I have been studying Revelation for 2 years now

I'm on the last chapter. To see my other blog posts on Revelation click HERE. My last study was on Revelation 21.

Revelation 22:1-2 1 Then the angel showed me a river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 down the middle of the main street of the city. On either side of the river stood a tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit and yielding a fresh crop for each month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

Strong's Exhaustive Concordance
a river - ποταμὸν (potamon) - Noun - Accusative Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 4215: A river, torrent, stream. Probably from a derivative of the alternate of pino; a current, brook or freshet, i.e. Running water.

of the water - ὕδατος (hydatos) - Noun - Genitive Neuter Singular
Strong's Greek 5204: Water. And genitive case, hudatos, etc. From the base of huetos; water literally or figuratively.

of life - ζωῆς (zōēs) - Noun - Genitive Feminine Singular
Strong's Greek 2222: Life, both of physical (present) and of spiritual (particularly future) existence. From zao; life.

as clear - λαμπρὸν (lampron) - Adjective - Accusative Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 2986: From the same as lampas; radiant; by analogy, limpid; figuratively, magnificent or sumptuous.

crystal - κρύσταλλον (krystallon) - Noun - Accusative Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 2930: Crystal. From a derivative of kruos; ice, i.e. rock 'crystal'.

flowing - ἐκπορευόμενον (ekporeuomenon) - Verb - Present Participle Middle or Passive - Accusative Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 1607: From ek and poreuomai; to depart, be discharged, proceed, project.

throne - θρόνου (thronou) - Noun - Genitive Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 2362: From thrao; a stately seat; by implication, power or a potentate.

stood a tree - ξύλον (xylon) - Noun - Nominative Neuter Singular
Strong's Greek 3586: From another form of the base of xestes; timber; by implication, a stick, club or tree or other wooden article or substance.

of life - ζωῆς (zōēs) - Noun - Genitive Feminine Singular
Strong's Greek 2222: Life, both of physical (present) and of spiritual (particularly future) existence. From zao; life.

producing - ποιοῦν (poioun) - Verb - Present Participle Active - Nominative Neuter Singular
Strong's Greek 4160: (a) I make, manufacture, construct, (b) I do, act, cause. Apparently a prolonged form of an obsolete primary; to make or do.

twelve - δώδεκα (dōdeka) - Adjective - Accusative Masculine Plural
Strong's Greek 1427: Twelve; the usual way in which the Twelve apostles of Jesus are referred to. From duo and deka; two and ten, i.e. A dozen.

kinds of fruit - καρποὺς (karpous) - Noun - Accusative Masculine Plural
Strong's Greek 2590: Probably from the base of harpazo; fruit, literally or figuratively.

leaves - φύλλα (phylla) - Noun - Nominative Neuter Plural
Strong's Greek 5444: A leaf. From the same as phule; a sprout, i.e. Leaf.

[the] healing - θεραπείαν (therapeian) - Noun - Accusative Feminine Singular
Strong's Greek 2322: From therapeuo; attendance; figuratively and collectively, domestics.
Thayer's Greek Lexicon adds:
1. service, rendered by anyone to another.
2. special medical service, curing, healing: Luke 9:11; Revelation 22:2, ((Hippocrates), Plato, Isocrates, Polybius).
3. by metonymy, household, i. e. body of attendants, servants, domestics: Matthew 24:45 R G; Luke 12:42 (and often so in Greek writings; cf. Lob. ad Phryn., p. 469; for עֲבָדִים, Genesis 45:16).

nations - ἐθνῶν (ethnōn) - Noun - Genitive Neuter Plural
Strong's Greek 1484: Probably from etho; a race, i.e. A tribe; specially, a foreign one.

Psalm 46:4 There is a river whose streams delight the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.

"'Living water,' in its simplest literalness, means such water as is pure, flowing, clear, fresh, and wholesome; not stagnant, or turbid, or salt. Hence it is a proper term for the water of a beautiful and fertilizing river. Here, however, the genitival form reminds us of the familiar expression, similarly moulded, 'the tree of life,' which inclines us to think that" water of life" signifies water possessing life giving powers, water which restores, refreshes, supports life, and is therefore to be compared with "living water" taken in its spiritual sense. Of this whosoever drinketh shall never thirst again; when it has been once received within the soul, it becomes a well of water springing up into everlasting life (John 4:14)." - Pulpit Commentary

"All streams of earthly comfort are muddy; but these are clear, and refreshing. They give life, and preserve life, to those who drink of them, and thus they will flow for evermore. These point to the quickening and sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit, as given to sinners through Christ. The Holy Spirit, proceeding from the Father and the Son, applies this salvation to our souls by his new-creating love and power. The trees of life are fed by the pure waters of the river that comes from the throne of God. The presence of God in heaven, is the health and happiness of the saints. This tree was an emblem of Christ, and of all the blessings of his salvation; and the leaves for the healing of the nations, mean that his favour and presence supply all good to the inhabitants of that blessed world. The devil has no power there; he cannot draw the saints from serving God, nor can he disturb them in the service of God. God and the Lamb are here spoken of as one. Service there shall be not only freedom, but honour and dominion. There will be no night; no affliction or dejection, no pause in service or enjoyment: no diversions or pleasures or man's inventing will there be wanted. How different all this from gross and merely human views of heavenly happiness, even those which refer to pleasures of the mind!" - Matthew Henry Commentary

The garden of Eden had its river.

Genesis 2:8-14 8 Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. 9 The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
10 A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. 11 The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin d and onyx are also there.) 13 The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. 14 The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Ashur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.

We know two of the rivers which have retained their names: Euphrates and Tigris. The other two rivers, Pishon and Gihon, we are uncertain about. It had to be in the same area and we are given some clues. The Pishon "winds through the whole land of Havilah" and gold, bdellium and onyx are found there. The Gihon "winds through the whole land of Cush" which we believe is Ethiopia.

This map shows the rivers of the area today along with the area covered by the Fertile Crescent. It also shows 2 possible places for Eden based on the scripture clues. The exact area for Eden is disputed but the general area as far as the globe would be around the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers.

This map shows possible routes of the Pishon and Gihon. The Persian Gulf did not reach it's current levels until about 4,000 B.C. which means that area in pale olive green ("Land of Eden") was above the water and is now under water. Is that why we don't have an Eden now? Is it under the Persian Gulf? It certainly would have been lost in the Great Flood.

It is interesting that where God walked with Adam and Eve, there were 4 rivers that converged.

There is another river we need to look at. The river coming out of the Temple in Jerusalem during Christ's Millennial Reign. That thousand year period we've discussed at length in prior studies in Revelation. After the battle, Jesus Christ establishes His kingdom on this current earth for 1,000 years. All unbelievers are dealt with so that only believers enter this kingdom. The world capitol will be Jerusalem and from the Temple in Jerusalem, will flow a new river. This is not the same river in the New Jerusalem in the New Earth. It comes later. But let's look at this river in the capitol of Jerusalem during the Millennium.

Ezekiel 47:1-12 1 Then the man brought me back to the entrance of the temple, and I saw water flowing from under the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was coming down from under the south side of the temple, south of the altar.
2 Next he brought me out through the north gate and led me around the outside to the outer gate facing east, and there I saw the water trickling out from the south side.
3 As the man went eastward with a measuring line in his hand, he measured off a thousand cubits and led me through ankle-deep water.
4 Then he measured off a thousand cubits and led me through knee-deep water.
Again he measured a thousand cubits and led me through waist-deep water.
5 Once again he measured off a thousand cubits, but now it was a river that I could not cross, because the water had risen and was deep enough for swimming—a river that could not be crossed on foot.
6 “Son of man, do you see this?” he asked. Then he led me back to the bank of the river.
7 When I arrived, I saw a great number of trees along both banks of the river. 8 And he said to me, “This water flows out to the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah. When it empties into the sea, the water there becomes fresh. 9 Wherever the river flows, there will be swarms of living creatures and a great number of fish, because it flows there and makes the waters fresh; so wherever the river flows, everything will flourish.
10 Fishermen will stand by the shore; from En-gedi to En-eglaim they will spread their nets to catch fish of many kinds, like the fish of the Great Sea.
11 But the swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they will be left for salt.
12 Along both banks of the river, fruit trees of all kinds will grow. Their leaves will not wither, and their fruit will not fail. Each month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will be used for food and their leaves for healing.”

Ancient Jerusalem’s natural water source came from the spring called Gihon outside the city. During King Hezekiah’s reign a tunnel was dug to channel the water into the city to form the pool of Siloam. This river, during the Millennial Reign, doesn't come from a government building, a King's palace, a financial district. It comes from the Temple of God. What cleanses, refreshes and brings life is from God and not from our government, our leaders, our money. God is the source of life and healing and prosperity.

You will notice that this river gets deeper as it flows further from the Temple. Without any tributaries to add to the water source, where does more water come from? Symbolically this water is the gospel of salvation empowered by the Holy Spirit multiplying eternal life. The Word of God to give us the good news and empowered by the Holy Spirit so that we can hear and understand the Word of salvation! There is nothing else needed to bring eternal life to those who are thirsty. Ezekiel didn't just look on. The angel commanded him to enter the river and cross it. Each time he got deeper until he couldn't walk across the river, it was over his head. This tells us that we have to enter in to receive the Holy Spirit's divine Word. The more we enter in, the deeper we go spiritually. There is no limit of depth to the Word and the Holy Spirit's teaching! While we are able to retain some control, we are merely walking through it. But we will get to the point of releasing control and swimming in the current of the River! Faith! And the more faith we have, the more healing occurs in our spirits, minds and bodies. Death is the ultimate healing for a child of God. We will lose our aging, diseased, hobbling bodies. They will one day be raised incorruptible to join our spirits to live eternally. So, yes, one day our bodies will be completely healed and eternal because of our faith in Jesus Christ!

But, it's not just symbolic. This is a real river described coming from the Temple during the 1,000 year reign of Christ. Along the banks of this river will be healing trees. People (believers) who survived the Great Tribulation and the battle, will be naturally alive (versus those of us who died before the end of the Tribulation and were kept in Paradise until such time). They will live longer during this time and re-populate the earth. The water and the healing trees will help them live longer and help children born during the 1,000 years to live and thrive. The Dead Sea will be freshened so that all manner of fish live and can be used for food. The marshes will retain their salt and valuable minerals. Jesus is restoring the ecology of our earth during His reign. Pollution will be reversed. It will be like a return to Eden.

Isaiah 35 1 The wilderness and the land will be glad;
the desert will rejoice and blossom like a rose.
2 It will bloom profusely
and even rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon will be given to it,
the splendor of Carmel and Sharon.
They will see the glory of the LORD,
the splendor of our God.
3 Strengthen the limp hands
and steady the feeble knees!
4 Say to those with anxious hearts:
“Be strong, do not fear!
Behold, your God will come with vengeance.
With divine retribution He will come to save you.”
5 Then the eyes of the blind will be opened
and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
6 Then the lame will leap like a deer
and the mute tongue will shout for joy.
For waters will gush forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert.
7 The parched ground will become a pool,
the thirsty land springs of water.
In the haunt where jackals once lay,
there will be grass and reeds and papyrus.
8 And there will be a highway
called the Way of Holiness.
The unclean will not travel it—
only those who walk in the Way—
and fools will not stray onto it.
9 No lion will be there,
and no vicious beast will go up on it.
Such will not be found there,
but the redeemed will walk upon it,
10 and the ransomed of the LORD will return.
They will enter Zion with singing,
crowned with everlasting joy.
Joy and gladness will overtake them,
and sorrow and sighing will flee.

