'sackcloth and ashes were used as an outward sign of one’s inward condition. Such a symbol made one’s change of heart visible and demonstrated the sincerity of one’s grief and/or repentance. It was not the act of putting on sackcloth and ashes itself that moved God to intervene, but the humility that such an action demonstrated (see 1 Samuel 16:7)"
God’s forgiveness in response to genuine repentance
is celebrated by David’s words:
“You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy”
The famine of God’s Word
is with us now
Jesus condemned the man's religious leaderships' failures to
the Word of God and their hypocrisy, as evidenced by their
pride in their outward observance of the law
but inward spiritual void, and their arrogant belief
that they were more 'religious'
They in return accused Jesus of blasphemy
in league with the devil
and of breaking the law
them to seek to destroy Him
A growing number of pastors are
abandoning sound biblical teachings
message of the cross.
The Word of God is the Bread of Life,
that is why sound doctrine is crucial in maintaining
the value of the Gospel and it's fruit
Without being co-fed Truth and Sound Doctrine,
it will leave you spiritually malnourished,
Empty, Hungry and "unfulfilled"
Doctrinal Truth is Life Sustaining,
It's crucial to attend a church
in alignment with The Word of God.
Food is vital for sustaining life.
Without proper nourishment, the human body
becomes weak and cannot function properly.
People must take care of their bodies through eating right and consuming
so they not only live but thrive in healthiness.
The same principle applies to one’s spiritual life.
A proper diet of spiritual food is needed so Christians do not
become weak and weary, but
rather thrive spiritually in their relationship with God.
Regular nourishment for the soul is
vital for the Christian life,
just as physical food is for the body.
Jesus emphasized the importance of spiritual food when He was tempted by Satan:
"Man does not live by bread alone, but by
that comes from the mouth of God”
(Matthew 4:4, NET).
Man is both physical and spiritual,
which is why spiritual food is just as important as
physical nourishment. This spiritual food is
"every word that comes from the mouth of God”
God has spoken to us in His Word, the Bible.
His Word imparts life
The Bible often speaks of the spiritual food we need:
God’s Word provides milk (1 Peter 2:2);
it is meat (1 Corinthians 3:2)
and bread (Deuteronomy 8:3; Job 23:12);
and it is sweeter than honey (Psalm 119:103).
The prophet Jeremiah wrote,
"When your words came,
I ate them;
they were my joy and my
for I bear your name,
LORD God Almighty”
Scripture’s use of food "metaphors" demonstrates the
importance of ingesting God’s Word, of making it a part of us.
Scripture is not something merely to study or read
but to be “eaten” by God’s people.
We read the Word, but we then pause to “chew on it” a while,
meditating and reflecting on the meaning and application
of what we’ve read
(see Psalm 1:1–3).
On a couple occasions, Jesus spoke of another type of spiritual food.
After Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well,
the disciples brought Him -some food- from itown.
But He did -not- partake, saying,
"I have food to eat
that you know nothing about”
This puzzled the disciples,
whose minds were stuck on physical food,
and Jesus explained:
“My food is to do the will of him
who sent me
and to accomplish his work”
Later, after feeding the 5,000, Jesus referred to
faith, salvation, and His sacrifice using a
“Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has
eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.
For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink”
We need spiritual food—that is to say
we need the Word of God,
we need to do the will of God, and we need Jesus Himself.
We 'typically' understand a 'famine' as a lack of food or water,
but Amos 8:11 speaks cryptically
of a famine of the hearing of the Word of God:
The days are coming,’ declares the Sovereign Lord,
when I will send a famine through the land—not a famine of
food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord.’”
To better understand a difficult message,
it’s often helpful to understand the messenger.
Amos, along with Hosea, Isaiah, and Micah, prophesied
during the eighth century BC.
The Jews had split into two nations,
the northern kingdom, Israel,
the southern kingdom, Judah.
It is interesting to note that Amos had no formal theological training;
he was a farmer who
raised LIVEstock and sycamore FIGS
Interesting, too, is the fact that Amos, who
resided in Judah, was sent by God to
preach in the northern kingdom.
As is often the case among a rebellious people,
Amos’s calls for national repentance
were met with hostility
(Amos 7:12). Let us begin by examining the eighth chapter of Amos in its entirety:
This is what the Lord God showed me: behold,
a basket of summer fruit.
And he said, “Amos, what do you see?”
And I said, “A basket of summer fruit.”
Then the Lord said to me,
“The end has come upon my people Israel;
I will never again pass by them.
The songs of the temple shall become wailings in that day,”
declares the Lord God.
“So many dead bodies!”
“They are thrown everywhere!”
Hear this, you who trample on the needy
and bring the poor of the land to an end,
“When will the new moon be over,
that we may sell grain?
And the Sabbath,
that we may offer wheat for sale,
that we may make the ephah small and the shekel great
and deal deceitfully with false balances,
that we may buy the poor for silver
and the needy for a pair of sandals
sell the chaff of the wheat?”
The Lord has sworn by the pride of Jacob:
“Surely I will never forget any of their deeds.
Shall not the land tremble on this account,
and everyone mourn who dwells in it,
and all of it rise like the Nile,
and be tossed about and sink again,
like the Nile of Egypt?”
“And on that day,”
declares the Lord God,
“I will make the sun go down at noon
and darken the earth in broad daylight.
I will turn your feasts into mourning
your songs into lamentation;
I will bring sackcloth on every waist
baldness on every head;
I will make it like the
mourning for an ''only son''
and the end of it
like a ''bitter''day
“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord God,
“when I will send a famine on the land--
not a 'famine' of bread, nor a thirst for water,
'hearing the words of the Lord'
They shall wander from sea to sea,
and from north to east;
they shall run to and fro, to seek the word of the Lord,
but they shall not find it.
“In that day the lovely virgins and the young men
shall faint for thirst.
Those who swear by the Guilt of Samaria,
"As your god lives, O Dan,’
‘As the Way of Beersheba lives,’
they shall fall, and never rise again”
Just as the harvest marks the end of the season, the basket of summer fruit signifies the coming judgment in which
the rebellious people reap the
harvest they have sown
Ensnared by economic prosperity and
fueled by greed,
dishonest merchants added to their
coffers by making merchandise of the poor
Rather than honoring the Lord,
these dishonest merchants considered acts of worship as
unwelcome business interruptions.
None of this had escaped God’s attention.
He had witnessed their deeds,
and He knew the hardness of their hearts.
As is always the case,
the 'unrepentant' who refuse
must face His wrath
(Amos 8:7). Verse 9
tells of cosmic signs
that indicate the dawning of the day of the Lord.
The day of the Lord
occurs before the millennial reign of Christ Jesus;
this is the dark time in which
God pours out His wrath upon the earth.
The prophet’s graphic imagery of death and destruction
reminds us that God’s wrath is a terrible spectacle to behold
Among the judgments of those days,
God will send a famine:
a famine of hearing God’s Word.
This is surely a severe judgment,
as people will seek the Lord and
not find Him.
Those who rejected the prophets
no longer be able to find a prophet.
Those who despised God’s Word will have
God’s Word hidden from them.
They will hunger and thirst for a message
from God, but too late.
Like the virgins in Jesus’ parable, they
will come to the door of the wedding feast
and find it closed.
“Lord, Lord,” they will say,
'open the door for us!"
The only word they hear will be,
I tell you, I don’t know you”
To some degree, the famine of God’s Word
is with us now.
A growing number of pastors
are abandoning sound biblical
teachings and the message of the cross.
Rather than telling people they
are lost sinners in desperate need of salvation,
these false teachers proclaim glowing
messages of prosperity, self-esteem,
or political activism.
Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the apostle Paul warned,
“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry”
(2 Timothy 4:3–5, ESV).
Bible study bathed in prayer is the believer’s best preventative against spiritual famine.
Food is necessary to sustain our bodies. We need proper nourishment for them to grow and operate the way they are designed to.
Similarly, our spirit needs
food to grow and be healthy.
Our spiritual food begins with the Bread of Life, that is Jesus Himself:
"I am the living bread that came down from heaven.
If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever.
And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh"
Jesus' sacrifice on the cross allows for us to have eternal life.
When we put our faith in Jesus—believing He is who He says He is,
that He died as payment for our sins, and that
He rose again victorious over sin and death—we become children of God
(John 1:12; 3:16–18; Ephesians 2:1–10)
We are given the indwelling Holy Spirit
When we "partake" of Jesus in this sense, He brings life to our spirit.
The death and resurrection of Jesus
are just the beginning of our spiritual food.
Peter encourages the church
to "long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it
you may grow up into salvation--
if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good"
(1 Peter 2:2–3).
