Forgiving Our Offenders: What It Should Look Like, 6 Points

Prayer A to Z

 

Our forgiveness of others should look actually the same as God’s forgiveness to us (look at my post right before this one—Understanding God’s Forgiveness).  There should be no difference; forgiveness is forgiveness.  Of course, since we are human, our forgiveness will not be as complete as His is; however, the nature of our forgiveness and its aim should be exactly like His in every way.  So as we plan to forgive others we must endeavor to make our forgiveness as His.  He has set the example and the standard for us.  Now here are six aspects or parts of forgiveness, which taken together, will help you to see the big picture of what it should look like.

 1.  It is confrontational.  First of all, we must understand that though we should always unconditionally love our offender (as God has loved us), we should never offer…

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Understanding God’s Forgiveness: 5 points

Prayer A to Z

Here’s another post from my book Prayer A to Z.

1. His forgiveness is rooted in His unconditional love.  Though God does not always forgive everyone—He forgives only those who will repent of their sins—He does love everyone unconditionally.  And that unconditional love is what draws sinners to repent so that He can forgive them.  Thus, forgiveness is always contingent on repentance; but that doesn’t mean that He doesn’t always love us.  He has always loved us and He always will, because that is His nature; God is love; it comes out of His own righteous and merciful character (Titus 3:4).  God loves the whole world and He desires all to repent so that He can forgive them (2 Pet. 3:9).

2.  His forgiveness was costly for Him.  God purchased our forgiveness by the blood of His own son Jesus.  Ephesians 1:7 says, “In Him [Jesus] we have…

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Five Wrong Reasons to Fast

Prayer A to Z

In a previous blog post I gave twelve good reasons to fast, and I invite you to look at that post. In this post I want to bring to you the wrong reasons to fast, just to make sure we aren’t inclined to fast that way.  Here are five wrong reasons to fast.

1. As a form of religion or ritual. Arthur Wallis, in his book, God’s Chosen Fast, notes that in the history of the church, what was at first a matter of custom, such as the practice of fasting each Wednesday and Friday, became a matter of obligation.12  Be careful not to let this happen to you.  Fasting should always be a matter of love to God, never of religion or ritual.

2. To punish the body for sin. Some have believed that the body is evil, and in order to secure the purity of…

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Fasting Through the Centuries

Prayer A to Z

In the Old and New Testament period, in the early church, in the church throughout the centuries, and in America and throughout the World people have fasted.

Fasting in the Old Testament.  According to Bible records, the practice of fasting among the Jews began with their great leader and deliverer, Moses.  He by far has given us the greatest (or most extreme) example.  For he fasted without food or water for forty days on two consecutive trips to Mount Sinai—eighty days and nights!  It had to be a miracle.  For no one in his own strength can fast much over three days without water.

Our next example was King David.  I think he fasted often, but there are only three instances recorded in the Bible: (1) He fasted with his men over the death of Saul and Jonathan (2 Sam. 1:12); (2) he fasted when he was in grief…

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Personalities in the Tribulation: Angels — Part 1

There are several references to angels during the time of the Tribulation, which means that they have a prominent role and responsibility in all that God sets forth to do during the great time of His wrath.

After the letters to the seven churches (Rev. 2-3), John, in a vision saw through an open-door, certain things happening in heaven. He saw One (God) sitting on a throne encircled by a rainbow. And there were twenty-four thrones around God’s throne, and twenty-four elders were seated on them, having on white garments with gold crowns on their heads. And there were other strange and glorious things that John saw, including the presence of four living creatures.

Four living creatures (Rev. 4:6-9). These four living creatures it seems were placed closest to God and His throne, and so they were His guardians. The sight of them were as such: they were “full of eyes in front and behind.” One (or the first) creature was like a lion, and the second like a calf, and the third had a face like a man, and the fourth was like a flying eagle. And they all had six wings. John MacArthur writes,

These are the cherubim, those angels frequently referred to in the Old Testament in connection with God’s presence, power, and holiness.[1]

The testimony that John gave of them was this: day and night they did not cease to say,

HOLY, HOLY, HOLY is THE LORD GOD, THE ALMIGHTY, WHO WAS AND WHO IS AND WHO IS TO COME.

And John saw that when these angels would give glory and honor to God, the twenty-four elders would fall down and worship Him. Hence, one of the purposes of these glorious ones were to lead and inspire worship in the elders (see also Rev. 19:4).

Besides being leaders in worship they were involved in the administration of the various judgments, as we see in Revelation 15:7, where one of them gave to seven angels, seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God (see also Rev. 5:11, 14; 6:1, 3, 5, 7; 7:11; 14:3; 19:4).

A strong angel (Rev. 5:2). We don’t know for sure, but this may be a reference to the angel Gabriel, because his name means “strength of God.” Anyway, his particular role was to ask the question, “Who is worthy to open the book and to break its seals?”

“The book” was held by God on His throne and it was sealed up with seven seals (v. 1). No doubt the book is the title deed to the earth and it describes seven things God will do to the earth.

