Hey everybody, you're listening to A New Beginning, which is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners.
If this program has impacted you, I'd love to hear from you. So just send an email to me at greg-harvest.org. Again, it's greg-harvest.org.
You can learn more about becoming a Harvest Partner by going to harvest.org. Babylon represents an evil empire governed by the Antichrist. But Pastor Greg Laurie points out many will embrace that worldview during the last days. Babylon looks good on the outside, but it's evil on the inside. So in the same way when the Antichrist comes on the scene with his Babylonian type religion, it's going to look good at first. He'll be saying, hey, peace and love, it's all good. Let's work together.
And then he will show his true colors. This is the day when the lost are found. This is the day for a new beginning. Amazing grace, how sweet the sound. Again you hear all the angels are singing.
This is the day, the day when life begins. Some people like spicy food. Well, consider the Carolina Reaper. It looks innocent enough, but some say it's the world's hottest pepper, 200 times hotter than a jalapeno.
Well, they say it has an excellent fruity flavor before it melts your face off. Well, in the spiritual realm, things often look innocent enough. But today on a new beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie warns us looks can be deceiving and our enemy specializes in deception. Today we study revelation.
This is the day, the day when life begins. So let's pick up where 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 it's described as Babylon. Babylon is pictured as a prostitute riding a beast and she's dressed in red.
So we'll call her the scarlet harlot. And it's also revealed as a mystery. We all love a good mystery, right? This is mystery Babylon. Let's read Revelation 17 verse 3. So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, which is full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a 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 harlot and of the abominations of the earth. And I saw the woman, verse 6 of chapter 17, drunk with the blood of saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. When I saw her I marveled with great amazement and the angel said to me, Why did you marvel? I'll tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has seven heads and ten horns.
We'll stop there. So you read a text like this and your reaction is probably, What? What does 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 but to us as believers we understand it. Babylon is a picture of man's kingdom without God. Contextually, 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. Now of course there was a mighty kingdom of Babylon as 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 Belshazzar.
So it was the end of Babylon's babbling. Let's come back to this woman riding the beast. This scarlet harlot if you will.
Verse 3. I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast. Scarlet is just another word for red. This is sort of like the rodeo from hell. Red symbolizes evil in this context. It's not evil if you're wearing red but in this context it symbolizes evil because remember Satan is presented to us as a red dragon in Revelation chapter 13. So all of this madness that we're looking at this religious system of Babylon is energized by the devil and it's all coming together.
And you know today people like to sort of make it up as they go. Listen if someone ever says to you all religions essentially teach the same thing you can be assured that person knows nothing about the religions of the world. Nothing can be more untrue than to say all religions teach the same thing. They don't all teach the same thing. It was Gandhi who said quote, I consider myself a Hindu, a Christian, a Muslim, a Jew, a Buddhist, and Confucian. Maybe he should have said instead of a Confucian, a Confucian.
Because you can't just say them all these things. I read an interview where former Beatle Paul McCartney talked about his views on God. And here's what Paul said and I quote, I believe in the Spirit. That's the best I can put it. I think there's something greater than us and I love it.
And I'm grateful to it. And just like everyone else on the planet I can't pin it down. He continues to say I'm happy to not pin it down. So Paul says I pick bits of all the religions. I like some of the things that Buddhists say. I like some of the things that Jesus said.
I like some of the things that Mohammed said. And then Sir Paul McCartney concludes so be cool and you'll be alright. That's rock and roll religion. Paul you've written a lot of awesome songs with the Beatles.
Some in your solo years. But maybe you should just let this be. Because this is not how it works. You can't just pick and choose whatever you want and call it rock and roll religion. God has dropped one lifeline from heaven for us. And it's Jesus Christ. Jesus made unique claims. He didn't say I'm one of many ways to God. He said I am the way, the truth, and the life.
And no man comes to the Father but by me. But this is the false Babylonian religious system. Yeah we're just pulling bits from every religion.
And it's all cool man. It's rock and roll religion. Well what it is is a tangled mess.
