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October 13, 2021 3:00 am
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Revelation is one of the most challenging books to study. But so many of us feel much more confident in our understanding of it as we’ve followed Pastor Greg Laurie in his study series in Revelation. And today on A New Beginning, he guides us into chapter 17 where we tackle a passage rich with symbolism. But he’ll give us the key to understanding what the Lord is saying to us. And to study Revelation in even more depth, get the details on Pastor Greg’s new commentary at harvest.org.
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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.
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You are listening to a new beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast made possible by harvest partners, helping people everywhere. No guide this at our website and learn more about harvest email@example.com was the difference between Christianity and other religions going out today. Greg Laurie addresses that were to do this you will reach Nirvana you may get you one but one word to John doing a bunch of stuff to reach God. When Jesus died on the cross.
He said it is for this one of the most challenging study so many of us feel much more confident understanding, Pastor Greg Laurie to do studies in Revelation today on a new beginning for geysers in the chapter 17 tackle a passage rich with symbols. It was the key to understanding what the Lord is saying to study Revelation and even more details on Pastor Greg, harvest my messages. Beauty and the beast. Let's pray father speak to us now as we open your word as we peer into the future and look at what you gave to John on the island of Patmos about what is coming in the days I get helpless have understanding as to what this is all about and how it applies to our lives.
For we ask it in Jesus name, amen.
Beauty and the bees know this is not a message about how I met Kathy, my wife sees the beauty and the beast obviously. Nor is it a message about Disney film by the same name, nor is it a message about Christians versus Hollywood or Republicans versus Democrats so beauty and the bees. This is a message about good versus evil.
God versus Satan antichrist versus Jesus Christ, first let me start with the beast. The Bible says there is coming a world leader will be charismatic. No doubt he'll be good looking to bring global solutions will bring a pseudo-peas for 3 1/2 years to this war-torn planet and the fact of the matter is the Bible calls him the beast is also referred to as Antichrist.
The prefix anti-is I've told you before doesn't just mean against it also means instead up for those that don't know better, many will hail this charismatic world leader as the very Messiah are shared recently that I was in Israel some years ago and I was talking with the Jewish man in. I told him I believe Jesus was the Messiah. And he said we don't believe that is Jews may said who do you think the Messiah will be and he said this to me.
We believe what I Messiah comes that he will bring peace and rebuild our temple as a friend you just describe the antichrist. That's exactly who antichrist is he comes in the place of Christ, and this phrase the beast is not a description of his appearance but actually of his character will be a wicked man. If Satan never had a son. This is him the beast what what about the beauty while that's the church and when I say church.
I don't mean a brick-and-mortar building. I mean God's people gathering together when you become a follower of Jesus, you become a part of the church and you know are the bride of Christ. No, some guys are listening in your sin, I don't want to be a bride deal with it. You're a bride you're the bride of Christ were the bride of Christ were the beauty in the story with this battle between the beauty and the beast. If you will goes all the way back to the book of Genesis, when Adam and Eve were tempted by the devil in the judgment of God came as a result of the meeting of the forbidden fruit and God said to Satan, I will put MDT between you and the woman between your seed and her seed and he will crush your head, and you will bruise his heel. Other words gotta say, the battle is now begun and he put Satan on warning the Messiah is coming and so Satan wanted to stop Messiah from arriving in this conflict is battle of the ages between the beauty and the beast between antichrist and Jesus Christ between God and Satan began.
But here's what we know the pieces gonna lose and the beauty is going to prevail. That brings us to Revelation chapter 17. We are chronologically right now is we are in the second half of the tribulation.
Quick recap the next event in my opinion on the prophetic calendar will be the rapture of the church.
Immediately following that will be the emergence of antichrist and that will officially start the great tribulation period that begins peacefully, but at the halfway point with the temple rebuild for the Jewish people in Jerusalem.
The antichrist desecrates it with the abomination of desolation and then the final 3 1/2 years of the tribulation. We have God's judgment coming upon the world. Everything culminates in the great battles of Armageddon and then Christ returns in the second coming will get to that in our next message, and then the millennium begins millennium means 1000 will be the 1000 year reign of Christ on earth and in heaven and earth become one, that's what the Bible teaches.
In speaking of the rapture. I believe we will be caught up to meet the Lord before the tribulation begins. Let me give you three quick reasons why I believe that number one.
The church is not on earth during the tribulation. But it's in heaven now, as you recall Revelation begins with the seven messages of Jesus to the seven churches.
That's Revelation chapters 2 to 3, but then we get to chapter 4 which is after these things after what things after the things of the church so the church is mentioned multiple times in the first chapters of Revelation 19 times but then we don't see any mention of the church to Revelation chapter 19 it's all that space in between Revelation is dealing with the other events that are going to happen. Why because were caught up to meet the Lord in the air.
Number two, the rapture happens before the tribulation. The second coming happens at the end of the tribulation. So the second coming will have many signs preceding it. But the rapture it can come at any moment. Remember he comes as a thief in the night the rapture is imminent.
By the way, the word imminent does not always mean soon it just means inevitable. In other words, we don't know when the rapture will happen.