Now as to the question that the “strong angel proposed, no one seemed to have an answer, and John began to weep because no one was found worthy to open the book.

But then, out of the blue, one of the elders said, “Stop weeping! Look over there.” And he pointed out a small pet lamb that had been slain (and killed), but was now alive and standing. And the elder said of Him that He was “the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David [and He has] overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals.”

So we see two things here: 1) We see in the lamb the true Passover Lamb, which is God’s Son. He was slain for our sins, but He is now alive. He has been resurrected and has triumphed over sin and Satan. 2) We also see that He is called the “Lion from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David.” This is clear confirmation that He is the living Messiah, the descendant of David. And so, the Lamb (which is also the Lion of the tribe of Judah) are found worthy to open the book and its seven seals. And so, having this confirmation, the Lamb came and took the book out of the right hand of God.

And then, in a response of praise to the lamb and to God, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb and they sang a new song, saying,

Worthy art Thou, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for Thou didst create all things, and because of Thy will they existed, and were created.

Many angels (Rev. 5:11). And then besides the voices of the elders and the living creatures, John heard the voice of many angels numbering “myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands—which could be translated as innumerable or as an amount beyond calculation. And they said with a loud voice,

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.

And besides these many angels, the entire universe began to praise both God and the Lamb (v. 13).

Four angels, and another angel (Rev. 7:1-3). After the first six seal judgments and just before the seventh seal judgment is an interlude of time (Rev. 7:1-17); and to begin that period of time, four angels appeared and stood at the four corners of the earth—that is, north, south, east, and west. And it was their job to hold back the wind from all directions. And then John saw another angel holding a seal of God in his hand. And he cried out to the four angels saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea until the bond-servants of God (the 144,000 Jews) are sealed on their foreheads.” The seal was apparently a mark put on to protect them from harm; the harm that was soon coming to the earth by the same four angels.

All the angels (Rev. 7:11). After the 144,000 Jews were sealed, suddenly there erupted loud praises in heaven around the throne of God. It first came from the great multitude of resurrected martyrs (Rev. 7:9-11; 13-16). And then, all the angels (probably the same group of angels in Rev. 5:11), plus the elders and the four living creatures joined in the praise. And then all of them fell on their faces and said,

Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.

I think, apparently, the praise was to God for His salvation of all those martyrs who were saved and now enjoying eternal life (Rev. 7:15-16).


[1] John MacArthur, Ibid, John MacArthur’s notes of Revelation 4:6.

Little Faith vs Great Faith

Prayer A to Z

The apostle Peter, in 1 Peter 2:2, wrote, “As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the Word, that you may grow thereby.”  Here we see that spiritual growth is by the Word.  But what I want to point out is that since faith is the foundation of Christian life, when we grow spiritually, which is by the Word, our faith grows too.  Our spiritual growth is always a growth of faith.  And so we grow from faith to faith (Rom. 1:17).  Just as we were saved by faith, we live the Christian life by faith; and at every point we are to continue to live by faith—“from faith to faith.”           

Now the question is, why do some people have very little faith (their faith doesn’t seem to grow), while others have great faith (their faith grows and grows)? Here are…           

           

Four Reasons Why Some Remain In Their Little…

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Tribulation Saints

Undoubtedly, the greatest revival in the history of mankind will be during the Tribulation. John tells us that in his vision he beheld “a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes” (Rev. 7:9). That passage goes on for a few more verses (verses 9-14), and it is clear that this great multitude are believers that were martyred during the Tribulation and are now rejoicing in victory in heaven and are worshipping God and Jesus the Lamb.

Many of them will no doubt come to salvation because of the shocking disappearances of the Rapture. Then, when the two witnesses and the 144,000 evangelists are put in place at the beginning of the Tribulation, many will be converted through their witness. Likewise, I imagine that many will also be saved by the witness of people all around them who heard the gospel message from others, even from angels. And of course, the Holy Spirit will be always working to convict and to convert any who are chosen to be saved.

As for those who are martyred (the “great multitude”), we may place the blame squarely on the Antichrist and the harlot (the false religious system). And this follows squarely, after so many years, to what happened in ancient Rome with the Roman emperors, and then with what happened with the evil Roman Catholic church. So, it will be repeated in the revived Roman empire. But I think it will be reversed: the Great Harlot will be the first to martyr the Christians, as we see in Revelation 17:6; then, when the Harlot is destroyed and the Antichrist is given full power (at the midpoint of the Tribulation), he will be the one to martyr the Christians. As we see in Daniel 7:21, and also in Revelation 13:7, “It will be given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them.”

Please note what it says in Revelation 13:7; “It was given to him to make war with the saints…” (bold italic for emphasis). This indicates clearly that God will allow the Antichrist to martyr the saints, and thus to be in control.

Another interesting couple of verses that shows us this control is in Revelation 6:10-11. Here the martyred and resurrected saints were asking God, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, wilt Thou refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” And He told them that the time of killing (by the Antichrist) would go on “until the number of their fellow servants… should be completed.” In other words, God is in control. He will not allow anyone to be martyred beyond what he has predestined.

