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The Coming World Religion - Revelation 17

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It was Karl Marx who stated, no doubt cynically, that religion was the opiate of the masses. The fact is, he was right-it is! People are driven to worship something or someone. This desire will be exploited to the hilt in the Tribulation period and will be under the umbrella of the world dictator-the Antichrist. What are its roots and how does it end?

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2/9/1997
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The Coming World Religion
Revelation 17
Skip Heitzig
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It was Karl Marx who stated, no doubt cynically, that religion was the opiate of the masses. The fact is, he was right-it is! People are driven to worship something or someone. This desire will be exploited to the hilt in the Tribulation period and will be under the umbrella of the world dictator-the Antichrist. What are its roots and how does it end?
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66 Revelation - History's Last Chapter - 1996

66 Revelation - History's Last Chapter - 1996

The book of Revelation exalts Jesus Christ as the soon-coming Lord over the earth. Skip Heitzig explains the amazing and mysterious prophecies that form God's final word to mankind.

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Outline

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  1. Its Representation: A Prostitute

  2. Its Roots: Babylon

  3. Its Reign: Worldwide

  4. Its Replacement: Beast Worship

  5. Its Ruin: The Lamb

Apply This Stuff:

  1. Consider why the instruction by Jesus that "True worshippers will worship the Father and Spirit and in truth" is so important in a world Where the lines of truth are blurred.

  2. Since the Lamb will ultimately prevail, isn't it best to be on the winning side of truth right now? Are there things in your life, beliefs or practices, that aren't in line with the will of the Lamb of God (Jesus)? If so, determine to change that and submit to Him.

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Revelation chapter 17. So much of understanding this depends on what has gone before in this book so you're gonna have to buckle your seatbelt extra tight. Revelation 17: "Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, "Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication. So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was 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 her fornication. And on her forehead was a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her I marveled with great amazement."

There's a restaurant in Atlanta called The Church of God Grill. It's an odd name for a restaurant and you might wonder how did they get a name like The Church of God Grill? Well as the story goes, this restaurant used to be a downtown church. It was a mission to help pay off the bills, they started selling chicken dinners after church services and the chicken was so good and there was such a demand for it and the business was so great that they started cutting back on the church services and upping the service with the chicken, until eventually the church closed down, the restaurant kept serving chicken, and it kept the name, The Church of God Grill. Here's a place that was known for dishing out spiritual nutrition and now it had become a chicken restaurant. A fowl turn indeed. Now that little true story is an analogy of what is true worldwide. There is a trend growing that would blur any lines of truth, would make absent any form of this is right, this is wrong, would diminish Christianity as being really viable and the popular religion is a smorgasbord of all different types, all roads lead to God. Eve's eating of the apple in the Garden of Eden was the first free act of the human race. We ought to recognize that act. We ought to celebrate Eve. She began the process of freedom. That was a quote given by the director of ministerial studies at Harvard School of Divinity.

Well there is a coming world revival. Not a Christian revival, but a coming world religion that exalts man and minimizes God. It is humanism full hilt, full blown. The trend today of humanism, and it will certainly be so in the future, in the great tribulation period, is to exalt fallen man and to put down holy God and refuse to worship Him. It's already in so-called Christian universities, many churches. One day it will overtake the world. One church got its new pastor and the new pastor was liberal and he didn't believe that the Bible was the Word of God. For the life of me I don't know why pastors have churches if they don't believe in the Bible as the Word of God. It's like why even have a job? But he did and for two years he told the people that, well, this book wasn't written that person, John didn't write John, Isaiah didn't write Isaiah, you can't believe that parable, it's not even there, that verse isn't in the Scripture, on and on and on. A couple of years later, one of the members of the congregation was sick and was dying and the pastor came to visit him and the pastor said, well, would you like me to read you a verse of Scripture, pray with you, or something? The man said, I would, and he handed the pastor his Bible. The pastor opened up the Bible and noticed that several chapters were missing, verses had been cut out, pages had been ripped out and the pastor, handing it back said, don't you have a Bible in better shape than this? He said, well, let me tell you about that Bible, pastor. When you first came to our church, I believed the entire Bible was the Word of God until you showed up. He said you know if I would be under your preaching for another year, I probably would only have two leather covers left.

