return to the
(Its the End of the World as We Know It)
As long as I can remember, music has played an instrumental role in my spiritual progression. There is no doubt that the inspired ones in every art form are being used by God to speak to us. About the time I graduated from college, one of my favorite bands was R.E.M. who sang a rather upbeat song, which ironically harmonized with these lyrics:
Its the end of the world as we know it. And Ifeelfine!
(You should hear it playing a couple of times in the background.)
Some might call it bad taste to be so glib about something so serious, but I suppose they just dont understand why some of us are so excited about the end. Apparently they dont realize that every end means a new beginning! And apparently they do not trust that God is in control and has a perfect plan! Of this I am sure.
Even though this popular R.E.M. song was considered a secular song, it seemed to speak to me in a spiritual way. Its cheerful message seemed to help resonated a spiritual truth that had been ringing true in my spirit for a long time. The world, as we know it, is ending. Yet even though my heart knew this to be true, I, like R.E.M., was totally FINE with this! My feeling was- bring it on! But I find that most are not so enthusiastic. History has shown that in every generation there have been those who believed (fearfully I might add) that the END of the world was coming. Because of my relationship with God, I have always had a different perspective in this matter. (I believe a more illuminated one!) I also believe an end is in sight, and I have been looking forward to it with great anticipation! You see-- unlike those who are dreading what is to come, I have earnestly prayed for it! And unlike the souls that are weighed down with natural thoughts dread, I have a spiritual hope lifting my faith higher! Since I was young this is really what my heart has been longing for-- that God would put an end to the world, as we KNOW it.
Dont misunderstand me concerning the phrase the end of the world. While it is true that the earth, sun and even the physical existence of mankind will pass away, what I am speaking about is the end of one spiritual world and the beginning of another. The world we have chosen, embraced and known for such a long time is one that is contaminated by greed, hate, violence and sin. And all of these ills stem from the same source, which is fear. Fear manifests itself into all the sins of the world, and only the perfect Love of God can drive it out. Most seem unaware or unconcerned that this is the world of darkness and home of the devil. Here in Hades is where the dead wait to be quickened. Here in hell is where the children of God are being held as slaves to sin. Jesus realized all of this, so he gave his life to set the captives free! If we truly are free then let us join Christ and bring down the kingdom of darkness! Only by destroying the world of the devil will we come to know a different world- a higher world abiding in truth and love with God! This is my hope, my faith and my inspiration for this article. This is what God has revealed to me.
My interest (and I would say even my awareness) of God became apparent to me at a very young age. Not only did I feel connected to God, but consequently this divine love also seemed to give birth to a strong sense of pity for the suffering world. As a child, I could see there was something wrong with the way mankind lived its life. While my life has been blessed in so many ways, I have never really been able to embrace the way of world. I could never really rest in my personal contentment while watching others drown in misery. As I looked around at the social and even ecumenical landscape created by man, I sensed it was deficient and illegitimate. Because I didnt think like most others, I often felt like a foreigner here and still do. Why are so many controlled by fear? Why do so many lie, cheat and steal? Why didnt everybody care about God and Truth like I did? It was clear to me that mankind was lost. While there is no doubt we have moved forward since the Dark Ages, we still have a long way to go to catch our elder brother, Jesus. I am not satisfied; yet many seem to be content to run in the rat race of the world system. How can so many love the pleasures of the material world while so many souls are suffering in the traps of the devil? How can so many worship the flesh they walk in while denying the spirit that gives them life? For as long as I can remember, I have hated all the suffering in the world. While I understand the purpose of suffering, we have been given the power to end it. Truly, this is the END that every child of God anticipates.
Even as a child, I recognized that this world was lost and needed to be saved. Of course, I also innately knew that the ONLY way of this coming to pass was through God. Because of this hunger in my soul for the Truth, I quickly got my hands on (and my eyes into) the Bible. It is loaded with more wisdom than even the most fervent readers realize. Even so, all Truth seekers know that neither religious books nor religion can save us; God does. The Bible should be used as an aid; it is like a walking stick on our spiritual quest for wisdom. We still have to walk the walk ourselves, but it can help us along the way.
In the beginning of my Bible experience, I wanted to know about that Anointed One, that Chosen Man, that Saving Spirit called Jesus! Of course, not long after this, I wanted to know WHEN He was COMING BACK! I believed that his return was mankinds only hope. At that time, it seemed logical to me that we needed our Savior right here, right now and in the flesh. With some influence from self-proclaimed Christian prophets, I believed their theory that Jesus would be coming down with the clouds for every eye to see. I imagined (naturally so) that this could happen if Jesus flew around the globe many times. A few years passed, and my feeling that we were the generation that would witness Jesus return grew stronger and stronger. I was told that the country of Israel (symbolized by the fig tree in Jesus prophecy) regained its sovereignty in 1967, and a generation was 40 years. They had convinced me that Jesus return could happen any day and certainly by 2007. So if my eyes were not scanning the Bible for the clues about his return, they were looking into the sky for the appearance of our Savior. I believed that at any moment a rapture of believers could take place leaving the world in chaos. This is what I used to believe.
Some theological scholars say that one third of the Bible is prophetic. Some say that most of its prophecies have already been fulfilled. The Bible reads like an epic drama beginning with the creation of the universe and then man. Of course if one wants to know how the story ends, one goes right to the last chapter. So this is what I did. As I studied the Book of Revelation, like so many before me, I was nearly convinced that I was living in the last days. Because I desperately wanted the world of suffering and death to end, I was duped by the doomsayers of my day. That deep feeling God had given me as a child was being manipulated by my natural mind to see in natural ways. However, the Teacher of Truth has since set me right! I am thinking and seeing much more clearly now! If we are going to learn about God, we had better use our spiritual mind. And if we are going to witness Gods revelations, we had better use our spiritual eyes.
The Book of Revelation
You would think that every church-going Christian would be a devout Bible reader, but I have found that this is certainly not the case. While most of the parishners I know possess a Bible, they rarely read it. And if they do read it, they tend to pick out natural lessons while over looking the spiritual wisdom it contains. How many Christians have dove into the Bible with the intention of reading it from cover to cover, and then fail? Well, I can understand why that rather thick book deters some especially when one encounters a book like Numbers (yawn a natural sleep aid). Yes, it seems that many avoid the Bible because they find it either too boring or simply irrelevant in their present day life. For these, I would recommend to start reading some small, more significant books in the New Testament like John and Colossians. Still there are others who withdraw from the Good Book because the reading is too difficult to understand. The latter is especially true with regards to the Book of Revelation, which is filled with all sorts of fantastic visions and symbolism.
History says that many of the founding fathers of western Christianity (i.e. politicized Roman Catholic men) were very reluctant to canonize Revelation. To them this book along with several other New Testament writings was doubted as being inspired by God. It was quite common in the day to argue about what was worthy of canonization. While most Christians hold the Bible above every other book ever written, they are mostly ignorant in matters concerning the history of their Holy Gospel. They are unaware that the Bible that many defend as Gods word was created by a small group of men who sifted through hundreds of documents to pick out what they deemed to be inspired.
It was these men, all with various motives, who decided what God thought. After all, it was Gods word they were creating. Do you see the absurdity in this? Yes, men, hired by Rome, decided long ago what was divine and measured up to their ideology. In fact, the word canon means to measure up in Latin. Unfortunately too few of even the most avid Bible readers ever bother to look into the formulation of their Bible. If they did they would discover that there was strong disagreement as to which writings were inspired by God to the point that even the canons themselves were not consistent! The canonized works that would eventually become the best selling book in the world's history varied in different regions and even from city to city. The New Testament writings are a very small sample of the Christian writings in circulation in the 2nd and 3rd centuries. In fact, there were many other Christ-following sects before Catholicism united with Rome to extinguish (sometimes brutally) any opposing teachings. It didnt matter if these other Christians were closer to Gods Truth or not; they were put down. This is likely how the truth and teaching of universal salvation were squelched. Lets just say that the wolves had their way during this period.
The real beginning of the unholy marriage between church and state began in 325 A.D. when Constantine called for the First Council of Nicea. Then through the process of canonization the religious leaders were able to eliminate all documents and teachings as they saw fit. Yet, the filtering of Christian truth didnt stop there. Bible beating Protestants should be aware that in 1522 their pioneer, Martin Luther, in his German translated New Testaments labeled Hebrews, James, Jude and Revelation as apocryphal or non-canonical in his latter editions. In other words, what he was translating didnt measure up to his particular his ideology. All of this should give pause to those who adamantly defend the Bible as perfect and holy. Apparently, even Martin Luther didnt believe the Holy Gospel was completely inspired by God. This was likely because some of the messages in these documents seemed to contradict the basis of his movement- that we are saved by grace and not by works. So throughout the ages, men with political, social or religious biases and motives have been deciding what is holy and true. Even today some ignorantly defend every word in the Bible. I hope every Bible-reading Christian comes to realize that reading the letter will never reveal the SPIRIT.
For me truth does not need to be canonized by men from the darker ages before I accept it. I say that if you hear or read the truth from anywhere or from anyone then praise God! After this simply use this blessing to strengthen your relationship with God. Too many Christians hold up the Bible and call it the one and only inspired Word of God. What! There are many reasons why such a statement is ridiculous. First, do some actually believe that God has only inspired those men who penned those words! Do they also believe then that God has not spoken to anyone else in 6,000 years! What ignorance and foolishness! I know that God is inspiring me to write what I am writing just as He did Paul and others. I know that God is in everyone trying to inspire them as well to do His will. This is a divine truth that Bible-beaters cant seem to fathom! Secondly, they also lack the knowledge of the Bibles checkered past. Finally, they hold it up and call it the WORD OF GOD, but they blindly fail to see that the Bible is the LETTER penned by men! The true Word of God is not letter, but SPIRIT!
Have they not read about the true Word of God? The true Word of God is the Son of God that was with God in the Beginning. The true Word of God has created the universe and holds it together. Yes, John and Paul told us about the true Word of God, and He is not the book collecting dust on your shelf! The true Word of God is the eternal Christ in whom we all have our being. The Bible is a random collection of writings of inspired men from the past 4,000 years. I am also inspired! Who can know God and NOT BE INSPIRED! Have I vociferated enough on this matter? Good. Open your eyes and realize that the Bible is NOT the Word of God, and therefore, it is also not inerrant. It contains honest mistakes as well as deliberate fabrications from men who had religious, social or political agendas. I could give examples, but that is not my intent in this article. So, I will leave that for you. Now, in spite of all of this, the Bible is still a great collection of works that can be a richly spiritual tool especially for those who know how to use it. I would recommend having several different translations including the Greek. Even if you are unable to purchase them, you can find a multitude of FREE electronic Bibles and great software at this site: e-Sword Bibles.
So I certainly do encourage all to read the Bible. For many years, the Book of Revelation was the most intriguing writing I had ever read. Like many others, I believed it was revealing the future of the world, which looked pretty darn bleak. I read of wars, famines, earthquakes, disease and pestilence. I fully believed that they must come to pass. I accepted them as the necessary evils before the wonderful climax- the return of Jesus Christ, our Savior. I expected Jesus to come back to earth in the flesh so that every eye could see him and every hand could touch him. I expected that at any moment a physical rapture of the true believers could take place. In that twinkling of an eye, millions of believers would be caught up and taken into heaven. Yes, I used to believe that those horrific visions of suffering and death foretold the end of the world, but then God opened my spiritual eyes to see a higher truth.
Ironically, it turns out, I was given some revelation concerning Revelation. While I still believe there is natural prophetic meaning in this ancient writing, I am now aware that the events changing our spiritual landscape are what truly matter. Mankind is too fixated on political, religious or financial solutions to our social problems. Some of the most intelligent Christians I meet seem to be unaware that the Spirit of Christ is the only Force that can bring Gods Kingdom to earth. Yes, leaders rise and fall; nations rise up against nations; war and disease have taken millions of lives and will continue to do so. These natural tragedies will persist because these are only the symptoms of an ailing corporate soul of humanity. Wars with guns and bombs will not change us, but defeating our spiritual enemy will!
It is heartening to know that more are discovering the way to do this. Some have recognized that our social problems can only be corrected by restoring our relationship with God. We must change from the inside out. Christ is our inner and true life from God that will put an END to the world we have known for far too long. Yes, it turns out that those words from R.E.M. were indeed prophetic, but the key is understanding what world is ending. Again, as I studied Bible prophecy there was a time when I believed those preaching about the natural disasters, plagues and wars that would take place soon. Even today, this is why many are fearful of the future. They dont want this party to end. They are living for the flesh, so they fear the one who can only destroy the body in hell. Truly Satan is our enemy, but he is not to be feared. Rather the devil is to be overcome by the power of Christ who is in YOU and in ALL! Truly, the natural souls will perish as they always do- in fear and ignorance, but the children of God will never die because they are born of the Spirit of God. The whole world will see their redemption! This is the true revelation!
