Friday, February 26, 2010

God's Grace Doesn't Remove the Goal-Posts

The Lord Jesus and the Apostles said adultery, fornication and all uncleanness is wrong. If agreeing with the Bible is to be polarized, then I'll gladly remain polarized. As for having discussion where the tone is set by questions rather than by answers - there shouldn't be any questions - it's not our place to question God, just to obey and teach what He commands.

The Bible has a lot to say about Economics and economic systems. Almost all of the Old Testament promises about the coming Messiah were made in an economic/political context. None of it was rescinded by the New Testament.

When Theological Colleges train ministers, they needn't divorce the Messianic Scriptures from their social and political context. Christ's grace teaches us to fulfill the principles that undergirded Moses' Law - which provided blueprints for commerce as well as for worship and relationships. Therefore a well-trained minister needn't be the last person to talk on economics.

Grey areas? The Bible doesn't warn us not to eat polonium-nitrate either. But it ought to be self-evident based on commandments in the Bible whether something is good or evil. Besides, the article cited above isn't talking about what some might call grey areas: it condones evils such as abortion, sodomy and same-sex 'marriages'.

The Bible is like the Brussels Tariff in the sense that everything imaginable is classified by it even though it may not be listed there by name

Jesus was very compassionate towards women. He was also very merciful towards sinners. But when He showed mercy, it was never at the expense of failing to comply with God's Law. In the ministry of Jesus, mercy and truth met together; righteousness and peace kissed each other. For example, when He said to the woman taken in adultery... See More, "Neither do I condemn thee, go and sin no more", it was His mercy and peace that said, "Neither do I condemn thee," but it was His truth and righteousness that said, "Go and sin no more". By showing mercy to the woman rather than condemning her, Jesus was complying with, rather than ignoring, the requirement of Moses' Law. Moses' Law required the testimony of two or more witnesses in order to convict a person; and the eyewitness was to be the first to cast a stone. As you know, in the case of this woman, it so happened that only Jesus remained in the room - no eyewitness remained. Therefore neither was Jesus required by Law to condemn her. Mercy triumphed over judgment. But true mercy never alters the definition of justice nor ever fails to meet its demands. To do otherwise would be unrighteousness, and there is no unrighteousness with God. God didn't set us free from our sins through ignoring our sins or through changing the definition of sin or through accepting us despite our sins. Rather, He set us free from our sins through meeting the demands of His own righteousness, on the cross. As the hymn said, "Heaven's peace and perfect justice kissed a guiilty world in love".

my aim has been to show that extending mercy towards sinners does not require us to say that sin is no longer sin. Sin is still sin, otherwise grace is no longer grace. E.g., Jesus didn't condone aultery - He forgave the adulterer and told her to go and sin no more. He didn't condone the crippled man's sins - He forgave his sins ... See Moreand told him to take up his stretcher and walk. So today, extending God's grace to sinners does not mean that we need to tell them that their sin is okay, or to say that it isn't actually sin after all. Instead, our message can be that despite the destructiveness of our sins, God has provided forgiveness for our sins through Jesus. John the Baptist, Jesus and the Apostles preached that men should repent - therefore the necessity for reform can remain part of our message too. The message of God's grace needn't provide a license for indulging the baser nature of mankind - rather it is a message that actually empowers people to fulfill the righteousness of the law in their lives, and to go and sin no more! Receiving God's grace can be a life-changing experience, not merely a concept to hear about.

If you are using the word 'capitalism' as a synonym for 'greed', 'selfishness', 'covetousness' and 'extortion' then yes Jesus would be against it. The standard definition for 'capitalism' however is: 'the economic system where the means of ... See Moreproduction are privately owned' - and Jesus certainly upheld the ethic of private ownership of property. In that sense therefore, Jesus was a capitalist. So was Moses. And so were the Apostles. Each of them believed property can be privately owned. That equals capitalism. But of course, they were against the practise of disadvantaging others. But capitalism can be practised without disadvantaging one another. In fact, by definition capitalism works best when there is mutual benefit in economic activity. As for 'income redistribution on a large scale' through legislation - that isn't something which the Bible calls for. The Bible encourages 'giving' - but it doesn't recommend an economic system where the State assumes rights to individuals' money to redistribute as the State sees fit, especially not on a 'large scale'. If it did, "giving" could no more be called "giving" - because you can't "give" something if someone else has "rights" to it. You could "pay" it, but not "give" it. But that economic system wasn't Jesus' concept, nor Moses's. They spoke about "giving" - and you can only "give" something if it belongs to you and if you have exclusive rights to decide what you do with it - which equals capitalism. Jesus encouraged generosity - but He didn't deny the morality of the ethic of private-property-rights, as socialism and communism do. It's interesting that in the economic model which God gave to Israel through Moses, there was no legislation whereby anyone had rights to get anyone else's money or property for free: not the Levites, not the poor, not anyone. And no-one was required by Law to give or pay anything to anyone - whether it was to the Levites or to the poor - without being allowed the expectation of receiving some service or commodity in return, either. Moses' system of social welfare was a win-win situation for both parties - it certainly wasn't a free, one-way redistribution of one party's hard-earned money. It was a brilliant system, actually. And Jesus and the Apostles upheld it in principle. That still gives us the freedom to give though. But remember: Jesus didn't ask everybody to leave everything and literally follow him. And not everyone in the book of Acts sold everything and laid it at the Apostles' feet. But even those who did give away everything, did so because they were free to do so, not because it was imposed on them by an economic system. It's one thing to encourage generosity and mercy. The Bible does. But it's entirely a different thing if you start undermining freedoms and private property-rights - the Bible doesn't do that.

