God has a glorious plan for His church that will unfold one day.
And Christians, these words that are startling if you ever want to sit down and meditate on them. Do you not know that the saints will one day rule the world? God will rapture His church from the earth as He ushers in a period of time known as the Tribulation.
But that's not the end of God's plan for us here on earth. At the end of the Tribulation, believers will return with Christ, and under His authority, rule the earth. Here at Wisdom for the Heart, Stephen Davies in a series looking at these events as prophesied in the book of Revelation. The series is called Thy Kingdom Come. Yesterday, Stephen began a message that we didn't have time to complete.
We're going to do a little bit of review and then conclude this lesson called Before the Curtain Rises. I received the latest publication from the Voice of the Martyrs organization, which surveys globally the world scene and it records testimonies of those who are dying for their faith in Christ. Anybody who would just read their record would not say, we need the Tribulation because the church isn't suffering and it needs to suffer. It needs to be purified. We know the church suffers. It's been promised to suffer, but not be purified by the wrath of God. Testimonies, I'll give you a couple of them, like this Evangelical pastor.
And by the way, the updated version that I got sent in the mail, it adds the years 2000 to 2006. Benesti Escobar in Colombia was confronted by Marxist soldiers as they stormed into their church service one Sunday morning and they dropped onto the floor the body of a Christian they just killed. They told that 35 year old pastor that unless he left their village, he would end up like this person. Then they walked out. He refused to leave. Two weeks later they returned to that church service in progress, walked up and shot him in the leg, warning him again to cease his preaching in their community. He refused, saying that he would rather obey God than men. Sound familiar?
They said they would return in two weeks. They kept their promise, returned two weeks later, walked in, dragged him out of the pulpit and into the street where in front of his wife, children and congregation shot him repeatedly until he died. Go to North Korea, this testimony was smuggled out where North Korean Christians were herded together at this assembly and all the children were taken from them to be hung unless the parents were canted. The parents refused to recant their faith in Christ and as their children were being hanged as a congregation these adults all began to sing together through their tears, more love oh Christ to thee. More love to thee. Country after country after country today is experiencing the growing anger of the enemy and those representing him and the host of martyrs who will sing one day in unique expression to the glory of God is growing.
So when I hear some well-meaning believers say the church needs to go through the tribulation because it needs to be purified I think how utterly embarrassing. Wake up! Read!
You're going to have to dig because the Western media shuts it down. But it's out there. Paul wrote to the Ephesian church in Christ, we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses according to the riches of his grace which he lavished on us, Ephesians 1 and 8. We watched the scene unfold as the church was raptured singing to their gracious redeemer, the church symbolized by the 24 elders wearing white garments as Christ promised the church, wearing crowns upon their heads as Christ promised the church seated upon thrones as promised by Christ to the church.
In fact reinforced by the Apostle Paul who wrote to the Corinthian Christians these words that are startling if you ever want to sit down and meditate on them. Do you not know that the saints will one day rule the world? In other words the church in heaven during the tribulation will return with Christ as the tribulation comes to a close and as Christ sets up his kingdom we, the bride of Christ, will serve as co-regents with him ruling and reigning during this dazzling glorious kingdom on earth for a thousand years with its economies and its businesses and its exploration and its developments and we will be in the administration of the emperor. Now while we do not know when the rapture will occur we do know that after the rapture occurs sometime after the tribulation will begin. There's a period of time we're not sure how long it will be before the tribulation begins but we do know that it begins with the signing of some kind of peace treaty that brings peace to Israel as prophesied and delivered to us in Revelation.
Matthew chapter 24 and Revelation chapter 6 provided for us a complimentary commentary on one another and we learned that the tribulation began with the presence of a leader who was able to bring peace to the Middle East particularly with Israel in mind. The peacemaker will soon be revealed as the antichrist. He's able to broker this peace which seems to settle things down for the first half of the tribulation but at that midpoint he begins his bloodbath as he seeks to exterminate the Jewish people. That's one of the reasons the Jews flee from the antichrist who seeks to wipe them out along with those who believe in the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. Now this is more than anti-Semitism. This is Satan's attempt to keep the prophecies of a reconstituted nation of Israel from their land which if he can do that, if he can wipe them off, he can then what?