So what or whom shall we fear? Some continue to preach that an apocalypse is coming! And I agree. What they may not know is the word revelation is a translation of the Greek word apokalupsis, which is where we get our word apocalypse. Originally the meaning of this word was simply to uncover, unveil or reveal. Of course, the word apocalypse has come to means some cataclysmic disaster, which is probably due to the terrifying scenes described in Johns last writing. The natural mind has a way of seeing what it wants to see it seems, but the truth remains the same. Apocalypse means the unveiling of something, or in our case, SOMEONE!
Today, the doomsday prophets say Jesus is returning after unprecedented natural and man-made calamities. Some even believe they have deciphered the date for the return of Jesus or when the world will go into a nuclear war. This is foolishness because they are thinking naturally. God is SPIRIT. Carnal minds use their fear of the end scare tactics to either make money or converts. They may believe that their horror stories are bringing more souls to salvation, but since when does God use lies and fear to bring us to salvation? Unfortunately, Christendom started using these types of tactics not long after its conception and then peaked during the darker ages. There is little doubt that most religious leaders and souls are led by their natural minds and desires. Most church leaders want money so they can run their business, I mean church! Most Christian writers are very prolific and anxious to share their revelations with you- for a hefty fee! In fact, millions of dollars have been made by dramatizing the natural notions of Revelation including the rapture of Believers in the Left Behind series. I see this as despicable. I am not here to scare anyone or to profit from my words. I am here to freely share the Truth and declare that Gods Kingdom comes!
So understand that this writing is not going to be your typical eschatological or apocalyptic Christian fairytale about the end of the world. I am not going to tell you which countries are going to war in the valley of Armageddon. I am not going to single out a man and call him the antichrist. And I am certainly not going to declare a date when Jesus will fly into Jerusalem on a white horse! There is no doubt that we will experience more wars, famines and plagues, but this is all irrelevant to me because I am seeking REAL change in our world. While the natural prophecies of Revelation may happen as some say they will, I am here to show that spiritually each of us goes to battle in the Valley of Armageddon. I am here to explain that what is happening in Revelation is about YOU and your relationship with God.
The Revealing of Christ Jesus in You
Does your life have purpose? Sometimes it is easy to get bogged down and confused in our day-to-day lives, but believe me when I say that every life has purpose. Life is pretty easy to understand once you have grasped the truth that God is all in all. As I recently wrote about in God Is- Everything Else Isnt, all life is from God, about God and for God. It is really that simple. So you may be asking, Where do I fit in? That is a question that only you can answer by asking the One who knows. In my life, God has led me to preach universal salvation while breaking down the false doctrines of men. This is why I am writing now.
So here is the principle purpose of this article and also the real reason why we exist. God is building a Kingdom, and this Kingdom is in us. You will know when the work is done because God will be not only your true Savior, but also your absolute LORD. And this will not just be lip service at Sunday morning services either! As God comes to surface through your being this will, in turn, bring His Kingdom to earth touching all that come in contact with you. All of this takes place when the Spirit of Christ has matured and is revealed in you. At this moment, you will become Gods domain. Through Christ, you have been united with God. God is now your only life, so the world that you once knew has ended. The world of worry, the world of imperfection and the world of sin will all come to an end when Christ comes to be your only life. You are then a new creation living in a higher level of life that you didnt realize before.
I have written some about the return of Christ before in The Meaning of Life and Thy Kingdom Come, but here my focus will be on the Book of Revelation. Most Christians are taught that Jesus is going to physically return to save the world. I can understand this deception because I used to believe this as well, but we must understand that it is the SPIRIT of Jesus that it going to save the world. Jesus is no longer a creature of the flesh and the material world. He gave that up to become much more! Jesus is now alive in the Spirit. And the Spirit of Christ that fueled and filled Jesus will also fill and empower us. So then each of us will become the place, or the earth, that Christ is returning to! That is the second coming of Christ to this earth! Similar symbolism is used to show that each mature child of God becomes a CLOUD that Christ rides from heaven to earth.
Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen. 8 "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty."
It is likely that some Bible readers, perhaps many, take this passage literally. They see Jesus flying in on the clouds perhaps circling the globe for all to see. What they fail to grasp is the allegorical, spiritual meaning intended here. As I have written about many other times, the life-giving substance we call water is one of Gods symbols of Himself in this world. Like God, water has three states, or forms. When we read, he (Christ) is coming with the clouds, it is interesting to note what clouds really are and how they come to be.
Clouds form because water from the earth is evaporated (resurrected) into the air. After this transformation to a higher state, this invisible water vapor (spirit) is lifted above the earth and waits for the right conditions for condensation (reincarnation). Do you see the correlation to the saints of God? Children of God are born in the same way! The children of God are the clouds floating in heaven not being pulled down by the powers of the world! They are taken into a higher state- that of the spirit. Then when the conditions are right, they manifest from unseen spirit back into physical form again. This is exactly what the saints will do to bring Christ to our world! This also correlates perfectly with what Paul wrote in his Second Letter to the Thessalonians.
2 Thessalonians 1:5
All this is evidence that God's judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. 6 God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7 and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power 10 on the day HE COMES to be glorified IN his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.
Most certainly Christ Jesus is going to be revealed from heaven; however, dont think that heaven is the actual sky above you. And dont believe that God lives in a mansion on the clouds! God lives in YOU and all! And heaven is a higher level of life with God and not in the stratosphere! Yes, this higher life and consciousness has been above us, but Christ is changing all of that! He is coming IN his holy people and lifting them up like clouds off of the earth! He will be revealed through those who have been counted WORTHY of the Kingdom of God. You heard Paul right and me; we said worthy. I will talk more about being qualified for the Kingdom later, but lets continue to explore how the SPIRIT of Jesus will return in Gods saints.
I understand that many have trouble differentiating Jesus from Christ, which is the son of man from the Son of God. Dark Age doctrines are mostly to blame for the confusion in this matter. Also some are not spiritually mature enough to see the difference. They see themselves as flesh, and this is how they want to see and know their Savior. Christ is the spirit of Jesus and the Savior of the World. This means that Jesus was Christ manifested in human form. Or we could say that Jesus was the Word made flesh. Jesus was the man (flesh) chosen by God to REVEAL Christ (spirit) to the world- to bring light into the darkness. Through surrender and suffering, Jesus made himself nothing, so that Christ was his all in all. Jesus gave up his life long before the cross. He surrendered his life and will for Gods. Because of this, Jesus lives in Christ and is Christ. Jesus is in the Kingdom of God, which is growing in you and all. Christianity teaches this, but few accept this divine mystery.
To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
This is the mystery that Jesus taught us when he said he (Christ) was with us always. This explains how it can be that when we did anything to the least we did it to him (Christ). He said that the day would come when we realized that He (Christ) is in us, and we are in Him. Why do so few understand that Christ is the Spirit of life in us all? Christians should heed Pauls teaching that Jesus is NOT to be known as a natural man, but now as a life-giving spirit. We too are spirit! Until we realize this, we cannot see the distinction between Jesus and Christ. Yes, Christ will again be SEEN in this world, but not as many have been led to believe. Christianity continues to confuse its followers by teaching that Jesus never left us, but also that Jesus will return. Is Jesus here or not? The truth is that the Spirit of Jesus does not need to RETURN, but instead Christ must be REVEALED in us just as he was in Jesus! This is the revealing of Jesus Christ!
The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show his servants what must soon take place.
The first passage says it all. The Book of Revelation begins with the REVEALING or unveiling of Jesus Christ. This is a central theme in Pauls teachings, yet most Christians seem oblivious to this higher reality and essential truth of salvation. Our salvation is Christ, who is our true life. Mankind has been living a lie. Believing the devil and our own carnal minds, we see ourselves as flesh. Because of this mankind was also deceived into believing we are each a separate from each other. This is not true in Christ where our true life is hidden. The devil separates us, which gives birth to selfishness, fear, sin and ultimately death. The Spirit of Christ is the only one that can redeem and restore us back to oneness. Yes, salvation ONLY comes by Christ becoming our life. And this my friends is why Christ must be revealed in YOU!
1 Corinthians 1:7
Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Paul makes it clear. We must surrender our self. We must sacrifice our self. We must crucify our self. We must die, so that Christ will live through us. Do not believe that this is the death of you; it is your true life coming to the surface of your being! This is what you and all have been created to do!
When we read the Book of Revelation, we shouldnt see strange creatures, powerful angels and hideous beasts as much as we should see the REVEALING of Jesus Christ. This is the purpose of every man including the first to be raised from the dead (a state of spiritual sleep). Jesus woke up to God like no other before him. In doing so, Jesus became alive to God and revealed Christ (Gods Image) to the world. He calls us to follow him to where he is right now, which is in heaven (Christ-consciousness). So yes it is true; Christ is coming with the clouds, but YOU and I will be the clouds! The mature sons of God are the water that has been transformed from being earthbound to now being free flying clouds of grace. This concept is not a unique to the last book of the Bible because Paul many times makes Christ being REVEALED in us his central theme. Why do so many not understand that this is our salvation!
My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, 20 how I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed about you!
Paul understood like no other apostle who Christ is. Although he never met the man, Jesus, he knew Christ intimately. Paul grasped and tried to teach that Christ is all and in all. He understood that our challenge was to let Christ be our life- let Christ take form in us. We need to reveal Christ, who is our inner, perfect life from God. Why do so many Christians claim to be born again or yet they remain the same carnal creation? They say they are born of the Spirit, but believe themselves to be a creature of flesh. If one is truly born of God, then that person must have the realization in his life that he is SPIRIT from and of God. This is the beginning of the higher life above the world. Pouring water over us does not change us. Receiving a piece of bread from a priest does not change us. No religious ceremony of man can ever change us. Only Christ coming to live through us will change who we are in this world. Before we can be that new creation, we must put the old self to death. This is accomplished through our faith and obedience toward God. If you do Gods will in your life, your higher self will be revealed.
1 Peter 4:13
But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
What is this glory that is being revealed? It is the very nature of God revealed in YOU! This is our sole purpose in life! If we suffer for Christ (our higher life) as Jesus did, we will also have the same glory as him. We will be the Image of God. Jesus and all that follow Christ have suffered for the sake of Love. As Revelation symbolically and graphically describes, the coming of Christ is painful for those clinging the world and their false life. John writes that all the peoples of the earth will mourn because him, but why? They will mourn because the coming of His life means the death of theirs! Surely you understand that all sin and sinners must be destroyed?
2 Peter 3:5
But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. 6 By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. 7 By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
It is quite natural that everyone has difficulty crucifying the old self, but it must happen. The day will come when Christ claims what is rightfully his, which is your very life. Call it stealing if you like, but the reality is that Christ owns you and all. The coming of Christ into our lives can be painful- just ask Jesus. He is called the man of sorrows for good reason. In the Letter to the Hebrews, we are told that he was made perfect by enduring the sufferings throughout his life. Surrendering our will for Gods is hard work and can be painful at times. Bringing a new creation into being is painful for the one giving birth. Jesus gave birth to Christ, so his pains can be called the pains of childbirth. If any follow Jesus the Christ, they to will give birth to Gods Son. Consider the signs that Jesus used when describing the coming of Christ.
You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.
What does Jesus mean? Who is being born? Life is about birth. The earth gives birth to man, then man gives birth to Christ. As we read above, Jesus was not that concerned about the wars, famines and earthquakes. Jesus was interested in the full unveiling of Christ. Jesus knew that prophecies have both natural and spiritual meanings and fulfillments. Like the birth of a child, blood will be spilled, but there will also be new life. Yes after terrible pain and suffering, mankind will finally come to realize its source for life- the Spirit of Christ! Jesus brought this higher life before the Jews, but they couldnt see the true Messiah. They expected and wanted a natural king, a more powerful King David type, but they got a carpenters son of no reputation. They rejected Jesus because they didnt see the spiritual reality of whom he revealed. Are Christians today rejecting the Spirit of Christ returning in us? Can we now see that the Spirit of Jesus Christ is the King of the universe, and, in time, WILL rule the nations? Many Jews then and Christians now seek a quick fix for the world- in the twinkling of an eye. Religious minds havent changed that much in two millennia. Like Nicodemus, they still have trouble understanding spiritual truths.
Too many Bible readers read Scripture with natural eyes, and neglect that Jesus said his words are spirit and life. From Genesis to Revelation, it is clear to me that humanitys purpose is to give birth to Christ. Paul explained the spiritual significance and symbolism of Abrahams covenant with God. It was about all the Christ.
The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture doesnt not say and to seeds, meaning many people, but and to your seed meaning one person, who is Christ.
