John J. Blanchard (listen to audio)
July 29, 2017
Good morning, brethren. This is a continuation of the series we have been on about points of doctrine, and of seed and how the seed must get watered and spread.
How did Christianity get to be in the situation that it’s in where we are so divided? There are various factions attacking each other and persecuting each other. Over the last millennia and a half or more, they’ve even been killing each other and going to war, even though they are all supposed to be Christian. How can a religion based on love and mercy produce such hardheartedness, such viciousness, and such massive confusion? Revelation 12:9 holds the answer.
After there was a war in heaven, the devil did not prevail. We are told this in Revelation 12, verse 9: “So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world…” That’s the answer, brethren.
He has deceived the whole world. When one is deceived, they don’t know they are deceived. That is what deception is. That’s the only way people who supposedly hold a faith of love, mercy, and kindness could turn on each other and on people in the world, in many instances, and treat each other so abominably. In order to do that to your fellow man, you must indeed be deceived to the point where you think you are so right and that the doctrines and dogma you hold are so important that you can literally trounce the freedoms and the liberty of other human beings.
What is sad here is that Christian denominations each feel they are the right one, that they are the ones not deceived. But if you notice, the Scripture said the whole world is deceived. How did we get deceived? Let’s admit it. If the whole world is deceived, we have all been deceived at least in part in order to do the things that we have done to each other. How did that happen? It happened because false doctrines and dogma were accepted by Christians, and those false doctrines were based on lawlessness.
Lawlessness in God’s mind and the way. He tells us in His word is the breaking, the changing, the diminishing, or even the eliminating of the Ten Commandments. That’s lawlessness. A flood of false doctrine based on lawlessness has attacked Christianity for 2,000 years.
A HOUSE ON THE ROCK
Let’s turn to Matthew chapter 7. This is where we left off in the series. Matthew chapter 7 is talking about building a house on the rock. Let’s go back there and review that once again.
We will start in Matthew 7, verse 24 where Christ says here: “‘Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.’ And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teachings, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.”
Christ said if we build our house on His sayings—His teachings—it is like building a house on a rock, and it will stand. If we don’t, it will fall. What is He talking about here, teachings versus what? Let’s back up to verse 15.
A FLOOD OF FALSE TEACHINGS
Christ says this in Matthew 7, verse 15: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.”
We see He is talking about teaching. That’s why He is saying false prophets. The things that they bring to you are coming from wolves in sheep’s clothing. They enter the hearts and minds of innocent sheep and lead them astray. These were the teachers responsible for teaching the truth, and Christ was warning here that they are ravenous wolves. They are bringing in false teachings and false doctrine. That’s why He compares it to His teachings, which, if we follow them and build our house on them, is like building our house on the rock. He says, if we don’t, when the flood comes, it can knock the house down. Let’s turn to Revelation chapter 12 once again because the flood is spoken of there.
We will start in Revelation chapter 12, verse 1. We’ll read the first several verses here and then drop to the end of the chapter.
Revelation 12, verse 1: “Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth. And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born. She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne.”
This is speaking, obviously, of Jesus Christ and speaking of ancient Israel with the twelve tribes, with an angel guiding each of the twelve tribes characterized as a woman (as a church congregation).
After Christ was killed and ascended to heaven, we are told this in verse 6.
THE CHURCH IS FED TRUTH
Revelation 12, verse 6: “Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days.”
The woman was taken, in a sense, into a secluded place. It was not a single place on earth but hidden from the general view of the world. Drop down to verse 13.
Revelation 12, verse 13: “Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child.”
Of course ancient Israel, especially the Jews, have been persecuted ever since those times.
Revelation 12, verse 14: “But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent.”
This is the same length of time of seven church eras where she is fed the truth.
Revelation 12, verse 15: “So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood.”
That’s the flood that Jesus Christ was talking about. If we build our house, our personal faith, on the rock, our house will stand. But if it is built on false teachings, it will fall.
MOST FOLLOW FALSE DOCTRINES
Revelation 12, verse 16: “But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, [who do what] who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”
We see here there is a small remnant hidden from the world that hangs on to those Ten Commandments: the Sabbath day, the true holy days, who is the true God who has no god above Him. They keep the law—the Ten Commandments—but the vast majority of Christianity swallows the flood. The flood originated from the dragon’s mouth we are told here. It is the false teachings. Words are what come out of our mouth.