Like an infant is dependent on its mother's milk to grow,
so are we
dependent on the Word of God for life.
When we experience the goodness of the Lord, when
we see that His Word
is more valuable than gold and
sweeter than honey
we desire it with all of our beings. Scripture says, "man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of LORD"
Our spirit grows when we feast on the Word of God, continually filling our mind and heart with Scripture. Jesus said,
"It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is
no help at all.
The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life"
The writer of Hebrews calls out his audience for not maturing enough to feed on solid food:
For though by this time you
ought to be teachers,
you need someone to teach you again
the basic principles of the
oracles of God.
You need milk, not solid food, for everyone
who lives on milk is
unskilled in the word of righteousness,
since he is a child.
But solid food is for the mature, for those who
have their powers of discernment
constant practice to distinguish good from evil"
Paul encouraged Timothy,
"Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved,
a worker who has no need to be ashamed,
rightly handling the word of truth."
Second Timothy 3:16–17 affirms that God's Word is useful for
"teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work."
Psalm 119 is well known for lauding the worth of God's Word. Psalm 1 says that the man who delights in and meditates on the law of the Lord is blessed. "He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers" (Psalm 1:3).
As Christians, our spirits gain life first by partaking in the death of
Jesus Christ, and we continue to nourish our spirit
by feasting on the Word of God.
It is the Holy Spirit, of course,
who makes the Word effective in our hearts and lives
(Isaiah 55:10–11; 1 Corinthians 2:10–13; Philippians 2:12–13)
"They that swear by the sin of Samaria
The calf at Bethel, which was near Samaria, and which the Samaritans worshipped;
and was set up by their kings, and the worship of it encouraged by their example, and which is called the calf of Samaria, ( Hosea 8:5 Hosea 8:6 ) ; the making of it was the effect of sin, and the occasion of leading into it, and ought to have been had in detestation and abhorrence, as sin should; and yet by this the Israelites swore, as they had used to do by the living God; so setting up this idol on an equality with him: and say, thy God, O Dan, liveth;
the other calf, which was set up in Dan; and to this they gave the epithet of the bring God, which only belonged to the God of Israel: and the manner of Beersheba liveth;
or, "the way of Beersheba" the long journey or pilgrimage of those at Beersheba; who chose to go to Dan, rather than Bethel, to worship; imagining they showed greater devotion and religion, by going from one extreme part of the land to the other, for the sake of it. Dan was on the northern border of the land of Judea, about four miles from Paneas, as you go to Tyre; and Beersheba was on the southern border of the land, twenty miles from Hebron; and the distance of these two places was about one hundred and sixty miles; And by this religious peregrination men swore; or rather by the God of Beersheba, as the Septuagint render it; though the phrase may only intend the religion of Beersheba, the manner of worship there, it being a place
where idolatry was practised; see ( Amos 5:5 ) .
The Targum is,
``the fear (that is, the deity) which is in Dan liveth, and
firm are the laws of Beersheba;''
even they shall fall, and never rise up again;
that is, these idolatrous persons, that swear by the idols in the above places, shall fall into calamity, ruin, and destruction, by and for their sins, and never recover out of it; which was fulfilled in the captivity of the ten tribes, from whence they have never returned to this day."
God doesn’t like lying. Let me take it a step further:
God hates lying
The best way to distinguish truth from falsehood
is to know what the truth is.
Sound doctrine is important because the end of sound doctrine is life.
“Watch your life and doctrine closely.
Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save
both yourself and your hearers”
(1 Timothy 4:16).
Conversely, the end of unsound doctrine
“Certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have
secretly slipped in among you.
They are godless men,
who change the grace of our God
into a license for immorality
and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord”
Changing God’s message of grace is a “godless” thing to do,
and the condemnation for such a deed is severe.
Preaching another gospel
(“which is really no gospel at all”) carries an anathema:
“let him be eternally condemned!” (see Galatians 1:6-9).
Sound doctrine is important because it
A love of God’s Word brings “great peace”
(Psalm 119:165), and those
“who proclaim peace . . .
who proclaim salvation” are
A pastor “must hold firmly to the trustworthy message
as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others
by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it”
Loving, compassionate, gracious, kind, and merciful are all central descriptions of the character of God (Nehemiah 9:31). So kindhearted and caring is He that Scripture says, “God is love” (1 John 4:8, 16). The psalmist describes God as “compassionate and gracious” and “abounding in love and faithfulness” (Psalm 86:15). So great is God’s love for us “that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16; see also 1 John 4:9–10). Because of His great love, Christ died for us, even while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8; see also Titus 3:4–5). God’s mercy and compassion never fail; they are renewed continuously toward us day in and day out (Lamentations 3:22–23).
Part of God’s character is faithfulness:
“God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord”
(1 Corinthians 1:9; see also Isaiah 49:7 1 Thessalonians 5:24).
In our struggles and failures, God is faithful to forgive us when we confess our sin and return to Him: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins
and purify us from all unrighteousness”
(1 John 1:9).
In times when we stumble and fall, it is immensely encouraging to know
that God will never abandon us. Even when we are utterly unfaithful,
God remains faithful and true because that is
who He is;
it is God’s character to be faithful
(2 Timothy 2:13; see also Revelation 19:11).
God is truthful, and His Word is true:
“We know also that the Son of God has come and has
given us understanding,
so that we may know him who is true.
And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ.
He is the true God and eternal life”
(1 John 5:20; see also John 17:17)
God and His Word form a trustworthy foundation for life
(Psalm 12:6; 26:3; 33:4; 43:3; 86:11).
In Him is no falsehood, lies, or deception
(Numbers 23:19; Isaiah 45:19; Romans 1:25; Hebrews 6:18).
What God says is absolutely reliable
His Word is consistent
with His character
and His revelation of Himself
(John 7:28; 8:26).
Because of God’s character, we can count on Him to fulfill His promises
God doesn’t like lying. Let me take it a step further:
God hates lying.
Proverbs 6 lists seven things God hates, and it’s worth noting that two of them refer to dishonesty:
"There are six things the Lord hates – no, seven things he detests:
haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent, a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong, a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord in a family”
(verses 16–19 NLT)
Why is God so adamantly opposed to lying? Because it’s so destructive.
In the book of Proverbs we’re told,
“Telling lies about others
is as harmful as hitting them with an ax,
wounding them with a sword,
or shooting them with a sharp arrow”
From this we could safely conclude that God hates lying in any form.
He hates it because he is the
source of all truth.
In fact, God used that word to describe his
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life”
(John 14:6 NLT).
When God chose a word to describe who he is,
he said, “I am … the truth”
In dramatic contrast, Satan is identified as “the father of lies” (John 8:44 NLT). It’s as clear as day: God is truth, and Satan is the father of lies. Therefore when we lie, we are behaving more like the children of the devil than the children of God.
Are you lying
about something or someone
Are you lying about someone else to tear them down and make yourself look better?
That is a sin before God.
God doesn’t say, however, that if you have ever told a lie, you can’t worship him. If that were the case, none of us could worship him. We have all lied in one way, shape, or form. At the same time,
if you are practicing deceit,
if you are continuing to tell lies,
then it will hinder
your fellowship with God.
It’s offensive to him.
One way people lie is by gossip and backbiting. Gossip is a powerful force. It wrecks marriages. It ruins careers. It topples governments. It destroys reputations. It spawns suspicion. It generates grief. Even the very word hisses when it’s pronounced. And if you’ve ever had someone gossip about you and tell lies about you, then you know how painful it can be.
Sometimes a little bit of truth is
a lot of lies added to it
The tabloids do this. They’ll include a shred of truth to give their article a believability factor, but then they fill it with all kinds of lies.
Sometimes people rationalize gossip. They’ll present it in ways like,
“Have you heard?” or “Did you know?” or “I don’t believe it’s true, but I heard …”
or “I wouldn’t tell you, but I know it won’t go any further. …
” Then there’s the so-called spiritual version:
“I’m telling you this only so you can pray. …” It’s gossip.
Proverbs 20:19 says,
“A gossip goes around telling secrets, so don’t hang around with chatterers”
I don’t like to entertain gossip, so when people come to me with information about someone,
I’ll ask how they know it’s true.
What’s their source?
Have they gone to the person they’re talking about and asked for their perspective?
Can I quote them on this? If the answer is no, then don’t tell me.
Another way people lie is through flattery. While backbiting is saying behind a person’s back what we would never say to their face, flattery is the opposite. Flattery is saying things to a person’s face that we would never say behind his or her back. Kids are very good at this with their parents. They’ve taken it to an art form. It’s tempting to flatter someone when you want to get something from them.
