Is America the Babylon mentioned in Revelation? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity. Well, hi, this is Bill Meyer, along with Pastor Adriel Sanchez, and this is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day. You can call us right now with your question. Here's the number. It's 1-833-843-2673.
Of course, you can always email us your question at questions at corechristianity.com. And before we get started today, I have to thank Adriel for the great carne asada he made for me and my wife and my daughter on Friday night. That was awesome, man. Yeah, I'm so glad that you guys enjoyed it, Bill. It was great to have your family, of course.
This is actually the second time that we've had Bill over. This is the first time, though, that your wife and daughter were able to come, so that was great. It was really cool. And they thought your kids were so cute. My daughter just was raving about them all night, saying, Adriel's kids are so adorable. Yeah, I have to agree.
I have to agree with that. So it was a it was a wonderful time, Bill, to have you guys out and just grateful for your friendship. Thank you, my friend. Well, let's get to the phones. Ralph is on the line from New York City. Ralph, what's your question for Pastor Adriel? Hello, Pastor Adriel? Yes. Hey, Ralph.
How you doing? Yeah, no, I call a lot. But thank you, man, for spouting scriptures. Okay, here's my question. In Gospel of John, chapter 15, right? Jesus is divine, and we are the branches. Okay, then in verse six, right? He says, If anyone does not abide in me, he is thrown away as a branch, and dries up and they gather them and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. Now, I believe, you know, scriptures teach, we're elected, and we came to a school for the salvation.
So how did how do you, you know, expository disperse? Jesus talking about hell? What is he talking to his disciples at this point? You know, okay, Pastor Adriel. Okay.
All right, man. Hey, so I actually do think that Jesus is talking about judgment here. When he talks about being cast out, thrown into the fire. Let me just begin in verse one, Jesus said, this is John 15, I am the true vine, and my father is the vine dresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes that it may bear more fruit.
Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me and I in you, as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me, he is thrown away like a branch and withers, and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.
Okay, so a couple of things here. I mean, this is this is where we get the the the idea of or the doctrine of union with Christ. There's this organic union that we have with Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit that's spoken of in places like John chapter 15. This connection, this life-giving connection, just like the vine gives life to the branches, Jesus is the true vine, and life, spiritual life, flows from him. That is, you can't have spiritual life, true spiritual life, if you're not connected to Jesus, if you're not abiding in Jesus. And that's precisely what Jesus says to the disciples there, and I think this is something that that so many people in our day today need to understand because there are a lot of people who, you know, will say, I'm spiritual. Yeah, I'm spiritual, but I'm not religious. You know, I have spirituality. So many people around us are quote-unquote spiritual, but true spiritual life flows from Christ to us, and Jesus says there, apart from me you can do nothing. We need true spiritual life that comes only from Jesus.
Well, how do we get that? It comes by faith in Jesus Christ, and I think that's actually something that the Apostle Paul confirms using this same kind of analogy in the book of Romans chapter 11. He talks about how many of his kinsmen, the Jews, according to the flesh, rejected Jesus, did not embrace the Messiah when he came, and he uses this same picture of branches and, you know, a vine or a tree, if you will. He says if some of the branches were broken off and you, speaking to Gentiles here, although a wild olive shoot were grafted in among others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches.
If you are, remember, it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you. You'll say branches were broken off that I might be grafted in. That is true, Paul said. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear, for if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. Note then the kindness and the severity of God, severity towards those who have fallen, but God's kindness to you provided you continue in him. His kindness, otherwise you too will be cut off, and even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. And so this vital union with Jesus Christ comes by means of faith, believing in Jesus. And the issue there then in John 15 is, well, do you believe? Are you united to the vine, Jesus?
If you don't believe, then you will wither and die, and that's the point of our Lord there. Ralph, thanks for giving us a call. God bless. Hey Ralph, thanks so much for listening to Core Christianity. By the way, we do receive emails here at the Core, and here's one that came in from a listener named Connie. She says, There's such a thing as spiritual warfare. I believe that God has given Satan free Rome over this world we live in, but is there an actual spiritual realm where the demons and angels are battling? I'm not sure if this makes sense or not.
