographical changes (Zechariah 14:5)

9. Armies unite at Armageddon against Christ and the armies of heaven (Joel 3:9-11; Revelation 16:16; Revelation 19:17-19)

10. Armies are destroyed by Christ (Revelation 19:19; Revelation 19:21)

11. The beast (Antichrist) and the false prophet are thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 19:20)

H. Events Following the seven year period

1. Final regathering of Israel (Isaiah 11:11-12; Jeremiah 30:3; Ezekiel 36:24; Ezekiel 37:1-14; Amos 9:14-15; Micah 4:6-7; Matthew 24:31)

2. A remnant of Israelites turn to the Lord and are forgiven and cleansed (Hosea 14:1-5; Zechariah 12:10; Zechariah 13:1)

3. National deliverance of Israel from the Antichrist (Daniel 12:1; Zechariah 12:10; Zechariah 13:1; Romans 11:26-27)

4. Judgment of living Israel (Ezekiel 20:33-38; Matthew 25:1-30)

5. Judgment of living Gentiles (Matthew 25:31-46)

6. Satan cast into the abyss (Revelation 20:1-3)

7. Old Testament saints resurrected (Isaiah 26:19; Daniel 12:1-3)

8. Tribulation saints resurrected (Revelation 20:4-6)

9. Daniel 9:24 fulfilled

10. Marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:7-9)

11. Christ begins His reign on earth (Psalm 72:8; Isaiah 9:6-7; Daniel 2:14-35; Daniel 2:44; Daniel 7:13-14; Zechariah 9:10; Revelation 20:4)

Son of Perdition – Revealing the AntiChrist

Son of Perdition: Revealing the Antichrist
By Matt

One of the biggest points of interest in studying the end times is the figure known as the Antichrist. He is a man who would imitate our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. But who exactly will the Antichrist be? Modern theologians and others have pointed to different people in different roles– everything from the Catholic Pope to a President of the United States to a Secretary-General of the United Nations. The Bible does not specifically identify the Antichrist, but it lays out the attributes of this man and his role in the Tribulation.

1. The Antichrist will be exceedingly sinful.
In the book of 2 Thessalonians, the apostle Paul gives a description of the man called Antichrist. He begins in verse three: “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition…”
Paul speaks here of a specific man– a man of sin and the son of perdition. These terms speak of a person who totally rejects the grace, power, and sovereignty of Almighty God.

2. The Antichrist will conquer the world through diplomacy.
In Revelation 6:1, John witnesses the Lamb open the first of the Seal Judgments. John writes: “And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.”
The man who sits on this white horse has a bow in his hand. Notice, however, that there are no arrows with this bow. This bow cannot be used as a physical weapon without arrows. This tells us that when he conquers the world, he will triumph through diplomacy, not bloodshed. This aspect of his rule will attract the world’s adoration– temporary peace will be one of the tools with which the Antichrist will deceive the world.

3. The Antichrist will have the authority of Satan.
Later, in Revelation 13, John writes: “Now the beast I which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority.” (Revelation 13:2)
The Antichrist will rule the world with the authority of Satan– his master will be Satan, and he will worship Satan.

4. The Antichrist will be falsely killed and falsely resurrected.
John continues in Revelation 13, “And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast.” (Revelation 13:3)
One of the greatest false miracles the Antichrist will perform to sway the world will be a false death and resurrection. Verse 14 indicates that he will be wounded by the sword and will live– it will be a false death. Consquently, it will result in a false resurrection. This will solidify the world’s worship of the beast (Antichrist). There will be those who believe that the Antichrist is savior of the world.

5. The Antichrist will kill anyone who does not worship him.
Speaking of the false prophet who will proclaim the Antichrist, John writes: “He was granted to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed.” (Revelation 13:15)
At the beginning of the Tribulation, the Antichrist will proclaim world peace and religious tolerance. But eventually, after convincing the world that he is a deity, he will execute anyone who does not worship him. This will force believers during the time to go into hiding to avoid detection by the Antichrist.

6. The Antichrist will demand absolute loyalty from the world.
In speaking of the false prophet will speaks for the Antichrist, John writes: “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, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, nor the number of his name.” (Revelation 13:16)
This mark, which may be in the form of a tattoo, a brand, or anything as advanced as biochip technology, will be administered to the world. It will be the ultimate sign of loyalty to the Antichrist and to Satan.

7. The Antichrist will breach the temple of God and exalt himself.
Paul continues in 2 Thessalonians 2:4, “who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.”
The Antichrist will exhibit qualities of Satan himself. Satan tried to exalt himself about God, much in the same way that the Antichrist will. He will go so far as to enter the temple of God in Jerusalem and will sit on God’s throne. He will proclaim himself to be God, and the world will believe that he is God.

