Unveiling the Symbolism in Revelation

Chapter 9

By Ernie and Mary Kroeger

"And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star from heaven which had fallen to the earth; and the key of the bottomless pit was given to him." (v.1)

What a strange happening! Since we read in the previous chapter that the next three angels would be sounding messages of woe, we know that this message is the first woe! Five is the number of grace, yet the fifth angel sounding the fifth trumpet is bringing a message of woe to those living on the earth. In symbolism, God is telling us that this message of woe is coming to us in a word of grace! When God shows us the sinfulness of our carnal nature we feel the woe; then He shows us His grace, and we come into joy!

After the fifth angel sounded the trumpet, a star fell from heaven, and the key of the bottomless pit was given to him. This star is not one of the stars we see in the sky, for if one of them fell to this earth, our earth would be completely destroyed. Who is this star? This star is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ, the bright and morning star. He came down from heaven; He was crucified and resurrected; now He comes into our earth and changes us. In Rev. 1:18 we see that the keys to death and to Hades were given to Christ, the living One! He also has the key of the bottomless pit.

Keys represent the authority to lock and unlock doors. The keys I hold in my hand have very limited authority  only the authority to open the doors to my house and my car. The one who holds the keys has the authority. In contrast to our very limited authority, Christ has received all authority! This includes the keys of death and of Hades and of the bottomless pit.

What does the bottomless pit symbolize? A bottomless pit has no bottom and therefore does not have any foundation. Neither do lies and deception! There is no limit or bottom to the lies that are fabricated in the carnal mind. Lies do not have foundation. So this bottomless pit is not in the center of the earth or in a far-away land, but it is actually our carnal mind, for there is no limit to its lies and depravity. Lies have no foundation so they are a bottomless pit. Christ has the key that opens our carnal mind. He is the truth, and only truth can expose the lie. It is truth that cleanses us from the lies we thought were truth.

How can a word of grace be a woe at the same time? How can there be grace in a word that brings grief and suffering? Jesus came to this earth that through His death and resurrection we could receive grace. "For by grace you have been saved through faith." (Eph. 2:8) Grace does away with all works for righteousness, all our wrong thinking that says we are in charge of our lives, and all our pride in intellectualism and philosophies. Grace pronounces a woe on all self-effort; it pronounces a woe on everything that is temporal.

In Christ, God gave us grace and truth. These eternal realities comprise the very essence of Christ, yet we are so slow to embrace them, because we cling so tenaciously to our lies and deceptions. Troubles and trials are necessary for us to understand the inability of lies to help us. Only truth can free us from our bondage to them!

"He opened the bottomless pit, and smoke went up out of the pit, like the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by the smoke of the pit." (v.2)

When Christ, in His love for us, reveals our bottomless pit of humanistic thinking to us, we begin to see it for what it truly is! He uses the key called truth and grace to do this. No other key could open the door of this bottomless pit!

People who have a wrong image of God think that He is a God of wrath and condemnation, so they clam up and hide their secret thoughts. Many are trying to hide from Him today, just like Adam and Eve did! Before they sinned they enjoyed God's presence, but after they sinned their image of God changed. Because they thought God had become their enemy they hid from Him. They failed to realize that God had not changed and that He still loved them. They did not understand that God's goal for them was their salvation!

The opening of this pit caused the air to be filled with smoke! Smoke obscures the light of the sun and our ability to see properly. Humanity's ignorance of the essence of God can be compared to smoke, for it confuses the issues. Our natural mind does not know God, but it is very religious. Religiosity keeps us from seeing the light that Christ is! Our religiosity blames others for our problems, upholds its selfhood, and stubbornly refuses to acknowledge its need for a Savior.

Humanity's antagonistic attitude and actions may cause us pain and heartaches, yet we have to see Christ and His ability above and beyond our problems. Our natural thinking focuses on the hurts and the difficulties, for it is the smoke that obscures the Christ! This symbolic language shows us that it is our natural mind that keeps us from seeing the reality that God is love and that He has the ability to accomplish His will. His love for truth and righteousness will use whatever is needed to free us from our wrong thinking, yet we see God's "whatever" as woes.