But it’s a form of lying.
Keeping silence is
another form of lying.
When we hear something about someone else that
we know for a fact isn’t true,
and we remain silent, it’s a form of lying.
They might be slamming a friend, and we don’t stand up for that friend.
We don’t tell them the
That is slander by silence.
It’s complicity by passivity.
Jesus goes out of His way
to promote the authority of the
Law of God.
He did not come to abolish the Law,
regardless of what the Pharisees accused Him of.
In fact, Jesus continues His statement with a commendation for those who teach the Law accurately and hold it in reverence: “Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:19).
Note the qualities that Jesus attributes to the Word of God, referenced as “the Law and the Prophets”:
1) The Word is everlasting; it will outlast the natural world.
2) The Word was written with intent; it was meant to be fulfilled.
3) The Word possesses plenary authority; even the smallest letter of it is established.
4) The Word is faithful and trustworthy; “everything” it says will be accomplished.
No one hearing Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount could doubt
His commitment to the Scriptures.
Consider what Jesus did not do in His ministry.
In Matthew 5:17,
Jesus says that He did not come to abolish the Law and the Prophets. In other words,
Jesus’ purpose was not to abrogate the Word, dissolve it, or render it invalid.
The Prophets will be fulfilled;
the Law will continue to accomplish the purpose for which it was given
(see Isaiah 55:10–11).
Next, consider what Jesus did do. Jesus says that
He came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets.
In other words, Jesus’ purpose was to establish the Word,
to embody it, and to
fully accomplish all that was written.
is the culmination of the law
The predictions of the Prophets concerning the Messiah
would be realized in Jesus;
the holy standard of the Law would be
perfectly upheld by Christ,
the strict requirements personally obeyed, and the ceremonial observances
finally and fully satisfied.
In fact, the ceremonies, sacrifices, and other elements of the Old Covenant
were “only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves”
The tabernacle and temple were “holy places made with hands,”
but they were never meant to be permanent; they were but “copies of the true things”
(Hebrews 9:24, ESV).
The Law had a built-in expiration date,
being filled as it was with “external regulations
applying until the time of the new order”
In His fulfillment of the Law and Prophets,
Jesus obtained our eternal salvation.
No more were priests required to offer sacrifices
and enter the holy place
Jesus has done that for us, once and for all.
By grace through faith, we are made right with God:
“He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross”
There are some who argue that,
since Jesus did not “abolish” the Law, then the Law is still in
effect—and still binding
on New Testament Christians. But Paul is clear that
the believer in Christ
is no longer under the Law:
"We were held in custody under the Law, locked up until faith should be revealed.
So the Law became our guardian to lead us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
Now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian”
We are under “the law of Christ”
(see Galatians 6:2).
If the Law is still binding on us today,
then it has not yet accomplished its purpose--
it has not yet been fulfilled.
If the Law, as a legal system, is still binding on us today,
then Jesus was wrong in claiming to fulfill it and
His sacrifice on the cross was
insufficient to save
Thank God, Jesus fulfilled the whole Law and now grants us His righteousness as a free gift.
“Know that a person is not justified by the works of the law,
but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put
our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified
by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law,
because by the works of the law no one will be justified”
First John 4 begins with an exhortation for believers to
test the spirits of prophets or teachers:
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God;
because many false prophets have gone out into the world”
(1 John 4:1).
What a prophet or teacher proclaims
reveals whether he is of God
or a false prophet of the world.
John tells us how to
recognize a false prophet:
"Every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God.
This is the spirit of the antichrist”
Anyone who teaches or proclaims
falsehood about Jesus,
such as denying His divinity, is a
These false prophets are actually speaking in the spirit of the antichrist on behalf of “the one who is in the world,” Satan.
The word antichrist means
Satan is the ultimate spirit against Christ.
He is the father of lies and is against
He is called “the ruler of this world” (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11)
and “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4).
He is “the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient”
Satan uses false prophets to lead people away from Christ by
deceiving them with a false view of Jesus.
Twisting who Jesus is perverts the gospel.
It keeps people in the bondage of sin and in darkness.
Yet Satan is not as powerful as God, and John reminds the believers in 1 John 4:4
that greater is He that is in believers than he that is in the world.
The bodies of believers are the temples of the Holy Spirit who dwells within them
(1 Corinthians 6:19). John encourages those in whom God lives: “You are from God”
(1 John 4:4, ESV).
They are not of the world.
John reassures them that they
have “overcome” those who
teach false doctrine
and who can rightly be called “antichrists.”
John uses the concept
of “overcoming” five other times in 1 John:
believers have overcome the evil one (1 John 2:13, 14)
and have overcome the world
(three times in 1 John 5:4–5).
The same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead
now indwells believers in Christ
The Holy Spirit is far stronger than Satan or any of his minions, the Spirit’s wisdom is greater than any of Satan’s schemes, and the Spirit’s protection is more than enough to thwart any of Satan’s attacks.
Because he who is in us is greater than he who is in the world,
we have confidence in God and at the same time
put no confidence in the flesh.
The power is not ours but the Holy Spirit’s.
By these encouragements believers can have peace and rejoice because
Jesus has “overcome the world”
(John 16:33). Believers need not fear Satan; rather, they trust in the Lord and obey Him. By the living Spirit of God within them, believers can overcome the lies and temptations of the powers of darkness. Those who are of God can boldly say,
"Greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world.”
Blasphemy against the
has to do with accusing
Jesus Christ of being demon-possessed
instead of Spirit-filled.
The concept of “blasphemy against the Spirit” is mentioned in Mark 3:22–30 and Matthew 12:22–32. Jesus has just performed a miracle. A demon-possessed man was brought to Jesus, and the Lord cast the demon out, healing the man of blindness and muteness. The eyewitnesses to this exorcism began to wonder if Jesus was indeed the Messiah they had been waiting for.
A group of Pharisees, hearing the talk of the Messiah,
quickly quashed any budding faith in the crowd:
"It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons,
that this fellow drives out demons,” they said
Jesus rebuts the Pharisees with some logical arguments for why He is not casting out demons in the power of Satan (Matthew 12:25–29). Then He speaks of the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit: “I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.
Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven,
but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven,
either in this age or in the age to come” (verses 31–32).
The term blasphemy may be generally defined as “defiant irreverence.”
The term can be applied to such sins as cursing God or
willfully degrading things relating to God.
Blasphemy is also attributing some evil to God or denying Him
some good that we should attribute to Him.
This particular case of blasphemy, however, is called
“the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit”
in Matthew 12:31. The Pharisees, having witnessed irrefutable proof that Jesus was working miracles in the power of the Holy Spirit,
claimed instead that the Lord was possessed by a demon
Notice in Mark 3:30 Jesus is very specific about what the Pharisees did to commit blasphemy against the Holy Spirit: “He said this because they were saying, ‘He has an impure spirit.’”
Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit
has to do with accusing
Jesus Christ of being demon-possessed
instead of Spirit-filled.
This particular type of blasphemy cannot be duplicated today.
The Pharisees were in a unique moment in history:
they had the Law and the Prophets,
they had the Holy Spirit stirring their hearts,
they had the Son of God Himself standing right in front of them, and they saw with their own eyes the miracles He did.
Never before in the history of the world (and never since)
had so much divine light been granted to men; if anyone
should have recognized Jesus for who He was, it was the Pharisees.
Yet they chose defiance.
They purposely attributed
the work of the Spirit
to the devil,
even though they knew the truth
and had the proof.
Jesus declared their willful blindness to be unpardonable.
Their blasphemy against the Holy Spirit
was their final rejection of
They had set their course,
and God was going to let them sail into perdition unhindered.
Jesus told the crowd that the Pharisees
’ blasphemy against the Holy Spirit “
will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come”
This is another way of saying that their sin would never be forgiven, ever. Not now, not in eternity. As Mark 3:29 puts it,
"They are guilty of an eternal sin.”
The immediate result of the
Pharisees’ public rejection of Christ
(and God’s rejection of them)
is seen in the next chapter. Jesus, for the first time,
“told them many things in parables”
(Matthew 13:3; cf. Mark 4:2).
The disciples were puzzled at Jesus’ change of teaching method, and Jesus explained His use of parables: “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. . . . Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand”
(Matthew 13:11, 13).
Jesus began to veil the
with parables and metaphors
as a direct result
official denunciation of Him.
Again, the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit cannot be repeated today, although some people try.
not on earth--
He is seated at the right hand of God.
No one can personally witness
Jesus performing a miracle and then attribute that power to Satan
instead of the Spirit.
The unpardonable sin today is the state of continued unbelief.