And one thing I would point out. We call this ABC religion. It will be anything but Christ. In other words if you want to believe anything that's cool. But the moment you bring Christ up that bothers a lot of people. This is the kind of religious system that will be happening in the last days. Bringing me to this simple statement by G.K. Chesterton.
And I want to quote. People think that when they do not believe in God they believe in nothing. But the fact is they will believe in anything end quote. And that's very true.
Here's another point. Babylon looks good on the outside but it's dead on the inside. Babylon looks good on the outside but it's dead on the inside. Look at Revelation 17 four. She has in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. So a golden cup would refer to luxury. Right?
Abominations refer to things that are offensive to God. This reminds me of a story of a cruise ship that was adrift off the coast of Mexico in 2013. You may remember this story. Apparently what happened is a fire broke out in the engine room and they lost power.
So they were in total darkness and the toilets were overflowing and there was no food in the galleys. And that's what is being offered here. It looks good on the outside but it's evil on the inside. So in the same way when the Antichrist comes on the scene with his Babylonian type religion it's going to look good at first. He'll be saying, hey peace and love.
It's all good. Let's work together. He'll say things like, I'm a uniter not a divider. And everyone will put their arms around each other and they'll sing, we are the world. I don't know what they'll sing but I'm just saying this. It's going to be a ruse, a deception.
And then he will show his true colors. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. It's encouraging to hear when these studies have truly impacted lives, even through some dark times.
Hi Greg. I wanted to reach out and let you know how much my husband and I enjoy listening to you and watching your sermons on Sunday from our home. We lost our son just six months ago and we're struggling each day. God has been giving us strength to continue and listening to you has really helped. Your recent sermon, The Afterlife, was so amazing.
That was my birthday. The first one without our son. And what you were talking about really made my heart very happy. I love hearing about heaven and where my son and I will spend eternity together. I'm very sorry for the loss of your son.
No parent should have to bury their child. It's heart-wrenching. But you are an inspiration and I'm so thankful for you. If you have a story of how the Lord has touched your life through this ministry, why not call and share it with us? Here's the number 1-866-871-1144. It's a special number for this purpose.
1-866-871-1144. Well, we're in Revelation 17 today as Pastor Greg is showing us John's vision of the scarlet woman and the beast and how to make sense of the symbolism. Let's continue. So this scarlet harlot, if you will, riding this beast has a golden cup full of abominations. Babylon looks good on the outside but it's evil on the inside. Verse 4 says she's dressed in scarlet and purple and covered in jewels. That speaks of luxury again. Purple was a color usually worn by royalty back in that day as was scarlet and covered in jewels. That speaks for itself.
If you see someone covered in jewels head to toe, obviously that's an affluent person. And this is how sin is. It looks good on the outside but then you take a bite of it and it is like poison in your system. The Bible tells us that when Adam and Eve saw that forbidden fruit hanging on the tree in the midst of the garden that it was pleasant to the eyes. It looked good.
Things looked good on the outside. Why is it that stolen food is always more appealing than your own food? You know when I go to a restaurant with people and we are all looking at the menus? I will ask everyone, what are you ordering?
What are you ordering? I will wait until everyone orders and I will change my mind three or four times and then the orders will arrive and I will look at their burger or someone else's lasagna or their piece of fish or whatever it is and I will look at whatever it is I ordered and their meal looks better than my meal. And then there is the sharing thing. You know girls love to share.
They will say, I will tell you what, you order this and I will order that and we will share. Guys don't really like to share at all. Just ladies, you need to know something about men. We don't like to share our food. I think I speak for most men here. Some of you are watching and say, well Greg you are wrong. My husband shares his food with me all the time.
That may be true. I didn't say he won't share his food with you. I said he doesn't like to.
That is the point. He doesn't like to. We are sort of like the dog with the food dish. This is our meal.
You come near it. We are going to growl at you. And my wife will say, can I have a bite of what you are having?
