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Recently, we have been looking at the days of yet-to-come-already-here lawlessness. In this article we will look at a related issue—the most important issue—Jesus’ return. Our first stop will be to proclaim the truth that Jesus will return soon. (Some will scoff at this proclamation. Thank you for that. You just fulfilled prophecy: “They will say, ‘Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation’” (2 Peter 3:4)).1 Perhaps other readers will expect me to back up my claim concerning Jesus’ return with some kind of prediction. No, I’m just repeating Jesus’ own words. He said He would return soon three times in the last chapter of the last book of the Bible. In fact, He said it in the next to the last verse in the last chapter of the last book of the Bible (Revelation 22:20). From Jesus’ eternal point of view, “soon,” is over two thousand years. “But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Peter 3:8).

The universal truth for Christians throughout the centuries has been that since we don’t know how “soon” “soon” is, we should consider His return imminent. Jesus taught us this. “Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Matthew 24:42–44). This is a reiteration of His admonition at the end of the parable of the ten virgins, five of whom were not ready for the bridegroom’s coming. “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour” (Matthew 25:13).

However, Jesus is also coming quickly. The Bible translators have most often interpreted the Greek word “tachys” as “soon” in the 22nd chapter of Revelation, although in all the other passages in the New Testament, this same Greek word is translated “quickly.” I do not know the reason for this differentiation. But Paul wrote, “Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night” (1 Thessalonians 5:1–2). And Peter wrapped it all up nicely. “But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed” (2 Peter 3:8–10).

I don’t think it’s a stretch to maintain that there is little difference between coming “like a thief in the night” and coming “quickly.” In other words, the event will be over before we will have had opportunity to respond.

Concerning His coming quickly, I would like to add two testimonies of experiences of people that I know. The first is from a Christian brother and friend, now deceased, who once told me that as he was walking down a rural road near his hometown, he had the strong, strange sense that all he was beholding on this walk would one day change, be momentously different, in ways he could not fathom, from what he now saw—in an instant.

The other witness is my wife, who is not given over to Pentecostal extremism in any way whatsoever. This event occurred around thirty years ago when we were pastoring a small church in eastern Washington State. She dreamt she was standing at the kitchen sink, washing dishes. There is a nice view of fields and mountains from that window. Suddenly, she saw the mountains split in two and coming through that opening was Jesus. Jesus was returning. Everything changed in that one moment. He was here, and everything was about to change forever. Who you were at moment was, well, who you were. No time or opportunity to change anything. This was it.

Those who know me and read this blog know that I do not promote visions or revelations that people claim are from the Lord unless there is biblical evidence for them. I believe the God-given experiences that these two faithful saints meet that standard.

Jesus is coming soon. And quickly. Christians, we need to be ready. He will return at an hour we do not expect.

“And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming” (1 John 2:28).

I echo Brother John’s response to Jesus at the end of the Book of Revelation when He proclaimed He was coming soon: “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20).

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

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In 1 Thessalonians, Paul wrote about the mystery of lawlessness and a coming man who would embody it. A man of lawlessness is not difficult for us to imagine. The world has witnessed many of them throughout its history.

But lawlessness—why is it a mystery? Sin seems straightforward. A person tells a lie, commits murder, or adultery, evidence abounds, and he or she is guilty. What is mysterious about that? The Holy Spirit did not inspire Paul to elaborate on this subject, but perhaps as we investigate we will discover some clarity concerning the mysterious nature of sin. Nevertheless, but let me be clear that what I write is speculative.

Let’s look at the greatest crime in human history: The murder of Jesus, Immanuel, the Creator-in-the-flesh. In Jesus’ life and ministry, He had done nothing wrong and nothing at all that should have merited punishment by a government official. He told only the truth. He did only good. His “sin” was that He had challenged the Jewish religious leaders, but He broke no religious or civil laws. The Jews’ massive problems with Him were that they said He violated the Sabbath, of which He claimed to be Lord, had table fellowship with sinners, and claimed to be equal with God by saying He was His Son. The final straw was His announcement, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19).