In this discussion about Biblical economics and sexuality, all I'm aiming to point-out is simply that in the process of reaching out with grace to sinners and in the process of reaching out with commercial help to the poor, it isn't necessary, effective nor right for us to alter the morals and values of the Word of God. Right and wrong are... See More still right and wrong; private property is still private and not public property. If we lose those values, we'll end-up contributing to the disintegration of the very society which we are seeking to help. And that wasn't the strategy by which Christ and the Apostles turned their world upside down. The grace and giving shown by Christ and by the early Church was so powerful NOT because they altered Biblical values, but precisely because they still had the concept of the sinfulness of sin and because they still had the concept of the individual's complete economic freedom despite living under a sexually immoral and economically totalitarian/socialist redistributionist regime - and they were able to bring something more powerful, more graceful, more righteous, into society. Yes, Jesus and the Apostles sought to achieve the salvation of sinners and the salvation of the poor - but they did not seek to achieve it by watering-down the concept of sin nor by instigating some system of legislated redistribution of wealth that contradicted the Scripture's values of private property rights and freedom. Instead, they brought the tools of grace, giving and work - which they implemented without altering the definition of the sinfulness of sin and without altering the freedom of the individual to give to the poor as he sees fit. And the economic freedom which we all enjoy today, and the dignity which women feel today, are all part of the result of their work!

If sin isn't sinful, grace isn't amazing. If property isn't private, giving isn't generous.

Isn't there considerable support for the view that the Global Financial Crisis was caused in great part as a result of the Clinton Administration's push for sub-prime lending? While many banks thought better of sub-prime lending, it was the Clinton Administration which interfered in the free market by legislating in favour of sub-... See Moreprime lending. The policy may have been designed to help the poor but ended-up causing more poverty than the world has seen since the Great Depression! It wasn't possible to help the poor using a strategy that didn't make sound economic sense. Large-scale redistribution of other people's property against their will is not a sustainable way of helping the poor. Giving aid is important during emergencies - but it can't be a successful at alleviating poverty long-term. Abuses don't have to be part of the free market economy where there is a rule of law. We need a rule of law. But those laws don't need to include a large-scale redistribution of wealth. Moses' Law is a good illustration of the types of ethics which need to be built into a legal system in order for it to prevent abuses without interfering in the free market. Anything else is a loss of freedoms, and will negatively impact on an economy's ability to lift its poor into the abundance that God desires for them.

I don't doubt that greed may have been a motivator why some financial institutions became involved with sub-prime lending. But if it was, notice, it backfired on them, more than on the borrowers. Very often it wasn't the borrowers who became bankrupt - they were able to hand the house-keys back and walk away, leaving no other recourse for the ... See Morelenders. In Australia the banking laws are different. Here, the lender can also come after the borrower's other assets, unlike in America where the lender can do no more other than recover the house itself. Therefore in America it was the lenders who suffered most. So, the problem wasn't the bankers' freedom to engage the market - the problem was not the free market - the problem was that the lenders did not engage the market in a sustainable way. It was their own lack of judgment. And it was the leftist Democrats who opened-up the way, in fact they insisted, through Legislation, to encourage this type of unsustainable lending. So if the problem was greed and poor judgment by the lenders (and by the Clinton Administration) then the answer is not to restrict the free market. The answer is to correct their judgment! If greed was a factor, then the solution is not to legislate against freedom, but to legislate against greed itself. There is a way to legislate against greed without introducing Socialism - without legislating against the free market. Moses did so effectively. He never restricted private property rights. He never introduced any sort of Socialist redistribution of wealth. But He did legislate against usury to fellow-citizens. He did legislate against the mistreatment of employees. He did lay down certain minimum benefits which an employer was required to pay to an employee. He did stipulate that rural land could be purchased only from within one's own Tribe, only urban property could be purchased unrestrictedly. But none of those points of legislation were Socialist in nature. Each of them upheld the ideology that "the means of production are privately owned". Moses did write a system for looking-after the poor and other segments of society - but his system never required any involuntary redistribution of wealth from one segment of society to another where it wasn't mutually profitable. That's Bible! And it works. The reason I point all this out, is because I think there is a trend nowadays of misunderstanding the Grace and power of God. It's all very well that we want to extend grace to the poor and to sinners. But let's not lose sight that God's grace is powerful enough to fix the problem without any need for us to alter the definition of the problem.

