Part 3 of 4: Mark of the Beast
Thus says the LORD: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man And makes flesh his strength, Whose heart departs from the LORD.
Thus says the LORD: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man And makes flesh his strength, Whose heart departs from the LORD.
Luke 17:20-21 Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; “nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”
Christ is coming as a thief. Where to look? Look within.
Matthew 24:43 “But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into.
Satan is the master in this verse. (notation 4-15-15: Satan is the cumulative false-judging self of humankind) The kingdoms of this world belong to him. Matthew 4:8-9 The whole world is under his sway. 1 John 5:19 At Christ’s return, Christ penetrates Satan’s kingdom of darkness as a thief thus in a way unknown to Satan and to the world.
The exact details of Christ’s return have been hidden from our eyes in the scriptures so the manifestation of His return is protected from Satan’s scheming as the verse above reveals. However, as the Day of the Lord and the revelation of Jesus Christ dawn upon us, we will start to learn and experience the perfection of God’s plan as it unfolds. God has been teaching me about this plan by opening up scriptures and putting them together in a perfect formation like I’ve never seen. Thus, one reason I believe the end is upon us. I’m sharing with you what I’m learning so that if you too are being taught by God, the posts will serve as a confirmation to some amazing truths. The truth is our protection. How important it is to seek, know, trust and believe.
A Mustard Seed
Christ’s kingdom starts as a mustard seed. Matthew 13:31 His Kingdom is within us.
Luke 17:21 nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”
Many are looking externally for Christ’s Kingdom, just as they did in the NT at Christ’s first coming. The religious people of Christ’s day read the scriptures, but they did not understand. They didn’t trust upon God’s timing for revelation but relied on their own logical deduction. Hebrews 4:2, 1 Corin 2:14 Never a good idea. As a result they conceived of an image of His Kingdom of their own creation, an image that they clung to as truth and therefore missed Christ although He stood right in front of them.
The same situation is happening again. People are looking and waiting for physical images of Christ’s return, which they’ve received from religious leaders. For example, they are looking for people to be physically raptured into the clouds or to disappear. They are waiting for the physical body of Christ to come in the physical clouds. There are many variations and many images. And until people see events that fit their man-contrived images, they won’t think Christ has returned. Don’t fall into the same trap, but seek to be taught by God through the scriptures. To learn of God, we have to be willing to let go of all images, otherwise those images will mar and hide the true God, truth, and what lies ahead.
There is much confusion about Christ’s return, and much speculation is outwardly focused. But if that is your focus, you will miss the call of the Bridegroom.
Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.
The Kingdom of God is Within
The Kingdom of God is built from within us. We are the temple. Christ died so that His Spirit could be resurrected in us. He gave up His Spirit as it was, so that He could be resurrected in many.
John 12:23-24 But Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified ” Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.
Christ’s physical resurrection is a testimony that His words are true. It’s proof to His words; He came to destroy death, give life, and resurrect our dead spiritual souls by filling us with His perfect righteous spirit. (Things we are waiting to see fulfilled, which I believe is beginning as the fig tree buds Matthew 24:31-32)
With Christ coming as a thief, a separation will occur that you see throughout the NT. 2 Thessalonians 1:7-8 Some are hearing His call, thus being filled with His faith/spirit, which is growing in them a new mind. Hebrews 12:2 This new mind is their salvation as they become new creations; creations who can stand in the fiery presence of a holy God. Isaiah 33:6 They are experiencing a truly born-again experience as all becomes new in and by Christ. As they receive the mind of Christ and thus walking in true wisdom, they are growing in peace, true love, joy and righteousness as they are being filled with Him. They are entering the Kingdom of Heaven on earth; a place of safety and rest.
Others are not attending to that call, because they are holding onto false images. They are headed deeper in the wrong direction. This path leads to outer darkness, a place without mercy as mercy is being lifted to reveal the works of darkness and bring in judgment. Matthew 22:13, Hosea 1:6, 2 Thess 2:6-11 It’s a place of increasing fear as one bad decision leads to another. The kingdom of darkness, ruled by Satan who rules by fear, is God’s tool of judgment as people’s choices and beliefs are manifesting for what they are – rebellion to God thus full of death and destruction. Luke 21:25-26 God’s mercy has sustained people and protected them, when it is lifted the depravity of their minds will be revealed leading to more depravity. The wisdom they thought they had will manifest for what it is, ways of death. Luke 19:26
When the mustard seed reveals itself, Satan knows His time is short, woe to the inhabitants of the earth. Now is the time to listen to the Bridegroom’s call and become an inhabitant of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Revelation 12:12 “Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.”
