“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens, says this: ‘I know your deeds. Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name. Behold, I will cause those of the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—I will make them come and bow down at your feet, and make them know that I have loved you. Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown. He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’” (Revelation 3:7-13)
“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens, says this:” (Revelation 3:7) Wow! As we continue in this series I am more and more overwhelmed by the love of Jesus Christ! His love is never ending and is far reaching. He not only stepped out of heaven to come to earth as a man to tell us how much He loves us, He is giving the Apostle John His personal letter to each of us! It’s all there in Scripture already, but yet His love is so deep that He speaks directly to John through visions to warn us of what is to come in both rewards for obedience and surrender, and wrath for the unbelieving world. There is no neutral stance, and in this letter we will see even more of the rewards that He will bestow on those who are His and have been obedient to His Word. We have seen Jesus reveal Himself as holy numerous times in these letters. I never tire of hearing of His holiness, yet it struck me that it is a sad testimony to the churches that He has to remind them, and us, that He is the Holy One! Even to those who may not have walked away from the truth, but have stayed on course, it is easy to take for granted His holiness. It becomes familiar and we aren’t in awe of Him. He is more of a “friend” than the Almighty God who holds our life in His hands! That is where most who call themselves believers today stand. They have only been introduced to their “friend”. They often look to Him as their “safety net”. They believe that as long as they claim the name of Jesus that He will do whatever they ask. They have totally missed the true meaning of His Word that teaches us that He will grant what aligns with His Word and ONLY WHAT is in His plan for our lives, and in the world! What a big difference from the “genie in a jar”! God is NOT a genie in a jar and will not respond to us when we are always asking for what is not in our best interest and not His plan for our lives!!
People will often quote this verse, “Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4) They forget the conditions that surround this promise. “Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.” (Psalm 37:3 emphasis mine) “Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He will do it.” (Psalm 37:5 emphasis mine) “Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him;...” (Psalm 37:7 emphasis mine) “Cease from anger and forsake wrath;..." (Psalm 37:8 emphasis mine) “Wait for the LORD and keep His way, and He will exalt you to inherit the land;...” (Psalm 37:34 emphasis mine) What will the result be? “...But those who wait for the LORD, they will inherit the land.” (Psalm 37:9) “For those blessed by Him will inherit the land, but those cursed by Him will be cut off. The steps of a man are established by the LORD, and He delights in his way.” (Psalm 37:22-23) “But the salvation of the righteous is from the LORD; He is their strength in time of trouble.” (Psalm 37:39 emphasis mine)
Now that the veil has been torn we have access to the Inner Room, the Holy of Holies. That is holy ground! God told Moses to remove his shoes because he was standing on holy ground. Why was it holy ground? Because God was there! Anywhere can be holy ground. Then He said, “Do not come near here; remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” (Exodus 3:5) Moses wasn’t expecting to have an encounter with God that morning. He had literally run away from his life in Egypt because he feared for his life. He thought he was doing God’s will but instead he had placed himself in a position of danger. He thought that he was completely useless to God. After many years of tending his father-in-law flocks he was basically empty of any ambition of his own and was now a vessel that God could use! Imagine his surprise that morning when he witnessed a burning bush that wasn’t being consumed! If that wasn’t enough, an audible voice out of heaven spoke to him and told him he was standing on holy ground!
Maybe you are in a place right now where you have given up any hope of ever being used by God to touch others lives. Or, maybe there is something you have been asking God to remove from you. You believe that if He would just take this “one thing” everything would be much better. While God doesn’t meet us in a burning bush or speak to us audibly, we can hear Him speak into our hearts through His Word or through others. Hopefully we are not so discouraged that we would miss His calling. While God still does speak audibly at times to us we shouldn’t be waiting for God’s audible voice to declare His holiness to us! Please don’t misinterpret and think that I am saying that God no longer speaks to us, I am not. I have had circumstances in my life that I heard God speak audibly to me but no one else could hear Him. There is no mistaking the voice of God, but He does not make a habit of responding to us in that way with our every prayer. If He did, we would never read His Word nor pray to seek His direction. We must hide His Word in our heart and trust Him to guide us in the right direction. Unfortunately today we get so caught up in ourselves and distracted with activities that we lose this connection that is so vital. Seek Him, my dear friend. Talk with Him as you would a dear friend sitting right next to you. He will meet you right where you are. So, thus, He reminds us again...I AM THE HOLY ONE and My way is perfect!
