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Hope When You Are Distressed – Part 2

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz
The Truth Network Radio
September 12, 2021 3:00 pm

Hope When You Are Distressed – Part 2

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz

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In the end, the world that was made by Him, bought by Him, loved by Him, rejected Him completely. And so He takes charge not only with justice and mercy, but now He takes charge with power. You're listening to Anne Graham Lotz on Living in the Light. Anne's ongoing study is in the book of Revelation today in chapter 8 with her message titled, Under the Authority of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Here's Anne with this introduction. The seven seals give way to seven trumpets. And the trumpets, the seven seals are disasters, but the seven trumpets are supernatural disasters.

The first four are environmental, the last three deal with man. But the interesting thing about them, they reveal that God judges not only with patience, progression, and a pause, but with precision. These trumpets are like smart bombs. They're like drones that just, you know, you have that, looks like a video game almost, and they pinpoint who they're going to destroy.

They're very precise, very controlled judgments of God that come from the throne. So in chapter 8 verse 7, the first angel sounded the trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down upon the earth. And see this, a third of the earth was burned up. A third of the trees and all the green grass, so the earth was defoliated by one third.

Remember, maybe you don't. Vietnam War, I'm old enough to remember the Vietnam War, and Agent Orange, when they sprayed those jungles with Agent Orange, and they just defoliated everything. And one third of the earth is defoliated, but just one third.

He could have done everything. The second angel sounded his trumpet, something like a huge mountain, all ablaze was thrown into the sea. And a third of the sea turned into blood, a third of the living creatures of the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed, so it destroyed the salt water, the sea lanes, the fish by one third. The third angel sounded his trumpet, a great star blazing like a torch fell from the sky, and a third of the fresh water was destroyed. And the fourth angel, in verse 12, sounded his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, and a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so a third of the lights in the sky went out.

And you see the precision, one third, one third, one third, one third. And you see God's reluctance to bring judgment on this planet. And he's doing it so precisely and in measure and holding back, not wanting to judge the world, but wanting to warn them and purge them of the rebellion and bring them to repentance.

But they don't repent. And so the fifth trumpet blows. And this one is getting very eerie, but in chapter 9, verse 1, the fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. And this is Satan himself. The star was given the key to the shaft of the abyss, and when he opened the abyss, smoke rose from it like smoke from a gigantic furnace. And the sun and sky were darkened by the smoke, and out of the smoke locusts came. Those are demons. And they were given power over the earth, and they brought in depression and despondency and demons bringing in despair, distress.

So people became miserable. The sixth trumpet, in verse 13, I heard a voice coming from the horns of the golden altar that is before God, and it said that the sixth angel released the four angels bound at the great river Euphrates. These are not angelic angels. These are demonic angels. They've been kept ready for this very hour, day and month and year, and they were released to kill a third of mankind. I heard the number of the mounted troops, 200 million.

I heard their number. And so the demons are released. A third of the population of planet earth is destroyed. Wouldn't you think they would say, I've had enough? Wouldn't you think they would say, God, please save us? Verse 20, the rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands.

They did not stop worshiping demons, idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone, wood, idols that can't see or hear or walk, nor did they repent of their murders, magic arcs, sexual immorality, or their thefts. And so the seventh trumpet blows. Chapter 11, verse 15, while all of this is going on on earth, and there's this judgment and this destruction and this blasphemy and death, in heaven there's a celebration because the bad guys are getting it. People who are in heaven whose loved ones were killed and tortured and treated so cruelly by these people down on earth are now coming under judgment. And so there were loud voices in heaven which said, the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever. And the 24 elders who were seated on their thrones before God fell on their faces and they worshiped God, saying, we give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who is and was because you have taken your great power and you have begun to reign. The nations were angry and your wrath has come and the time has come for judging the dead and rewarding your servants of prophets and your saints and those who reverent your name both small and great and for destroying those who destroy the earth. And so we see in that seventh seal the celebration, seventh trumpet, the celebration in heaven because God's rule and his judgment is righteous.

And I know this is hard to take in and we think, oh, I can hardly stand it. But we get our sense of righteousness from God, right? And when he judges like this, it's the right thing to do. And he's got to clear up planet earth. He's got to clean it up before he can set up his rule and reign on this earth and turn it into heaven on earth. So he's got to deal with these wicked people. And so the trumpets have sounded and all of heaven rejoices that wrong is being set right.

The wicked do not get by with their sin. So he takes charge with justice. He takes charge with mercy.