Christ was the Seed then and certainly is now! Christ is Gods Seed who is in all and will bring forth Gods life in due time. Like Jesus, Abraham was a spiritual leader. While Abraham carried the promise of the Seed, Jesus was the first to give birth to Gods Seed. It is not a coincidence that both Abraham and Jesus have so much in common. I believe this is because Jesus was Abraham in an earlier life. This may be hard for many to accept, and I am not asking you to. Many are willing to accept that Abraham and even Moses were types of Jesus, but not Jesus himself. Much has been written about the parallels that exist. Of course many want to interpret what they read in a natural way, but we should know better. Look for the spiritual significance in the covenant made with Abraham. What Abraham did in the natural, Christ does in the spiritual. Abraham circumcised the skin, but Christ removes our carnal natures. Abraham gave birth to a nation; Christ is producing a Kingdom! Whether we accept reincarnation or not is not that important. What is important is that we realize Christ is the Seed we must all give birth to through our being.
Resurrecting Christ is humanitys sole and holy purpose. God only has one Son, and He is Christ, the Anointed ONE. This is ONE Spirit that unites us all back to God. I believe that early in our spiritual growth we feel like we have been born again because we feel the freedom and life of the spirit within. We feel SAVED. Yet as our spirit matures Christ becomes our LORD. Coming to this point in our spiritual maturity can be painful for the soul. Yet in the beginning, God told us this would happen.
To the woman he said, "I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you."
While this curse is certainly true in the natural, it is also true in the spiritual. Let us always keep in mind that our Father is SPIRIT. So it behooves us all to try to be and think spiritually. If we read Genesis with spiritual eyes, we see that Eve (the woman) represents the soul of man and Adam the spirit. Adam (spirit) slept and Eve (soul) was taken out of him. Outside of the spirit, Eve (soul, or mind of man) sinned and Adam (spirit of man) followed her into death because they were ONE being. When they realized they were covered with animal SKINS, they were self-aware carnal creatures. And Satans reign had begun. God placed a condition on Satan and on the woman (soul). Satan had to stay here in this world and eat dust, and the soul of man would find the coming of Christ into our lives a little uncomfortable.
1 Thessalonians 5:1
Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2 for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.
If you havent given God His life back, then Christ will come like a thief to break into your home, which is your soul. There Christ will destroy all that is unworthy of the Kingdom. The time will come when Christ within breaks through your worldly fašade. Your carnal mind, ego and sinful desires that have shackled you for so long will be eliminated. By doing so, Christ will purify your soul. Your soul will no longer be filled with carnal thoughts, but will be focused on the love of her life, Christ.
Through faith, grace and obedience, the soul (mind) of man will eventually rise to a sufficiently high level of consciousness to realize the Spirit of Christ within. This spiritual metamorphosis is carried out, as our spirit is qualified through our lives experiences. Eventually our soul is subdued, sanctified and saved through union with our matured Spirit of Christ. This process takes many lessons and therefore many lives to complete.
So, the coming of Christ into our lives and awareness can be seen in stages. Corporately, mankind has been evolving spiritually for ages and ages. If one considers that God has been working on us for perhaps four million years, then we are indeed approaching the final countdown to the end. There is an interesting vision from John that describes our spiritual evolution. Lets now consider those strange looking living creatures that worshiped our Lord God.
Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. 7 The first living creature was like a LION, the second was like an OX, the third had a face like a MAN, the fourth was like a flying EAGLE. 8 Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come."
The four living creatures each with six wings are referring to mankind. Six is mans number, and four is the earths number. Four symbolizes the natural world with four seasons, four elements (air, earth, fire and water), four directions and so on. These particular creatures are praising God night and day, so they represent the segment of mankind that has found God at some level. We read that these four creatures are all worshipping God- one like a LION, one like an OX, one like a MAN and one like an EAGLE. These four creatures symbolize four basic levels we must pass through on our way back to God. There are called living because they represent those who seek God. They were covered with eyes means they have the highest awareness of God of their kind. For example, Lot and Noah were some of humanitys holiest men in their day, yet Lot had sex with his daughters and Noah got naked and drunk after his long voyage. Yes, there is no doubt that we have been evolving naturally and, more importantly, spiritually. What was acceptable behavior for men long ago is not today. Do Christians still stone sinners to death? Why not? Wasnt this Gods commandment? Jesus was a Jew, but he refused to continue at that level of worship. In a very real sense, Jesus broke the Law of Moses because he refused to do what God had commanded of the Jews. The Law was a lower level of worship, and Jesus was trying to take us into a higher level of worship. He wanted us to worship God in SPIRIT and truth! It is clear that although Jesus was a Jew he knew that God was higher than religion.
Now going back to the four living creatures, we see that when our relationship with God began, we had the nature like that of a LION. We were carnal beasts and the king of all the beasts on the earth. This was our beginning in the Garden when we became self-aware and separated ourselves from the apes. We were powerful creatures, but very much untamed.
After many ages had passed, we gradually became tamed by God. Instead of stalking the world to devour, we were made into the servants of God and became like an OX. We had the yoke of the Law placed around our necks and some pulled hard to do Gods will. We worked the soil (the world) in order to plant Gods Seed. Even though we became more docile than a lion, we still had the mind of a beast. This would soon change.
After working in the fields for hundreds of generations, a MAN was born with the exact nature of God. For the first time in the history of mankind, Jesus showed us what being human really means. He showed us that we are called to be Gods image on earth. Through Christ, every man can be like Jesus and show the world Gods love. In this way, Gods Kingdom comes to the earth.
Finally, after we have been perfected (as our Father is perfect), we take flight into a higher life. We are no longer earthbound, but are then like an EAGLE flying in heaven. We are new creations in a new world because we are now angels of heaven. We are free flying spirits with the freedom to go wherever we desire.
As man measures time, salvation from sin is a long and tedious process. To God this is not a problem, but just the way of life. Consider the fact that it took early man millions of years to realize that he was sinning in the first place! Obviously before we could overcome sin, we had to realize that we were sinners. Neanderthal man didnt know he was sinning. He lived in fear and any religion was rudimentary at best. But knowledge has been steadily increasing, not just worldly knowledge, but knowledge of God. We are always moving forward whether we feel that way or not. God is moving us all toward our salvation, which awaits us in the Body of Christ. So all must come into that life, that essence, that reality and that SPIRIT of Christ to be saved. There is no other way than this.
What those embracing the truth of universal salvation must come to terms with is HOW will God save ALL? And when they say all, do they mean God will save every man, woman or child that has ever walked with two legs on the face of the earth? If they believe this, then they also believe that millions of primitive humanoids will also enter the Kingdom of God. Also, what method or process does God use to bring the unrepentant, unholy and unsaved sinners back to God? Most Universalists say that God will use hell to bring them to salvation, and I totally agree. In fact, that is why we are HERE! We are the ones who need saved. When we read that Jesus preached in hell, he didnt go underground to do this; he came right here to this world of darkness.
1 Peter 3:18
For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, 19 through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison 20 who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built.
Many will misunderstand this passage when they read it. They believe that after the Romans crucified Jesus he rose from the dead, and THEN he preached to the spirits in prison. However, Jesus was crucified long before the cross because he chose Gods will over his own. He was alive by the Spirit long before he manifested his image in the house with locked doors! Jesus showed us that obedience to God brings us to perfection. In fact, according to Jesus only those who do Gods will can enter heaven. So accept it or not, we are the disobedient spirits that Jesus preached to in Hades, which is the world of the dead. Yes, we have been walking the earth for millions of years. We walk in darkness and death because of sin. Every man, woman and child here on earth is spirit being judged. Everyone must pass through the trials of life and be qualified by the fire and brimstone. But dont think that there is something wrong; everything is going according to Gods plan, otherwise God is not God.
We come into this world to learn about life and God, and ultimately that God is all life! God sends us to this world to prepare us for our higher life in Christ. As Jesus realized, we must be perfect like our Father is perfect. Reincarnation is the simply the means God uses to accomplish this. After each life we are a little wiser, so we can make better decisions next time. After each life, we must reap what we have previously sown. This is so God is not mocked, and so our life is not lived in vain. God is Cause and Effect and so is life. The evidence is overwhelming for those brave enough to accept reincarnation as Gods way to raise his spirit children.
Jesus explained it using John the Baptist as an example, but many could not accept it. Early Christians taught it, but other Christians silenced them using violent measures. Science supports it with numerous studies, but fearful souls avoid any truth that contradicts their beliefs. Do we suppose it is just a coincidence that children of today are absorbing hundreds of times more information than those of long ago? How do child prodigies come into existence? Where does their talent come from? Where did this enormous mental capacity come from? Did Neanderthal man have such capacity? Do we think it chance that mankind went millions of years banging rocks together, then in what is like the blink of an eye, makes computers and spaceships?
My brothers and sisters, this is all meant to be. This is Gods plan, which is centered on Christ being revealed. We are growing more and more adept in our environment because our spirit is maturing. Our spirit is the center of our life and being. From the spirit all things are sustained including the soul. It should be obvious that the soul (mind) of man is advancing toward God in accord with the spirit. While this evolution of the mind brings about increased worldly knowledge, this is simply a bi-product of the spirit growing stronger. It is our spirit from our Father that will mature and overcome. Yes, as Jesus taught, it is the spirit that gives us life. However it is through the SOUL that we experience the deceptions of death and pain of this world.
The Sevens of the Soul
"My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death," Jesus said to them. "Stay here and keep watch."
As we travel through life, the soul is the companion of the spirit. Our spirit is our divine lifeline back to the Source of our existence. As even Jesus expressed, the soul is where we sense the hurt of separation from the peace of God. Even though our spirit is continuously and eternally connected to God, our soul is what you could call a wanderer. When making a difficult decision, we might be told to follow our heart, and this is the best advice we could receive. Our heart is our inner self, our spirit. Following our spirit doesnt mean we will walk a pain-free path, but it does mean we will move closer to God. Of course, most of our problems come when our soul is distracted away from the spirit by something else. This world offers the soul many distractions, of which, being incased by a body of flesh may be the most difficult to overcome. The soul is always being tempted by the desires of the body. Food, sex and shelter are the concerns of the flesh, but not of the spirit. Sure the spirit needs fed, but only doing the will of God can provide sustenance to our spirit.
Whether the spirit knows it or not, there exists an innate desire to return to God the Father. Our spirit needs the soul as a companion, or helper to figure this out. We SENSE God working on us and bringing us back into oneness with Him through the soul. If the soul follows the spirit, the gap will certainly close between God and us. Changing, moving and growing are not always easy. Many believe that God is supposed to feel good, but it should be obvious that the presence of God can be a very painful experience. Consider the prophets like Job, Joseph and even Jesus. They all suffered as they came closer to God, but they also got their reward. And so shall we. It seems the saying, No pain, No gain is true at every level of life.
In spite of what you might be taught in Sunday morning sermons, we do, in fact, work our way back to God. If you are truly following Christ in your day-to-day life, then you are most definitely working! You are fighting against the current of the world and against your own carnal temptations. Many say that they only need to believe, and they will be saved. I say that faith is active. True faith acted on empowers the spirit, which causes the soul to produce the fruit of good works. As discussed in Salvation is Not a Gift, God gives us all that we need, but ultimately the choice to use those gifts or not is ours. If we have a working faith, then our labors will produce food for the Kingdom. Even if we choose to be disobedient to Gods will in our life, a lesson will be learned. God chastises his children for the purpose of teaching them. So everything we feel, be it pleasure or pain, is working toward accomplishing Gods will. This is exactly what we read in the Book of Revelation. Gods will is being accomplished through the power of the coming of Christ, and those who resist will have to learn the hard (and broad) way.
THE NUMBER SEVEN-
You cannot read Revelation without noticing the myriad of numbers used to describe everything in vivid detail. Numbers are really the universal language used by God to communicate with man. We can clearly see how numerology has played a significant role in Gods relations with man all throughout the Bible and in other religions too. In particular, 7 is one of the most frequently used numbers when referring to spiritual matters in the Bible- 338 times! In the Book of Revelation we read about the seven plagues, seven seals and seven bowls that unleash Gods wrath upon all that chose to resist Him. Of course, the use of seven began in the Book of Genesis when it tells us it took seven days, six days of work and one day of rest, to create the universe. We should not get bogged down by trying to attach literal timetables in spiritual matters; instead we should seek the spiritual significance being represented.
Seven has come to be known as a number of perfection and completeness because this is has been ordained by God as His number. God has revealed to us that seven is a number of great significance in describing the nature of God. We also know God has a triadic nature seen in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And this triadic essence is certainly observed in our natural world as I wrote about in Shadows of a Higher Reality. In our quest to know God, there are two things in this world that are used to reveal Gods essence to us. They are water and light. Water is a shadow of God's being because it sustains life while existing in three forms simultaneously. Ironically, light is also a shadow of Gods essence as it brings luminance to the world with SEVEN colors!