Perhaps we should drop the use of the label "Capitalism" in this discussion, in case we differ in our definitions of it. The main point I have been seeking to make in this discussion is that the grace of Jesus which we are constrained to show to sinners and to the economically poor, does not teach us to water-down the ... See Moreseriousness of sin nor does it recommend the expropriation of privately-earned funds on a large scale to benefit the poor. The grace of God is plenty effective without us needing to change the rules of play. If a footballer is too tired to run the full-length of the field to score a goal, it's against the rules to move the goal-posts mid-game. Instead, you rest the player, give him a needed boost, such as an energy drink, maybe a quick massage, then send him back onto the field-of-play with renewed strength to run the full length of the field and score the goals. That's how God's grace works. It doesn't change the moral requirement of God's Law. It doesn't change the moral ethics of economics. God's grace changes the player so he can win the game! Anyone who tries to change the rules of the game, is disqualified. God's grace isn't so weak that it needs us to change the goal-posts for sinners, by altering the righteous requirement of God's Law, in order to somehow make sinners more acceptable despite their sin. No, God's grace changes the very heart of the sinner, sets him or her free from sin, and enables them to kick those goals, to walk in accordance with the unchangeable righteous standard of God's holy Law. God's grace is not so weak that, in order to lift the economically poor, it needs a humanist government to change the ethical boundaries of private property and personal responsibility, as is done by Socialism. God's grace doesn't steal from the rich to help the poor. God's grace is able to lift the poor without changing the ethical goal-posts for the poor, without changing the ethical goal-posts in a manner which disadvantage the honest owners of capital. That is how powerful our Gospel is. We can expect to see lives changed and helped to that degree. But watering-down sin, personal responsibility, and private-property rights, isn't going to change anyone or anything long-term.

Moses said, "Thou shalt not steal". Straightaway, private-property rights are implied. In Socialism and Communism, nobody can "steal" from you because the State has given everybody rights to everything you own. Moses never implemented a system of expropriating property from one segment of society and freely giving it to another segment. Not ... See Moreonce! Tithing was not an example of socialist-style wealth-redistribution. Tithes were paid to the tribe of Levi as remuneration for services rendered - the service of the Priesthood which the Levites performed for the benefit of all Israel. In other words, it was a salary. It wasn't welfare. Part of the tithes were to be eaten and enjoyed by one's own family at the House of God. Part of the tithes were also given to feed the poor. But failure to do so was not an offence punishable by the civil Judges of the day, unlike other points of Law contained in Moses' writings which were punishable. In the case of giving to the poor, it was a matter of personal conscience. It was not a legislated expropriation of wealth. It was not a communal sharing of the ownership of the means of production. There were other ways Moses recommended helping the poor too. One of them was lending. Another was gleaning. And a third was indentured service. In the first of those three methods, the owner of capital wasn't allowed to make a gain (interest) from the transaction, but neither did he incur a cost. In the next two of the above methods, the owners of capital as well as the poor benefited alike from the arrangement. It was a win-win situation. Gleaning was hard work, it didn't cost the owner of capital anything, he would have made a small profit from it, although he might have been able to make more profit if not for the provision of gleaning, and the gleaner was paid usually just enough to feed himself and his family for a day, or maybe just a little bit extra. But not enough for "gleaning" to be seen as a precedent for "large scale redistribution of wealth". It was not a case of free money for no work. And it DIDN'T come at a cost to the land owner. The third method, indentured service (aka slavery, although it was NOT the same as pre-civil war slavery) provided a tremendous short-term opportunity for the poor to work their way out of debt. They were to be provided with accommodation, food, clothing, training, a suitable wage, and a good severance package when they left. It was to be for a strictly limited term (seven years only, the slave was not permanently owned as in pre-civil war slavery). Mistreatment of the indentured servant by the employer was punishable by law. The purpose of the provision of indentured service was to help the poor by giving them an alternative to homelessness, unemployment and debt. At no cost to the public. The voluntary employer also benefited from the agreement. Unlike pre-civil war slavery, it was a win-win situation. The equivalent today might be to take the poor into your house, or into your business, to look after them extremely well, to train them, pay them, and at the same time to benefit financially from their services while they are with you, and then send them on their way free from debt and able to set themselves up in life. That was Moses' social welfare system. There was no expropriation of wealth. Private property, the work ethic, and humane treatment were each upheld all the way through. There was no shared ownership of the means of production. Wealthy owners of capital were forbidden from taking advantage of the poor; but neither was any system ever implemented which forced the redistribution of their wealth into the hands of the poor except where it was voluntary and where there was a reasonable expectation of at least a certain amount of profit, and where the poor also worked for you directly - certainly, there was no loss involved. As for the Jubilee, it was far from being an example of an equal distribution of wealth. Far from it! To whom did the ownership of all property revert? To the original owners. Not to the poor! Not equally to the whole population! It reverted exclusively to the original owners, irrespective of who was poor. As for the cancellation of debts - that was a point of Law which actually would have restricted the extent to which wealthy people would have been willing to enter into transactions with the poor, not the opposite. It is far from being an example of large-scale redistribution of wealth. It's the exact opposite. For starters, the types of debts that would have been cancelled would have been very small. Remember, interest was not allowed to be charged to fellow-citizens. Therefore lending was not profitable for lenders. So they wouldn't have been lending huge amounts. Therefore loans would have been small, and would have been an emergency measure only, to cover the bare necessities of life. Plus, if a wealthy person knew the Jubilee year was just around the corner, he would have been even more careful to make sure that he only lent an amount which he felt confident would be recovered before the Jubilee year. The amounts of money Moses had in mind would not compare with Australia's annual Social Welfare expenditure. It certainly wasn't an example of legislated, large-scale, wealth redistribution! The Jubilee wasn't something that gave poor people the opportunity to make a living off the wealthy for free. No way. All of this is important because nowadays it's popular to call it "social justice" to syphon huge amounts of money from one bracket of society and give it freely to people who earn less. Moses implemented no such system. In fact, to do so, is really an injustice against the segment of society which it disadvantages. Let the wealthy help the poor in a manner that is a win-win sitation, and legislate against taking advantage of the poor in a way that doesn't benefit them at least to some extent. That's Biblical. That's walking in love, to both the poor and to the hard-working, rightful owners of wealth. Anything else doesn't teach the poor anything.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Capitalism v Socialism

Before I can discuss this with a leftist Christian, I usually find I first have to make sure he and I are actually arguing about the same thing. Most of the young, leftist Christians here in Australia seem to define their terms differently to me. It seems many of them think the word 'capitalism' literally means 'greed' , 'covetousness', 'extortion' or 'selfishness'. If that's what capitalism means, then I'm against it too!