And this is something I want to go back and point out to you because this is very precious. This is so God-like. This is so just like Jesus. Because while he's pouring out his judgment and all those seals and trumpets, he's also in charge with mercy. And we see his provision, interestingly enough, 144,000 Jewish preachers. And going back to chapter 7, verse 2, I saw another angel coming up from the east having the seal of the living God and he called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea and he said, Don't harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God. And I heard the number of those who were sealed, 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel. And we find that these 144,000 Jews have a seal somehow. They're supernaturally protected from the persecution, from the famine, from the disease, from the pestilence, from all the things that are happening.

And they preach their hearts out. And I think as a result of them there's a worldwide revival because in verse 9 it says, After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude. No one could count from every nation, tribe, people, language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. And they were wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands. And who are they? Verse 13, one of the elders said, Who are they in these white robes? And I answered, I don't know.

You know. And he said, These are they who have come out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. So when these 144,000 evangelists are preaching the gospel, people do respond, not worldwide, not the majority, but there are people all over the world who respond to the gospel. They repent of their sin. They're persecuted and put to death for their faith. And they're taken up to heaven and they're in their white robes and they're standing under the altar and they begin to cry out for their loved ones on earth. Oh Lord, how long until you just stop all this madness?

How long until you protect your people down there and bring them home? And God says just a little while longer, just a little while longer, wanting more people to come to repentance before He just ends everything. But there are 144,000 Jewish preachers who bring many people to faith in Christ. And then He also is merciful not only by providing preachers but prophets.

This is very interesting. Chapter 11, verse 3, And I will give power to my two witnesses and they will prophesy for 1260 days clothed in sackcloth. Verse 6, these men have power to shut up the sky so it will not rain during the time they're prophesying and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want. And there's been a lot of speculation on who these two witnesses are. And I think the best guess is one is Moses who brought the plagues on Egypt and turned the water into blood and the other is Elijah who shut up the heavens when it didn't rain for three years and then when he confronted the priests of Baal he prayed and fasted and God then sent the rain.

So can you imagine? Moses who died but they never found his body. They searched Mount Nebo. They could never find his body. We know he reappeared on the Mount of Transfiguration with Jesus. Elijah was caught up in a whirl when he never did die. He was just taken up to heaven.

He appeared on the Mount of Transfiguration. So maybe these two men come back at the end of time and you've got two men who are as fine a preacher as there could be. And backing up their preaching and the gospel with a demonstration of power that ought to get everybody's attention and actually it did. And their testimony rocked the world.

Everybody's talking about it. Everybody hears them. Eventually they have nothing more to say. They have said it all.

The last person has responded. And at that point in verse 7 of chapter 11 when they finished their testimony they had nothing more to say. The beast that comes up from the abyss will attack them, overpower them and kill them. Their bodies lie on the street of that great city which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt where the Lord was crucified. They lay in the streets of Jerusalem for three and a half days.

Men from every people, tribe, language will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial. So you know CNN and all the news organizations they're all focused on these two dead bodies and they're lying there rotting in the streets and inhabitants of the earth. It's like Christmas. They glowed over them. They celebrate by sending each other gifts because these two prophets have tormented those who lived on the earth with their plagues and shutting up the sky and warning them of judgment to come and oh let's get rid of these two crabby old men.

I mean I'm so tired of hearing about judgment. Let's get rid of them and they're killed and good. They're dead and gone. And while everybody's watching, verse 11 after three and a half days the breath of life from God entered them and they stood on their feet and terror struck those who saw them. And then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them come up here and they went up to heaven in a cloud while their enemies looked on. At that very hour there was a severe earthquake and a tenth of the city collapsed. 7,000 people were killed in the earthquake. Survivors were terrified. And finally some of them give glory to the God of heaven.

Wow. Don't miss God's mercy. Sending 144,000 evangelists to preach the gospel. Sending these two powerful men of God to preach the gospel. And then sometimes people they won't listen to an evangelist.

They won't listen to a prophet like that but they'll listen to you and me. Just ordinary people giving a word of testimony. Going through the same things they're going through but with God in our lives. And so if you look at chapter 12, verse 11 there are people on earth who overcome Him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.

They did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. And so we find believers when the gospel is shared by the 144,000 evangelists and the prophets and people are converted and God allows them to live long enough to share their testimony and overcome all that's going on on the earth with their testimony and the word of their testimony and they share with somebody else. And God once again allowing people to hear in a way that they would relate to. So if they won't listen to Moses and Elijah, they won't listen to the 144,000 evangelists maybe they'll listen to their neighbor. Somebody who lives right next to them. Somebody that's working with them. Somebody who's received Christ.