Humanity not only puts great emphasis on intellectualism but also worships it. Man has made many innovative inventions, so he thinks he can control his own destiny and the destiny of others. However, these inventions came through the discovery of the laws God had put into nature, and by applying these laws, technical and labor saving devices have been invented! But this intelligence is only on the natural plane; it has nothing to do with one's knowledge of God. Unless God opens our eyes, we cannot see spiritually. Man's ignorance of God clouds man's thinking. Instead of wanting God, the Giver of all gifts, humanity is satisfied with the gifts, and pompously continues in its worship of self.

"Then out of the smoke came locusts upon the earth, and power was given them, as the scorpions of the earth have power. They were told not to hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing, nor any tree, but only the men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. And they were not permitted to kill anyone, but to torment for five months; and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings a man. And in those days men will seek death and will not find it; and they will long to die, and death flees from them." (vv.3-6)

Out of humanity's ignorance came a horde of locusts. When locusts land on a field of grain, etc., they land on the top of vegetation and begin to chomp away at it. So these locusts are the things that prey on the mind (the top realm in man) in order to destroy every vestige of spirituality God has placed there.

"Power was given them, as the scorpions of the earth have power." Here we have a comparison. A scorpion's tail ends in a curved, poisonous sting. Its power is in its tail. Again we go to the Old Testament to understand this symbolism. In Is. 9:15 we read, "The head is the elder and honorable man, and the prophet who teaches falsehood is the tail." The man, who calls himself a prophet but teaches lies, is the tail.

There is a lot of false teaching coming out of the mouths of preachers today! Instead of life and death, we hear about heaven and hell; instead of a sovereign God, we are told that we have a free will that can overwrite the will of God; instead of spiritual understanding we are inundated with carnal teachings; instead of one God, we are told we have three Gods, namely, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit! These clever deceptions form the truth of carnal Christians. This power to deceive was given to the locusts! Deception is poisonous and it poisons our understanding.

Notice however that these locusts were under authority. They were given boundaries. They could not hurt the green grass and the trees. Now what kind of locust does not touch green? These locusts act contrary to all the instincts of the locusts we are familiar with. Neither are they like the locusts that plagued Egypt in the time of Moses. This tells us that they are bringing us a symbolic message. These locusts could only hurt those who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads! Not every man can be touched!

The locusts could not attack those who have the seal of God on their foreheads. The seal of God is the Holy Spirit - we are sealed with the Spirit of truth! When we function in truth, we function in the mind of Christ! Those who have the mind of Christ will recognize the lies, and will not be taken captive by them! They receive the promises of God by faith, and march on to victory! The Holy Spirit leads them into all truth! They know that God loves and treasures them! The locusts cannot feed on truth.

The locusts can only target those who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. They can only feed on the carnal or natural mind - the mind that is against the Spirit. They plant wrong ideas about God in our minds. Thoughts that say, "Get mad at God because He shouldn't let you suffer...God doesn't love me...I can take care of myself, I don't need God," are from the bottomless pit. Every time we accept a thought that is against the essence of who God is, we allow the locusts to prey upon our minds. As they feed, they destroy!

What a forceful message of God's power and authority! In the book of Job we also see that God put limitations and boundaries to the things Satan could do to Job. Who is in control, God or Satan? Many falsely think the devil has greater power than God, and that the bottomless pit of lies has greater power than truth. But lies have no foundation; they only have the power of deception. Truth has foundation, and when truth is received, deception has lost its power!

These locusts had to adhere to the instructions given them. They were not permitted to kill anyone, but they were given permission to torment people for five months. Five is the number of grace. God's grace is especially evident when we are being tested.

The Greek word translated as torment is BASANIZO. It is derived from BASANOS, which means a TOUCHSTONE. A touchstone is a black stone formerly used to test the purity of gold or silver by the streak left on it when it was rubbed with the metal. This tested the genuineness of that metal. Whatever did not meet the specifications would have to be removed and the metal had to be brought up to the quality of the standard. God's standard is complete redemption. Anything less than that has to be dealt with.

