Scripture reading for December 24th: Revelation 17
Key Scriptures: Revelation 17:1-6 “Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great prostitute who is seated on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality and with the wine of whose sexual immorality the dwellers on earth have become drunk. And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names, and it had seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pears, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her sexual immorality. And on her forehead was written a name of mystery: “Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of the earth’s abominations.” And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.”
John was shown a vision of a strange beast with seven heads and ten horns. On this beast, sat a woman who was dressed as a prostitute. John, lead by the Holy Spirit, saw this woman holding a cup in her hand, full of abominations and sexual immorality. On her forehead was written a mysterious name: “Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth’s abominations.” This woman was drunk on the blood of the saints. This vision reveals the woman as the corrupt and false system of world religions, depicted by Babylon, that specialized in leading people into idolatry and immorality, violating God commandments. The beast she rides upon are the corrupt political systems culminating in the one world government of the antichrist. The cup represents the true spiritual condition of those involved in the false religion of the end times and the wicked and rebellious government of antichrist. God’s purposes will not be thwarted. His judgment will bring down this woman and the beast she rides!
Revelation 17:16-18 “And the ten horns that you saw, they and the beast will hate the prostitute. They will make her desolate and naked, and devour her flesh and burn her up with fire, for God has put it into their hearts to carry out His purpose by being of one mind and handing over their royal power to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled.” And the woman that you saw is the great city that has dominion over the kings of the earth.”
Faith confession and prayer: Father God, I trust You to reveal all that I need to know about the time that I live in these last days. Thank You for Your divine control of all events of history past and the present and the future. May Your kingdom come and Your will be done on earth as in heaven! Use me to accomplish Your purposes and fulfill Your Word in my time on earth.
Revelation 17:14 “They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with Him are called and chosen and faithful.”
Scripture reading for November 23rd: 1st John 2
Key Scriptures: 1st John 2:15-17 “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world–the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life–is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”
John had walked with Jesus as possibly the youngest disciple. He was the only one not to die a martyr’s death and lived into his ninety’s. He was the bishop or overseer of the churches in Asia. He spoke plainly to the church to help them live a victorious life of faith and to enjoy God’s presence forever. In this letter, John gives some clear advice concerning the world system of the antichrist that was present even as John wrote his letter. First, believers are not of this world system anymore. They have been born again from above. They cannot love the world system and live in the flesh and follow its desires and please God the Father. Our Father gives good gifts and calls His children to holiness and consecration to prepare them for life with Him forever. Some in the church had departed to follow the flesh and antichrist spirits. This a sign of the last hour.
1st John 2:18-19 “Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us.”
Faith confession and prayer: Father, I choose to love You and to turn away from the world system. I belong to You and long for the kingdom of heaven and Your will on earth as in heaven. Give me and Your church discernment of spirits that we might avoid the antichrist spirit that is present now in this last hour. Help me to be watchful over those in the church that the world, flesh and satanic antichrist spirit might not snare any who believe.
1st John 2:26-27 “I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. But the anointing that you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as His anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie–just as it has taught you, abide in Him.”
Scripture reading for November 26th: Ezekiel 34-37, 2nd John
Key Scriptures: 2nd John 7-10 “For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.”
John wrote this short letter to a pastor and her congregation concerning the need for discernment. False teachers were attacking the church. These teachers were denying Jesus Christ came in the flesh and deceiving people with the spirit of antichrist. Care must be taken not to take them in or be taken in by their false doctrines. A full reward from God awaits the faithful and discerning.
Ezekiel 33:7 “”So you, son of man, I have made a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a Word from My mouth, you shall give them warning from Me.””
Prayer: Lord, thank You for clear warnings to be watchful and focused on Your Truth and Word. Help me to be watchful and a watchman over those in Your church. Amen.
Scripture reading for December 16th: Revelation 13
Key Scriptures for over-comers: Revelation 13:1,5-8 “And the dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. He had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. . . .”The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty-two months. . .” “And he was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them. And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation.”
During the tribulation satanic power will be allowed by God to exercise authority. Satan, the dragon, will empower a beast, the Antichrist, to make war against the saints and even to conquer them. During this time of trouble, many of those making the choice to follow Christ will pay for their faith with their lives. But God has promised that not a hair on their heads will perish! This time is limited to forty-two months and the beast will suffer God’s judgment in the Lake of Fire!
Observations for over-comers: Over-comers are given vision and understanding about the events of the last days and great tribulation to enable them to stand firm in faith! “Go your way, Daniel, because the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end. Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.” (Daniel 12:9-10)
Scripture reading for December 19th: 1st John 1-5
John, the Apostle, wrote this letter to the church to counter some false teachers called “gnostics” who were saying that Jesus was just a ‘spirit’. These false teachers were telling church people that it did not matter what one did with his body because our spirit was all that mattered. But Jesus Christ did come in a human body lived in obedience to the Father. He taught us to live by grace through faith. When we break God’s law with our bodies, that is sin and we must confess and repent. (1st John 1:8-9) If we say we have no sin, we are living in deception, just like the false teachers.