Now Satan is a counterfeit, we've seen that so much in the book of Revelation. He will have a counterfeit trinity, a counterfeit religious system, counterfeit worship, and chapter 17 deals with a development and the destruction of Babylon the great---a coming world religious system. Karl Marx was right when he said religion is the opiate of the masses. He discovered the truth that man is incurably driven to worship something somewhere. If he does not bow before holy true God, he will then devise his own method, his own system, his own god, and will worship before that system. Religious in nature. This system that we're about to read in some ways resembles Christianity but it will be under one huge umbrella. It's called here Babylon the great. Some ecumenical combination of everything that the world will buy into. In our study today, in chapter 17, there are five things that we're told about this coming religious system. Its representation as a prostitute, we'll discover what that means, we will then look at its roots which is in Babylon, its reign which is worldwide, its replacement as it's replaced by the beast worship, worship of the Antichrist, and finally its ruin, when Jesus Christ returns. Let's look then at verse 1 and 2 and look at its representation:

"Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, "Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication." Now let me say right at the beginning here, that the chronology of Revelation stops. We're used to that by now. It stopped a few different occasions. It's a hiatus. Chronologically, after chapter 16 comes chapter 19. Because chapter 16 is the last judgment, God says this is it, there's no more, and the earth is reconfigured for the millennial reign of Jesus Christ when He comes again in chapter 19. We now go backwards and rather than talking about the judgment that we have been talking about, we look now and see what is being judged: the kingdom of the Antichrist. Religious Babylon and economic, political Babylon, which is chapter 18. And so it's kind of picked apart for us, its development and its destruction, in these two chapters.

Notice that this woman that he sees is called the great harlot. In fact, she's called a harlot four times in this chapter. She's called the mother of harlots and her sin is fornication. Now in the Bible, harlotry is a standing symbol for one thing. What is it? Idolatry. Whenever God's people turned from the true and living God or any group of people worshiped anything other than God, it was seen in the Bible under the heading of harlotry. There are so many Scriptures about this. We could spend the rest of our time just looking at them. But there are a couple notable ones. Jeremiah chapter 3 God says have you seen what backsliding Israel has done? She has gone up on every high mountain and under every green tree and there she has played the harlot. What she did is she went to these groves of false worship and out of the tree trunks they would carve statues and they would have stone statues and they would worship them. And that same chapter, a few verses later, God said she defiled the land and committed adultery with stones and with trees. There's the book of Hosea and the whole book is built upon this metaphor of an unfaithful wife, one who plays the harlot, as God is trying to draw His people back to Himself, Israel goes out and, over and over again, God says she plays the harlot. She turns after other gods.

We've also seen, in the book of Revelation, the figure of a woman used as a symbol of a religious system. For example, in Revelation chapter 2 verse 20, Jezebel is mentioned and she represents the false religious system at Thyatira. In Revelation chapter 12 we have a woman clothed with the sun, who represents Israel, nationally and spiritually. Then in Revelation chapter 19, we will see the church represented as the virgin bride of Christ, a faithful woman. It's interesting that Jesus would use the metaphor of a woman for His church. I think He knew something. As Mary Elizabeth Braddon in the late 1800s said, how are our churches beautified, our sick tended, our poor fed, our children taught and cared for and civilized? Do you think the masculine element goes much for these things? No. Women are the church's strong rock. As they were the last at the foot of the cross, so they have become first at the altar. And any church leader knows that when you ask for volunteers on any project, the women will far outnumber the guys. But here is an unfaithful woman. Here is a whore---a prostitute---a harlot as she is called. The great harlot we read about in verse 1. A system that claims to be joined to God but, like a prostitute, is unfaithful to God. Her sin is fornication, that's a figure of speech in the Bible, again of turning from God and not being spiritually faithful. Even James wrote to the church and he said adulterers and adulteresses don't you know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? In other words, you can't have an affair with the world. You can't turn from God, go out on Jesus Christ, and put someone or something else in front of Him. Fornication, harlotry.

So before we see the Lamb's wife in perfection, chapter 19, we now have a view of this unfaithful prostitute as she is being judged. Let's now look at the roots of this system. I want to draw your attention to the name that is written on her, verse 5: "And on her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH." Now this is from God's perspective. I don't think you're going to find people in the tribulation period that would say I go to the First Mystery Babylon the Great Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth Church. I don't think it's on the marquee or on the literature. But this is God's view of this system---His perspective. It is mystery Babylon. Don't confuse this with Babylon in Iraq, the geographical spot, though I believe it will be rebuilt, it is already being rebuilt, I stood in its ruins last year and observed it being rebuilt. And the Bible predicts that but just because you read the word Babylon; you cannot confine it all the time to a geographical thing. It is many components involved in it. Question: what city is mentioned more in the Bible than any other city? Jerusalem. Sort of a trick question. Some said Babylon. No, Jerusalem is mentioned more. Babylon, next to Jerusalem, is mentioned more. It's second on the list. It's mentioned in the Bible 287 times in many different ways. In fact, even Jerusalem is called Babylon. Whenever she is noted and characterized by a false religion, she's called Babylon. And whenever you have any group or city or system characterized by false religion, it is a Babylon. Why? Because of its roots.