The Spirit currently convicts the
sin, righteousness, and judgment
To resist that conviction and willfully
is to “blaspheme” the Spirit.
There is no pardon, either in this age or in the age to come, for a person who rejects the Spirit’s promptings to trust in Jesus Christ and then dies in unbelief. The love of God is evident: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). And the choice is clear: “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him” (John 3:36).
Jesus warned us that “false Christs and false prophets”
will come and will
attempt to deceive even God’s elect
(Matthew 24:23-27; see also 2 Peter 3:3 and Jude 17-18).
The best way to guard yourself against
falsehood and false teachers
is to know the
To spot a counterfeit,
study the real thing.
Any believer who
“correctly handles the word of truth”
(2 Timothy 2:15)
and who makes a
careful study of the Bible can
identify false doctrine.
a believer who has read the activities of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in Matthew 3:16-17
will immediately question any doctrine that denies the Trinity.
Therefore, step one
is to study the Bible and judge all teaching by
what the Scripture says.
Jesus said “a tree is recognized by its fruit” (Matthew 12:33).
When looking for “fruit,” here are three specific tests to
apply to any teacher
the accuracy of his or her
1) What does this teacher say about Jesus?
In Matthew 16:15-16, Jesus asks,
“Who do you say I am?”
“You are the
the Son of the living God,”
and for this answer Peter is called
In 2 John 9, we read, “Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.” In other words, Jesus Christ and His work of redemption is of utmost importance; beware of anyone who denies that Jesus is equal with God, who downplays Jesus’ sacrificial death, or who rejects Jesus’ humanity. First John 2:22 says, “Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist—he denies the Father and the Son.”
2) Does this teacher preach the gospel?
The gospel is defined as the good news concerning Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, according to the Scriptures
(1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
As nice as they sound, the statements “God loves you,” “God wants us to feed the hungry,” and “God wants you to be wealthy”
are not the complete message of
As Paul warns in Galatians 1:7,
"Evidently some people are
throwing you into confusion
and are trying to pervert the
gospel of Christ.”
No one, not even a great preacher,
has the right to change
message that God gave us.
“If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!” (Galatians 1:9).
3) Does this teacher exhibit character qualities that
glorify the Lord?
Speaking of false teachers, Jude 11 says, “They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion.”
In other words, a false teacher can be
known by his pride
(Cain’s rejection of God’s plan), greed (Balaam’s prophesying for money), and rebellion (Korah’s promotion of himself over Moses).
Jesus said to beware of such people and that
we would know them by their Fruits of Repentance
For further study, review those books of the Bible that were written specifically to combat false teaching within the church:
Galatians, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, and Jude.
It is often difficult to spot a false teacher/false prophet.
and his ministers
masquerade as servants of righteousness
(2 Corinthians 11:15).
Only by being thoroughly familiar
with the truth will we be able to recognize a counterfeit.
Usually, when people speak of the
they refer to 2 Thessalonians 2:11, which predicts that
God will, in an end-times judgment, send
“a powerful delusion so that they
will believe the lie.”
The same passage in 2 Thessalonians also speaks of a
great apostasy that will take place
before the man of lawlessness is revealed.
Similar apostasies are predicted elsewhere:
"The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons” (1 Timothy 4:1). Of course, people are complicit in the deception, for they reject the truth and prefer lies:
"For the time will come when people
will not put up with sound doctrine.
Instead, to suit their own desires, they will
gather around them a great number
of teachers to say what their itching
ears want to hear.
They will turn their ears away from the truth
and turn aside to myths”
(2 Timothy 4:3–4).
Jesus spoke about a time to come when the deception will be especially great
when false messiahs and false prophets will appear.
Even the people of God could be deceived if it were
not for God’s providential protection:
"For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and
perform great signs and wonders
to deceive, if possible, even the elect”
(Matthew 24:24, see also Mark 13:5–6, Luke 21:8).
All of these deceptions are instigated by the devil.
However, 2 Thessalonians 2:11 also
speaks of the deception
as God’s punishment on people who
refuse to believe the truth.
The context seems to be similar to that of the gospel passages above and speaks of one to come who will be especially deceptive: “The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thessalonians 2:9–12, ESV).
In this passage, after people have refused the truth for so long,
God causes them to believe what is false--
a “strong delusion.”
This is not an instance where God actively deceives people; rather,
God is simply giving those
who reject the truth
what they really want.
We see a similar pattern in Romans 1:18–25 where people reject
for so long that He simply abandons them
to their own sinfulness.
They have, as it were, crossed the point of no return:
“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
“For although they knew God,
they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him,
but their thinking became futile and their
foolish hearts were darkened.
Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
“Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.
They exchanged the truth about God for a lie,
and worshiped and served created things
rather than the Creator--
who is forever praised. Amen.”
Much the same thing happened to Pharaoh after he
refused to let the Israelites leave Egypt,
and God hardened his heart.
It was not as though Pharaoh
would have been an obedient follower of the
Lord if God had not hardened his heart.
Pharaoh set his heart against the Lord, and
God simply confirmed
for all time Pharaoh’s decision
(see Exodus 8:15, 32; 9:34; 10:1).
The deception spoken of in the Gospels has to do with false prophets and/or messiahs who appear and seem to be authenticated by miracles. Taking the futurist position, we see the great deception spoken of in 2 Thessalonians 2 as a future event associated with the coming of the Antichrist after the rapture of the church. “Those who are perishing” will willingly embrace the imitation and follow the beast of the end times; they will perish “because they refused to love the truth and so be saved” (verse 10).
We don’t know exactly what the great deception
will be, only that it will be a strong delusion
capable of swaying the world’s allegiance toward
The Bible says that, in the time of the Antichrist and false prophet, there will be many signs to bolster their lies. The false prophet “performed great signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to the earth in full view of the people. Because of the signs it was given power to perform on behalf of the first beast, it deceived the inhabitants of the earth” (Revelation 13:13–14). It is hard to imagine, but the deception during the tribulation will be worse than all of Satan’s other deceptions.
The Antichrist will have a deadly wound healed,
his “image” will breathe and speak and
(Revelation 13:12, 15).
In the broader sense,
anyone who rejects
the truth of God
is being deceived,
and at some point, God may simply abandon him to the
deception that he has willingly embraced.
There are plenty of false teachers today who
claim to teach God’s Word.
It is vitally important that every Christian
compare every teaching with what the Bible says and
spend the time necessary to evaluate what is being taught.
This is the mission of Got Questions,
and in keeping with that mission, we would encourage
every reader to compare what we say
with Scripture as well.
Those who are in Christ
have a new heart that speaks the
"Each of you must put off falsehood and speak
truthfully to your neighbor”
A person who bears
false witness is controlled by the flesh
rather than by the Spirit of God,
and he should
repent of that sin and
turn to Christ
"There are six things that the Lord hates, seven
that are an abomination to
Him...a lying tongue...a false witness
who breathes out lies..."
“If any one of you is without sin,
let him be the
to throw a stone at her”
is found in John 8.
Jesus was teaching in the temple when
the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman
who had been caught in the act of adultery,
and they asked Him if she should
as required by the Law of Moses.
However, they cared nothing
about this woman;
they were using her to trap Jesus.
In their minds, if He told them to set the woman free,
they could claim He did not hold to the Law of Moses.
If He told them to stone her,
they could claim He was not the Savior;
and, if He said nothing, they could claim He lacked wisdom.
Jesus did not answer immediately but stooped and
wrote something on the ground,
and they kept pressing Him. Finally, the Lord said, in essence,
“Go ahead and stone her because that is what the
But the Law also requires that the
first stone be thrown
person who is sinless
in connection with this charge”
There is no doubt that this woman was guilty of a capital offense and that the Law required that she be stoned,
but the Law also required that the guilty man be stoned as well
that witnesses be produced,
and that a witness begin the execution.
But the Jewish leaders came with venom against Jesus and were
thwarted by their own single-minded hate.
They did not produce the guilty man, and they were unwilling or unable to produce the required witnesses.
We do not know what Jesus wrote, but, after He wrote a second time, the Jews left one by one, from the oldest to the youngest,
without saying another word.
From this passage we learn that
we do not accuse others unless we first thoroughly search
our own hearts and minds to
make certain that we are pure
in every possible aspect
Also, if we must admonish someone, we should
do so as instructed in Scripture;
Moreover, Jesus was the only sinless person in the temple scene,
and, instead of condemning the woman,
He looked ahead
to His work on the cross and
offered her life.
Likewise, we should use every possible opportunity
to forgive and to reach out
with the gospel and the love of Christ,
always remembering that we, too, are sinners
in need of the
You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’
But I tell you that-anyone who looks at a woman to lust
after-her has already committed adultery with her-in his heart.