The river flowing from the Temple in the Millennial Reign is a type of the final River we are discussing now in the New Jerusalem on the New Earth.
It is called the Water of Life Clear as crystal Flows from the throne of God and of the Lamb Flows down the middle of the main street of the city On "either side" is a Tree of Life which bears 12 kinds of fruit yielding a fresh crop for each month and the leaves are for the healing of the nations This river's source is God the Father, and the Lamb, Jesus Christ. It is clear, pure as They are. Unpolluted by anything because it comes from the Father and the Lamb. It is the outflowing of God's life. It is the promised living water:

John 4:7-26 7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” 8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
9 “You are a Jew,” said the woman. “How can You ask for a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)
10 Jesus answered, “If you knew the gift of God and who is asking you for a drink, you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”
11 “Sir,” the woman replied, “You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where then will You get this living water? 12 Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us this well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock?”
13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again. 14 But whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a fount of water springing up to eternal life.”
15 The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water so that I will not get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water."
16 Jesus told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
17 “I have no husband,” the woman replied.
Jesus said to her, “You are correct to say that you have no husband. 18 In fact, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. You have spoken truthfully.”
19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I see that You are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews say that the place where one must worship is in Jerusalem.”
21 “Believe Me, woman,” Jesus replied, “a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for the Father is seeking such as these to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and His worshipers must worship Him in spirit and in truth.”
25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) is coming". When He comes, He will explain everything to us.”
26 Jesus answered, “I who speak to you am He.”

This is the Water of Life, living water. It is eternal life springing from God and the Lamb's throne. It is pure, holy, and life giving. It cleanses, purifies, and gives life. On the cross, a soldier pierced Jesus' side and out of Him flowed blood and water. He is the fount of cleansing, righteousness and eternal life.

John 7:37-39  Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the scripture said, `From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'" By this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
This river flows down "the middle of the main street of the city". The street represents our walk with God. The river of the Holy Spirit, the eternal life-giving essence of God, is with us as we walk towards God. And it is the "main street of the city", not some hidden alleyway. Our spirit walk should be in the open, our "main street". We should be developing, maturing, growing spiritually with the help of the Holy Spirit. The river should flow through every aspect of our lives: busting through dams and obstacles, bringing cleansing, life, wisdom, growth and good fruit. It may begin as a trickle in our lives. But as we continue in our sanctification process and yield to the Holy Spirit, the water breaks down barriers and begins to rise higher and higher, gaining more volume and power. This river issues from God and has Their essence of life, Their power, Their authority (it comes from Their throne!) and Their divine nature in it. We can partake of all of this by yielding and submitting to the flow of the River of Life which brings us spiritual health and eternal life. We can be strong because God in us is strong. We can live according to His commands because God in us can supernaturally enable us to do so. The Bible says, 2 Peter 1:3-4  "3 We have everything we need to live a life that pleases God. It was all given to us by God's own power, when we learned he had invited us to share in his wonderful goodness. 4 God made great and marvelous promises, so his nature would become part of us. Then we could escape our evil desires and the corrupt influences of this world."

Is it just symbolic? I believe it's also going to be a real river in New Jerusalem with lifegiving water issuing from the throne of God and the Lamb. But, as we are saved by faith in Jesus and are citizens of New Jerusalem, New Heaven and New Earth, we already have eternal life. We can drink from this river because we are saved. No unsaved, sinful person will be in New Jerusalem, New Earth or New Heaven and therefore they will never experience drinking from this river. It is symbolic of Their work to save us. But it is a real river. 

There is a Tree of Life on the banks. It says on both sides but uses the singular "Tree". It may be because it's used that way in Genesis. It's possible that the River of Life is lined with Trees (plural) of Life. Voluntary obedience to the Father, as our sign of love and trust, will be our natural state in New Heaven, New Earth and New Jerusalem, therefore we have access to Tree(s) of Life.

Let's look at the Tree of Life in Genesis.

Genesis 2:5-10 5 Now no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth, nor had any plant of the field sprouted; for the LORD God had not yet sent rain upon the earth, and there was no man to cultivate the ground. 6 But springsb welled up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground. 7 Then the LORD God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils, and the man became a living being. 8 And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, where He placed the man He had formed. 9 Out of the ground the LORD God gave growth to every tree that is pleasing to the eye and good for food. And in the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. 10 Now a river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it branched into four headwaters... Genesis 2:15-17  15 Then the LORD God took the man and placed him in the Garden of Eden to cultivate and keep it. 16 And the LORD God commanded him, “You may eat freely from every tree of the garden, 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; for in the day that you eat of it, you will surely die.”Then came the temptation and the fall of Adam and Eve. Genesis 3:22-24 22 Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil. And now, lest he reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever...” 23 Therefore the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24 So He drove out the man and stationed cherubim on the east side of the Garden of Eden, along with a whirling sword of flame to guard the way to the tree of life.
Why was God afraid that man would eat of the Tree of Life and live forever? The Tree of Life was available as a consequence of obedience. As long as Adam and Eve were obedient they had access to the Tree of Life. But once they disobeyed, and ate of the Tree of Knowledge, it was dangerous for them to have access to the Tree of Life because they would have lived in sin forever and mankind could not have been saved. It is one thing to be sinless, righteous, holy, and in an unmarred relationship with God for eternity. But it is another thing if Adam and Eve were to eat of it in their sinful, fallen state. So, for the good of mankind, God banished them from the Garden of Eden and put an angel guard at the gate. God showed compassion knowing, because of sin, life would be filled with sorrow and toil, He graciously limited the number of years men would live. He gives us enough time to come to know Him, His good news of salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ, and make our choice. But His mercy and grace spared us the misery of an endless existence in a sinful condition. Those of us who take refuge in Jesus Christ will see the Tree of Life again!
But, here in the New Jerusalem, we are once again in our original state of perfection. All it's citizens made their choice and believed in Jesus Christ and trusted His work of salvation. We have been cleansed. There is no sin, no transgressions, to trespasses, no unrighteousness, no unholiness. We are cleansed, forgiven and righteous through Jesus Christ. We are once again in a relationship with our God. So the Tree of Life is available to us again. It's fruit and leaves bring us enjoyment in our new immortal bodies. There is no Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil here. Adam and Eve made the wrong choice to disobey and eat of it. But we, the citizens of New Jerusalem, made the right choice to accept Jesus Christ and now we live eternally in obedience which is life-giving. We can partake in the Tree of Life. 
I believe there is a real Tree(s) of Life. But it also symbolizes Jesus Christ who was hanged on a wooden cross (made from a tree), crucified and died for our salvation. He brought healing to our relationship with God. It is by Him we are forgiven and made righteous in His Name so that we have access to our God. We, in our sins, were once separated from God. But, through Jesus, we are cleansed and our relationship healed.
The Tree of Life in New Jerusalem provides 12 kinds of fruit. Jesus, as our Tree of Life, left 12 Apostles who bore fruit by establishing the first churches throughout the land. They brought the gospel to the people and conversions were the natural fruit. Conversion, being born-again, means we are forgiven and have eternal life through Jesus Christ. Born-again Christians formed into churches. More Christians meant more people to take the gospel to the lost. It multiplied and bore fruit. Everywhere the Apostles traveled they brought the gospel, people were saved and they started churches for the mutual benefit, support and spiritual growth of the new Christians. Then those Christians went out and presented the gospel to people in their lives (each of us have a sphere of influence) and many were added to the churches. The Holy Spirit always goes before the gospel to prepare hearts and awaken the grain of faith God put in each of us. But we all have a choice as to whether we will accept the gospel and allow our grain of faith to grow and mature in new life, or to refuse the gospel message and our faith goes dead.

Time is no more so why does it mention 12 fruits for each month? It may be an indication like we say, "24/7" or "around-the-clock". I.e. it will produce 12 kinds of fruit in cycles of perpetuity. I believe they may be good for food and increase the life and joy in Heaven. But this verse does say, "the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations". This does not mean there are wars between nations but that all the nations (every citizen in New Earth is saved but evidently identify, or live, in some type of groups called Nations with New Jerusalem as home base and capitol city) will exist in perfect harmony, with God as their focus and always giving glory to God. The Greek word translated "healing" in this verse (therapeia) is translated "household" in Matthew 24:45 and Luke 12:42, referring to the people who keep the affairs of a great house running efficiently. It is the source of our English word "therapy." The fruit and the leaves are both symbolic and real. They show God's provision for the people, for their health and welfare, as well as, their enjoyment and eternal life. The prosperity, unity, harmony, peace, love and energy, all dedicated to God, our Source and focus, will make living eternity there a wonderful experience of joy and bliss! Somehow the fruit and leaves of the Tree(s) of Life enable us to do His service, do it well and to His glory!

Just imagine God asking us to do something for Him. This is going to be hard to conceive because it's so opposite of what we experience everyday here. We will not have to use any artifices to accomplish the job. There will be no arguing, persuading, cajoling. If God says do it, I will do it. And anyone who is to help me will do it willingly.

Have you ever tried to get someone to help you do something and it's like swimming upstream?

Dragging a heavy load along?

Walking through the morass of molasses as they slow you down?

Dragging someone kicking and screaming behind you?

You have to explain it to them, talk them into it, persuade, argue with them. Sometimes they will act like they are following along but they are really throwing up obstacles all along the way to trip you up. I've watched movies where someone sees something horrible and they run back to their loved one, grab them by the arm and scream, "COME ON, FOLLOW ME, WE'VE GOT TO GET OUTTA HERE!" Only to have the loved one pull in the opposite direction, try to get out of their grip and begin asking questions and wasting time? Sometimes they become so obstinate, that even the viewers are yelling at the TV, "I mean, for crying outloud, move already". They put both their lives in danger because they are demanding answers and resisting!
Haven't you been in a similar circumstance? You see, or perceive, a threat and you are trying to get your loved one to move and all they do is resist you. You may be telling your children, "Get out of the road!" because you know cars can kill if they run over a person and you can hear a car coming. But the kid stands in the middle of the road looking at you with their lip poked out and asking, "Why?" Sometimes it's just their nature to resist anyone telling them anything. They can't stand to be "told what to do" and refuse to understand that their loved one is trying to prevent them harm and heartache. They refuse to trust you. They think you are just trying "to be the boss of them" and they get their hackles up and resist. A person can say they know you love them, but until they prove it by trusting you implicitly, it's just words. They love themselves much more than you. They don't trust you enough to move when you say move. I'm not talking about a person who is bossy and controlling. That's the flip side of the coin. They are not your God. They shouldn't try to be your Holy Spirit, continually trying to control you. I'm talking about someone who sees something you don't and is trying to help you but you resist and demand your own way. It's your neck they are trying to save but you keep laying it on the chopping block.

I have to think of teenagers who see their parents, and all authority figures, as killjoys who just want to "control them". For some reason teenagers go through a very dangerous period in their lives where they resist authority. Part of it is the natural need for them to mature and become independent. Part of it is that their brains simply haven't physically matured enough to make good, logical decisions (no matter how grownup they think they are). But it goes way beyond that in many cases. Parents can talk til they're blue in the face about the dangers they are facing, why it's dangerous and the consequences. But the teens often just roll their eyes and become more adept at hiding their destructive behaviors. How else can you explain a teen who picks up smoking cigarettes or vaping when they know how dangerous and self destructive it is? How else can you explain a teen who runs with all the wrong people knowing they are doing things that could put them in jail for the rest of their lives? How else do you explain a teen who knows how easy it is to become a drug addict and the horrors and degradations that drug addicts go through but they take drugs anyway?

It's because they are so self involved no one can tell them anything. They want to be their own little gods. They want to do what they want to do and be "free". Little realizing they are leaving the safe and loving embrace of their parents to become enslaved to satan in a bondage more horrible than they could ever imagine. Satan is good at making something look flattering, beautiful, free, fun. He entices us and tempts us with a lot of fake makeup and cardboard storefronts. His specialty is finding our weaknesses and zeroing in on them. He makes flashy brochures with lots of promises directed at our weaknesses. But as soon as he hooks us, the pretty pictures disappear and the reality is a horror.

Let's say you are married to a good spouse and have a happy home. But you have a weakness towards sex or insecurities that make you vulnerable to flattery. Satan begins to tempt you with women/men around you. Someone who makes you feel alive, daring, beautiful/handsome, sexy, desirable. Before you know it you are flirting, imagining, texting, talking, etc. Satan has made you, a willing participant, imagine a romantic, passionate affair that ends in a lifelong committed marriage with someone new. If you continue on, you will find a misery that knows no bounds. Let's look at it logically.