Some years ago while reading Jeremiah, my heart was deeply stirred by his words. I realized those words were to me; to examine my life by.
For those who believe these old prophets are speaking to the physical seed of Israel, I challenge you in that belief because it greatly affects our understanding of what is occurring these days. If I’m wrong, then we would only benefit from examining our lives by their words. If I’m right, and we dismiss them, it will be a grave mistake. The Bible is written to God’s people, those who are called by His name, so it’s written for us.
Romans 9:8 That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed.
I’m reading Jeremiah once again. As I feel his heart pour off the pages delivering a hard message to his brethren, again my heart is deeply stirred. I want to share with you some of what the Spirit shared with me; messages that continue to get stronger and clearer each time I read them.
The message is about judgment on God’s people who’ve gone their own way, who’ve followed false teachers and leaders, who’ve lacked a LOVE for the Truth. People profess love for the man Christ. He was a manifestation of truth. If you truly love Him, you will love the Truth. You will hunger for it, meditate on it, desire to walk in it and all the things you do when you deeply love someone or something.
Here is a taste of what Jeremiah says. The detail of truth in his words and what is happening today is astounding.
People don’t seek God and honor His words. Jeremiah 4:22, Jeremiah 6:10
People are assembling together, but in “harlots’ houses”. Jeremiah 5:7
People have been willfully led by false religious leaders. Jeremiah 5:12-13
God has stricken them because of their backsliding (Jeremiah 5:3), but they don’t repent. They continue to praise God with their mouths, yet follow their own hearts.
The religious leaders are of their own making. Jeremiah 5:31
People don’t fear God. Jeremiah 5:22
Judgment is upon us. Jeremiah 9:25-26 Each one is accountable to God. If you’ve been diligently seeking God in truth and spirit then you’ve heard the cry to examine your life, repent from self and walk in the truth. It’s a jolting message that wakes you from a sleepy existence. It stirs you to fervently seek God to know truth.
In the messages of this passionate prophet, God is giving those who stray from Him (the Truth, the Word) into the hands of the enemy. Jeremiah 12:7 In other words, many have professed Christ, but it’s a vain belief. 1 Corinthians 15:2 The Spirit searched my heart with this message in these ways — Jesus, the Word, is the Way; have you walked in that way? He is the bread; have you eaten the pure bread of heaven or the doctrines of others? He is the light, have you loved the darkness (own life) more than Him?
God is allowing those professing to be His to walk the path they have truly chosen. Jeremiah 2:17 I’ll ask you what He asked me, what have you truly chosen, not just professed? What does your life show?
People debate which leaders and churches are corrupt. Jeremiah spoke to the whole nation. God is speaking to each one of us. The warning is for us all. It’s not about examining our lives by each other or by our own rational, but by the Word.
I’m passing along the cry of Jeremiah, the warning of the deprived and deceived spiritual state of many and the ramifications to follow. As the end draws near and the new temple is dawning when God will set all things straight, more than ever we need to put God’s Word first. We need to examine our lives by it and know it’s God and His truths we are following and not false doctrines, which abound these days. Jeremiah 5:16-17
A response to his warnings…
Read the prophets. The words were written for your admonishment. Seek God in the Bible trusting the Holy Spirit to teach you, not a person. Seek understanding from Him with all your heart, soul and mind.
What does it mean to seek? To set a time aside each day (what is more important than God?) Read and meditate in the Bible. I’ve found reading a chapter in the Old Testament, one in the New Testament, then a Psalm or Proverb a good balance. Start with Jeremiah and John. Read with the motive to know God as He is; to know His truth. Rely on the Holy Spirit to teach you. 1 John 2:27. Ask God to reveal Himself to you. Ask God to reveal the errors you’ve learned about Him and His truth. Seek to follow His voice above all others.
Each one accountable to God. No one can cultivate a relationship with God for you. No one can pour God’s truth into you, but Him. He is the one to write in on your heart and mind. Your part is to abide in it with a desire to know it so it can be written on your heart. You can’t live by the strength of someone else’s relationship. You don’t want to be the one who has no oil when the bridegroom comes. Matthew 25:1-13
Some of the greatest enemies to your soul are distractions and busyness. Be wise. Spend time in God’s Word seeking the instruction of the Holy Spirit, there is nothing more important. Honor the prophets by hearing their words. They were written for us.