8. The Antichrist will be destroyed at the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul goes on in 2 Thessalonians 2:8 says, “And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.”
When Jesus returns at the end of the Tribulation, He will destroy the Antichrist. Revelation 19:20 says this: “Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.”
This is the Antichrist’s fate. For seven years he will rule the world. But at the end, the Lord Jesus Christ, the one true God, will prevail. The Antichrist and the false prophet will be cast into hell, to be tormented forever.

The New Temple during the Millennium

Many people do not know this, but do you know the Temple in Jerusalem will be rebuilt during the Millennium, when Christ comes and establishes His kingdom on this earth after the Tribulation? Yes, and even animal sacrifices will be reinstituted. I found an interesting commentary on this that i would like to share with you…explaining what the purpose of the Temple will be and why animal sacrifice will be reinstituted.

“Ezekiel 33-39 dealt with the new life Israel will experience when she is gathered back into her lan and restored to fellowship with God [this is speaking about after the Tribulation….Christ will gather His people from their hiding places back to Jerusalem]. The last nine chapters of the book explain how Israel’s new order will be established. A new temple will be built as a sign of God’s presence among His people (Ezekiel 40-43), and a new service of worship will be established so the people will have access to their God (Ezekiel 44-46). Then a new division of the land will be made for the people (Ezekiel 47-48).

God has promised to rebuild His sanctuary among His people (Ezekiel 37:26-28); Ezekiel 44-46 give the plans for the temple to be rebuilt. Three interpretations of Ezekiel 40-43 are held by bible students: 1) Ezekiel predicted a rebuilding of Solomon’s temple after the Babylonian Captivity. 2) Ezekiel was prophesying about the church in a figurative sense; he did not have a literal temple in mind. 3) A still-future literal temple will be built during the millenial kingdom. The first view must be eliminated because it suggests that Ezekiel was mistaken when he wrote. No prophet speaking under God’s authority ever uttered a false prediction (cf. Deuteronomy 18:21-22; Matthew 5:17-18). Also the remnant that returned to Israel after the Exile did not follow Ezekiel’s specifications. The second view must also be eliminated because it violates the normal meaning of Ezekiel’s words. Those who hold this view are inconsistent for the interpret Ezekiel’s earlier, now-fulfilled prophecies literally, yet interpret his yet-unfulfilled prophecies symbolically. Why did Ezekiel take so much space to describe the millennial temple? Here are two reasons: 1) the sanctuary was the symbol of God’s presence among His people. The prelude to Israel’s judgment began when God’s glory departed from Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem (Ezekiel 8-11). The climax to her restoration as a nation will come when God’s glory reenters the new temple in Jerusalem (Ezekiel43:1-5). 2) The new temple will become the visible reminder of Israel’s relationship to God through His New Covenant. Since God gave detailed instructions for building the tabernacle to accompany His inauguration of the Mosaic Covenant (cf. Exodus 25-40), it is not unusual that He would also supply detailed plans for His new center of worship, to accompany the implementation of the New Covenant. This temple will be the focal point for the visible manifestatioin of Israel’s new relationship with her God.

Ezekiel 4:38-43 At the sides of the inner gates tables were set up for slaughtering the sacrifices. Four tables were on one side of the gate and four on the other–eight tables in all. The sacrifices prepared on these tables would then be offered on the altar in the inner court. Many have objected to the thought of animal sacrifices being reinstituted during the Millennium. Since these sacrifices, it is argued, revert back to the Levitical sacrificial system, they would be out of place in the Millennium. This has caused some to take the passage symbolically rather than literally. However, no difficulty exists if one understands the proper function of these sacrifices. First, animal sacrifices never took away human sin (it only covered over it temporarily); only the sacrifice of Christ can take away sin (cf. Hebrews 10:1-4, 10). In Old Testament times Israelites were saved by grace through faith, and teh sacrifices helped restore a believer’s fellowship with God. Second, even after the church began, Jewish believers did not hesitate to take part in the temple worship (cf. Acts 2:46;Acts 3:1; Acts 5:42) and even to offer sacrifices (Acts 21:26). They could do this because they viewed the sacrifices as memorials of Christ’s death.

Levitical sacrifices were connected with Israel’s worship of God. When the church supplanted Isreal in God’s program (cf. Romans 11:11-24) a new economy or dispensation began. The Levitical sacrificial system, which looked forward to Christ, was replaced by the Lord’s Supper (or communion), which looked back to His death and forward to His second coming (1 Corinthians 11:24, 26). At Christ’s second coming Israel will again assume her place of prominence in God’s kingdom program (cf. Romans 11:25-27). The Lord’s supper will be eliminated, because Christ will have returned. It will be replaced by animal sacrifices, which will be memorials or object lessons of the supreme sacrifice made by the Lamb of God. The slaughtering of these animals will be vivid reminders of the Messiah’s suffering and death.

The millennial sacrifices will differ from the Levitical sacrifices though there are some similarities. Other passages also refer to a sacrificial system during the Millennium (Isaiah 56:7; Isaiah 66:20-23; Jeremiah 33:18; Zechariah 14:15-21; Malachi 3:3-4).