Do you really think the person you are dreaming about will want you with your baggage? A divorce, an abandoned spouse, alimony/child support? If you were unfaithful to your spouse and children, how can they trust you to be faithful to them? If most of your money goes to alimony/child support, that leaves little for the new person in your life. How will they like supporting you (because most of your money goes to support the first family)? How will they like their hard work and wages going to support you and your former family? If you have to pay for two households (your current abode and your former family's) and go into debt over legal fees, how much money do you have left? Not enough. Therefore your new partner will have to help support you and how long do you think that will last? Let's face it, if my boyfriend didn't have enough money to live comfortably on because he has to pay alimony and child support, then I would feel like he has ideas of moving in with me and mooching off of me. I would then end up working to support him. He may be working, but his money doesn't all come home to us, a big portion goes to his former family. If I was smart, that wouldn't happen. If I was smart I wouldn't be letting a man, who was worthless to his first family, move in and take over my life and me work like a dog for the privilege.

A man, or woman, like that couldn't be trusted as far as you could throw him. His/her promises meant nothing then and they will mean less than nothing now. He/she could stand up in front of God, family and witnesses and make vows to their spouse and then break them and hurt their spouse and children like that... why would you think they wouldn't do it to you? As soon as everything didn't go hunky dory and all their way, they'd be looking for their next meal ticket and you would have wasted your time and money. If they threw their first spouse and children away, they'll be more likely to throw you away.

That's not counting the baggage of trying to have a good relationship with children by a former spouse or partner. Or spending your money to buy them gifts at birthdays and Christmas. Or trying not to play favorites when it comes to their children and your children. Or figuring out discipline with children from former relationships. How many times does a kid say, "You aren't my Dad" or "You aren't my Mom"? Or a partner accuses you of favoritism or not allowing you to discipline their child.

A person who commits adultery can look forward to hardship, heartache, guilt, financial loss, and the devastation they've done to their children. Satan didn't show them that when they were tempted. He carefully hid the realities of adultery and only presented the heady feeling of rebellion. And you went along with it. One day you will wish you had listened to those who tried to tell you to stop. You will wish you had listened to your former spouse, your parents, your pastor, your real friends who warned you.
But you wanted to rebel, you didn't want to listen, you resisted good advice and now you live in a misery you created and in bondage you chose. You destroyed with your own hands and have no one to blame but yourself. You didn't love them enough to trust their words of wisdom. You loved yourself more and demanded your own way. You resisted them when they tried to talk to you about it. You refused to take their words of advice. They tried to work with you and help you but it was like trying to drag an inert, dead body. Have you ever tried to move a full grown person who is completely helpless and unable to help you move them? Someone who is quadriplegic, or passed out or dead? It's one of the hardest things to do to move an inert, passive mass. Heavy enough and it becomes impossible. To the one who would help you, you've become that heavy burden that refuses to help itself. They can only help you for so long before they are exhausted and totally unable to help any more. They have to let go and let God or risk falling in the hole with you in codependancy.

To get back to our point, we all experience this resistance and rebellion on a daily basis. Now imagine how it will be without that constant rebellion and resistance in us or in those around us! No time wasted, no arguing, no emotional expenditures, no passive resistance or active resistance. We love God and know He loves us. What He commands, we trust Him enough to go about it as efficiently and quickly as we can. We know His commands are what is best for everyone and therefore we don't lag and resist. We work harmoniously and in perfect unity with Him, and each other, to accomplish His work. There is no baggage from our previous lives. There is no criticizing, backbiting, one-upmanship. There is no one trying to climb your back to get the promotion or stabbing you in the back to look better themselves. We will all be appreciative of each other. We will respect and enjoy the skills and wisdom we all bring to the table to accomplish God's work. We will be thanking God for our co-workers and their God-given abilities. No jealousy, no snide remarks or looking down on others. No puffing up, no pride or egos getting in the way. No dishonesty, deception, lying.

I told you, it's hard to imagine but it's a wonderful thought to dwell on because it will be our reality in the New Heaven, New Earth and New Jerusalem. How wonderful will it be to know our strengths, skills and knowledge and to be able to use them in harmony and unity with others to fulfill the Father's Will!?!

The fruit of disobedience brings us all kinds of trouble. When we make wrong choices, we bring misery into our lives and into the lives of others. Like Adam and Eve disobeyed in order to eat of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and it brought disaster and misery. But the fruit of obedience brings eternal life.

Galatians 5:19-25 (notice the fruits of your sinful nature versus the fruits of the Holy Spirit)  19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.

Have you ever eaten a persimmon that you plucked from a persimmon tree? It is so bitter it will turn your mouth inside out and if you persist in eating it, can turn your stomach too! You will wish you never had tasted it. (Persimmons have to ripen and fall from the tree before they are good to eat and nothing beats my Aunt Ruth's persimmon pudding!) But have you ever eaten a juicy ripe peach you pulled from a peach tree? Nothing better or sweeter! Which fruit would you prefer? Something nasty, disgusting, bitter and that causes you pain? Or something healthy, sweet, delicious and brings you joy? Which fruit would you recommend to your loved ones? Which fruit would you share with others? Which fruit would you include in a fruit basket to bring health and gladness to your friends?  You make your own choice.


Revelation 22:3-4 3 No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be within the city, and His servants will worship Him. 4 They will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads.

Strong's Concordance
curse - katanathema, Original Word: κατάθεμα, ατος, τό
Part of Speech: Noun, Neuter
Definition: curse
Usage: a curse, an accursed thing.

HELPS Word-studies
2652 katanáthema (from 2596 /katá, "according to, down," intensifying 331 /anáthema, "a curse") – properly, an anathema; an oath-curse which "devotes something to destruction" (literally, to take it down).

Zechariah 14:11 People will live there, and never again will there be an utter destruction. So Jerusalem will dwell securely.

There is no more sin and therefore no more curse.

"The devil has no power there; he cannot draw the saints from serving God, nor can he disturb them in the service of God. God and the Lamb are here spoken of as one. Service there shall be not only freedom, but honour and dominion. There will be no night; no affliction or dejection, no pause in service or enjoyment: no diversions or pleasures or man's inventing will there be wanted. How different all this from gross and merely human views of heavenly happiness, even those which refer to pleasures of the mind!" - Matthew Henry Commentary

"Perfect purity leads to perfect union with God and {or rather in} Christ, and unbroken, glad submission to His regal rule. And that perfect submission is the occupation and delight of all the citizens. They are His bond-servants,’ and their fetters are golden chains of honour and ornament. They ‘do Him service,’ ministering as priests, and all their acts are ‘begun, continued, and ended in Him.’ Having been faithful over a few things, they are made rulers over many things, and are yet bond-servants, though rulers." - MacLaren's Expositions

Since Adam and Eve's Fall, the world has lived with the consequences, the curse of Genesis 3:

Genesis 3:14-19 14 Then the LORD God said to the serpent,
“Because you have done this, you are cursed
more than all animals, domestic and wild.
You will crawl on your belly,
groveling in the dust as long as you live.
15 And I will cause hostility between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring.
He will strike your head,
and you will strike his heel.”
16 Then he said to the woman,
“I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy,
and in pain you will give birth.
And you will desire to control your husband,
but he will rule over you.”
17 And to the man he said,
“Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree
whose fruit I commanded you not to eat,
the ground is cursed because of you.
All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it.
18 It will grow thorns and thistles for you,
though you will eat of its grains.
19 By the sweat of your brow
will you have food to eat
until you return to the ground
from which you were made.
For you were made from dust,
and to dust you will return.”

The Curse:
The serpent is cursed more than all other animals The serpent will crawl on it's belly in the dust There will be hostility between the serpent and mankind He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel (the first prophecy of Jesus, satan would hurt Jesus {striking His heel} but Jesus would kill satan {striking his head}) Pain during pregnancy and birth Women would desire to control their husbands But men would be the rulers It is the job of the man to provide, but his job will be hard work with much resistance Death Even during the Millennial Reign of Christ (the 1,000 years of His rule) the curse will be present. Those who enter into the Millennial Kingdom are those who trusted in Jesus Christ. Some of the survivors, who did not die during the Great Tribulation, are still living and those who are believers will enter in the Millennial Kingdom. They will live long lives and re-populate the earth. Those born during the Millenial Reign, will have to choose (as we do today) whom they will serve. Will they choose Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior? Or reject His saving grace and lordship? Many will reject Jesus even though His perfect reign on earth has provided and restored! That is why there is the last battle when satan is let out of the pit where he was chained for the 1,000 years. He leads a final rebellion. But after Jesus wins that last battle, He will judge all. Those who rebelled against Him will join satan in the Lake of Fire. The old earth and universe are dissolved and a New Heaven, New Earth and the New Jerusalem are established. The curse is forever removed! No longer can it affect us and no longer do we live under it's consequences. Whatever job God has for us will be blessed service, not cursed work.

Because sin is gone, we can see our Savior, face to face.

Psalm 17:15 Because I am righteous, I will see you.
When I awake, I will see you face to face and be satisfied.

Now, we can't comprehend Him totally because of sin and the sinful world we live in. As Christians, we know Him but not in the fullness that we will know Him later.

1 Corinthians 13:12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I am also known.

2 Corinthians 4:5-7 (Paul writing a letter to the Corinthian church)  5 You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.
7 We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.

There is a lot about eternal states that will be thrilling and exciting. I look forward to seeing all God has planned and to seeing my dear loved ones again. I can't wait to seek out people from the past and hear their stories. I look forward to the good times we will all have. I anticipate the service I can do for my God and the blessing of working with others in unity. But the most important thing to me is seeing my Savior! I want to worship at the feet of God and love Him with my whole being. I want to cling to Him and communicate my love and receive His love. I can do that here but not for long. I get tired, my feet hurt, my arms get heavy, my hands sting, my voice gives out, I get hungry, sleepy, etc. But worshiping God in the hereafter will never be interrupted. Everything will be done in worship! My new, immortal body will never get tired or hurt, age or be sick. I will be able to sing as loudly as I can and it will blend beautifully with those singing around me. I will be able to dance, run, jump and fall on my face in worship. Then I will be able to work for Him in an attitude of worship. I will go where He sends me and come when He calls me, all to His glory. And it will satisfy me and fulfill me. Everything I can do for Him only completes me, gives me joy, fulfills me and satisfies my every longing. It's a mutual, loving circle. He loves me, I love Him, He does for me, I do for Him because He loves me and I love Him. It is not harsh master/scared servant roles. It is a Father/child role. One of mutual love. A parent adores their child and puts their child's needs before their own. They anticipate the needs of the child, protect and provide, teach and train. The child adores their parent and appreciates all that the parent does for them. They show their love by their trust and obedience. This is the way it was meant to be. Unfortunately, in this sinful world, we end up with sinful parents and sinful children who don't work the relationship like it was supposed to be. But it will be the way it was meant to be once again. We will see and experience the right relationship and we will benefit from it with untold rewards!

His name will be on our foreheads!

Revelation 3:12 (ESV) The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, 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 from my God out of heaven, and my own new name.

This is similar to the High Priest's hat (called a "mitre) that Moses was instructed to make. On it was a plate that sayed, "Holy to the Lord".

Exodus 28:35-37 35 Aaron must wear the robe whenever he ministers, and its sound will be heard when he enters or exits the sanctuary before the LORD, so that he will not die. 36 You are to make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it as a seal: HOLY TO THE LORD. 37 Fasten to it a blue cord to mount it on the turban; it shall be on the front of the turban

This is not the only incidence of inscribing:

Isaiah 49:13-16 13 Shout for joy, O heavens; rejoice, O earth;
break into joyful song, O mountains!
For the LORD has comforted His people,
and He will have compassion on His afflicted ones.
14 But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me;
the Lord has forgotten me!”
15 “Can a woman forget her nursing child,
or lack compassion for the son of her womb?
Though she may forget,
I will not forget you!
16 Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands;
your walls are ever before Me".

"These words apply, first of all, to God’s ancient people, the Jews (the accurate interpretation), but they are equally true of all believers (a valid application).'I have graven thee' does not say, thy name. Our name is there, but that is not all: I have graven THEE! See the fullness of this! I have graven thy person, thine image, thy case, thy circumstances, thy sins, thy temptations, thy weaknesses, thy wants, thy works; I have graven thee, everything about thee, all that concerns thee; I have put thee altogether there. Wilt thou ever say again that thy God hath forsaken thee when he has graven thee upon His own palms?" - Charles H. Spurgeon

God engraved us on His palms and our names can never be removed. Our salvation is based on the work of Jesus Christ, not our own tainted works. Once we accept Jesus Christ, our sins are forgiven and our names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life and engraved on the palms of God! We are sealed with the Holy Spirit who now lives in us.