He can make null and void any further prophecies from being fulfilled of Christ ruling from Jerusalem, from David's throne. And so we studied at length the flight of the Jews worn by Jesus in Matthew 24. When you see these things happening you better run.
Don't worry about packing clothing or storing food. You just run because of all these horrors that will be unleashed on the planet. And most evangelical scholars or many that I read have suggested that they flee, many of them who can, who can get away, to a place called Petra. It's a wonderful hiding place and I'll review that quickly.
We looked at that concept together. Most of the buildings in this ancient city were literally carved into the sandstone hills about a thousand years before Jesus Christ was born. Around AD 551, the 6th century, an earthquake occurred and it caused the people to abandon these built-in homes, literally the city, fearing for their lives should the mountains collapse. Some of the buildings, they're not just rough hewn, some of them are beautifully carved into the mountains. Excavations have revealed through these openings major highways and boulevards and shops and homes. Petra was rediscovered in earnest in 1812.
It's been a point of fascination and excavation ever since. One of the reasons Petra would make such a great place to retreat and to hide during the tribulation is the fact that it would be easy to defend should they be found. Most of the buildings can only be reached on foot or donkey or camel. In fact, enemy soldiers would have a difficult time sending a large army into this area without having to march in single file.
Since much of Petra is surrounded by sheer cliffs, this would certainly be a wonderful area to protect and an area in which to hide. We also learned that the Antichrist's agenda is not only the extermination of the Jewish people but the exaltation of his own divinity. He will forge together one world government, a one world political body, a one world economy and he will rule. Now the concept of a one world government and a one world economy, in fact a one world religion are not new.
They've been around a long time. Throughout history the world of mankind has fought for world domination. In fact just read the record of Alexander the Great who hoped one day to rule the world from Nimrod's rebuilt Babylon. Read of Napoleon who attempted also to unify the world under his control and he also, in fact he had plans drawn up for the rebuilding of Babylon there in modern day Iraq from which he wanted to rule the world.
Where did he get that idea from? Well none of the attempts at a unified world system under the rule of one man is yet to succeed. But just look around, just listen at the rising volume, the rising rhetoric of nations clamoring for a one world political government, a one world economy. In fact if you look at all the, many I should say of the major religious bodies sort of chucking overboard convictions relative to whatever they believe in their hope to somehow forge a unified religion, you can't help but wonder if the curtain is going to rise soon.
You can't help but wonder if those footsteps that you see under the stage curtain scurrying around and sounds, they might be of props being slid into place that it's signaling that this is indeed the prelude in world history where the curtain will soon rise, the church raptured and the tribulation and the forging of this one political global system completed. I found it fascinating after having studied this with you to just read the news and several news items came across my desk, I'll share too quickly with you. The summit was held by the largest governments in the northern hemisphere commonly known as G8. The delegations that met included the United States, Canada, France, the United Kingdom, Russia, Germany, Japan, Italy and Canada. And each year these countries hold a summit meeting and talk together and strategize and part of their agenda, growing agenda is a discussion regarding a one world economy, a global economic system regulated by the powers that be. In fact what really made news after the G8 summit following this latest summit was the president of Russia. The president of Russia in a news conference called for a currency to replace the dollar and the euro and every other national currency.
He even pulled out from his pocket a sample coin that had already been minted in Belgium. It was presented by the way to each delegation. You can Google this and see the presentation to our own president. On the face of the coin are the words unity in diversity and the president of Russia said and I'm paraphrasing, the fact that these coins are being minted means we are getting ready. He said it's a good sign for we now understand how interdependent we are from what I further learn Russia and China in particular are interested in seeing this global currency rolled out. Another news item caught my eye on the eve of this G8 summit. Pope Benedict XVI issued a statement that was presented in fact to all of the G8 leaders before they went into their summit meeting. It's called an encyclical. It's one of the most official documents presented by the Vatican and in this he called for these leaders and I'm quoting to establish a world political authority to oversee the economies of our world and he went on to urge the members of these eight industrial giant nations to work together to form quote a global political body and I just hear the feet scurrying behind the curtain.
This particular Pope has already joined other religious leaders including the one Middle Eastern king who surprised everyone when they are together now calling for unity among the major religions of the world including Christianity, Judaism and Islam. If you go back and you just read 10 years ago what one nearly prophetic voice said. I'm not even sure he's a believer but he spoke with interesting precision. Robert Reich of Harvard University.