The priests to preside over the sacrifices will be descended from Zadok (cf. Ezekiel 43:19; Ezekiel 44:15; Ezekiel 48:11), the high priest in Solomon’s day (1 Kings 1:26-27).”

Who is Satan? (Part 1)

Who And What Satan Was

Satan (aka. The devil, Lucifer, the Enemy) was a sort of archangel created by God to be a protector of God’s throne. The most revealing verse in the Bible dealing with Satan’s beginning (and end) is Ezekiel 28:11-19 (NKJV)

“11Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 12 “Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre, and say to him, “Thus says the Lord GOD: “You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. 13You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering: the sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes was prepared for you on the day you were created. 14You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; you were on the holy mountain of God; you walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. 15You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you. 16By the abundance of your trading you became filled with violence within, and you sinned; therefore I cast you as a profane thing out of the mountain of God; and I destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the fiery stones. 17Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to the ground, I laid you before kings, that they might gaze at you. 18You defiled your sanctuaries by the multitude of your iniquities, by the iniquity of your trading; therefore I brought fire from your midst; it devoured you, and I turned you to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all who saw you. 19All who knew you among the peoples are astonished at you; you have become a horror, and shall be no more forever.””

In this passage, Satan is given the title “King of Tyre.”  Like the Psalms–where the psalmist is seemingly referring to himself, but the statements made and the conditions described could only be connected to the Messiah, Jesus Christ- so here that which is addressed to the “king of Tyre” is seen to be a direct reference to the person of Satan (since the descriptions cannot be related to any human who has ever lived). In verse 15 it is stated that Satan was created perfect, and in verse 13 that perfection is presented in detail by the use of the precious gems. He among all created beings was also “full of wisdom” and “perfect in beauty,” adding to the image of a perfect created being. In verse 14 he is called the “anointed cherub who covers”  making reference to the fact that Satan was created as a guard or protector to the throne of the Most High; he was the highest of all cherubs ever created (since cherubs are given the duty of servicing the throne). It is also stated in verse 14 that Satan was located upon the Holy Mountain of God, the mountain of God being a symbol of the center of God’s power, government, and eternal throne (see also Psalms 48:1 and Isaiah 2:2 for references to the Holy Mountain of God).

In verse 14, Satan is said to have been in “Eden, the garden of God,” which is evidently another Eden than that in which Satan appeared as a serpent. The Eden of Genesis was one of great greenery from vegetation and exceedingly beautiful, whereas the Eden stated in verse 14 has “stones of fire.”  This is probably referencing a place in heaven located near the throne.

The whole passage suggests a position of great authority for which Satan was created and anointed, and from which he fell, drawing with him a host of other angelic beings over whom he had governing power and influence. Again, in verse 15, it is stated that Satan was perfect in all his ways from the day he was created. It is important to note both that Satan was created, and that he was created perfect. Since he was created, he is not self-existent, and never can be free from his dependence upon the Creator. Satan was created a free moral agent, capable of choosing evil but not intended to do so. That he chose to do evil must always be to his own blame, since the Creator surrounded him with sufficient motives for doing good. Christ said of Satan in John 8:44, “He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth.”  The conclusion, then, is that Satan was created in perfection, truth, and goodness, but afterward turned to a state in which Christ went on to say of him, “There is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of [lies].”  Thus, an important teaching of the passage in Ezekiel is of Satan’s first position and power- a power and wisdom sufficient to guard the throne of God from every possible enemy, and a glory and beauty that would make him become the highest officer in the court of heaven.

Another revelation about the crime of Satan is set forth in Isaiah 14:12-20. Before I quote the passage, it should be noted that the prophet Isaiah’s vision of Satan is from the time of his final judgment and working backward from that point over Satan’s entire existence. Thus, much that is still future is referred to as though it were in the past.

The passage is as follows:

“12How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! 13For you have said in your heart: “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; 14I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be LIKE the Most High.’ 15Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit. 16Those who see you will gaze at you, and consider you, saying: “Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms, 17Who made the world as a wilderness and destroyed its cities, who did not open the house of his prisoners?’ 18All the kings of the nations, all of them, sleep in glory, everyone in his own house; 19But you are cast out of your grave like an abominable branch, like the garment of those who are slain, thrust through with a sword, who go down to the stones of the pit, like a corpse trodden underfoot. 20You will not be joined with them in burial, because you have destroyed your land and slain your people. The brood of evildoers shall never be named.” (emphasis mine)

Notice Satan says he wants to be like the Most High.” He does not want to BE God”¦he wants to be like Him in power and authority. The title used in verse 12, “Lucifer, son of the morning,”  speaks of his first place in the celestial sphere, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy (see Job 38:7). This is referencing Satan’s once exalted position in heaven, obviously he was extremely bright like a star, when all those heavenly beings created by God shouted for joy at the wonder of God’s creative works.