Journal Rev 17 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “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 in 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…” Rev 17:16-17
Observation: All this effort to define the beast, the prostitute, the 10 horns, and etc. etc., and not the issues of significant importance.
Analysis: I can immerse myself in the royal story of Revelation and unleash my imagination, thinking that I can uncover some clue that will give me “understanding”. Many have devoted their lives and scholarship to the End of Times, forgetting that God has that under wraps and in his pocket—not to be revealed until He is ready: “But concerning that day and hour NO ONE KNOWS, not even the angels of heaven, NOR THE SON—but the Father only.” Matt 24:36
So, my two-cents to folks who are interested is to get into Revelation and all the End Time stuff; knock yourself out—but have Matt 24:36 on a sticky note taped to your forehead. Note to self: We have been in the End Times since the Ascension of Jesus. Hard to think about, but true. Also, another scriptural reference to consider: “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” (Deut 29:29). Basically, I read this as the words of the End Times are to wonder about, but I must major in Doctrine, Precept, and Principle that I can excel in doing His Will.
Getting back to the selected scripture: Can I represent the Gospel from Romans 9? How about Matt 22? “For many are called, but few are chosen.” (v14) It is the mystery of God’s Sovereignty. “…for God has put it in their hearts to carry out his purpose (of aligning with the beast) and hating the prostitute…” (above v17) and in Romans 9, “…So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills…” (v18)
What does this mean? From Genesis to Revelation, God is Sovereign. When anyone says, “God is in control”, it doesn’t mean “except for this, or this, or that…”; we are testifying of His unknowable Purposes AND are testifying that they are GOOD. All that will be saved from Judgment and subsequent Wrath throughout time are known to Him. There are also those that God will harden to carry out His purposes to the End.
I was in a car accident yesterday. Nothing big; still had to go through the motions of authorities, reports, insurance and the like. Why did God orchestrate that accident, because, make no mistake, it was his Sovereign hand. To test me? To see if I would respond according to what He is working in me?
That would mean that my responses are unknowable to God—but that can’t be true—He is omniscient. What does make sense is that He showed me where I am succeeding and deficient— tests come so I can see and make changes.
In my surrender to God, things changed. I have been born again, operating system rebooted if you will from a Full Sin Nature, to something that can now be overwritten by the Blood of the Lamb.
There are those that will always have a Full Sin Nature. Weep for those, but never let your heart get hard about it. But because none of us are GOD, we are commanded to preach the GOSPEL to everyone so that the chosen out of the called can respond.
Prayer: Lord, I should have prayed with that young lady this afternoon. This culture I now live in has me squirrely about touching females, even holding their hand to pray. Still, it was fear gripping me: I don’t need to lay hands to pray, I can PRAY.
Forgive me my pride of life, O Lord. I did well, I know I did, but I did not give glory to you until way after I left the scene of the accident. I feel like the silly disciples: “Look at what I did, Master!!” “Guys, just be happy your names are written in the Book of Life, OK?”