All these assertions were true, but the Jews were blind to those truths, and God’s prophesied plan had to be realized. The Jewish leaders knew how much the people loved Him and therefore could not harm Him outright. So, they brought Jesus to the reigning civil authority, the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate as part of their plan to eliminate Him. They accused Him of breaking their laws, and, finally, of being an enemy of Rome. Pilate, however, could find no guilt in Him. In response to their insistent calls to crucify Him, he asked them the third time,

Why? What evil has he done? I have found in him no guilt deserving death. I will therefore punish and release him (Luke 23:22).1

Pilate knew the Jews had brought Jesus to him out of envy, and his wife had warned him to leave Him alone.

For he knew that it was out of envy that they had delivered him up. Besides, while he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I have suffered much because of him today in a dream” (Matthew 27:18–19).

Pilate then gave the Jewish leaders an opportunity to release Jesus.

Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release for the crowd any one prisoner whom they wanted (Matthew 27:15).

Instead, the Jewish leaders called for the release of a murderer and a thief.

It became clear that nothing Pilate said or offered would mollify the Jewish leaders.

So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves” (Matthew 27:24).

There is mystery here. In this case, a lawful man, Jesus, was found lawfully innocent of breaking any law by the powerful civil authority, Pontius Pilate. Regardless, Pilate, fulfilling his role of judge, ordered the lawful Man to be lawlessly murdered.

This made sense to everyone. Lawlessness “won,” in the way man thinks.

Good—Jesus, God in the flesh—became evil.

Evil—murder, the breaker of God’s command—became good.

Let’s look at a more contemporary case. Abortion.

In our sinful world, a woman finds herself in a predicament when she is pregnant with an unplanned or inconvenient child. The solution: kill the baby. In most of the history of the United States, this was a sin and an illegal act. However, the explosion of “free sex” in the 1960’s resulted in a multitude of unwanted pregnancies. Abortion was a dangerous, unsanitary, back-alley business. The solution was to legalize abortion. Thus, the case for killing innocent children was brought before the Supreme Court.

Here is the logic of that case. When a woman becomes pregnant, the baby cannot survive on its own outside his or her mother. Therefore, the infant is not a person. It is still a part of the mother’s body. The government cannot force a woman to do something with her body that she does not want. If a woman has a cancerous or benign tumor, for example, the government cannot forbid her from having it removed. It is a civil rights issue. It’s her body, and she has a right to do make choices concerning it and her well-being. So, the Lord’s just law prohibiting murder was overthrown by human logic and civil rights.

Here is the mystery: Murder, again, is declared lawful and good; even necessary. People attempting to preserve God’s law of forbidding murder are accused of wanting to deny human rights and are therefore misogynistic, bigoted, and fascistic.

Evil is good. Good is evil.

This makes sense to the majority of the population of the Untied States.

The mystery of lawlessness is already at work, and the one who restrains it is being taken out of the way. Good will continue to become evil. Evil will continue to become good. The man of lawlessness, who will embody that mystery, will be revealed some day. And, when that time comes, the evil that he does will make sense to almost everyone.


1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Gif courtesy Bing images.


A thought popped into my head a few days ago. I am not claiming it was from God, but it caught my attention and stimulated spiritual and biblical considerations. Like you, many ideas shoot through my brain. Most quickly die a natural death. Some are stored away for a time to come; some good, some evil, and some just neutral. The good and neutral may require further study. The evil ones must be dealt with and rejected. Some grab my attention because they are interesting. It is into this last category my recent thought fell.

As of today, we are living within the tsunami of the corona virus plague. I use the word plague because it is a biblical word, and it refers to a time of suffering and upheaval. All plagues, to be clear, are not diseases. The ten plagues that the Lord brought to Egypt included darkness, lice, frogs, and hail. The sending of enormous hailstones upon the earth is referred to as a plague in Revelation 16:21. Since the onslaught of the pandemic, not only have people died, much of the world has shut down economically. The stock market has tanked. Millions are out of work. I bring all this up because the thought that went through my head was something like, “I wonder if the fall of Babylon will be something like what is happening now?”

