Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 3 * BOOK 13
BABYLON – “THE WORLD SYSTEM”
Revelation 18 & 20
Now back to Revelation 18 again. As we look at these cataclysmic events that are associated with the end of the Tribulation and the return of Christ, I want you to keep them in your mind. Because at the end of this lesson I want to go back and show the graphic difference between this and the silent removal of the believer at the Rapture when there are no cataclysmic events, or great upheaval; we just simply one day will be gone. And I’m going to show you from Scripture, so there is no doubt in your mind that these are not one and the same event as a many folks believe.
I remember I taught the Rapture in a church we were involved in at one time, and one of the leaders came up to me afterwards and said, “Les I’ve always believed in the Second Coming, but I’ve never heard of it in two parts.” And it shocked me, because I have never known it any other way. But now since I’ve been teaching for all these twenty some years, I’ve found many people know nothing of what we call the Rapture. They don’t know the difference between the Rapture and the Second Coming. Keep that in mind as we look at these horrible cataclysmic events leading up to the return of Christ at His Second Coming. Now to Revelation 18:14-16:
“And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all. The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her (by this great system, a conglomeration of religion, politics and government, and economics), shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, And saying, `Alas, alas, that great city (great system) that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls!'”
“For in one hour (just one short period of time) so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off, And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning,… And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, `Alas, alas, that great city, wherein where made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate.'”
Now come to Chapter 16. And here we get another graphic statement that alludes to the very same thing. Here, as the final great bowl judgment is poured out at the battle of Armageddon (that great plague of hundred pound hail stones), right in the middle of that bowl judgment you will find in verse 19 the following:
“And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell (here’s where I get the concept that the great commercial centers of the world, the Tokyo’s and Hong Kong’s, etc. as we listed them, are all going to go): and great Babylon (that whole consortium) came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.”
Those of us who know the Lord look around us and wonder how long is God going to be patient? We don’t know how long, but one thing I know, and I can guarantee; one day His patience is going to end. His Grace is going to end. And His wrath is going to fall. Now back to Revelation 18 to wind it up:
“And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers and trumpeters (today we would have to add the other musical instruments we have, but on that day they will all be quiet), shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone (the sound of production) shall be heard no more at all in thee;”
“And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries (drugs. There will be a tremendous drug culture during the Tribulation) were all nations deceived.”
Now verse 24, and here is another reason God’s wrath is going to be so tremendous. This world system for the last 2600 years, all the way back to Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon; what have they done to God’s people? They have been persecuting, and murdering them. And now here it comes:
“And in her (this great system) was found the blood of prophets (Old Testament days) and of saints (believers of the New Testament Age, I think), and of all that were slain upon the earth.
Several weeks ago I gave you some figures that were shocking. Remember I told you 50 million people, civilian and military, lost their lives during World War II. I also told you that 50 million lost their lives during the 70 years that the communists ran Russia. And during the dark ages, 50 million believers also lost their lives. We sometimes think that wars are precipitated solely on the basis of patriotism, and you and I are of the mindset that if someone was to come and take away our freedoms we would all be willing to fight and die to keep them. And our men have done that down through our history. But the more you analyze much of the wars of history, they were manipulated by the super, super rich, because when you get into the area of war and war materials, who profits? The rich.
Now I’m not one of these who scream, “The rich this and the rich that…” Not at all, but I’m a realist. And I know that these things are manipulated. We know that the wealthy people of the world will finance both sides of a war. They don’t care about the human misery. All they care about is how much can they get for their war material. And that is the basis today of most of the economies of the world, even our beloved America. What do you suppose is the backbone of our economy? Defense. The defense contractors. And I’m not against defense spending, for I know we have to have a certain amount of it, and I always want us prepared. But what I’m saying is the merchant and money men of this world are not concerned about the welfare of the individual on the street. They’re concerned about how they can generate wealth.
The Scripture makes it so plain that, as they have gathered all this wealth, they have also come down, for the most part, on God’s people. Just remember that all the events associated with Christ’s Second Coming and His return to earth are cataclysmic, and judgmental, bringing this whole earth down to the place where everything that’s materialism, and technological (all the efforts of man) will be gone. Here is a point I haven’t made that I should. Who is the god of this world that is behind all of this? Satan. The god of this whole world system we have on the scene is Satan. He is the promoter of it, and all the misery that goes with it. And it won’t be until he is defeated that these things can go down the tube. Go back to the Book of Zechariah to Chapter 14. And this is still the Second Coming. When the disciples stood on the Mount of Olives with Jesus and as He ascended, what did the angel tell them?