“who is true…” Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6) “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) "He who has received His testimony has set his seal to this, that God is true.” (John 3:33) Jesus then said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven.” (John 6:32) Jesus is the true bread of heaven! "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.” (John 15:1) Jesus is the true vine of heaven! There are many counterfeits. These counterfeits are demonic and are out to kill you! A person cannot “dabble” in a little of the counterfeit and not have it begin to infect the whole body, mind and spirit. God the Holy Spirit made it very clear in warning us as to how Satan can transform or disguise himself to look like the real thing. He can look like and talk as a pastor or spiritual leader preaching almost all the truth in the Word. “No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15) I know that many of you may have a difficult time accepting this as the great majority of the churches today have become “seeker sensitive”. That in itself is a red flag warning us that the whole counsel of God will not be taught because “someone might be offended”. Jesus always spoke truth. He didn’t set out to “offend” anyone but if the truth can set you free from the sin that so easily emcompasses us and sets us on the path to eternity in the Kingdom of God, does hearing the truth make it “wrong”? For this is contained in Scripture: “BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A CHOICE STONE, A PRECIOUS CORNER stone, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.” This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve, “THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE VERY CORNER stone,” and, “A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE”; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed. But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;" (1 Peter 2:6-9) Jesus taught the WHOLE counsel of God! He came to fulfill the Scriptures, not to change God’s Word! Some pastors can even speak and teach ninety percent truth from the Word of God but the ten percent that is left out is extremely dangerous spiritually because it sets a trap of sin for one to walk in deception and lies! Unfortunately this deception is widespread across every denomination. Bibles being printed today are also being changed to reflect this apostasy and the people are swallowing it up because it is “sweet to the taste”. They feel much better being told they are doing good and are acceptable in God’s sight than to be told the truth and convicted of sin and unrighteousness so that they can actually be saved!
We saw the outcome of that accepting of the enemy’s voice in the Garden of Eden and Adam and Eve lost their perfect home and had to begin working to meet their needs instead of God supplying all of them! “Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough?” (1 Corinthians 5:6) Let me remind you of a very serious sin that many who call themselves believers adhere to, reading their horoscopes! Astrology and astronomy are two very different things! Astrology is demonic. I challenge you to research for yourself. If you are reading your horoscope and following your sign you are being led by a different spirit than the spirit of Christ! It is not harmless! Those horoscopes come through a medium which is one who communicates with the demonic realm. Of course they are going to “dress it up” and make it sound appealing. It is a trap and anyone with discernment will hear the Lord clearly warn to denounce and remove oneself from any connection with this realm. This is the same demonic realm that is opened up to those who practice yoga. My dear ones, there is no Christian yoga! Even the body poses and exercises are meant to bring the body into a state of consciousness that this demonic realm opens up. If you are practicing either one of these practices you are NOT standing on holy ground and have placed yourself in great danger!
Can we get real? How many of you went to see the movie The Shack? How many of you thought it was wonderful and touching? How many of you know that it was not Christian? Can you even identify what is NOT Christian about it? The majority of believers today have not learned discernment and have not learned “to test the spirits”. Were you able to discern that this movie promoted “another Jesus”. It was not Jesus Christ of the Scriptures! Even if a movie comes out by a Christian organization do you research it? Do you not only watch the trailer but look for information by reliable sources that discern the times? Let me give you an example. When the book came out several years ago it was being highly promoted by several well known and respected Christians. I read the reviews and felt a check in my spirit so I researched the book and learned that the movie was actually New Age religion. I worked for a Christian ministry at that time and one of the staff read the book and couldn’t stop recommending it to others. When questioned about different aspects of the book that were not scriptural she rationalized them. A student later bought the book, against my recommendation, and then asked me to return it for her. I commented to the manager of the Christian bookstore that I was disappointed that a Christian bookstore would sell this type of material since the book did not agree with Scripture. His response was very loud and he basically verbally attacked me, telling me that Christian fiction did not need to be spiritually correct with doctrine! I was grieved to hear this man go on and on about how it touched so many in his church. Something touched those hearts but it wasn’t the true God! This is only one small example of what is being published and being marketed as Christian. Scripture tells us, “Therefore My people go into exile for their lack of knowledge; and their honorable men are famished, and their multitude is parched with thirst.” (Isaiah 5:13 emphasis mine) “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being My priest. Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.” (Hosea 4:6 emphasis mine) Dear brothers and sisters, have you forsaken knowledge and lean more on man’s ways than on the Word of God?