So I usually need to tell them the standard definition for capitalism: 'the economic system where the means of production are privately owned'. Once we settle that, some of those outspoken leftists we have here in the Australian Assemblies of God realize they actually agree with capitalism. But unfortunately some of them get entirely lost at that point: they don't seem to know what it means.

There is a lot of emphasis in Australian churches today about 'social justice'. They complain that right-wing fundamentalism isn't necessarily a true representation of Christian ideals; they call it "unchristian" and "unjust" that Australia spends so little money on foreign aid; they are always advocating increased spending on social welfare; they think our unemployed and single-mothers are suffering social injustice.

I wrote to one leading Pastor and told him that while I'm in favour of showing mercy and giving, I think we need to be careful about using the word 'unjust'. To use the word 'unjust' implies that some other nation, or some other person, somehow has rights to our money; and if someone else has rights to our money, it makes us 'thiefs' if we don't give; in fact, even if we do give, it can't really be called 'giving', because it isn't truly ours if someone else also has rights to it - it is merely an act of redistributing public property, not giving.

The same Pastor claims it is "unjust" if a country such as Indonesia didn't show mercy to convicted terrorists facing the death penalty. I wrote to him and again said that I think we need to be careful about our use of the word 'unjust'. Certainly, the Balinese terrorists were not shown "mercy" - but we shouldn't define Indonesia's judicial system as "unjust" for carrying out justice! We need to be cafreful in the process of showing mercy that we don't change the definition of justice.

The same Pastor thinks it's an injustice that the Church speaks-out against homosexuality, even though he agrees homosexuality is wrong. I know what he means - he's pointing-out that it might not be a good strategy if the Church is perceived to be always protesting against things instead of showing it has the power to change lives for good. But I still consider it an unwise use of the word 'injustice'. Showing God's grace shouldn't require changing our concept of "justice". Grace is no longer grace unless justice is still justice.

I think this is important - because Rome didn't fall in a day. Socialist thought needs to be corrected the second it raises its head. It takes hundreds of years for a country's freedoms to be eroded - and the erosion starts today, in small things. The Church can be 100% in favour of showing mercy to criminals and of giving to the poor when it's appropriate - but we ought to call it what it is - it is "mercy" or "compassion" - and it's not necessarily an "injustice" when we don't. Otherwise giving is no longer giving.

So, many of our "social justice" programs really ought to instead be called social "compassion" or "mercy ministries", in my opinion. Maybe they could be called "social justice" programs if the programs sought to free people from inappropriately severe sentencing; or to free people from a socialist regime which is extorting their private property; or to free people from a company which is cruelly disadvantaging the poor - because each of those would be genuine justice issues.

The Bible is really clear in its support of the means of production being privately owned. "Thou shalt not steal" implies private property rights. Everywhere in the Bible where private property is mentioned, we are seeing capitalism.

Nowhere does the Bible impose a tax to support the poor, as if the poor had equal rights to another's property - rather, it says we can "lend to the poor" or "give", which implies that the gift is first of all the private property of the giver. That's capitalism.

Moses' social-welfare system was entirely capitalistic. The provisions he legislated for the poor:

1) Showing mercy and lending was usually done in a way which also advantaged the giver or lender. There was usually mutual economic benefit. It was a win-win situation. It certainly wasn't labeled "unjust" if someone felt they couldn't do it

2) Moses legislated gleaning. Gleaning was not a free handout. It was hot, hard work which a poor person was allowed the opportunity to do - and it still economically advantaged the landowner to a certain extent. In return, the poor person usually took home just enough food for himself and his family for one day. It was compassionate - but it still wasn't a cost to the landowner - and it still required work by the poor

3) Moses legislated how loans should be treated. The lender could take a person's coat as a pledge - but he must return it to the poor person at night, because it was all he had to sleep in, and then he may collect the pledge again in the morning. Thus the poor person was kept in a daily relationship with his lender which reminded him daily of his financial obligation to his lender. It wasn't a freebie. It wasn't his "right" to receive some ongoing, free welfare system. Notice that the poor person to whom the loan was compassionately given, was so poor that he was right down to the last coat to sleep in. Even in a situation so destitute, Moses didn't outlaw the taking of someone's last coat in pledge - but upheld private property rights and individual responsibility through it all!

4) Moses allowed indentured service. If a poor person couldn't pay his way in life, he could sign himself up to an employer. Moses required that the employer couldn't avail himself of the services of a poor person in this predicament for longer than seven years. The business-owner would never own the person (as was the case with 19th century slavery). Moses required that the business-owner provide the indentured employee with accommodation, wages, food, training, and enough severance-pay to enable him to be set-up in future work and in life. There were strict rules against mistreating indentured employees. This was really compassionate - but at the same time, it came at no cost to the business-owner because the business-owner also benefited economically from the poor person's labour. It was a win-win situation. And it was voluntary. Everybody gained, and nobody got anything for free

5) Interest was not allowed to be charged to fellow-citizens

6) The Jubilee - the whole economy was refreshed every 50 years.