These locusts show us where we are living. All religious game playing has to end. Have you ever heard people say that they would rather die than continue living in their present circumstances? They do not want to live at their wits' end. They desire death, but death does not come to end their dilemma. They would rather die than humble themselves by admitting they are wrong. They would rather die than admit that they need Jesus Christ! The natural mind is so foolish and so arrogant! The grace of God allows us to come to the end of our rope, and then gives us the opportunity to repent!

"The appearance of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle; and on their heads appeared to be crowns like gold, and their faces were like the faces of men. They had hair like the hair of women, and their teeth were like the teeth of lions. They had breastplates like breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots, of many horses rushing to battle. They have tails like scorpions, and stings; and in their tails is their power to hurt men for five months. They have as king over them, the angel of the abyss; his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in the Greek he has the name Apollyon." (vv.7-11) The angel and king of the bottomless pit is called Apollyon, meaning Destroyer. Destruction is his very nature.

The description of these locusts is presenting a spiritual message, so let's focus on their message. John did not know how to describe the locusts, so he used images with which we are familiar. These strange locusts didn't look like locusts - they looked "like horses prepared for battle." Various types of battles are described in the scriptures. The good fight is the fight of faith; the bad fight is the war against the Spirit.

These locusts, led by their destroyer king, were on the warpath against every thought that does not have its source in self! The images produced by the carnal mind are ready to battle against spiritual realities. Humanity is always prepared for a battle to keep its laws, ideas and traditions. It will not easily be pushed into oblivion. It fights for its self-engineered rights! If we think this battle is a pushover, we're sadly mistaken.

Their crowns were "like gold". Gold symbolizes God's divine nature. But these crowns were not genuine gold - they just looked like gold. This symbolizes religious thinking. It looks good and it feels good, but it is not the good from the tree of life. It is the good that comes from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil - the tree that is rooted in disobedience! Both the good and the evil of this tree are rooted in disobedience!

They had hair "like women". In 1 Cor. 11:15 it says, "But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her. For her hair is given to her for a covering." Their hair was not the hair of women; they were counterfeit or imitation hair. They just looked as though they were real. The natural mind thinks that church affiliation and/or good works are its glory - their covering. It does not realize that self-works cannot bring life! Sometimes Christians say that certain non-Christians live more like Christians than Christians do. That is a sad indictment on people who call themselves Christians. Those who look like Christians, but are not rooted in Christ, are very good imitations! But our source is very important, for it determines our destination. That which is rooted in death cannot bring us into life!

They had teeth "like the teeth of lions." The teeth of lions are strong and are able to bite, chew and destroy! These locusts, symbolizing our thought life, can do a very good job of destroying us!

They had breastplates "like iron". In Ephesians 6 we are told to put on the breastplate of righteousness. The breastplates these locusts wear are not of righteousness but of iron. Iron symbolizes inflexibility. In Revelation 3 it says that Christ will rule with a rod of iron. He will rule with the inflexible rod of truth, for truth cannot be bent. But the carnal man's righteousness is inflexible legalism. Woe to the one who tries to bend it! Legalism is completely devoid of grace! The religious mind is filled with rules and regulations. Follow the rules and all will speak well of you. If you don't, tongues will wag, and character assassination will follow. The religious carnal mind knows nothing about following the leading of the Holy Spirit!

Their wings sounded "like the sound of chariots, of many horses rushing to battle." The whir of wings is produced by a lot of movement. There was so much movement that it sounded like horses rushing into battle. This symbolizes the vast amount of movement in the religious realm! Committees, programs, bake sales, marches, demonstrations, etc., - all for good causes! Their goal is to change the behavior of people and to make them favorably inclined toward the cause they are trumpeting. Sounds good, doesn't it? However, all this activity does not change people on the inside. God is in the business of changing people by giving them a new heart! He takes them out of their carnality, and places them into Christ! This produces an inner change that is expressed in their attitudes and actions.

We have already mentioned that the false prophet is the tail. False teaching is in the death realm, and "The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law." (1 Cor. 15:56) The law was given to show people that they could not reach God's standard of righteousness, and that they needed a Savior - and the grace of God gave us a Savior! He is Christ the Lord! When people repent of their pride and self-righteousness and come to Christ, the Father is always willing to receive them!

