Then Cometh the End: One God Fixes All (Part III)

5 Repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place… 16 I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth… 22 Behold, I will cast her into a sickbed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation… 23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works…. 3 I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee… 16 Because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Revelation 2:5,16,22-23; 3:3,16

Righteous Judgment Executed ON THE CHURCH. In case you didn’t catch it before, this is what is going on in the opening chapters of Revelation. Despite the pop culture’s version of events — in books, movies, and oral traditions — what to see here is what you get. And, its not, “We’re gonna be raptured out!” Nonsense!! Christians get JUDGED for their works on earth WHILE IN EARTH, and go through great tribulation, as God “prepares a [Marriage Supper] table for them in the presence of their enemies (Psalms 23:5).” As Apostle Peter wrote,

17 For the time is come that JUDGMENT MUST BEGIN AT THE HOUSE OF GOD: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? 18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? 1Peter 4:17-18

So, the first 11 chapters of Revelation are giving us a detailed account of JUDGMENT AT THE HOUSE OF GOD — at the churches, on Christian people. Revelation is a book outlining God’s holy ceremony of judgment, conducted by God and his holy angels. In the Old Testament (Leviticus 23), God through Moses gave his people the seven holy feasts. The fifth feast is the Feast of Trumpets (Lev 23:24-25). The seven trumpets in Revelation are God’s dispensational observance of that Feast of Trumpets. While the subsequent 7 bowls of wrath are for reprobates (Rev 16), the Feast of Trumpets is for the household of God. As it is written,

Speak unto the CHILDREN OF ISRAEL (God’s people), saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall YE have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation (a called assembly). Lev 23:25, parenthesis mine

Now, the blast of a trumpet might be heard in the camp at any time, not just at feast time. Blowing of trumpets was meant for: 1) the assembly of the people; 2) the journeying of the camps; and, 3) the alarm of war (Numbers 10:1-10). The seven trumpets in Revelation are for all three of those purposes.

Only two of Christ’s 7 churches received glowing reports. Their judgment was that the promises of God should be theirs. But, God’s judgment of the other five was that the aforementioned negative consequences should befall them. Beloved, what shall you receive from God when the hour comes, promises or consequences???

Then Cometh the End: One God Fixes All (Part II)

1 Write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars… 7 These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth… 14 These things saith the ‘Amen,’ the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God… 9 And, lo, a great multitude which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds… stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands… 1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away… 5 Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. Revelation 3:1,7,14; 7:9; 21:1,5

Here, we have the Lord’s self introductions to the balance of his 7 churches in Asia. He’s the holder of the 7 spirits and the 7 stars (bishops). He has and indeed IS the key of David, who opens and shuts access to all things. He is the origin of all creation, and is the personified ‘Amen’ to his own works. He’s the redeemer and renewer of all nations, and the renovator of heaven, of earth, and of all things therein. He is declaring through these introductions that he is the undisputed and sufficient Master and Sovereign over all things. Everything moves by his power, and everyone is supplied through his person.

Have you ever asked the question, “When the Lord dissolves the old heaven and earth by fire (2Pet 3:2), and afterwards makes them new again, where shall we be located then? Where will we be during all this?” The answer to this, the Lord gave in the Old Testament, when it says,

“Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou, God.” Psalm 1,2

God, in particular, his Eternal Word, is where we will be during the demolition and re-creation of heaven and earth. God’s Word alone is sufficient for our nurture, provision, housing, and survival forever. Jesus said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Mark 13:31). So, a young minister friend of mine once said, “Therefore, I’d rather be in the Word, than in heaven or earth.” Amen. Hallelujah. And so, the present revelation is: as true then, so also now, GOD’S ETERNAL WORD IS ALL WE EVER NEED. This is the illumination that our faith is suppose to be continually growing towards, until we realize and grasp it fully.

Money be damned. Our miracle working God will always bypass money in performing his wonders. Peter told the sorcerer, “Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money” (Acts 8:20). Jesus bypassed money in every one of his miracles. He fed the 5,000, healed the sick, and raised the dead, all without a penny. Then he said, “Blessed be ye poor, for yours is the kingdom of heaven” (Luke 6:20). Beloved, when you have God, you have it ALL. Amen.

Then Cometh the End: One God Fixes All

8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which IS, and which WAS, and which IS to come, the Almighty. 11 Write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia… 1 These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks… 8 The First and the Last, which was dead, and is alive… 12 He which hath the sharp sword with two edges… 18 The Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass. 1 The Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I AM thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. Revelation 1:8,11; 2:1,8,12,18; Genesis 15:1

I am here conducting a head-on, frontal assualt on what is our most sacred and dearly beloved lie: “God is our supplier, BUT we need money.” The passages in our heading, proclaim that not only does God give great rewards, but he himself “IS” the greatest reward of all. It’s not only true that he provides for our needs, he himself “IS” the provision that fulfills our every need. In the black church, we used to sing the song, “Jesus Will Fix It.” Amen. But, it is not just that Jesus “will fix” whatever needs fixing. Jesus himself IS the fix. One God fixes all. For, the word tells us that God is the “All in All” (1Cor 15:28). “Christ is all and in all” (Gal 3:11). And, Jesus “filleth all in all” (Eph 1:20).