The vast majority of Christianity is led astray by false prophets and went into the way of error, but somehow they ended up helping the woman who was keeping the Ten Commandments. How is that possible?
The earth swallows these false doctrines and forms a twisted version of Christianity, but they take the seed of God, as we have talked about. That is the Bible—the word of God. They take it to the ends of the earth! They spread the Bible to every corner of the earth. They have great zeal in doing this because each denomination and each faction thought they were right. Each one thought they had the will of God and the blessing of God. They were missionaries, and they were the men and women who invented and worked with the printing press. The tremendous competition between the denominations spread the word of God to every corner of the earth, doing a huge work for the woman because the woman has to teach from the word of God.
We know that at the end of the age there is an innumerable multitude that comes on the scene, and they are converted.
This little persecuted church that Satan hates and who keeps the Ten Commandments couldn’t possibly distribute the literal billions of Bibles that are now around the world in people’s hands, but they do have the job of teaching the truth and exposing error.
Let’s go to Matthew chapter 5 and see what Christ said about the law. These zealous individuals working for the different denominations and factions and faiths were in direct opposition to our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Christ tells us in Matthew chapter 5, beginning in verse 17: “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.”
The last time I looked, the earth is still here, and the heavens are still here, so the law is not done away.
Continuing in verse 19 of Matthew 5: “Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.”
The scribes and the Pharisees had been twisting and perverting the law. Even though they kept it to the letter, they had been using it to abuse the people. They also taught falsely, by the way, about Jesus Christ Himself because many of them realized He was the Messiah. That’s another subject, but it’s that same principle of teaching falsehood and twisting the word of God. It’s not just the Old Testament. The Pharisees in the New Testament, as well, have continued to this very day. That’s what Christ was warning us about. He said if we build our house on sand, that flood of false doctrine will wash us away in the flood.
There were a lot of flash floods in the last couple of weeks. We saw them on the news. There was one tragedy I think in Arizona, where I think nine or ten people were swept to their death by the flood. It came suddenly, and it took them all away. That’s what it is like if we don’t have protection of the truth, and a flood of false doctrine comes out of the mouth of Satan. It is so deceptive and so tricky that unless we are grounded solidly on Christ’s words and on the law, we can easily get swept away.
In John 14 Christ says something there very, very clearly. I’m turning to John chapter 14, verse 15. Christ says in John 14:15: “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”
It is odd that you could go to each denomination, each separate faction of Christianity and say, do you love Christ? Of course, they would say, yes, but they have not kept the commandments. They have either twisted them, deleted some, or done away with the law all together. They mean well. In their zealousness they have taken the Bible to the world, but they have not hung on to the law. The battle we see is over truth and the gospel versus false doctrine.
Let’s go back to Revelation chapter 12 and look at that for a moment again because there is another interesting tidbit that is mentioned there.
FED BY ANGELS
Revelation chapter 12, verse 14: “But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent.”
We know from verse 17 that the serpent goes after those who keep the commandments, but somehow God’s Church is fed by angels whom God sends with the messages. If you go look at the seven Church eras, the seven Churches are mentioned at the beginning of Revelation. A messenger—an angel—brings truth from God to His people and nourishes them with the true food of the gospel.
They are given wings of a great eagle to be taken to this place where they are protected. It is a spiritual place. Wherever Christians are, that’s where Christ is. Wherever two or more are gathered in His name, He is there. We get the food that we need.
This great eagle is an interesting way that God tells us that He is going to take care of His people for 2,000 years. There will always be some people hanging on to the Ten Commandments. We know at the end of the age it says here that Satan goes after them who keep the Ten Commandments, so they are out there. They are keeping the Sabbath day and the holy days, striving to the best of their ability with the faith and the knowledge that God gave them to hang on to the truth of God.
Let’s back up to Revelation chapter 2. We will look at the first era in the Church, which is the Ephesian era. Revelation 2, verse 1: “To the angel of the church of Ephesus write…”
That’s the angel, the wings, that fed that particular group of people.
