Is the coronavirus one of the last plagues of Revelation? Is there still time to be saved? let’s take a look at what the Bible says.
I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God Romans 3:23 NKJV
One night I was lamenting to God, about all the apostasy, and outright rebellion going on even in Christian cultures. As I was “interceding” for the “fallen” I felt the Holy Spirit tap me on the heart, and ask,
What if I told you some of the people you are praying for are actually better Christians than you?
Often, we are concerned about others when we should be more concerned about ourselves. Fact is, we have all sinned. Fact is, there is hope for all of us!
For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous. Romans 5:19 NKJV
How many are made righteous? The many who were made sinners was a staggering amount, so since the same word is used for those who are made righteous, I figure that must be a staggering amount too. I just checked my concordance, and found that both times the word “many” is used in Romans 5:19, it is the word “polus.” Definitions for “polus” include, large, abundance, plenty, and even “most.”
When we see evil all around it is easy to get discouraged. We read,
you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked…Revelation 3:17 NKJV
We lament the sins going on in our Christian circles, and think there is no hope. We doubt God will even be able to save 144,000 since in Noah’s day God only saved 8. Be careful! We often project our faults onto others. See Romans 2:1. If I think the church is dead, there is a good chance I am dead.
After reading the sobering message in Revelation 3, I need to heed the warning myself. I need to open my heart to Jesus. I need to realize that amid all the dire things Jesus has to say about me, He still plans on me overcoming!
To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. Revelation 3:21 NKJV
Notice the contrast brought about by God’s grace. The one church that Jesus had absolutely nothing good to say about, is the one church that Jesus expects to not just overcome, but to overcome as I overcame!
While we wonder how many will be saved, while we wonder if the number will be closer to 8 than it is to 144,000 John sweeps our skepticism and criticism away with a staggering number who overcome!
After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, Revelation 7:9 NKJV
“Which no one could number?” “Of all nations?” Is John telling me there will be more people saved from the most hopeless situations than I can even count? Why yes, yes he is! When things look hopeless and we think a sinner is out of reach of God’s grace, remember,
Often we regard as hopeless subjects the very ones whom Christ is drawing to Himself. –Ellen White, Christ Object Lessons, Page 71
My Wednesday prayer meeting group was praying for some upcoming evangelism meetings. People were praying for God to send us several people or even a lot of people, but then a 9 year old girl prayed, “Send us infinity people!” We all chuckled inside. Doesn’t she know that’s impossible? Doesn’t she know that will never happen, especially when you look at the shape our world is in? Well, turns out she knew what she was praying about after all. One day this little girl and Jesus will be walking together hand in hand, and He will thank her for praying a prayer that made His dream come true: “A great multitude which no one could number.”
You may study this week’s SS lesson here.
And the dragon was angry at the woman and declared war against the rest of her children—all who keep God’s commandments and maintain their testimony for Jesus. Revelation 12:17 NLT
Often we let the world perception of success overrule what the True Witness calls success. We think if we are at peace with the world than we are all right. If the world thinks we are cool and gives us the thumbs up then we must be okay. But who is the prince of this world? Doesn’t the Bible say that the dragon is at war with those who keep the commandments and have the testimony of Jesus-the True Witness?
In Matthew 5 Jesus gives us the beatitudes. Each one is a stepping stone to a complete conversion. Once the conversion is complete and we are filled with God’s righteousness and pure in heart, Jesus says,
God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. Matthew 5:10 NLT
The persecution comes after the conversion. Why? Because those who are converted leave the others with no excuse for not partaking of God’s life changing grace as well. When I was taking 9th grade algebra, our teacher graded our tests on the curve. There was only one problem. The same girl always got a 100% on every single test. So we did not get a break or a curve. When we saw that this girl kept the standard right where it belonged, and did not bring it down for us, we ridiculed her. So it is today. A church that keeps the standards right where they belong, will suffer persecution. A church that upholds the testimony of Jesus over the prince of this world will sense a “war” and opposition.
When choosing a church let’s not look to see how well it fits in with the world. Let’s see how well it fits in with the Bible and Jesus, the True Witness.
I think I’ve made an interesting observation, at least to me. The church of Smyrna, which receives no rebukes, thinks that it is poor but is told it is rich.
I know about your suffering and your poverty—but you are rich! Revelation 2:9 NLT
Later, Laodicea, the only church that gets nothing but rebukes, thinks that it is rich, but is told it is actually poor!
You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. Revelation 3:17 NLT
Reminds me of my mission trip to Peru about ten years ago. We came from America to help hold meetings in several churches in Chiclayo. Many of the churches had no roofs, and seemed to be made out of tin. We pitied them and gave them our projectors and other equipment they could not afford. We thought they needed what we have. But they had many committed, passionate members. Their lives revolved around God and His church. They even took turns sleeping in the church every night to guard it from thieves. They held meetings in their homes. Whenever they were not at their regular jobs they were out working for the church. We had 1,000 baptisms after our meetings, and while the missionaries from America took all the credit, the real credit belonged to the local Peruvian church members who were studying with people in their homes, and inviting them to church and the meetings.