The verses cited above from Revelation contain the Lord’s introductory remarks to four of his 7 mission churches in Asia. To each he introduces himself in a special and precise way answering to the unique struggle and hardship that they were facing. We face those same kinds of tribulations today. So, this is the shorthand way Christ chose to introduce himself as the answer to all human need and trouble. The full list of names could never be listed. God’s very name — I AM — is an infinite, open-ended, endless affirmation that he is Everything, Anything, and the Only Thing for mankind.

Granted, this is the mystery of mysteries. It is the first principle of the universe. It is the corner stone of creation. It is the bedrock, empirical reality behind the cosmos. It is the first and last thing that we need to know. This was, and is, and ever shall be the substance of the faith of Jesus Christ, and the fact that rebukes every form of idolatry. God IS all that we need, because understand it or not, God is ALL. We may spend a lifetime meditating on God’s name, and we should. But, it will still be just as inexhaustible after 100 years of meditating, as it was in the beginning. The words of an apt poem put it this way,

The only thing we’ll ever need is the first thing we received.
And, the last thing we will understand is the first thing we believed.

God is the all in all to his people. Let us give him the thanks, praise, and honor that fact deserves. Amen.

Then Cometh the End: The Overcomer’s Badge (Part III)

12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. 21 I will grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. 7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. Revelation 3:12,21, 21:7

For each season of trial we endure, there is a special, separate, and additional reward. The real and underlying reward is an increased degree of the knowledge of God. That is itself it’s own reward. But, there is a distinct blessing manifest in our lives for each stage that we reach along the way. That’s what these overcomer’s promises indicate. And these promises each have their manifestion not only in the world to come, but also in this world too. That’s what the word is describing, when it said,

41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. 8 Godliness (spiritual training) is useful and of value in everything and in every way, for it holds promise for the present life and also for the life which is to come. 1Cor 15:41 KJV; 1Tim 4:8 AMPC

Each level’s increase of glory does show. The term they use in astronomy to describe these differences in degrees of glory is “magnitude.” This magnitude in the Christian life shows in fruit. It shows in spiritual beauty. And, it shows in power. But, if your mind is only conditioned and attuned to seek for this world’s social status, riches, and prestige, then you’ll never see it. You’ll look right at it, look right over it, and dismiss it, the same way the religious world missed the glory of Jesus Christ 2,000 years ago.

So, don’t make the mistake of believing that the world is going to celebrate you, just because you exhibit the glory of God. Reality check!!! The more you put God on display, the more the world will despise you. That’s why the Word says, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2Tim 3:12). And Jesus said, “The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20).

Nevertheless, warriors of God, you persevere till death, and the Lord will decorate you with promises and glory. Whether or not life is accommodating in this world, it will most certainly be in the next. You will find that our Lord is faithful. The blessings and rewards that you will receive in the kingdom to come will prove to have been more than worth the trouble. Meanwhile, as that old hymn, The Old Rugged Cross says, “I will cling to the old rugged cross, and exchange it some day for a crown.”

Then Cometh the End: The Overcomer’s Badge (Part II)

7 To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. 11 …shall not be hurt of the second death. 17 …will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it. 26,27 …will I give power over the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. 5 …shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. Revelation 2:7,11,17, 26-27; 3:5

We are little more than half way through the Lord’s promises to his overcomers, but this should be sufficient for you to see that they are very specific, wonderful, and amazing. Being a kingdom built on love, you see that the Lord prefers to put a carrot before his servants, rather than a stick. As it says,

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a REWARDER of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:6

This reward system for passing the tests at a particularly level belongs to the teaching of the doctrine of “baptisms,” one of the seven foundational doctrines of our faith (Heb 6:1,2). Our initial baptism is our faith declaration of our personal and eternal inclusion in the death of Christ (Rom 6:3; Col 2:12). Our subsequent baptisms are the life experiences of immersions into troubles, which lead to a greater knowledge and testimony of God, and a greater capacity to manifest his glory in this world. In other words, whereas you may have been a thirty watt witness before your latest baptism, when you come out, you’ll be a forty watt witness. And so on and so on, until we shine with the brightness of a 100 watt bulb. As the word says, we increase “from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2Cor 3:18).

In God’s school of life and glory, there are 10 levels and 10 tests. Ten is God’s number for “natural, ordinal, and cyclical completeness.” This is divulged in Revelation 2:10 which says, “That ye may be tried… ye shall have tribulation TEN days: be thou faithful unto death.” Not to be simplistic, or overly literalistic where not warranted, but this is an actual and total number of periods of testing possible in a Christian’s life.

Naturally and of course, not all Christians will experience this full array of testing. Jesus alluded to this when he said that we must patiently “bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred” (Mark 4:20). How bright will you shine? My prayer is that you will be steadily growing and glowing as you climb God’s kingdom ladder — Jacob’s Ladder. Meet the daunting tests of life as one who is motivated by God’s love and rewards. The love of God nourish your heart.