The fall of Babylon is mentioned four times in the Book of Revelation (chapters 14, 16 and 17), but the most detailed account is in Chapter 18. Here are two portions that specifically deal with the economics of that fall:

“And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn for her, since no one buys their cargo anymore, cargo of gold, silver, jewels, pearls, fine linen, purple cloth, silk, scarlet cloth, all kinds of scented wood, all kinds of articles of ivory, all kinds of articles of costly wood, bronze, iron and marble, cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, frankincense, wine, oil, fine flour, wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and slaves, that is, human souls” (Revelation 18:11–13).1

“The merchants of these wares, who gained wealth from her, will stand far off, in fear of her torment, weeping and mourning aloud, ‘Alas, alas, for the great city that was clothed in fine linen, in purple and scarlet, adorned with gold, with jewels, and with pearls! For in a single hour all this wealth has been laid waste’” (Revelation 18:15–17).

No reason is given for the demise of Babylon in any of the chapters in which it appears, but in its earliest appearance in Revelation, it occurs after the revealing of the beasts in Chapter 13. At this point—and let’s be clear that chronology in the Book of Revelation is like a winding staircase—plagues have already struck the earth. The point is that Babylon’s fall didn’t happen in a vacuum, and neither is the commercial cataclysm that we are experiencing today.

Those passages from Revelation 18 sound eerily familiar, but this current financial distress is not the fall we see there. The conditions don’t match. However, the interesting, arresting thought that day came trailing a galaxy of questions. Well, not a galaxy—more like a small solar system. Questions, such as, “How will you respond when everything falls apart economically in that day?” and “Do you presume to think that Christians, including you, are immune to this catastrophic event?” “What will you do when money fails?” “How much trust are you putting in riches?”

These are challenging questions, but the Bible provides the answers.

Scripture does not condemn riches, but it warns us about them. In the verse below, we see that riches are contrasted with righteousness. In the Old Testament, righteousness refers to loving God and neighbor, the two greatest commandments.

“Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death” (Proverbs 11:4). That “death” would be of the eternal kind. This verse offers a massive contrast between loving riches and loving the Lord and others.

In the light of this truth, consider Jesus’ admonition in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. The rich man spent his wealth on fine clothing and an abundance of food. He cared nothing about the poverty and suffering of Lazarus and did not let a coin fall from his hand to help him. He was concerned only about himself and was not rich toward God (Luke 12:21). That covetousness and lack of care had to do with the absence of his relationship with a just and loving God. Eventually, Lazarus died and went to “Abraham’s side,” and the rich man died and ended up in Hades (Luke 16:19-31).

As it was written, “Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.”

Lord, today and in any economically difficult days to come, help us to love You and not temporary riches, which cannot save and will cause us to fall. As we trust, help us to care about others and not only ourselves.


1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Gif courtesy Bing images.



From my very first days as a Christian, the Lord embedded me in the Pentecostal/Charismatic church, and I thank Him for it. In my years there, I heard many prophecies. I can remember almost nothing of those given publicly, but I would say that most of them—perhaps all of them—were encouraging and uplifting. As I have continued to learn Scripture, however, I found that my position on the nature of prophecy has changed. In both the Old and New Testaments, prophecies are not always encouraging and uplifting. On a personal note, this was gratifying as well, since most of the prophecies or words I had been given were not positive.

Pentecostals/Charismatics today hold to the position that prophecies are positive, I think, because of this passage:

The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church (1 Corinthians 14:4). 1

However, I now think that we have misunderstood the complete meaning of prophecy.

Prophecy is both negative and positive.

The negative usually comes first.

For example, all throughout the book of Jeremiah, the Lord told the prophet many times that He was going to send sword, famine, and pestilence upon Judah because they had forsaken Him. However, He often pronounced positives like this:

Then I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. I will set shepherds over them who will care for them, and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall any be missing, declares the LORD (Jeremiah 23:3–4).