Continuing in Revelation 2, verse 1: “…These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands…”
That’s Jesus Christ. He sends His message by the angel.
Verse 2 of Revelation 2: “…I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars…”
He says you have tested those who are false prophets, false teachers, and you found them to be liars.
Verse 3 of Revelation 2: “…and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.”
Their love was starting to wax, to go away, but they were hanging on desperately to the law, to the truth.
Continuing in verse 5 of Revelation 2: “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent. But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.”
He said I will feed you if you overcome. I will give you this spiritual food.
He said I am very pleased with you that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans. What are these deeds of the Nicolaitans? These deeds are ergon (#2041, Strong’s Concordance, 1995), which means their works, their efforts, their occupation. It is related to ergates (#2040, Strong’s Concordance, 1995), which means a toiler, a teacher. Therefore these were false teachers, the false prophets that Christ was warning about. They had tested them. The Ephesian era of the Church tested them and found them to be liars. In other words, they were drifting away from the Ten Commandments and drifting away from the truth of God. Already in that first century after Christ’s death this was happening!
Christ said, if you don’t repent, I will have to take the lampstand and move it. I will take the lamp and move it to the next Church era, and they will be given food to hang on to the Ten Commandments—the truth of God.
Of course we know that Satan was against us all along for the last 2,000 years, and he did a remarkable thing. Let’s turn to II Thessalonians chapter 2. To get the context and the feel for it, let’s start with verse 1.
II Thessalonians 2, verse 1: “Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means…”
That’s what Satan is trying to do. He is trying to deceive the entire world and the Church.
SATAN GETS INTO THE CHURCH
Continuing in verse 3 of II Thessalonians: “…for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.”
We could go and prove, as we have many times in the past, that the temple of God is the Church. It is the spiritual dwelling place of Jesus Christ, His Holy Spirit. Somehow Satan has gotten into Christianity. He is sitting in the temple of God showing himself that he is god, because it’s his doctrines, it’s his teachings, it’s his flood of falsehood against the Ten Commandments and the law of God that is prevalent throughout Christianity. He did a phenomenal job deceiving the entire world.
Let me interject here, a lot of people think this is something that is going to take place yet; it has not happened yet. But that’s not what we are told here. Let’s continue on.
Paul says this in II Thessalonians 2, verse 5: “Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work…”
He says it is already working on some of you! It’s here! The only way a being could be alive 2,000 years ago and alive today is if it is a spirit being. It can’t happen any other way.
Continuing in II Thessalonians verse 7 of chapter 2: “…only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one [“the wicked” is how it should be read in your Bible] will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth, and destroy with the brightness of His coming. The coming of the lawless one [the “wicked one,” not the “lawless one” as in the New King James] is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders…”
In other words, it’s Satan with his flood from his mouth, using the wicked (the false prophets) to teach with false signs and lying wonders and deceive the vast majority of Christianity.
Continuing in verse 10 of II Thessalonians 2: “…and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie…”
If we do not love Christ and His commandments, we are much more easily deceived and led astray. Christ said, “if you love Me, keep My commandments.” We have to love those commandments and hang on to them. It is essential.
The son of perdition is Satan, and he is sitting amongst Christianity. He is hovering over us thinking I am God; I am getting God’s people to do my bidding and to believe my doctrines and to swallow my flood. But the great God has used all of this, all this time, to spread the seed of God—the word of God, the Bible—throughout the world in such a way that at the end of the age when He opens peoples’ minds and they can understand the truth, they will revert to those Ten Commandments.
The Christians who are deceived are very sincere. They are very zealous. They want to do what’s right. But when you are deceived, as I said, you don’t know you’re deceived. You have been tricked. People don’t like to get tricked. When that deception comes off and the veil is removed, I think the world can get converted very, very quickly.
These false signs and lying wonders are spoken of in Matthew chapter 24. Let’s go to Matthew 24. We will pick up in the midst of the story here by going to verse 5. This is after the apostles asked Christ what it would be like at the end of the age. How will we know you are coming?
Let’s start in verse 3 of Matthew 24, so we can get the context. “Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, ‘Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?’ And Jesus answered and said to them: ‘Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, “I am the Christ,” and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.’”