Apollyon, the destroyer, rules the carnal mind so it can only bring forth thoughts of destruction. By listening to our carnal thoughts we destroy ourselves, and this also has an effect on others. Entertaining thoughts of bitterness, resentment and rebellion has a negative effect on our health, shortens our life, and makes us disagreeable people to live with. When Adam and Eve obeyed the serpent, they received the serpent's deceptive mind. This mind has been passed on to us. Only in Christ can we be freed from it.

The following story, related to us by J. Preston Eby, is a wonderful illustration of someone who was freed from the carnal mind of hate. It's about a lawyer who was called Wild Bill Cody (not his real name; his real name was an unpronounceable list of Polish syllables). This happened between 1939 and 1945. He had seen the Germans kill his wife and five children. The Germans refused to kill him because he spoke fluent German. As a lawyer he had seen what hate does to people's minds and bodies, so he decided to love and to forgive. This empowered him to live in a concentration camp for six years on a starvation diet, living in an airless and disease- ridden barrack as everyone else, but without any physical signs of illness, and no mental deterioration. He worked for people, counseled forgiveness, and became the one to whom everyone came for help! What a wonderful example of the power of love!

In contrast to the strength and encouragement that love brings, locusts always bring destruction. They devour and destroy. Poisonous thoughts have no place in the mind of Christ! Once we know the difference between the natural mind and the mind of Christ, we can discern the thoughts that don't come from the mind of Christ. Destructive thoughts have their source in disobedience, and they have no place in those who have the seal of God on their foreheads! We are protected or garrisoned by the power of God through faith! (1 Pe. 1:5) Jesus said that His sheep hear His voice. They will not follow a stranger - and that stranger is our own carnal thinking. That thinking is a stranger to God's kingdom thinking!

We have already seen that those who have the seal of God on their foreheads are the 144,000, and that includes all the overcomers of all time. As children of God we can walk straight and tall and without fear in the midst of this invasion of locusts, because we have the seal of God on our foreheads. God's thinking never receives religious thinking. Therefore we cannot be touched or harmed by these locusts. So says this vision.

"The first woe is past; behold, two woes are still coming after these things." (v.12) The woes are for those who are dwelling on earth, i.e. in their carnal thinking. Those dwelling in the earthly realm become food for serpents, for serpents feed on dust. These woes are not for the spiritual sons of God because they live in the heavenly realm, and serpents don't have access to that realm; they are confined to the dust realm! In Christ we receive the key (truth) that enables us to get out of the bottomless pit of lies, and ascend into the heavenlies!

"And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, one saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, `Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.' And the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released, so that they might kill a third of mankind." (vv.13-15)

We know that six is the number of humanity, yet this messenger is sounding a word from the Lord. It is being sounded by the new humanity - the humanity that is in Christ. The voice John heard came from the four horns of the golden altar that stood in front of the mercy seat in the tabernacle. It was here that worship and intercession took place. Only the priesthood was allowed into the holy place. So this angelic voice is the voice of the overcomers - the royal priesthood of the New Covenant who speak in unison with Christ. Horns symbolize authority, and four symbolizes completeness or universality, and the golden altar symbolizes the divine nature of God. So this message comes with the complete authority of God!

Let's look at the content of this message. "Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates." Four signifies completeness, so all the angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates are to be released. For a better understanding, let's take a closer look at this river.

The river Euphrates is first mentioned in Genesis 2:14 as one of the four rivers that branched out of the river that flowed out of Eden. Smith's Dictionary of the Bible says that the Euphrates is the largest, the longest and by far the most important of the rivers of western Asia. It comes from the Armenian Mountains and flows into the Persian Gulf. The entire course is 1780 miles, and of this distance more than 1200 miles are navigable for boats.

This river is also mentioned in God's promise to Abram. The Lord said to Abram, "To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates." (Gen. 15:18) During the reigns of David and Solomon this promise was fulfilled, for it formed their boundary to the northeast. On the other side of the river Euphrates were Babylon and Assyria. So if these people wanted to invade Israel, they always had to cross the Euphrates first. In the minds of the Israelites, the river Euphrates was the barrier between them and those who wanted to destroy them, namely, the anti-Israel forces.

