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 Revelation Chapter 14 (Part 62) (From verse 14 continued...)

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Revelation Chapter 14 (Part 62) (From verse 14 continued...) Empty
PostSubject: Revelation Chapter 14 (Part 62) (From verse 14 continued...)   Revelation Chapter 14 (Part 62) (From verse 14 continued...) EmptySun Dec 31, 2017 12:40 am

Revelation Chapter 14 (Part 62) (From verse 14 continued...)

The Roman Catholic Church will survive the Rapture. It will be present throughout the Tribulation up to the end of Revelation chapter 14. Last time we identified that it is the Roman Catholic Church that is called the “weeds” in Matthew 13; they are called the “goats” in Matthew 25; and they are called the “clusters of grapes” in Revelation 14. Today we will continue our study and see more details from the Bible that explains this. I used to wonder why it seems that the Rapture itself doesn’t convert many non-Christians to Christianity. Imagine the Rapture from the perspective of a non-Christian. My original assumption was that once a non-Christian sees all Christians float up to the sky and disappear that he or she would question the common thread of who disappeared. When the non-Christian discovers that it was only Christians who disappeared, then he or she would at that moment realize that Christianity is the real religion and convert. But not that many will convert as a result of missing Christians. In the mind of a non-Christian at that time, they will consider that not “all” Christians got raptured because they will still be looking at the Roman Catholic Church just after the Rapture. Today, most non-Christians don’t understand the important distinctions between Christians and Catholics and just group us all as Christians. We should review the distinctions here. The main distinctions are that they do not fully trust the Cross for their salvation. They trust in their works to get them saved. They have a list of duties that they must comply with in order to, according to their doctrine, become saved; and, they must continue these to remain saved—this is as opposed to Christians, who put their full trust and faith in Jesus Christ and that He paid our sin debt in full and that we are not able to add to it at all with our works. Catholics also worship Mary. By worshipping Mary that creates a false deity; and God said that we shall have no other gods beside Him. And finally, Catholics hold the Pope’s word as equal to God’s Word, which is bad in and of itself, but that also adds to the legalism that they have incorporated. The Pope is able to add new laws. Actually, it is worse than that because the Pope sometimes has the authority to override what Scripture says and create a new precedence and doctrine that contradicts Scripture. I just wanted to point out that the fact that the Roman Catholic Church will survive the Rapture will likely confuse many non-Christians who are not Catholic because they will mistakenly have in mind that not all Christians got Raptured for whatever reason. Paul did say that God will send a strong delusion to keep many non-Christians from finding salvation during the Tribulation (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12). The presence of the Catholic Church just might be that delusion.

I know we haven’t yet delved into the passage we are supposed to be studying, which is Revelation 14:14-20; but, rather, we have been studying other passages of the Bible that discuss the same event as that in Revelation 14. Before we actually delve into Revelation 14:14-20, let’s first continue looking at the other passages that refer to this event.

A close study of Scripture shows that at the last judgment, Christians and non-Christians will not be judged together. We will have 2 separate judgments. Revelation 20:11-15 speaks of the Great White Throne Judgment. No Christian will be in attendance at this judgment. Only non-Christians will be there. Christians will undergo a judgment of their own. Romans 2:6 says, “God will judge each person according to what he has done.” At some point, all Christians will be at the judgment seat of God to account for his or her works and we will each be both judged and rewarded in that day. Christians have their judgment while the 7 year Tribulation is occurring. God will judge first the Jew then the Gentile together during the Tribulation, and then the non-Christian at the end of the Tribulation. But yet, there are some passages that seem to depict that the Christian and non-Christian are being judged together. This includes the Sheep and the Goats judgment of Matthew 25. All of these occurrences where it seems that the Christian and non-Christian are judged together are actually referring to the specific judgment of Revelation 14:14-20, which is the only time Christians and non-Christians will be mingled and God has to separate them. And by the way, even though God separates them and kills the non-Christians in Revelation 14:17-20, the souls of those non-Christians are still not judged until Revelation 20:11-15. They are judged (with a bodily execution) while alive in the flesh in Revelation 14:17-20; their souls, however, will be judged in Revelation 20:11-15.