Yes, light effectively reveals Gods heptadic nature, which again demonstrates that Gods essence permeates everything He has created. All of creation carries the divine genetics of its Maker. Light is one of the most remarkable displays of this. When pure (white) light passes through a prism (TRIangular), it is separated into SEVEN colors as seen in a rainbow. It is also observed in nature, that crystals (those inanimate creations that actually GROW) exist in seven different forms. Some believe that crystals have mystical powers. But if they have any, let it be known that all power comes from God.
Genesis tells us that the first command of God was let there be LIGHT! This is the moment when Gods WORD went into the void. Of course we know that the Word is Christ, and Christ is LIGHT in our dark world. It all harmonizes beautifully! Let us also see that Christ is the light of every person that comes into the world. Yet when the light passes through the soul, it rarely seems to come out pure white. This is because we color the pure light through the process of refraction. This would be like knowing Gods will, but changing (bending) it just a bit to suit our self. There are times when may completely shun that light through reflection. This happens when we deliberately disobey God. Still many just tend to block the light from the view of the world. We keep our light under a basket because we may be afraid or embarrassed. In any case, we must let the light of Christ shine from our being. Our choices in life affect the amount and kind of light shining from our being. Jesus was illuminated by Gods glory because he chose Gods will. He made himself nothing, like a piece of clear glass. Jesus told us that we too are the light of the world because Christ is our life and light. When this truth is fully realized, we will look in that spiritual mirror and see our true self, as God does.
Can you look at Jesus with spiritual eyes and see God? When Jesus looked into the mirror of Truth, he witnessed God and witnessed for God. God (Father) and Image (Son) are ONE. This is Cause and Effect giving life to each other in an eternal cycle of Spirit and Consciousness. Like a light and a mirror eternally showing each other their glory, the Father and Son exist in an infinite union. Even though God is infinite, we have come to understand that God in a trinity, which is confusing for some. To complicate matters even more, the Almighty is also described as having SEVEN spirits.
From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing.
These are the seven spirits of God.
Of course it was Isaiah (Isaiah 11:2) who wrote about Gods seven spirits: lordship, wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge and respect. God isnt seven spirits, but is the Father of ALL spirit! So, we should think of Gods septet of spirits as the characteristics God. Gods holiness is expressed through these so-called spirits because God can only give us ONE gift, which is His Self. God will fill all things by filling us with His divine characteristics. Man, who is finite, is always trying to describe God who is infinite. As the prophets including Jesus knew, nature and numerology are the most effective way to understand who God is. Again, this is because Gods life is imprinted on all life, which is certainly apparent in the triads and septets we observe in nature and the Bible.
While the number 7 is Gods number, it can still carry different meanings. For example, anyone who brought harm upon Cain would be cursed 7 fold. And did you know that Noah was asked by God to gather 7 of every clean animal and only two of every unclean animal? The dove looked for land for 7 days before finding it. There are many accounts where Gods blessing was 7 years of plenty or a judgment of 7 years of famine. Jews were called to forgive a sinner 7 times, yet Jesus said 7 times 70 meaning unlimited times. There were also 7 loaves of bread that fed everyone, which because 7 baskets of leftovers. These are just a few examples of the number 7 being used by God, so there is no doubt that the number 7 carries a mark of divinity. Perhaps more than anything else 7 symbolizes a completed process of God, which ultimately ends in our salvation. This was the message that John was trying to get through to the 7 churches of his day.
THE SEVEN CHURCHES
"Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later. 20 The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
Johns begins Revelation with the critiques of seven churches of his day. When John describes these seven churches, there is little doubt that he was speaking of actual churches that had been established by Paul and others. Again, there is a natural message and a spiritual message in inspired prophecy. John even says that some of what he is writing is NOW and some will take place later. Whether John realized it or not, I see hidden wisdom in the descriptions of the seven churches.
First, let us recognize that, in a very real way, each of us is a church. Surely you know that you are a TEMPLE of God? Many may believe their BODY is the temple of the spirit, but this is not really accurate. Mans being is a trinity of body, soul and spirit, but the spirit is the center and essence of his life. The most outer layer of our being in the world is the body. However, this is not the home of the spirit because the body houses the soul. It is the soul that houses the spirit. So it is the SOUL that is truly the temple (church) of the spirit. And she is also the one that must be purified and vivified by the spirit.
He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
The soul is being prepared like a bride for the Bridegroom. When she is ready, the Spirit of Christ will unite with her in a holy union. In that moment, we realize the Kingdom of God. So in our soul, we can feel the spirit move, speak and teach us. We move through life experiencing different states of the soul, which can be seen as the seven churches. Lets begin with what can be called the Ephesian soul, and see what wisdom we can glean from the words penned by John long ago.
"To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:
These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands: 2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.
Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. 5 Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.
Have you ever reached what you thought was a pinnacle in your relationship with God- a moment when you felt so in love? Then before you know it you have taken that divine relationship for granted. There is an ancient proverb that says, Our first love is our last love, which is Self love. God wants us to love. We are to love God and love others as our self. These two tenets of faith are one in the same. This is what Christ teaches us. The Ephesian soul is that soul that is strong, wise, fruitful and USED to have a very close relationship with God. This soul is like the branch that has gone too far from the Vine. She was once energized by Christ, but is now taking root far away from the Source of Love. This soul was flying high, but then she forgot about the Wind under her wings. The soul cannot fly without the Spirit of Christ.
"To the angel of the church in Smyrna write:
These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. 9 I know your afflictions and your poverty--yet you are rich! I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.
The Smyrnian soul is that soul leading a life of suffering. We need not be tortured by the Romans to suffer for Christs sake. When Love leads us into the arms of those who hate, we have done Gods will. Certainly we know that this is not suffering done in vain, but for the sake of Christ and His Kingdom. Some will fall into the devils traps, but consider it a blessing when you break free by the power of Christ! Finally, notice that this soul is told to be faithful, and He will give her the crown of life. This soul is on the brink of overcoming the world and the devil. If your soul is going through this stage, stay faithful.
"To the angel of the church in Thyatira write:
These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze. 19 I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first.
Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. 21 I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. 22 So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. 23 I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds. 24 Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan's so-called deep secrets (I will not impose any other burden on you): 25 Only hold on to what you have until I come.
What are Satans deep secrets? I believe Satans greatest weapon is actually religion placed in the hands of carnally minded men. So, the Thyatiran soul describes any that have been growing spiritually, but who is deceived by religious practices. Jezebel is the symbol of man-led religion, and the food that is sacrificed to idols represents false doctrines and sinful behaviors. Sexual immorality, at a spiritual level, happens when a soul has intercourse (connects) with any other spirit. She should remain a virgin until she is ready for Christ. The Spirit of Christ is the matured spirit of sonship. When we have reached spiritual maturity, then the union takes place. Anything relations before this is a kind of spiritually adultery. Like every pure virgin, we must wait for our husband. Christ is the Bridegroom to whom we must remain faithful. Christ says to hold on because He is coming.
On a more natural note, lets consider the curse place on the woman called Jezebel. And it is likely that when John wrote this there was an actual woman of that name leading some astray. Yet on a higher but still natural level it is hard to ignore that there is a woman of today fulfilling this prophecy. In the above passage, John writes that God will strike her children dead because of sexual immorality and idol worship. I see that Africa is like Jezebel has been cursed because of dangerous religious and social ways. AIDS is killing her children by the millions due to sexual promiscuity and lack of knowledge. What I have always believed and taught is the natural world shadows our higher spiritual reality. If we are not living right in the spiritual then we shall see the ill effects fall upon us in this shadow world.
"To the angel of the church in Sardis write:
These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. 3 Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.
The Sardisian soul is that soul that sleepwalks through life. This soul is going through the motions as if Christ was leading her, but it is a fašade. How many Christians fall into this category? This soul began walking with God, but she stopped to rest along the way. Then she fell ASLEEP! The sleeping soul is the spiritually unconscious soul. This is a common occurrence in life because she is weaker than the spirit. She must rest from time to time. Do you recall the parable of the ten virgins? They all fell asleep, but when they awoke only half of them had oil for their lamps. In other words, they kept they faith and could see where they were when they awoke. God allows us to take some time to rest, but we must remember the direction we were going before we fell asleep. If we wake up and it is dark, which way will we go without the light of faith?
"To the angel of the church in Pergamum write:
These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword. 13 I know where you live--where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city--where Satan lives.
Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality.
The Pergamum soul lives surrounded by sin (where Satan lives). Perhaps it is an abusive home, an immoral community or some other kind of social crisis that surrounds her. She can remain faithful though if she refuses to eat that sinful food the worldly offer her. Immoral thoughts and behavior are the bad food she must refuse to eat. Because this soul is placed in this poor spiritual environment, this soul will sometimes fall into acts of sin. And yet, this soul has still kept the faith of God and knows she is Gods. This is a soul that wants to do what is right, but is tempted in a tempting place. This soul earnestly seeks God, but Satan is very nearby. She may have to leave them or fall into sin herself.
"To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:
These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. 8 I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. 9 I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars--I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you. 10 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth.
The Philadelphian soul is the soul ready for Christ! This is the highest level the soul can be. Christ has the door is OPEN for her! All she must do is go in and be with Christ. This soul has endured and overcome just as Jesus did. This soul has nobly carried the cross to the top of Calgary. And although weak from her journey, this soul has overcome Death, Hades and Satan by following Christ. As her reward, this soul will not be in the world during the last hour. The last hour is the time period when man will face some of the most difficult trials and tribulations. This soul rests in heaven as the other souls of the world are purified by more aggressive means.
"To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:
These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, `I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.
The Laodicean soul is the soul that is half-hearted and lazy with regards to Christ. This soul is content and flourishing in the world, but has become stagnant in Christ. I see this condition affecting many right here in America. They have knowledge, but do not teach. They have food, but do not feed. They have the light of Christ, but do not let Him shine. They are neither evil nor good, but somewhere in the middle. People are often times referred to as trees, and, of course, we trees can bear either good fruit or bad fruit. However, the apathetic soul is that soul that bears no fruit at all- good or bad! We should recall that Jesus destroyed the tree that bore no fruit for him. In the same way, Christ is about to spit out the Laodican soul because she has become unworthy.
If any Christian still believes that their salvation is simply a gift that requires no work on their part, they are gravely mistaken. Salvation does not come by simply believing and being good just as breathing air and eating food do not constitute living- alone; this is death! True living is when we are empowered by the spirit to live for God. Good trees produce good fruit, and bad trees produce bad fruit. But what about the tree that produces no fruit? Certainly, God plants bad trees as part of His plan too because we can learn that eating of this fruit makes us sick. The good fruit is the result of the Spirit of Christ pumping through our souls. We become the bread of life to the hungry souls and the living water to the thirsty ones. Clearly, we can see why Christ wants nothing to do with such a soul because there is no blessing given or lesson learned. Therefore nothing is given to advance the Kingdom of God.
So have you asked yourself, What is the state of my soul? We have all likely experienced all of these different scenarios, but this is the only way we can learn. Life is simply a spiritual kind of the trial and error method, so that we can truly KNOW life and God through experience. Eventually, we come to discover that we want more than this world has to offer. You could say that we will outgrow our earthly clothes to a point that we become uncomfortable here. We no longer belong in this kind of world.
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.
We are here in the world to learn and to teach about Love. This is Gods perfect will in our lives. Love does not always feel good though. Every soul must endure sufferings to be perfected. Although we need not feel the natural agony of nails going through our hands to suffer for Christ. Rather, the pain the soul experiences is through emotions. Jesus withstood incredible emotional anguish. Paul did as well as he tried to teach the higher truths about Christ. The pain of the soul is far worse than that of the body. It is the emotional pain and anguish for Christs sake that purifies the soul.
Salvation is coming to us all, but we must all go through a process of maturation and purification. Too many Christians believe there is an EASY way into heaven. They say Jesus died for their sins, so they are forgiven. And because they believe this, they are saved. This is NOT what Jesus taught. As I discussed in Salvation is Not a Gift, Jesus said that the way to salvation was very narrow and few found it. He also said that we must pick up our cross and FOLLOW Him. Concerning salvation, Jesus gave critical contingencies that many have conveniently forgotten like, IF you remain in me, IF you stand firm to the end and IF you do the will of my Father. Yes, this is a hard road to walk; it is very straight and very narrow! Trust the words of those who have tried to walk in the spirit and steps of Christ; this IS indeed work! Salvation is not a gift, but God will give you all that you need to overcome. And more than this God is your eternal partner, so your salvation is a certainty because of Gods sovereignty.
