Posts Tagged “The book of Revelation”
“Blessed are those who die in the Lord…” Revelation 14: 13
When someone dies who is a popular figure, I find it a little obvious that so many people would write an article concerning them. Likewise, I find it a little obvious that when a heretic dies or gets ill many Christians conclude that it is a judgement? Yet in reality, all people be they heretic or Christian die sooner or later, some young, some old. Death is something that comes to all people. But the scripture I have above quoted speaks of a blessing when a person dies while in Christ. But if authority over life and faith were placed within the hands of many modern atheists, there would be no one on earth who dies in the hands of the Lord.
Modern atheism seeks to destroy Christianity.
Sadly, Christianity today is in a poor condition and deserves criticism and the reason, I think, this time has come about is because much of Christianity does not hold to the word of God anymore, but holds more to the opinions and ideas of men.
I see Christianity today being rather like a temple which is being attacked by many outsiders while so many Christians merely sit behind closed doors and watch and keep silent through either spiritual slumber or fear.
But the thing which strikes me about the scriptures is the prophetic nature of so many passages, while other religions would promote believers to keep the faith alive, the Bible states that it is God who will keep the faith alive and that it is He who will bring about a great falling away and a great delusion. We see this in 2 Thessalonians 2: 11-12. “…God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
In reality, the scriptures teach that it is God who is the boss and it is He who is in control, not man.
Yet still, Jesus warned believers that false teachers would come. Likewise, Peter, John, Luke, Jude, and Paul all warned that heretics would come speaking lies. The warnings are clearly visible in Scripture so that Christians must not fall for the slippery persuasive words of men. This is consistent throughout the New Testament. Yet like all lies, there is a fraction of truth within a lie, if only here and there.
We see this in the writings and talks that Christopher Hitchens gave. Hitchens mixed the truth with a lie, he claimed to love Thomas Cranmer’s prayer book (The Book of Common Prayer) and the King James Bible and stated that they will be with him till the very last hour, yet at the same time he attacked the very foundations of the faith and the things contained in both Cranmers prayer book and the Bible.
In one quote Hitchens said this; (Christianity) “is a wicked cult, and its high time we left it behind“.
In reality, what Hitchens did during much of his lifetime was to feed the many issues and possible doubts which even the average Christian has concerning God and His character and conduct and used them to promote his ideas. He picked out and explored selective Biblical texts which even the average Christian was not aware of, ignoring the context while at the same time promoting a twisted logic as though his interpretation of the narrative was actually final. He used many selective errors from Christian history and yet at the same time created an almost twisted logic to interpret them. However, I certainly would argue that much of his logic came through depression and the influence of alcohol.
Yet, having said this, there can be no doubt in my mind that Hitchens was a devout heretic who even crept into the Church at times and was given the time of day.
The problem is that alcohol merely brings out what is in the heart and clearly by listening to the words which Hitchens spewed out, we know what was in his heart.
However, although I confess that Hitchens did make people think and did even open many eyes to issues and ideas, and also spoke against many issues which I myself struggle with concerning modern day Christianity, I also confess that one of the many problems with Hitchens is that his logic was both human and demonic, based upon human philosophy and lies.
I say this because I am sure that if satan himself did preach, he would open many eyes to things they never thought about before. The thing is that, Satan is old and has been around for eight thousand or so years. He has much experience and thousands of years worth of practice at causing people to doubt the word of God.
It is clear to me through the text of Genesis 3: 1 that doubt is satans calling card and whenever I hear anyone leading people into doubting the word of God, I know satan is near.
It is also clear to me that Hitchens was a thinker, but his thinking was merely humanistic and not spiritual. I don’t see how any man can understand spiritual truths through human logic, its like trying to ask a child to understand what it is like to be an older man, experience can only teach such things.
I think the New Testament is clear that heretics come and go and that they will always be on the earth until Christ returns. But one thing I think Christians should grasp is that there are some men who were for ordained a long time ago, as Jude says; “…these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities…these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.” (Jude 1: 8-9)
Jude also says this; “beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit. But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” (Jude 1: 17-21)
I could say more, but Jude does well.
I think in closing, I would like to say that I can have little sorrow in my heart concerning the death of a man who set out to destroy Christ’s church. Hitchens did mock God, he denied the Holy Spirit, he denied Christ, he denied and mocked Christ’s church and he spoke evil of God’s word and the character of God.