Are you willing to seek truth only and discard the garbage? Walk away from the “popular” music, books, movies that all your church friends participate in if it does not line up with the TRUE Word of God? Are you willing to scrutinize the authors of Bible studies your church is presenting? A great majority of those are promoting contemplative prayer which is a Buddhist chant and will open up windows that are not angelic. The practice opens up demonic communication that is very dangerous and just may kill you both physically and spiritually! Read the Word of God for yourself, I am not being overly dramatic. God has set watchmen on the walls to protect and warn His flock, do you have ears to hear and to respond to God’s warnings?
Will you be the one who is willing to stand up and say, “How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”? (Psalm 119:103) “The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You support my lot.” (Psalm 16:5 emphasis mine) “I have set the LORD continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” (Psalm 16:8 emphasis mine) “The words of the LORD are pure words; as silver tried in a furnace on the earth, refined seven times.” (Psalm 12:6) “As for me, I shall behold Your face in righteousness;
I will be satisfied with Your likeness when I awake.” (Psalm 17:15) Remember, “For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and WILL THEN REPAY EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS.” (Matthew 16:27 emphasis mine) That is serious my dear friends. These reminders are not to condemn but the Holy Spirit is desiring to convict our hearts of anything that we have embraced that has brought separation between us and the Lord. Every day as I sit and ask the Lord to speak through His Word to us in these letters, I know that He is speaking to me and I must respond to every challenge that is being presented and repent of anything that the Lord shows me that is out of alignment. Is your heart sensitive enough to do the same? The Lord is not trying to shame us or make us feel guilty but to shake us and wake us up to always keep our eyes on Him alone! Are you so in love with our Lord because of what He had to go through when He was being crucified in His body, in His soul and in His Spirit to save you for all eternity? Can you say, “I love you so much that I do not want to do anything that is against Your blessed Word? Are you willing to say yes to Hebrews 12:1-2, “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (emphasis mine) You will be the joy that was set before Him to endure the cross!
Father God, thank You that Your Word is true and that Yeshua, our Messiah is the True One sent from You to lead us into Your presence that we might spend eternity with You! I bow my knees today and worship for You alone are my portion. My life is in Your hands and it is You alone I must follow. Guide me Lord each moment of my day, remind me to keep my eyes on You alone and not look to the right or left or behind me but move forward following the guidance of Your Holy Spirit. Thank You that Your ways are perfect! They are not my ways, Your ways are higher and deliver me from the snare of the enemy. I love You Lord with all my heart! This I pray in the blessed name of Your Son, Jesus Christ! Amen.