In the old days slaves were often branded with the mark of the master. This goes much farther than master/slave. Yes, we are His bondservants by voluntarily submitting in joyful servanthood. He was the Servant first. He served His Father and His people by dying on the cross for us. He does not ask anything that He didn't already submit to. But this relationship is much deeper than master/servant. It is Father/child and our names are engraved upon His palm. Cut into His palm. Jesus endured the nails in His Hands on our behalf. Now we have the PRIVILEGE of having His Name on our foreheads. It claims us as His and forever sealed as His child! I WANT His Name on my forehead! I want to be His child. I want to be a bondservant to Him as loving, merciful, full of grace, providing and protecting Master. A more caring, loving and merciful Father and Master cannot be imagined.


Revelation 22:5 There will be no more night in the city, and they will have no need for the light of a lamp or of the sun. For the Lord God will shine on them, and they will reign forever and ever.

Isaiah 24:23 The moon will be confounded and the sun ashamed; for the LORD of Hosts will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and in the presence of His elders, He will display His glory.

Isaiah 60:19 No longer will the sun be your light by day, and the brightness of the moon will not shine on you; for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your splendor.

Psalm 36:5-9 (NAS)
5 Your lovingkindness, O LORD, extends to the heavens,
Your faithfulness reaches to the skies.

is like the mountains of God;
Your judgments are like a great deep.
O LORD, You preserve man and beast.

7 How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God!
And the children of men take refuge in the shadow of Your wings.

8 They drink their fill of the abundance of Your house;
And You give them to drink of the river of Your delights.

9 For with You is the fountain of life;
In Your light we see light.

No artificial, man made light is needed. No natural, physical, earthly light is needed. God is the light!

Men now think they can gain wisdom, knowledge, education by their own strength and ingenuity. They think they can ascend the heights without God. We want to be God. It's the whole Tower of Babel all over again, again and again. Let's briefly look at the Tower of Babel:

Genesis 9:1 And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.

Genesis 11:1-9 1 Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. 2 As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.
3 They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. 4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”
5 But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. 6 The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”
8 So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. 9 That is why it was called Babel —because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

Look at verse 3 in the King James Version: Genesis 11:3 (KJV)  3 And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar.

After the Great Flood, God again told Noah and his sons to have children and to populate the whole earth. (He had given the same command to Adam and Eve in Genesis 1:28 and that was BEFORE the Fall.) But the people disobeyed God's command through Noah and they settled in a broad plain called Shinar. This would later be called Babylonia (or Mesopotamia) and is where the city of Babylon was located. Where these people disobeyed, settled and built a city is where Babylon started!

Why did God command them to disperse and fill the whole earth? As the crown of creation, being made in God's image, Adam and Eve were given the job of stewardship over the earth. God is the Creator and King. It is His earth, but He delegated to Adam and Eve the job of stewardship. They were to rule over the earth to God's glory. He gave them dominion and authority over the earth. They were responsible for taking care of it. As we know, they sinned and sin entered the world. Instead of taking care of the earth to God's glory, we've mostly exploited it and brought ruin.

By dispersing throughout the whole earth, people would have discovered God's creation and the different provisions He made for the health and well-being of the people. There are all kinds of animals, vegetation and waters that can be helpful. There was also prosperity in the provisions God had made on the earth. What we cannot find in South Carolina, USA can be found in Siberia, Russia. What cannot be found in Siberia, Russia can be found in the Caribbean Islands. If mankind had not fallen into sin, think of the wonders of the earth that were available for the enjoyment and wealth of men!?! But, even after the Fall, when it came time for Noah, think about the health and provision that can occur throughout the earth for the benefit of mankind. For instance, we find mineral springs in some places. We find willow bark native to North America, northern Asia, and much of Africa. Aspirin is derived from willow bark. Foxglove is native to western and southwestern Europe, western and central Asia and northwestern Africa. A group of medicines extracted from foxglove plants are called digitalin. It is used in medicine for atrial fibrillation and congestive heart failure.

Another reason why God commanded Noah's descendants to disperse is the tendency for sin to increase in groups. What one or two people would never think of doing on their own, becomes something they will fall into readily if they are in a group of people. And the sin one person can commit is limited but the more people, the greater the sin. For instance, one person will normally not attack a neighboring village because he is outnumbered. But one village attacking another village, for no more reason than they want what the other villagers have, is pretty conceivable. One nation warring against another nation has happened over and over again throughout history. With people whose heart is evil, the sin can increase the effect on innocent people by numbers. An innocent family may not face much threat from one or two evil people but they face annihilation pretty easily if a group of evil people decide to attack them. We see it with gangs, organizations, nations and governments, armies, etc.

Also, the more people in a group, the less accountability leaders seem to have. Leaders tend to fall into the sin of pride and ego. Men and women become addicted to the feeling of power and their pride becomes monstrous.

There are many reasons that might have been, or were, good reasons for God to tell the people to disperse.

Why did they decide to group together and disobey God's command? They were not trusting God as their protector and provider. They decided to stick together for protection and provision. As the population grew, those who rose to the top as leaders felt more power and it fed their pride and egos. Once they learned how to build with more permanent materials (bricks and mortar), they could build palaces, homes, city walls for protection, etc. They didn't need God's protection or His provision when they could do just as well on their own with their bricks. It would be rather sad if it weren't that people still do it today. When I think of the billions of taxpayer dollars that our American government has spent on national defense and protection, it's rather sickening. There are huge, expensive bunkers built in deserts and under mountains to protect the nation's leaders, with long lists of protocols and procedures to protect a few men. There are abandoned missile silos all over the nation because they are now obsolete. They were never really used, no missile was sent into a trajectory to protect us from an oncoming attack. They were developed, the complexes were built and then abandoned as new technology came along. Don't get me wrong, I know the knowledge of our defenses has protected us from invasions from other nations. Their fear of our ability to defend ourselves helps us. But what if we had never fallen into sin (thanks to Adam and Eve), and obeyed God, we would never have had to waste money on such things. God is our Source, our Provider, our Protector. If we could have but trusted in Him! But we didn't and we don't. We want to do everything ourselves and play God. The more technology we learn and develop, the less likely we are to trust God and the more likely we are to put our trust in man-made technology. We think we can take care of ourselves and not only take care of ourselves but make ourselves rich in the process and garner power over others. We think we know it all. We think we can build our own defenses. We can build skyscrapers and put our names on the skyscrapers and look in satisfaction and what we've done in our pride and hubris. Patting ourselves on the back with a "Good job!".

The skyscraper has long been the symbol of power and prestige. As of 2019, the tallest skyscraper is the Jeddah Tower in Saudi Arabia at 3,307 feet with 168 floors (under construction). The 2nd large building is Burj Khalifa in Dubai, UAE at 2,717 feet and 163 floors. Notice these towers are in the Middle East.

The creator and leader of the Jeddah Tower project is Saudi Arabian prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, a grandson of Ibn Saud, and nephew of the Kings of Saudi Arabia before him. Al-Waleed is the chairman of Kingdom Holding Company which is a partner in the Jeddah Economic Company (JEC), which was formed in 2009 for the development of Jeddah Tower and City. Jeddah is a major city on the coast of the Red Sea and in western Saudi Arabia. It is the largest city in Makkah Province, the largest seaport on the Red Sea, and has a population of about four million people, the second-largest city in Saudi Arabia after the capital city, Riyadh. Jeddah is Saudi Arabia's commercial capital.

The Burj Khalifa was originally named Burj Dubai but was renamed in honour of the ruler of Abu Dhabi and president of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan; Abu Dhabi and the UAE government lent Dubai money to pay its debts.

God can topple all our defenses and all our prideful building with one breath. Remember the unsinkable Titanic? All it took was one graze from a natural iceberg and she sunk like a stone. It would be better for us to be humble and mindful of God because it is He that sustains us and not we ourselves!

The Torre Insignia in Mexico City was built in 1962 to house a bank. It is a towering triangular pyramid made of aluminum, glass and reinforced concrete. Although it survived the 1985 8.0 magnitude Mexico City earthquake (and 6 other major earthquakes since), it had to be abandoned. It was considered one of the safest buildings in the world but it's empty.
Let's look at their reasoning:
Build a city Build a tower to the heavens Make a name for themselves (a reputation) So they will not be scattered over the face of the Earth (i.e. they KNEW they were disobeying and chose to disobey) In open and knowing rebellion against God, they had great pride and arrogance. The larger their numbers, the more puffed up they became against God. They defied God and presented a unified front against God.

They decided to build a city and tower as a power center. Why the tower? Maybe they thought it would protect them if God ever sent another Flood. If so, they didn't seem to remember that God had promised never to send another Great Flood to destroy the earth. They just remembered how God had destroyed the earth at one time with a Flood and a tower might have been their way to save themselves.

It might have been a worship center or temple to worship idols. Some say it was a Ziggurat, a stepped tower, sometimes surmounted by a temple. Its purpose is to get the temple closer to the heavens, and provide access from the ground to it via steps. The Mesopotamians believed that these pyramid temples connected heaven and earth. They may have looked like these.

Or it may have been just to show off their greatness. They may have even thought they would look so powerful that others would not break off in rebellion against them. By flaunting power, security and permanence, their leaders would hope to keep the people in line. Much like the United States government wants all it's citizens to stay in line and never rebel. The War of Northern Aggression (Civil War) was about keeping the citizens in obedience and dependence on the U.S. Federal Government. If one or more states (and the South made up 13 states) decided to rebel and break off, then others might follow suit. The U.S. government had an interest in keeping all the states unified for economic reasons and power purposes. President Abraham Lincoln didn't care one whit for the slaves, but he did care about keeping the Union together for the financial and power benefits. Since the South lost the War, no state has had the courage to rebel again and the power, centralized in the the U.S. government, is enormous. We dare not rebel now and it's given tyranny a stable platform and the U.S. government has wielded it's power over us more and more. It's a possibility that, if the South had won the War, then eventually we would have re-joined the United States again but with a less powerful central federal government because of the threat of states rebelling again. By losing the War, all the states lost their sovereignty and ability to hold secession as a threat if the federal government overreached. (I'm thankful for the silver lining of the abolition of slavery, but states lost their autonomy and sovereignty when we lost the War and were forced to re-join the United States.)

But no matter how high they built, God had to "come down" to see them.  God accomplished His purpose of dispersing them throughout the world by confusing their language. He intervened and what they were afraid of happened anyway. They were scattered. God opposes the proud. Even when they thought they were in control, God was working to accomplish His purposes and plans. We cannot thwart Him.

One day, when God establishes His kingdom in the New Heaven, New Earth and New Jerusalem, the citizens (those saved through Jesus Christ) will once again be in unity, perfect unity, as God intended and we won't be worshiping idols on an artificial ziggurat mountain in pride and rebellion. We will be worshiping God on the Holy Mountain in the center of New Jerusalem in unity and love. We won't be at cross purposes ever again. We will speak one language. Although we will still be diverse peoples and nations, we will have one purpose - to worship God and do His bidding to His glory. He promises to give us administrative positions, jobs in which we are to be stewards of whatever He gives us to do. We will do it well and bring Him glory. We will reflect God's glory wherever we are sent. He will shine on us and we will carry His light everywhere we go. We are to reign with Him.

The comparison between the city of Babylon in Babylonia with it's Tower of Babel is in strict contrast to the New Jerusalem with it's mountain of God!


Revelation 22:6-7 6 Then the angel said to me, “These words are faithful and true. The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent His angel to show His servants what must soon take place.”
7 “Behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of prophecy in this book.”

These words begin the epilogue of the Book of Revelation. The angel tells John specifically that all of the vision he has been given are "faithful and true". This is a solemn moment and the angel impresses this upon John. He reminds John the same Spirit that spoke through the prophets of old has revealed all of this to John and it will soon take place.

