In-depth study of the seven Churches of Revelations. Drawing on your own personal relationship with God’s Holy Spirit to stir and cause maturity in the body of Christ in true, sincere preparation for her coming King.
YouTuber John Stapleton shares his fourth teaching on the Advent Series.
The Eternal Gospel
Last time, we saw the rise of a demonically empowered government that is backed by a another false prophet who deceived people with miraculous signs and forcing everyone to receive the mark of the beast. It also killed the saints. It was a bleak picture without God. However, the point was that God works behind the scenes. That’s at the forefront today.
The scene opens up with “the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion” (Rev 14:1). The Lamb is the last animal mentioned left standing. He’s also on Mount Zion. Think of Zion as heaven on earth, the place where God is (Heb 12:22). He is surrounded by his Church (though some would argue that the 144,000 are only Israelites), and they are singing to the Lamb “a new song” (Rev 14:3) because God is doing a new thing.
The scene switches from earth to heaven as an angel proclaims “the eternal gospel” (Rev 14:6). The inhabitants of the earth are instructed to “fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water” (Rev 14:7). God is both Creator and Judge. People are to worship God because as the Creator, he has sovereign rights over what he created. He created to life to work the way he alone has designed it. This is a gospel not only of salvation but judgment as well.
CONCLUSION: The Lamb is the last beast to stand. It’s intriguing that the singing comes before the proclamation of the gospel which preludes God’s wrath. Hang on to your joy and hope by singing.
YouTuber John Stapleton shares Part 3 of his Advent series. He opens up and unpacks Revelation 13:11-18 and The Mark Of The Beast. Bringing up topics of government, history, false miracles and deceptions.
1). The Satanic Government (Rev 13:1-4)
The first character that Revelation 13 introduces us to is the Sea Beast. This beast a an absolute parody of the Lion of Judah. It “was like a leopard… its mouth was like a lion’s mouth” (Rev 13:2).
It also mimics the Lamb in worship. The people, blinded by their zeal, ask, “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?” (Rev 13:4). This line of praise is stolen verbatim from the exodus story, after God rescued Israel from Egypt: “Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?” (Exodus 15:11).
Thirdly, it mocks the Lamb by the appearance of power: “To it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority” (Rev 13:2). Again, a similar verse appears earlier in Revelation in reference to the Lamb: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” (Rev 5:12).
2). Blasphemies Against God (Rev 13:5-8)
The next thing to notice is the blasphemy, the blatant disrespect, irreverence for God. In an intriguing cross-reference, Paul describes the man of lawlessness (also known as the antichrist) as one “who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God” (2 Thess 2:4). Perhaps the blasphemy of the beast is claiming that he himself is god. The point is, that this beast is extremely sacrilegious; the repetition of blasphemy demonstrates the point that this beast hates anyone and everything that is affiliated with God.
3). A Call for the Saints (Rev 13:9-11)
Church and state will never get along. As long as a government does not worship Jesus, we will have trouble. The devil hates God and he hates us; it is not lost on me that even though God placed government over us, these governments often serve Satan, as he uses them to beat up and harass God’s Church. This historically leads to many Christians dying for their faith (like the story we find in Daniel 3).
This “is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints” (Rev 13:10). Faith is confident assurance that God rules and has victory and power over Satan. The idea behind endurance is courageously bearing up under suffering. The point is, death is how we conquer. Dying in faith is actually a victory!
4). The False Prophet (Rev 13:11-18)
The first beast represents godless governments. The second beast here represents the false prophet. Read this passage and you’ll see that he is quite the evangelist for Satan.
“It exercises all the authority of the first beast” (Rev 13:12).
It “makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast” (Rev 13:12).
“It performs great signs” (Rev 13:13).
“It deceives those who dwell on earth” (Rev 13:14).
“It was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast” (Rev 13:15).
It causes “those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain” (Rev 13:15).
“Also it causes all… to be marked… (with) the number of its name” (Rev 13:16-17).
Satan mimics everything God does. It looks like he is winning because of all the evil and because we don’t see God.
I challenge you to consider all the times the text today said that the beast was allowed to something. He was allowed to deceive, allowed to kill the saints, allowed to be powerful – allowed. Nothing, not even the most primal evil, happens apart from God’s permission. God is the only one with true and enduring power!
Is life hard? Do you feel opposed? Those are dumb questions – of course you can’t catch a break. Life is hard and you are opposed. That’s the big idea for today: Satan puts up a fight but he has lost.
The first thing we see in Revelation 12:7-17, is that God has an enemy. John really wants us to know who this enemy is, so he goes by five names:
The Great Dragon
The Ancient Serpent
The Devil and Satan
All these names basically communicate two things about the enemy: He deceives us and then he accuses us. He tempts us and then he tries to bad-mouth us to God, bringing up true ways we have sinned. Think of Job. God and the angels were having a meeting in heaven when Satan shows up. Then, he began to accuse Job of impure motives, saying that he only worshipped God because of what he did for Job (Job 1:9-11).