And ok. So I have to stop. And now here comes her fork and she takes a bite of something and dips it in this sauce and dips it in that sauce and I am waiting. I can't get to my meal.
There is interference in this invading fork and it seems to take forever. And then she goes back, ok I can finish my meal. It is good. And then I have one last bite. I am looking forward to that one last bite. And just as I am about to take it Kathy will say, can I have that last bite?
Go ahead. The Bible says love your wife as Christ loves the church. And she will take that last bite. I don't like any of that. Guys don't like to share their food.
Well there is exceptions to that. So I was with a couple of guys at a restaurant a while ago. And one was eating a sandwich. And the guy sitting on the other side of the table next to me said, can I have a bite of your sandwich?
I was like whoa. Ok. That is not a normal guy thing. Someone asked for a bite of my sandwich. I am going to get out a fork and knife. Cut them off with a little piece. Put it on a plate.
Here you go. This guy actually said, can I have a bite of your sandwich? And this guy holds up the sandwich and this other guy who asked for the bite takes a bite where the other guy had already taken a bite. This traumatized me. I didn't know how to react to this. It was shocking.
I am still traumatized right now. This is not normal for men. We don't like to share. But there is something about stolen food.
You know when my wife is preparing a meal she will have the little carrots and then the little tomatoes chopped up and oh here is the little peppers over here. And I am going to start taking these. Don't take those.
Those are the exact portions. I know but stolen food is good. Right. Well here is the thing. These things look good on the outside with Babylon but they are really bad. Poisonous on the inside. So we don't want to eat of those things.
Listen to this. Babylon will not only be a mentality. It will not only be a religious system. It will be an actual entity.
In effect it will be a super city that is going to be judged. Go over to Revelation 18 verse 1. After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven having great authority and the earth was illuminated with his glory and he cried mightily with a loud voice saying, Babylon the Great has fallen.
It has fallen. It has become a dwelling place of demons. A prison for every foul spirit. A cage for every unclean and hated bird. In general I like birds. But there are some birds I hate. And I am going to call them out right now.
Number one seagulls. I hate all of you. If you are watching I am sorry. I am not told in the Bible I have to love you. I hate you. And I will tell you why I hate you seagulls. It is because you steal things all the time. You know if you have your food on the beach and you go into the water and you come back the seagull is flying off with your sandwich. And then of course they are doing their thing on your car. And in fact I have a story for that.
Years ago. Many years ago we took our son Christopher who was just a little guy then to Sea World. And so when you go into the park there is an opportunity to feed the dolphins. You can buy fish. I think wait didn't I just pay admission. Now I have to pay for fish to feed your creatures.
Yes that is the way it works. So we buy these fish and I give them to Christopher and there is this place where the dolphins are and he is feeding the dolphins. And out of nowhere the seagull comes and grabs the fish right out of his hand. Christopher is like, dad I hate seagulls.
I know they are the worst aren't they. And then we go to lunch in this restaurant. And he ordered a big thing of chicken. So he is eating this chicken and out of nowhere a seagull comes and flies off with his chicken. Literally grabbed it off his plate.
I thought wait a second. Isn't that cannibalism. Is that even right in the bird kingdom. I mean I know seagulls are messed up but even they cross the line there. Flying off with the chicken.
Christopher is shaking his fist. I hate the seagulls. Then we are walking out of the park.
I am not making this up. And all of a sudden a seagull got a direct hit on my son. Boom. A big seagull poop right.
And that pretty much finished it off. So that is a hated bird right. But understand contextually in the Bible. Birds sometimes are symbols of evil. Jesus told a parable about a bush that turned into a tree that was filled with birds.
This was not a positive thing. Bushes don't turn into trees. So this was something that was supposed to be smaller that became bigger. And it was filled with birds. But then in the parable of the sower Jesus talked about the seed that was sown on the roadside remember. And the birds come quickly. Probably seagulls.
And eat it. And He says, These are they that hear the word of God and Satan comes immediately and snatches it away. So in the parables birds are symbols of evil.