Now I want to sort of take you in the way-back machine, all the way back to Genesis and quickly move into the future, as we see this system develop. Back in Genesis chapter 10, we are introduced to a guy by the name of Nimrod, the hunter. He is the fourth generation from Noah. His grandfather was Ham, the wicked son of Noah. So he didn't have a good start to begin with. And they come to the plain of Shinar. You see, God, after the Flood, told the people to fill the earth, scatter, multiply. But some of his descendants clung together, being very clannish, they came to the plain of Shinar and in chapter 11 of Genesis, they said, come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower whose top is in the heavens. Let us make a name for ourselves lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth. This city was conceived in rebellion. There's nothing wrong with building a city but notice their philosophy. Let's build a city for ourselves. The idea is that we will exalt us and degrade God. It's the first city built on humanism. Though they were human-centered, we'll build a city for ourselves, at the same time they were a religious system. For it says let's build a tower that reaches to the heavens. They recognized their spiritual need right off the bat but then they sought to fill that need for God with a do-it-yourself religion. History tells us that at the top of these Babylonian towers, or ziggurats, was a platform with the zodiac and it was officiated by a priest who would officiate over the signs of the zodiac and predict the future for people.

Ancient documents tell us that Nimrod had a wife. Her name was Simuramis and she had a son named Tomuz whom she said was not conceived by a man but a sun beam from heaven shone on her belly and she conceived, her being a virgin, conceiving Tomuz whom she and others said was the savior of the world, a virgin born savior who would be the one that would overturn the curse in Genesis chapter 3 that the Seed of the woman would crush the serpent. Well, Tomuz grew up and as he grew up, playing out in the field, he was gored by a wild boar, says the story, and he was killed. For forty days, Simuramis wept and wept and wept over the death of her son and after forty days, supposedly, he rose from the dead. So already way back in the times of Genesis, you have Satan coming up with a false religion, a virgin-born savior of the world who died and rose again. By the way, that's where Lent comes from, the forty days of Simuramis weeping for her son Tomuz---that's sort of how it came about through many, many cultures. Well as the world was scattered this Simuramis and Tomuz were worshiped as the mother and child. In fact, she was called in Babylon the queen of heaven and many cultures worshiped this combination together. In fact, in Nineveh, she was called Ishtar, In Phoenicia, she was called Ashtoreth and he was called Baal, the child. Interesting, Ashtoreth---that's where we get Ashtoreth eggs or Ishtar eggs. As the idea of life coming from heaven with Simuramis and Tomuz.

In Egypt, she was called Isis and he was called Osiris. In Greece, later on, she was known as Aphrodite and he was called Aras. In Rome, she was Venus and he was Cupid. So this whole idea of the child Tomuz and his mother Simuramis were worshiped until finally this cult ended in Rome, this is all in many, many history books. One is called The Two Babylons by Alexander Haslett if you'd like to chase that down. But when it came to Rome, and remember there's a revived Roman Empire in the last days, it came to Rome and the cult sort of ended with the emperor. And the emperor was officiating over this cult; the Roman Emperor was called the Pontific Maximus or the greatest high priest. Later on, the bishop of Rome took over his position and he was simply called the Pontific. Now later on in history, after Babel, a guy by the name of Daniel is standing in the court of Babylon under King Nebuchadnezzar, remember that? And here's Daniel, a godly kid, and in Nebuchadnezzar's court there's a motley crew of goofballs. Astrologers, magicians, and conjurers, dream interpreters. They go by other names today: channelers. As they would channel spirits from the past and so forth and, it's interesting how today Babylon is, in so many ways, with us. I don't think you can confine it to just one group, one church, one system. She's called the mother of harlots here. She's spawned everything false.

