Daily Archives: August 25, 2014

Questions about the End Times: What Are the Three Woes of Revelation?

 

Woe means “grief, anguish, affliction”; the three woes of Revelation are the final judgment God pronounces on the evil inhabitants of the earth in order to spur them to repentance (Revelation 9:20). The three woes are, indeed, a time of great anguish and affliction for those who have pledged their allegiance to the Antichrist during the end times.

The number 7 is significant in Revelation, and the three woes will come toward the end of the seven-year tribulation period right before the second coming of Christ. God’s judgments during the tribulation are pictured as seven seals, opened one at a time. The seventh seal reveals the seven trumpet judgments. The fifth, sixth, and seventh trumpets are called the three woes (Revelation 8:13).

The first woe is revealed after the fifth trumpet judgment. This woe is involves something like locusts that have the ability to sting like a scorpion (Revelation 9:3). Generally, these are not accepted as literal locusts because of their description and because they come from the Abyss and have a demonic overlord (Revelation 9:3, 7–8, 11). These creatures are permitted to harm only those people who do not have the “seal of God on their forehead” (Revelation 9:4). Those bearing God’s seal are the 144,000 (Revelation 7:3–4) or, possibly, all believers during that time (Ephesians 4:30). These demonic locusts are allowed to torment unbelievers for five months (Revelation 9:5) with painful stings. Although victims will long for death (Revelation 9:6), they will not be granted that release.

The second woe is revealed after the sixth trumpet judgment. This woe begins when a voice commands, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates” (Revelation 9:14). These four angels are demons who were cast from heaven along with Satan. God is right now keeping them imprisoned until the appointed time (Revelation 9:15; cf. Jude 1:6; 2 Peter 2:4). These angels and their armies, numbering two hundred million, are released to kill a third of mankind (Revelation 9:15–16).

After the second woe passes (Revelation 11:14), there comes a clear division in the book with the announcement from heaven, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ” (Revelation 11:15). In other words, this final stage of judgment will be the end, and righteousness will be restored to the earth.

The third woe is revealed after the seventh trumpet judgment. This woe is parallel to the trumpet that sounds in Joel 2 and signals the consummation of God’s plan for the entire world. This third woe marks the finishing of God’s judgment on sin; it occupies the book of Revelation through the 19th chapter, when Christ’s Kingdom is established on earth. Incorporated within this third and final woe are the seven “bowls” of God’s wrath, described in Revelation 16:1–21. This series of judgments is the greatest horror the citizens of earth have ever seen. Jesus said, “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive” (Matthew 24:22).[1]

 

[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Apologetics and Worldview: Should Christians Boycott Companies that Support Anti-christian Policies?

 

Some Christian organizations have declared boycotts of companies with anti-Christian policies. Starbucks, Amazon, Nike, and other corporations have been the target of such boycotts. Those calling for the boycotts want to get the attention of business executives and decision-makers to communicate the fact that Christians will not support an ungodly agenda. Many who are involved in boycotts are also trying to be good stewards of their money: “Why should I feed a company and help it stay in business,” they reason, “knowing that it is going to use some of my money to support an anti-Christian agenda?”

The Bible says nothing regarding boycotts. Of course, Scripture contains no direct command to boycott or not to boycott a business. However, at least two passages are relevant to the discussion. First, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 5:9–10 that, although we are “not to associate with sexually immoral people,” we are still part of the world and therefore cannot disassociate ourselves from all immoral people. To totally avoid all corruption, “you would need to go out of the world.”

Paul’s focus in 1 Corinthians 5 is the church. Christians should not partner (or even eat) with a person who claims to be a Christian yet lives contrary to Christ’s word. The only way to avoid contact with immoral people in this world is to leave the world. To apply this principle to the boycott issue, the only way to avoid businesses that support ungodly practices is to leave this world completely.

A second passage is Romans 14:5–12, which deals with doubtful issues, or “gray areas.” One principle here is that “each one should be fully convinced in his own mind” (verse 5). Whatever one does, he or she should do it “in honor of the Lord” (verse 6) and give thanks to God. “For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord” (verse 8). Believers are to follow their conscience in the gray areas, because “each of us will give an account of himself to God” (verse 12). If God’s Word has not clearly spoken on an issue, each believer has the freedom to seek God’s will and be fully convinced in his own mind.

This “matter of conscience” principle applies to many issues, including boycotting. Some Christians feel strongly about not supporting a business due to particular moral issues, and they are free to take their business elsewhere. Other Christians may be just as concerned about the moral issues yet not share the same conviction about boycotting. They are free to not join the boycott.

If one does join a boycott, there are other questions that should be answered: for example, how far should the boycott extend? What about subsidiaries of the parent company? Should vendors who sell to the boycotted company also be boycotted? How will the effectiveness of the boycott be gauged, or is that even a consideration? And what about Christians who are employed by the boycotted company?

Some Christians work politically, through the election process, to affect the important social and moral issues. Some work financially, through boycotts. Others work both ways. The important thing is to pray about the issues of the day and take a biblical, principled stand—and then do what one can.[1]

 

[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Pew survey: evangelical Christians least likely to believe superstitious nonsense

WINTERY KNIGHT

The Pew Research survey is here.