Bad news. Good news.

Terrible, suffering news. Good news, which ultimately builds up the Church because it brings hope to the sufferer, letting us know that He is the true sovereign of history and the Church. Thus, it’s true that prophecy is for the building up of the saints.

This truth brings us to another suffering, terrible word from Jeremiah that should make Christians more than a little uncomfortable. I was shaken when the truth of it was made known to me.

And when they ask you, ‘Where shall we go?’ you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD: “‘Those who are for pestilence, to pestilence, and those who are for the sword, to the sword; those who are for famine, to famine, and those who are for captivity, to captivity’” (Jeremiah 15:2).

God’s sovereign will is revealed here. If you’re destined for pestilence, for sword, for famine, or for captivity, that is what will happen to you. When we read this, we just think, “Wow. Those Jews in Judah really blew it when they disobeyed God. They were destined for pestilence, the sword, and famine.”

Well, it is more than that, because not all the Jews had forsaken God; nevertheless, all suffered this disquieting sovereign judgment. This should make Christians more than a tad uncomfortable because it is echoed in the Book of Revelation, and it concerns Christian believers. Look for the same words the Lord gave Jeremiah: captivity and sword. The “it” who makes war on the saints refers to a being that is called the “first beast.”

Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain. If anyone has an ear, let him hear: If anyone is to be taken captive, to captivity he goes; if anyone is to be slain with the sword, with the sword must he be slain. Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints (Revelation 13:7–10).

But then comes the positive. The end of the book of Revelation.

But believers will suffer before that ending. Bad news. Good news. The marriage supper of the Lamb. The new heaven and earth. The New Jerusalem.

Pentecostals, Charismatics, and Evangelicals may say, “We shall not suffer in this way. We are God’s children.”

But look at this passage from Ezekiel:

And the word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, when a land sins against me by acting faithlessly, and I stretch out my hand against it and break its supply of bread and send famine upon it, and cut off from it man and beast, even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver but their own lives by their righteousness, declares the Lord GOD” (Ezekiel 14:12–14).

Do you see the words, “when a land”? The Lord is not addressing Israel or Judah here. Even if Noah, Daniel, and Job were in this “land,” they would also suffer famine along with everyone else.

The Lord has some bad times coming for believers. Then some eternally wonderful positive-beyond-imagination times.

This is the nature of true prophecy.

Fellow believer, strengthen your relationship with the Lord. Stay awake. Strengthen your faith. Prepare to endure.


1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Gif courtesy


Yesterday, at our out-of-the-building church gathering—it was at a local grocery store in the deli-eating area—a man sitting nearby approached us. At the time, we were talking about the temple and the development of the rabbinical system. Laurie’s been studying about this lately. I wondered if that system arose in Judaism because there were no prophets. There hadn’t been for four hundred years until John the Baptist came on the scene. In a related way, I also wondered if rabbis arose because, in the absence of prophets, spiritual leadership no longer existed. That causes problems. “Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law” (Proverbs 29:18). 1 The man came up somewhere in the middle of this, saying he’d overheard us talking about prophets and stuff. As a footnote, let me add that people interacting with us in our public Bible studies is relatively rare. I’d say once a year. All the responses thus far have been positive.

This one was too, but it was extraordinary in character.

The man who began to talk to us looked like, well, a wizened cowboy without the boots and the buckle. His jeans were well-used, as was his flannel shirt. Perhaps a construction worker. He was missing a tooth. He talked about meeting people in the laundromat. He wasn’t a young fellow. Looked like he was in his fifties.

We talked for some time, but the gist of our conversation was this: Difficult times are coming, times of sorrow, but we are safe; safe in the Lord. He mentioned the account of the three Hebrews thrown into the furnace. Someone had mentioned to him years ago that these three men were safer in the furnace than they were anywhere else in the country. I had never heard this before, but it was a wonderful point well-taken. He said that what we are now experiencing is like a toilet paper roll unrolling. You don’t notice much change at first, but soon you’re at the end of the roll. Homespun (pardon the pun) metaphor, but effective.