He said, don’t be deceived. The first thing He warns about are false prophets. What are they going to talk about? If they have come in the name of Christ, they are going to show false signs and lying wonders of wars, rumors of wars, famines, earthquakes, and pestilences to get people worried about their physical lives and not concerned about the law. They won’t be concerned about building their house on the foundation that Christ said must be built on if they are going to withstand the flood. Let’s drop down to verse 9 where Christ starts talking about real signs and wonders.
Matthew 24, verse 9: “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.”
That’s the people keeping the law—the Ten Commandments.
Verse 10: “And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.”
You will notice once again, He insists there will be many, and they will deceive many. It’s not a minority. It is many who will be deceived.
Verse 12 of Matthew 24: “And because lawlessness will abound…”
In other words, the lack of a love for the Ten Commandments will abound.
COLD AND HARDHEARTED
Verse 12: “… the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”
This concept of the breaking of the law and waxing cold is what Satan used to get Christians to be hardhearted and turn on each other. Their love went cold. It became hardhearted. In their misplaced zealousness, they persecuted fellow Christians and people in the world. They helped deceive the world, and they did a lot of damage to the name of Jesus Christ. A lot of people today want nothing to do with Christianity because they have seen all the harms that have come at the hands of Christians, not realizing that they have also been deceived and not realizing that the Church—Christianity—had gone astray. Many, many people had fallen for these false doctrines.
This love of many will wax cold. Drop down to verse 24 of the same chapter, Matthew 24.
Matthew 24, verse 24: “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand. Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.”
He says don’t be deceived when people say Christ is working here, or He is working there, or we found Him over there or over here. That’s not the way this is going to happen.
It says something interesting in verse 28.
Matthew 24, verse 28: “For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together.”
He says wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be. That term “eagles” is once again used by Jesus Christ. What is He talking about?
Christ brings us the understanding through the Holy Spirit through His wind and rain, as we have talked about before. He does this through the messages He sends to us through His angels. Let’s go back and review a little bit about the truth—the true doctrines.
Let’s turn to Deuteronomy chapter 32. We’ll go to the Old Testament first. Moses gives the word of God here.
TEACHING LIKE RAIN
Deuteronomy chapter 32, verse 1: “Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. Let my teaching drop as the rain, my speech distill as the dew, as raindrops on the tender herb, and as showers on the grass. For I proclaim the name of the Lord; ascribe greatness to our God. He is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice, a God of truth and without injustice; righteous and upright is He.”
We see the Rock—Jesus Christ—and His truth compared to the dew on the grass in the morning or a gentle rain that lands upon the earth. His teaching drops are doctrine. That’s what it means in the Hebrew—doctrine. He brings us the truth. Satan has twisted it, so people built their house on the sand and false doctrine.
The seed is the word of God. We could go back to the sower and the seed, but the word of God—the Bible—has to have this rain land upon it in order to sprout and grow in our minds and in our hearts. That is spoken of in Isaiah chapter 55. It is one of my favorite passages, so let’s go to Isaiah chapter 55.
We’ll start in Isaiah 55, verse 8: “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thougths than your thoughts. For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater…’”
We see God’s rain, that mist, lands upon the earth to make it bring forth and bud. We can read the Bible, but without that help and without that rain we are not going to understand what we are reading. We could certainly get all twisted up in our head, especially when people are teaching us falsehood.
He says, I will send the rain, and it will make the seed sprout. It will give more food to the sower and those who need the food.
Continuing in verse 11 of Isaiah 55: “…so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth…”
This is the opposite side of Satan, the dragon, who has the flood coming out of his mouth. God, the Rock, has a gentle rain coming out of His mouth. It is the truth of God, the former and the latter rain. That is the Old and the New Testament.
Continuing in verse 11 once again: “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. For you shall go out with joy, and be led out with peace; the mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing before you, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.”
This is speaking of the world, the earth, that will bring forth and bud. It will become a wonderfully abundant place. It is a beautiful set of Scriptures. We get the idea that God needs to send us this rain—the truth—to understand His word and get our seeds to sprout and grow.