Thanks, and I love your show. Connie, thank you for that question. You know, the book of Revelation talks about a war that takes place in heaven, and Satan being excommunicated, cast out of heaven. You can read about it in places like Revelation chapter 12. And the point there is that through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, Satan has no place in heaven. The battle has been definitively won by our Lord Jesus Christ, but that doesn't mean that there isn't a real spiritual war that's still taking place here now among us on earth. Peter says that the evil one goes about like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour, and so Satan is still very much active in the world today, deceiving, blinding individuals, and that's why we are called to be vigilant and to engage in that spiritual war as good soldiers, if you will, for Jesus Christ. This is what the apostle Paul means when he says in Ephesians chapter 6 verse 10, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil, for we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day. And so again, Paul just confirming the point there, that we are brothers and sisters indeed in a very real spiritual war, and so we need to be prayerful, we need to be vigilant, we need to be abiding in the vine, Jesus. Thanks for that question.
By the way, we have a great resource on this topic. It's called Can the Devil Read My Mind, and you can find that by going to corechristianity.com. Let's go back to the phones. Eric is on the line calling in from Iowa. Eric, what's your question for Pastor Adriel? My question, hi Pastor Adriel. My question is, I'm in a Bible study on Revelation, and next week we're going to be talking about Revelation 27-15. Unfortunately, I have an appointment I can't attend, and I wanted to get your insight from you on what's the general thoughts, what's really happening in those verses, what do they mean. I just want to get some insight from someone, since someone would be missing that study.
Yeah, Eric. Well, you know, it's funny, you picked this chapter for a couple of reasons. One, I just preached on it this last Sunday. And two, it happens to be probably the most debated chapter of the book of Revelation, especially the first six verses, so leading up to verse seven, because that's where it talks about the millennial reign of Christ. And this is where, you know, you have different people who take different perspectives on the end times eschatology of pre-millennialism, those who believe that the coming of Jesus Christ is going to take place prior to his millennial reign. He's going to come back to earth, the second coming, and then reign for a thousand years on earth. And then you have post-millennialism, this belief that, you know, the thousand year reign is going to happen, and then Jesus is going to come back after the thousand year reign of Christ as the church sort of Christianizes the world and rolls out the red carpet for the return of our Lord. And then you have what's known as the amillennial position, which is the view that Christ has been presently reigning ever since he ascended into heaven, that the thousand years there are not a literal thousand years, but a figurative thousand years. And that Christ's heavenly reign right now, together with all the saints, is going to culminate in the final judgment, you know, what's coming in verses seven through 15, which you've brought up.
Here's where there's agreement with all of this. After the reign, this thousand year reign, you're going to have Satan released for a short while, that's what verse seven says, when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog. Now here John is picking up on the book of Ezekiel and this prophecy that we find in places like Ezekiel 38 of this great battle between Gog and Magog and the people of God. And there have been a lot of questions about who are Gog and Magog, but here I think they're symbolic of or a picture of really all the nations of the world gathered together for this final battle.
Their number is like the sand of the sea, verse eight, and they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and consumed them. And so this is like the final showdown. This is still in the future, I would say.
We've not experienced this yet. And it highlights the deceptive power of the evil one, this great apostasy, this turning away from the truth, this turning away from God, and Jesus at last finally coming in judgment to judge the evil and to rescue, to redeem at the very end there, his suffering church. And another, I think, passage that's sort of parallel to what we see there in verses seven and following is what Paul says in 2 Thessalonians 2, verses one and following, where he's talking about the coming of the Lord, and he talks about the man of lawlessness, this great battle, if you will, and then finally Jesus coming and destroying him with the breath of his mouth, redeeming his church, redeeming the saints.