We do not live in a dual world where we can separate the actions of our spirits and bodies. This popular teaching was drawing away a number of Christ’s followers. The problem was that it was taking them to Hell! John called the false teachers “antichrist”. (1st John 2:16)
The church evidently knew about “the Antichrist” that was to come in the last days. This person would be a world ruler who would deceive many with false signs and wonders. (2nd Thessalonians 2:8-11) Paul described him as the “man of lawlessness”. John further stated that many “antichrists” had already gone out into the world at the time of his writing. These false teachers had come from within the church. They left the church and drew a following of people who were deceived by their lies and loose living.
“Antichrist” is a term that literally means “one set over against Christ”. In our language today we would likely use “counterfeit” to describe them. They used scripture to justify their doctrines. They often used the name of Jesus Christ but lived in rebellion to what Jesus actually taught and stood for. They were legalistic and manipulative and lacked the love of the Lord. These types are still around today!
The best remedy against deception is to know the real thing and be filled with the Holy Spirit. John told his readers that they had a real anointing that would teach them all things. (1st John 2:20, 27) The Holy Spirit would keep them from deception. The One who lived in them was greater that the deceiver in the world! (1st John 4:4)
Scripture reading for September 3rd: Daniel 7-9
Daniel saw the four winds of heaven stirring up a great sea and out of the sea came four great beasts. The first was like a lion and the second looked like a bear. The third beast was like a leopard and the fourth beast was something terrifying. It had iron teeth and ten horns on it’s head. It was devouring it’s victims and crushing them. (Daniel 7:4-7) These beasts corresponded to the dream of Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 2 and represented the kingdoms that followed that time, starting with Babylon, the lion, and moving to Persia, the bear. The leopard was Greece and the ferocious beast was the Roman Empire of Jesus’ day. (Revelation 13:1-4)
Daniel saw another horn, a little horn that came up among the ten horns of the last beast. This horn had eyes like a man and a boastful mouth. (Daniel 7:8) Many commentators think that this horn represents the evil ruler of the last days that will be known as ‘Antichrist’. (Revelation 13:5-7)(2nd Thessalonians 2:8-10)
Next, Daniel’s attention focused on thrones that were set in place. One came and took His seat whose name was the “Ancient of Days”. This Ancient One had clothing that was brilliantly white and hair that was white like wool. His throne was ablaze with fire and full of wheels of fire, and a river of fire was flowing out before Him. There was a host attending Him that could not be numbered. This Ancient One was the judge in a court and there were books present that were opened. (Daniel 7:9-10) (Revelation 20:11-12)
As Daniel watched, the last beast that the little horn had come from was slain and thrown into the blazing fire. Then, suddenly, before Daniel was one like a ‘Son of Man’ coming on the clouds of heaven. (Mark 13:26) He approached the Ancient of Days and was given glory, authority, and power over all nations and men. All worshiped Him in an everlasting kingdom that would never end! (Daniel 7:11-14)(Revelation 5:11-13)
Daniel’s visions are an amazing panorama of history from his day down to the second coming of Jesus Christ, the Son of Man! Be encouraged today that the Ancient of Days is in charge! The evil world system will be destroyed and the Ancient of Days will reign forever!
Scripture reading for December 6th: 2nd John 1-13
John is concerned about love and truth in his letters. He was the disciple ‘whom Jesus loved’! He knew the love of Jesus from a perspective that others may not have. He was one of the closest to the Master and wrote this short letter to a group of believers to encourage them to walk in love and truth.
“The elder, to the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in the truth–and not I only, but also all who know the truth–because of the truth, which lives in us and will be with us forever. Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love.” (2nd John 1-3) John was ‘the elder’, because of his age and position as an apostle. The truth John was speaking of was Jesus Christ as God’s Son and our Savior. All who have this truth, will love others who hold to the truth and walk in it.
“And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. And this is love: that we walk in obedience to His commands.” (2nd John 5-6a) John affirms the simple commands of Jesus Christ. These are old commands. Loving God is obedience to His commands to love Him and love others. It is so simple that a child can understand!
However, love must exercise discernment in the last days. “Many deceivers who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but the you may be rewarded fully.” (2nd John 7-8) John warned this church group and their female leader to be watchful. They were not to welcome or take in any of the false teachers into their home or church. “Anyone who welcomes him shares in his wicked work.” (2nd John 11)
God has great joy when His children walk in love and truth. Love must be discerning, however. The last days are filled with deception. Ask God to give you discernment and help you to apply the scriptures from this short letter. He wants you fully rewarded!
