Mark 4:18, 19 – “Still others, like seed sown among the thorns, hear the Word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke out the Word, making it unfruitful.” (NIV 1978)
My Musings – Today’s world is so fast-paced, and the demands so burdensome, that this can easily happen. So we must be on guard, carefully choosing what is important versus what may be urgent, but not that important.
My Advice – Watch out for “thorns” in your life (career, social life, etc…), that they do not choke out God from your life. You have to be on guard. It can creep up on you so that you don’t readily realize it, then it can become a habit that is hard to break.
THE INHABITANTS OF THE EARTH – With [the woman/prostitute] the kings of the earth committed adultery and the inhabitants of the earth were intoxicated with the wine of her adulteries … I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus. The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast, because he once was, now is not, and yet will come. (Revelation 17:2, 6, 8)
Kings and People Intoxicated by the Woman – The figure of a harlot committing fornication with kings and peoples occurs frequently in the prophets. It represents the defection of God’s people and their attachment to another god. See Isaiah 1:21; Jeremiah 2:20; 3:1, 6, 8; Ezekiel 16:15, 16, 28, 31, 35, 41; 23:5, 19, 44; Hosea 2:5; 3:3; 4:14. The word is also applied to heathen cities, but only in three places: to Tyre (Isaiah 23:15 – 17), to Nineveh (Nahum 3:4), and here.(1) In other words, they had become a part of the religious system which she symbolized (Revelation14:8),(2) and yet later turn against her and “bring her to ruin.” As we see the people of the United States gradually turning away from, or redefining the Christian faith upon which it was built, we can perhaps see how easily this might happen when Satan has freer rein and the Holy Spirit is withdrawn.
Fornication may refer to religious infidelity, the sexual indiscretion involved in pagan ritual, or both (Revelation 2:21). Revelation 18 (next chapter) suggests that this immorality also represents the commercial and political dealings with the kings and merchants of the earth,(3) as in the end times commerce, politics and religion all become strange bedfellows.
The Woman Drunk on the Blood of the Saints – This is an explicit reference to the intense persecution inflicted on believers by the woman.
Up Next – Babylon’s fall is proclaimed.
- Vincent, M. R. (1887). Word studies in the New Testament. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.
- Walvoord, John F., & Zuck, R. B., Dallas Theological Seminary. (1985). The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
- Barry, J. D., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Mangum, D., & Whitehead, M. M. (2012). Faithlife Study Bible. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
Great Tribulation – “For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.” (Matthew 24:21-22)
As we read the foregoing signs, Jesus instructed us to “not be alarmed” that these are only the “beginning of birth pains.” See Figure 2.5.
This only makes his prediction about a period of “great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world” and “if those days were not cut short, no one would survive” all the more alarming.
The preface of “for then” in this verse implies that this period of great distress occurs soon after “the abomination that causes desolation.” This period of distress, because it is “unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again” can only be the Great Tribulation (see Figure 2.6) that was discussed in Chapter 1, Taming the Terminology.
Next Up – Anti-Christ.
THE TRIBULATION – The Hebrew word that is commonly translated as Tribulation literally means narrow or compressed. The Greek word that is translated as Tribulation also conveys the idea of severe constriction, narrowing, or pressing together. In contrast to the age of Grace, which has extended for nearly 2000 years, the Tribulation (also called the age of Wrath) is compressed into seven years. Similar notions underlie the Latin word which literally means a threshing sledge used to crush and separate grain. Separating the wheat from the chaff will entail a crushing sequence of events during the Tribulation. A figurative understanding of these terms would be affliction, distress, or tribulation. (1)
The primary questions surrounding the Tribulation are its timing in relation to the Rapture and Parousia, whether believers will be subjected to it, the distinction between Tribulation and Great Tribulation, its duration, and why the Tribulation is necessary. Continue reading “The Tribulation”