This is something that's still yet in the future. Prior to the final judgment, the great white throne judgment that's described there in verses 11 and following, but after that reign of Jesus that we have described in the first six verses, a reign that I believe is happening right now. And so we are called as Christians to persevere in faith and to testify of the truth of the gospel so that people might come to know Christ during this age and looking forward to, and this is ahead of us, as I've said, the blessed appearing, the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in judgment and in salvation. Thanks for giving us a call. Sorry you're going to be missing the Bible study, but hopefully that was helpful for you.
Great explanation. Thanks for that, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. If you have a question about the Bible, the Christian life doctrine or theology, you can still give us a call. We'll be taking calls for the next 10 minutes or so. So give us a call at 833-THECORE.
That's 1-833-843-2673. Well, you know, a lot of people wonder how do I discern God's will for my life, whether it's a relationship, a job, where to go to school, everyday decisions. You know, we all struggle with that at times. How do I know what God's will really is? Well, we have a brand new booklet for you today that answers those questions. That's right. It's called, What is God's Will for Me?
It's only about 50 pages, so I mean, this is something that you could sit down and read in an afternoon or in the morning, and I think it'll be really helpful for you. This is a question that we get over and over again on the broadcast. I know it's something that we just ask as Christians. How can I know the will of God for my life? And so I want to encourage you and want to help you answer that question biblically and in a way that honors the Lord. Get a hold of What is God's Will for Me? It's yours over at corechristianity.com for a donation of any amount. Love to get this book in your hands. Again, it's a little booklet, about 50 pages long, and you can find that by going to corechristianity.com forward slash offers, or of course you can call us for that or any one of our offers at 833-THECORE. Well, we do receive voicemails here at Core Christianity.
Here's one from one of our listeners named Sean. My question is, I've heard a lot of preachers on social media talking about America is Babylon, and I was wondering what your guys' thoughts on that is. Great question.
Here's what I would say. First, when we're thinking about Babylon, of course Babylon in the Old Testament under Nebuchadnezzar taking the southern kingdom into captivity. You think of the book of Daniel and Daniel and the other young Hebrews taken, carried away into captivity. There was this enemy of God's people leading them to idolatry at various points, and so in the New Testament when you come to places like the book of Revelation and Babylon is described, that language is taken from the Old Testament, but it's this picture of this world power that's leading people into sinful idolatry. So you see the great prostitute in Revelation chapter 17 and the fall of Babylon in Revelation 18, and then that's further described in chapter 19. Really, Revelation chapters 17 through 19 talk a lot about Babylon and her fall. Now the question is, who is Babylon? In the first century, there were some who understood Babylon to be apostate Israel, having turned away from Christ, having killed the prophets time and time again as Jesus himself said.
There are some people who took that view. There's also a lot of people who said, no, this is the Roman Empire. When you look at the descriptions of Babylon, this was the Roman Empire that was persecuting the church. It seemed to cover the whole world and was just drunk with the blood of the martyrs and all about herself, glorified herself. I think it's best to see Babylon as this system, this ungodly system influenced by the dragon, Satan, that permeates all of society and even all of history in one sense until Jesus Christ comes back. So it's better not to just associate it with one particular group like Rome or like the United States, but to see how the fingerprints of Babylon are really everywhere. It's that ungodly system, the spirit of the Antichrist that has infiltrated every single country. That's one of the interesting things when you read Revelation 17 through 19. It seems like the entire world is deceived by this Babylon. They've been drinking from her cup. When she falls, everyone is mourning.
Everyone is lamenting. You see this in Revelation chapter 18. I said on the broadcast not too long ago that one of the things that's so characteristic of Babylon is a minimizing of, a desecration of the image of God and a hatred of God.
I think you see some of those things all around the world, but you do see some of those things in the United States. Think about how we can objectify people made in the image of God through things like pornography. You think of abortion.
Talk about an attack on the image of God. You think about slavery as well. That's something when I was preaching through the book of Revelation chapter 18 when it describes Babylon's cargo, the things she would purchase, the things she got rich off of. One of the things it mentions, this is Revelation 18 verse 13, was slaves. That is human souls.