Jesus is no man knows the day or the hour.
The rapture could happen in 30 years. 20 years 10 years five years five minutes today could happen at any moment it imminent. It's inevitable. It is going to happen.
Number three God will not judge Christians with non-Christians so as I pointed out in the second half of the tribulation. God is pouring his wrath upon the world. First Thessalonians, 19 says you turned to God from idols to serve the living God to wait for his son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come, that some might say well that's a reference to hell know it actually isn't. Contractually, as you look at it he's talking about how his son is coming from heaven. So God is not rescuing us from hell in the contents of this verse aggressive. Does that buddies rescuing us from the great tribulation. Reinforcing that idea. First Thessalonians 59 Paul writes God did not appoint us to wrath. That's Christians, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ wasn't of this.
Everyone on earth has an appointment, you have an appointment.
I have an appointment that Christians appointment is to be caught up to be with Christ. The appointment of this world is the faith the deal the Lord in a future judgment.
You cannot keep both of these appointments. Who was your appointment with Jesus also said the velocities church of Philadelphia and Revelation 3 because you have kept my command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world to test those that dwell on the earth. Then he said, behold, I'm coming quickly now that's clearly a reference to the tribulation. Because it's a trial that will come upon the whole world and then the Lord Rapp set up with behold, I come quickly. So the Lord is going to keep us from the tribulation.
McGinnis said this one.
We hope you're enjoying this series were doing on the book of Revelation, and I'm very excited to tell you about a brand-new book that we have just released simply called Revelation, a book of promises I want to tell you how to get your own copy at the end of the program, but if you can wait just go to harvest.org to find out more about getting your copy of this brand-new book. This commentary on the book of Revelation called Revelation, a book of promises and no backdoor study. So let's pick up we last left off with the beast. In our story the Bible tells us that a powerful religious deception will sweep the earth in the last days, and is described as Babylon, Babylon is pictured as a prostitute writing beast and she's dressed in red so will call her the Scarlet harlot and it's also revealed is a mystery. We all love a good mystery right this is a mystery Babylon. Let's read Revelation 17 verse three so he carried me away in the spirit in the wilderness. I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which is full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and 10 horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand on golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of fornication and on her forehead a name was written, mystery, Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and of the abominations of the earth and I saw the woman, verse six of chapter 17, drunk with the blood of saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.
What I saw her, I marveled with great amazement and the angel said to me why did you marble out tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which is seven heads and 10 horns. There see you read a text like this in your reaction is probably what what is this all mean but it's not as complex as you may think. Remember, the purpose of Revelation is to unveil truth to us. Revelation means unveil so it is not God's desire to conceal but to reveal. This is a mystery to someone who doesn't understand the Bible book to us as believers, we understand Babylon is a picture of man's kingdom without God. Man's kingdom without God. Babylon is sort of a codeword yet represent something else for instance only say while over in Madison Avenue. They do that since we don't mean the literal Madison Avenue but were referring to people who are involved in advertisement and promotion and things of that nature or what we say Hollywood you're over in Hollywood, we don't mean the literal city of Hollywood, we mean the entertainment industry only say well over at Wall Street we know me the actual Wall Street were talking about commerce and finance so when we use the word Babylon in the Bible. It's a picture of pure evil. When Peter wrote to the believers living in Rome, he said to the church in Babylon snow infected wanted Babylon, which was a city they were in Rome, but because of the wickedness of the city. He said to the believers in Babylon. So Babylon is a point of reference for evil contractually looking at the book of Revelation.
Babylon refers to an entire worldwide political, economic and religious kingdom under the control of antichrist but Babylon can be personal as well. It's basically a life that is consumed with pride, sensuality, idolatry effectively. Anything that takes the place of God will history lesson. Babylon began on the plains of Shinar back in the book of Genesis and we read about the world's first dictator.
His name was Nimrod and by the way his name means we will revolt, so don't name your sons Nimrod.
I know it's a Bible name. It's not a good one. So Nimrod was a wicked man. In fact, these described in the book of Genesis is a mighty hunter of men's souls in defiance of the Lord. So Nimrod this wicked men directed the people to build a tower and it was known as the Tower of Babel and in their estimation. This was the tallest building that it ever been erected and at the top of it was an astrological observatory so this is the beginning of mankind. Looking to the stars for direction in effect in God's judgment of the Babylonians.
He mentions in Isaiah 4712 you labored with your sorcery and your astrology from your you so clearly God does not approve of that. So listen to me. Don't be reading your astrology column in the local newspaper don't base any decisions in your life, what the stars say in it really doesn't matter what your sign is because these are things that a Christian should not look to yet 70 million Americans read their astrology every single day. By the way, that's around 23% of the population that this is amazing to me that a person would actually make a decision based on what some random person wrote that they probably just made up and actually say this is how I'm getting direction for my life. Think of all the magazines and site you see that have astrology column.