God will save all because Christ is in all. The radical religious souls of every religion arrogantly believe they are special and chosen by God to be saved. Because of so much unsound religious doctrine being spread, there is little wonder why there are so many atheists in the world today. Most atheists are usually more intellectual than the religious, so they are not easily fooled by the flawed arguments of the modern day Pharisees. I have found that the typical atheist has contemplated God and the meaning of life more than the typical Christian. Too many Christians are just sheep following whoever calls their self a shepherd. As Jesus said of the religious souls of his day, they were the blind leading the blind into a pit, which will make them twice as much a son of hell than before. Most Christians seem to misunderstand what faith is and what the role of faith is in our salvation. Faith isnt a quick fix or free ticket into heaven. Faith has to be USED to RELEASE the POWER of Christ from within us so that we can OVERCOME the world as Jesus did.
Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. 21 To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.
When you dine with Christ, you will not leave hungry! I want to address the topic of overcoming more closely later in this article. But suffice it to say, it does take work and great effort on our part. Let me just say this. To overcome our effort is not aimed at being GOOD, but rather our work is to become nothing. Only through our complete surrender to God will our salvation be realized. God does all the work if we will let Him. His Spirit is our spirit, and this is the source of all our life and power. God knows the way to bring us to our spiritual senses; sometimes the way is tough love. Because of Gods great love for us, hell will become harder and harder for the unsaved to bear. We read all about this holy intervention in the seven bowls of Revelation.
THE SEVEN BOWLS-
Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, "Go, pour out the seven bowls of God's wrath on the earth."
Revelation makes a lot more sense if we realize one simple truth. This world is Hades, the place of the dead. This is why Gods wrath (Fathers chastisement) is being administered to those on the earth because this is exactly what happens to disobedient children. You name it: Satan, sinners, demons and the dead are all gathered together here in Hades. Everything we have been taught that is in hell is right here with us now, but many will not accept this spiritual truth because this is not they have been taught. It is true that there is none so blind as those who will not see. Wake up and look around you! Who are you; where are you; and why are YOU here? Here are the answers. You are Gods child. You are in Hades. You are learning to love as God loves. Everyday we move closer and closer to the end. Is your world falling apart from earthquakes, plagues and wars of the spiritual kind? God is going to do whatever it takes to save you and all, which is really the message of Revelation. We can see Gods will being fulfilled in each of us individually and also collectively on all mankind. So when we read about the seven bowls of Gods wrath, we should see this as God doing only what is necessary to bring about the repentance of all.
The first angel went and poured out his bowl on the land, and ugly and painful sores broke out on the people who had the mark of the beast and worshiped his image.
This prophecy seems straight forward enough to understand. Yet again, there is a natural and a spiritual fulfillment to consider that exists because our natural world is a shadow of a higher reality. In the natural world, those inflicted with diseases like Herpes have these symptoms described above. Most often Herpes is contracted through promiscuous sex. And there will likely be more diseases in the future that will cause such sores on humans. However, this isnt the real problem humanity is facing. Speaking spiritually, our ugly and painful sores are found on our souls, not our bodies. God is not concerned with our flesh. Otherwise, He wouldnt have flooded the inhabitants during Noahs time. The flesh means nothing, but the spirit gives us our life. Yet, the soul is the medium between the spiritual and the natural. If the soul chooses to serve the body and not the spirit, she has the mark of the beast. In the same way, Jesus said that many were following their father, the devil. Let me tell you straight up that worshipping the beast is not that small sect that calls themselves devil worshippers. Those who worship the beast are those who love and are led by their carnal natures instead of the Spirit of Life. This allegiance to their lower nature will bring ugly and painful soars on the soul.
These marks cannot be seen when we look into a mirror. But look into your eyes, the window into the soul, and there you will see them. When we look inward at our soul, we can see the pain and misery brought on by poor choices. Many will disguise their pain and then treat it with something like: drugs, alcohol, sex and even religion. Most every soul in hell is dealing with that false image covered with blemishes. Paul said that he hated many of the things he still did. Yet like the lepers, we can come to Christ without shame, and He will heal us. Our sores will fade from our self-image because we will realize that we are not sinning, but it is our old nature that clings to us like a scab. Still, the healing has begun for those that repent, but not for the unrepented.
The second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it turned into blood like that of a dead man, and every living thing in the sea died.
Some have taught that this is a prediction of our polluted seas, which some say are already causing extinctions of many species. On a natural level, I suppose there is some merit to this, but what is this saying on a higher, spiritual level? The third bowl is similar to the second.
The third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood. 5 Then I heard the angel in charge of the waters say:
"You are just in these judgments, you who are and who were, the Holy One, because you have so judged; 6 for they have shed the blood of your saints and prophets,
and you have given them blood to drink as they deserve."
Water represents life and grace from God. While blood can also represent life when INSIDE the body, when blood is spilled it represents our sacrifice and a judgment from God. Here, God is getting tough with mankind by causing a (living) water shortage. God has already flooded the world with grace, but now He brings judgment upon it. For ages and ages, our Father has let kids be kids and looked the other way. God was not holding us accountable, so to speak, but no longer. We must grow up spiritually and take responsibility. When we were spiritual babes, we had no law and were even sanctioned by God in some cases to sac and loot our rivals. This USED to be Gods will for us because we wouldnt have heard His higher truths. Yes, that was then, but we are living in the NOW. We have been growing and evolving spiritually to this point in time when God is saying, No more! We must now shed of our sinful natures that have been covering our true self for so long.
The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and the sun was given power to scorch people with fire. 9 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.
In our natural world, we know that without an adequate layer of ozone in the higher atmosphere, we can suffer terrible burning of our skin. Ozone depletion may reach dangerous levels in our near future, which is like the natural fulfillment of this prophecy. Spiritually, the SUN is Christ, and His glory is the light shining upon the earth. Like the Sun, this holy Light gives us all life; however, this same Light can cause severe pain for our devilish outer self! One way or another, God is going to bring us to repentance and make us face the truth of who we really are. This is not torture; this is divine love to save us from a perpetual state of suffering and death. Mankind is like an animal caught in a trap fighting the One who is trying to free it.
The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom was plunged into darkness. Men gnawed their tongues in agony 11 and cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done.
Many might say this is speaking of a domineering world ruler or superpower, which may be true. Then again, there may even be an actual darkened sky someday due to some natural event like volcanic eruptions or an asteroid impact. Spiritually, the throne of the beast is the ego that rules the children of the devil. So this is saying that the carnal minds kingdom is going deeper into ignorance and deception. This is spiritual darkness. This will cause the immoral to become more immoral. What little faith some might have had for God will be taken away and given to those with plenty. This concept is supported by the teachings of Jesus. For those who have little and do nothing, it will be taken away and given to those with much so they can do more. This is survival of the holiest!
The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East. 13 Then I saw three evil spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14 They are spirits of demons performing miraculous signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty.
Yes, there is an actual river called Euphrates. And yes, it certainly could dry up since man-made dams mostly control its flow. And yes, this could make it easier for an army from the East to march on toward that famous valley. Yet, what is God (who is Spirit by the way) really trying to tell us here? I see that the kings from the East represent the religious truths and wisdom from the east. The Magi from the East also came to witness the birth of Jesus, so Christ brings East and West together. In fact, Jesus teachings had a very Eastern element to them. The river represents a barrier for the wisdom from the East. And when it dries up, we are more likely to cross over and discover Gods truths in the Eastern religions. I see today that many truth-seeking Christians are a little thirsty for truth and are accepting that wisdom from the East.
Now the three evil spirits coming from the mouth of the dragon, beast and false prophet are lies and delusions used by Satan on man for one last battle with God. We all must be taken into our spiritual valley called Armageddon, which means mountain of sorrow (dating back to Jeremiahs time). Fittingly, mankind must gather in a valley (hell) below a mountain (heaven) because we are seeking God. It has been said that many must hit rock bottom before they can go higher, and I believe this has been proven to be true in many facets of life. God will lead all sinners into their personal valley of sorrows for the purpose of saving them. Next, the BIG moment comes!
The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, "It is done!" 18 Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since man has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake. 19 The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath. 20 Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found. 21 From the sky huge hailstones of about a hundred pounds each fell upon men. And they cursed God on account of the plague of hail, because the plague was so terrible.
What does it mean, It is done! What does it mean that this LOUD voice comes out of the temple? Let me remind you that YOU are the temple and Christ is the VOICE saying, It is done! When Christ comes out and REVEALS himself there will be some incredible spiritual movement to be sure! There will be some major shaking going on that will be far more important that anything California has ever felt. Yes, our old way of life (Babylon) will be split apart. Instead of God raining down drops of grace, there will be large sums of judgment come crashing down upon mankind. Certainly, the unrepented will curse God. This is exactly what we should expect. Like that devil-possessed child in The Exorcist, they will curse God. Like a drug addict in a treatment ward, they will curse God. Like a spoiled, irrational child yelling hateful words at his parent, they will curse God. But like a perfect, omnipotent Father, God will do exactly what it takes to save His children from themselves. Of this I am sure.
The Witnesses, the Beast and the Woman
Many have heard about the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker, but have you heard about the witnesses, the beast and the woman? It may not rhyme, but these are some of the more interesting and important characters in the spiritual sago called Revelation. Lets begin with the two witnesses.
And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth." 4 These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. 5 If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die. 6 These men have power to shut up the sky so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want.
Now that is power! If one takes this passage literally then one must believe that God will give two men incredible, divine control over the earth, its weather, its water and even its inhabitants. Obviously this passage cannot be taken literally unless we are to believe these witnesses are actually going to devour their enemies with fire from their mouths! So we must seek the meaning of these symbols, which can be both natural and spiritual. I see that the fire from their mouths represents the TRUTH. Yes, the truth certainly does have the power to devour all that is false including all the dead wood and stubble in our lives. This explains the fire coming from their mouths, but who are these two witnesses?
Now, some say that these two witnesses are Elijah and Moses. This seems plausible as a natural fulfillment. However, this would give more credence to something many have trouble accepting, which is reincarnation. As we read in the Gospels, many in the time of Jesus expected Elijah to return and some thought Jesus was the reincarnation of Elijah. Of course, Jesus plainly told us that if we can accept it John was the reincarnated spirit of Elijah. So yes, the spirit of John the Baptist could return again to fulfill this in a more natural way, but there is another way of deciphering this prophecy.
First, see that the key to understanding is the phrase TWO WITNESSES. This phrase should ring a Biblical bell. Recall what Jesus told his disciples about TWO or more gathered in his name.
"Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them."
Now, let me say this again. Gathering in Jesus NAME isnt necessarily gathering in a Christian church or in a prayer group. We need not be in any particular place, but must be brought together in the ESSENCE, LIFE and SPIRIT of Jesus. Many Christians gather together and pray for all kinds of things, but nothing happens because there is no real connection made. So, this is not coming together in Jesus essence. It should then also be clear that In my name has NOTHING to do with letters: J-E-S-U-S, but everything to do with the S-P-I-R-I-T! The deceived believe their Christian label and practices equate to being in Christ or in His name, but this is not true. Being IN means have the life of Christ and the true faith that releases Gods power in our lives.
As I hope you know or at least believe, Christ is in everyone. Now when two or more witnesses to this reality thereby come together in his name something completely divine happens! A spiritual fusion takes place when two followers come together in the Spirit of Christ thereby releasing enormous, supernatural power! In fact, in the first chapter of Revelation, we read that Jesus Christ is the faithful witness, so that all he needs is another to have faith and the equation is complete. Consider the power released when Jesus walked through Judea and triggered miracles. TWO believers, or witnesses- Jesus and another triggered the miracles through faith. For those lacking faith, no miracles happened even if Jesus was willing and in their midst. The miracle equation takes TWO to be successful. As discussed in Bringing God to Life, our faith is vital in bringing Gods life into our life. Without faith, God is as good as dead in our world. He can do nothing without faith just as we can do nothing without Christ, who is our life. When two become one there is a fusion of wills. This was shown in the life of Jesus when his will conformed to that of His Father. Even when a man and wife are joined, there is a spiritual energy created. And the power from a holy union reaches its apex when the Son and the Father come to be all in all.
So do you know who the witnesses are? They are any two men in Christ that agree. Now I am not speaking of anyones natural sexual identity. They are called men because they are SPIRIT and they are MATURE. Yet do we know what it means to be mature in Christ? Jesus was a mature spirit in Christ, our older brother. Relative to him, we are younger, less mature. Paul knew he was dealing with babes in Christ. For this reason most of Pauls writings were milk and not meat. Most are focused on Pauls natural teachings like how to run a church or how to treat the poor and widows. That is the milk. Very few can chew and swallow the meat. They have a difficult time realizing that Christ is before all things, and all things were created by, through and for Christ. Very few seem to contemplate the deeper, esoteric teachings Jesus and Paul offered us. Christ is all in all. What does this mean to you? As Jesus told us, this means that Christ is in the LEAST of us. Yes, many read the words, but never fathom the reality. The Spirit of Christ (the Light) is the Light of every man that ENTERS this world says the Gospel of John. We enter this world because we are spirit. Paul taught that everyones true, higher life was hidden in Christ. Finding and living this reality is how we mature in Christ. The more we mature, the more Gods Kingdom grows on earth.