2 Peter 1:21 For no prophecy was ever brought about through human initiative, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Let's take a look at what the Bible reveals about true Prophets and false "prophets".

The Old Testament Prophet, Jeremiah, gave a stern warning. In Jeremiah 22, the Prophet Jeremiah warns the leaders and the people and he says, over and over again, "This is what the Lord says..." But in Jeremiah 23, he turns on the leaders and spiritual leaders and warns them about misleading the people and taking advantage of them.

Jeremiah 23 1 "How horrible it will be for the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep in my care," declares the LORD. 2 "This is what I, the LORD God of Israel, said to the shepherds who take care of my people: You have scattered my sheep and chased them away. You have not taken care of them, so now I will take care of you by punishing you for the evil you have done," declares the LORD. 3 "Then I will gather the remaining part of my flock from all the countries where I chased them. I will bring them back to their pasture, and they will be fertile and increase in number. 4 I will put shepherds over them. Those shepherds will take care of them. My sheep will no longer be afraid or terrified, and not one of them will be missing," declares the LORD.
5 "The days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will grow a righteous branch for David. He will be a king who will rule wisely. He will do what is fair and right in the land.
6 In his lifetime, Judah will be saved, and Israel will live in safety. This is the name that he will be given: The LORD Our Righteousness.
7 "That is why the days are coming," declares the LORD, "when people's oaths will no longer be, 'The LORD brought the people of Israel out of Egypt. As the LORD lives....' 8 Instead, their oaths will be, 'The LORD brought the descendants of the nation of Israel out of the land of the north and all the lands where he had scattered them. As the LORD lives....' At that time they will live in their own land.
9 "[Say this] about the prophets: I am deeply disturbed. All my bones tremble. I am like a drunk, like a person who has had too much wine, because of the LORD and his holy words.
10 The land is filled with adulterers. The land mourns because of the curse. Pastures in the wilderness have dried up. The people are evil, and they use their strength to do the wrong things.
11 The prophets and priests are godless. Even in my temple I've found them doing evil," declares the LORD.
12 "That is why their own way will become like slippery paths in the dark. They will be chased away, and they will fall down in the dark. I will bring disaster on them. It is time for them to be punished," declares the LORD.
13 "[Say this] about the prophets of Samaria: I saw something disgusting. The prophets of Samaria prophesied by Baal and led my people Israel astray.
14 "[Say this] about the prophets of Jerusalem: I see something horrible. The prophets of Jerusalem commit adultery and live a lie. They support those who do evil so that no one turns back from his wickedness. They are all like Sodom to me, and those who live in Jerusalem are like Gomorrah."
15 This is what the LORD of Armies says about the prophets: I will give them wormwood to eat and poison to drink. The prophets of Jerusalem have spread godlessness throughout the land.
16 This is what the LORD of Armies says: Don't listen to what the prophets are saying to you. They fill you with false hope. They speak about visions that they dreamed up. These visions are not from the LORD.
17 They keep saying to those who despise me, "The LORD says, 'Everything will go well for you.' " They tell all who live by their own stubborn ways, "Nothing bad will happen to you."
18 Who is in the LORD's inner circle and sees and hears his word? Who pays attention and listens to his word?
19 The storm of the LORD will come with his anger. Like a windstorm, it will swirl down on the heads of the wicked.
20 The anger of the LORD will not turn back until he has done everything he intends to do. In the last days you will understand this clearly.
21 I didn't send these prophets, yet they ran [with their message]. I didn't speak to them, yet they prophesied.
22 If they had been in my inner circle, they would have announced my words to my people. They would have turned back from their evil ways and the evil they have done.
23 "I am a God who is near. I am also a God who is far away," declares the LORD.
24 "No one can hide so that I can't see him," declares the LORD. "I fill heaven and earth!" declares the LORD.
25 "I've heard the prophets who speak lies in my name. They say, 'I had a dream! I had a dream!' 26 How long will these prophets continue to lie and deceive? 27 They tell each other the dreams they had, because they want to make my people forget my name, as their ancestors forgot my name because of Baal. 28 The prophet who has a dream should tell his dream. However, the person who has my word should honestly speak my word. What does grain have to do with straw?" asks the LORD. 29 "Isn't my word like fire or like a hammer that shatters a rock?" asks the LORD. 30 "I'm against the prophets who steal my words from each other," declares the LORD. 31 "I'm against the prophets who speak their own thoughts and say that they speak for me. 32 I'm against those who prophesy dreams they made up," declares the LORD. "They tell the dreams they made up and lead my people astray with their lies and their wild talk. I didn't send them or command them to go. They don't help these people at all," declares the LORD.
33 "When these people, the prophets, or the priests ask you, 'What revelation has the LORD burdened you with now?' say to them, 'You are the burden! I will abandon you, declares the LORD.' 34 Suppose the prophets, the priests, or these people say, 'This is the LORD's revelation!' I will punish them and their families. 35 They should ask their neighbors and their relatives, 'What is the LORD's answer?' and 'What did the LORD say?' 36 They should never again say, 'This is the LORD's revelation,' because each person's word becomes the revelation. They will twist the words of the living God, the LORD of Armies, our God. 37 "Jeremiah, say this to the prophets, 'What was the LORD's answer to you?' and 'What did the LORD say?' 38 Suppose they say, 'This is the LORD's revelation!' Then say, 'This is what the LORD says: Because you have said, "This is the LORD's revelation!" even though I commanded you not to repeat this saying, 39 I will certainly forget you. I will throw you out of my presence and out of the city that I gave you and your ancestors. 40 I will bring eternal disgrace and shame on you. It will never be forgotten.'"

Who are the sheep, the flock? In the Old Testament, it was the Israelites, the Jewish nation. But now it refers to anyone who has accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Born-again Christians, sincere believers, are the people of God. We have accepted Jesus Christ is the Son of God and has saved us from our sins and given us eternal life with Him. Jewish or Gentile, this makes us the people of God, His flock. Let's see where Jesus, Himself, claimed to be the Good Shepherd of the Sheep, the children of God.

John 10 1 “I tell you the truth, anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber! 2 But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. 5 They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.”

6 Those who heard Jesus use this illustration didn’t understand what he meant, 7 so he explained it to them: “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who came before me were thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not listen to them. 9 Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. 10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. 12 A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. 13 The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep.

14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, 15 just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd.

17 “The Father loves me because I sacrifice my life so I may take it back again. 18 No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.”

19 When he said these things, the people were again divided in their opinions about him. 20 Some said, “He’s demon possessed and out of his mind. Why listen to a man like that?” 21 Others said, “This doesn’t sound like a man possessed by a demon! Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”

22 It was now winter, and Jesus was in Jerusalem at the time of Hanukkah, the Festival of Dedication. 23 He was in the Temple, walking through the section known as Solomon’s Colonnade. 24 The people surrounded him and asked, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”

25 Jesus replied, “I have already told you, and you don’t believe me. The proof is the work I do in my Father’s name. 26 But you don’t believe me because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, 29 for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. 30 The Father and I are one.”

31 Once again the people picked up stones to kill him. 32 Jesus said, “At my Father’s direction I have done many good works. For which one are you going to stone me?”

33 They replied, “We’re stoning you not for any good work, but for blasphemy! You, a mere man, claim to be God.”

34 Jesus replied, “It is written in your own Scriptures that God said to certain leaders of the people, ‘I say, you are gods!’ 35 And you know that the Scriptures cannot be altered. So if those people who received God’s message were called ‘gods,’ 36 why do you call it blasphemy when I say, ‘I am the Son of God’? After all, the Father set me apart and sent me into the world. 37 Don’t believe me unless I carry out my Father’s work. 38 But if I do his work, believe in the evidence of the miraculous works I have done, even if you don’t believe me. Then you will know and understand that the Father is in me, and I am in the Father.”

39 Once again they tried to arrest him, but he got away and left them. 40 He went beyond the Jordan River near the place where John was first baptizing and stayed there awhile. 41 And many followed him. “John didn’t perform miraculous signs,” they remarked to one another, “but everything he said about this man has come true.” 42 And many who were there believed in Jesus.

Ezekiel 34:31 You are My flock, the sheep of My pasture, My people, and I am your God,' declares the Lord GOD."

In Jeremiah 23, the prophets and priests are:

divisive and scattering the sheep, chasing them away from truth destroying the sheep not taking care of the flock godless evil adulterers liars living a lie supporting those who do evil spread godlessness making up "visions" to tell lies in God's Name and speak their own thoughts twisting the words of the living God
Deuteronomy 18:20-22 (ESV) But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.’ And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the Lord has not spoken?’— when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.

Ezekiel 34:2 "Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel. Prophesy and tell them that this is what the Lord GOD says: 'Woe to the shepherds of Israel, who only feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed their flock?

Ezekiel 13:3 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!

Zechariah 11:17 "Woe to the worthless shepherd, who deserts the flock! May a sword strike his arm and his right eye! May his arm be completely withered and his right eye utterly blinded!"

There is always a remnant of those who are true to God and sincerely seek Him. They see Him as precious, to be desired and they pursue Him. God never forgets the remnant and He says He will "grow a righteous branch for David. He will be a king who will rule wisely. He will do what is fair and right in the land. In His lifetime, Judah will be saved, and Israel will live in safety. This is the name He will be given: The Lord Our Righteousness". Of course, this is in reference to Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Man. Through Mary, Jesus was a physical descendant of King David. Jeremiah is prophesying that Jesus will establish His Kingdom and draw all of the remnant into it.

"Woe be to those who are set to feed God's people, but take no concern to do them good! Here is a word of comfort to the neglected sheep. Though only a remnant of God's flock is left, he will find them out, and they shall be brought to their former habitations." - Matthew Henry Commentary

How do we know if a prophecy and a prophet are speaking words from God?

1 John 4:16 (ESV) Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them.

Matthew 7:15-20 (ESV) Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.

Now, to bring it back to our scripture today, how do we know the Book of Revelation is a true prophecy? If you have been with me during my 2 year study of Revelation, you will have followed the progression of the vision and seen where it has come true in the past but also has a dual fulfillment in the future. We've seen events that have happened just as John saw it, but as we spiral closer to the end times, we see it more and more clearly happening again in it's final fulfilment. God has proved to us, today, that this Revelation is true and therefore trustworthy. We can believe it. For instance, Babylon was a real historical kingdom and what was prophesied about it came to pass. But it also speaks to an end-time empire, a one world government, that arises in the end times. We know Babylon existed and it's downfall. Therefore, we know when it exists again in the future, it will be destroyed spectacularly. The same with the Roman Empire. It was a real empire and what was prophesied by John about it occurred. It was future to John but is history now to us. And it will occur again in a dual fulfilment. Because the things in Revelation have been fulfilled, we know it is a prophecy that can be trusted. It is "faithful and true".

The angel then gives John these words from Jesus: “Behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of prophecy in this book.”

We receive a blessing from this book. In chapter 1, we are promised a blessing for reading, hearing and retaining the Revelation.

Revelation 1:3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

Jesus speaks directly and promises He is coming quickly. We are blessed when we read, hear, and retain the Word in Revelation. This benediction encourages us to keep our eyes on Christ and to not weary in our anticipation of Him. It gives us hope in our eternity and strengthens us during our sojourn on this old earth. The warnings and the promises in this book are what keeps us and makes us overcomers to the end.


Revelation 22:8-9 8 And I am John, who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had shown me these things. 9 But he said to me, “Do not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God!”

Verse 8 reminds me of 1 John 1:1-4 1 What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life— 2 and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us— 3 what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. 4 These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.

Verse 9 is the same as Revelation 19:10 At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, "Don't do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers and sisters who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For it is the Spirit of prophecy who bears testimony to Jesus."

The angel refused to allow John to worship him but directed John to worship the Father. 
"He refused to accept religious worship from John, and reproved him for offering it. This presents another testimony against idolatrous worship of saints and angels." - Matthew Henry Commentary

We are witnesses to truth. Jesus Christ is the Truth, the Way, and the Light. As a believer, we have witnessed the Truth, the Way and the Light. May we testify to what we know!

And may our focus of worship be on God from whom all blessings flow!