So putting this all together we have an evil situation of these unclean birds. You know in the church we have real believers and we have pretend believers. Let me put it this way. If you want to be a Harley rider you need a Harley. You need a motorcycle. And you can wear a motorcycle jacket. And you can have your wallet with a chain on it right connected to a belt loop. So you look like a biker in big old black boots and be dressed head to toe in black and that is fine.
There is nothing wrong with that. But you may look like you are a biker but if you don't have a bike you are not a biker right. Or you can be like a surfer. You have surf racks on the top of your car and surf stickers all over your car. And you talk about surfing and you wear surf apparel and you use surf terminology. But if you don't have a surfboard then you are not a surfer.
You are actually a poser right. And to be a Christian you need to follow Christ. No not just have a Bible. You can even go to church and not necessarily be a Christian.
To be a Christian you must follow Christ. Good words on being a genuine believer. Pastor Greg Laurie with today's message on a new beginning titled Beauty and the Beast.
And there is more to come from this study. You know Pastor Greg the world is in such a mess. There is turmoil everywhere you look. And believers know what is coming. We know God's plan for the end times. How does your new revelation commentary help us prepare?
Great question. Let me respond with the words of Jesus in John 14. He said let not your hearts be troubled neither let them be afraid.
You know it is interesting this phrase trouble. Let not your heart be troubled means agitated or filled with fear. There are things happening in our world right now that can be scary. And it can cause your heart to be filled with fear.
And it can cause you to feel as like everything is out of control. But if there is one thing that revelation clearly shows it is that God is in control. God has a plan and things are going according to plan.
His plan. And so it is all laid out for us. Because you know the Bible is the one book that dares to predict the future.
Not once, not twice, but hundreds of times with 100 percent accuracy. So the Lord knows what is coming. But the great thing is as you even start the book of Revelation. You have the words of Jesus to the seven churches. So before we get into all that prophetic stuff if you will.
Like the tribulation period, the 144,000, the Antichrist, the second coming, the millennium. Jesus has some special words for his own people. Very personal, powerful words to each of us. And so this is all found in this commentary that I have just written. I use the word commentary loosely because that sounds as though it is going to be dull and theological. Actually it does comment on scripture.
But it is very understandable. It is very down to earth. And we are calling this brand new book here from Harvest, Revelation a Book of Promises. And I would love to send you a copy.
It is hot off the press. It is brand new. We have never released this book before. And so I hope you will get your own copy. And by the way this is a pretty good size book. It will be a great addition to your library. It is something you can stand on when you need to reach a higher shelf.
It will hold a heavy door open as well. And so there is a lot of uses. But the best use of course would be to open it up and read it. And get a better understanding of the important book of Revelation. Yeah that is right and we hope you will contact us today to ask for Revelation a Book of Promises. And by the way Pastor Greg is including a custom designed bookmark that shows the timeline of God's end times events graphically.
It helps you see the order of events very clearly. It is all available for your gift of any size. Keep in mind that your support is the only way we can keep bringing you Pastor Greg's daily studies. So thank you for your generosity.
And we hope to hear from you today. Just write a new beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514. Or call us anytime, night or day at 1-800-821-3300.
That's 1-800-821-3300. Or go online to harvest.org. Are you receiving Pastor Greg's daily devotions each day via email?
If not, let's take care of that right now. You can sign up today free of charge at harvest.org. And you'll receive a daily inspirational thought from God's word each day in your inbox.
Again go to harvest.org. Hey everybody, Greg Laurie here, encouraging you to join us this weekend for what we call Harvest at Home. It's worship. It's a message from the Word of God.
You can watch it with your family in your front room, or you can watch it on the go on your tablet, on your phone, or your computer. Take it with you. Take the Word of God with you and join us for Harvest at Home at harvest.org.
Well next time, good insight on the reaction in heaven when God's judgment of evil is finally complete. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie. A New Beginning is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. If this show has impacted your life, share your story, leave a review on your favorite podcast app, and help others find hope.
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