If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away.
It is better for you to lose one part of your body than
for your whole body to be thrown into hell.…
In essence, “hypocrisy”
refers to the act of claiming to believe something
but acting in a different manner.
The word is derived from the Greek term for
one who wears a mask”--in other words,
someone who pretends to be
what he is not.
calls hypocrisy a
There are two forms hypocrisy
that of professing belief in something
and then acting in a manner
to that belief, and that of looking down
when we ourselves are flawed.
The prophet Isaiah condemned the hypocrisy of his day:
“The Lord says,
"These people come near to me with their mouth
and honor me with their lips, but
their hearts are far from me.
Their worship of me is made up only of
rules taught by men’”
Centuries later, Jesus quoted this verse, aiming the same condemnation at the religious leaders of His day (Matthew 15:8-9).
John the Baptist refused to give hypocrites a pass,
telling them to produce
“fruits worthy of repentance”
Jesus took an equally staunch stand against sanctimony--
He called hypocrites
“wolves in sheep’s clothing”
“whitewashed tombs” (Matthew 23:27), “snakes,” and “brood of vipers”
We cannot say we love God if we do not love our brothers
(1 John 2:9).
(Romans 12:9, NKJV).
A hypocrite may look righteous on the
but it is a façade.
righteousness comes from the
transformation of the Holy Spirit not
external conformity to a set of rules
(Matthew 23:5; 2 Corinthians 3:8).
Jesus addressed the other form of hypocrisy in the Sermon on the Mount:
“Why do you look at the speck of
sawdust in your brother’s eye and
pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?
How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?
You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:3-5).
Jesus is not teaching against
or helping others overcome sin; instead,
He is telling us not be
and convinced of our own goodness
that we criticize others from a
position of self-righteousness.
We should do some introspection first and correct our own shortcomings before we go after the “specks” in others
(cf. Romans 2:1).
During Jesus’ earthly ministry,
He had many run-ins with the religious
leaders of the day, the Pharisees.
These men were well versed in the Scriptures and zealous about
following every letter of the Law (Acts 26:5).
However, in adhering to the letter of the Law, they
actively sought loopholes that allowed them
to violate the spirit of the Law.
displayed a lack of compassion toward their fellow man and
were often overly demonstrative of their
so-called spirituality in order to
(Matthew 23:5–7; Luke 18:11).
Jesus denounced their behavior
uncertain terms, pointing out
“justice, mercy, and faithfulness”
are more important than pursuing a perfection based on
Jesus made it clear that the
problem was -not with the Law-
in which the Pharisees
Today, the word pharisee has become synonymous with
A study through the Book of Matthew
This is a great sermon on how Jesus addressed hypocrisy
in the Jewish Leadership
In his vision of judgment upon the wicked,
the apostle John
tells us that Jesus is returning on a white horse:
"Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse!
The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True,
and in righteousness he judges and makes war”
(Revelation 19:11; see Psalm 45).
Most Bible scholars are of the opinion that this passage
is not referring to the Rapture, but rather to
Jesus’ coming to earth with
His saints at the end of the Tribulation.
The horse’s white color represents purity or victory
(cf. Revelation 7:14-15),
for this rider is holy and goes forth to be the triumphant conqueror.
During ancient times, victorious Roman generals entered their conquered cities in chariots drawn by white horses.
The entire setting of this verse implies victory over Christ’s enemies.
As such, the word white indicates triumph, a successful war.
What a vivid contrast we see in Jesus’ return with all His angels
as compared to His entry
to Jerusalem upon a donkey
He is no longer riding a humble donkey.
Jesus will return on a fiery white charger,
bringing judgment, just as He had promised
Also by way of contrast,
He was on earth,
Jesus was abandoned by His followers
reveals the armies of heaven following
Him in conquest.
He is not returning to speak
words of righteous judgment
Jesus comes to rule with a
rod of iron
He is the King of Kings and
Lord of Lords
(Revelation 17:14; Revelation 19:16).
Read Revelation 19:11-21
There is a reason why the Temple Fell,
and it's not
the self-righteous Pharisees who did right,
the one who did the
Will of God who was righteous
The Fourth horseman was
Death and 'Hades,
there was a famine in the Temple
Ark of the Covenant was not being carried
they wanted to transport it man's way, and
It starved God's Temple Bringing Famine
Arc of the 'testimony,
They were feeding themselves
according to their own script and not feeding
The Word of God
We are not saved by the Law,
We are not righteous Through the Law,
is not a system of hierarchy, we are not obligated to Good works, good behavior, leadership roles, human will, human works, business strategy, or religious tradition, but are
obligated to Truth
By Grace through Faith Alone
Through Sound, Biblical
Through God's Holy Will
not through man's religion, or man's will
If Doctrine is not Fully sound in
God's Revealed Word,
it is not
Faithful and True
Jesus comes forth today not as the Lamb,
as he has been portrayed up to now,
but as a warrior.
But not a warrior in the sense of the word as we would imagine. What images come to your mind when you think of a warrior going to battle? Jesus is not covered in armor. There are not tanks or weapons, fighter jets, or any such military might standing by.
Jesus is dressed in a robe
dipped in blood,
with crowns adorning his head.
His only “weapon”
sword coming from his mouth.
He is clearly identified
to us in terms we associate with Jesus.
"Faithful and True,”
“Word of God,”
“King of all kings and Lord of all lords.”
We are bombarded with visions, each beginning with
John’s words, “I saw.”
By now, we know John isn’t describing real events or occurrences
but helping us understand using symbols of real occurrences.
The victory is sure,
but we don’t necessarily need to be expecting a white horse and rider!
When Jesus came to earth wrapped in human flesh, many people were disappointed because they expected their Messiah to be a warrior, someone who would save them from their oppression. Little did they know Jesus was, indeed, a warrior who was fighting many unseen battles on their behalf. Jesus has been doing that from the beginning of time.
Jesus didn’t have an army of armed militia, neither then nor at any time. The army of supporters John saw with Jesus were likewise not armed for battle.
The Word of God,
was all that Jesus has ever needed to protect himself and
the faithful ones.
It is powerful.
It gives life. It is truth. It is the very same weapon we
hold in our own hands!
Word of God
Jesus is all we need to stand strong before our adversaries.
There aren’t words grand enough to describe Jesus in his true splendor and majesty. The book of Revelation has opened our eyes to the truth, and these warnings and promises are available to everyone. We are given an opportunity to examine our own lives in anticipation for the promises yet to come.
What images come to your mind when you think of a warrior going to battle? Jesus is not covered in armor. There are not tanks or weapons, fighter jets, or any such military might standing by. Jesus is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, with crowns adorning his head. His only “weapon” was the sword coming from his mouth.
He is clearly identified to us in terms we associate with Jesus.
“Faithful and True,”
the “Word of God,”
“King of all kings and Lord of all lords.”
We are bombarded with visions, each beginning with
John’s words, “I saw.”
By now, we know John isn’t describing real events or occurrences but helping us understand using symbols of real occurrences. The victory is sure, but we don’t necessarily need to be expecting a white horse and rider!
When Jesus came to earth wrapped in human flesh, many people were disappointed because they expected their Messiah to be a warrior, someone who would save them from their oppression.
Little did they know Jesus was, indeed, a warrior who was fighting many unseen battles on their behalf. Jesus has been doing that
from the beginning of time.
Jesus didn’t have an army of armed militia, neither then nor at any time.
The army of supporters John saw with Jesus were likewise not armed for battle.
Word of God,
was all that Jesus has ever needed to protect himself and the faithful ones.
It is powerful. It gives life. It is truth.
The name Faithful and True
total trustworthiness, reliability, and constancy
The title reveals His character and makes
known His words and works.
In Revelation 19:11, John sees a vision of Jesus as the exalted King of kings leaving heaven to return to earth: “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war.”
This picture of Christ’s second coming
at the end of the age
shows Jesus no longer as the
peaceful, humble servant
riding on a lowly donkey
Now He is the victorious King,
charging forth like a conquering war general,
leading His troops into battle
In this vivid portrayal, John identifies Jesus by four different titles,
beginning with Faithful and True.
It is the first and only time this name of Jesus appears in Scripture.
The second title is unknown to us (Revelation 19:12);
the third is the Word of God
(verse 13); the fourth is King of kings and Lord of lords (verse 16).
The word for “Faithful”
in the original language means
steadfast affection or allegiance,”
and the word translated “True”
or characterized by expressing the truth.”