Following the story from last week, Jesus had already lived, died, and rose. He reigns now and since he rules, the accuser no longer has free access into the court of heaven to accuse the children of God. John says it like this in another place:
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. (1 John 2:1 ESV)
Jesus paid it all! I’ve heard it said that when the devil accuses us before God, Jesus stretches his nail-scarred hands showing that he took our place. After studying this passage, I no don’t believe that is true because the accuser no longer has access to heaven. He may accuse us in our own self-demeaning thoughts about ourselves, but he cannot bring a case before God. I believe I agree with Paul when he said:
Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. (Romans 8:33-34 ESV)
Jesus intercedes for us as we pray and go about living our lives, but he doesn’t pay the devil the time of day. He’s got bigger fish to fry. I know this because the text here says that he’s also given us gifts. What gifts are you excited about? What do you expect to get? What’s at the top of your wish list? Have you thought about what God has given you? If you started, the list is endless (and I speak for everyone).
For today however, we see that God in Jesus has given us salvation. Another word for salvation is security. This isn’t the absence of conflict or a hard life, but a confidence that God will never fail. It’s not about the strength of your faith but the strength of the object of your faith. In short, I fail often, but God will never fail!
He has also have with us the power of God, the kingdom of God, and the authority of Christ. This power is active. If you wonder what God is doing, you can be sure that he is at work, regardless of if you see him or not. (In fact, next week is called God in the Background!) His kingdom mean God is sovereign – that he rules over everything (as we saw last week in Revelation 12:5). The authority of Christ is the same kind of language as sovereign. Despite the dragon’s attempt to take Jesus out, Jesus still rules.
In conclusion, we can rejoice with heaven this holiday season because our enemy has been defeated by heaven and has been conquered by the Church.
I was having a conversation with some of my “brothers of the faith” about church. One of these brothers has been doing a deep study of the book of Revelation. He brought up the seven angels of the seven churches in Revelation 2 & 3. If you’re unfamiliar, Jesus sends these angels with a warning against the churches some are rumoured to be ‘alive’ in faith, but are dead.
This is what was brought up against me in our discussion:
Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far 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. But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. (Rev. 2:4-6)
This was the angel sent to the church in Ephesus. The church in Ephesus was supposedly very focused on God with a very ‘holier than though’ attitude. As we read, they hated the practices of the Nicolaitans.
So, I asked this brother, “What are you saying? I love God and I try to take care of those in need. But I cannot compromise the Gospel message of repentance to make the masses feel better.”
I explained it this way:
“A person goes to the doctor. The doctor says, ‘I’ve seen your blood work and your charts. Your cholesterol is high. If you don’t stop eating salts and red meat, you’re going to die.”
The brother commented that if we are truly born of the Spirit, we shouldn’t speak in parables. But that’s another topic to discuss later.
My point, however, was that the patient has essentially two option:
The patient can say, “Well, Doc. I don’t believe in your medicine and your analysis. I’m going to eat what I want, when I want. And if I die, so be it.” OR
The patient can say, “Thank you, doctor, for taking the time to examine me and tell me what’s wrong. I will do the best I can to limit my salts and red meat.”
What that patient CANNOT say is, “This doctor is a hateful, red meat-a-phobe, salt-a-phobe, biggot.”
The brother concluded that this same example can be used that if the doctor is rude and straightforward, the patient will never return.
So, let us conclude with:
Jesus Christ Was An Utter Failure
In John 6:1-15, Jesus feeds the hungry people following him. Verse 10 says that there was about 5,000 men (not including women and children).
The next day, the crowd found him on the other side of the lake (John 6:25). While they came for food (John 6:26), Jesus began to teach them and many left (John 6:66). Finally, Jesus’s crowd was left to 12:
“You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. (John 6:67)
That is a horrible number. From 5000 to 12 is a loss of 4,988 people. I can hear the church group now, “Hey Jesus. Lighten up. You’ve offended the audience.”
Imagine if Joel Osteen invited you to preach in his mega church, easily holding 5,000 people. After preaching the Word of God, the auditorium is empty aside from 12 people. You would never be asked to speak again.
Note that I don’t encourage listening or reading Joel Osteen’s books. In fact, as I said, if he or anyone genuinely preaches the Word of God for truth, you will likely lose most of your audience by next Sunday.
I conclude with saying that I worship God for who He is. I was a man lost in sin and the Word of God gave me direction. And while the Word of God also condemned, the Works of Christ gave me hope that His death on the cross brought me back to the Father.
Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. (John 17:3)
Christian YouTuber, John Stapleton shares on Systemic Oppression and Systemic Racism. John references the story of Daniel (Daniel 4), Revelation 17 & 18 and Romans 12 in an aim to connect how Christian values come together with political opinions.