That is also mentioned in James chapter 5. Let’s go back to James in the New Testament, chapter 5.
James chapter 5, verse 7: “Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord.”
We have had to be patient for 2,000 years so far.
Continuing in verse 7: “See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!”
He did not want to see Christianity turn on each other the way it had, but He knew this was going to happen. That’s why the prophecies should give us confidence that the outcome is going to be okay. Christ said there will be many false prophets. They will deceive many. It will be a huge flood, and who will be affected by this flood? Everyone who hears the word of God will be affected. Everyone who hears His word, He said, will get hit by the flood, but if you have your house built on the rock, you will come through it fine. If it’s not built on the rock, you will get washed away by this flood of false doctrine.
The antithesis of God’s wind and rain is likened unto a storm, a flood, a tempest, a raging flood like we have seen in the news of late. That’s how you would compare the false doctrines. It’s a violent surge of falsehood compared to God’s gentle rain that wants us to sprout and to grow.
This false wind of doctrine is mentioned in many places in the Bible. Let’s turn to Ephesians chapter 4.
Ephesians chapter 4, verse 11: “And He himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers…”
This is Jesus Christ, giving to His Church, the woman, some who would be teaching the truth.
There would be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers.
Continuing in Ephesians 4, verse 12: “…for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ…”
We are being told here that God would always provide some who would hang on to the Ten Commandments. They would hang on to the truth. He would give us an anchor and help us to grow. He would bring us that water to land on the seed to help us grow into a unified body and not into the disunity that we see in Christianity. We see confusion out there and hatred and hardheartedness. We should have a true love for one another, in unity bringing us to the fullness of Christ who is the embodiment of love.
Verse 14 of Ephesians 4: “…that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”
That’s that woman following the truth of God, growing together in unity and in love, fighting off the deceitful plotting and the winds of doctrine that are a storm and a flood. They are knocking the rest of mankind off the true course.
Christ knew this was all going to happen. He said, through seven Church eras, I will have people love My law and reject lawlessness, even though the vast majority will to one extent or another be lawless.
Paul is telling a young minister Timothy this in II Timothy chapter 4, verse 1: “I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”
It’s always been about a battle and a war between the words of Jesus Christ and what Satan spews out of his mouth. It’s been between truth and error. That is what has been the battle all along. Christ warned us the vast majority would get swept away by the storm, the tempest, the flood. Like I said, who gets affected by the flood? Everyone gets hit with the flood.
We can go back briefly to Matthew 7. Let’s go back to Matthew 7 because Christ said it very clearly there. We will look at Matthew chapter 7, verse 24. “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”
He tells them it is everyone who hears His words! Everyone who has a Bible will get hit by this flood. But those who are building their house on the rock will come through it just fine. From the apostles’ time down to our own time, the son of perdition—the mystery of iniquity, the lawless one—has been trying to turn people away from the law of God. He has a law unto himself. He is a prophet unto himself, and he wants us to follow his errors.
In his storm of false doctrine, he has swept away the vast majority of Christianity. God still got a tremendous work done. Even though the love of many waxed cold, even though we’re full of divisions, and even though there is a lot of hatred amongst Christianity and intolerance, God got the Bible spread throughout the world. The seed of God is literally everywhere. It is translated into every language, so that soon an innumerable multitude of every nation, kindred, tongue, and people can understand the truth of God.
In His time, which I believe is to come to pass very shortly, the world will start awakening to how valuable the Ten Commandments are. It is really the only way the world is going to get out of the fix it’s in. Reject lawlessness and follow God’s law is the only way out.
CONFUSION IN CHRISTIANITY
This storm, this flood, has brought us the tremendous confusion that we see today. God is going to get rid of that confusion. He’s not the author of confusion. There is confusion about the Sabbath day. There’s confusion about what are the holy days. There is confusion about whether God is a Father and Son or whether He is a Trinity. There is confusion about whether we can allow icons in churches or not. We can go down a long list of things that Christianity is fighting and arguing over.
Christianity degenerated into a quasi-political religious and financial behemoth divided, as it were, into many heads. People are following various leaders in these different organizations, each thinking they are doing the will of God. The vast majority has been swept up into the flood. It started in a time when the apostles were still alive.
