THE CHOICES FOR HUMANITY
By Adauto Rezende
Why are so many Christians avoiding eschatology in our day? There are several reasons for this behavior:
Firstly, there are misinterpretations of the Scriptures by heretics, sects, and false teachers. This has led to confusion and misunderstanding about end-time events.
Secondly, some eschatological topics would conflict with the theology of liberal Christians, who tend to avoid such teachings. This can cause discomfort for many contemporary churches, especially mega-churches.
Thirdly, many Christians are too attached to their earthly treasures, like Lot's wife, and do not want to bother with end-time theology. They are more interested in prosperity teaching than in the prophetic message.
However, we are a privileged generation as we witness the unfolding of prophecies at a pace never seen before. The scenario for a one-world government controlled by the Antichrist and a cashless society, leading to the Mark of the Beast, is becoming more plausible. Additionally, the uncontrolled advance of nuclear and biological weapons will bring death to one third of humanity, destruction to drinking water and vegetation, and cause plagues among millions on earth.
To verify these statements, read the following Scriptures:
“A third of mankind was killed by the three plagues of fire, smoke and sulfur that came out of their mouths.” Revelation 9: 18
“A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up. a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed. A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter.” Revelation 8: 8-11
“It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.” Revelation 13: 16-17
“The first angel went and poured out his bowl on the land, and ugly, festering sores broke out on the people who had the mark of the beast and worshiped its image. The second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it turned into blood like that of a dead person, and every living thing in the sea died. The third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood…. They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him." Revelation 16: 2-4-9
The first and last books of the Bible, Genesis and Revelation, written by Moses and John respectively, have striking contrasts.
In Genesis, Moses wrote about God's creation of the heavens and the earth, while in Revelation, John wrote about the creation of new heavens and a new earth. Both authors received their revelations while witnessing the divine splendor. While Moses climbed a mountain to receive divine revelations and see part of God's glory, John was on an island where he saw the glory of the resurrected Christ and received disclosures about the end times. In Genesis, Moses wrote about the creation of the world and God's rest on the seventh day, while in Revelation, John wrote about catastrophic events that will occur over a period of seven years. Both books reveal two opposing forces and their agendas, and both writers also revealed two voices speaking to mankind.
Both writers also disclosed two voices speaking to man.
In Genesis, Moses reveals that God's voice and Satan's voice spoke to man in the garden.
“And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” Genesis 2: 16-17
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” Genesis 3: 1
In Revelation, John reveals God’s voice and Satan’s voice speaking to humanity through four persons:
“And I will appoint my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.” Revelation 11: 3
“People worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, “Who is like the beast? Who can wage war against it?” The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months.” Revelation 13: 4-5
In the last book of the Bible, Jesus revealed to John the contrast between two voices:
Antagonistic messages and a parallelism between good and evil
Two pairs of witnesses manifesting two voices in the world
The book of Revelation reveals the stark contrast between the two God's prophets and the two devil's false prophets. Through the visions given to John, the book illustrates the ultimate triumph of good over evil, and the final judgment of the wicked.
In contrast to the false prophets who deceive the people, God's true prophets are faithful to His Word and proclaim the divine message calling humanity for repentance. They speak with the voice of truth and try to lead people towards righteousness.
On the other hand, the devil's false prophets use deception and lies to lead people away from God. They seek to mislead and distort the truth, leading people to destruction.
THE SCRIPTURAL CONTRASTS BETWEEN GOD’S PROPHETS
AND THE DEVIL’S FALSE-PROPHETS FROM THE BOOK OF REVELATION
The voice of God - The two witnesses of Jesus
“And I will appoint my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.” They are “the two olive trees” and the two lampstands, and “they stand before the Lord of the earth.” If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die. They have power to shut up the heavens so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want. Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them. Their bodies will lie in the public square of the great city—which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt—where also their Lord was crucified. For three and a half days some from every people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial. The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth. But after the three and a half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them. Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on.” Revelation 11: 3-12
Nine topics to reflect on from the above passages:
Who are they? What do they do? Where do they come from?
Representatives - They are Christ's Witnesses - "My two" (v.3)
Power Source - They have divine authority and power (Jesus is the source) - "And I will appoint my two witnesses."
Prophets - They will prophesy - The word of God to the world - "and they will prophesy" (v.3)
Time Frame - They will have a specific divine mission with a designated timeframe of "42 months/1260 days" (3 ½ years) (v.2-3) - "for 1,260 days."
Character - They will be dressed in sackcloth - "clothed in sackcloth" - representing humility (travailing intercession, lament, pain in the soul) (v.3,6)
Works - They will show signs and wonders (the angels working for them 8:7-12) (v.6)
Martyrdom - They will be martyred (killed) after the mission is completed - "the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them" (v.7)
Results - They will expose the ungodliness of the world - "The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth" (v.10)
Ascend - They will ascend to heaven to eternal glory - "And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on" (v.12)
Remember, God spoke to humanity for three and a half years. After 3 ½ years of prophecies and warnings by Jesus' witnesses, the world will be faced with a choice: to follow God or Satan. If they do not listen to God's voice, they will listen to the devil. If they do not believe in the truth, they will believe in the lie.