“…this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”
Now what does that mean? He left from the Mount of Olives and He’s coming back to the Mount of Olives. And I’ve said it like this more than once. “He left head first, He’s coming back feet first.” Remember, Zechariah is writing to the Jew:
“Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.” And then in verse 3, when it looks like there is no hope:
“Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations (these Gentile nations that have been gathered to fight against the Jew), as when he fought in the day of battle.” That refers to when the Lord fought Israel’s battles back in the Old Testament. Then verse 4; notice how plain this is:
“And his feet shall stand in that day (what day? The day of His Second Coming) upon the mount of Olives (where is the Mount of Olives? In Jerusalem), which is before Jerusalem on the east,…”
He will then prepare for the Kingdom, and we will come back to that at a later time. For now, let’s go to I Corinthians Chapter 15. Drop down to those verses we know so well, verses 51 and 52. Remember the Apostle Paul is the Apostle of the Gentiles. That’s Romans 11:13. And as the Apostle to the Gentiles, all of his writings are directed mostly to us Gentiles. And he always writes to the believer. So now, he writes to the believing Gentiles at Corinth, who were not the most magnificent testimony of the Christian faith, but nevertheless they were believers. And, as he writes to the believers there at Corinth, he’s writing to you and I today. That’s the difference. You’ve got to watch as you read your Bible, to whom was it written! When the Old Testament prophets are writing, they are writing to the Jew, the Nation of Israel under the Law. But when we come to Paul, he is writing to us Gentiles, who are not under the Law, but rather under Grace. We are under a whole different economy. We are now members of the Body of Christ.
I Corinthians 15:51
“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep (or die physically) but we shall all be changed,”
Whether we have died, or whether we remain alive at this time, we are going to have a resurrected body. We are going to have a new body, like His resurrected body. The body that can travel at the speed of light. A body that can go through a wall without a door. That will be able to eat and enjoy food, A body that can disappear out of sight. I always tell my classes if you want to get an inkling of what our new body is going to be like, just study those 40 days of Christ’s life after His Resurrection.
I Corinthians 15:52
“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” Now let’s break the verse down.
“In a moment (a moment in the Greek is not a sixty second minute. It’s the smallest divisible portion of time. So it’s just a fraction of a second), in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead (those who have died as believers in Christ. I don’t believe the Old Testament believers are going to be in there. This is strictly an event for the Body of Christ) shall be raised incorruptible, and we (Paul writes as though he is to still be alive when this happens. What is so amazing about this Church Age Doctrine of the Rapture, and given only to the Apostle Paul, is that it’s always been an imminent event. And so it is today. We don’t know when He will return, but I don’t think it will be long. Personally, I think it will be when the last person is saved during this Age of Grace) shall be changed.” Remember we can’t go to heaven in this old body, we must put on that body like Christ has. I always like to compare it to the caterpillar and the butterfly, but that takes time, and this will be in a twinkling of an eye. Now do you see any language about cataclysmic events, or the wrath of God being poured out here? No! It’s just all of a sudden here it comes and we’re going to be gone!
Let’s come on over to I Thessalonians Chapter 4. Now in verse 13, and now the Apostle uses that same language that he uses so often as he writes to believers.
I Thessalonians 4:13
“But I would not have you to be ignorant (untaught, In other words, Paul says learn this, understand it), brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as other which have no hope.” Now here it comes verse 14:
I Thessalonians 4:14
“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again,…”
That’s according to Paul’s Gospel that He died for my sins, He was buried and He arose again! This is the only qualification for being in this number. Paul doesn’t say if you believed and joined the church, and you have been baptised and you’ve done this and that. No! But only if we have believed Paul’s Gospel. Granted, as we saw in an earlier lesson, when we become a believer, what does God expect? That we withdraw from the world and all of its appetites, but that’s not qualification for salvation. Those are the things that follow salvation. But the qualification to be in that number is to believe the Gospel. Now if we have, and we are alive, then those who have died as believers…
I Thessalonians 4:14
“… even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.”
These people are in heaven in the presence of God in soul and spirit only. They are waiting for the resurrection day so they can have their new body. A lot of people think their loved ones are already walking the streets of gold, and are having a ball in glory. I can’t find that in Scripture. They’re in glory alright and in the Lords presence, but they can’t have a resurrected body until the resurrection day! And that hasn’t happened yet. Now verse 15.
I Thessalonians 4:15
“For this we say unto you be word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent (or go ahead of them who have died) them which are asleep.” And here is the reason why.
I Thessalonians 4:16
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God (I love it when people write and say they are waiting for the trumpet to sound. Aren’t we all): and the dead in Christ shall rise first:”
I Thessalonians 4:17
“Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord (where?) in the air (there’s nothing of him coming to Mount of Olives here. There is nothing of cataclysmic judgments here. Nor the wrath of God falling all around us. But all of a sudden there is going to be a quiet disappearance): and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
I Thessalonians 4:18
“Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”
Now let’s go down into Chapter 5 and watch the difference in language. Here in Chapter 4 Paul is including the believers with his own experience. The pronouns are `we’ and `you.’ Now come into Chapter 5:
I Thessalonians 5:1,2
“But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.”
I Thessalonians 5:3
“For when (what’s the pronoun?) they shall say, Peace and safety: then sudden destruction cometh upon (what’s the pronoun? Do you see that) them, as travail upon a woman with child; and (and again) they shall not escape.”
For those of us who are going to be in this great out-calling, Paul includes us in the first person. But when he speaks of those who will be left behind to face the wrath and awful cataclysmic events of the Tribulation, the pronouns are `they’ and `them.’ Now you come on down to verse 9 and I guess it’s time to close again.
I Thessalonians 5:9
“For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,”
God hath not appointed you and I, as believers, to wrath. He hasn’t designated that we are going to have to suffer the awful events of the Tribulation before He comes. We’re not appointed to that, we will be taken out ahead of it.
I Thessalonians 5:10
“Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.