It is historical fact that the Romans were facing an empire that was disintegrating, and they needed to unite that empire. It was Constantine in 326 who called together a conclave called the Council of Nicea to try to resolve the differences among the religions in order to have people have faith in something and to save the empire.
Some Christians at that time were already arguing among themselves about the Sabbath, about the holy days, and whether they should keep Passover or Easter. They were already arguing. Constantine saw his opening to resolve that argument, and bring the vast majority into the Roman system, and have a Roman quasi-governmental political religious system that would support each other. Eventually it took on the name Catholic, or Universal, and it did universally sweep up almost all Christians.
It moved them off one of the commandments—the Fourth Commandment (thou shall keep the Sabbath Day) and on to a different day. It moved them off God’s holy days such as Passover on to Easter. There were a number of other things. More and more errors crept in over time. The flood got stronger and stronger over time.
The Roman Empire itself did fall, but the Universal Church had enough sustaining power to join itself to succeeding political entities to continue its existence. It still has the very zealous people who do many, many good works, but they are deceived about the law. When you are deceived, it is not your fault, so we have no fault to lay here. We are not pointing the finger at anyone. We are just talking about history. If we want to know how we got in the confused state we are in in Christianity, we have to be willing to look at the facts. That’s what we are trying to do. We are not pointing fingers at anyone, because we have all been deceived to one extent or the other. None of us are any better than anybody else.
Literally that Universal Church took upon itself the authority to change the Ten Commandments. They established the head of that church as the Vicar of Christ. In other words, acting as Christ on the world, so therefore having the power that only Christ could possess, but having the power of Christ to do what they wanted. Of course, they did not want to look Jewish, and at the start they wanted to have the Roman government on their side, so they sanctioned Sunday as the Sabbath and a new set of holy days that would appeal to pagans. It worked! It helped bring about a conversion of many, many millions of people to a misrepresented law of God.
The first thing that happened after the apostles left the scene that was significant was changing the laws and assuming powers to do so. I have mentioned a few earlier. Let’s look at a few more.
They changed the Sabbath to Sunday. Icons and statuaries were brought into worship service, which is against the Ten Commandments. A doctrine of the Trinity was brought in instead of a Father and Son relationship. They changed the holy days to a false set of holy days that would appeal to pagans. Eventually the power of forgiveness devolved into indulgences that could be sold to have sins forgiven. They could collect taxes. They could sell priestly positions. There was a lot of superstition. A lot of difficulties were brought on themselves like the policy of celibacy, that has caused so much grief I believe to people who mean well and who think they are doing God a service, putting unfortunate burdens upon their own lives.
This whole process became to be so filthy dirty, and people were suffering so much that a reformation came along. The primary figure at the beginning was Martin Luther. He did successfully change some errors but hung on to many, many errors himself. He did end up persecuting and killing many, many tens of thousands of people.
They over-reacted by throwing out the law all together. You had one huge chunk of Christianity that changed the laws. You had another of what became a very large chunk of Christianity who said the law was done away. You had all kinds of various groups in between there that kept some, threw away others, changed some, diminished some, and this has led to the massive confusion that you see today. It is why we have had so much hardheartedness over the last 1,500 to 2,000 years, where Christians who are followers of Christ have become so hardhearted, they have waxed so cold, that they could persecute and kill each other in the name of God. That is the result of lawlessness—to wax cold. To be confused and to teach others the same confusion is what results.
FED BY ANGELS
Now I want to compare two references to the eagle that we saw in Matthew 24. Let’s look at Matthew 24 and then look at Luke chapter 17. They shed a little different light on these eagles.
Matthew 24:28 we read once already, and we will look at it again. Christ said this here in the rendering of Matthew.
Matthew 24, verse 28: “For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together.”
Now if we shift over to Luke chapter 17, verse 37, we see once again what Christ says: “And they answered and said to Him, ‘Where, Lord?’”
He said, you will be taken to a place. We understand now it is this place to receive food from the angelic messengers.
Reading again Luke chapter 17, verse 37: “And they answered and said to Him, ‘Where, Lord?’ So He said to them, ‘Wherever the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together.’”