God’s love is great. His mercy has been overwhelming me along with the impeding messages of judgment. But if we don’t heed His Word, we’ll fall prey to what is upon us. 2 Thessalonians 2:10 Each one of us has to spend time with God seeking Him in truth and cultivating our own relationship. This union is what will allow us to stand firm.
We live in a hilly area of California. The other day I took a walk up to a high point in our neighborhood that overlooks the valley below. It provided a respite from the busyness of life; a place to be still and quiet in God’s presence, and to hear His voice.
As I looked over the mountains, the beauty and complexity of God’s creation amazed me. I thought, what a peaceful and revitalizing time it must have been for Jesus to escape from the multitudes to a mountain to be alone with God, to be still in His Father’s presence, to pray, to reflect. Did He just sit there and feel the gentle breeze across His skin as I am now?
As I looked over the expanse, I reflected upon God’s creation and all He has given us to enjoy, and the perfection of how everything works in harmony. But then a sharp pain pierced my soul as I thought about how many people never consider God and what He has done – how for so many years I didn’t. As my eyes fell upon the houses built into the mountainside, I thought about how people look to their own strength, provision and protection, something I’ve often done. They think they provide and protect when in a moment the God they forget could make those mountains crumble – those mountains they feel so secure upon in their houses – houses full of their precious treasures like their spouse, children, and pets.
Who are we to think we protect or provide? How quickly we could be crushed? Haven’t we learned from floods, earthquakes, fires, and hurricanes that we aren’t in control? That we are dependent on God’s mercy? What arrogance to think we are the providers, protectors, sustainers of life . . . that we are in control. How arrogant to forget our God when His beauty, complexity and order are all around us are screaming about His power, might and love. Without His mercy, we would all perish.
When Jesus was on the mountain – did He think a similar thing? Did He think about all He has done for us and all He was about to do and yet now we continue to turn our back on Him, reject Him, think we know better, don’t heed His Words, don’t spend time with Him, and don’t trust Him?
How sad it must make Him even now, when He has done so much for us, and we continue to reject His true lordship and kingdom in our lives. He has created a world that reveals His wisdom, perfection and love. Yet, we don’t exalt Him but we exalt ourselves. Even though we continue to deny Him and go our own way, He continues to preserve us. Even for those who do intimately know Him, how often we slip into thinking we are in control. We get consumed with worry, when He has done so much for us. God forgive us.
This mountain top experience was very humbling. And yet, it was full of powerful moments of praise for all that God has done, does do and will do. God’s love and patience overwhelms me.
May we daily have mountain top reflections that puts our perspective in the right place and reminds of us who we are, who our God is, and how much He loves us and pours His mercy upon us and that it is His work and not ours to be exalted.
The other day as I was walking on the beach, I reflected upon on the bleakness of our times contrasted to the beautiful truth of God’s Kingdom here on earth. I thought about how many people are waiting for heaven when God has given us access to His Kingdom now – something few truly enter into. Most are sitting on the sideline waiting and missing out on an incredible journey now. The reflection took me back to that poignant moment in my walk – the realization of the realness of His Kingdom here on earth and in my life.
The Realness of the Kingdom on Earth
One morning many years ago, my husband came into the kitchen where I was sitting having my quiet time. He said, “Can I interrupt you for a moment?” “Sure!” I said. I’m always ready to hear an insight. He said (paraphrasing) from what he was reading and what the spirit was teaching the Kingdom of God in our lives is just as real as this physical life. Therefore, dwelling it affects our earthly lives now in very powerful and real ways. We are called to a different existence now. His words confirmed what I had been learning. Often God teaches us individually similar truths at similar times – it never ceases to amaze us.
We dived into an extraordinary conversation about the Kingdom. We volleyed back and forth on what God was showing us. Our study, our circumstances, and our conversation were uncovering this mind altering truth. God was unveiling the mystery of His Kingdom. That day catapulted our lives in a new direction. The Kingdom of God became real like the sand that runs through your fingers and the surf that dashes across your feet. We discern it differently than the physical world but its affect on us is more potent than what we see. The impact in our lives from dwelling in God’s Kingdom affects our health, family, marriage, work, everything. It isn’t pie in the sky; it’s pie you eat. We were transitioning from hearing the truth of the Kingdom to it becoming our home. It’s like hearing about a country verses traveling there.