He said this 10 years ago. He said we are living through a transformation that will rearrange the politics and economics of the 21st century and each nation's primary political task will be to cope with the centrifugal forces of a global economy. This is no surprise to prophetic scripture either now or later. It will all come to pass and we are studying in fact we finished studying the rise of a 10 nation coalition as described by the apostle John. It will be headed by the antichrist and it will succeed finally and all of these leaders religious and political will get their wish. There will be a one world economy. There will be a one world government and there will be a one world religion.
The only problem is if you want to enter into it you've got to have a mark on your right hand or forehead and ultimately give allegiance to the leader of it all the antichrist. Babylon will be rebuilt. Just as Nimrod attempted back in Genesis 11 to defy God as he brought the peoples together when God had commanded them to scatter and fill the earth he brought them together in this region between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers that river valley and he built the tower of Babel and they said we'll build it. We'll basically replace God and they created the zodiac. One author said that the gods of the Babylonians have simply been repackaged throughout human history.
It all started here. So the last Nimrod the antichrist will call everybody together in one unified voice to defy God and ultimately march against his city and his kingdom. Just as Nimrod's ancient Babylon was the first city of man to defy God so the antichrist's rebuilt Babylon will be the last city of man to defy God and they're on the banks of those same rivers in modern day Iraq. Capital city of Babylon according to Revelation 17 and 18 will be rebuilt and it will become the capital city for antichrist worldwide empire. Babylon will rise again. Is what's happening over there part of this? We don't know. It could crumble back and then be rebuilt a thousand years from now but we do know that when the curtain rises Babylon will indeed be rebuilt.
It is fascinating to watch what's happening over there now to know that our own government is committed dollars to rebuilding that capital city. You see after Nimrod was defeated by virtue of God's confusion. Remember all of mankind's unified language split into many languages Genesis 11. For centuries after that it lay fairly insignificantly on the dust there in the Middle East but then it was rebuilt by Babylon.
No doubt in my mind Satan thought he had his man until God brought him low. It was rebuilt to an unrivaled splendor under the rule of this king named Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar built the empire city of Babylon more gloriously than any city had ever been built before. His hanging gardens that he built for his homesick wife, one of one of his wives, became one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Gardeners working there on those terraced levels 24-7 and you can hardly get an hour to pull the weeds out of your yard.
Can you imagine having a gardener 24-7 the things you could do? He had that. The walls and the gates of Babylon were equally stunning. The most famous inner gate of Babylon was called the Ishtar Gate.
We talked about that. I'll just briefly review it. Named in honor of Ishtar, the Babylonian goddess who is considered the queen of heaven. The gate of Ishtar was made of blue slate tiles and painted with gold dragons and bowls. It was built by Nebuchadnezzar and was considered one of the ancient wonders of the world. That inscription on it, I'll read you some of the translation of that inscription, it was actually ordered by Nebuchadnezzar himself about himself. It says this, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, the faithful prince appointed by the will of the gods, or Marduk, their chief god, has learned to embrace wisdom, who understood their divine being and reveres their majesty, these gods of Babylon. The untiring governor who is constantly concerned with the well-being of Babylon, the wise, the humble, I like that part, the king of Babylon. Near the end of the inscription he dictated these words, I placed bulls and ferocious dragons in the gateways and thus adorned them with luxurious splendor so that people might gaze upon them in wonder.
And the world even to this day does marvel, doesn't it? As they entered through those gates back in the days of the glory of Babylon, the greatness of this city of man, it was, by the way, this particular Babylon that defeated Jerusalem and took the people of Israel captive in the Babylonian captivity. One particular Jewish exile would walk through these very gates depicted by this artist based on excavations, and he probably, with mouth open, gaped at the stunning sight of such power and magnificence that he had never, ever seen before. And yet that exile would grow up, eventually rise as second in command under Nebuchadnezzar in that kingdom, and his name was Daniel. And this man of God would one day prophesy while he lived in this empire, this capital city, that there would come a day when this city of man would be destroyed by the city of God.