Scripture reading for December 2nd: 1st John 2:18-3:6
The term ‘antichrist’ brings up images of the beast of Revelation. This term ‘beast’ may bring up ideas of grotesque combinations of animal and human characteristics that are totally evil and bring fear to all men. But the term as used by John here refers to someone who set himself up as a replacement or counterfeit for Christ. This person may actually appear as a possible ‘Christ’. That’s why John spends time warning his church members to be on their guard and stay under the anointing of the Holy Spirit!
“Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. for if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us, but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.” (1st John 2:18-19) John explains that the time they lived in was considered the ‘last days.’ There was an understanding that Jesus could return at any time and that before He appeared, the Antichrist would come.
Many false teachers were among the people of God in John’s day. Many of them denied Jesus was the Christ. They left fellowship with those in the church and took away those who would believe their false doctrines. John taught that this separation came because they were really not part of Christ’s true body. He warned the church to stick to the truth and not believe their lies! (1st John 2:20-25)
“I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. As for you, the anointing you received from Him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as His anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit–just as it has taught you, remain in Him.” (1st John 2:26-27)
We have need to listen closely to John’s warning today. Many false teachers have gone out from the true church and taken many with them. Millions are in deception because they really do not know Him and have the anointing of the Holy Spirit in their lives. Jesus Christ is coming soon, will you be confident and unashamed before Him?
Scripture reading for December 19th: 1st John 1-5
John wrote this letter to the church to counter some false teachers called “gnostics” who were saying that Jesus was just a spirit. They denied that Jesus Christ came in a human body. Since they believed that the body was not “spiritual”, it didn’t matter what was done in the body. To them, there really wasn’t any sin a person could commit in the body.
But Jesus was a man and lived in obedience to the Father. Jesus calls all men to repentance. Breaking God’s law is sin and we must confess and repent. (1st John 1:8-9) If we say we have no sin, we are living in deception, just like the false teachers.
We can not separate the actions of our spirits and bodies, doing what we please here on earth and still expect God’s mercy! John used a word to describe these false teachers who worked among God’s people. He called them “antichrist”. (1st John 2:16) These teachers were proposing an alternative Christ that was simply a spirit. This false teaching took people away from Christ.
The early church knew about “the Antichrist” who was to come in the last days. He would be a world ruler who would deceive many with false signs and wonders. (2nd Thessalonians 2:8-11) Paul described him as the “man of lawlessness”. John further stated that many “antichrists” had already gone out into the world at the time of his writing. These false teachers had come from within the church but left the church.
“Antichrist” is a term that literally means “one set over against Christ”. In our language today we would likely use “counterfeit” to describe them. They use the name of Jesus Christ but live in rebellion to what Jesus actually taught and stood for. They were legalistic and manipulative and lacked the love of the Lord.
The best remedy against deception is to know the real thing and be filled with the Holy Spirit. John told his readers that they had an anointing that would teach them all things. (1st John 2:20, 27) The One who lived in them was greater than the deceiver in the world! (1st John 4:4) Take a moment today to reflect on the truths of John’s epistle. Invite the Holy Spirit to fill you with His anointing. Confess that the greater One lives in you!
Scripture reading for December 5th: 2nd Thessalonians 1-3
Because of Christ’s love for His bride, the church, He describes a “man of lawlessness” who will come at the end of the last days and be known for his terrible evil. God wanted to motivate us to tell as many people as possible about the Lord and understand His plan for the final judgment of those who refuse to believe in Christ.
“Concerning the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to Him, we ask you brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have com from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.” (2nd Thessalonians 2:1-3)
The coming of Jesus Christ will happen suddenly at a time when most are not expecting it. (1st Thessalonians 5:2-3) According to Paul, this day will not come until this lawless man is revealed. Even though it has been nearly 2000 years, these words are as true today as when they were originally written.
Paul goes on to describe this man of lawlessness as one who will opposes truth and set himself up as god. He will do this by being empowered by Satan to do counterfeit signs and miracles. (2nd Thessalonians 2:9-10) These signs will deceive people who have refused to know and love God’s truth. They will be deluded and go to their destruction. (2nd Thessalonians 2:11)
How important the love of the truth is! We have a daily choice to read and believe His word. If we reject the truth, we have nothing left but a lie. God chose us to be saved by the sanctifying work of the Spirit and belief of the truth. This is all a gift of God’s grace. Because of this grace will will share in the Lord’s glory when He comes.
Take time today to share Jesus Christ with someone who does not know Him. Ask them if you can share this passage about the coming man of lawlessness. Let the Holy Spirit lead you in sharing truth about Jesus the Son of God and the events leading to His return to earth for His Church! The testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophesy! (Revelation 19:10b)