But today, under the umbrella of the New Age, it is estimated that 95% of the readers of the New Age Journal are college-educated with the average income of over $47,000. New Agers represent the most affluent, well-educated, successful segment of the baby boom and corporations spend an estimated four billion dollars a year on New Age consultants in their company. One writer, researcher, said, I once attended a day of lectures at a New Age retreat center. One speaker summed up all of his points by explaining what was meant by the term "the coming of the New Age" and then he said, it all started in Babylon, folks. Well John sees a future system called a prostitute mothering false religious systems who has its roots in Babel, Babylon, and will be finally blossoming during the great tribulation period. Again, she's called the mother of harlots. That is, the Babylonian system spawned all false religions. You know, all false religions are basically the same. They're in different cultures, they have different ceremonies, different rites, but they're all basically the same and in the tribulation period, they will all come home to mama. They all come home to roost under this huge umbrella that accommodates everything and everyone: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS.

No doubt incorporated in this will be what some would say would be the church---Christianity. A perverted form, an apostate form. Paul the apostle says in 1 Timothy 4 the Spirit expressly says in the last days some will depart from the faith and give heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons. So there is a system with its roots tied back into Babylon. Let's look at its reign. It is a worldwide reign. Verse 1: "I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters". Many waters are all of the people of the earth. You say well you're making that up. Well verse 15: "Then he said to me, "The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues." See? I told you so. She has an alliance with the beast. Notice verse 3: "So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast," it's the same beast as in Revelation 13, as we'll see in a few moments, "which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns." The beast supports the woman, supports the false religious system. Using his political, economic clout, she rides the beast. Another way of looking at this however is that riding the beast, she is controlling its direction. And perhaps what is seen by here, I don't think we'll know until we see it from heaven, a bird's-eye view during the tribulation, but I think what could be meant by this is that the world will look to her for direction rather than the Antichrist. Especially during the tribulation when the heavens and the earth fall apart and men's hearts will be failing them for fear. They'll see that there's no hope in politics, no hope in economics. They'll turn to religion. You know that happens. Whenever there's a war, churches, synagogues, are filled. Gotta get religious all of a sudden! There are no answers they find anywhere else.

We see also that this system has an alliance with the entire world. Again, she sits on many waters, in verse 1, and it says verse 2, with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication. Let's go look at verse 7. "But the angel said to me, "Why did you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns. The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. "Here is the mind that has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits. There are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come. And when he comes, he must continue a short time. The beast that was, and is not, is himself also the eighth, and is of the seven, and is going to perdition. The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast."

Remember that one of the things that will make the great tribulation such a great tribulation is the fact that Satan will be allowed to have more control over earth than he ever has before. The restraints will be off, it says that the demons in chapter 12 are cast to the earth, we see in chapter 6 that hordes of demons get released from the bottomless pit and cover the earth, those that are chained up at the great river Euphrates are also released, so there is demonic activity everywhere, which would, no doubt, be responsible for this great deception and delusion that will come upon planet earth. The point to make here, however, is that the world is not becoming more secular. It's becoming more religious. We better wake up to that fact. I'm not saying more Christian. I'm saying the world is becoming more and more spiritual, more and more religious, and will become increasingly religious in the time of the end. I have an article from Better Homes and Gardens. They published a survey called "The Spirituality Report". After compiling it, the editors at the beginning of the report said they were amazed at the size of response---how many people were eager to respond to their survey, to their poll. And they said that they're seeing the greatest influence of spirituality ever seen before in America. The editor wrote, "A return to the basic moral values is long overdue or maybe it is the Age of Aquarius, as some of the New Age folks think." This is what he concludes now: whatever it's all about, this new awakening---I welcome it. I don't care what it is, I don't know what it is, but I like it. Whatever it is. And I welcome it---whatever it is.

Notice that the influence of this system will reach into the high places and notice it says here the kings of the earth. Now I don't want to go too whack hammer on this. I don't want to get so overboard but just a thought. Since there will be demons, it says in Revelation, and some of the demons will have odd shapes, really weird shapes, and torment men upon the earth for five months, it says. I've been wondering, in the light of the current theme of the motion pictures and seemingly the world, what part UFO's and aliens might play in the future. Perhaps the demons that Revelation talks about wouldn't come from UFO's and be aliens and that's the big thrust, that's what people are just going toward in incredible numbers. For people who reject God, aliens are God substitutes. I knew they were there! They have the answer! Don Feder from the Boston Herald said as a significant portion of the population drifts away from traditional religion, Americans are finding comfort in salvation and discipline from beyond the stars. You ask the average couch potato and he or she will say, you know, I don't know what all that stuff is but I always thought something was out there. When you have that pervasive kind of a mentality, that something else out there, that could perhaps turn out to be demons in the form of space aliens and what deception might happen upon the earth.