“I know your deeds. Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name.” (Revelation 3:8) “I know your deeds.” Those words bring comfort and fear into my spirit. I love the Lord’s comforting reassurances that I am His and He is mine (Song of Solomon 6:3) and that He is with me each step of the way. But, honestly, to know He knows my every thought before I even know what I am thinking or am going to say, that is frightening because I know it is not always what He would think or say. “O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, You know it all.” (Psalm 139:1-4) (I encourage you to read the whole Psalm.) I love this Psalm! Not only do I feel His love for me through these words but His Spirit convicts me of any sin in my life. That is a good thing! I don’t ever want anything to separate me from the love of Christ! I want my heart to become pure like His. I want His love to flow through me. I want to walk in His ways, not mine. To do so, I need to constantly submit myself to Him to search me and show me any wrongdoing in my heart. “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.” (Psalm 139:23-24) Yes, He knows our deeds. Are we willing to be transparent so that the promise He is about to speak over these believers will become ours as well? Has this verse become true in our lives? “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12 emphasis mine)
“...Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name.” (Revelation 3:8 emphasis mine) “Then I will set the key of the house of David on his shoulder, when he opens no one will shut, when he shuts no one will open.” (Isaiah 22:22) Messiah is again reminding them of the prophetic word spoken to Isaiah. He is telling them that it will be fulfilled as the Lord has spoken! Listen to the insight of Job as he was going through his trials and the words he spoke of the Lord, “With Him are wisdom and might; to Him belong counsel and understanding. Behold, He tears down, and it cannot be rebuilt; He imprisons a man, and there can be no release. Behold, He restrains the waters, and they dry up; and He sends them out, and they inundate the earth. With Him are strength and sound wisdom,...” (Job 12:13-16) He testifies of the Lord’s authority over all of creation. We must be able, as Job, to see with spiritual eyes what God is doing in the world today and not get caught up in the circumstances. No, we will not always understand what God is doing but that is why we learn to walk by faith and not by sight! Evil is on the loose but God is still in control! Do you see His mighty hand at work in our world today? Or have you chosen to ignore it and continue to pursue your worldly desires? God does not expect us to stop living but He does expect us to discern the times and be alert. Even if we do not understand the specific actions, do we at least have a check in our spirit to know that what is happening is evil and to seek God’s understanding? By doing so we are running into His embrace and will be given the manna that we need in order to live a godly life. “Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” (Hebrews 7:25) “You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever.” (Psalm 16:11)
I am reminded of another Scripture that goes along with this verse. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.” (Revelation 3:20) There is still time to share the gospel with others and He lovingly reminds them they are to continue sharing the love of Christ with the lost and the hurting until He closes the door and takes us to be with Him. That’s why we were created, first to be in an intimate relationship with the Lord and, secondly, be a living testimony so that others would see and hear and be drawn to the throne of grace. These believers have not embraced false teachers but have stayed true to the Word of God. Because of their faithfulness, the Holy Spirit is moving in their lives. It is interesting that Jesus commends them for having a little power. As I asked the Lord what He was wanting to communicate with us I felt like He was saying that no matter how oppressed or persecuted we are, we are to be available for the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The power referred to in this passage is actually physical strength. So I am reminded that “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15) Remember the struggles of the Apostle Paul and his prayers to have an affliction removed from him? What was the Lord’s response? And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness….” (2 Corinthians 12:9 emphasis mine)
These believers have taken the Word of the Lord personally and were walking it out. They remained faithful with their oil lamps filled. They leaned on the Lord each day and did not deny His name no matter how difficult things may have become. Listen to these very special tender words that the Lord spoke to a remnant in another community, “Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD and who esteem His name. ‘They will be Mine,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘on the day that I prepare My own possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.’” (Malachi 3:16-17)
“Behold, I will cause those of the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—I will make them come and bow down at your feet, and make them know that I have loved you.” “Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.” (James 4:10) When? In His perfect time! Remember we talked above about the Lord judging our every deed? Depending upon our faithfulness and upright heart while here on this earth, He will assign us a place to serve Him in the New Heaven and New Earth. Could it be possible that we will also surround Him at the Great White Judgment Throne and witness His judgment upon those who will be cast into the Lake of Fire? I honestly do not know but He is clearly stating here that they will bow their knees and see the great love the Lord has for these believers. And, not only them but for any who also have clothed themselves in white garments and stayed true to the pure Word of the Lord.