We told him that we agreed. I told him that I hadn’t met many people who talked this way.

Several times in our conversation, he was so moved that he teared up. You know how guys tear up. They fight it, but their eyes get wet. Happens to me fairly often when I talk about the things of God. I don’t know why this man was so moved. The Holy Spirit?

I told him that part of my sorrow in this time-before-His-coming has been the slow declination of the United States. We are a post-Christian nation I said. Perhaps we have been for longer than we realize. Culture and tradition, Christian or not, only has so much strength. When they fail, all the hidden ickiness comes out into view.

We all agreed again, that despite the sorrow, we were safe in the Lord. It was good. The man maintained that we won’t even remember countries when we’re in heaven. I’d never thought about that, and it makes sense. All things will be made new. “And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true’” (Revelation 21:5).

We parted in friendship and gratitude for the fellowship.

All that we discussed is still true, here today, as I type this article.

The United States someday will no longer exist. Neither will England. Russia. Any other nation.

I love the country in which I live. I am thankful and appreciative that the Lord has provided for us here, in this place. I am thankful that Christians have been free to worship the Lord God freely.

Thus far.

We are noticing that that may be changing.

But we have fallen, fallen in terrible ways, and the falling has been slow but is now speeding up. In our history, we committed the terrible sins of slavery and mistreatment of Native Americans. We are still seeing the fruit of those sins today. Subsequently, we legalized the killing of unborn children. Then we legalized same-sex marriage, which to me is simply a symptom of the sinfulness of a culture. Gays and others should certainly have all the rights of other citizens. It’s just that it was never an issue before. Remember, we are a post-Christian culture.

One must wonder what will befall us next, how far we are from unrolling down to the nub. The consequences of this fallenness are huge, not just for Americans, but the world. We are the bastion of freedom in the world—a strong economic and military bastion. When we fall—and we will—it isn’t difficult to conceive that the whole world will be in a more dangerous and drastic condition.

However, we are safe, and will be safe in Him, as the visitor said. Woe to those who do not know that safety. They will have no refuge. They will have no peace. But Jesus will still be available. May those who do not know Him find Him today and in that day as well.

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

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Santa Fe High School. Another horrific shooting at another school in the United States. Why do people do such things? Speculation immediately begins about the shooter’s motive, and, as is usually the case, the picture is murky. So, with no callous intention or lack of compassion for suffering, I would like to offer my opinion about these terrible murders. It has to do with the age in which we live. It is an age that continues to slip into wickedness, which I think is a foretaste of the lawless one who is to come.

Now, I may be accused of being a Bible-thumping, apocalyptic (read “deranged”) Christian, but I don’t need an apokálypsis, which means revelation (Think that word has been compromised a bit?), to think this way. I just need Paul, who wrote that before Jesus returned, the lawless one must appear and the one who restrains will be taken out of the way (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12). So, do I believe Jesus will return? Yes. So, I also know at least these two things must occur.

But what does this mean, the lawless one? I once thought that the man of lawlessness would be a man of chaos. However, I think this no longer. Governments will always respond to chaos with restrictive power, to protect their own power. However, the word “lawless” in Scripture also means “sin” or “wickedness.” It is difficult to deny that sin is on the rise and has now been institutionalized in our governments. Thus, I think that the onslaught of wickedness we are experiencing is in preparation for this evil individual. Our moral condition will not improve (barring a continent-wide revival), although, certainly, we should try to restrain the decay with the power of the state as long as possible. However, the government of the U.S. has already surrendered to lawlessness by making abortion and homosexual marriage legal (Think Canaanite religions, which required the sacrifice of babies, and Sodom and Gomorrah). Thus, I think that lawlessness will continue to cause moral chaos in the world—like the murdering of children in schools. I don’t believe anything of this earth will curtail it. God is slowly withdrawing His restraining hand and has been for some time. “Only he who now restrains it (lawlessness) will do so until he is out of the way” (2 Thessalonians 2:7b).1 The “he” in this sentence is very probably the Holy Spirit, since He is the One who convicts people of their sins (John 16:8).