Verse 7, we don't have time to really explore that, "But the angel said to me, "Why did you marvel?" Now that's kind of an odd question. Who wouldn't marvel at this? His mouth is hung open, he's going, whoa! The angel goes what's up with that, why are you marveling at that? "I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns." I think the reason John is marveling isn't because of the vision. He's seen enough already to stop anyone but he's endured it. I think why he is marveling right now is he's already been introduced to the beast, chapter 13. He already saw in a vision that the whole world will worship the beast, the Antichrist. But now he sees a woman tied into this worldwide worship system that's sort of different and she's on top of the beast, riding the beast, controlling, directing the beast, and he doesn't quite understand. I thought the world was worshiping the beast but now this woman is here. What's that all about? The beast is then identified in verse 8: "The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit". Now we've already seen that, haven't we? Revelation 13 he has a deadly wound that is healed, a fatal wound. I think what will happen probably is some kind of a fake resurrection, some miraculous thing. The Bible says the false prophet by this sign and wonder will cause the world at that point to worship the Antichrist, worship the beast.

This beast has, we see in verse 3 and 4, seven heads and ten horns. We read in verse 9 the seven heads are seven mountains and it says in verse 18 the woman that you saw is the great city which reigns over the kings of the earth. Historically, the city called the city on seven hills has always been Rome; it's in all of ancient literature. It's the woman who sits on the seven hilled city---Rome. We know that there will be a revived Roman Empire in the last days, as Daniel saw, a political empire identified with the city. A ten-nation confederacy as depicted here by the ten crowns. But look at verse 10: "There are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come. And when he comes, he must continue a short time." Remember Daniel? Nebuchadnezzar had a dream and he dreamed about this huge statue, gold, silver, bronze, iron, and then iron and clay, ten toes. He didn't know what it meant so Daniel stands before him and said, I'll tell you what you saw. You saw kingdoms of the earth in their succession. Babylon being the first, because you're the king of Babylon, followed by Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. Do you remember that? It's in the book of Daniel. Four world governing empires from Daniel's perspective yet to come. Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. Prior to the time of Nebuchadnezzar, there were two other world governing empires: Egypt and Assyria. Now they didn't control the whole globe, they couldn't, but they were the most powerful kingdoms of their time and they're written about and predicted because of their relation to Israel. So if you look at it historically, there was Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. And when John was writing this, the one that was, was Rome. He was exiled to Patmos by the Roman government. But there was another one yet to come as Daniel saw, a revived Roman Empire. Daniel saw it with ten toes or ten nations; he said were ten nations banded together. John sees seven heads and ten crowns which we're told are nations in another place. So here we have basically the same vision. The last kingdom will be the kingdom of the Antichrist.

Now look at verse 10, the very end of it: "he must continue a short time." Its only 42 months is his reign we're told, remember a few chapters before, three-and-a-half years, the last half of the tribulation period. That's really the summation of his kingdom---a short time. Then verse 11 and this is really odd but I better unfold it because I'll get a question about it: "The beast that was, and is not, is himself also the eighth, and is of the seven, and is going to perdition." Now what is that all about? Well he's one of the seven, in fact he's the seventh but he's really the eighth and he was and is not but now he is. Look at it in the light of what we already know so far from the previous studies about the beast. What will happen to the Antichrist? He will supposedly die and be resurrected. He will have a fatal wound. That means he'll die---deadly wound. Or at least it will appear that way. And so when he dies, his kingdom will die. That seventh kingdom. But it resurges once again and so the seventh also becomes the eighth. And then it says the ten kings yield their sovereignty to the Antichrist. Now we know that there will be a revived Roman Empire of sorts. Exactly what that means we don't know. I can't name nations. I find it interesting that it could be more than just Europe. It could be the whole world tied into this system. There's a push right now and there's documents in print where leaders are trying to divide the earth up into ten geographical zones for ease of rule. There are many documents to that nature. I've actually read one here some weeks ago.