The two Devil's witnesses
“The dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on its horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was filled with wonder and followed the beast. People worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, “Who is like the beast? Who can wage war against it?” The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. It was given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world…. Then I saw a second beast, coming out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon. It exercised all the authority of the first beast on its behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. And it 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. It ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived… But the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who had performed the signs on its behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped its image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur.” Revelation 11: 3-8-11-14,19: 20
Who are they? What they do? Where do they come from?
Representatives - Satan's messengers who blaspheme the name of the Lord and exalt Satan's name (v.4, 6).
Power source - They have satanic authority and power, with Satan as their source - "...exercises all the authority of the first beast" (v.4, 12).
Prophets - They will be the devil's voice, seducing those who dwell on the earth (v.14).
Time frame - 3 1/2 years, with authority to act for 42 months (v.5).
Character - They are proud and do not wear sackcloth (v.5).
Works - They will perform signs and wonders before people (v.13).
Results - They will expose the hearts of people as those who will not worship God, but instead, worship Satan (v.4).
They won't die - They will not be martyred, as stated in Revelation 19:20.
Descend - They will descend to their eternal destinations, which is the lake of fire, as stated in Revelation 19:20.
THE TWO ESCHATOLOGICAL CHURCHES
In the last book of the Bible, Jesus revealed his message to the final two churches.
In the letters to the Seven Churches in chapters two and three of Revelation, the sixth and seventh churches could be portrayed as the two types of Christianity in the last day.
The sixth church represents the faithful church, Philadelphia.
“To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name". Revelation 3: 7-8
The church that fights for two causes: Keeping the Word of Christ and being his faithful witness. The faithful church is characterized by:
Having no connection with the world, thus not being successful, not having worldly resources, and not selling itself for crumbs.
• Being dressed in sackcloth.
• Being committed to the Word of God.
• Being a prophetic church that opposes evil and condemns iniquity.
• Being an intercessory church.
• Being a missionary church that speaks to all people on earth.
• Being a despised church.
• Being a persecuted church.
• Being a martyred church.
A church that will experience the glory of the rapture
“I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name". (Revelation 3: 8)
The seventh church represents a unfaithful church: Laodicea
“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.” Revelation 3: 14-17
Laodicea is lukewarm and self-sufficient:
• Spiritually proud
• Spiritually naked
• A self-deceived church that says "YOU SAY..." (v.17)
• A church that does not hear the voice of the Lord
• An unfaithful church that compromises God's word
This church needs gold, white robes, and eye drops (v.18):
• A church that has lost its spiritual riches (committed to the world, politics, and ecumenism)
• A church that has lost its spiritual vision (doesn't pray, doesn't preach the truth, but compromises the truth (lukewarm))
• A church in worldly attire – Naked (no fear of God)
She has a church name, but has no Christ in it. They had Left Jesus outside.
“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” Revelation 3: 20
A church that is moving towards apostasy and opening its doors to the manifestation of Satan's messengers.
“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. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” (II Timothy 4: 3-4)
CHRIST'S LAST ADVICE TO BOTH CHURCHES
Jesus gave advice to both churches in the book of Revelation:
To Philadelphia, he advised them to hold fast to what they have, to persevere in obedience to God, and to continue to spread the Gospel (Revelation 3:7-13).
“I come without delay. Keep what you have, so that no one takes your crown.” (Revelation 3:11)
To Laodicea, he advised them to repent of their Luke warmness and self-sufficiency, to buy from him gold refined by fire, white garments, and eye salve, and to be zealous and repent (Revelation 3:14-22).
“I rebuke and discipline those I love. Be zealous, therefore, and repent.” (Revelation 3:19)
JESUS SAID THAT THERE ARE:
• Two paths (narrow and wide)
• Two doors (wide and narrow)
• Two groups (many and few)
• Two churches (those who have him as Lord and those who have left him outside)
• Two voices (the voice of God and the voice of the devil)
• Two masters (Jesus or the devil)
• Two destinations (heaven or hell)
TWO TYPES OF CHURCHES:
• WHICH OF THE TWO DO YOU FIND YOURSELF IN: Philadelphia or Laodicea?
• HOW WOULD YOU BEST DESCRIBE YOUR CHRISTIANITY? More like Philadelphia or Laodicea?
The dragon in Revelation 13: 1 is a title for the devil who will empower the antichrist in the last days to control humanity (12: 9) “So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. (v.4)
(II Thessalonians 2: 9-12) “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.”
To Jesus all the glory!
(Revelation 3: 7a-8, 3: 14-15, 11: 3-10; 13: 1-5, 11-12-14)