Revelation 22:10-11 10 Then he told me, “Do not seal up the words of prophecy in this book, because the time is near. 11 Let the unrighteous continue to be unrighteous, and the vile continue to be vile; let the righteous continue to practice righteousness, and the holy continue to be holy.”

A seal, in biblical times as today, is used to guarantee security or indicate ownership. Equivalent to a signature.

"The importance attached to seals in the East is so great that without one no document is regarded as authentic. Among the methods of sealing used in Egypt at a very early period were engraved stones, graved stones, pierced through their length and hung by a string or chain from the arm or neck, or set in rings for the finger... In many cases the seal consisted of a lump of clay, impressed with the seal and attached to the document, whether of papyrus or other material, by strings. In other cases wax was used." - Smith's Bible Dictionary

Israeli archaeologists say they have found a 2,700-year-old piece of clay inscribed with a biblical king's seal.

It is thought the oval bulla, which is 13mm (0.5in) wide, was once attached to a papyrus document signed by Hezekiah, one of the kings of Judah.

It was found by a team from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem at the site of an ancient dump, beside the wall that surrounds Jerusalem's Old City.

It is believed to have been thrown out with the rubbish from a royal building.

The bulla is imprinted with the symbol of a winged sun and an inscription in an ancient Hebrew script, saying: "Belonging to Hezekiah [son of] Ahaz king of Judah".

Hezekiah, who ruled from 727-698BC, is described favourably in the Bible, as well as in the chronicles of the Assyrian kings, who ruled during his time. - 12/2/2015 BBC News

Researchers have found an ancient clay seal from around the time he was reportedly alive, marked with his name. Called a bulla, the seal was retrieved from a 2,700-year-old midden in the Ophel, dating it to around 8th century BCE, and it's inscribed with the Jewish prophet's name...

The bulla, sadly broken, is about a centimetre (0.4 inches) in diameter, stamped with the name Yesha'yah[u] (Isaiah) in Hebrew letters. Following it were the letters NVY, which are the first three letters of the Hebrew word for prophet, which is spelled nun-beit-yod-aleph.

It was found just 3 metres from where the bulla of King Hezekiah of Judah, to which Isaiah was an adviser, was found in 2015.

"We appear to have discovered a seal impression, which may have belonged to the prophet Isaiah, in a scientific, archaeological excavation," said lead author Eilat Mazar of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

"If it is the case that this bulla is indeed that of the prophet Isaiah, then it should not come as a surprise to discover this bulla next to one bearing King Hezekiah's name given the symbiotic relationship of the prophet Isaiah and King Hezekiah described in the Bible."

The bulla, sadly broken, is about a centimetre (0.4 inches) in diameter, stamped with the name Yesha'yah[u] (Isaiah) in Hebrew letters. Following it were the letters NVY, which are the first three letters of the Hebrew word for prophet, which is spelled nun-beit-yod-aleph.

Whether or not the aleph was present is impossible to determine, since the bulla is broken after the yod. But if it had been, the seal would have read, in its entirety, "Isaiah the Prophet."

"The absence of this final letter ... requires that we leave open the possibility that it could just be the name Navi," Mazar said. "The name of Isaiah, however, is clear." - 2/23/2018 ScienceAlert

"A rare and exciting discovery: A bulla (seal impression) and a 2,600-year-old stamp bearing Hebrew names were uncovered in the City of David. The artifacts were discovered inside a public building that was destroyed during the destruction of the First Temple and were uncovered in archaeological excavations of the Givati Parking Lot in the City of David National Park in Jerusalem. The dig was conducted by archeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority and Tel Aviv University....The seal impression, dated to the First Temple period, features the words: '(belonging) to Nathan-Melech, Servant of the King'...The name Nathan-Melech appears once in the Bible, in the second book of Kings 23:11, where he is described as an official in the court of King Josiah, who took part in the religious reform that the king was implementing: 'And he took away the horses that the kings of Judah had given to the sun, at the entrance of the house of the Lord, by the chamber of Nathan-Melech the officer, which was in the precincts; and he burned the chariots of the sun with fire.'" - 3/31/2019 Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Daniel 8:26 The vision of the evenings and the mornings that has been spoken is true. Now you must seal up the vision, for it concerns the distant future."

Daniel 12:4 But you, Daniel, shut up these words and seal the book until the time of the end. Many will roam to and fro, and knowledge will increase."

Why does God command the Prophet Daniel to seal the prophetic word? Answer: "for it concerns the distant future" "Many will roam to and fro, and knowledge will increase".

Why does God command the Prophet John not to seal the prophetic word? Answer: "because the time is near"

In Daniel's time, Jesus Christ had not been born, crucified and resurrected. Also the Holy Spirit had not been sent to enter the hearts of all born-again believers as a seal of their salvation. The New Testament had not been written. So the knowledge of the gospel would "increase" and the mission work of Christians ("many will roam to and fro") who take the gospel to the uttermost parts of the world hadn't happened yet. But, after Revelation was written, Jesus had lived, died and been resurrected and the knowledge of salvation was being preached in multiple places in the world (it still continues). So, for John, there was no further revelation that must occur before the end time events may begin. There will be no more prophets, and the knowledge we have (as of the conclusion of Revelation) is sufficient for the end times to occur. The coming of Jesus is imminent. There is nothing which must happen before He comes. I.e. the earth is ready but the timing is unknown. Jesus tells us to be on alert, to live expectantly, to be ready for Christ to come at any moment.

The Bible, and the book of Revelation, is open to anyone to read. It is not sealed up and kept secret. Heaven forbid! Because Jesus commanded us to testify, witness and proclaim the gospel in this world, to bring light into darkness! The Holy Spirit also was sent to this earth to work to make sure everyone could know the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ. And He lives in each true Christian to empower and teach them so we can be effective witnesses to tell the world about Jesus. Christianity is not a secret society. We don't whisper amongst ourselves to keep the public from knowing about salvation. We don't hold secret meetings to exclude others. (There are those who live under repressive governments who have to meet secretly but it's not to keep others out, it is to protect the group from being attacked by a government or opposing religion. They welcome those who want to convert, they don't exclude anyone.) Christianity is an open society. We embrace anyone who wants to convert and believe in Jesus Christ. No sin is so great that Jesus can't forgive and set us free from. We all were sinners and Jesus saved us so we should be that much more understanding to others who come as sinners but who accept Jesus' forgiveness. This does not mean a church accepts sin and welcomes the sin into their midst. We accept a sinner who really wants to be free from their sin. Those who openly sin (according to God in His Word), who refuse to acknowledge their sinfulness and refuse to repent are to be disciplined with love. If they continue to rebel against God, they are to be removed from the body until they are ready to yield to Christ. Church discipline is never to exclude someone with the intent of permanent rejection but with the intent of reconciliation in the future. They do not have to "repent" to church members, but they have to repent to God and the fruit of this repentance exhibited in their lives. Then they should be joyfully re-admitted to the body. It is always to be a loving discipline, never a vindictive, condemning, destructive discipline.

Knowing the doctrines of Christianity, it would be ridiculous for someone, who rejects Christ and rejects all the church doctrines and biblical teachings, to try to force their way into a church body. There are plenty of organizations someone can join without forcing their way into a church. So for those who reject Jesus, who rebel against God, who refuse to acknowledge the Bible as their standard, who despise all Christian doctrine... leave and join another type of organization. Church is not for you if you don't believe anything we believe in or teach. Quit trying to force all our churches and denominations to accept your way. You know beforehand what we believe, and that it doesn't parallel your beliefs, so why try to change us. Just go somewhere else! You go your way and we'll go ours. But to force your rejection of Jesus Christ, your belief system and your rebellion on us is unnecessary (you have other groups you can join) and intolerant (because you are trying to force everyone to believe your way and accept your beliefs). To come into our churches and create division and trying to force us to accept things we know are against our beliefs and against our standard, the Word of God, is destructive. It harms everyone in the body. Leave us alone until you are ready to accept Jesus Christ. Then you are welcome!

Revelation 22: 11 Let the unrighteous continue to be unrighteous, and the vile continue to be vile; let the righteous continue to practice righteousness, and the holy continue to be holy.

Psalm 81:11-13 11 “But My people did not listen to My voice,
And Israel did not obey Me
12 “So I gave them over to the stubbornness of their heart,
To walk in their own devices.
13 “Oh that My people would listen to Me,
That Israel would walk in My ways!

Romans 1:18-20,24,28-32 18 But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness. 19 They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. 20 For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God... 24 So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies...28 Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. 29 Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. 30 They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. 31 They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. 32 They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too.

Those who reject Jesus Christ, refuse to repent will live in their vile sin and be judged for it. Those who accept Jesus are forgiven and the Holy Spirit enters their heart to seal them against judgment and to empower them to mature and grow more Christlike.

The invitation to accept Jesus Christ as the way to salvation through the forgiveness of sin is open to all. But for those who reject Jesus, they will continue in their wickedness and reap the consequences of eternal damnation. Those who reject Jesus, and keep on rejecting Him, will


Revelation 22:12-13 12 “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to each one according to what he has done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”

Isaiah 40:10 Behold, the Lord GOD comes with might, and His arm establishes His rule. His reward is with Him, and His recompense accompanies Him.

Jeremiah 17:10 I, the LORD, search the heart; I test the mind to reward a man according to his way, by what his deeds deserve.

Matthew 16:27 For the Son of Man will come in His Father's glory with His angels, and then He will repay each one according to what he has done.

Romans 2:6-11 6 He will judge everyone according to what they have done. 7 He will give eternal life to those who keep on doing good, seeking after the glory and honor and immortality that God offers. 8 But he will pour out his anger and wrath on those who live for themselves, who refuse to obey the truth and instead live lives of wickedness. 9 There will be trouble and calamity for everyone who keeps on doing what is evil—for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. 10 But there will be glory and honor and peace from God for all who do good—for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. 11 For God does not show favoritism.


Revelation 22:14-15 14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by its gates. 15 But outside are the dogs, the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

Those who reject Jesus will be EXCLUDED from the Kingdom of God and New Jerusalem. They will be in the lake of fire. They never entered the New Heaven, New Earth and New Jerusalem.

Revelation 20:11-14 11 Then I saw a great white throne and the One seated on it. Earth and heaven fled from His presence, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne.
And there were open books, and one of them was the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their deeds, as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave up its dead, and Death and Hades gave up their dead, and each one was judged according to his deeds.
14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death—the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone was found whose name was not written in the Book of Life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Revelation 21:1-2,8 1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
8 But to the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and sexually immoral and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their place will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur. This is the second death.”

So we know Revelation 22:15 is not saying there are sinners still roaming around outside the New Jerusalem. It means they were excluded before the New Heaven, New Earth and New Jerusalem. Their end was the lake of fire and only those whose name was written in the Lamb's Book of Life are citizens. We are only washed and cleansed of our sins by Jesus' work on the cross. We are washed in His Blood. He has given us robes of righteousness.

1 John 1:7-8 7 But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. 9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.

1 John 2:1-2 1 My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. 2 He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.

Romans 3:22-24 22 We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.
23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 24 Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.

Isaiah 61:10 I am overwhelmed with joy in the LORD my God!
For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation
and draped me in a robe of righteousness.
I am like a bridegroom dressed for his wedding
or a bride with her jewels.


Revelation 22:16 “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the bright Morning Star.”

Isaiah 11:1-12 1 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
2 The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of might,
the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord—
3 and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.
He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
or decide by what he hears with his ears;
4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
5 Righteousness will be his belt
and faithfulness the sash around his waist.
6 The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
and a little child will lead them.
7 The cow will feed with the bear,
their young will lie down together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
8 The infant will play near the cobra’s den,
and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.
9 They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.
10 In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious. 11 In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the surviving remnant of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the Mediterranean.
12 He will raise a banner for the nations
and gather the exiles of Israel;
he will assemble the scattered people of Judah
from the four quarters of the earth.

Isaiah 9:2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.

Luke 1:76-79 (Zechariah concerning John, the Baptist:) "And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace."

John 1:7-9 (John, the Baptist) came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.

Matthew 4:16 "The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned."

Isaiah 60:1-2 "Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you."