The word Euphrates is thought to be of Aryan origin, meaning "the good and abounding river". The abounding waters were a protection for Israel from the invasion of the enemy. Whenever the Euphrates dried up, the enemy could cross, and all the powers that hated God were released. In the scriptures water is associated with the life-giving word of God. Whenever it dries up in us, the anti-Christ forces of the carnal mind are released! In this passage, when the angels are released, the carnal mind that is in the old humanity is released to spew forth its lies and deceptions.

It is a well-known fact that the closer a lie resembles the truth, the easier it is to deceive people into believing the counterfeit. Bring forth a mixture, and the multitudes will believe you. This is happening in the organized church today. The language of the world is mixed with the language of the kingdom of God. The world only has religiosity; it is devoid of the Spirit. The kingdom of God only has the Spirit; it is devoid of the world.

We need to be purified of everything that is of this world - the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the boastful pride of life! Worldly thoughts, words and desires are very detrimental, for they kill. "Life and death are in the power of the tongue." (Prov. 18:21) The tongue can speak words of life or words of death, depending on their source. Words that come from the Spirit are words of life; words that come from the carnal mind bring death.

"And the number of the armies of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them." (v.16) John did not see these armies; he heard the number. Young's translation reads, "and the number of the forces of the horsemen is two myriads of myriads." Myriads is an innumerable number, and the New American version translates it into two hundred million horses and horsemen. There are not that many horses on the face of the earth, so we know that we have to understand this spiritually.

"And this is how I saw in the vision the horses and those who sat on them: the riders had breastplates the color of fire and of hyacinth and of brimstone; and the heads of the horses are like the heads of lions; and out of their mouths proceed fire and smoke and brimstone." (v.17)

The riders had breastplates the colors of fire, hyacinth and brimstone. In this passage the word fire comes from the Greek PURINOS - the adjective form of fire. Fire purifies. Hyacinth, also called jacinth, can be any color from blue, bluish purple, to reddish orange. Brimstone is another word for sulphur - and it was used for purification. This gives us a picture of breastplates burning with a sulphurous fire mingled with the blue smoke that arises from burning sulphur. This fire purifies and corrects. Therefore we know that the purpose of these plagues is to purify and correct.

The heads of the horses looked "like the heads of lions." They looked like lions' heads, but they actually weren't. The sight of a lion's head creates fear in us because lions destroy and devour. In symbolism God is telling us that his discipline looks fearful to us. We dread it, for it usually comes in a hurtful way. God's objective is to do away with all our wrong thinking - the thinking that we tenaciously cling to. Since we are so bonded to that thinking, God has to use drastic measures to cleanse us. We need to remember that all of God's dealings with us are redemptive and prompted by His love.

"A third of mankind was killed by these three plagues, by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone, which proceeded out of their mouths. For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails are like serpents and have heads; and with them they do harm." (vv.18-19)

"A third of mankind was killed by these three plagues." Not all of our wrong thinking is destroyed in one sweep. Many dealings of God are needed to rid us of our pride and lusts of the flesh.

And out of their mouths came fire, smoke and brimstone. Here we have the same combination of colors that were on the breastplates of the riders. What a strange picture! Sulphurous fire coming out of the mouths of horses! The power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails. These are very unique horses indeed!

Words come out of our mouths, and words are very powerful; they can bless people or they can poison them. God's refining fire goes out to those who speak a double standard. Jeremiah 9:8 describes this condition of the heart. "Their tongue is a deadly arrow; it speaks deceit; with his mouth one speaks peace to his neighbor, but inwardly he sets an ambush for him."

This thought is also expressed in James 3:8-10. "But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way."

The human heart does not recognize the deception it is in, and that its own words are its judge. For example, if we tell others that it is wrong to tell lies, yet we lie, our declaration that it is wrong to tell lies, incriminates us. Therefore our words judge us, for they reveal that we are knowledgeable of what is right and what is wrong! Since we are so undiscerning, God has to send special circumstances into our lives to get our attention and be cleansed.