Thus, to return to apocalyptic thinking, this verse comes to mind when insane, murderous incidents occur:

“When he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, ‘Come!’ And out came another horse, bright red. Its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people should slay one another, and he was given a great sword” (Revelation 6:3–4).

Is peace being taken from the earth so that people should kill each other?

In the 20th century, over 25 million people were massacred all over the world—massacres, not wars. Concerning war, almost 2.5 billion died in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the War in Vietnam. Over 26 million people died in China’s Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution. Thus, almost 3 billion people died in these violent catastrophes. I add with sadness that almost as many babies were murdered in that century, as well, somewhere between one and two billion.

Is it outlandish to maintain, then, that he who restrains sin is being taken out of the way?

The man of iniquity is coming. He will be a man without law, a son of destruction, coming with wicked deception, blasphemy, and working false signs and wonders. He will hate the saints and try to destroy them.

This man is coming. Restraint is being removed. It must. It must because Jesus will return, and these things will happen before His coming. Scripture plainly tells us this.

What should Christians do? Pray. Pray for your nation, for your community. Pray for revival. Pray to remain strong in Him. Don’t be sucked into the sinfulness so pervasive in the culture. When the Book of Revelation tells us that the beast will conquer the saints, it says, “Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints” (Revelation 13:10b). We will need this. When the Book of Revelation tells us that the saints will be pressured to take the mark of the beast, it says, “Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus” (Revelation 14:12).

Three things: Endurance. Faith. Obedience.


1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Gif courtesy

giphy2Have you ever wondered if the United States is anywhere in Bible prophecy?

It is. Right here:

Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations! Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed (Revelation 15:3–4). 1

And here:

Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place for demons, a haunt for every unclean spirit, a haunt for every unclean bird, a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast. For all nations have drunk the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of her luxurious living (Revelation 18:2–3).

If you missed it, scan the verses for these words: “All nations.”

Looks like that includes your nation and mine.

Yes. All nations will worship the Lord God Almighty some day.

And all nations have “drunk the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality.”

Both of those things.

Should that surprise us?

I don’t know—nobody does—what Babylon is, but in my opinion, it isn’t the modern city of Babylon. The city in these verses has immense power. I’m more inclined to think that it represents the city of man in contrast to the city of God.

So, what does this mean to us, residing in this current time?

First, we should all know that each of our nations, are nothing.

Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales; behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust. All the nations are as nothing before him, they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness (Isaiah 40:15 and 17).

However, let’s be frank, most of us love or appreciate our countries. I want a safe nation, one free of corruption, that does and honors good things. But my nation murders babies. My nation has redefined marriage.

My nation has turned away from God.

And my country is drunk with Babylon’s sexual immorality, just as yours has. My country needs Jesus, like yours does.

And that’s what I pray for, and I know that you are likely praying for that, as well.

One of the great sadnesses of my life is that this country, which I grew up loving, despite the cruelties she has inflicted, which she has striven to correct, is degenerating, like Rome, from within. Perhaps we will change our ways. Perhaps one day we will look back and say, “What on earth were we thinking when we thought it was good to kill babies?” Perhaps we will say, “Why did we ever think your sex could change because you thought it had?”

However, I don’t think this will happen.

I also wonder—I have no word from the Lord on this—if the United States is undergoing judgment. Many people within this beautiful nation, with all its prosperity, are killing themselves with drugs, for example; the highest rate in the world. This penchant for unhappiness, a desire to escape the realities of this world, is stunning isn’t it, for a country whose Declaration of Independence states that people are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”? We don’t seem to be very happy. We don’t seem to value life in certain cases. We are killing each other with guns—not the highest rate of homicides in the world thankfully, but too many for a country that is supposed to be a Christian nation—which we are no longer.