What is the Kingdom of God?
The Kingdom of God is within us. It is God’s Spirit within us. It is Him conquering the territory of our soul and moving in as King and us stepping aside. It is us being reconciled back to God through Christ’s sacrifice and dwelling in the presence of God and all that He is. In His presence, His Kingdom, I’ve experienced in substantive ways His love, mercy, truth, joy, peace, rest, comfort, deliverance, healing, power, strength, protection, provision, purity, goodness, purpose, beauty, wisdom, counsel, freedom, instruction, perfection, and sovereignty – all far beyond what the world offers. And when those things fill your life your life changes dramatically. Meditating on what He has given me in each one of these is something I often do. As we seek God’s face with our heart and soul in the truth of His Word, then these treasures become apart of our lives. It’s tremendous as I’m discovering.
The Focus of Jesus’ Teaching
Luke 4:43 but He said to them, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent.”
The Kingdom is the focus of Jesus’ teaching. It is the reason He came to earth. It is the place He opened to us with His eternal sacrifice, as His gift of righteousness opened the door. We need His righteousness because we have none and we only enter this Kingdom if we are spotless. The travesty is many are spiritually born and given this gift, but are stuck in the birth canal. If we neglect to enter in, learn, seek, and explore this new place then we abandon what Jesus brought us, abundant life. For God is life. It’s something we seek with our spiritual eyes, because it isn’t discerned with our physical eyes, but its power in our lives that dominates everything we do see.
The world functions by its wisdom and we, the children of God, by God’s. Just as we are born into the physical world, we are born into this spiritual one. For those who aren’t born into the spiritual, their lives function and are limited by the rules of the physical world. For us who have been spiritually born, we have a new set of rules that govern our lives as we live according to God’s wisdom. How we succeed, fulfill our dreams, define our purpose, make decisions, and obtain wisdom; and what brings joy, pleasure, and happiness are some of the areas where we learn and enjoy a new way of living.
The Journey into the Kingdom
Coming to understand how to live in our new life takes time. Just as we grow physically learning to function in the earthly realm, we grow spiritually. In order to do both we eat. In one we consume food, in the other the Truth, the Word. If we don’t nourish our spirits we won’t mature and will continue to live as we always have, outside His promises. How many mal-nourished Christians do you see? How many do you see feasting on the pure Word, and not man’s watered-down interpretation? If we ate more of His pure truth we would grow and live as we are called in His presence and not as mere men. 1 Corinthians 3:3 Why don’t you see the affects of the Kingdom in people’s lives? Because they aren’t eating or aren’t eating and digesting the pure Word of God.
For us to know and live in the Kingdom was and still is Christ’s passion. We don’t have to wait until heaven to experience a life with God that far exceeds what the world offers. Our response to Jesus’ gift of His life that allows us entrance into this world is seeking understanding and belief in all the promises of our new home. If we don’t take the time to discover its treasures, we never leave the airport. We stay just outside a world that would transform our lives. We remain in the wasteland of endless striving and insatiable hungers. Jesus came to give us life, life in His Kingdom. In it we find the abundant life He came to give. As His bride, it is our part to enter in and explore and we do by stirring the deep.
Verses to ponder about the treasures of God’s kingdom:
Proverbs 10:22, Psalm 84:11, Psalm 115: 12-15
Psalm 81:10, 16, Philippians 4:19, Matthew 6:25-33
Matthew 10:7-8, 2 Kings 20:5b, Psalm 30:2, James 5:15-16
4. Peace with God
Philippians 4:7 , John 14:27, John 16:33, Ephesians 2:14
Psalm 144:15 , Proverbs 16:20, Proverbs 3:13, Job 5:17
Psalm 116:7, Psalm 55:2,2 Matthew 11:28, Philippians 4:11-13
Psalm 50:15, Psalm 4:8, Psalm 91:9-11, Psalm 71:3
John 8:32,36, 1 Corinthians 6:12, Psalm 119:45, 2 Corinthians 3:17
Recently our house was invaded by tiny little creatures who absolutely amaze me in their focus, determination and perseverance. They do a lot of work for their size. Their work is organized and fairly efficient. There are some who stray off the trodden path. I found wanders climbing on the stove, swimming in the honey, and exploring the tub. But for the most part the majority is disciplined in their efforts to gather food and carry it back to the colony. They are an impressive creation.