Isaiah Prophesies against the Nations in chapters 13-22. He gave these prophecies about 725 B.C. according to a Biblical Timeline. Isaiah pronounces the judgment of God: Babylon, Media, Assyria, Philistia, Moab, Syria, Ethiopia, and Egypt. Isaiah 14 is a pronouncement against Babylon. We've studied Babylon in Revelation before. Babylon was a very real city, it's kings were very real. The Bible tells us that God used the Babylonians as a tool. I.e. God was in control and He used them to discipline the Jews who had fallen into grievous sins through idolatry. But He also judges their own wickedness. God's purpose, as He states over and over again, was always to bring the Jews back to Him where He could bless them again. It was their hardened hearts that refused to repent and turn to God that caused them so much pain and destruction. Those who would refuse to accept Jehovah as the one true God and trust and love Him suffer the consequences. But there is always a remnant of the people who would repent, turn to God and love and trust Him. God never loses one of those whose heart is turned to Him. Those who seek Him shall find Him. In the end, all of us, the remnant, will be gathered safely into His Kingdom to live forever with Him in the New Heaven, New Earth and New Jerusalem. The lost... their end is the Lake of Fire.

But the city of Babylon has also been the antithesis of New Jerusalem. The Babylonians have always symbolized the very opposite of God's true people. The King of Babylon has always been the opposite of Jesus Christ, the King. Who is the opposite of King Jesus? Satan. Satan is the one who empowers the anti-Christ (which names him as one who is against, or the opposite, the negative, of Jesus). If Jesus is love, satan is hate. If Jesus is light, satan is darkness. While Jesus claims that He is The Branch, satan is a rejected branch (Isaiah 14:19).

All scholars agree that Isaiah 14 is meant for Babylon, it's nation and it's king. But they also agree it describes the fall of satan. There is a similar passage in Ezekiel about the King of Tyre which also describes satan and his fall. Babylon and Tyre, although used by God to discipline the Jews, would face God's judgment and wrath for their own sins. And so will satan, his demons and the lost.

There is a third fulfillment coming in the future. Babylon and it's king represent the one-world government that the anti-Christ will rule in the end times. We have discussed that at length in prior posts in the study of Revelation.

Let's look at Isaiah 14:

Isaiah 14:4a That you shall take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How has the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased!

The prophet appears derisive utterance in poetic or figurative speech in his character as a psalmist. In the mashal or taunting-song that follows, the generic meaning of "proverb" is specialised for a derisive utterance in poetic or figurative speech. Some translations render the word here as "lamentation." From the Latin lamenta, meaning “weeping” or “wailing,” lamentation means more than just shedding a few tears. Lamentation is when grief pours out. Sadness and feeling sorry, or something that expresses these feelings. Passionate expression of grief or sorrow. A bitterness and sorrow of soul passionately expressed in a lament.

Isaiah 14:4a (NIV) you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon: How the oppressor has come to an end! How his fury has ended!

Isaiah 14:4a (NLT) you will taunt the king of Babylon. You will say, “The mighty man has been destroyed. Yes, your insolence is ended.

Isaiah 14:4a (BSB) you will sing this song of contempt against the king of Babylon: How the oppressor has ceased, and how his fury has ended!

Isaiah 14:4a (NASB) that you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon, and say, "How the oppressor has ceased, And how fury has ceased!

Isaiah 14:4a (ISV) you will lift up this song of mockery against the king of Babylon: "How the oppressor has come to an end! How the attacker has ceased!

Isaiah 14:4a (BST) And thou shalt take up this lamentation against the king of Babylon, How has the extortioner ceased, and the taskmaster ceased!

Isaiah 14:4a (YLT)That thou hast taken up this simile Concerning the king of Babylon, and said, How hath the exactor ceased,

Isaiah 14:4b-22 (NIV)
4b How the oppressor has come to an end!
How his fury a has ended!
5 The Lord has broken the rod of the wicked,
the scepter of the rulers,
6 which in anger struck down peoples
with unceasing blows,
and in fury subdued nations
with relentless aggression.
7 All the lands are at rest and at peace;
they break into singing.
8 Even the junipers and the cedars of Lebanon
gloat over you and say,
“Now that you have been laid low,
no one comes to cut us down.”
9 The realm of the dead below is all astir
to meet you at your coming;
it rouses the spirits of the departed to greet you—
all those who were leaders in the world;
it makes them rise from their thrones—
all those who were kings over the nations.
10 They will all respond,
they will say to you,
“You also have become weak, as we are;
you have become like us.”
11 All your pomp has been brought down to the grave,
along with the noise of your harps;
maggots are spread out beneath you
and worms cover you.
12 How you have fallen from heaven,
morning star, son of the dawn!
You have been cast down to the earth,
you who once laid low the nations!
13 You said in your heart,
“I will ascend to the heavens;
I will raise my throne
above the stars of God;
I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly,
on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon.
14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.”
15 But you are brought down to the realm of the dead,
to the depths of the pit.
16 Those who see you stare at you,
they ponder your fate:
“Is this the man who shook the earth
and made kingdoms tremble,
17 the man who made the world a wilderness,
who overthrew its cities
and would not let his captives go home?”
18 All the kings of the nations lie in state,
each in his own tomb.
19 But you are cast out of your tomb
like a rejected branch;
you are covered with the slain,
with those pierced by the sword,
those who descend to the stones of the pit.
Like a corpse trampled underfoot,
20 you will not join them in burial,
for you have destroyed your land
and killed your people.
Let the offspring of the wicked
never be mentioned again.
21 Prepare a place to slaughter his children
for the sins of their ancestors;
they are not to rise to inherit the land
and cover the earth with their cities.
22 “I will rise up against them,”
declares the Lord Almighty.
“I will wipe out Babylon’s name and survivors,
her offspring and descendants,”

Luke 10:18 Luke 10:18 So (Jesus) said to them, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven".

Ezekiel 28:1-19 (NIV)
1 And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, tell the ruler of Tyre that this is what the Lord GOD says:
Your heart is proud,
and you have said,
‘I am a god;
I sit in the seat of gods
in the heart of the sea.’
Yet you are a man and not a god,
though you have regarded your heart
as that of a god.
3 Behold, you are wiser than Daniel;
no secret is hidden from you!
4 By your wisdom and understanding
you have gained your wealth
and amassed gold and silver
for your treasuries.
5 By your great skill in trading
you have increased your wealth,
but your heart has grown proud
because of it.
6 Therefore this is what the Lord GOD says:
Because you regard your heart
as the heart of a god,
7 behold, I will bring foreigners against you,
the most ruthless of nations.
They will draw their swords
against the beauty of your wisdom
and will defile your splendor.
8 They will bring you down to the Pit,
and you will die a violent death
in the heart of the seas.
9 Will you still say, ‘I am a god,’
in the presence of those who slay you?
You will be only a man, not a god,
in the hands of those who wound you.
10 You will die the death of the uncircumcised
at the hands of foreigners.
For I have spoken,
declares the Lord GOD.”
A Lament for the King of Tyre
11 Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 12 “Son of man, take up a lament for the king of Tyre and tell him that this is what the Lord GOD says:
‘You were the seal of perfection,
full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
13 You were in Eden,
the garden of God.
Every kind of precious stone adorned you:
ruby, topaz, and diamond,
beryl, onyx, and jasper,
sapphire, a turquoise, and emerald.
Your mountings and settings were crafted in gold,
prepared on the day of your creation.
14 You were anointed as a guardian cherub,
for I had ordained you.
You were on the holy mountain of God;
you walked among the fiery stones.
15 From the day you were created
you were blameless in your ways
until wickedness was found in you.
16 By the vastness of your trade,
you were filled with violence, and you sinned.
So I drove you in disgrace
from the mountain of God,
and I banished you, O guardian cherub,
from among the fiery stones.
17 Your heart grew proud of your beauty;
you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor;
so I cast you to the earth;
I made you a spectacle before kings.
18 By the multitude of your iniquities
and the dishonesty of your trading
you have profaned your sanctuaries.
So I made fire come from within you,
and it consumed you.
I reduced you to ashes on the ground
in the eyes of all who saw you.
19 All the nations who know you
are appalled over you.
You have come to a horrible end
and will be no more.’”

Now what has this to do with Revelation 22:16? I have set the stage, so to speak, to discuss satan, called a "morning star" in Isaiah 14:12, versus Jesus, who is called the "bright and morning star" in Revelation 22:16. How can they both be described thus when they are opposites?

Strong's Exhaustive Concordance
Revelation 22:16
bright - λαμπρός (lampros) - Adjective - Nominative Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 2986: From the same as lampas; radiant; by analogy, limpid; figuratively, magnificent or sumptuous. Thayer's Greek Lexicon puts it as shining; brilliant.

Morning - πρωϊνός (prōinos) - Adjective - Nominative Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 4407: Belonging to the morning, early. From proi; pertaining to the dawn, i.e. Matutinal.

Star - ἀστὴρ (astēr) - Noun - Nominative Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 792: A star. Probably from the base of stronnumi; a star, literally or figuratively.

Isaiah 14:12 (KJV) How are you fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how are you cut down to the ground, who did weaken the nations!

Strong's Exhaustive Concordance
Isaiah 14:12
O Morning Star - הֵילֵ֣ל (hê·lêl) - Noun - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 1966: The morning-star; NAS Exhaustive Concordance translates helel as a shining one. The actual Hebrew word for star would have been כּוֹכָב kôwkâb, (ko-kawb'); probably from the same as H3522 (in the sense of rolling) or H3554 (in the sense of blazing); a star (as round or as shining); figuratively, a prince:—star(-gazer).

son - בֶּן־ (ben-) - Noun - masculine singular construct
Strong's Hebrew 1121: A son

of the dawn - שָׁ֑חַר (šā·ḥar) - Noun - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 7837: Dawn

In Latin, this phrase is translated as lucifer (light-bearer: Latin lux “light” and ferre “to bring”). Some translations retained the Latin instead of translating it into English, such as the King James Version. Others used the descriptive phrase in English. Satan's name is satan, not lucifer. Lucifer is a Latin descriptive term. In Latin, it is helel that requires translation into English not lucifer.

This is the only place this word appears. It comes from the root word halal which is 1984 which means to shine but can also be make boast self, celebrate, commend, deal, make, foolish glory, give light, be make.

2 Corinthians 11:13-15 13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their actions.

We see that satan, before his fall, was covered with precious jewels (Ezekiel 28:13-15), of which were reflective stones. God also says, "You were on the holy mountain of God; you walked among the fiery stones" and "I banished you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones".

So satan was a created being. He was high up in the hierarchy of angels. He was covered in precious gemstones and reflected their light ("fiery stones"). He may have wanted to be God but he was not God, can never be God. He "masquerades" as an angel of light. He is NOT, and was NOT, the Morning Star. He was a reflector of light, a reflector of God's glorious light! Jesus claims to be The Light, The Morning Star.

John 8:12 Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

John 1:7-9 7 (John, the Baptist) came as a witness to testify about the Light, so that through him everyone might believe. 8 He himself was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light. 9 The true Light who gives light to every man was coming into the world.

In Revelation 22:16, Jesus identifies Himself by name and proclaims, "I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the bright Morning Star.”


Revelation 22:17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” Let the one who hears say, “Come!” And let the one who is thirsty come, and the one who desires the water of life drink freely.

"The cry of all creation is for its true Lord; the cry of the Spirit in prophecies and in the hearts of God's people is for the coming Lord--the bride waiting for the bridegroom cries "Come." The Apocalypse is the book of the coming One; it ends with the cry that the coming One would come" - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

Let's dwell on the "Come" for a moment.

Ecclesiastes 4:1 Again I looked, and I considered all the oppression taking place under the sun. I saw the tears of the oppressed, and they had no comforter; the power lay in the hands of their oppressors, and there was no comforter.

King Solomon wrote Ecclesiastes and in Ecclesiastes 4:1 he pities all those who suffer oppression. Let's define "oppression".