Matthew 7:21-23 is certainly one of the most misused, misinterpreted, and misapplied passages of the Bible. It is often (incorrectly) used to prove that Christians can lose his or her salvation and that salvation is dependent upon our obedience to Jesus. That interpretation flagrantly contradicts Ephesians 2:8-9. Let’s back up and start at Matthew 7:15. It says, “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” Jesus says that false prophets look like sheep because they are wearing sheep’s clothes on the outside, masking who they really are. False prophets, in order to trick sheep, often use some truth. If false prophets spoke using complete lies they won’t fool too many people, so they use some truth to lure in the weak and immature. False prophets often use Scripture and then tweak it for their own purpose and agenda. Verse 16 says, “By their fruit you will recognize them.” Wow, the Bible contradicts the old adage: “You can’t judge a book by its cover”—the Bible says, “Yes, you can.”

The verse continues: “Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?” These are 2 distinct species. Grapes do not grow on thornbushes, nor do figs grow on thistles. He is going to say that good fruit and bad fruit come from 2 distinct trees. Verse 17: “Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.” This is interesting. Jesus says that a good tree is not capable of bearing bad fruit, nor is a bad tree capable of bearing good fruit. The nature of a good tree prevents it from bearing bad fruit; and the nature of a bad tree prevents it from bearing good fruit. A good tree does not have the capacity to be evil. And an evil tree does not have the capacity to be good. A mature fruit producing Christian does not have the capacity to be evil or to have a flagrantly evil tendency. Verse 19 says, “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” “Fire” in the Bible often means judgment. Most often it does not refer to “The Lake of Fire.” Many interpreters often assume that it does. God will judge every tree that does not bear good fruit. This is true for both the Christian tree and the non-Christian tree. God will break fellowship and send His fire of discipline to His own Christian children who do not produce any fruit—they are useless to Him until they mature and stop living for themselves only. Non-Christians never produce fruit and they will receive a different type of fiery judgment—not because of their lack of fruit, but because of their lack of atonement for their sin.

And by the way, technically, only a Christian can produce fruit (whether good or bad). A non-Christian, technically, is not able to produce any fruit at all. Fruit is work that is done to benefit the Kingdom of God. Bad fruit (technically speaking) is therefore a Kingdom-like work that has gone through the motions, but didn’t bring God glory. Preachers preaching just to receive the applause of man is an example of bad fruit. Peter lists a bunch of good fruit in 2 Peter 1:5 and says to add these to our faith. Peter shows us in that passage that fruit is distinct from our faith, which is why we are to add fruit to it. Faith is what saves, and we are commanded to produce fruit on top of that. Fruit is a work. Non-Christians don’t do works, rather, they can do deeds. Non-Christians can do good deeds, but they cannot do good works. A good deed is to benefit mankind; a good work is to benefit the Kingdom of God. A good deed’s goal is benevolence; a good work’s goal is to glorify Christ. In the context of this Matthew 7 passage, however, Jesus is indicating that a bad tree in His parable represents a false believer because He equates the bad tree with the false prophet.

Jesus goes on to say in verse 20: “Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.” Let me raise the question: If salvation is dependent on faith alone and not by works, how in the world is anyone able to recognize a true Christian since no one can see the heart of a man? Jesus gives the only way that we can recognize a true believer from a false one: He says that by their fruit, you will recognize them. If they produce evil fruit, you can assume that they are a bad tree, and therefore not a Christian. If they produce good fruit, then you can assume that they are likely Christian until they later prove otherwise. Jesus is pointing out how to recognize obvious Christians; and how to recognize obvious non-Christians. An apple is obviously an apple if you look at an apple. There is no mistaking an apple for a tenderloin. If you do not see fruit from a Christian, there is no telling what that person is. There are Christians who do not show fruit publicly. Secret agent Christians keep their fruit to themselves. There are evil non-Christians who can keep their evil fruit to themselves. Only when we see the fruit are we able to make an assumption. Proverbs 20:11 says, “Even a child is known by his actions, by whether his conduct is pure and right.” And Proverbs 24:8 says, “He who plots evil will be known as a schemer.” Jesus says in John 13:34-35, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Here, Jesus says that the way that you and I can become an obvious Christian where all men will know that we are disciples of Jesus, is if we love one another. Ultimately, only God knows the heart of man, and we can never be certain of another’s salvation unless we hear them speak their beliefs and weigh that against the Word of God.