We'll look at verse 6. There's an alliance not only with the beast, an alliance with the world, but she makes an alliance against God's people. "I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement." Every false religious system has always persecuted God's people. It's historically true. It will always be true. And we have seen so much of it already in the book of Revelation that will happen during this time. There's a conditioning right now going on in the world and we see it in our country, a conditioning toward the elimination of people. Let me start with abortion and euthanasia. Those are hot topics. Abortion is legal in every state. It's even funded and sanctioned by the government in many cases. The idea is that an unwanted fetus can be eliminated by a mother's choice. The next logical step is what you see developing now---euthanasia. If an unwanted fetus can be eliminated, what about unwanted adults, those who are sick? Old? Terminal? And here is the trend and here is the conditioning. Society is paving the way to remove any life deemed unwanted, unviable, unproductive. With that mindset, when the world under the beast worship and the worship of this false system sees the impediment as those fundamental Christians who are always preaching about Jesus, just remove them! That is sort of the trend that is being set even now.

Let's look now at the replacement of this system by the beast himself, verse 16: "And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire. For God put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled." Remember this false system rides on top of the beast and the very beast that supported her now devours her. Reminds us of that old poem that says there once was a lady from Niger who smiled as she rode on the tiger they came back from the ride with the lady inside and a smile on the face of the tiger. That's the children's version of Revelation 17. The Antichrist will befriend this religious system, support the religious system, perhaps even be directed by the religious system, until she has fulfilled his agenda. And he is jockeyed into position and the kingdoms of the earth yield their sovereignty to him and there are no restraints for him to make himself the object of worship. Now this is not new. We have read so much about this happening. Revelation 17, the whole world will worship the beast. I believe this will happen at the midway of the tribulation period. The way it pans out is that the first three-and-a-half years, the religious system in place will be this false Babylon the great. At the midpoint of the tribulation period, since the Antichrist has to reign for 42 months, he sort of debunks the religious system and breaks another covenant he has made with the Jewish people in Jerusalem. It's called the abomination of desolation. This is what Daniel says about that: he, this ruler, will confirm a covenant with many for one seven-year period. In the middle of the seven, he will put an end to the sacrifice and offering and on the wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.

By the way, this is nothing new. The Communist regimes have done this for years. They come into an area, they make friends with all the religious leaders, they even put them in positions of authority until they're entrenched in the culture, then they start persecuting and restricting the freedoms of the religious groups. Happened with Hitler, happened with the Soviet bloc, happened in Nicaragua, it's happening now. And that will happen on a worldwide scale. And there will be a fake kind of a resurrection, the deadly wound is healed; the world goes after the beast. I've saved the best for last. Verse 14, I have skipped it on purpose to end with, the ruin of this system by the Lamb. "These will make war with the Lamb". Isn't that stupid? We're gonna fight God! Come on, God! The audacity that you have enough firepower to do in God. That's how deceived they are. "These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is the Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful."

Jesus will ultimately overcome. It's all detailed in Revelation 19. Don't turn to it yet. Wait till we get there. It's all laid out for us. He sets up His new kingdom, not the New Age kingdom that man sets up---His own everlasting kingdom. This is the stone that comes out of heaven. Remember the dream of Nebuchadnezzar? He said, Daniel, I had this weird dream, this big statue. Daniel said well those are kingdoms that are coming. Yeah but then in my dream I saw this big stone fly out of heaven and smash the statue and it annihilated the statue and that stone grew into a mountain that covered the whole earth, what does that mean? He says, I'll tell you what it means. In the last period of time, Daniel said, when there are ten nations that rule, the God of heaven will establish His kingdom upon the earth that will never end. That's what you saw. This is how Paul puts it in 2 Thessalonians. He succinctly compresses this whole episode in one verse: then the lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. Will there be a big fight? Will there be a big battle? No. Jesus will come and go: whoosh. And that's over. The breath of His mouth, the brightness of His coming, the rebellious one will be wiped out by the returning One. And He will rule and reign forever.