We have a history with that here. There are ways we can see the ungodly influence of Babylon all over the place. We are called as Christians to flee from Babylon, which I don't think means move to another country or another state or something like that because it really is everywhere. It's for us not to be marked by the sinful ideologies and practices that are all around us. So no, I wouldn't say that we should read those chapters and say this is talking about the United States of America. That's not what John had in mind.
It's bigger than that. It's this ungodly system under the influence of Satan, the dragon, that we're called to flee from and to cling to Christ in the midst of. Thank you. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. If you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, you can always leave us a voicemail at 833-THE-CORE.
That's 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to James in Oklahoma. James, what's your question for Adriel? I'm a little confused about the once saved, always saved. I've got a friend that was baptized, and his pastor told him once you're saved, you're always saved. And he uses this as an excuse to constantly fornicate, thinking he's going to go to heaven. And I'm not sure exactly how that works, then. Yeah.
It doesn't work. And anyone who says, I was baptized, or I said a prayer at a concert, and so I'm saved, I don't go to church, I don't really know the gospel, but I sort of went through the motions there. That's just a lie. This person has deceived themselves.
And so there's great concern here. Now, I believe that if someone is truly justified, they're never going to be not justified. That if you are born again, God keeps you, you persevere in the faith. But I also believe that there are people out there who went through the motions of some prayer, or maybe they got baptized, and they're trusting not in Jesus Christ, but in this thing that they did in a moment to give them fire insurance, if you will. I'm not going to hell. I said that prayer at that concert, or I went up to the altar call when I was eight years old, or whatever.
No, the question is not, did you do that? The question is, are you trusting in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins? Are you united to him by faith?
Now, if you aren't, but you said a prayer at some point, and you're just sort of doing your thing now, well, then there's a lot of reason to be concerned. And so what I would say is, James, I think this is just something that we have to confront as Christians in love, and say, brother or sister, you know, whenever we see this, this is not how Jesus calls us to live. And if you believe that Jesus Christ has died for your sins and forgiven you, how can we continue?
How can you continue to do this? What you're doing is really communicating that you don't actually understand the gospel. Now, that doesn't mean that we're going to be sinless as followers of Jesus. We know that every single day we sin against God in thought, word, and in deed. But when someone just totally cast aside God's law and the truth of Christ and says, oh, you know, I said a prayer, or I was baptized, once saved, always saved, I'm good to go. There's, I mean, that's heresy.
You're totally confused, and you're living in a way that is showing forth the fact that you actually don't understand. When you think about what the Apostle Paul said in Romans chapter 6, writing to a group of Christians, he says, what shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound by no means? How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? It seems like this individual is saying, oh, you know, I'm forgiven, I was baptized, now I got to go and sin and do whatever I want. And Paul says, no, you've totally missed it.
You've totally missed it. Brothers and sisters, we're not justified by our works, by how holy we are. None of us could be justified on that basis. We're not justified by the free forgiveness that God gives to us in his son, Jesus. But when God justifies us, he seals us with his Holy Spirit. We experience conviction over sin because the Spirit of God lives in us. We're called to walk in holiness, to honor the Lord, to follow him.
And when someone says, I don't have any of that, I don't care about that. And I wonder, have you truly experienced the grace of Christ that you're talking about? Have you truly trusted in Jesus? Maybe you're not really seeing the significance of what Christ has done for you and the heinousness of your sin. And so, James, may God be with this individual and open their eyes and really give them a sense of conviction over their sin and bring them to faith in Christ.
The good news is that this individual can see, whoa, I've been doing things all wrong. I need the grace of Jesus. And Jesus is there saying, come to me.
Come to me. My grace is sufficient for you. And Jesus does forgive all those who come to him in faith, trusting in him for the forgiveness of their sins. And if that's you, I just invite you now, come to Jesus and believe. Thanks for listening to CORE Christianity. To request your copy of today's special offer, visit us at corechristianity.com and click on offers in the menu bar. Or call us at 1-833-843-2673. That's 833, the CORE. When you contact us, please let us know how you've been encouraged by this program. And be sure to join us next time as we explore the truth of God's word together.
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