Somebody who loves Jesus so much that when they're told to recant their faith and they can't believe in Jesus or they're going to die, they say, then I'll die. And they do. And their neighbors see them give their life for what they believe in. And there will be miracle after miracle after miracle happen on planet earth during this time but many, many people, the knife will slit their throat. They'll be put to death. They'll be beheaded. And their neighbors and friends and family members are going to see that they love not their life unto death.

And that's going to impact them. And that's God's mercy. To reach out to people through the prophets, through the evangelists, through ordinary people. And I was just thinking that in a world where role models today are entertainers, athletes, politicians who lack morals and integrity and decency. Where anything is compromised if it impedes success. Where pleasure takes priority over principle. Where there are no absolutes. Where what is right is what works or feels good, which you can get by with.

And when you get caught in it, you just spin it, you know. Where character no longer seems to count at all. No integrity. The testimony of one life lived for Jesus. One life that's been cleansed. One life that's confessed its sin. One life that has the courage of its convictions to stand up. But there will be people that they won't let go.

But that's a powerful witness. I want to be a life like that now. A life that stands out because it's so different than the garbage that's everywhere else. So when I'm in that line of traffic and everybody's trying to crowd somebody out, I'll just pause, let the person merge. When I'm at the coffee shop and everybody's complaining about this or that, I'll just thank the barista and give her a smile and ask her how her day was.

And somebody overcharges me or undercharges me as they do sometimes at that coffee shop and I just remind them, oh, another 74 cents. And, you know, just live a life of integrity and little things, big things. But it starts to make a difference and people notice the smile on your face and the honesty with which you deal with them and your concern for them. And these people, during the tribulation, don't love their lives to death. In other words, they're willing to lay down their life for Jesus' sake. And that's a powerful witness. And we see God's mercy not only through the preachers, the prophets, the people, but, you know, have you ever wondered if God really wanted to present the gospel, if he wanted to do it right, why didn't he just do it himself? I mean, sometimes we say the wrong verse, we don't do it winsomely enough, we don't take it the distance, we don't ask the right questions, we don't have the right answers, and so why doesn't he just do it himself? So you know what?

He does. During this time of great tribulation and judgment on earth, he sends angels into the sky to paint the sky with the gospel. Look at chapter 14, verse 6. Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth, every tribe, nation, language, people. He said in a loud voice, fear God, give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and the springs of water.

And so this angel is declaring the gospel from the sky. That's God's mercy. And so even while judgment is beginning in the seals and the trumpets, God also is providing his mercy because in wrath he remembers mercy. And he doesn't want anybody to come under judgment, he wants all to come to repentance. God loves the world. God loves those wicked, evil people who were created in his image to know him and to have eternal life and to live with him forever in his heavenly home. But when they reject him and rebel against him and it's final and they're setting their sin, then there's going to be a judgment.

He's not going to tolerate it, they won't get by with it. He's their creator, in a sense they're accountable to him. He has the right to do this in the world, in the end, the world that was made by him, bought by him, loved by him, rejected him completely. And so he takes charge not only with justice and mercy, but now he takes charge with power. And he uses three vehicles for his power.

And the first, interestingly, he uses political leaders. And Romans 13.1 says that all government and authority is established by God. And one of the interesting phrases my mother pointed out to me in the Old Testament was when he referred to Nebuchadnezzar who was the Babylonian ruler who was so evil and wicked he destroyed Jerusalem until not one stone was left on another and he just took all the temple articles and he took the people in Jude at that time in three deportations including Daniel and Shadrach and Meshach and Abednego and Ezekiel and just carted them all off, destroyed the land and that's Nebuchadnezzar. And in the end he was converted, but he was a very wicked man. And God referred to him in the Old Testament as Nebuchadnezzar, my servant.

Because God will use political leaders to judge his people as he did Nebuchadnezzar. And as he does at the end of the world, he uses political leaders to judge the world. And in chapter 13, the middle of verse 1, I saw a beast coming out of the sea. He had ten horns and seven heads and with ten crowns on his horns and on each head a blasphemous name. Now it's really talking about where he comes from and I'm not going to go into it all, but this is speaking of the antichrist. And the horns represent his authority and the nations that he rules. He's described in Daniel in 1 Thessalonians, and I'm just going to give you a little synopsis of his description, but he's very attractive, he's brilliant, he's popular, he's able, very profane.