Not only Moses' social welfare system, but also his judicial system was entirely capitalistic. No-one was ever sentenced to prison. The public didn't fund a prison system. Instead, criminals were required to pay restitution, plus an extra percentage for damages. If the criminal was unable to pay restitution, he was allowed to indenture his services until he could pay it off in-kind. But at no stage was public money spent in the treatment of crime. Again, it was a win-win situation: the victim was restored, and the perpetrator was able to put his misdemeanour behind him and move-on without a criminal record, without having been removed from the work-force at any stage. If mercy was shown to a convicted criminal, it was called that - mercy (and not some altered definition of "justice").

In Moses' economic model, the redistribution of wealth was never legislated except as payment for services rendered or commodities purchased.

The morals undergirding Moses' models are supported by the New Testament.

That's why I say the best way to provide foreign aid to a developing country is to start big business. It must be voluntary. And there must be mutual benefit. Locals are offered employment, training and perhaps profit-sharing. And it's sustainable, because the business-owners also profit.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Global Warming?

My mother, brother and I were talking about alleged global warming last night. Peter pointed-out that the processes involved in manufacturing hybrid cars and insulation materials might actually release more CO2 into the atmosphere than they prevent!

For a long time Peter has said that either nuclear cold fusion (which he said generates no heat and no radiation), or some new frontier of solar power, could be the way of electricity-generation in the future.

Peter also reckons a better response by the Government might have been to simply plant more trees. I discovered NASA estimated the number of trees on earth in 2005 to be 400,246,300,201. The world's population at the time was estimated to be 6,456,789,877. So that was approximately 61 trees per person on earth. Would doubling that number make a difference to carbon levels? If our Government planted 61 new trees per resident, it would amount to 1.2 billion new trees on the continent of Australia. This could be achieved if each of Australia's approximately 3.3 million fulltime students are organized to help plant 370 trees each. I've planted nearly my quota of 61 trees this year. Have you? And imagine if many of the trees are fruit-bearing varieties!

Another strategy suggested by Peter was the construction of a dam in far north Queensland. The surface area covered by the water could help cool the atmosphere and also precipitate further rainfall in an area that already has one of Australia's highest. Enough water could be piped south to service the whole of Queensland, NSW and Victoria.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What Homeless People are Rejecting and What they are Looking For

In heaven, God's dwelling place, part of the city at least has pavers made of gold, gates made of pearls, floor-tiles made of sapphire, and the city is set in the midst of the Paradise of God. God also placed gold In Eden - the botanical garden which God planted to become man's original home: and the gold, we are told, was "good". In process of time, had it not been for the fall, man might have turned parts of Eden into a replica of God's dwelling place in heaven. Adam might have eventually desired to build this for God, so that God's daily visits to him in the garden might be as pleasant as His own dwelling-place in heaven.

After the fall, God sought to restore again to man a picture of how life was meant to be. He showed Moses a vision of His dwelling-place in heaven, and instructed him to build a tabernacle modelled exactly after what he'd seen. Mankind was meant to have a God who lived with him. So Moses built the tabernacle - paved with gold inside and out and draped in ornate tapestry.

God also gave Israel, through Moses, a societal system that could have elevated His people above all nations round about. It was a system rich in its work ethic, in its recognition of private-property rights, in its condoning of profit - while at the same time restricting usury. It included no prison-sytem and no social-welfare payments. Viable alternatives for both were provided, which required no redistribution of wealth. The family-unit and all human relationships were protected. The means of obtaining righteousness was central to the whole system. God was included in every area of society. The whole system could be summumed-up in one word: love, love for God and love for one's fellow-man.

That's what the homeless man on the street is looking for: he's looking for the whole package-deal, not just part of it. Certainly, he no longer feels satisfied by profiting from hard work alone if he remains devoid of loving-relationships. But neither does his immediate need of loving-relationships mean that he has forever lost his innate God-given appreciation for the type of profit that comes from honest work: he was, after all, made for both. And it is a relationship with God, through Jesus Christ, that restores the promise of all of those things, especially at His coming.

When a homeless person joins our church's Transformation program, they find God, righteousness, and meaningful relationships. But they also get to live in a well-apportioned house complete with detached self-contained units, swimming-pool, wide-screen TVs, jet-skii, gym, top-class meals, all within walking-distance to the beach, they get to drive around in a variety of comfortable vehicles while participating in various work-experience programs, they have reserved seating in a 6-million dollar building in the heart of Surfers Paradise every Sunday. The opportunity is even being developed right now for graduating residents to participate in profit-sharing businesses. It takes only a short time before the once-homeless person is seen standing in the front row of church, praising God with all of his heart, wearing his suit and tie or his favorite clothes, enjoying every aspect of his improved life. Hallelujah! A lot of his opportunity came because other people believed it is moral to go out there and engage in profit-making businesses which enable them to make the donations which make Transformation Ministries possible. It's a package deal - God and capitalism.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Is Right Right and Left Wrong?

We ought to be able to give honour where honour is due, even if it's not on our side of politics.

But it should also be possible for the Christian Church to publicly advocate the need for repentance without being unmerciful about it.

