The BATTLE GROUNDS

Reflect

Revelation 1:9-19 I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. 10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, 11 saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” and, “What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.

12 Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band.

14 His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; 15 His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; 16 He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.

17 And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. 18 I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.

19 Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this. 20 The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands:

The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches.

Matthew 24:4-8 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows. kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.

Matthew 24:23-31 “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. 24 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand. 26 “Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it.

27 For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 28 For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together.

29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other

.Revelation 14:6-12 Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people— 7 saying with a loud voice, “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.

8 And another angel followed, saying, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.

9 Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation.

He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.

11 And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”

12 Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.

Hebrews 11:13-16 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland.

15 And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return.

16 But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.

Phillipains 4:4-64 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!

5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand

.6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;

Discuss

What surprises you from the Bible verses?

What do they teach you about people?

What do they teach you about God?

Is there a command to obey?

Who do I need to share this message with?

Study Notes

Have you ever felt that you were in the midst of a great battle – an internal struggle between good and evil?

Many people sense this struggle because it is our reality – the battle between good and evil, between Christ (the good) and Satan (the evil).

Life then, is really played out on two levels.

The great controversy between Christ and Satan plays out on a global scale—in fact, even a cosmic level. You might be surprised to learn that this war first began in heaven (Rev. 12:7).

In the confusion of events, we can easily lose the big picture of God’s remedy for the problem of evil.

Wars, political unrest, and natural disasters hold us in helpless terror, but God’s prophetic guidance helps us keep in mind the big picture of freedom.

It shows us where we are going and how we will get there.

The oldest surviving disciple to have been with Jesus sat on a rocky prison island far from everything that was near and dear to him. How did he end up in such a place?

What was going on in John’s mind as he found himself stranded on this desolate island?

The other apostles John had known had already died, most of them martyred for their witness about Jesus. The young church had undergone a generational change and was now facing horrible persecution from the outside and strange heretical movements from within.

John must have felt alone, tired, and restless. And then, suddenly, he was given a vision. For John who was imprisoned, isolated and alone on the island of Patmos, what encouragement would he have found in the vision given to him by Jesus, his friend, teacher and Lord? Revelation 1:9-19

What followed from these verses were visions about the future of this world. This panoramic view of the future would become to us, the history of the Christian.

Amid the trials and tribulations that would come, John was shown how the conflict would end.

“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Rev. 21:1, 2, NKJV).

The great apocalyptic vision John recorded in Revelation helped him to confidently rest in God’s provisions and promises.

Years prior on the Mount of Olives, Jesus painted history in broad strokes as He responded to the questions of the disciples:

“ ‘Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?’ ” (Matt. 24:3, NKJV).

Jesus’ famous sermon, recorded in Matthew 24, covers the uninterrupted, historical timeline from His days until the Second Coming and beyond.

What followed from these verses were visions about the future of this world. This panoramic view of the future would become to us, the history of the Christian.

Amid the trials and tribulations that would come, John was shown how the conflict would end.

“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Rev. 21:1, 2, NKJV).

The great apocalyptic vision John recorded in Revelation helped him to confidently rest in God’s provisions and promises.

Years prior on the Mount of Olives, Jesus painted history in broad strokes as He responded to the questions of the disciples: “ ‘Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?’ ” (Matt. 24:3, NKJV).

Jesus’ famous sermon, recorded in Matthew 24, covers the uninterrupted, historical timeline from His days until the Second Coming and beyond.

Jesus wanted to give His people throughout the ages a rough sketch of the divine schedule for end-time prophecies so that those living at the end of time could be prepared for the ultimate event in world history.

Jesus wanted us to rest confidently in His love, even when everything around us would fall apart.

What events did Jesus highlight that would proceed His return to earth? Matthew 24:4-8, 23-31

Considering the space given in prophecy to His return, and even in Jesus’ sermons, this is a big deal.
Jesus’ coming is a literal event at the end of time and served several purposes;

-Gather His faithful followers to Himself
-Give eternal life to His followers
-Bestow freedom to His followers
-Eradicate evil

The last time there was a worldwide climactic event only eight people in all the world were prepared for it. Jesus compares the unexpectedness of the Second Coming to that same event—the Flood (Matt. 24:37–39).
Jesus did not give us a date for His return, but He did tell us about signs that would allow us to know when it was near.

Jesus’ sermon on last-day signs focuses on four specific areas:
(1) signs in the realm of religion
(2) international affairs
(3) nature
(4) society.

These signs include false spiritual revivals, global conflicts, wars, famines, natural disasters, pestilences, pandemics, rising crime, increased violence, waning morality, and finally the rapid spread of the gospel to the whole world.

While outlining the events of the global drama, John sees three angels flying in the air giving three clear messages. These messages were of global significance to be given to the world prior to Jesus return.

The messages of Revelation 14 are to be proclaimed to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people to prepare the world for Jesus soon return. The messages outline the “everlasting gospel” of God’s amazing grace to the entire planet.

It is a call in the light of the gospel to live obedient lives, glorifying God in all we do in the judgment hour. It is an appeal in an age of evolution to worship Him as the Creator. It is an end- time message of hope.

Jesus will stand for us in the judgment and present His righteous life in the place of our unrighteous life. This is true freedom. No longer chained by the circumstances of sin, Jesus, the righteous judge stands for us and unshackles us from this world.

The apostle John gives us this encouragement: “And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1, NKJV). God’s final judgment is just.

He can represent only those who surrender their lives to Him and by faith, accept His life and death in their behalf.

I recognise that God demonstrated His love for me by dying on the cross and He has given me the opportunity to experience freedom from the pain and suffering in this world and begin a new life in Him.

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 “I will Cling to the Old Rugged Cross, and exchange it someday for a Crown”

George Bennard

FINDING FREEDOM IN REST