While God is using faith and love to bring us together, the devil tries to divide us with fear and hate. Is there any doubt that the devil has used mans religions to keep us from God? Strong egos and carnal minds have dominated many religious endeavors throughout our history. More hate and bloodshed have come as the result of religious zealots than for any other single cause. This was true then, and this is still true today as many still have the murderous mindset of a beast.
Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them. 8 Their bodies will lie in the street of the great city, which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified. 9 For three and a half days men from every people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial. 10 The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth.
Wow, here is a beast that apparently overcomes the witnesses! So who or what is the beast? John likely had the dominating Roman Empire in mind. It is possible that the two witnesses may have been actual Christian disciples that were captured and killed by the brutal Romans. Whether this event was in Johns past, present of future, we should not be constrained by literal timetables when dealing with prophecy. Gods time is not kept by the Atomic Clock in Fort Collins, Colorado. Although many have tried, we can never apply these timeframes of the Bible, which is especially true concerning spiritual matters. For instance, we read that the two witnesses will prophesy for 1260 days, and then the beast from the pit will kill them. After three and a half days of being trampled on, the two come back to life. Instead of trying to take this literally and naturally, lets consider what spiritual meaning God is trying to convey here.
From what I used to hear, the experts of Bible prophecy have almost unanimously taught that the beast spoken of here is the rejuvenated Roman Empire- the European Union. I suppose similar students in Europe may say the United States is the beast! Let them all argue about that because I am not so concerned with the naturalization of Bible revelations. The beast that rages in mankind is the carnal mind and spirit of the world. This is the combination that seeks worldly pleasures, wealth, control, and above all else, power. The carnal mind is a beast that works in accord with the ego, which is also called the false prophet. The ego lies to the spirit to keep itself alive. As I will look at later, both the carnal mind and ego will be destroyed in the lake of fire. We also read of another beast that emerges from the first beast.
Then I saw another beast, coming out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb, but he spoke like a dragon. 12 He exercised all the authority of the first beast on his behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. 13 And he performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men.
I know that some (of the Protestant persuasion) have made the claim that this passage refers to the Roman Catholic Church, but they should look in the mirror because this particular beast has corrupted all religion. Yes, this beast that comes out of the earth is certainly religious and has the look of godliness, but the spiritually mature know better. We are warned by such religious souls that look holy.
2 Timothy 3:1
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God-- 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.
Unfortunately, the majority of mans organized religions are contaminated of these types of souls. Just go down Pauls checklist here--
1) Lovers of themselves- there are definitely some big egos in fancy suits up at the pulpit!
2) Lovers of money- are you kidding! Some Christian denominations have more money than third world countries!
3) Boastful- I hear it all the time, I am saved; you are going to hell.
4) Proud- most certainly they are.
5) Abusive- certainly history has shown proven this trait to be true.
I think the point is made, so I wont continue here. Many of the religious souls of the world including Christians fit this description. They are the embodiment of the beast, speaking with the voice of the dragon and having the appearance of the lamb. These souls look the part, but do not have the power or peace of God. These souls are not led by the Spirit of Christ, but the spirit of the world. These souls are full of good intentions, but are heavily influenced by the carnal mind of man. Notice too that the carnal mind is the mind that did, in fact, come out of the earth. These souls tap into Satans power to perform miracles, which adds to their deceptiveness. Many were deceived in Jesus day and many still are by these religious zealots who may profess peace, but give rise to bloodshed. Religion will not save anyone. Christ is not a religion, but a higher reality in Gods Kingdom. Of course, Gods Kingdom comes to earth through the birth of His Son!
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
The child is Christ given to us. Christ counsels us in our times of distress. Christ is the highest power in the universe! Christ is the Father of all consciousness (life). Christ is the only one who can bring us the peace of God. Christ is Gods only begotten Son. If Christ is the child, and God is the Father. Then who is mother that brings the Son into this world? Do you believe her name is Mary? Well, her name is not Mary, but she is indeed the Holy mother of Christ.
A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. 2 She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. 3 Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. 4 His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born. 5 She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. 6 The woman fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days.
Many teach that the woman written of here is the Church having twelve stars (apostles) on her crown. This is certainly true in a sense, but she is even more than this. The Church is the ecclesia (Gr.), which means those who have been called out from the world. She stands ON the moon, which means these are not of the world. These have not only been called out from the world, but some have reached all the way to the sun and are clothed with glory of Christ! So the woman also represents that relatively small segment of the Church who is spiritually mature enough to give birth to Christ. They are also the chosen ones of the chosen! They have made their way into the Philadelphian Church because they have overcome of the world and death! Jesus was such a soul mature enough to do this. Jesus brought Christ into this world. In the same way, every woman mature enough in the Ecclesia will also give birth to the Son of God. In doing so the perfect government will be formed on earth represented by the twelve stars. Christ is the Son that will rule the nations with an iron scepter.
The one that became Christ was taken back into heaven and is with the Father. Jesus went away to prepare a place for us just as God has prepared a place for us in a spiritual desert. The true Church has been in a desert hiding from the devil. The world hasnt seen Christ fully revealed since Jesus walked the earth, but the wait is nearly over! Each of us is waiting for Christ to appear in us. This is the child whom the Dragon seeks to devour. Just as Cain sought to destroy Abel, so does the lower nature of man seek to destroy the higher nature of man. The devil lives in the lower nature of our flesh while Christ is calling us to live with in the higher life of the spirit.
When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. 14 The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the desert, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent's reach. 15 Then from his mouth the serpent spewed water like a river, to overtake the woman and sweep her away with the torrent. 16 But the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. 17 Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring--those who obey God's commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus. 1 And the dragon stood on the shore of the sea.
Wow, the symbolism runs very deep in this passage! First let us acknowledge that the dragon is the devil and is king of the pit where humanity has fallen. The pit is Hades, our spiritual prison where the serpent of old that has been holding mankind for ages upon ages. We read that the devil pursues the woman, which are those souls holy and mature enough to bring Christ into the world. We read that these blessed souls have been given two wings, which is ability to fly above the earth. In this way, these souls remain in the world, but not of the world. Their ability to fly keeps them from the clutches of the dragon. Next we read that the devil tries to use water to overtake the woman. Water is a symbol for teachings. The devil is using false teachings to attempt to wash away the Truth. The earth comes to the aid of the woman by swallowing up these dark doctrines and false teachings of men.
We see happening in our present day as worldly (natural) knowledge is shining some light on the darkness of deception and ignorance created by the devil. For example, knowledge from the sciences has revealed that the world is not flat, not the center of the solar system and man has been evolving for millions of years. These natural truths, although mere shadows, help to support Gods spiritual truths. This is how the earth can help to swallow the false teachings of religion. As time moves closer the end, the devil is getting more and more desperate. Hell will get hotter and hotter for those still lost. Those whose names cannot be found in the Book of Life are still, in fact, dead. They are spiritual dead and remain in the painful state of Hades. Yet, we should not blame the devil for their condition, but each is responsible for their self and their suffering. Trust that God is the cause of every effect and has everything under His sovereign control. We are here because this is the only way back to God. We all must go through hell so that we can know, appreciate and love God as our self.
As the Book of Revelation points out, there are many obstacles in mankinds way. In Hell Revisited, Satan Revealed, God has purposed all of this. Everything has to be of divine design, or God is not God. Do not think that Gods plan is flawed in anyway. There is nothing wrong; we simply have to do our part. Because we are part of life, we are part of God. Slowly we are coming to realize our purpose, which is to be Gods Image and thereby bring Gods Kingdom to earth. Yet, before this glorious Kingdom can come another must fall.
The Fall of Babylon
A second angel followed and said,
"Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great, which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries."
So who are what is Babylon? In the purest sense, Babylon means the gate of God. Long ago, Babylon was the center and apex of MANS civilization. The Bible tells us that Nimrod, son of Cush and descendent of Ham (Noahs son), founded the city of Babel. Later this became known as Babylonia, which is geographically located in what is today southern Iraq. Of course at the Tower of Babble, God is said to have confounded the people so they could not communicate. You see, mans carnal mind was becoming a little too successful and needed to be grounded, so to speak.
But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building. 6 The LORD said, "If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other."
A spirit of unity was growing among these natural men, but is was the spirit of the world inspiring them, not God. This was dangerous because this unity was making them more powerful, so God caused division among them. I doubt that their language changed, but rather, their ability to see eye to eye caused them to go their separate ways. So again, Babylon means the gate of God, but in another Biblical sense Babylon means tyranny, confusion and rebellion. So it would seem that God shut the GATE to His Kingdom on the carnal man.
Most Bible readers may know that Babylon was a great city of ancient times, the capital of Chaldea. King Nebuchadnezzear sacked and burned the city of Jerusalem taking many back into slavery. Yet, John was seeing a whole different Babylon around 95 AD when his revelation was believed to have been written. There is quite a bit of evidence supporting the theory that when John used the name Babylon he was referring to the Roman Empire of his day. In 70 AD, Rome, which sat on SEVEN hills, sacked Jerusalem. As Jesus predicted, not one stone of the Temple was left standing upon another. John may have believed that his revelation was showing that there was going to be a payback and that Rome, Babylon the Great, would fall. He also seemed to believe that, Jesus would physically return to Jerusalem to rule over the nations. Then a reign of Christ would begin. This is not unlike what all the apostles thought. It is clear in the writing of Paul, John and Peter that they believed Jesus was going to return, if not in their lifetime, then very soon. They like many others that have followed are still seeing a spiritual world through natural eyes.
Today, many students of Bible prophecy (eschatologists) say that Babylon is referring to a rejuvenated Roman Empire- a powerful group of nations that will have a future collapse. Some say it is the United States, but really either would fit the natural description here. Spiritually speaking, Babylon is not a particular nation or part of the world. Babylon is any place enthralled by worldly pleasures, sinful behavior and slavery. Yes, Babylon used to be a place of slavery and still is. The spirits of Hades are in bondage held as slaves to sin and their carnal natures. Everybody serves something; what or whom do you serve? The mind can serve the body or the spirit. If we serve our lower, carnal desires, we will find pleasure through the flesh and five senses. If we serve Christ, who is our higher nature, we receive the peace from God. It is really that simple.
Life is about choices. What we choose to feed the soul will determine her health. Where we lead the soul, where determine where she lives- again another choice. While Babylon may have been the actual capital of an ancient sin city, we should now see that it is the center of hell. It is here where evil spirits fight to keep their life in the flesh and their place in the world they love so much.
After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven. He had great authority, and the earth was illuminated by his splendor. 2 With a mighty voice he shouted: "Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great!
She has become a home for demons and a haunt for every evil spirit, a haunt for every unclean and detestable bird.
For all the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries. The kings of the earth committed adultery with her,
and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries."
Again, all prophecy can have natural and spiritual fulfillments. Reading this passage in a natural way, one could easily see the United States as the nation as Babylon because she has helped other nations grow rich from her excessive luxuries. We, Americans, are the most excessive consumers in the history of the world! Shame on us for that! On the other hand, this could be speaking again of the same region where Babylon existed- the Middle East. Saudi Arabia may have more millionaires than America. As oil demands rise, so will prices and so will the excessive wealth of that region. It is certainly possible to see that the Middle East will rise up to become a super power in the years to come and then succumb to the external forces of the rest of the world.
Certainly overall, our world today is more materialistic than ever it seems. This is true from top to bottom. Even the poorest in United States have far more possessions and luxuries than an upper class Galilean of Jesus day. Jesus said if someone had two shirts that he should give one to he who had none. What poor person doesnt have a whole closet of shirts? Yes, there is no doubt that mankind as a whole is more prosperous in terms of his material wealth. While being rich is not sinful, being controlled by your money is. Some souls are too immature to handle wealth, which plays right into the hands of Satan.
Then the angel carried me away in the Spirit into a desert. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns. 4 The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls. She held a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries. 5 This title was written on her forehead:
MYSTERY BABYLON THE GREAT- THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES
AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
Is this really much of a mystery? Consider the clues about the identity of the woman on the back of the beast. The beast she rides is scarlet. What a coincidence! The devil is a RED dragon, right! We also read that the woman was dressed in purple and scarlet. Who else do we know that dresses so lavishly?
"There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man's table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.
Yes, this is a symbol of worldly wealth and stature. But also know that her purple and fine linen can certainly be referring to religious pretentiousness. This feeling of superiority was rampant among the Scribes and Pharisees who challenged Jesus, and today, I see many Christians dressing in the same way. Some can have the appearance of being spiritual and holy, but looks dont matter. One of Satans best deceptions is to imitate the Truth. In some ways she resembles the woman that brings Christ into the world, but, in fact, she is the polar opposite. She is that segment of humanity that is riding the beast.
