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2009-02-23_1049_BangaloreGarbageHeaps

Today’s post will deal with what Revelation 13 calls the the first and second beasts, one of which is also called “the man of lawlessness” (2 Thessalonians 2:3) and “the antichrist” (1 John 4:3), who must appear before Jesus returns. Read the rest of this entry »

2009-02-23_1049_BangaloreGarbageHeaps

In the last three posts, we’ve been looking at an event that Scripture tells us must occur before Jesus returns: the coming of someone called the man of lawlessness or the man of sin. We’ve considered the truth that in the Bible lawlessness usually means moral laxity and sin, both of which are increasing in the world. We’ve also looked at passages in Revelation that indicate this man of lawlessness, called the second beast in Revelation, will make war with Christians, defeat them, and enforce economic control over the world. He will force people to worship an image he makes. We put forth the prediction that in order for an individual to be invested with such economic and political power, turning-the-world-on-its-head events must occur in order to precipitate that investment. People and nations do not easily give up their sovereignty. When the two beasts show up in Revelation 13, if the Book of Revelation has proceeded chronologically, some terrible things have already happened on the earth, catastrophic events: earthquakes and plagues to name only two. The world will be yearning for a deliver.

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2009-02-23_1049_BangaloreGarbageHeaps

In his second letter to Christians in a city called Thessalonica, the Apostle Paul wrote about a man of lawlessness who must appear before Jesus returns.

“Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 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 Thessalonians 2:3–4).1
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2009-02-23_1049_BangaloreGarbageHeaps

After last week’s post about the coming of the man of lawlessness, a good friend questioned whether the moral lawlessness we are witnessing now is worse than in previous generations or that it just seems so because of the availability of the media. My friend has a good point. Broadcast news is available almost everywhere on the planet twenty-four hours a day. This has never been the case in the history of the world. Therefore, it’s difficult to determine if our knowledge of pervasive evil has increased just because we know more about it via the media or if it is just the way it has always been. The interest in this issue among followers of Jesus Christ is understandable. Every generation of Christians, I suppose, has thought theirs is the last—the New Testament writers did. Paul, Peter, and John wrote in their letters instructions to their readers about this time to come.

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2009-02-23_1049_BangaloreGarbageHeaps

My original intention for this week’s post was to bring up another crazy thing Christians think, but another pressing matter is at hand. That critical matter has to do with the biblical truth about what must occur before Jesus returns: the appearance of what Paul called “the man of lawlessness” or “the son of destruction.”

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We have come to the last two verses of Jesus’ letter to the church at Laodicea: “The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” Revelation 3:21-22).1

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In Jesus’ letter to the Laodicean church, He told them, first, that the answer to their miserable spiritual condition was to buy of Him gold tried with fire. This wealthy church’s initial step was to move toward a life of sacrificial discipleship. This truth is not new in the teaching of Jesus. He told us in Luke 14 that we could not be His disciples unless we gave up everything, including our own lives. As these well-to-do Laodicean Christians moved in this direction, they would do so prayerfully, while obeying Jesus’s second command in this letter: buy of Him white garments. Understanding the true nature of their righteousness—that they had the righteousness of Jesus, through grace and faith, since they had none of our own—would keep them from becoming self-righteously legalistic in living lives of sacrifice and self-denial.

So, now we come to Jesus’s third command: The Laodiceans should buy eye salve from Jesus so that they could see.

Wasn’t embarking upon a life of sacrifice and understanding one’s need for the righteousness of Jesus seeing clearly enough?

Apparently not.

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In the last post, we looked at how Jesus gave the Christians at Laodicea the first remedy for their blind, miserable, and pitiable condition: Buy of Him gold tried by fire. It seems to be apparent that the way we do that is by prayerfully pursuing a life of sacrifice, living as soldiers, as Paul wrote to Timothy. After entering into that pursuit, Jesus next tells the Laodiceans to buy “white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen” (Revelation 3:18).1

This statement shouldn’t surprise us, since He has already told these believers that they’re naked—they just don’t know it. They should be ashamed of that nakedness, but they’re oblivious to it. Before we discuss how we Christians could be so clueless, let’s talk briefly about white clothing.

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In the last post, we looked at Revelation 3:14-22 and how Jesus was not satisfied with the ministry that He was receiving from the people in the church at Laodicea. When He took a drink of them, they were neither refreshingly hot nor cold, so He spit them out. Why? The Laodiceans were very satisfied with their wealth. Those riches had made them complacent. They didn’t think they needed anything. However, Jesus told them that in reality they were “wretched, poor, pitiable, blind and naked.”1

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If you’ve been a Christian for a while, it’s quite possible that you’ve heard a message from this passage of Scripture:

“And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation. I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent (Revelation 3:14–19).1

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