Let’s back up a little bit to get this a little clearer. Luke 17, verse 33: “Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. I tell you, in that night there will be two men in one bed [it should just say “two in one bed”]: the one will be taken and the other will be left. Two women will be grinding together: the one will be taken and the other left. Two men will be in the field: the one will be taken and the other left.’ And they answered and said to Him, ‘Where, Lord?’”
We understand now from what we read earlier they will be taken into the wilderness where they are fed.
TORN APART BY DEMONS
Luke 17, verse 37: “And they answered and said to Him, ‘Where, Lord?’ So He said to them, ‘Wherever the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together.’”
There is a difference between the rendering in Luke and the rendering in Matthew, even though the same word “eagle” is used and “body” is used.
In Luke chapter 17 the word “body” is soma (#4983, Strong’s Concordance, 1995), which means the body as a sound whole. The woman—think of a healthy church. It comes from the word sozo (#4982, Strong’s Concordance, 1995), to save, to deliver, and protect. Christ says, I will take the body—the soma, the whole body of sound mind—and I will protect them and keep them fed in the wilderness until I return.
In Matthew chapter 24, verse 28 the word is “carcass,” which is ptoma (#4430, Strong’s Concordance, 1995). That means a ruin, by example specifically a lifeless body, a corpse, or carrion. It is the alternate of the word pipto (#4098, Strong’s Concordance, 1995), which is akin to the idea of alighting or falling upon, and from the word petomai (#4072, Strong’s Concordance, 1995), which means to fly.
We see Satan, the son of perdition, hovering over the Church, causing it to be a lifeless body by waxing cold. These two different explanations by Christ with the same words are showing you that when the flood hits, the majority will wax cold, in a state of cold, or like a lifeless corpse. Picture eagles pecking at it and bringing in false doctrine. The other would be a wholesome, healthy body that is delivered and protected. It is very interesting. It is two completely different meanings to the word “body” or “carcass” here, but Christ gives us the full meaning of what He is trying to say by wherever the body is the eagles would gather.
Whether it’s His messengers or Satan’s messengers, they are going to be after Christianity. The only way to hang on to the truth is to be among those who hold on to the Ten Commandments and get this help and protection from Jesus Christ. It is amazing.
The term “gathered” wherever the body is or the carcass is, is the word sunago (#4863, Strong’s Concordance, 1995), which means to lead together, to collect, or to convene; specifically to entertain hospitably. It comes from the word sun, like sun (#4862, Strong’s Concordance, 1995), denoting union with or together by association or companionship.
You have right there the explanation of Revelation 12, that some will associate together hospitably in one group and others in many separate, divided groups associating together. Some will be without the law and some with the law. At the end of the age, Christ promises to fix it.
Once the Bible is spread around the world as the seed of God, all it needs is the water. A synagogue, as we know, is an assemblage of Jewish people or it could characterize a Christian church. That’s where the word sunago comes from and what it leads to. It’s a congregation. These are different congregations.
AN INNUMERABLE MULTITUDE
At the end of the age, God’s word tells us that the veil of deception will be lifted. The Book of Revelation is the book of unveiling. When that is properly understood, people will go from believing in death and destruction that God is going to destroy the earth, to the idea that God will fulfill the purpose of the earth like we saw in Isaiah 55—to bud, to grow, and to become exceedingly fruitful. People will know the truth and will no longer be deceived.
Christians will unite under the banner of the law and will unite under the truth of God. They will stop persecuting one another and work together shoulder to shoulder. Whether it’s Catholic, Baptist, or various other denominations, we are going to learn to keep the law properly and work together as an innumerable multitude following the truth.
Here we have an opportunity at the end of the age to get on board sooner rather than later and be among those who teach the world the truth of God. We can teach them to love the law. The law is not a burden. It is what will stop all this killing. It will stop all the corruption. It will stop the wars and the manmade famines. If people keep the Ten Commandments, this world will become a beautiful place that God intended it to be. That’s not far off.
Keep your chins up. Work hard. Learn the truth of God, so you can share it with the people who come in contact with you. Be a good example like a light on a hill. Matthew 5 said we are like a city on a hill where the light should be a beacon to all of mankind here at the end of the age.