Next, who could miss that title placed right on her forehead like a neon sign? She is the mother of prostitutes and of abominations. This could be literal and figurative, but the point is the same. She is creating an environment of sin. These souls are like prostitutes because they are unfaithful and sell themselves to all sorts of evil desires. Our soul can only have one lover, who is the Spirit of Christ. This is the spirit of the matured in the Kingdom of God. We know that Gods chosen are marked with His very nature (name) on their hearts and minds. Of course, those following the beast carry a different mark.
He was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that it could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. 16 He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, 17 so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name.
This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man's number. His number is 666.
Oh yes, the number 666. Many have had fun with this one! Hollywood has made movies where they find a birthmark shaped as three 6s on a childs head. Somehow, I dont think this is what John had in mind when he wrote this. Today, many have naturalized this particular prophecy and have taken it literally. They see a world where a world leader will require everyone to get a chip placed in their hand or forehead to buy or sell. This will also allow big brother to keep track of every soul on the earth. This is certainly a feasible explanation given the advent of the micro computer chip technologies. So, I do believe that this will be fulfilled in both natural and spiritual ways, but Eschatology seems to be too focused on the natural prophecies.
In the same vein of thought, some believe that Babylon itself refers not to a nation or group of people, but to the technologies of man. They say that these products are worldly and take us farther from God. I disagree. The creations of man are neither good nor evil, but are simply tools to be used as we choose. It always comes down to our choices. Consider the Internet as an example. For the first time in the history of the world, I can communicate with the rest of the world from right here in my living room! That is amazing! What a way to share what God has given me! Because of computers, televisions and satellites we have entered the information/communication age. Certainly some use these technologies for evil, but God will use them to spread the Truth. Light always beats darkness. In the same way, any creation from the mind of man will be used by God to teach us.
However, it is true that these powerful inventions tend to feed the notion that we are gods. The spiritually mature know that earthly ingenuity will never bring heavenly serenity. We know that we are not here to become gods, but rather to let God become us! It is the nature of the carnal mind to want to be a god of this world. A serious problem arises because there cant be more than ONE god, so men fight to be king of the world. But even the kings of the earth will be brought down.
"When the kings of the earth who committed adultery with her and shared her luxury see the smoke of her burning, they will weep and mourn over her.
10 Terrified at her torment, they will stand far off and cry: " `Woe! Woe, O great city, O Babylon, city of power! In one hour your doom has come!' "
Now naturally speaking, it is certainly possible for a city and even a nation to be brought to her doom in just one hour with the power of nuclear weapons. There is little doubt in my mind there is going to be a terrible war emerge from the conflicts of the Middle East. More and more countries are acquiring them; some of which are not very friendly toward the rest of the world. So it seems inevitable that nuclear weapons will be used and millions will die. It is easy to image that actual armies will amass in that infamous valley and unprecedented blood will be shed. It may very well be that this bloody end in the natural will usher in a new beginning in the spiritual. Perhaps a war to end all wars is what mankind will need.
On the spiritual side of life, mankind is well within its final hour. Through the countless ages, our spirits have been maturing and preparing for this moment. Even 2,000 year ago, Jesus recognized that the fields were ripening for the harvest. Can you see the signs of the times? Do you see that many are maturing in Christ? Yes, this will be our most arduous hour yet in our history, but also our most glorious hour in our history! After millions of years of living as the carnal self, we surely are on the final page in this last chapter of our humanity. For some it is a bitter end, but for ALL it is a glorious new life! In the words of Switchfoot, There is a new way to be human!
The Reign of Christ
As I hope you have already realized, the reign of Christ comes to earth via Christ reigning in us. There can be no other way. This is the coming of Christ! This is the revealing of Christ! One man isnt going to lead the world into a state of peace and prosperity, but One Spirit will! Many Christians from the first to the last have believed that Jesus, in bodily form, is going to return to rule the nations. It seems that Paul, John, Peter and the others expected the return of Jesus during their lifetime. If this was the case, they were wrong. Jesus has not returned, BUT the Spirit of Jesus has never left us! The Spirit of Jesus is Christ, who is the Anointed Son of God. And yes, Christ WILL reign on the earth and WILL control the nations, but not just through a single man. Christ will rule through every man, woman and child who is awakened in the Body of Christ.
"You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being."
This is our Lord and God. This is our LORD God. This is Christ, the only Son of God, who is the Alpha and Omega of everything! Paul teaches this in nearly all his writings including quite effectively in the first chapter of Colossians, but it seems most do not fully comprehend the magnitude of what he is saying. Let me try again here. EVERYTHING has been created BY, THROUGH and FOR Christ. Christ holds the entire universe together- every atom, every planet, every star, ever cell in your body. Christ IS; Christ WAS; Christ will always be ALL. Paul also taught that the natural comes first then the spiritual- Adam (first man) then Christ (anointed) Jesus (the second Adam). Why are so many waiting for Christ to come in the flesh when Jesus already did this? The Word was already made flesh in Jesus. That was the coming of Christ through Jesus. Now, the time has come for Christ Jesus (the Seed of God) to come to life through us!
I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.
What a glorious age for mankind this will be- the reign of Christ! This is what my heart has been yearning for as long as I remember! This is the power of grace! This is a world at peace! This is when spears turn to pruning hooks and swords turn to plowshares! This is the foundation of justice! This is the Spirit of unity! Our spiritual maturity in Christ will bring about prosperity at EVERY level of life! When Christ reigns, everyone will be fed- naturally and spiritually. I think for the first time in the history of the world, there are just as many overweight people as underweight or malnourished people; and America has a lot to do with this. Isnt it clear that the problem isnt a lack of bread to feed the masses, but rather a lack of understanding and faith concerning the true Bread of Life!
The reign of Christ begins with the saints of every age coming to life! This means coming to life in the SPIRIT as Jesus did. These souls are joined to Christ in a holy union and are the co-heirs of God. They are on the earth wielding the same wisdom, power and love as Jesus did 2,000 years ago! Jesus foretold of their coming.
I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me (Christ) will do what I have been doing.
He will do even greater things than these because I am going to the Father.
Do you believe the words of Jesus? I most certainly do. Even greater things will be done! Also we need to understand that Jesus returned to the Father thereby creating a spiritual conduit for all of us to return to God. Because of his sacrifice, he remains in heaven and will not again become flesh. He remains in the higher state of life to prepare a place for us. You will see Jesus in heaven, but not on earth. Everything you desire will be realized in heaven. However, what you will see on earth is the spirit of Jesus. What is hard for us to understand and accept is that we are all ONE. We are all from and connected to the same Spirit. So dont expect to see a Jewish man fitting the earthly description of Jesus to return to this world. Instead witness those qualified and matured sons of God returning to the earth to show mankind again Gods only Son. This is how the prophecy that the whole earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord will be fulfilled. Just try and imagine a world with perhaps hundreds of Jesus-like souls carrying out Gods will, mercy and justice! Then imagine thousands and even millions! This is how Gods Kingdom comes to the earth! It begins with one special Seed. That Seed dies to produce more of His kind. Then these will also give their all in all to God as Jesus did. What our Father is teaching us is that love is the sacrifice of self.
As I explained in Jesus, the Chosen Man, Jesus was exactly like us and we are to become exactly like him and co-heirs of Gods Kingdom. Some do not believe that we will be filled the fullness of God. Some still do not believe Jesus words that Gods Kingdom will come to earth. They are denying that this will become the world where Christ is King! Most of the Jews missed the coming of their Messiah the first time, but no one will miss Christ this time. Every eye will see Him coming in the saints of God! Let the Jews and the world rejoice because the anointed of God will rule the earth! Our enemy has been put down and the earth again belongs to God!
And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. 2 He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. 3 He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.
Satan will be bound during the reign of Christ, but God still has some use for him after this glorious age of humanity. During the reign of the Lamb, the devil is below man in the Abyss, which is a spiritual pit. In the same way that mankind was kept from the tree of life, the devil is kept apart from man. During this Day of the Lord, mankinds collective soul is being raised into Christ-consciousness because the Spirit of Christ is coming to life in us. This mature spirit of unity and sonship will know God as Father. There will be no need for the Law because the Spirit of God will lead us!
So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17 For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
We dont need to be told or taught what is right or wrong because we will know in hearts and minds. We are no longer controlled by our lower self, but now by our Higher Self, who is Christ. As I discussed in Thy Kingdom Come, the Kingdom of God is within us and this is where Christ will rise up to rule. No longer will Christians give lip service to God by saying, Christ is my Lord and Savior. This will finally be a REALITY! The time must come when Christ fills all things including all souls. By lording our lives in glory and power, Christ will, in turn have dominion over all the nations.
This is how God will save the world and bring His Kingdom to earth! Our destiny is to follow Jesus to that higher state of life where God is our Father. We will not follow Jesus into outer space as some might imagine. Jesus is calling us into Christ-consciousness. Your mind must be the Mind of Christ; your spirit must be the Spirit of Christ. Only when we live by the Spirit will we able to overcome our sinful nature that is keeping us down in this world.
To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations--
Jesus doesnt mince any words when he tells us that WE must OVERCOME. Many want to overlook the fact we must overcome! Jesus the Christ places necessary conditions upon our salvation. This is a point I cant stress enough to my traditionally taught Christians friends. Going to church, being good and believing in Jesus will NOT give you a pass into the Kingdom of God. This topic was covered in detail in Salvation is Not a Gift. Lets consider the qualifications for heaven that Jesus taught.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
Remember, when the Spirit is speaking to the churches, this is God speaking to YOU. You are His temple. Yet for you to have the RIGHT to eat from the Tree of Life (the Spirit of Christ), you must overcome. It is that simple. Jesus taught this, but Christianity apparently doesnt because many of its constituents are deluded by its promises of heaven. It is true that God will freely give you everything that you need to do this, but you must overcome just as our brother Jesus did. How is this done? Simple. Follow and live by the Spirit of Christ.
1 John 5:3
This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, 4 for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
It should be clear that if any cannot see and believe that Jesus is the Son of God, then he does not know who Christ is. And this one is not worthy of the Kingdom of God. Yes, we must believe that Jesus is Christ. More than this, we must let Christ be the Lord of our lives. Only in this way can we overcome the world and Satan as Jesus did. Reiterating Johns words, everyone born of God will overcome the world! God will give us the strength to do this through Christ, who lives in us. All we must do is choose life over death.
"Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. 13 All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.
Jesus told us that if we stand firm to the END, we would be saved. Now, some would argue that this is speaking of the Christians who were going to be persecuted for their faith, but I hope it is obvious that ANY soul who follows Christ will be rewarded for their suffering. Christ is not confined by mans religions. I believe that many have died for Christianity, but very few have lived for Christ. For those that do stand firm in their faith and follow Christ to the end, they will return as the sons of God. These matured, qualified spirits of God bring Gods Kingdom to earth by being the personification of God. In other words, these have received their Fathers name, on their foreheads.
Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads. 2 And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. 3 And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. 4 These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. 5 No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless.
These are the overcomers in Christ! These are the saints of heaven! These are the sons of God! Now, some take this passage literally when they read John explanation of who they are. He says they are 12,000 saints from each of the 12 tribes of Israel. I know that some Bible prophecy experts have tried convincing Americans that we are one of the lost tribes of Israel. This seems like foolish, natural thinking. Other theologians would say that the number 1,000 denotes a multitude and not a literal number. I can accept this as being closer to the truth because the number 12 is a number that signifies government and rule, which is why Jesus chose 12 followers to carry his message.
No matter what the actual number of the 144,000, it should be clear that these are those who have overcome throughout the ages. They have lived and died for Christ in this world, yet they return to rule the nations. How can this be? Are these disembodied spirits (ghosts) that come back to earth? I will tell who they are. They are those who have OVERCOME that have been in heaven waiting to return. John wrote that they had been redeemed from the earth. In other words, redeemed from hell because Christ saved them. In actuality, they could have once lived during the times of the 12 tribes of Israel. They could have lived when Jesus walked the earth. It doesnt matter when they lived before, but how they lived. They lived for and by Christ! All of us have lived many lives, but only a few in each generation have overcome the world through Christ. These matured spirits return (incarnate) in massive numbers to mark the beginning of a new reign!
These are those who continue to follow the Lamb everywhere with a kind of spiritual synchronicity. They walk in accord with the heartbeat of God whose Son lives in their heart and head. They join others to be the Body of Christ on earth. I dont think we can imagine or describe the sense of oneness Jesus felt with God; we can only experience it. We shall be just like our elder brother before us and the world will see Christ! Can you image! Consider the healing and teaching power of just one man, Jesus; then multiply this by thousands or millions! We will be pillars in the enormous temple of God!
I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. 12 Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name.