Imagine how would be if there was a collection of scriptures to read each and every day. What a game changer that would be, but this all started with ancient Babylon and by the way if someone really is searching for truth. God will lead them to himself. We all love the Christmas story and those wise men don't forget that the Wiseman phrase comes from the root word Magi which is the word that we get magician from so the Magi were actually astrologer astronomers look to the stars for direction. They were very important powerful individuals that would give advice to the King. And so what is the Lord do. He sends a star that leads them to the child Jesus. So here's the Tower of Babel.
A classic example of men trying to reach God. That's religion. In a nutshell.
Religion is man's attempt to reach God. Christianity, in contrast, is God's attempt to reach men.
Religion can be summed up in one word. Do do this and you'll reach nirvana to that and you may get to heaven one day to this other thing and you might find inner peace. A lot of Jews do this do that.
But Christianity could be summed up in one word not do, but done it's done when Jesus died on the cross. He said it is finished. Which means it is accomplished, it is completed.
I don't have to do a bunch of stuff to reach God. God has done the heavy lifting to reach me in sending Jesus to die in the cross for my sins and rise again from the dead and we can have them live in our hearts, but man is a religious creature.
He always has been, but he's sort of like to make it up as he goes.
Sort of a do-it-yourself faith.
You know, we like the idea of forgiveness. We just don't want to repent. We like the hope of heaven, but we don't like the reality of how we sort of like the pick and choose what appeals to us, that's Babylon Babylonian thinking if you will. Babylon was also the beginning of humanism people came together. God said I want to the spread out across the earth and the people said no let's come together instead let's come together in defiance of God.
Let's come together and build this tower and look to the stars, not to the Lord for direction in our lives.
And so the big bill this tower and they're all excited about it think it is really good to be impressive to God. It's almost like there's an hey God, there's a new kid in town were here. Check out our awesome tower and the Bible tells us that the Lord came down to see it and it's kind of almost humorous because it's so tiny.
The Lords is unfair don't have a telescope and have been strong enough to even see your mighty towers. So I'm in a come down way down down in and get on my hands and knees and see if I can find your awesome little tower and that's us with all of our accomplishments thinking. We don't need God course, God sent confusion to them no one could understand each other. They were babbling and so that's the root word of Babylon. Of course it was a mighty kingdom of Babylon is well ruled by Nebuchadnezzar. Remember it was a massive mighty world power which was ultimately defeated by the Medo Persian Empire, and that was when the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar was ruling his name was those jobs are so was the end of Babylon, babbling great insight. Pastor Greg Laurie on the mention of Babylon in chapter 17 of Revelation.
The title of today's message beauty and the beast will, as we seen today Bible prophecy can be a heavy subject and revelation is very candid about the tribulation to come.
You but to Pastor Greg your book Revelation in the book of promises is a positive book is it's a hopeful book. It's an inspiring book. Well, I think it is because the book of Revelation is a hopeful book as well, and Bible prophecy is not given to scare us but to prepare us and God gives us these things to give us open back Jesus said when you see these things begin to happen in those things he was speaking about were fulfillment of Bible prophecies happening in your lifetime when you see these things, beginning And Jesus says look up for your redemption is drawing near. That's where the Bible calls us the blessed hope, and so there's something hopeful and wonderful and encouraging when we look at last days events and by the way God wants us to understand what is going on in the end times and I say this because some people would say no one can understand Bible prophecy nonsense of course you can. The very word Revelation means the unveiling.
You see, it's not God's desire to conceal but to reveal and Jesus speaking of an event that's coming on the prophetic calendar called the abomination of desolation said, let the reader understand Paul talking about the event that we sometimes call the rapture said brothers I would not have you ignorant concerning these things. So God wants us to understand them and so I've just written a brand-new book based on the biblical book of Revelation in this book is going to be easy for you to understand. I've written it in every man terms I it's like were just sit down over a couple coffee I were talking about the end times events and I'm trying to help you understand what this means to you and how it applies in your life. So the title of the book is Revelation a book of promises we were designing the cover right I said that the designer I don't want any flames on the cover. I don't wanted to be black with red type on it.
Let's make it colorful and hopeful because that really is the message of Revelation.
It's a hopeful message. Now obviously the book of Revelation talks about the tribulation. It talks about the Antichrist. It talks about the mark of the beast but that's not all. It talks about talks a lot about heaven and what heaven will be like and he gives us a perspective on life on earth because we get in eternal perspective. So I hope our listeners will order a copy of this brand-new book Revelation, a book of promises and will be glad to send 1 Your Way to thank you for partnering with us.
These daily studies can continue it's only through listener support to that's possible. Your donation helps this insight continue to be heard here in your community for your benefit and the benefit of so many others so get in touch today with your investment and will be glad to send you Pastor Greg brand-new book Revelation, a book of promises by the way, we're including a custom bookmark along with the book it shows the timeline of God's end times events graphically.
It help you see the order of events very clearly comes automatically with the book, you can write a new beginning. Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514 or call 1-800-821-3300. That's 1-800-821-3300 or go online to harvest God for what next time more insight from Revelation 17 and what we do know from the scene involving the beast and scarlet part join us here on a new beginning. Pastor Bible teacher Greg Moore and I harvest partners, helping people everywhere know God learn how to become harvest partners sign up for daily devotions and find resources to help you grow in your faith harvest.org