The Lord will never share His glory with another but the Apostle Peter gives us encouragement and reminds us of what it will be like when we stand face to face, “but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.” (1 Peter 4:13 emphasis mine) I don’t believe we can accurately anticipate the great joy that we will experience! Oh how fitting these words of the psalmist are as I long to be in His presence! “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You, O God.” (Psalm 42:1) “O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; my soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” (Psalm 63:1) “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; when shall I come and appear before God?” (Psalm 42:2) “My soul longed and even yearned for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.” (Psalm 84:2) And the sweetest words yet from our Lord, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” (Matthew 5:6) I cannot help but to declare, “O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth, who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens!” (Psalm 8:1) “The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the LORD are true; they are righteous altogether. They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.” (Psalm 19:7-10)
“Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.” (Revelation 3:10) I don’t know about you but I am, again, so grateful for the love of the Lord! Nothing can compare to His love and mercy. Lately He has been reminding me more and more that this is not my home. Whenever I am seeking His direction He quietly speaks this truth into my heart so that I will have His peace. Yes, He will still direct my path according to His plan for my life, but He is more and more directing me to not allow the circumstances of my life nor the circumstances in which we live place fear or anxiety into my life. I need that so that the problems that I face do not consume me but cause me to rejoice in His love even more! That isn’t always easy for me but I have to choose to turn my heart to Him to walk with me each step of the way. Oh, how I long to be with Him on the other side! But I am so humbled that He has chosen to walk with me through this evil world in which we live and guide me to places of victory! I know that like these precious believers in Philadelphia, it is not my power but His power that flows through me and I desire that more than anything. By leaning on Him and trusting Him I make myself available to be a useful vessel. I’m not perfect at it but as long as I am humble and willing to submit myself I know that He will be there to continue the good work in which He started! “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.” (Romans 8:28-30) Just as the Apostle Paul finished these wonderful verses and asked a very important question, the Lord is asking you and me that same question today. What will be your response? “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?” (Romans 8:31)
What then is the outcome of this promise? “Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.” (Revelation 3:10) Doesn’t that just make you want to shout? But wait, there is something that you need to have the Holy Spirit reveal to you in your personal life. The first word of this promise is the “key”. “BECAUSE…” there were conditions that were required in order to receive the prize and these precious believers have met them! They like the Apostle Paul have hidden God’s Word in their hearts and press forward! “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14) “No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier. Also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules.” (2 Timothy 2:4-5 emphasis mine) “Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.” (2 Timothy 1:14) “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
Christians have been tested, persecuted and reviled since the beginning of time and there have been times that looked like the end was near. We do not know the time of that end, or as Scripture refers to it as “that day” but it is coming and we must be prepared and not be sitting with half filled oil lamps that will not get us to our final destination. Jesus is clearly stating that He will remove true believers before the wrath of God falls fully upon the whole earth. I do not want us to get sidetracked on a debate of pre-tribulation or mid-tribulation. (I have a close friend that used to debate the pre-trib, mid-trib, and post-trib. Then the Lord spoke to him about the time being wasted on secondary matters. He tells people today that he is a “pan-trib”. It will all pan out the way God has planned it. He just wants to be surrendered totally each day to Him. NOTHING ELSE MATTERS.)
Please bear with me as we first take a closer look at “God’s wrath”. There is a widely based teaching that God’s wrath was completed in the Old Testament but is not experienced by Christ followers. They will claim that grace replaced God’s wrath. That does not line up with Scripture. Let’s look at some Scriptures. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8) We cannot take this Scripture and isolate it to make a doctrine even though it clearly is the foundation of our faith. Let’s put it together with other proper Scriptures. “For the Son of God, Christ Jesus, who was preached among you by us—by me and Silvanus and Timothy—was not yes and no, but is yes in Him.” (2 Corinthians 1:19 emphasis mine) Yes in who? God! “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.” (Matthew 5:17) Jesus’ very own words spoken to those on the Mount of Olives! Except for the temple laws and sacrificial laws (all dependent upon the temple) and the dietary laws, all the commandments of God still stand. “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” (Hebrews 1:1-3 emphasis mine) As we continue this passage many Scriptures from the Old Covenant are quoted and the end of verse 12 concludes with, “...BUT YOU ARE THE SAME, AND YOUR YEARS WILL NOT COME TO AN END.” (Hebrews 1:12), a quote from Psalm 102:26. God’s wrath is spoken of 37 times in the New Testament! In the book of Romans it is spoken of 10 times and the book of Revelations 11 times. I will add the Scripture references to the end of this devotion so you can do your own Bible study on this topic.