Is this degeneration the American church’s fault? No, I don’t believe that. I have been and am deeply concerned about the unbiblical way the church conducts herself, but I have serious doubts if she had conducted herself as the early church did, that there would be much difference. The culture is too strong for us. It’s too easy to accede to its demands. It overwhelms too many of us in our individual lives, and it overwhelms us in the way we do church.

It’s too easy, too enticing, to be part of Babylon.

No surprise here, though, right? Remember the verses quoted earlier. All nations drink Babylon’s wine. And all nations are nothing, dust on the scales, a drop in the bucket.

Is the United States—is your country—in Scripture? Yes. And it’s exactly the way God foresaw it.

Lord God, be merciful. Please give us patience and perseverance, love, faith, and hope. We look forward to Your government. Your kingdom. We do not have the capacity to rule ourselves.

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

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Someday, many people will bow down to and worship an image. This will not be just any image, like an idol made of stone or wood. This will not be a hologram, a 3D projection.

It will breathe.

It will speak.

But first, let’s talk about beasts. Yes, beasts.

The first beast that arrives in the Book of Revelation is a nasty, blasphemous, violent being. The Church will suffer under its power (Revelation 13:5-10). If that weren’t bad enough, however, John soon sees another one: “Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon” (Revelation 13:11).1 I don’t know what a dragon speaks like, but it looks like one day people will know. This second beast will be a being that is difficult for us to imagine. It will have great power, both secular and spiritual:

It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed. It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people, and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived. And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain. Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666 (Revelation 13:12–18).

This second beast will perform miracles. Perhaps that is why, when the image is given “breath” (pneúma), it seems reasonable. This image will be animated without electricity, projected lighting, or any other earthly power, which holograms and robots require today. People will worship it. But what does “worship” mean? Will people raise their voices and sing hymns about it? Well, worship is much more than singing, like Christians do in church. Here is BDAG’s definition of “worship” (proskunéō):

προσεκύνησα (Trag., Hdt.+. Freq. used to designate the custom of prostrating oneself before persons and kissing their feet or the hem of their garment, the ground, etc.; the Persians did this in the presence of their deified king, and the Greeks before a divinity or someth. holy.) to express in attitude or gesture one’s complete dependence on or submission to a high authority figure, (fall down and) worship, do obeisance to, prostrate oneself before, do reverence to, welcome respectfully…2

So, no singing or raising of hands will be necessary. People will acknowledge that they are dependent upon this image and the beasts for their very lives instead of the Almighty God, the creator of heaven and earth.

If they do not worship it, they will die.

This is the devil’s great triumvirate. This is the unholy trinity. Three blasphemous beings. (Only two of these, it seems, will have existence, because only the beast and the false prophet, also known as the antichrist and the lawless one, will be thrown into the lake of fire. Revelation 19:20.)

However, those who worship this unholy trinity will face a terrible end themselves. They will die without God.

I wonder if the second beast, who will perform miracles, or perhaps all three, will say something like this:

“Look upon me. Bow to me. I am the one for whom you have been waiting. You have seen the miracles I have performed. You have seen that I control nature itself by the miracles I have done. How have I been able to do these things? I am god but not-god. I have purged from me all genetic imperfections. I am the height of all perfection. I know no race but am every race, the offspring of every people, of all people, of even ancient alien spawn races, of whom you know not but will know. I am born, not of woman, but of man-woman. I am star and starfish and lion and lamb and all living things. I bring my peace to the world. Indeed, I am peace. But I have all power and shall give my power to the world. Indeed, I am power. I know no laws. I need no laws. I am free from laws but the fulfillment of every law. I am freedom. If you do not give all to me, you will have no freedom. I have water and will give water to the whole world. No more will anyone thirst. Truly, I am water. I have food and will give food to all the world. No more will you hunger. Truly, I am bread. I am light and life, as you can see in this living image. You will joyfully give all to me, and you will know of me. I am wealth and will take your wealth to make you rich beyond measure. You must submit to me, or you will have no life.”


1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

2Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., Bauer, W., & Gingrich, F. W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed., p. 882). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.




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 »


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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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