Notice it says and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful. Now John wants to show that the champ is not gonna be the beast but the Lamb. And anybody who follows the Lamb is following the right One. Anybody who follows the beast, even under the umbrella of religion, is a loser. Compare verse 8 with that: "the beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world." Which side would you rather be on? The side of the beast and have your name not written in the Book of Life or follow the Lamb who will ultimately overcome? I want to leave this study with a charge to the church. I want to make an appeal to you if you're not a Christian to give your life to Jesus Christ today. But a lot of times we think, well that's what the church service is for, give an altar call and that's the pinnacle. My charge today is to you as Christians. You live in an age when the lines of truth are blurred, when it's acceptable to not be dogmatic about anything, especially Jesus Christ, people are drifting from the truth. My exhortation is cling to the truth at all costs. At all costs. These are the words of Charles Spurgeon written about 100 years ago. They're as relevant now as they were then. If the Lord does not speedily appear, there will come another generation and another and all these generations will be tainted and injured if we are not faithful to God and to His truth today. We have come to a turning point in the road. If we turn to the right, may half our children and children's children will go that way. If we turn to the left, generations yet unborn will curse our names for having been unfaithful to God and to His Word. I charge you, not only by your ancestry but by your posterity that you seek to win the commendation of your Master. That though you dwell where Satan's seat is, you yet hold fast His name and do not deny His faith. God grant us faithfulness for the sake of the souls around us. How is the world to be saved if the church is false to her Lord? Stand fast, my beloved, in the name of God.

That's the charge. The world is coming to a religious point of abandoning the truth. Stand up for the truth. It might cost you everything. It might cost you a family. It might cost you a job. But you know one day you're going to hear the words from Jesus' own lips: well done, good and faithful servant. It's worth it all to hear those words. That is graduation time.