The problem is that although he has gone, his influence remains and I often ask myself, what or who is coming next?
Thus, in conclusion, I would like to leave you with some thoughts from the scriptures.
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” (Galatians 6: 7-8)
“Keep the faith”
Simon Peter Sutherland
16th December 2011
“I John saw the Holy City, New Jerusalem” (Revelation 21: 2)
John saw a vision of a City without a Church building as his ideal of heavenly life. The one place in the world from which heaven seems most far away. The City where the life of man is at most, intense. The focal point of countries unrest, where pressures are the greatest, a great mass of human need spilling out from the broken homes, broken relationships. Without the relationships of man, one with another, with master and servant, husband and wife, buyer and seller, creditor and debtor, there is no Christianity. Without reality in our lives, we are not living the life of Christ in us. He came down from His throne to share the heavenly life with fallen man in the home. The School, the market place, with all the corruption, intensity of life, work wages, pressures, poverty, addiction, the traffic, the noise, sin and an abundance of all things bad.
A NEW CITY, A HOLY CITY
Wherever real life is there Christ is. Not only of the great need, but because there is the raw material there with which Christianity works. The life of man to do something with this, to save scrutiny, the actual working life in the City. “I have come that you might have life, life in all it’s abundance”. Christ’s gift to man is abundant life and life is to be lived. The abundant life doesn’t show itself in abundant dreaming, but in abundant living for him amongst real and tangible things. To actual and practicable purposes. “His servants shall serve Him; as citizens of the new City”. A City where light overcomes the darkness, a City that is good for it’s citizens to live in. A new City. “Behold I make all things new” (Revelation 21: 5). Surely we must take on full responsibility for the burdens and cares of our City. Surely the Lords prayer would be answered in this way? Justification for the world, the founding of a City which shall be in visual reality, A City of God.
One City anywhere on earth whose citizens from the loftiest to the least lived in the spirit of Christ. Where religion overflowed from the Churches onto the streets. Inundating the home, the school, the workshops, putting the salt into the very centre of the social and commercial life of that City. Such acts would seal for that City it’s redemption. Surely such a City was what John saw in his vision? Whatever reference we see and make of a world to come in heavenly realm, are we not justified to seek the scene on our present world? John had been burdened for long years, he agonised and prayed for his City which had been ravaged by greed and corruption. Raped by invasions and wars for centuries. When he saw his City descending out of heaven, it was not something he had not seen before. But a City he knew; JERUSALEM. A New Jerusalem, A Holy City. We see this as heavenly or a ideal of heaven yet why not take it simply as it stands and put the natural force back into the expression? Just supposing John had lived today in maybe Paris, Rome, Berlin, London or Manchester, New York or Melbourne. I saw a Holy City, a New…..
I would that all Gods people were Prophets. John’s vision was to see a City he knew and to see it as God saw it, as God would have it. A Holy City, Renewed, Reformed, Redeemed, risen from the ruins of the old City. Building for God never ceases, the sun never sets on some city anywhere in the land without some stone of the invisible City laid. God’s word has been spoken by some Christians to the lost, some seed will have been sown, hearts touched and reached by Jesus. Salt and light permeating through the busy streets. To believe this is Faith. To live for this is Christianity in practical action. John knew Christ was the light and he saw the vision, a City that would give up its darkness, where light overcomes the darkness.