This falling away is serious, it means to defect from, to revolt, to apostatize. Many will teach today that when the Lord struck down Ananias and Sapphira it was only judgment but if we line it up with Scripture we will see the same wrath in both the old and new testaments. Please read Numbers 16 of the account of Korah’s rebellion. These men put God to the test! “If these men die the death of all men or if they suffer the fate of all men, then the LORD has not sent me. But if the LORD brings about an entirely new thing and the ground opens its mouth and swallows them up with all that is theirs, and they descend alive into Sheol, then you will understand that these men have spurned the LORD.” As he finished speaking all these words, the ground that was under them split open; and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, and their households, and all the men who belonged to Korah with their possessions. So they and all that belonged to them went down alive to Sheol; and the earth closed over them, and they perished from the midst of the assembly.” (Numbers 16:29-33) We see God’s wrath through this passage beginning in verse 1 and the outcome of that wrath when there is no repentance.
Contrast this account with the account of Ananias and Sapphira in the Book of Acts. Please begin reading in Chapter 4, verse 32 where we learn that the “church” was filled with spirit filled believers who literally took the Lord’s commandments and walked them out! “And He said to him, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’” (Matthew 22:37-39) Believers were selling their homes and property to provide for one another. No one told them to do this and no one expected them to do this. Remember that last statement for the enemy is great at showing up in the midst of God’s work and trying to destroy it. If we are not sensitive to the Spirit he will get a foothold! “But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, and kept back some of the price for himself, with his wife’s full knowledge, and bringing a portion of it, he laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” And as he heard these words, Ananias fell down and breathed his last; and great fear came over all who heard of it. The young men got up and covered him up, and after carrying him out, they buried him. Now there elapsed an interval of about three hours, and his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. And Peter responded to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for such and such a price?” And she said, “Yes, that was the price.” Then Peter said to her, “Why is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out as well.” And immediately she fell at his feet and breathed her last, and the young men came in and found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. And great fear came over the whole church, and over all who heard of these things.” (Acts 5:1-11 emphasis mine) The Holy Spirit spoke to the Apostle Peter and revealed hidden sin and God’s wrath was immediate!
“He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (John 3:36 emphasis mine) That is signifying past, present and future! God does not change! Acts 12 contains one of my favorite testimonies of the grace and wrath of God. King Herod had James the brother of John put to death with a sword then arrested Peter because it was pleasing to the Judeans religious leaders. Peter was miraculously delivered before Herod could carry out his plans to execute him. In retaliation the king had all the guards executed because he was angry that Peter had escaped. Let’s read the rest of the account together that applies to the wrath of God. “Now he was very angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon; and with one accord they came to him, and having won over Blastus the king’s chamberlain, they were asking for peace, because their country was fed by the king’s country. On an appointed day Herod, having put on his royal apparel, took his seat on the rostrum and began delivering an address to them. The people kept crying out, ‘The voice of a god and not of a man!’ And immediately an angel of the Lord struck him because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and died. But the word of the Lord continued to grow and to be multiplied.” (Acts 12:20-24 emphasis mine)
As I’ve already mentioned, God’s wrath is mentioned 11 times in the book of Revelations. Here are two of those passages for you to consider. “he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.” (Revelation 14:10) “The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. Babylon the great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath.” (Revelation 16:19)
The most familiar New Testament passage of the wrath of God can be found in the testimony of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion. “And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split. The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many. Now the centurion, and those who were with him keeping guard over Jesus, when they saw the earthquake and the things that were happening, became very frightened and said, ‘Truly this was the Son of God!’” (Matthew 27:50-54 emphasis mine)
It is critical to be available to hear the Holy Spirit, my dear friends. This is speaking directly to the false teaching in our churches today and as long as you continue to sit under their teaching, your heart will begin to change toward the living God. It may be gradual and you won’t even notice it and then you begin to question everything that you were taught and read in the Scriptures. You are convinced that these “pastors and teachers” must be right or they wouldn’t be in their positions! WRONG, WRONG, WRONG! If it isn’t the pure Word of God, it is apostasy! “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation,” (2 Peter 1:20) “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;” (2 Timothy 3:16 emphasis mine) “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” (Matthew 5:18 emphasis mine)