John adds the details that we've studied thus far in Revelation. That Babylon will be rebuilt to greater glory than before. It will try once again at the end of human history to overthrow the new Jerusalem as it sees it descending, and in that great battle of Armageddon, the city of man will be crushed. Since the time of Nebuchadnezzar, Babylon crumbled back into dust. Saddam Hussein attempted to rebuild some of its glory. In fact, he claimed kinship from his predecessor, Nebuchadnezzar. Saddam even rebuilt a smaller version of the Ishtar Gate where tourists can go and see it now.
I've seen a number of pictures with our Marines standing in front of it. He didn't quite bring back the glory. He even rebuilt some of Nebuchadnezzar's palace and surrounding walls. In fact, the lower bricks are Nebuchadnezzars upon which he built his, attempting to bring back the glory of Babylon with himself as ruler, but he failed, didn't he? The only one who will succeed to the measure of what God reveals to us in the book of Revelation will be the Antichrist, empowered by Satan himself, rebuilding, and the city of man will eventually march against Jerusalem, the city of God, and be defeated with one word, one word of the returning King of Kings and Lord of Lords. At that moment, as that battle ends and the new Jerusalem descends, the next major section, the third section of Revelation unfolds. We've studied the sovereignty of Christ in his church, chapters one through five. We've studied the severity of Christ in his chastisement, chapters six through 18. And now we're ready to begin studying this third section in Revelation, which I've outlined as the supremacy of Christ in his coming.
And we have absolutely no idea, apart from a careful study of how glorious this kingdom is going to be, no idea. Some of you Type A students heard me say earlier today that I've outlined the book of Revelation into four sections, and I've only given you three of them. And you're going to come up to me after the service and ask me what the fourth section is called.
So I'll give it to you now. The Satisfaction of Christ in His New Creation, chapters 21 to 22. Now, how long will it be before we study this fourth and final section on heaven?
I don't know. We just might enter it before we study it for all we know. But I am convinced the stage is being set. We can see movement underneath the curtain. We can hear muffled sounds that indicate the props on the stage of human history are being set for the next scene. Ultimately, here's what it will be. I love it. And I'll summarize it with this old gospel course that sums it up rather simply. I shared it with you over a year ago. I'll say it again.
It goes like this. It won't be old Buddha who's sitting on that throne, and it won't be old Mohammed that's calling us home. It won't be Hare Krishna who plays that trumpet tune, because we're going to see the sun, not Reverend Moon. Amen to that. Our eternal safety and joy rests only in Jesus Christ.
The religions of the world offer nothing but empty promises. When God finally launches His end-time plan, only those who have placed their faith in Christ are safe. Taking a look at these end-time prophecies should challenge and remind us to always be ready for the Lord to return. I hope that's the response of your heart today.
I'm glad you joined us. The teacher you've been listening to is Stephen Davey. He's in a series called Thy Kingdom Come from the book of Revelation. Today's lesson is entitled Before the Curtain Rises. We'll continue through this series in the days ahead. I've been mentioning this occasionally, and I want to remind you again.
During the month of April, we have a free resource that we're making available. Stephen has a booklet called Resurrection Power. It won't take you very long to read, but in the time it would take, about 400 people across the earth will enter eternity. That's why Jesus claimed to be the resurrection and the life is such good news and such important news. But He didn't just claim to be the resurrection and the life. He proved it by conquering death.
This resource will help you or your friends understand Jesus' resurrection power. This is a free digital download that you can access from our website right now. Go to wisdomonline.org for information. When you get to that home page, there's a link right on that page that will direct you to this resource. We also have a print version of this booklet as well, and that's available in our online store. But the digital version is free today and is available for you at wisdomonline.org.
While you're at that site, I encourage you to spend some time looking around. Once you get there, you'll be able to access the complete archive of Stephen's 35 years of Bible teaching ministry. We also post each day's broadcast, so if you ever miss one of these lessons, you can go to our website to keep caught up with our daily Bible teaching ministry.
The library of Stephen's teaching is available on that site free of charge. You can access it anytime at wisdomonline.org. If there's any way that we can help you personally today, please call us at 866-48-BIBLE. We'd be delighted to speak with you and help you in any way we can. Once again, that's 866-48-BIBLE. We're going to continue through this series next time. Join us then, right here on Wisdom for the Heart.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-26 15:50:01 / 2023-04-26 15:59:26 / 9