The nature of Jesus Christ—His whole being—exudes faithfulness and truth. Earlier, in Revelation 3:14, Jesus called Himself
“faithful and true witness”
in His letter to the church in Laodicea.
Faithful and True is who
Jesus Christ is.
In His first coming to earth, Jesus proved Himself to be faithful to the mission and will of God His Father:
“I have brought you glory on earth
by finishing the
work you gave me to do”
From the day Isaiah foretold His coming, Christ’s faithfulness was known (Isaiah 11:5; 42:3). As a young man (Luke 2:49) and throughout His ministry, Jesus was a faithful and obedient servant to His Father God (John 4:34; 6:38; 8:29; 12:27; 14:31).
Jesus is consistently the same “yesterday and today and forever”
Others will wear out, change, or perish, but Jesus Christ
remains the same for all eternity
Jesus, who said, “I am the way and the truth and the life,”
is the very embodiment of truth (John 14:6).
He came from His Father “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
And His promise of eternal life is true:
"Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my
word and believes him who sent me has eternal life.
He does not come into judgment,
but has passed from death to life”
(John 5:24, ESV; see also John 6:47).
Because of the fidelity inherent in His character, Jesus is faithful toward His followers in every circumstance. “If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself,” declares 2 Timothy 2:13 (see also Matthew 28:20; 2 Thessalonians 3:3; Hebrews 10:23).
Faithful and True
is a fitting title for Jesus Christ our King,
and He calls His followers to emulate
His faithfulness and truth
(Revelation 14:12; Hebrews 10:23).
The entire book of Revelation conveys a message to the church of
Jesus Christ to be faithful and true,
just as He is Faithful and True.
In Revelation 19:11, when John sees the gates of heaven open, the One who has been
Faithful and True from ages past
appears at the end of time to wage His final battle.
Jesus Christ comes with justice to judge and wage war, and
He will triumph over the enemies of God!
The outcome is sure because He is Faithful and True.
He will do what He has promised to do. He shall defeat the devil once and for all.
Jesus, is “the chief cornerstone” of the building project that is God’s eternal kingdom.
God so loved the world” that he sent his Son on this mission
and he has become the cornerstone, with a specific purpose.
The life of Jesus Christ exemplified obedience.
He came to earth to fulfill His heavenly Father’s will no matter
how painful the task set before Him.
In His human state, Jesus did not want to endure a torturous death.
Yet in the same breath, He prayed, “Not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42).
This scene in Gethsemane records one of the most desperate
hours of anguish in the life of Christ
(Matthew 26:36–46; Mark 14:32–42; Luke 22:40–46).
He told His disciples, “My soul is overwhelmed to the point of death” (Mark 14:34). Worse than the thought of death, Jesus, in His humanity, must have dreaded the thought of bearing the sins of the world (1 Peter 2:24). In the garden, the Lord fell to the ground flat on His face and offered God this desperate cry of His soul:
“My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.
Yet not as I will, but as you will”
Christ’s words and actions here serve as a great comfort to us, His followers. God wants His children to pour out their hearts to Him in sincerity (Psalm 62:8). He is our refuge, our safe haven. Like Jesus, we can reveal the deepest longings in our hearts to our loving heavenly Father. He knows what we are feeling, and we can trust Him to carry the burdens of our souls.
Facing the cross, Jesus was able to pray, “Not my will, but yours be done”
because He was wholly submitted to His Father’s will. “
My food,” He had said, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work”
(John 4:34). “By myself I can do nothing,” explained Jesus,
“for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me” (John 5:30).
Obedience to God’s will was central to Christ’s mission. He told His disciples,
“For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me”
(John 6:38). Hundreds of years before,
Scripture foretold Christ’s destiny to come to earth and do God’s will
(Hebrews 10:5–7; cf. Psalm 40:6–8).
For Christ’s followers, “Not my will, but yours be done” is the definitive prayer that never fails. According to 1 John 5:14–15, we can pray with confidence “if we ask according to his will.” Praying God’s will guarantees that He hears us and will grant what we ask. In fact, one of the primary purposes of prayer is to allow the will of God to be accomplished and to bring glory and honor to His name on earth. Jesus taught His disciples to pray, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:9–10). Those who pray this way, desiring God’s will above all else, reveal that they are indeed Christ’s disciples (Matthew 7:21; see also Matthew 12:50; Mark 3:35; Luke 8:21; John 15:10; Ephesians 6:6).
The apostle Paul encouraged Christians to seek the Holy Spirit’s help to pray in agreement with God’s will: “And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will” (Romans 8:26–27, NLT). Paul also urged believers to “learn to know God’s will” for their lives because God’s will “is good and pleasing and perfect” (Romans 12:2, NLT).
When Jesus said, “Not my will, but yours be done,” He surrendered His own will to God’s, fully convinced that His Father knew what was best. When we pray this way, we yield ourselves to God’s wisdom, trusting Him to work out what’s best for our lives, too (Romans 8:28).
Nowadays we tend to overlook the importance of a cornerstone on a building because many construction techniques can be used to make sure a building will be level and plumb. But long ago, when builders were planning their projects, the importance of the cornerstone made all the difference. The orientation and angle of the cornerstone determined how the rest of the building would be built. If the building was not aligned with the cornerstone, the walls and corners and everything else would be askew.
When we read that Christ is the cornerstone, that means
Jesus is our right and true foundation—perfect—and
whatever is built in alignment with him will be
right and true too.
Sometimes we think it is up to us to make sure everything measures up. But the Bible shows that because we are built up in Christ, we can be confident that not only do
we belong but we also fit.
God, our Father, our lives are sometimes crooked and uneven,
but you build us up in Christ--
the most reliable, true, and solid foundation we could ever hope for.
In Matthew 21:44, Jesus says,
"He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces,
but he on whom it falls will be crushed."
to understanding this statement lies in the context
of the verse and thelarger conversation Jesus was having.
Jesus was teaching in the temple courts
when the chief priests and elders approached Him and demanded
to know the source of His authority.
In response, Jesus asked them about John the Baptist--
was he a prophet of God or not?
The religious leaders, fearing the people’s response,
refused to reveal their true opinion on the matter.
In turn, Jesus refused to reveal the source of His authority
In doing so, Jesus made it clear that
the Jewish leaders themselves
had no authority to judge Him.
"The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone;
the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes"
After a warning that the religious leaders will not inherit the kingdom (Matthew 21:43),
we come to the statement in question, which is the culmination of a series of dire pronouncements
aimed at the chief priests and elders.
Jesus begins with a question about John the Baptist in Matthew 21:25,
but by the end of the conversation, Jesus is plainly speaking of Himself, referring to a "father" sending his "son" who was killed
He then immediately quotes a Messianic prophecy
in effect claiming to be the long-awaited Messiah.
The progression is logical: a rejection of John leads one naturally to a rejection of Christ,
to whom John pointed
(John 1:29, 3:30).
The stone which "the builders rejected"
in verse 42 is Jesus. Although rejected, He nevertheless becomes the "chief cornerstone" (NKJV). See also Acts 4:11; Ephesians 2:20; and 1 Peter 2:6-8.
The builders’ rejection of the stone is a reference to Christ’s crucifixion.
The Lord’s choice of the stone
to be the cornerstone is a reference to Christ’s resurrection.
God chose His Son, despised and rejected by the world, to be the foundation of His church
(1 Corinthians 3:11).
"See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone,
a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation"
Now, there are consequences for coming into contact with a stone.
If you trip over the edge of a rock and fall on it, you may break some bones.
If a large enough rock falls on top of you, you may be killed.
Jesus uses these truths to deliver a warning to the Jewish leaders.
The stone in verse 44 is also Jesus.
In saying that those who fall on this stone
"will be broken to pieces,"
Jesus is warning against opposing Him.
Defying Jesus is like beating one’s head against a
solid rock—a foolish action.
In saying that those upon whom the stone falls "will be crushed,"
Jesus is warning against ignoring Him
or trivializing Him.
Apathy towards Jesus is like
standing in the way of a falling rock—another foolish action.
"I am here to do God’s work,"
Jesus essentially says.
The foundation for the church will be laid.
It is unwise to oppose Me because
God’s work is not inconsequential."
Rejection of the Savior is fatal.
Unfortunately, many do reject Him.
"He will be a stone that causes men to
stumble and a rock that makes them fall"
To persistently reject the Savior is to court judgment so severe that the only thing left will be dust.
The prophet Daniel gives a similar picture of the
likening Him to a rock "
cut out, but not by human hands,"
which smashes into the nations of the world
and completely obliterates them
Matthew 21:44 is a call to faith, an appeal to open one’s eyes and see that Jesus is indeed the Son of God sent into the world. The verse is also a strict warning against rejecting Jesus Christ. He is the sure Rock of salvation for those who believe, but an immovable stumbling stone for those who do not.