"For their tails are like serpents and have heads; and with them they do harm." Notice the similarity between the horses and the locusts that had tails like scorpions. Again we quote from the Old Testament. Is. 9:15-16 reads, "The head is the elder and honorable man, and the prophet who teaches falsehood is the tail. For those who guide this people are leading them astray; and those who are guided by them are brought to confusion."

We have been taught many lies. Believing lies will always hurt us! Christ came to bring us truth, and only truth can free us from the lies and deception of the carnal mind! Believing lies about ourselves, and about who God is, brings us into bondage! They either bring us into a fantasy world of self-adulation or into a living hell of self-denunciation.

"The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, so as not to worship demons, and the idols of gold and of silver and of brass and of stone and of wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk." (v.20)

What a strange situation! Mankind is placed into two categories: those who are killed, and those who are unrepentant. So those who were killed were repentant, that is, their carnal thoughts were killed. Repentance requires a change in one's thinking. The purpose of the calamities that come into our lives is to change our mentality. Here we see that the sulphurous fire, symbolizing a cleansing fire, had achieved its purpose in those whose selfhood had been killed. They had been cleansed of their independence and reliance on their own ability. They had died to their selfhood. The plagues had achieved their purpose in them.

Those who were not killed by these plagues did not repent. This illustrates the stubbornness and rebellion that reside in the heart of the Adam man. Those who reside in the Adam man did not repent of the works of their hands. The "works of their hands" are the things they do. Whom do your hands serve? They either serve the interests of self or they serve God. The natural mind is a master at disguising self-interest by putting it in a religious garb. Only the works that come out of faith are pleasing to God! The age-old question, "How can we work the works of God?" is very familiar to us. In reply to this question Jesus said, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent." (Jn. 6:29) The works of God come out of life and bring life; all other works come out of death and end in death.

Since they would not repent, they continued in their worship of demons. They continued to make idols of gold, silver, brass, stone and wood - idols that had no life - dead idols! These idols symbolize the images created by the natural mind. They may look good, but they are unable to help us, for they are in the death realm - they cannot see or speak. We may think that we are free from all idolatry because we do not visibly bow to statues and worship them, but are we actually free from idolatry? Let's take a closer look at the imagery we have here.

Gold represents God's divinity. Since these idols are made by man, they represent an image of God that man has crafted by his own imagination. This idea of God is not based on God's revelation of Himself, but on man's idea of what he wants God to be like or what he thinks God is like. That is why Paul wrote that we have to destroy all speculations (images) and every lofty thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God. We need to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. (2 Cor. 10:5) If we are worshiping an image of what we think God is like, instead of worshiping God according to His revelation of Himself, we are worshiping a man-made image of God. It lacks foundation, so we know it comes from the bottomless pit!

Silver symbolizes redemption. Idols of silver typify man's ideas of redemption. This so-called redemption consists of self-effort, abiding by certain doctrines and keeping certain laws. It is a redemption that has evolved in man's fertile imagination, and therefore it is unable to free people from their bondage to sin, yet it is being fostered and propagated by pagan religions and by the organized church. God's redemption is perfect, for it brings forgiveness and freedom from the Adam man - the man that sins.

Brass speaks of suffering and judgment, and idols of brass typify man's idea of suffering and judgment. Christ learned obedience by the things he suffered, but man thinks all suffering should be eliminated. Man considers all judgment as punishment. He cannot understand that true judgment is needed to recognize deception and to test the spirits. (1 John 4:1) Without the knowledge of the truth it is impossible to judge correctly. God's judgments consist of truth, and the truth frees us from the lies of the natural mind. God's judgments are redemptive, but humanity's idols of brass proclaim eternal agony!

Stone typifies foundation. Any doctrine, belief, creed or dogma that is not built on the revelation knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ is an idol of stone, for it has no foundation. Lies have no foundation; only truth has foundation. The natural mind is always against the Spirit of truth, and is unable to understand spiritual realities! Therefore it creates religious ideas that do not have foundation!