Please note also (from Revelation 7:10-14, 14:13-14, and 15:2-4), that God in the end will greatly bless the resurrected martyrs and give them victory and a song of joy and worship to God forever.

Failure in Prayer – Part 1

Prayer A to Z

Failure in prayer I think is mainly due to our failure in getting to prayer—because of our laziness and lack of discipline. But there can also be a failure in prayer even when we are disciplined to pray—because we just don’t know how to pray effectively. In the next four blogs (parts) I will bring to you 26 ideas (in alphabetical order) on why prayers fail (fail to receive answers). Today it will be A through F.

 Authority – Prayers fail when we don’t pray with authority.  If you have gone to prayer, and your prayers have not been answered, it may be because you are not abiding in Christ, nor are you executing the authority He has given you in Him.  Do these things and you will be able to resist the devil in faith as you use the Word of God with power in all your praying.

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Personalities in the Tribulation: Satan

Studying Bible Prophecy

In my study of the Tribulation, I found references to Satan in four different chapters of Revelation: chapter twelve, thirteen, sixteen, and twenty. And I found twenty-four references to Satan with four different names: Satan (4 ref.), the devil (4 ref.), the serpent (3 ref.), and the dragon ((13 ref.). We will begin our study of Satan, mainly as a dragon, from chapter twelve. (I will limit this study of Satan to just the time of the Tribulation.)

Satan the great dragon, chapter twelve

Most of the information about Satan is in this chapter. It covers the sad history of Satan and what his evil plans are during the Tribulation.

From verses 3-5. Here Satan is portrayed as a large red dragon having seven heads and ten horns and with seven crowns on his heads. His depiction as a dragon helps us to see Satan’s cruel and horrible character, and…

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Personalities in the Tribulation: The Church

I think it is always a good idea, in studying a subject like the Tribulation, to first pick apart and dissect important terms, and in this case, personalities. It will help us in our understanding of it all. We will start with the church. Yes, we who are believers in this age have a role to play in the tribulation.

The Church

The church will not go through the Tribulation on earth. We will be raptured before it begins. Yet we will have a role to play in the Tribulation. The two vital questions that need to be answered is where is the church during the Tribulation? And, what is their ministry during the Tribulation?

Where is the church during the Tribulation? There is no mention of the church anywhere after the third chapter of Revelation. However, bible scholars believe that the twenty-four elders who are sitting on thrones circling God on His throne (recorded in Revelation 4) represent the glorified church in heaven. Here are four indications suggested by the following terms, that these twenty-four elders do in fact represent the church.

Twenty-four elders sitting on thrones. The term elder is a church term in the New Testament. The elder rules on behalf of God over the people (Acts 15:2, 6). Also, the number twenty-four is significant to the priesthood, as David divided the priesthood into twenty-four orders (1Chron. 24:4); and the church is the only body that has been qualified for the priesthood. Dr. Dwight Pentecost writes,

While Israel was called to a priestly function (Ex. 19:6), that nation never entered into this chief function because of their sin…The church is the only body definitely constituted a priesthood that could fulfill the function of priests ministering under the High Priest (1Pet. 2:5, 9)[1]

As to the elders sitting on thrones, this position suggests that they represent the church, since we read in Revelation 3:2 and in Matthew 19:28 that the church has been promised this position.

The elders clothed in white garments. The color white is a symbol of purity, which would fit the glorified church, having “no spot or wrinkle,” and being “holy and blameless” (Eph. 5:27). And it was also promised to the church in Sadis (Rev. 3:4-5) that they will walk with Him in white, and that they will be “clothed in white garments.”

The golden crowns. Each of the elders were wearing a victor’s crown. This suggests that they are the church, for the crowns were recently received as rewards in the bema judgment—a judgment for the church.

Their worship. The elders worshipped God because of His acts of creation (Rev. 4:11, redemption (Rev. 5:9), judgment (Rev. 19:2), and reigning (Rev. 11:17). Worship has always been an activity of the church; thus, we may regard this as proof that the elders represent the church.

What is the ministry of the church during the Tribulation? The ministry of the church in heaven is at least four-fold.

1. The fact that we see the elders enthroned before God, suggests that they represent the church as rulers or judges on behalf of God. This means that we will have a part in bringing judgment on the earth in the Tribulation. It also means that during the millennial reign of Christ we will rule with Christ and will be kept busy with this aspect of ministry.

2. The church in heaven has a priestly ministry. In Revelation 5:8 they are seen bringing the prayers of the saints on earth to God.

3. The church in heaven is constantly worshipping God. This will be our blessed ministry during the Tribulation and always.

4. Because of the church’s knowledge of the program of God, they will have a ministry of teaching and revealing truth during the Tribulation (Rev. 5:5; 7:13-14).


[1] J. Dwight Pentecost, Things To Come (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, Dunham Publishing Company, 1958),pp. 255-256.