Oppression - unjust or cruel exercise of authority or power; can refer to an authoritarian regime controlling its citizens via state control of politics, the monetary system, media, and the military; denying people any meaningful human or civil rights; and terrorizing the populace through harsh, unjust punishment, and a hidden network of obsequious informants reporting to a vicious secret police force. The word oppress comes from the Latin oppressus, past participle of opprimere, ("to press against","to squeeze", "to suffocate"). Thus, when authoritarian governments use oppression to subjugate the people, they want their citizenry to feel that "pressing down", and to live in fear that if they displease the authorities they will, in a metaphorical sense, be "squeezed" and "suffocated". - Wikipedia

Sin oppresses us. The reason for oppression is sin. We are born sinners and we sin. We are enslaved by sin. Satan lives to put the squeeze on us. We become burdened with more and more sin. But Jesus came to set us free from sin and death. The gospel is the good news of how to be forgiven, cleansed and set free. But our sins make us peculiarly dense. Although the crushing burden makes us miserable, we cannot see our chains. We have such hardened hearts that we cannot understand the freedom that is offered to us. Satan makes sin look like freedom and salvation through Jesus Christ look like bondage. We rebel against what we perceive as bondage and we push away the only way to true freedom, Jesus! We have it so totally backwards and satan revels in his success at deception.

But we are not helpless and alone. We may be blinded by our sin but Jesus did not ascend back to Heaven and leave us here alone in our blindness. Let's look at how God helps us and we don't even know it.

First, the Bible says God puts a knowledge in each of us that we can respond to.

Romans 1:18-21 (BSB) 18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness. 19 For what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood from His workmanship, so that men are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but they became futile in their thinking and darkened in their foolish hearts.

Romans 1:18-21 (NLT) 18 But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness. 19 They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. 20 For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. 21 Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused.

Who suppresses the truth? It doesn't say satan suppresses the truth (although he does in every way he knows how), but people suppress the truth "by their wickedness". I.e. every one of us has the knowledge of the truth about God but WE suppress it in order to follow our sins. AND, God's creation speaks to us about the truth of our God. "They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God." But WE suppress it and refuse to acknowledge it. Every time we suppress the truth, our hearts become harder and harder to reach with the truth. Our sin causes our minds to become "dark and confused".

Ephesians 4:18-19 (NLT) 18 Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. 19 They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.

Second, God gives us a seed of faith. Each person has a seed of faith.

Ephesians 2:1-9 (NLT) 1 Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. 2 You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. 3 All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.
4 But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, 5 that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) 6 For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. 7 So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.
8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.

A seed is dead until something activates it and life grows. A seed possesses tremendous power. It has within itself the principle of life and growth. But it needs to find the proper conditions: soil, sunlight, water and nourishment. Even the smallest seeds can produce enormous plants and tremendous fruits. A seed is hidden where it lies. Nothing about the seed calls attention to it. It looks lifeless and tiny. But, with the right conditions, it can grow and produce!
Mustard seedLuke 17:6 (NLT, Jesus speaking)  6 The Lord answered, “If you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘May you be uprooted and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you!
Mustard tree
Our parents passed away recently. Our Mother passed away Sept, 2018 and Dad unexpectedly passed away 4 months later. Daddy grew up on a working farm in North Carolina. All his life he loved working outside and growing. He always had a garden and fruit trees where he lived. He would have a truck and studied everything about organic gardening. In 1981, they bought 25 acres and all of us built houses on "the farm". All of us added to the acreage over time until we had nearly 100 acres with 4 houses and barns and a huge shop. Dad got his father's old John Deere tractor and a couple more tractors. He was in heaven building his own home and having land and gardens. He studied and knew everything about antique farm equipment and tools. He would go to tractor shows and could tell you anything you wanted to know about each old piece of equipment. He collected farming magazines and knowledge about self sufficiency. I couldn't tell you how many hours he spent carefully reading magazines and books, making copies of useful articles and carefully filing and organizing them. I'm not sure why he kept these meticulous records unless it was for some apocalypse where we would all have to live off the land again? He wasn't into doomsdaying but it might have been his way of prepping just in case? But, now we are left with filing cabinets full of articles and shelves full of magazines and books on stuff we have no interest in. But, one of the things that interested him was heirloom seeds. He would order heirloom seeds and plant them, enjoy the harvest but he always saved seeds from the plants. He had 2 old refrigerators in his big shop and they were slam FULL of packets of seeds he'd saved. After his death, our youngest sister, the only one of us who still lived on the farm with her family and Mom and Dad, began the process of cleaning out the shop. Dad was somewhat of a hoarder in his shop (not in the house). He saved and rescued things that could be useful and very often were useful. Metal that could be recycled, wood that could be re-used, old doors, windows, etc, etc. So she's had a tremendous job. It's been very hard to go into his shop and he's not there. We associate the farm with them. They are all in the house he built and the barns and shop. We cry every time we go in them. But she and her husband have really been working through the stuff and it helps in overcoming the grief. When she attacked the 2 refrigerators, she gave some of the seed to our nephew and to our cousin, both of whom have enough land to have a garden. But then she claims Daddy inspired her to try the seeds herself. None of us were really into gardening before. But she pulled out Dad's packs of seeds, went through them and set up plant trays last Spring. She used good potting soil and planted seeds and watered them and had them sitting in the sun. Lo and behold! They sprouted! She wasn't sure if they would because no telling how long they had been in the refrigerators. She got excited and took the next step. Preparing the garden spot and then planting the sprouts. All spring she weeded and watered and read up on how to encourage the growth. You add a little of this or that to fertilize, etc. She ended up with a bumper crop of vegetables! What to do with all of it? She and her husband taught themselves how to can! Now she has rows of Mason jars full of the fruit of their labor and it's delicious. She shared with us and has given some of her canned goods to family members and close friends.

My point, of course, is that God has planted a seed of faith in our heart. But that seed will lie dormant unless something activates it. And, once activated, the seed must be nurtured and encouraged to grow or the sprout will die.

Which brings us to the third way God helps us. Jesus promised to send us The Comforter, the Advocate, the Spirit of truth, the Holy Spirit. God is three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The three persons of the Godhead, love each other and work in such unity and harmony that they are as one. They are God separately and God as one. It's the mystery of the Holy Trinity. Jesus had accomplished His work of salvation and would ascend to sit at the right hand of God, the Father. But He promised to send the Holy Spirit into the world.

John 14:16-18 (NIV, Jesus speaking) 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you".

John 14:25-26 (NIV, Jesus speaking) 25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you".

John 15:26-27 (NIV, Jesus speaking) 26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. 27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning".

John 16:7-15 (NIV, Jesus speaking) 7 But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.
12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”

Acts 1:3-6 (NIV, after Jesus rose from the dead)  3 After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with a water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

Acts 2:1-4 1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

In the passages of John 14, 15 and 16, Jesus gives the job description of the Holy Spirit when He comes to earth.

He will testify about me and He will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin He will prove the world to be in the wrong about righteousness; Romans 10:3 Because they were ignorant of God’s righteousness and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. He will prove the world to be in the wrong about judgment He lives with us and will be in us. He will teach us all things and will remind us of everything Jesus has said to us. He will guide us into all the truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell us what is yet to come. The first 3 jobs are to the unsaved. The Holy Spirit is working in each person to bring them to the point of decision. What will they choose? Will they accept Jesus Christ or reject Him? I.e. the Holy Spirit works to try to prepare hearts and minds to see and understand that there is a choice. God doesn't force us to accept Jesus Christ. But the Holy Spirit makes sure each person is aware at some point in their lives of the choice and then it's up to them whether they accept Jesus or not. We will be made aware of our sin, of our inability to be righteous on our own and that judgment comes if we reject salvation through Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only way to forgiveness and eternal life. But we must accept or reject this knowledge.

The fourth job of the Holy Spirit is to indwell the ones who have accepted Jesus Christ. I.e., the Holy Spirit moves into our hearts to teach us, remind us of everything Jesus taught, to guide us into all truth and to reveal God and His Word to us. It is the Holy Spirit who breaths life into that seed of faith and that can nurture it into sprouting, growing and bearing fruit.

A fifth way that God helps us is with His Word. God made sure that you and I have a Bible filled with His Words. He revealed Himself to writers who were careful to write it down. God made sure not one word was lost throughout thousands of years.

Romans 10:17 No one can have faith without hearing the message about Christ.

Faith comes by the Word. The Word of God proclaims God's love, His patience, His way of salvation, His provision for salvation and His call to all to come freely to Jesus. It also proclaims the consequences of rejecting the only way of salvation: misery here, death, judgment and eternal doom to the Lake of Fire.

The sixth way God helps us is by using Christians to proclaim the gospel.

The Great Commission, Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV) 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Any time the true gospel of Jesus is communicated, there is potential for faith to be awakened. We never know how the Holy Spirit may have prepared someone's heart and they are ready to hear the gospel. The grace of God, through the work of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God, can pour out on the seed of faith in our hearts.

Romans 10:14-17 (NIV) 14 How can people have faith in the Lord and ask him to save them, if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear, unless someone tells them? 15 And how can anyone tell them without being sent by the Lord? The Scriptures say it is a beautiful sight to see even the feet of someone coming to preach the good news. 16 Yet not everyone has believed the message. For example, the prophet Isaiah asked, “Lord, has anyone believed what we said?” 17 No one can have faith without hearing the message about Christ.

The invitation is open, salvation is free. But, you must decide to receive:

Luke 11:9-10 (NIV) 9 So I tell you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

Those of us, who have accepted Jesus Christ and have the Holy Spirit within us, long for God. We are ready for Him to "Come"! We desire Him and thirst for Him. We want to be with Him and see His kingdom come! Why does He hesitate?

2 Peter 3:8-10 But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.

God knows each human being and He knows each one of us who will become true believers. He knows those who will reject Jesus, but He also knows those who will accept Christ. He will not lose one single person who has a heart that seeks Christ. So He waits patiently until the last one is in the fold. Then Jesus will come back. Thank God, He waited until 1967 when I was saved! Thank God, He waited until 1977 when Stan was saved! Thank God, He waited until ____, when you were (or will be) saved! So, although we long for His return, we also must be patient so that not one of His sheep will be lost.

Reading Revelation gives us the hope of eternity and describes how wonderful it will be and makes us desire His coming... The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” Let the one who hears say, “Come!” (Revelation 22:17). Remember the "bride" is the church made up of believers in Jesus Christ.


Revelation 22:18-21 18 I testify to everyone who hears the words of prophecy in this book: If anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. 19 And if anyone takes away from the words of this book of prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
20 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!
21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen

John finishes the book of Revelation with this final word. You will notice in Revelation 22 that John is a witness, the angel is a witness and Jesus is a witness that the book of Revelation is "faithful and true". In Revelation 1, we are told about a blessing that comes from the book of Revelation:

Revelation 1:1-3 1 This is the revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants what must soon come to pass. He made it known by sending His angel to His servant John, 2 who testifies to everything he saw. This is the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.
3 Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear and obey what is written in it, because the time is near.

In Revelation 22, we are warned, "I testify to everyone who hears the words of prophecy in this book: If anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. 19 And if anyone takes away from the words of this book of prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book".

This book can be a great blessing but we must very carefully handle this book. We must not add to it or subtract from it. Human "wisdom" must not be allowed to distract us and to build things that are not there or remove things that are there. It is important for each of us to study it with the help of the Holy Spirit and the rest of the Word of God. We must pray and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal truth as we study it. We must ask Him to help us discern what is to be accepted or rejected when it comes to source materials that expound on Revelation (commentaries, Bible dictionaries, teachings, books, etc). I have noticed that many mentally ill people, who are unstable due to malfunctions in their brains or chemical misfirings, are drawn to books of prophecy in which they can become obsessed. And they can begin to build theories and fantasies using Biblical prophecy from Revelation (and other prophetic books) maybe because of apocalyptic nature of the dragon, the "whore of Babylon", etc. This is "adds to" the words of prophecy in Revelation. Then there are those who are afraid of this book because of it's monsters, demons, dragons, etc. They avoid studying it or, even re-write parts to "tame" the book. That can lead to taking away from the words of prophecy. Lastly, there are those who would discredit the book of Revelation altogether, even to mocking it. They make it cartoonish. We are to avoid these things.

John ends with the heartfelt, "Come, Lord Jesus!" and then prays for believers.

As I end this study of Revelation, I add my own heartfelt plea, "Come, Lord Jesus! Amen."

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