God’s grace was as abundant in the Old Covenant as His judgments. So it is with the New Covenant through Jesus Christ, He is the exact representation of God! I highly encourage you to read slowly through the Book of Hebrews. I am just highlighting a few of the passages to bring light to this study. “Now Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later; but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house—whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end. Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, “TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS AS WHEN THEY PROVOKED ME, AS IN THE DAY OF TRIAL IN THE WILDERNESS, WHERE YOUR FATHERS TRIED Me BY TESTING Me, AND SAW MY WORKS FOR FORTY YEARS. THEREFORE I WAS ANGRY WITH THIS GENERATION, AND SAID, ‘THEY ALWAYS GO ASTRAY IN THEIR HEART, AND THEY DID NOT KNOW MY WAYS’; AS I SWORE IN MY WRATH, ‘THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST.’” (Hebrews 3:5-11 emphasis mine) In summary, if we do NOT hold fast until the end we, too, will not enter His rest! “Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God.“ (Hebrews 3:12)
How can anyone read the Scriptures and not see God’s grace from the beginning to the end? “The LORD is good to all, and His mercies are over all His works.” (Psalm 145:9) “The LORD appeared to him from afar, saying, ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.’” (Jeremiah 31:3) We can’t ignore the list of faithful witnesses who have attested to God’s unfailing grace and mercies, Adam and Eve, Daniel and his three friends Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, King David, Joseph, Ruth, Rahab, Esther and, of course, God’s continual forgiveness to the nation of Israel. Psalm 103 is just one example of the psalmist, David, praising and thanking God for all of His blessings and grace and mercy! I’ll highlight a few of those passages and, hopefully, you will take a moment to read through the entire Psalm on your own and make it a prayer from your heart as well. “Who pardons all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases; who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;” (Psalm 103:3-4) “The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.” (Psalm 103:8) “He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.” (Psalm 103:10) “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:11-12) “But the lovingkindness of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children, To those who keep His covenant and remember His precepts to do them.” (Psalm 103:17-18)
The first half (3 ½ years) of the tribulation period will be devastating but the final 3 ½ years is when the full wrath of God will be released. The true believers will have been removed from the earth except for the 144,000 of the twelve tribes of Israel which will be sealed during that time. The Holy Spirit will no longer be present on this earth. It will be almost impossible for any to be saved but, again, we see God’s grace even in His wrath, in that the 144,000 witnesses will still be teaching and leading the lost to the Savior.
I’d like to place a challenge before you at this point. Are you able to see with spiritual eyes and discern the sign of the times we currently live in? God is sending His warnings to us to be prepared. Are you? I’m not talking just physically prepared by having a plan and provisions for a time of emergency. That’s prudent in any season. But spiritually prepared? Do you have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying?
“I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown.” (Revelation 3:11) There are two separate types of crowns that a believer can receive. There are five Stephanos crowns that the Lord can reward a believer and one Diadema crown. There is a full study on these crowns on this website. (Under Praise His Holy Name/Teachings by Esher) Please take this study before the Lord, do not rush through it. Allow the Holy Spirit to teach you and guide you. I believe you may be quite surprised at what you will learn. I pray that you take it to heart and really allow the Lord to do a new work in your life.
I will just briefly list the crowns here and trust that you will go to the actual study. The Stephanos crown is also known as the Victor’s Crown. After the scourging of Jesus the Romans placed a Crown of Thorns on His head, it was actually a Victor’s Crown! They didn’t even know what they were doing but it is such a good example of the Lord’s way. “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.” (Genesis 50:20) While these were the words of Joseph to his brothers when he revealed himself to them in Egypt, they were also prophetic words for the Messiah! (Remember, Joseph was a type and shadow of the Messiah.) “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
The five Stephanos crowns Jesus will give out are listed below:
- Self-control – “And everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then [do it] to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.” (1 Corinthians 9:25)
- Loving Jesus’ spearing and keeping the faith – “in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:8 NASB)
- Persevering under trials – “Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” (James 1:12 NASB)
- Caring for other Christians – “Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.” (1 Peter 5:1-4 NASB)
- Faithful in suffering for Christ – “Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” (Revelation 2:10 NASB)
The Diadema Crown is very different and only appears in the New Testament in the Book of Revelations. The right to wear this crown is given because of relationship. This crown is not worked for. Please go to the full teaching so that you can fully understand the great importance of this crown!