The new Jerusalem is not like the old! Here there is peace because we have the name of God on our foreheads. This mark is the very glory and essence of God! Those that overcome have indeed become Gods image. This will be the start of a new day- the GREAT and DREADFUL of the LORD! The prophet Joel asks, Who can endure it? Those who have overcome will endure it because they are not of the world. For those stragglers that continue to refuse Gods Truth, some strong medicine is coming for their souls! The treatment God has planned for the spiritually sick will consist of some sanitizing heat.
The Second Death is the Lake of Fire
This is another topic that is widely misunderstood. Most Christians do not know the difference between the lake of fire, hell, Hades, Gehenna, Tartarus, Sheol and the second death. Instead of seeking the truth in this matter, they usually lump all of these terms together into something they call HELL. They believe that hell is were the bad people go when they die. I have written about hell in several articles, but now I want to focus on something a little different. Here, I want to write about the destruction of hell in the lake of fire! So, what exactly is that lake of fire talked about in Revelation? And who is going to take part in it? Well, lets see what wisdom we can extract from this passage.
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. 7 He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. 8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars--their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death."
First let me echo what God says here, He who overcomes I will be his God and he will be my son. You know that God only has ONE Son. Those who overcome will be Christ (anointed one), as Jesus is Christ. Because of this, they will not be harmed by what is called the second death. However, for those who have not yet overcome their sinful nature, they will not find life so comfortable.
John give us the types that will find their way into the fiery lake of burning sulfur, but I have a couple questions for my readers. Arent most that call themselves Christians guilty of at least one of these characterizations? I have seen some that are being cowardly (fear of dying or going to hell), unbelieving (many dont believe Christ is all and in all), vile (acts of the Dark Age Christians), murdering (even today some abort children), sexually immoral (affairs, pedophiles), superstitious (burning witches, believing church attendance saves you), idolatrous (lovers of money, fame, power) and certainly lying (do you lie?). John says ALL liars will take their place in this fiery lake. So if you pass this extensive test then you wont have to worry about the second death, but what if you dont?
Something that I find quiet astonishing is the vast number of Christianized minds that are taught and believe the lake of fire is an undesirable and terrible place. Apparently, they havent done their homework. They fail to recall that God is love, and God is fire. Lets put this in a clear, spiritual perspective. First, we need to consider the kind of fire we are dealing with here. John writes that it is a lake of burning sulfur. Well, did you know that sulfur has been translated from the Greek word theion, which is a derivative of Theos? Theos means God in Greek. As I wrote about many years ago in Is It All Greek to You?, sulfur (theion) fire was used for purification ceremonies. This is Gods intention here too! The second death is the purification of our being, which is death to our old self, our carnal nature. Every enemy of God will go into this second death and will not come out the same.
And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
Again the beast is the carnal mind, and the false prophet is the ego. Both are going to be tormented in the presence of the Lamb. There will be no egos in heaven. There will be no beastly thoughts in Gods Kingdom. Paul told us to crucify the old self, but if you couldnt get the job done in YOUR time, God will in His! In fact, we should know the lake of fire is holy and good because it performs the same task taken on by Jesus himself! Jesus sole purpose was to save us by overcoming the devil, Hades and Death! This is EXACTLY what the lake of fire is for too!
Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15 If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
At times, I find it every frustrating how spiritually ignorant Christians and all the religious souls can be. All they want to hear on Sundays is that they are going to heaven, and they are selfishly satisfied with that. Then they profess that for those who do not believe as they do, an eternal hell awaits them after death. NO! What foolishness! Have they not read that hell (Hades) and death are destroyed by the lake of fire? This is not the death of someones life; is the DEATH of Death! This is the second death! This is our salvation! One way or another, we must all die to our sinful nature.
As discussed in Hell Revisited, Satan Revealed, being is hell is a state of spirit and soul. This world has been our Hades (our grave, our pit) because we are dead, but Christ is changing all of that! Christ is bringing us to life in the Spirit! Then we are able to overcome as Jesus did! He showed us how and offers his spirit to us to follow him to that higher state of life. Dont misunderstand me. The second death will be a painful experience for those not written in the book of life (not living in the Spirit of Christ), but this is a GOOD thing! Any that continue to be led by the devil, will be put into a very agonizing state of mind because their true Father is calling them home. Every trace of their sinful past must be destroyed by the lake of fire is a spiritual fire, and it is God.
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe,
29 for our "God is a consuming fire."
Wisdom doesnt come to the spiritually lazy. Seek answers. Seek truth. Seek to understand what this lake of fire truly is. Cant you see! The lake of fire isnt an eternal hell as some would lead you to believe, but is the glorious and holy combustion chamber of Gods love. The lake of fire is the end of Hades and death! Are you still not convinced? Here is wisdom. The lake of fire was not always a lake, but started a single flame brought to the earth. And the lake of fire is not really a future event, but has been burning at least as long as Jesus has. Jesus came to this world on fire for God. Everywhere Jesus went he started these holy fires.
"I (Christ) have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50 But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is completed! 51 Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division.
Christ comes into our life to divide our real self from our false self. He is sharper than any double-edged sword. Have you been CUT by Christ? Have you ever felt the fire of God burning in your consciousness? For those who have felt the coming of Christ in our lives, they know He is a holy fire that will burn away our natural elements. So if you are on fire because of Christ, then you are making the lake of Gods fire a little bigger as you walk in the world. Now, can you see that we are the lake of fire when the Spirit of Christ burns in us!
Consider this. We can see that the BODY of Christ is like a body of water because Christ is the Living Water, right! So what would you call this body that is burning with the Spirit of Christ? It is indeed a lake of fire! Believers and followers of Christ are making the lake of fire hotter and hotter! We are the HEAT here on earth destroying the devils domain. Do you recall where it was Paul told them to throw that infamous sinner of Corinth?
1 Corinthians 5:4
When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, 5 hand this man over to Satan, so that the flesh may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.
How did they do this? Did they have some special mystical ceremony to do this? Did they dig a deep hole into the underworld and hand this man to Satan? Can you see the foolishness in such natural thinking? Satan is a spiritual force created to keep us from God. Certainly Satan is in hell, but where then did they cast this individual? They put him back in the sinful world to face his own carnal desires and demons! Apparently they realized what most Christians dont today. This world is hell, and Satan is anything standing in our way back to God.
Now, lets reverse the situation. Suppose that Gods Kingdom has come to this world. Now Christ lives in His saints, and Christ has permeated every nation, every religion and every home. Now the sinner, who was once in hell, finds himself in the lake of Gods holy fire! When Christ is reigning on the earth through his saints, where in the world can the unbelievers hide? Nowhere! They will be utterly surrounded by Christ-filled saints, and thereby engulfed by the lake of believers on fire for God.
Fire is an interesting phenomenon in many ways. It is the shadow of Gods judgment. It doesnt destroy as much as it transforms! Once started the process grows exponentially given enough fuel, oxygen and heat. The fuel God is burning is our carnal natures- the hay and stubble of our lives. The oxygen is Spirit of Christ in us. The heat is the effect of us doing Gods will. The heat released can also grow exponentially, which is again a kind of spiritual fusion, or reaction taking place in our lives. We also know that fire will also spread in every direction especially the way the Wind blows! Do you see how Gods Kingdom grows? Can you see how the revealing of Christ in us is this eternal Fire is transforming our world!
2 Peter 3:10
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.
The Day of the Lord is not a single day or a one-time event that the world will witness. Instead, it is an inevitable transformation of the world to know, ONE person at a time. Christ comes to each of us individually to save us and perfect us so that we can enter into union with God. This is the purpose of Christ. Christ is the only one that can free us from our old self who follows and gives residence to the devil. It is the coming of Christ in our lives that overthrows the lawless one that lives in the dark.
2 Thessalonians 2:7
For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.
If taken literally, as some do, this says Jesus will breathe on the devil to blow him over and then shine some light on him to destroy him. Do you see the connection with fire here? Fire produces light and heat, right? What I am seeing is that Jesus (Christ) comes into his Kingdom (in us) and overcomes Satan with his spirit (breath) and destroys him with his Truth (brightness/light). Paul used the word destroy in this passage to the Thessalonians, but fire doesnt actually destroy in the sense of annihilation. Fire breaks down, refines and changes substances. In the same way, Gods Fire is to refine and change us. Is this painful? Yes, for your devil nature, but the true you is never harmed by the second death of this fire.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death.
One of the greatest misconceptions in Christianity is that Hades (hell) is eternal. There has been a spiritual brainwashing of so many susceptive souls. They are taught a Dark Age doctrine, and then without any scrutiny they simply regurgitate it to whoever would challenge this belief. They are operating on automatic pilot except the devil is steering them toward a crash landing. Hades is neither eternal nor everlasting. It had a beginning and it will have an end. There is no question if you believe the Bible- Death and Hades are both destroyed in the lake of fire! I have heard some of these unenlightened souls try to explain that the lake of fire is now the eternal hell. This is not what the Bible says. They seem to ignore the divine facts about the divine nature of this fire. They seem to have forgotten that Jesus came to start this very fire. They seem to be unaware that our God is a consuming fire. This fire is Gods holiness burning in all inhabitants in the Kingdom. As Gods Kingdom grows, so does the lake of FIRE! It is really that simple. Those still outside of Gods dominion will be completely engulfed by those burning for Christ!
2 Peter 3:11
Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.
Of course the Earth and the Sun will one day concede to utter destruction. In a very real and natural way, the universe will collapse back upon itself into an enormous black hole, which is also a more literal lake of fire. As I discussed in Shadows of a Higher Reality, gravity in the natural represents Gods love in the spiritual. Like Gods love, gravity is the constant in the universe. It is also the force pulling all things back to oneness. In the end, all matter will return to a point of singularity just as all life will return to God, the Father. So yes, there will be an end to the natural world. What is just as certain is there will be an end to your old self too! The elements that will be consumed on your day of God are our earthly desires, our carnal characteristics. No longer will we live as creatures of flesh, but we will be children of Spirit, children of Light! Only then can the New Heaven and Earth be realized!
The New Heaven and New Earth
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
In that mystical book of unveilings, this is the last scene God unveils to us concerning mankinds fate. We are given the hope and promise of a new heaven and new earth. What are the new heaven and new earth? Is God going to transplant humanity to another planet that is rich with more natural resources for us to squander? And is God then also going to give us a new, clean atmosphere to replace the one we have polluted? Is God going to have a whole city come down from the sky like a scene from the movie, Independence Day? Those without spiritual understand may envision something along these lines, but this is not the meaning of a new heaven and new earth. If God did replace our current world with another just like it, what purpose would it serve? The truth is God is trying to raise us out of the material world. Yes, God has something much GRANDER in mind here! Lets continue to read what Johns revelation was.
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. 7 He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.
First, we should understand that Gods will has been accomplished- it is done! Gods Son has returned from the void as Gods perfect Image. This moment is the end of one era and the beginning of another. This marks the end of our natural existence and the beginning of a world without any physical limits. This is the Kingdom of the God where Christ is all in all. In this higher reality, we are spirit free in the realm of Gods Consciousness. Whatever we desire, whatever we will and whatever we imagine becomes our reality. This Utopian world comes about because all of mankind has been transformed by the Spirit of Christ within him. Read again what John wrote.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
As long as man has walked the earth we have been the temples of God, yet we have been mostly oblivious to His presence. Christ changes all of that! Christ is permeating and filling our being, so that we become the Image of God. This also means, we become the will of God, the love of God and the embodiment of God in this new existence! It says that God will be our God. Do you realize what this means? God has saved us and is now truly our LIFE and we are HIS! God is our LORD because we are His only IMAGE. We are Gods Word expressed. You could call Christ the Word, but then each of us is a character in of the Word. We have followed the way into paradise led by the spirit of Jesus. Now, paradise isnt a garden for the body, but is a peaceful state of mind for the spirit. We no longer live separately in bodies of flesh, but we are all one in the Spirit of Christ. God is now our temple.
I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.
Every end entails a new beginning. Our life that comes from God never ends but life as we have known it does. We are spirit in motion. We dont go to places, but move within the halls of Consciousness. As we mature, God opens the doors of Consciousness in His mansion for us to move through. We may have started in the basement where darkness prevailed, but we moved higher and became children of light! We are now the mature sons of God free to go anywhere in our Fathers house!
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.
Here in this new heaven and earth, Christ is all in all! Here there is no more night because Christ is everywhere! Here the duality we once struggled through is gone. Here we only know the Spirit of life because death is overcome. Here the tree of life provides the knowledge of God, and there is no tree of sin and fear. Here we are the Word of God by following the Lamb in a chorus of worship. Here we are the complete and perfect Image of God. Here we come face to face with God to show God Himself. Here the Father and Son are united in love, and all life is realized as one.
May God be all that you know and all that you are.
return to the Savior of the World