Additional Messages in this Series

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6/9/1996
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Good News from a Bad Place
Revelation 1:1-8
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6/16/1996
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Catapulted into the Future
Revelation 1:9-20
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6/23/1996
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When Love Grows Cold
Revelation 2:1-7
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6/30/1996
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Postcard to Those in Pain
Revelation 2:8-11
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7/7/1996
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The Curse of Compromise
Revelation 2:12-17
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7/14/1996
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Corruption without Discernment
Revelation 2:18-29
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7/21/1996
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Church of the Living Dead
Revelation 3:1-6
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7/28/1996
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Body Building - God's Way
Revelation 3:7-13
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The human body has become the obsession of our modern culture. Much like the ancient Greeks, people are madly trying to fit the contemporary ideal of what is an acceptable shape and size. The church is metaphorically called the "Body of Christ" and His desire is to see it built up spiritually. The church of Philadelphia is a good model of a healthy, faithful church. Their example provides for us a template to follow in building up the Body - God's Way!
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8/19/1996
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Taking Your Spiritual Temperature
Revelation 3:14-22
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Ever since we were kids our moms stuck thermometers in our mouths whenever she suspected that we were sick. If our body temperature of 98.6 had climbed up just a few notches, it was always a good indication that an unhealthy condition was present. There is also a spiritual temperature that reveals the condition of our souls, and when the thermometer reads Lukewarm it indicates that something is wrong; it indicates the presence of danger. Let's see how Jesus, the Great Physician, treats his patient with this malady.
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8/25/1996
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Peeking into the Portals of Heaven
Revelation 4
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9/1/1996
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History's Greatest Real Estate Deal
Revelation 5:1-7
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9/8/1996
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Worship His Majesty - Part 1
Revelation 5:8-10
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In heaven there won’t be just three services in the morning and one at night with a midweek tacked on. There will be no need to be sensitive to time so we can go to lunch. Words will not have to be printed nor projected. Worship leaders will have no need prompting people to sing. It will be an all-consuming experience that will involve our total cooperation and enthusiasm.
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9/15/1996
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Worship His Majesty - Part 2
Revelation 5:11-14
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9/29/1996
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Four Riders with Bad News
Revelation 6:1-8
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10/6/1996
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The Cries of Heaven and Earth
Revelation 6:9-17
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10/13/1996
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A Blessed Interruption in a Tough Time
Revelation 7
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10/20/1996
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Trumpets of Doom
Revelation 8
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10/27/1996
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When All Hell Breaks Loose
Revelation 9:1-12
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11/3/1996
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Angels of Mass Destruction
Revelation 9:13-21
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11/10/1996
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A Big Angel with a Little Book
Revelation 10
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11/17/1996
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Two Powerful Preachers
Revelation 11:1-14
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11/24/1996
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Light at the End of the Tunnel
Revelation 11:15-19
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12/1/1996
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The Panorama of Spiritual Warfare - Part 1
Revelation 12:1-6
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12/8/1996
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The Panorama of Spiritual Warfare - Part 2
Revelation 12:7-17
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There aren't many people who like to fight. Confrontation is something most would like to avoid. But in the spiritual realm it's unavoidable. The question isn't, "Will I engage in spiritual warfare?" Rather, the question is, "How well will I fight?" As we saw last week, the war in the heavens makes its way to the theater of the earth. Let's see what else it entails.
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12/15/1996
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The Coming Global Leader
Revelation 13:1-10
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12/22/1996
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Evil's Right-Hand-Man
Revelation 13:11-18
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12/29/1996
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The Lamb Who Shepherds His People
Revelation 14:1-5
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After all that john has seen in his apocalyptic vision, seeing the docility of a lamb standing with his overcoming sheep is a welcomed sight. Although the dragon pursues god's people relentlessly, although the beasts are bent on ruling the earth, the ultimate winner will be the lamb and his followers.
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1/5/1997
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Angels Set The Record Straight
Revelation 14:6-13
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1/12/1997
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It's Harvest Time!
Revelation 14:14-20
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One of the most common ways to make a living in ancient times was to "work the land." The early rains of October/November and the soft latter rains produced the wheat and barley harvest later on. Also, when vintage season began, almost the whole village could be found in the fields harvesting the crop. Such images would also provide a poignant way of depicting the final judgment of the earth, as in this section.
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1/17/1997
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Getting Ready for the Grand Finale
Revelation 15:1-8
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1/26/1997
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What's in the Bowl? - Part 1
Revelation 16:1-11
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We now come to the "seven last plagues" of God in the Great Tribulation that is coming upon planet earth. These judgments come in the form of "bowls" being poured out swiftly and completely-the judgment will be swift and thorough. Yet through all the mercy as Well as wrath of this awesome era, people will persist in having a hardened heart. Open your heart 'right now to these truths.
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2/2/1997
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What's in the Bowl? - Part 2
Revelation 16:12-21
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What will the end of the world be like? What are the final events just before Jesus returns and takes over to set up His millennial reign? That's what this section tells us. There will be increased warfare activity in the Middle East, massive deception, and unheard of destructive cataclysms on earth. In the midst of foretelling these events, Jesus has a word of encouragement.
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2/16/1997
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Get out of Babylon!
Revelation 18
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Someone once said, "Money can't buy you friends but your enemies treat you a little better." Though meant to be tongue-in­cheek, that won't happen when the entire world economy collapses. God's shakedown of the earth will include everything that the Antichrist's kingdom will embody, from the sacred to the secular.
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3/2/1997
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Marriage Made in Heaven
Revelation 19:1-10
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3/9/1997
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The Return of Jesus Christ - Part 1
Revelation 19
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Even in the dome of our capitol in Washington there is an inscription which seems to point to the return of Jesus Christ. It says: "One far-off divine event toward which the whole creation moves." It is that event which we will be studying in the next two weeks. This is what all Christians of all ages have looked forward to - His return and reign of His creation.
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3/16/1997
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The Return of Jesus Christ - Part 2
Revelation 19
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Even in the dome of the capitol in Washington there is an inscription which seems to point to the return of Jesus Christ. It says: "one far-off divine event toward which the whole creation moves." it is that event, that Christians of all ages have looked forward to-his return and reign of his creation. We will conclude our study of the return of Jesus Christ, today.
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4/6/1997
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Paradise Regained
Revelation 20:1-3
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4/13/1997
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The Devil's Last Stand
Revelation 20:1-10
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A typical question is, "Will evil ever get its reward?" What ever happened to ethics and justice? Well, we see here that God will not turn His back on this issue. He will deal with the source of all evil (the devil himself) and then judge those who revel in it. This section gives tremendous hope to anyone concerned about injustice in our world.
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4/20/1997
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Life, Death, and Resurrection
Revelation 20:5-6; 20:11-15
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5/4/1997
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All Things New - Part 1
Revelation 21:1-3
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5/11/1997
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All Things New - Part 2
Revelation 21:4-8
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"It's like nothing you've ever seen or experienced before." That's how John describes the emotional experience of heaven. So that we can relate, he tells us that all of the pain, sorrow, and moaning we've endured here won't be there. By the way, only those who want to go there will go there. Heaven is not a destination by default, reservations are made here and now!
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5/18/1997
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The City of the Future
Revelation 21:9-22:5
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There is no architect or builder like God himself. Even the patriarch Abraham "was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God." (Heb. 11:10) he didn't find it in his lifetime. "You won't find you're "happily ever after" here either, but the New Jerusalem will be God's answer for man's longing to live in a perpetually peaceful stare.
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5/25/1997
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He's Coming - Now What!?
Revelation 22:6-21
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There are 43 additional messages in this series.