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Greatness in the Kingdom of God – (Mark 10:35-45)

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SynopsisJesus taught that to be a true member of the kingdom of God necessitates a life of self-sacrificial service to others, not power over them.
As in Mark 9:31-37, once again after predicting his upcoming suffering and death, the disciples of Jesus jockeyed for rank and power in the coming messianic kingdom. As before, Jesus taught them that to be a true member of the kingdom necessitates a life of self-sacrificial service to others rather than power over them.
James and John requested to sit at Jesus’ side when he comes “in his glory.” They were still not hearing his words or heeding his example. Suffering and death must precede glory. Apparently, John and James expected Jesus to come shortly into his kingly glory.
Perhaps they still expected glory to come without cost or suffering. They addressed Jesus as ‘Rabbi’ or “teacher,” a title of respect but one common enough among Jews of the period. The use of the term provides no indication that James and John yet understood who and w…

Hastening the Day of the Lord

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SYNOPSIS:  Prophecy teachers who have presumed to know what God alone knows have set up Christians for discouragement and, possibly, apostasy.
Peter explained the apparent “delay” in the arrival of Jesus and the “Day of the Lord.” In doing so, he coordinated that day with the final judgment and the new creation. Furthermore, argued that the conduct of the church could “hasten” that day’s arrival (2 Peter 3:3-13).
According to Peter, God is characterized by mercy and responds positively to repentance. Peter was no Calvinist. The Father’s relationship with men and women is dynamic, not static.

Signs and Wonders or Christ Crucified?

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SYNOPSIS:Claims that God will reap a great harvest of souls because of the mighty “signs and wonders” the church will perform do not square with Scripture.
I hear a lot of stress these days on seeking “signs and wonders.” Seemingly, church “leaders” are convinced, or they want to convince you, that it is through mighty supernatural “signs and wonders” that God will reap a final harvest of souls before the return of Jesus, an idea that does not fit comfortably with the gospel accounts of the New Testament.
I am all for genuine miracles that meet real human needs, but Jesus did warn of coming “false prophets that will show great signs and wonders; so that, if possible, they may deceive the elect.” Whether such men perform false miracles is not stated in the text. Taken at face value, one can assume he meant that the false prophets will produce very real “signs and wonders” (Matthew 24:23-27).

The Beasts within the Church

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SYNOPSIS:  Throughout the present age, the Church is plagued with deceivers bent on misleading the saints and bringing about their apostasy.
The term “Antichrist” occurs in the New Testament only in two of the three epistles of John. He warned in his first letter that “it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come to pass.” The Apostle did not deny that an individual “antichrist” would come; his point was that many “antichrists” had already arrived on the scene, even in his day (1 John 2:18).

The 144,000 Followers of the Lamb on Zion

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SYNOPSIS:The 144,000 men on Zion “follow the Lamb wherever he goes.” Above all else, this refers to their perseverance in suffering and persecution.
The 144,000 reappear in Revelation 14:1-5, this time standing on “Mount Zion” with the Lamb. They have the Father’s name written on their foreheads, in contrast to them that take the mark of the Beast. Its mark is placed on the right hand or the forehead of its victims, and “branded,” not “written.”
The Father’s name written on the foreheads of the Lamb’s followers is the equivalent of the “seal of God” described previously. To the church at Philadelphia, Jesus promised to write the name of God upon the one who overcomes (Revelation 7:1-33:10-12).

The Mark of the Beast - (Revelation 13:16-18)

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SYNOPSIS:   Humanity is divided into two groups – men who have the mark of the Beast, and those who bear the name of the Lamb’s Father – Revelation 13:16-14:5.
The “mark of the Beast” is the Dragon’s counterfeit of the “seal of God” that is placed on the foreheads of the followers of the Lamb. The “inhabitants of the earth” that take this mark are contrasted with the saints who stand on “Zion” with the Lamb and have his Father’s “name written on their foreheads” (Revelation 7:1-3, 14:1-4, 19:2-5, 22:3-6).

All the “inhabitants of the earth” that take the mark of the Beast are legally authorized to engage in commerce, to “buy and sell.” In contrast, the company standing with the Lamb is comprised of men and women who have been “purchased from the earth.” Because they bear his Father’s name rather than the Beast’s mark, they may not participate in commerce.