And it should be possible for the Church to exemplify generosity without labelling it a "social injustice" if a citizen wants to retain the freedom to decide where and how much of his own resources he gives.

Being merciful shouldn't require us to be in virtual public denial about the word "sin".

Neither should being socially generous require us to advocate some socialist, redistributionist policy that weakens the universal value of private property rights.

The Church's unmerciful past needn't be overcompensated for by now becoming licentious.

Jesus was more gracious than ever anyone was - but neither did He avoid terms like "repent" and "go and sin no more".

He's our example!

Disasters - Natural Phenomenon or Judgment?

How should preachers respond to natural disasters?

Perhaps we can learn something by observing the type of comment that Jesus made in response to the natural disaster that occurred when a tower in Siloam collapsed, killing eighteen.

Jesus' comment was: "Do you think that they were worse sinners than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem? I tell you, No: but unless you all repent, you shall all likewise perish".

So, Jesus certainly wasn't quick to say the victims must have been worse sinners than everyone else. But neither was He silent, during such occassions, about the reality of sin as a factor in ultimate human destiny.

To be quick to describe victims as worse sinners than everyone else, or to whitewash over the reality of sin, in the face of disaster - are both extreme responses.

We needn't overcorrect one extreme only to end-up in the opposite extreme.

Jesus' response, rather, was to bring the public's focus back to themselves: they will all similarly die if they don't repent.

That's a brilliant way to respond!

Mercy Shouldn't Change the Meaning of 'Justice'

Someone said it is selfish, unjust and unchristian that the Australian Government allocates so little money to foreign aid.

I think we need to be careful about the use of the word "unjust" these days.

If someone refuses to help others, by all means we might call it "selfishness" or "unchristian". We might even call it "ungracious" or "unmerciful". But calling it "unjust" might put us at risk of subtly implying that other nations somehow have a right to an Australian citizen's money.

That would be similar to if you had graciously chosen to give someone a Christmas gift, yet they happened to think you hadn't spent enough on them. They could call you "selfish" and "unchristian" if they want to - but they wouldn't have the right to call you "unjust" - because that would imply that your gift never truly belonged to you in the first place; it would also mean that your giving was never truly a "gift", but was merely an administrative redistribution of public property; and it would imply that you had actually become a thief, because you had witheld for yourself something which someone else actually had rights to.

If someone witholds some of his own personal property from a needy person, the Bible might call that person "ungracious" or "unmerciful". It's only if a person retains someone else's own rightful personal property that the Bible would call him "unjust".

Any morality of redistributionism which subtly confuses "ungraciousness" for "injustice" becomes the seedbed of various levels of socialism and communism.

By all means let's go all-out for selflessness and generosity. But what is unjust, is a morality which teaches that someone else has rights to your personal property. And it's a mentality that perpetuates rather than alleviates poverty.

Neither Do I Condemn Thee - Go and Sin No More

My understanding is that Jesus found a way to show mercy to the woman taken in adultery whilst at the same time upholding the Law.

Everything Jesus did EXPLAINED the true intent of the Law, rather than contradicting it.

So He was acting within the requirement of the Law when He said, "Neither do I condemn you - go and sin no more" - because the Law required eyewitnesses; and the eyewitness was to be the first to cast a stone at her. Not a single person remained to condemn her. So due to the absence of witnesses, Jesus was not required by the Law to condemn her.

It's a mistake to interpret the text to mean that Jesus rode rough-shod over the righteousness of the Law in the name of grace. Jesus found a way to allow mercy to triumph over judgment without actually changing the meaning of justice.

Jesus was not one of those whose acts of mercy inadvertantly promoted licensciousness. In fact, instead of diluting the meaning of justice, it so happened that as a result of the way Jesus handled the situation that day, all those men went home with a far stronger personal conviction about the righteousness of the Law than they'd ever felt before - and yet it was mercy, not judgment, that achieved this.

Man's wisdom errs either on the side of lacking mercy, or on the side of lawlessness. But God's heart finds a way to let mercy triumph over judgment without diluting righteousness. That's the Gospel!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Notes on the Book of Revelation

1:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass;

The events were to happen shortly. That could mean that the events were to happen within the generation of the original first-century readers - or it could mean "shortly" in the same sense in which Jesus has been said to be coming "quickly" for the past 2,000 years or thereabouts. Or, both types of events may be spoken about in the Book of Revelation; that is, some of the events may have had a first-century fulfilment while others may have been future.

and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:

The coming events were "signified" by an angel to John; i.e., the coming events weren't discussed with him plainly and literally, but were shown to him in representative, symbolic picture-form. Much of the imagery in the Book of Revelation is symbolic, not a literal description.

1:2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.

The authenticity of the Book of Revelation is attested to.

1:3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

The time is "at hand". The term "at hand" may mean that some of John's visions may have shed light on events which may already have been unfolding in John's generation. And, it may mean that others of his visions may describe events which would be future to John's generation. And indeed, some of the visions may describe events which are still future even to our generation. There is a sense in which Christ's coming has been and is always "at hand" - for no-one knows the day nor the hour. In comparison with eternity, Christ's coming is definitely soon.
1:4 John to the seven churches which are in Asia:

The book is addressed to seven churches in seven specific regions, in the first century. A good place to start therefore, in order to correctly understand the Book of Revelation, might be to imagine what the contents may have meant to the originally intended readers in the first century AD - ahead of anything it might mean to subsequent generations.

Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;

1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead,

Jesus was the first person in history who physically and permanently rose from physical death. Others had been physically raised from death (such as the widow's son), but they eventually died again. Enoch and Elijah were taken to heaven, without experiencing physical death. Jesus, however, was the first person who experienced physical death, followed by a physical and permanent resurrection - never to die again.

But He was only the first of many. We who are faithful in Christ, shall also rise from death after the same manner in which Jesus rose from death, at His coming. We shall rise from death physically and permanently.

and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

1:6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

1:7 Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.

1:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

1:9 I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation,

"Tribulation" was considered by John to be a present-day reality, in the first century AD.

and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

1:10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day,

John was not "in the Spirit" all day everyday - or else he wouldn't have bothered to point out to us that he was in the Spirit specifically "on the Lord's day". The term "in the Spirit" evidently then refers to that special state where the gift of the discerning of spirits (I Cor.12) occassionally comes upon a person as the Spirit wills.

"The Lord's Day" refers to the first day of the week, the day of the week in which Jesus rose from the dead. The early Church had a habit of meeting together on the first day of the week; and it seems that John, who would have been in that habit while he was free, continued the habit of setting-aside time for special prayer on the Lord's day, even while he was exiled to the isle of Patmos. The Holy Spirit then took occassion of John's devotion, and gave him this revelation. Visions are most often experienced while a person is praying.

and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,

1:11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.

Notice again that there was a specific readership to whom the Book of Revelation was originally addressed. To understand the Book of Revelation correctly, it helps to keep in mind what the content may have meant to the intended original readers.

But although the book was addressed to those seven specific local churches, it's possible that John's expectation may have been that the message of the book would find its way to other churches elsewhere, and perhaps even to future generations.

Nevertheless, it may still be important to think of what the content of the book may have meant to the original recipients in the original location at the original time.

1:12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; 1:13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man,

The term "the Son of man" refers to the Lord Jesus Christ.

clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.

1:14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;

1:15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.

1:16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.

1:17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:

1:18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

Here we find another description of Christ's resurrection - it was physical and permanent. Therefore, seeing He is "the firstfruits of them that slept", our resurrection also shall be both physical and permanent, at His coming.

1:19 Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;

There were two categories of events shown to John in the visions: there were "things which are", that is, events which were present-day realities at the time of writing; and "things which shall be hereafter", that is, events which, at the time at least, were, and perhaps today still are, yet to come in the future. But not all of the events shown to John were future - some had already happened or were currently happening at the time of writing. And the text itself tells us which is which. It wasn't left up to his readers to try to work out what was past and what was future - the text itself differentiates it deliberately.

1:20 The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.

Throughout the whole Book of Revelation, as they are here, the symbols used are always interpreted for us. None of the meanings of any of the symbols in the Book of Revelation require speculation or private interpretation - all of the meanings are interpreted for us, like they are here, in this verse.

2:1 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write;

The term "the angel of the church" apparently refers to the human minister of the church. If it referred instead to a heavenly angel, there would be no need for the medium of a book to be used, nor would the book need to be sent by John, and nor would Christ need to use John at all - because there is no precedent in the Bible where God ever used a man to relay His message to His heavenly angel. God gives charge to His heavenly angels directly, without human medium.

The fact that John was told to address his letter to "the [singular] angel [or, minister] of the church of Ephesus" also seems to imply that there was a single leader who was recognized as being responsible for the church at Ephesus, rather than a plurality of leaders each with equal responsibility.

These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;

2:2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:

2:3 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.

2:4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.

2:5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

2:6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate.

2:7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

2:8 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;

2:9 I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

"Tribulation" was a present-day reality for the first-century church at Smyrna.

2:10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

An intense ten-day period of "tribulation" was coming for the first century church at Smyra.

2:11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.

2:12 And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;

2:13 I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is:

Satan was still present in the world.

and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.

2:14 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.

2:15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate.

2:16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

2:17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

2:18 And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass;

2:19 I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.

2:20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.

2:21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.

2:22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.

The first-century church at Thyatira was warned of coming "great tribulation" for its members which would not repent.

2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

2:24 But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden.

2:25 But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.

2:26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:

2:27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.

2:28 And I will give him the morning star.

2:29 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

3:1 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. 3:2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. 3:3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. 3:4 Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. 3:5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. 3:6 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

3:7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; 3:8 I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. 3:9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. 3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. 3:11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. 3:12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. 3:13 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

3:14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; 3:15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: 3:18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. 3:22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

4:1 After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. 4:2 And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. 4:3 And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. 4:4 And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. 4:5 And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. 4:6 And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. 4:7 And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. 4:8 And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. 4:9 And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, 4:10 The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

5:1 And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. 5:2 And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? 5:3 And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. 5:4 And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. 5:5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. 5:6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. 5:7 And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. 5:8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. 5:9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; 5:10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. 5:11 And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; 5:12 Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. 5:13 And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. 5:14 And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.

6:1 And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. 6:2 And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer. 6:3 And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. 6:4 And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword. 6:5 And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. 6:6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine. 6:7 And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. 6:8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth. 6:9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: 6:10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? 6:11 And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled. 6:12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; 6:13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. 6:14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 6:15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; 6:16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: 6:17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

7:1 And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. 7:2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, 7:3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. 7:4 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. 7:5 Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand. 7:6 Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nepthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand. 7:7 Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand. 7:8 Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand. 7:9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; 7:10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. 7:11 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, 7:12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. 7:13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? 7:14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 7:15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. 7:16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. 7:17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

8:1 And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. 8:2 And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. 8:3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. 8:4 And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand. 8:5 And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake. 8:6 And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.