‘'He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name.’ (Revelation 3:12)
Can you see the intimate relationship? Can you feel His love? Listen to what the Lord spoke through His prophet Isaiah, “Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; your walls are continually before Me.” (Isaiah 49:16) While initially spoken of His chosen people, the Jews, Gentiles have been grafted in and have the same relationship! This love and commitment to the Jewish people never stopped. If you are being taught that they no longer have the right to their promised land, the Lord wants to challenge you today with the following Scriptures. “But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear; for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either. Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off. And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.” (Romans 11:17-23 emphasis mine) We are currently witnessing many Jews accepting Jesus Christ, the Messiah as their Lord and Savior. Remember that God does not change! You cannot choose which Scriptures you want to believe. If you do, that is pride and arrogance which are not acceptable to God! Read the Scriptures again. Do you want to receive the reward which the Lord is describing in this passage? In order to receive it, one must submit to the whole counsel of God.
As I spent time this afternoon pondering what this passage could actually be referring to I realized something that I had never applied to this Scripture before. We know that Satan is a counterfeit. Listen to Satan declaring this very thing! ‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ (Isaiah 14:14) Everything he does is imitating God but he uses it for evil and is very subtle so that he will not be detected. He really doesn’t care about the person he is using, all he wants to do is try and destroy any relationship they have with God because he knows God’s love for them is deep. Everyone in agreement? Read the Scripture again in Isaiah 49:16. Every believer’s name is inscribed on the palm of the Lord’s hand. Inscribed means to be engraved, cut in. We also have learned that Jesus is going to seal 144,000 thousand Jews with “a mark”. It is a permanent mark...inscribed on their foreheads. “And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” (Revelation 19:16) Did you realize that when Jesus returns He will have His name engraved on His thigh? Now we learn that the Messiah will “write” or inscribe on these believers the name of the Father, the name of the city, Zion, which is the Lord’s city, and Messiah’s new name. Do you see the Lord knitting together His family? This is the remnant that remained faithful until the end!
So what is Satan, the imitator, going to do? Inscribe his mark of the beast on all unbelievers so that they can remain alive and do Satan’s work! Right away we see another lie, remaining alive is not going to be of any value to them because they will be thrown into the Lake of Fire with Satan and his demons! But he is going to use and imitate, what is good and turn it into evil, just like he did with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. In the past I always focused on the meaning of the mark, that one can still buy and sell and purchase food. Without that mark anyone left on the earth will starve to death. But today the Lord opened my eyes to, again, see that Satan does not have any originality and will, again, use the Lord’s promises against the people! Everything originated with God and it was GOOD! The meaning for “good” in both the Hebrew and Greek mean God’s right plan, in accordance with God’s plan and by God’s hand because it brings Him glory because it magnifies Him so that others are drawn to Him. God’s plans for you are “good” to bring you into His kingdom! Any other path that is taken will not lead to the Kingdom of God but to eternal hell.
‘'He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ (Revelation 3:13) Are you listening? Are you in obedience to the Word of the Lord? Are you discerning to separate the lies from the truth? Are you submitted only to Him and are willing to lay down your plans and agenda and follow the Lord’s instructions for righteous living? “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal;” (Matthew 6:19-20) “So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.” (2 Thessalonians 2:15) “May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ.” (2 Thessalonians 3:5)
Abba Father, I am overwhelmed by this message. It is one thing to know what You require of us but another thing to actually walk it out in it’s entirety! How easily we fall back on the excuse that because we are human we are not meant to be perfect, that becomes our downfall. I ask that You inscribe on our hearts the Words You gave to the Apostle Paul, “Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts,” (Romans 6:3-12) This is Your desire! We cannot attain this on our own but through the blood of the Lamb! Holy Spirit we submit to You to bring us to total surrender because we love not our lives but love the Lord God with all of our heart, our mind, our soul and our strength! May we have an intimate relationship with You so that we will know this Scripture and hold onto the hope even in the midst of deep trials, “The LORD your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.” (Zephaniah 3:17) This I ask in the name above all names, Jesus Christ, King of kings and Lord of lords, amen!
Wrath Scripture References:
1 Thessalonians 2:16
1 Thessalonians 5:9
1 Timothy 2:8