They are trying to see which groups believe in superstitions and new age mysticism.

Here are the parts that I found interesting:

Click for full image.

Click for full image.

Notice the numbers for Republicans vs Democrats, conservatives vs. liberals, and church-attending vs non church-attending. The least superstitious people are conservative evangelical Republicans, while the most superstitious people are Democrat liberals who don’t attend church. I think there is something to be learned from that. It’s consistent with the results of a Gallup survey that showed that evangelical Christians are the most rational people on the planet.

Here’s the Wall Street Journal article about the Gallup survey entitled “Look Who’s Irrational Now“.

Excerpt:

The reality is that the New Atheist campaign, by discouraging religion, won’t create a new group of intelligent, skeptical, enlightened beings. Far from it: It might actually encourage…

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Jesus Only Conference 2014: Main Sessions on Sin

The Domain for Truth

revamped-logo1-e1402512175915There is a youth conference in Southern California that has been going on for three years already and this year they tackled on the difficult issue of Sin.
Here are the three videos from the three main session.

Session #1 – I’ve Fallen Down and I Can’t Get Up

Session #2 – Burning the Tares: The Punishment for Sin

Session #3 – Jesus: Savior of Sin

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Denominations that liberalized Christianity’s teachings on sex are in decline

WINTERY KNIGHT

Alexander Grisworld writes all the denominations that liberalized their teachings on sex, in The Federalist.

Excerpt:

The Episcopal Church

In 2003, Gene Robinson became the first openly gay, noncelibate man to be consecrated as a bishop of the Episcopal Church. In the wake of his consecration, entire dioceses severed ties with the Episcopal Church, eventually creating the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA). But the Episcopal Church continued to liberalize its sexual teachings, lifting a moratorium on any more gay bishops in 2006 and creating a “blessing ceremony” for gay couples in 2009.

In 2002, the number of baptized U.S. members of the Episcopal Church stood at 2.32 million. By 2012, that number had fallen to 1.89 million, a decline of 18.4 percent. Meanwhile, attendance has fallen even more steeply. Average Sunday attendance in its U.S. churches was 846,000 in 2002, but had fallen 24.4 percent by 2012 to…

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The Mark of a Genuine Christian

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God. 1 John 5:1

The mark of a genuine Christian is not a general faith in God, but a specific faith in Jesus. Many people think a general faith in God makes you a Christian; it doesn’t. Jesus is “the Christ.” This is what Christians confess, but what does it mean?

“Christ” means anointed one. In the Old Testament, God anointed people for various tasks that reflected his work in the world: (1) Revealing himself, (2) Redeeming sinners, and (3) Reigning over his people. Prophets were anointed to speak the Word of God. Priests were anointed to offer sacrifices to God. Kings were anointed to rule the people of God.

The prophets, priests, and kings pointed forward to one person who would be the Anointed One. The Old Testament breathes with anticipation of this coming Messiah: the Christ, in whom God would make himself fully known, the Christ, through whom God would redeem sinners, the Christ, by whom God would bring in his kingdom and deliver his people from their enemies. Then Jesus came:

1. He is the Word by which God has made himself known. “If you have seen me you have seen the Father” (John 14:9). Who else could ever say that?

2. He is the priest who offers himself as the sacrifice for our sins. “I have come to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10) and to give my life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).

3. He is the king who reigns over all. “You will see the Son of man coming on the clouds with all his holy angels” (Mat. 24:30-31). He’s coming again in peace and glory.

Do you have a general faith in God or a specific faith in Christ?

That’s this week’s LifeKEY!

Colin S. Smith
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From the message by Colin Smith called “Signs of Life – Part 2” from the series “Regeneration: How Christ Changes Your Soul.”

Click Here to Review the Entire Series

Repentance is a marker of Christian authentication

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

18 Now when Jesus saw a crowd around him, he gave orders to go over to the other side. 19 And a scribe came up and said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” 20 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” 21 Another of the disciples said to him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 22 And Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.” (Matthew 8:18-22 ESV)

For the Christian, this life is a test as well as a proving ground in which God grows and matures those who belong to Him through pruning and removing what is not of Him in order that the believer will be humbled and, therefore, enter deeper into…

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THE EFFECTUAL FERVENT PRAYER

Samuel at Gilgal

Jonathan EdwardsJonathan Edwards:

When God is displeased by sin, he manifests his displeasure, comes out against us in his providence, and seems to oppose and resist us. In such cases, God is, speaking after the manner of men, overcome by humble and fervent prayer. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much,” Jam. 5:16. It has a great power in it: such a prayer-hearing God is the Most High, that he graciously manifests himself as conquered by it. Thus God appeared to oppose Jacob in what he sought of him. Yet Jacob was resolute and overcame. Therefore God changed his name from Jacob to Israel, for says he, “as a prince thou hast power with God and with men, and hast prevailed,” Gen. 32:28. A mighty prince indeed! Hos 12:4, “Yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed; He wept and made supplication unto him.” — When his…

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