Now we come to Matthew 7:21, which reads, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in Heaven.” It is important to understand the Kingdom of Heaven in order to fully understand this verse. I have an entire series dedicated to the Kingdom of Heaven. Please confer with that series. A quick summary is follows: no non-Christian will ever be in the Kingdom of Heaven (all non-Christians will be in the Lake of Fire); and not all Christians will be in the Kingdom of Heaven either. The Kingdom of Heaven is an agenda, but it is also a specific place. The Kingdom of Heaven is the New Jerusalem city on the New Earth. To be able to enter this Kingdom of Heaven city requires a pattern of obedience to God’s Word in this lifetime. It requires just what this verse says that it requires. It requires that we do the will of His Father who is in Heaven. This verse confuses many Christian interpreters who try to conclude from this verse that salvation is by works and not by faith alone (or some combination of the two). Paul makes it clear that salvation is by faith alone and not by works so that no one can boast. Salvation is by faith alone, but to be able to enter the Kingdom of Heaven City, the New Jerusalem, that does require obedience and works. Heaven for the saved extends beyond the Kingdom of Heaven. Everywhere outside of the New Jerusalem is free territory for all Christians on the New Earth.

Jesus gives an example in the next verse. Matthew 7:22 says, “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?” Verse 23: “Then I will tell them plainly, I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers.” Verses 22-23 is the same event of Revelation 14:17-20, which we will be looking at soon. Notice a few takeaways. We see this is a religious judgment, for the people addresses Jesus as “Lord”; and, they appeal to their religious efforts for their defense. This is not the judgement of atheists, or even Muslims. Muslims do not drive out demons in His name. The Harvest of the Earth Judgement is a judgment of the religious order that invokes the name of Jesus. Everything in this passage points particularly to Catholics. These people are appealing to their works to save them. They try to remind Jesus of their prophesying and miracles using His name. And more than any other denomination, Catholics are known for having the formula to cast out demons with their exorcism rituals, which they invoke the name of Jesus to do it. Catholicism is also known for performing many miracles. Again, this passage is not describing an atheist, or even a Baptist. Only Catholics fit perfectly into these statements. Why would Jesus not know them? He would not know them because they have never put their full faith and trust in His finished work on the Cross. They trusted in their works. These people didn’t lose their salvation—they never had it, for Jesus said, “I never knew you.” It’ll be too late, but what they should be saying in this judgment is, “Lord, we have no righteousness in and of ourselves and are guilty of all judgment from God, but we put our full faith and confidence in the finished work that you paid for us on the Cross through your death and resurrection to take away our sins.” At the Cross, Jesus put our sins on Himself and through the Resurrection He put His righteousness on us, and He remains righteous.

All religions that do not invoke the name of Jesus will be allowed to continue through the end of the Tribulation (the entire 7 years). Muslims, Jehovah Witnesses, atheists, agnostics, Hinduism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, etc., will continue throughout the full 7 years. Jesus interrupts the Tribulation around the first 3 1/2 years to judge only those who invoke His name and to weed out the true ones from the false ones, and the false ones are destroyed at this time. The true ones will get raptured up so that they will not experience the worst of what is still to come. Jesus said that for the sake of the elect, their days will be shortened so that they won’t experience the Great Tribulation (Matt 24:22). “Shortened” meaning “Get raptured up.” Before we actually cover our passage in Revelation 14, I’d like to revisit the Sheep and the Goats passage in Matthew 25 next time.

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Revelation Chapter 14 (Part 62) (From verse 14 continued...)
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