Let us travel back in our minds to Ephesus, the famous City at Asia Minor (Turkey) in the time of John (The apostle). The same John who rested his head on Jesus’ shoulder at the last supper. A young John living in the love of Christ. He was known as the disciple of love. 3 years earlier Jesus called him and his brother James, “follow me”. Two pretty wild boisterous lads who were known as the sons of thunder, changed by the love of Jesus. He even loves the unlovable. We find it very hard to love some people, don’t we? Some people we try to steer clear of don’t we? And anyway we are just men and women with all our failings, all our weaknesses, just the same as Moses, Joshua, Caleb, Elisha, King David, John, Peter, Paul, William Booth, Wesley, Moody, you, me. What do we say today? “Be strong and of good courage” we will take the City of Jericho, God is with us. We can enter the promise land that God promised us. Caged wild beasts, God can shut their mouths. Create in me a new clean heart, and a right spirit. Testify we unto you God is light. And in Him dwells no darkness. Grass dies, but the word of the Lord endures forever. We are more than conquerors through Him who loves us. God shall have all there is of William Booth 70 years later, old, frail, nearly blind, pleading, “repent, come into the Kingdom of heaven” Lo, the kingdom of heaven is not here or there, it is within you. Jesus of Nazareth said that (Luke 17: 21). But John under his ministry at Ephesus was under troubled times, when the leaders of the early Church in Jerusalem sought to keep their links with Judaism. They desired to keep Christianity Jewish, but many began to reach out at Antioch to the Gentiles, amalgamated and consolidated to Christianity as it should be today at Ephesus. During John’s ministry there a certain other Apostle visited a few times to I’m sure he also had something to do with it. It was a wealthy City, a centre for commerce, sea- port, multinational, people from all over the world traded there. It was essentially great with a strong Hellenistic culture. A busting busy City, with many attractions and as is usual for such a good place, not all the attractions were good. Corruption was rife, villains made a good profit there, they even had a sanctuary, “the right of asylum”. A temple, place of worship built to the glory of a grotesque goddess, Artemis. The scene of the most sordid tales. The theatre of the most glaring sins. It was a beautiful building, in a beautiful City. A roof of cedar wood, columns of jasper, marble pillars, doors of Cypress wood. A magnificently crafted Alter, with a Velvet curtain behind “sound familiar?” But behind the curtain was a darkened room. In it the Horrendous most sacred idol of the heathen’s “Artemis” who was said to be an angel fallen from heaven. Love goddess of Asia Minor. Behind the dark monument to sin, was the securest and wealthiest bank in the western world. Claimed to be under divine protection. The religious gathering held there were frenzied orgies of self-indulgence and self gratification. In spite of it’s great beauty and almost perfect setting, Ephesus was a place of great darkness, abundance of evil, corruption, sin set high on a hill. At night it seemed to be lit up. “A City that could not be hid” Evil cannot be hidden, corruption cannot be covered. Sin cannot be glossed over, it has to be cleaned. John had a vision of a new City, A New Jerusalem. He proclaimed Christ and the same can be said of any City of any country on this planet. What is said of the New Jerusalem. That the Lamb is the light thereof. John saw in his vision a City giving up its darkness room by room, home by home, street by street, district by district. It would be changed from within. Abominations, lies, deceit would disappear. Sin, pain, anguish and sorrow would silently pass away. One day the walls would be jasper, the streets paved with gold, in the middle of the City there would stand a tree of life and its leaves would go forth for the healing of the City.
Survey your home, your street, your district, your town, your City, work hard for the Kingdom. When a Prophet tells of things to come, the coming event is not just brought about by some unrelated cause or sudden shock, but rather by a natural course of the planets unfolding drama. The supreme players in this drama are God’s people and be sure of this, that down to the least and pettiest detail of all that concerns a better world, concerns Christ. God’s judgement fell on Cain and the place where he lived because of lies, murder, Cain went out from the presence of the Lord to the land of Nod, East of Eden (Genesis 4: 16-17). And he built a City there and he called it after the name of his son. But God’s judgements had fallen and he appointed another seed to replace Abel who was slain. Right from the beginning, men knew the terror of the wrath of God and they did something about it. They began to call on the name of the Lord.
God’s judgement can and will come. We are living in a time of grace and for some reason He is holding back His judgement and granting us His favour. His love is as great as His judgements are terrible. “Room and time now give to Jesus, soon will pass God’s day of grace” because of grace His nature poured into man, we have this time. I have a plea to make, and I make it as a serious and practical proposal. Outside of these walls is our City, what can we do for it? What did Jesus do? For He prayed over it the He wept over it, then He died for it. John had a vision, a New City, a New Manchester and the Lamb was the light thereof. “Behold I make all things new” (Revelation 21: 5). One of the Churches main functions is to help man come in, to receive meat, to worship Him together as we and then to go out strengthened to bring about change. If I were to build a new City, the 1st foundation stone I would lay would be that of a Church. And for the 1st sermon preached there I would choose the text “I saw no temple therein” (Revelation 21: 22). So often it happens that when Christians break with Church, they break with Christianity. The reverse should be the truth, the essential Christian life should be lived to the full in Christ. Abundant life is given for abundant living. We can change our City for Him, because He changes us to change things for Him for His glory. Make your home a lovely place to be in, bright, comfortable and homely. For Christians are citizens of Heaven.