When we first arrived at our hotel in Peru rather late on a school night, we were greeted by about a hundred Peruvian Pathfinders. I approached one girl, about 14, who understood English. I told her how nice it was for them to welcome us. I tried to give her some money for her group of friends to get some ice cream. Kids in Peru don’t get sweet treats like American kids do every day. She smiled, almost laughing, and told me “no thank you.” They did not need any treats. They were just very excited that we were here in her city to hold meetings, so the people they were working with could get to know Jesus better. He reward would not be ice cream. The reward she was desiring, was to see her friends get baptized in our meetings!
I thought I was a rich man offering a poor girl somethings she needed. But when she smiled and almost laughed at my offering, telling me how excited she was that we were in her city to talk about Jesus, was there was such a beautiful glow in her smile and gleam in her eyes the most skilled cosmetic surgeons in Beverly Hills could never recreate. I walked away with all my money still in my pocket, not feeling like a rich man anymore. I realized she did not need what I had. I needed what she had!
And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying:
“You are worthy to take the scroll,
And to open its seals;
For You were slain,
And have redeemed us to God by Your blood
Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,
And have made uskings and priests to our God;
And we shall reign on the earth.” Revelation 5:6-10 NKJV
Remember when Jesus told Mary at the tomb that He had to go to His Father? I imagine this scene happening then. Because of sin, no one could open the seal or the dead or title to the destiny of the earth’s inhabitants. But Jesus the lamb, on the cross bought back the title to the earth and forever changed every man’s destiny if they will allow.
For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous. Romans 5:19 NKJV
On the cross Jesus undid all the damage Adam caused! Adam made us all sinners and Jesus saved us all! Unfortunately many will refuse this gift-but it has been given to all men! I have heard people say in order to receive it you must accept it. That is not true. Years ago, working for UPS I would deliver packages that some people sent back. They did not accept them, but they had still been delivered to them just the same. They rejected the package after having received it. On the Cross, according to Romans 5:19 everyone who was made a sinner by Adam was saved by Jesus! Please don’t throw this package away! Jesus, on the cross has forever changed your destiny! At the cross Jesus won the title and deed to your destiny!
I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.
“He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”John 8:7 NKJV
The phrase Jesus used in John 8:7 has been widely taken out of context. Please keep a couple of things in mind. Jesus was talking to the very people who participated with the woman being judged. “These would-be guardians of justice had themselves led their victim into sin.” –Ellen White, Desire of Ages, Page 460. By saying “He who is without sin” Jesus was being specific, meaning let a witness and not a participant throw the first stone. Jesus did not mean to give the idea that to obey the law of Moses one had to be perfect. They just had to be a witness and not a participant. The other thing to keep in mind is, Jesus was not talking symbolically. He was talking about literally throwing literal stones at her.
I want to make this clear, because I have sat in nominating committee meetings, where someone’s character was being discussed in relation to their fitness for a specific church office. As concerns about their character were voiced, someone came to their defense, with the cliche, “Let He who is without sin throw the first stone.” The cliche is totally out of place and context. We were discussing whether or not this person should have an office in the church, not whether they should be literally stoned to death! Please, in a church nominating committee there is a huge difference between denying someone an office and stoning them to death, as is the context in John 8. In a church business meeting there is a huge difference between church discipline and possibly removing their names from the books, and literally stoning them to death.
The Bible gives clear and definite counsel in Matthew 18 and 1 Corinthians 6, among other places on how to discipline a wayward church member. Still some will deny those inspired passages, and say we should practice love instead of discipline. Yet love includes discipline! Jesus says,
I correct and discipline everyone I love. Revelation 3:19 NLT
Notice how God is both kind and severe. He is severe toward those who disobeyed, but kind to you if you continue to trust in his kindness.Romans 11:22 NLT
Jesus has given counsel to His body, the church on how to rebuke and discipline in love, those who are wayward, some of which may actually include being denied a church office, or even having their names removed from the books, (hopefully to be added back again after repentance!) but none of which includes actually stoning people to death as was literally discussed in John 8. In Revelation 3:19 we see that discipline and love go together, and in Romans 11:22 we see God being severe while being kind in saving sinners from their sin.
Please understand, judging someone according to Bible counsel is not the same as throwing stones. Please understand when we truly love people, we will follow Bible counsel on dealing with their sin, which includes loving discipline. There is no genuine love without discipline, and there is not genuine discipline without love.
I’m writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.
“I have opened a door for you that no one can close.
Revelation 3:8 NLT
God’s door is always open. It’s our door that is closed.
“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.
Revelation 3:20 NLT
Last night in a study group in Plant City, we studied about being the children of God. Sometimes we may feel like a child of God, or we may have slipped away from God and feel like a distant relative.
While the prodigal son, who ran away from his father may have felt like a distant relative, the father’s feelings never changed. Every day he was looking out the window for his son. He always thought of him as a son and not a distant relative.
The doors of heaven are always open. Its the door of our heart, where Jesus knocks that needs to be opened. Will you open your heart’s door to Him now?
If you’ve been feeling like a distant relative lately, and want to run back home to God, the door is wide Open!
So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.
Hebrews 4:16 NLT
I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area
You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.
Revelation 3:17 NLT
Realizing my true condition makes me love God, and want Him to be the biggest part of my life. After all, He is the only thing I like about me. I detest everything about me except for Him.