He has a scientific mind that focuses on technology and military might. The beginning of his power, he uses religion and then he does away with it. He erases religious holidays and then he declares himself to be God. At some point, he's going to be assassinated and then he will come back to life. But when he comes back to life, it's not the man. It's an incarnation of Satan himself. And the world is going to be so astounded and impressed, so taken with this man who's attractive and charismatic and able and brilliant, and now he's dead and he's come back to life.

They'll be so taken with him, they just surrender everything to him. And the devil incarnate rules the world. So God uses political leaders and he uses religious leaders. Amos 8, verse 11 says that one of God's judgments on God's people in the Old Testament was when he sent them a famine of the word. There were a lot of prophets, but they didn't give out the truth, and that was a judgment.

Sometimes I think about our country today. Lots of churches down in the southeastern part of the United States, church on every corner, but how many of them giving out the truth? Is that God's judgment on us? And 2 Thessalonians 2 says that God will send a strong delusion so people believe a lie. We're talking about the deception that has come over our country and our world. And God has sent the deception.

And so you've got to know the word. If you don't want to be deceived, and Jesus said don't be deceived, don't be deceived. Three times I think in Matthew 24, he says do not be deceived. The way you're not deceived, saturate yourself in this book. You need to know from Genesis to Revelation. You need to know prophecy.

You need to know what's happening. You need to know the signs of the times so that you won't be deceived. And there is a spirit of deception today where even good people are fooled. And I think how can you believe that? How can you do that?

How can you vote for that? How can you believe that? And it's because they're deceived. And I think it's a supernatural deception.

So he uses religious leaders to deceive people. Chapter 13, verse 11. Then I saw another beast. The first beast was the antichrist that came up out of the sea.

This one comes out of the earth. He has two horns like a lamb, but he spoke like a dragon. This is a religious leader who speaks very softly, but the dragon is Satan who empowers him. He exercised all the authority of the first beast on his behalf. And he made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. He performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men. So when you see people doing miracles, when you see signs and wonders, those don't always come from God.

Don't be deceived. The devil can do things. Rachel Ruth, my daughter, was taking her Bible study through Exodus. And it was just so interesting. We talked about when Moses went and he took his staff. Do you remember when he threw it down in front of Pharaoh? And the magicians did the same thing. And Moses' staff turned into a snake, and so did theirs. They could do signs and wonders.

But Moses' snake swallowed up theirs. But they did signs and wonders. And so they can perform miracles in the power of Satan.

So don't let that be any sort of validation of a person's ministry. Because they can do signs and wonders. In fact, the antichrist is described as someone who can do signs and wonders. The very same term that's used to describe Jesus. Religious leaders. Encouraging thing in verse 18 says, well this is maybe verse 16, He forced everyone small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead.

Maybe a computer chip. So no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark which is the name of the beast or the number of his name, and this calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast.

It's man's number. His number is 666. And I just point that out because as fierce as this person is, the beast and the false prophet who does miracles in his name and the dragon that gives them both power, he's still a man. Still under the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ. Even the incarnation of Satan.

Satan was a fallen angel under the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. Now here's Ann with this final word. The series of judgments John describes as being announced by the seven trumpets following the seven seals in Revelation chapter 7 are supernatural. The striking characteristic of these judgments is the precise way in which they're carried out. Our world is familiar with precision strikes. In wartime, the U.S. deploys weapons referred to as smart bombs. Although they are dropped from planes flying thousands of feet above the earth, these bombs can be computer programmed to fall within inches of a target center. Today, much is said about the precision of bombing raids, either in Iraq, Afghanistan, or Northern Africa, which keeps the loss of civilian life to a minimum while maximizing the destruction of the intended target.

But despite the sophisticated accuracy of these smart bombs, their precision is primitive compared with the judgments announced by the seven trumpets. Both the beast and the false prophet are accountable to God and headed for judgment. Jesus Christ asserts his authority, his power, by using political and religious leaders as his instruments of wrath poured out on a wicked world. Toward the end of the Great Tribulation, God also uses a series of plagues. There is no cure on the face of this earth for a plague that is in fact the wrath of God poured out in judgment, except the blood of Jesus Christ shed at the cross of Calvary. Revelation 12-11 says, They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.

They did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. You can hear Living in the Light with Ann Graham Lotz weekly. And for ways to experience the God-filled life as you pursue your personal Bible study, go to anngramlotz.org. She'll help you get started with free resources you can use and share with others. Join us here each week for Living in the Light.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-23 12:54:55 / 2023-08-23 13:05:39 / 11

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