Wood represents humanity. We have to repent of all our ideas that do not agree with God's declaration of who we are! Comparing ourselves with others, thinking we are who others have proclaimed that we are, or seeing ourselves according to our experiences, successes and failures are invalid standards. If we cling to all the idols our mind has created, we won't receive revelation knowledge of the Christ! The story of the monkey who would not let go of the nuts to get its hand out of the jar in order to be freed, vividly illustrates how humanity holds onto its own ideas! In Eph. 1:17 Paul prayed, "that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.." Hearing the Spirit brings us into truth!

"And they did not repent of their murders, nor of their sorceries nor of their immorality nor of their thefts." (v.21) Repentance is so important! Repentance is a change of mind. We have to repent of believing our own ideas, and believe what God says. Cain did not repent of the jealousy that led him to murder his brother. In Cain's mind, his jealousy justified his actions. Had he believed God, he would have repented of his wrong attitude, and he would not have murdered his brother.

Nor did they repent of their sorceries. Sorcery is witchcraft. It comes from the Greek word, PHARMAKOA - the same word from which we get the English word pharmacy. According to Vines, this word mainly referred to the use of medicine, drugs, spells and poisoning. In Gal. 5:20, it is mentioned as being one of the many works of the flesh.

In the practice of sorcery, drugs are usually administered together with incantations and appeals to occult powers. In order to get people under the sorcerer's control and power, a lot of fanfare was, and still is, used to impress them with his mysterious powers. Is it possible that Christians still practice a type of sorcery? Do they sometimes draw attention to themselves in order to get people under their control when functioning in the gifts of the Spirit? Jesus referred to this in Matt. 7:22-23. "Many will say to Me on that day, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, `I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.'" These people drew attention to themselves and their works because they wanted honor and control. This fanned their religious pride. They thought that by doing this they could earn their salvation.

Sorcery is associated with the worship of demon power, and has as its objective the gaining of power over people  and that is manipulation. Many churches also use manipulation by teaching their members to strictly adhere to their regulations if they want to go to heaven. Their claim to perfect doctrine implies that if you leave them, you are bound straight for hell. God would be extremely unwise to put all His truth in one particular denomination. Truth is in the Holy Spirit - not in a church or denomination. We need to repent of every desire that seeks control. Christians are to be led by the Holy Spirit of truth! Placing oneself under the power of any other spirit is being anti-Christ.

" Nor of their immorality." They refused to repent of their immorality. Unfaithfulness to one's spouse is immorality. Did you know that the church is guilty of immorality? She is unfaithful to her head, the Lord Jesus Christ, for she has made a covenant with the law. By so doing, she has left the grace and mercy that is in Christ, and the law has become her head. This is adultery, and adultery is immorality.

"Nor of their thefts." They also refused to repent of their thefts. When a robbery occurs, someone suffers loss. The body of Christ has been robbed of many precious truths due to the faulty translation of the Bible, and by teaching that the traditions of men are truth. For example, we have been taught that it is wrong to "spiritualize the word". Jesus said that His words are spirit and are life, so how can we spiritualize something that is already spirit? The flesh is unable to receive spiritual realities. Therefore, if we do not receive His words as spiritual realities, we are receiving them on a lower level; by doing this we are actually "carnalizing" His words.

The reality of what we have in Christ has been stolen from us, for we have been told that it belongs to the future. If we relegate to the future what is actually ours today, we are living in poverty. We are like the man who framed his $20,000 check, hung it on the wall, and lived in abject poverty! Unless we believe what God says is ours, we live in spiritual poverty. Let's believe God and live in the fullness of the Spirit and the riches we have in Christ!

Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness. Let's repent of our unbelief, and become believers as exemplified by Abraham, our forefather of the faith! We could cite many more examples of how we have been robbed. Study your Bibles and notice how many past tense verbs we subconsciously relegate to the future. Notice also how people substitute heaven for life, and hell for death.

God is blowing the trumpet. The King has been crowned! Come and worship at His throne! If the stubborn, rebellious mind of man refuses to repent and bow to Him, more woes will follow. God's love is so great that He will not stop from working on our behalf!

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