As these little guys started to take over, we decided to intervene – though they were proving to be captivating entertainment for my cats. After being carefully observed, some ants would meet their demise under a furry paw poking and prodding at them.
We strategically placed traps, which looked like little houses, for them to crawl into full of tasty sweet liquid. One then two would find this magnificent oasis then tell the others. Before long the traps overflowed with feasting ants. Little did they know it was the drink of death despite its tasty flavor swirling in their mouths. Proud in their discovery, they carried this sweet death back to their colony. The next couple of days the number of ants tripled, quadrupled, sextupled into these little houses. But as the days passed, the black lines traveling back and forth began to wane and day by day more and more disappeared until there were none.
Truly I don’t like killing these little creatures, but when they start climbing over the keyboard, on my hand, in my tea cup, it is time to put an end to the madness. I wish I could become on of them for a just a day to tell them to go find food somewhere else, but we have our limitations.
As I watched these ants this past week in their diligent pursuit, it brought to mind a far more serious image.
Sometimes our intentions can be quite good but we are loyally headed on a path that leads to death. We are focused, diligent, and faithful and believe we are gathering the best food for ourselves and those we love – but it is the food of death. We are trying to do our best but we are on the wrong path. Proverbs 7:25-27
Let me explain. In these days, the last days, the Word vehemently warns us that deception grows worse and worse. Matthew 24:11. Deception is what we hold as truth, which is really a lie. False prophets are deceiving many. Their deception is becoming so extensive and sly that if given enough time even the elect would be deceived. Matthew 24:24 Think about that for a minute.
The church system is like the poison liquid traps. For some that analogy may be overwhelming to consider. But after reading, asking and praying over God’s Word for years this message has only grown stronger and others are hearing the same thing. The time is upon us where the enemy is taking over the sanctuary, the house of God, the church system. Lamentations 2:7, 4:12, Jeremiah 7:30. Satan is smart. The traps don’t look evil but good, nourishing, fulfilling – the worst kind of evil and deception there is because people believe they are on a good path.
I feel this message strongly upon me and out of my love for others I am sharing it but . . . it is hard. I know how much the church system means to many of you. But if you were enjoying a great time visiting with friends and I knew there was a fire consuming the building I would tell you. I’m compelled to repeat the warning that Jesus gave us – look out for the deception it will be extensive and the ultimate ruse because it could mislead even the elect! Matthew 24:4 Get out while you still can. Matthew 24:15-17, Rev 18:2-4.
What the church system offers seems wonderful, good, tasty, healthy, but it leads to death because it is putting a barrier between people and God and His truth. People go to church thinking they are drawing closer to God but the institution erects itself inbetween a deep relationship between them and God. Though they speak of God and the Bible, the truth is twisted just enough to make it a lie – a lie that kills. Not all do this intentionally. But regardless if the intention is good or bad – the result is the same. People look to the church to provide and protect – not God. They look to the church to be fed – not God. They lack a real love for the truth. 2 Thessalonians 2:10 And this misplacement of trust leads to their downfall. Many have good intentions, but they are headed down the wrong path. Over and over God tells us what is to come. We need to start seeking truth and get out of our habitual ways of walking the well travelled path.
I won’t mislead you – it is hard, very hard to leave what has been engrained in you that you should do. And there are additional reasons it is hard – some I’ll talk about in my video to follow where I share part of my story. Unfortunately, easy was never a word used by Jesus, the prophets, or apostles to describe these times. There are hard choices we have to make – some which will bring persecution. 2 Timothy 3:12-17
The GOOD NEWS is God is calling out to His people. He is gathering them together under His wing through His Word. He is revealing Himself in powerful ways to those who seek Him. He is connecting believers outside of the church system. He is providing and protecting those who come to Him. He is feeding from the greenest of pastures – out of His hand. He is the Great Shepherd. He is the sanctuary that can’t be corrupted. He is doing something new and those who seek will find it. It is a tremendous time to be cultivating a real and deep relationship with God.
Many are faithfully committed to their church because that is what they’ve always done. It is the trodden path. Have you gotten into the habit of thinking you must go to church because that is what a good Christian does? Now is the time to deeply question and seek God’s truth about where He wants you. We are so quick to rationalize, justify and excuse – but what does His voice say? His Word tells us what will become of the house called by His name. Listen to His Words, heed His warning.
Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”