Since ancient times, builders have used cornerstones in their construction projects.
A cornerstone was the principal stone, usually placed at the corner of an edifice,
to guide the workers in their course.
The cornerstone was usually one of the largest, the most solid, and the most carefully constructed of any in the edifice.
The Bible describes Jesus as the cornerstone that
His church would be built upon.
He is foundational.
Once the cornerstone was set,
it became the basis for determining every measurement
in the remaining construction; everything was aligned to it.
As the cornerstone of the building of the church,
Jesus is our standard of measure and alignment.
The book of Isaiah has many references to the Messiah to come. In several places the Messiah is referred to as “the cornerstone,” such as in this prophecy: “So this is what the sovereign Lord says: ‘See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed. I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the plumb line’” (Isaiah 28:16–17). In context, God speaks to the scoffers and boasters of Judah, and He promises to send the cornerstone—His precious Son—who will provide the firm foundation for their lives, if they would but trust in Him.
In the New Testament, the cornerstone metaphor is continued. The apostle Paul desires for the Ephesian Christians to know Christ better: “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord” (Ephesians 2:19– 21). Furthermore, in 1 Peter 2:6, what Isaiah said centuries before is affirmed in exactly the same words.
Peter says that Jesus, as our cornerstone, is “chosen by God and precious to him” (1 Peter 2:4). The Cornerstone is also reliable, and “the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame” (verse 6).
Unfortunately, not everyone aligns with the cornerstone. Some accept Christ; some reject Him. Jesus is the “stone the builders rejected” (Mark 12:10; cf. Psalm 118:22). When news of the Messiah’s arrival came to the magi in the East, they determined to bring Him gold, frankincense, and myrrh. But when that same news came to King Herod in Jerusalem, his response was to attempt to kill Him. From the very beginning, Jesus was “a stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall” (1 Peter 2:8).
How can people reject God’s chosen, precious cornerstone? Simply put, they want to build something different from what God is building. Just as the people building the tower of Babel rebelled against God and pursued their own project, those who reject Christ disregard God’s plan in favor of their own. Judgment is promised to all those who reject Christ: “Anyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed” (Matthew 21:44).
God’s Sovereign Choice
I am speaking the truth in Christ--I am not lying;
my conscience bears me witness-in the
For it stands in Scripture:
“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone,
a cornerstone chosen and precious,
And whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”
The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
Jesus said to them, Have you never read in the Scriptures:
The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
this was the Lord’s doing,
and it is marvelous in our eyes’?
This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders,
which has become the cornerstone.
Jesus says repeatedly that He is doing
the Father’s will,
thereby implying that He is somehow
subservient to the Father.
The question then becomes
how can Jesus be equal to God when by His own admission
He is subservient to the will of God?
The answer to this question lies within the nature of the incarnation.
During the incarnation,
Jesus was temporarily “made lower than the angels”
(Hebrews 2:9), which refers to Jesus’ status.
How do we reconcile the fact that the second Person of the Trinity is fully divine yet fully human and by definition “lower than the angels”?
The answer to that question can be found in Philippians 2:5-11. When the second Person of the Trinity took on human form, something amazing occurred. Christ “made himself nothing.” This phrase has generated more ink than almost any other phrase in the Bible. In essence, what it means is that
Jesus voluntarily relinquished the prerogative of freely exercising
His divine attributes and subjected Himself to the
will of the Father while on earth.
Another thing to consider is the fact that subservience in role does not equate to subservience in essence. For example, consider an employer/employee relationship. The employer has the right to make demands of the employee, and the employee has the obligation to serve the employer. The roles clearly define a subservient relationship. However, both people are still human beings and share in the same human nature. There is no difference between the two as to their essence; they stand as equals. The fact that one is an employer and the other is an employee does nothing to alter the essential equality of these two individuals as human beings. The same can be said of the members of the Trinity. All three members (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) are essentially equal; i.e., they are all divine in nature. However, in the grand plan of redemption, they play certain roles, and these roles define authority and subservience. The Father commands the Son, and the Father and the Son command the Holy Spirit.
Therefore, the fact that the Son took on a human nature and
made Himself subservient to the Father in no way denies the deity of the Son,
nor does it diminish His essential equality with the Father.
The “greatness” spoken of in this verse, then, relates to role, not to essence.
John 10 Jesus presents Himself as the Good Shepherd and, in a debate with the Jewish leaders, makes the claim, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). It was a bold statement--
one His audience found quite audacious—and it reveals much about who Jesus is.
Five key observations can be made concerning this passage. First,
Jesus claimed to be one with God in the sense of being equal to Him.
Jesus did not claim to be merely a messenger or prophet of God,
but of equal power with God.
Second, His audience understood that Jesus was claiming equality with God the Father. In verse 31, “The Jews picked up stones again to stone him.”
Blasphemy was a crime punishable by death according to the Jewish Law.
When Jesus asked why they were planning to kill Him, they answered,
"For blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God” (John 10:33).
If Jesus had been lying or deceived, His statement would have been blasphemous.
In fact, the only way His words were not blasphemy is if
Jesus was telling the truth about
His equality with God.
Third, Jesus referred to Himself as God’s Son and to God as His Father (John 10:36–37).
He used Psalm 82:6 to show that the
Messiah has the right to claim the title “Son of God.”
Fourth, Jesus claimed that that Father sent Him: “the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world” (John 10:36). In this statement,
Jesus claimed preexistence in the Father’s presence.
No biblical prophet had ever made such a claim before;
yet Jesus claimed to exist before Abraham (John 8:58).
Jesus only stated that the Jews did not believe Him;
He never said they misunderstood
His claim to be God.
John 10:38 notes,
“Even though you do not believe me, believe the works,
that you may know and understand that the Father is in me,
and I in the Father.”
Jesus was not correcting a misunderstanding.
They understood what He said perfectly.
He was correcting their willful rejection of Him.
Colossians 1:16–17 affirms Jesus’ same teaching:
“In him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” John 1:1 explicitly notes that
Jesus was both with God in the beginning and was God.
In summary, Jesus claimed to be one with the Father as part of a larger argument to note that He had existed from eternity past, lived in perfect oneness with the Father,
held the same power as God, and was sent by God the
He was rejected as divine by the Jewish leaders.
Jesus’ claim to have equal power as the Father was not blasphemy.
It was the plain truth.
In Revelation 6, the apostle John
records the Lamb’s opening
of a scroll and six of the seven seals.
When the fourth seal is broken, John says,
"I looked, and there before me was a pale horse!
Its rider was named Death, and Hades
was following close behind him” (Revelation 6:8).
The scroll the Lamb opens is introduced in Revelation 5.
Only the Lamb who was slain is worthy to open it (Revelation 5:1–5).
As the Lamb opens the scroll, He breaks seven seals in succession.
Each seal unleashes a new judgment on the earth. The first four judgments are known as the
Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse:
• The first seal: a rider on white horse. The rider has a bow and a crown and goes out to conquer (Revelation 6:1–2).
• The second seal: a rider on a red horse bringing division and war (Revelation 6:3–4).
• The third seal: a rider on a black horse. The rider has scales for measuring, and he brings famine to the earth (Revelation 6:5–6).
• The fourth seal: a rider on a pale or ashen horse. The rider is named Death. Hades follows with Death. These two are given authority to kill a fourth of the earth with famine, pestilence, and wild animals (Revelation 6:8).
In the scene that John records, he sees a horse rider who is called Death, perhaps because this rider is given authority to bring death to a fourth of the earth’s population. Hades (an English transliteration of the Greek word hades) refers to the grave, where people
await resurrection for judgment (Revelation 20:13).
The riders named Death and Hades are riding together to bring death and send people to the grave (Revelation 6:8). John does not say that Death and Hades were both riding on a pale or ashen horse, but rather that Death was riding on a pale horse and that Hades was following with him.
John doesn’t describe what Hades rides, so it has been assumed by some that Hades was also riding a pale horse. Others see Death and Hades sharing the same pale horse. Either way, the fourth seal brings about the demise of many during the tribulation.
The pale horse that Death rides is of a sickly, corpse-like color. Some translations of Revelation 6:8 describe Death riding “an ashen (pale greenish gray) horse” (AMP) or “a pale green horse” (CSB). In this chilling scene, slaughter is personified as the earth experiences unparalleled, terrifying calamities. It is the Day of the Lord, and “who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears?” (Malachi 3:2).
To the eternal praise of Jesus, believers will triumph even over the rider of the pale horse: “
"Death has been swallowed up in victory.’
"Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?’”
(1 Corinthians 15:54–55).
In Revelation 11, John describes two witnesses. John calls them the two olive trees and the two lampstands. The witnesses are given power and are prophesying until the are killed. After laying dead in the street, they are given the breath of God, rise up to God on a cloud while their enemies look on. You can read the whole description in Revelation 11.
The two witnesses remind people of Moses and Elijah because of the kind of signs they are able to do like turning the water into blood and spreading plagues. During their time on earth, God gave both Elijah and Moses power to control forces of nature like these two witnesses will be able to.
Elijah was caught up into heaven in a chariot of fire. The two witnesses are caught up into heaven, too, after they come back to life.
This is not to say that the two witnesses are Moses and Elijah, but they remind the reader of Moses and Elijah.
In Revelation 11 and 12, John mentions 1,260 days in two prophecies concerning another persecution of the Jews during the end times. Daniel 8 speaks of 2,300 days in a prophecy concerning a persecution of the Jewish people during the intertestamental period. The main differences between these two prophecies are 1) Daniel’s has been fulfilled, and John’s has not; and 2) Daniel predicts the actions of Antiochus Epiphanes, and John predicts those of the Antichrist.
The 1,260-day prophecy is found in two passages in Revelation. First, Revelation 11:2–3 says,
“[The Gentiles] will trample on the holy city for 42 months.
And I will appoint my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days,
clothed in sackcloth.”
Then, as part of a symbolic vision, Revelation 12:6 says,
“The woman fled into the wilderness to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days.”
The time period covered, 1,260 days, figures to 42 months, or 3 1/2 years. We believe this prophecy has not yet been fulfilled but will be during the end-times tribulation. The 42 months refers to the reign of the Antichrist, specifically, the last half (3 1/2 years) of the seven-year tribulation. At the beginning of that time, the Antichrist will break his covenant with Israel and set up “the abomination that causes desolation” (Mark 13:14; cf. Daniel 9:27)—an act that links the Antichrist to Antiochus Epiphanes, who similarly defiled the temple. The Antichrist will then turn his attention to the genocide of the Jews. During the persecution, Israel (the woman of Revelation 12) will be protected by God in the wilderness. Also during that troubled time, God will send two witnesses to perform miracles and proclaim the truth of Christ in the face of the Antichrist’s lies (Revelation 11:5–6).
The detailed prophecies contained in God’s Word are part of what makes the Bible unique among religious texts. Our God can “make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come” (Isaiah 46:10), and He has revealed significant events in the future, counting out the very days of those periods of time.
In the book of Revelation, God says:
“And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will
one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth”
There is much speculation about who these two representatives of God will be and their 3½-year ministry. Let’s see what the Bible—the only one true source of information on the subject—says about these special individuals.
Connection with Zechariah and the two olive trees, two lampstands and two anointed onesThe passage in Revelation goes on to explain,
“These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth” (verse 4).
This statement seems to be a continuation of a prophecy God gave the prophet Zechariah to show that God accomplishes things through the power of His Spirit (Zechariah 4:2-10).
Olive oil symbolizes God’s Holy Spirit, and God encouraged Zerubbabel—the one who led the rebuilding of the temple—to remember that spiritual things would be accomplished by God’s Spirit and not by his own doing (verse 6).
After explaining this important principle about how His work is done, God then returned to the vision of the olive trees Zechariah had seen: “These are the two anointed ones, who stand beside the Lord of the whole earth” (Zechariah 4:14, emphasis added throughout).
In Revelation 11 God reveals that these two prophets, who will be full of God’s Holy Spirit in order to do His work, will arise prior to Christ’s return to fulfill their ministry as a light to the world.
Just as God accomplished things through the power of His Holy Spirit during the time of Zerubbabel, He will do the same through His two witnesses during the end times.
Why two witnesses?
Throughout the Bible, we find that God often works with pairs of individuals. During the time Zechariah was writing, Zerubbabel served as governor and a man named Joshua served as the high priest (Zechariah 3:1). Earlier, God had used Moses as the leader of the ancient Israelites and his brother Aaron as the high priest.
In the New Testament, Christ sent His disciples out “two by two” (Mark 6:7). Although they occasionally had others traveling with them, Paul and Barnabas worked together to take the gospel to the gentiles.
When two people work together, they can often be more productive than when working alone. Recognizing this principle, Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 states: “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up.”
Another indication why God will have two witnesses is because of the importance of having at least two people to testify in judicial matters. As Deuteronomy 19:15 states: “One witness shall not rise against a man concerning any iniquity or any sin that he commits; by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established” (also see Deuteronomy 17:6).
By having two witnesses, God is following His own law as He, through the two witnesses, warns people to repent of their sins prior to punishing them if they do not heed His instruction.
The work of the two witnesses
The account in the book of Revelation gives clues about the work of the two witnesses: “And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner. These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire”
As these representatives of God witness to the world that all people need to repent of their sins, they will have access to God’s Holy Spirit to produce miracles reminiscent of other prophets of God.
Like Elijah, they will have the power to stop the rain (1 Kings 17:1) and kill anyone who tries to harm them (2 Kings 1:9-12). Like Moses, they will have the power to turn water to blood (Exodus 7:17) and strike the earth with plagues (Exodus 7:14 through 12:30).
But making people suffer is not their primary mission. Instead, like Elijah, their goal will be to encourage people to turn their hearts to God
(1 Kings 18:37).
Elijah served during a time when ancient Israel had become exceedingly corrupt under wicked King Ahab and his idolatrous wife, Jezebel.
Biblical prophecies show that the whole earth will become corrupt prior to the return of Christ
(2 Timothy 3:13),
and this will be the environment in which the two witnesses will minister.
Counterfeits of the two witnesses: the beast and false prophet
In the book of Revelation, God reveals a prophecy concerning
two individuals called “the beast” and “the false prophet,”
who will be opposed to the work of the two witnesses.
The beast will be the civil leader who all people of the earth, except those faithful to God, will follow (Revelation 13:8). The false prophet is the head of the religious system supporting the beast.
One tool used to understand prophecy is the type-antitype principle. The account in Exodus 7:10-12provides a preview of things to come at the time of the two witnesses.
It begins with the first of several encounters between Moses and Pharaoh.
Under Moses’ direction,
Aaron threw down the rod and it became a snake.
The magicians (the apostle Paul identifies them as Jannes and Jambres in 2 Timothy 3:8) also did the same thing with their rods (Exodus 7:11-12).
Water was turned to blood, and the magicians did the same thing
These miracles were performed in the presence of Pharaoh.
During the Great Tribulation,
the false prophet will also perform miracles.
"The coming of the lawless one
is according to the working of Satan,
with all power, signs, and lying wonders”
(2 Thessalonians 2:9).
Speaking of this same person, Revelation 13:11, 13-14 says, “Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a 'lamb' and spoke like a dragon. … He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men [an Elijah-like miracle]. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast.”
Satan will use the beast and the false prophet as
counterfeits to the two witnesses.
As a result, Satan will continue to deceive the whole world through “signs, and lying wonders” and false religion.Satan will use the beast and the false prophet as counterfeits to the two witnesses. As a result, Satan will continue to deceive the whole world through “signs, and lying wonders” (2 Thessalonians 2:9) and false religion (also see Matthew 24:24; Revelation 12:9).
God does not want His followers to be deceived by these counterfeits.
But most people will be deceived.
Why will people rejoice over the deaths of the two witnesses?After the two witnesses complete their 3½-year ministry of preaching the gospel to the entire world, their divine protection will be removed and they will be killed.
“When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them.
And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.
The Tribulation will
accomplish at least two aspects of God's plan:
1) He will complete His discipline of the nation Israel (Daniel 9:24), and
2) He will judge the unbelieving, godless inhabitants of the earth
(Revelation 6 - 18)
The seven seals (Revelation 6:1–17; 8:1–5), seven trumpets (Revelation 8:6–9:21; 11:15–19), and seven bowls/vials (Revelation 16:1–21) are three series of end-times judgments from God. The judgments get increasingly worse and more devastating as the end times progress. The seven seals, trumpets, and bowls are connected to one another. The seventh seal introduces the seven trumpets (Revelation 8:1–5), and the seventh trumpet introduces the seven bowls
(Revelation 11:15–19; 15:1–8).
The seven seals include the appearance of the Antichrist (Revelation 6:1–2), great warfare (Revelation 6:3–4), famine (Revelation 6:5–6), plague (Revelation 6:7–8), the martyrdom of believers in Christ (Revelation 6:9–11), a devastating earthquake causing terrible devastation, and astronomical upheaval (Revelation 6:12–14).