8:7 The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up. 8:8 And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; 8:9 And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed. 8:10 And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; 8:11 And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter. 8:12 And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.

8:13 And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!

9:1 And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. 9:2 And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. 9:3 And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. 9:4 And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads. 9:5 And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man. 9:6 And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them. 9:7 And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men. 9:8 And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. 9:9 And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle. 9:10 And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months. 9:11 And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon. 9:12 One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.

9:13 And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, 9:14 Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. 9:15 And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men. 9:16 And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them. 9:17 And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone. 9:18 By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths. 9:19 For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt. 9:20 And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: 9:21 Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.

10:1 And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire: 10:2 And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth, 10:3 And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices. 10:4 And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not. 10:5 And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, 10:6 And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer: 10:7 But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets. 10:8 And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go and take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth. 10:9 And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. 10:10 And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. 10:11 And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.

11:1 And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. 11:2 But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months. 11:3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. 11:4 These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. 11:5 And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. 11:6 These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will. 11:7 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. 11:8 And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. 11:9 And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. 11:10 And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. 11:11 And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. 11:12 And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. 11:13 And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven. 11:14 The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly. 11:15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. 11:16 And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, 11:17 Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. 11:18 And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth. 11:19 And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.

12:1 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: 12:2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. 12:3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. 12:4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. 12:5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. 12:6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days. 12:7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, 12:8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. 12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. 12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. 12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. 12:12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. 12:13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. 12:14 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. 12:15 And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. 12:16 And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. 12:17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

13:1 And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. 13:2 And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. 13:3 And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. 13:4 And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? 13:5 And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. 13:6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. 13:7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. 13:8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. 13:9 If any man have an ear, let him hear. 13:10 He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints. 13:11 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. 13:12 And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. 13:13 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, 13:14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. 13:15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. 13:16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: 13:17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. 13:18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.

14:1 And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads. 14:2 And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: 14:3 And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. 14:4 These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. 14:5 And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.

14:6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, 14:7 Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. 14:8 And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. 14:9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, 14:10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: 14:11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. 14:13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.

14:14 And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. 14:15 And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. 14:16 And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped. 14:17 And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. 14:18 And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. 14:19 And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. 14:20 And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.

15:1 And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God. 15:2 And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. 15:3 And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. 15:4 Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest. 15:5 And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened: 15:6 And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles. 15:7 And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever. 15:8 And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.

16:1 And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth. 16:2 And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image. 16:3 And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea. 16:4 And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood. 16:5 And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus. 16:6 For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy. 16:7 And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments. 16:8 And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. 16:9 And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory. 16:10 And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, 16:11 And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds. 16:12 And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. 16:13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 16:14 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. 16:15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. 16:16 And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon. 16:17 And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. 16:18 And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. 16:19 And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. 16:20 And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. 16:21 And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.

17:1 And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: 17:2 With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. 17:3 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. 17:4 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: 17:5 And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. 17:6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration. 17:7 And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns. 17:8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. 17:9 And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. 17:10 And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. 17:11 And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition. 17:12 And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. 17:13 These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast. 17:14 These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful. 17:15 And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues. 17:16 And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. 17:17 For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. 17:18 And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.

18:1 And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. 18:2 And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. 18:3 For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. 18:4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. 18:5 For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. 18:6 Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double. 18:7 How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. 18:8 Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her. 18:9 And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, 18:10 Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come. 18:11 And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more: 18:12 The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble, 18:13 And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men. 18:14 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. 18:15 The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, 18:16 And saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls! 18:17 For in one hour 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, 18:18 And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city! 18:19 And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate. 18:20 Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her. 18:21 And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all. 18:22 And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, 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 shall be heard no more at all in thee; 18:23 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 were all nations deceived. 18:24 And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.

19:1 And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: 19:2 For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand. 19:3 And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever. 19:4 And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia. 19:5 And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. 19:6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. 19:7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. 19:8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. 19:9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. 19:10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 19:12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 19:13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 19:14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 19:15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 19:16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

19:17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; 19:18 That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. 19:19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. 19:20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. 19:21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.

20:1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 20:2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 20:3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 20:5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 20:6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. 20:7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, 20:8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. 20:9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. 20:10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 21:2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 21:3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. 21:5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. 21:6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. 21:7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

21:9 And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife. 21:10 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, 21:11 Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; 21:12 And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: 21:13 On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. 21:14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. 21:15 And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. 21:16 And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. 21:17 And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel. 21:18 And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. 21:19 And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; 21:20 The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. 21:21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass. 21:22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. 21:23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. 21:24 And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. 21:25 And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. 21:26 And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. 21:27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

22:1 And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. 22:2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 22:3 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: 22:4 And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. 22:5 And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.

22:6 And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done. 22:7 Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book. 22:8 And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. 22:9 Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God. 22:10 And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand. 22:11 He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. 22:12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. 22:13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. 22:14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. 22:15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

22:16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.

22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

22:18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 22:19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

22:20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

22:21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.