Why Go to Church?, Pt. 4

Scripture: Revelation 12:1-6, Jeremiah 6:2, Revelation 17:1-18
How do you find God's church, the church of the Bible? A pure woman represents the church in the Bible. In the book of Revelation we see two women representing the true church and a false church.
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Announcer: It's time now for Bible Talk. Join Gary Gibbs and John Bradshaw as they open the Bible to deepen our understanding of God's Word.

John Bradshaw: Hi friend and welcome to Bible Talk where we talk about the Bible and how the Bible affects us today. I'm John Bradshaw.

Gary Gibbs: And I'm Gary Gibbs and John today, we're going to talk about God's church and how to find the church of the Bible.

John: You know something, I was thinking last time here on Bible talk and we were talking about church and the church and so on. You mentioned a really interesting verse that you really didn't go into, might be time to do that now. You said how in Revelation 12, there's a woman representing God's true people, God's true church. Now it might be worth going back into that and finding out what that means and whether this would help us identify and understand God's church in these last days.

Gary: We can identify God's church in the last days because that's why God put this prophecy in Revelation. There are actually two women mentioned in Revelation, there's a pure woman of Revelation 12 that represents the pure church and then there's the harlot woman in Revelation 17, 18 that represents the strained churches, the apostate churches if I can use that word. Going in Revelation 12, you see this woman. I'm not going to read it verse for verse John but she's clothed with the sun, the moon under her feet. She's got a garland of 12 stars on her head.

She bears the man-child who's called up to God at His throne, this represents Jesus. This church, this woman represents the true church and we find this metaphor used numerous times in the scripture. 2 Corinthians 11:2, Paul says "I'm jealous for you with Godly jealousy for I have betrothed you to one husband and that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ." Jeremiah 6:2, "I have likened the daughter of Zion to a lovely, delicate woman."

John: Another place the Bible says "Your maker is your husband." Clearly God uses this figure of a woman to represent the church. You get into Revelation, heavily involved with symbols and symbolism, women symbolically represents a church who's saying a pure, chaste woman representing pure church, God's people, God's church.

Gary: Yeah, the marriage supper of the lamb mentioned in Revelation 19:9. His wife has made herself ready. Christ marries his church, He comes back for the church. That's the pure one represented in Revelation 12. We need to come back to her because if you read Revelation 12, 13, 14, you can actually just chart on a piece of paper the characteristics of this woman. It's just laid out right there but before we do that, I'd like for us to jump to this other woman.

John: You said there's a second woman here and if she contrasts then she can't be pure like the first one so what's she all about?

Gary: In Revelation 17, it says that "She's a harlot one, she's arrayed in purple, scarlet, adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls and in her hand. She has the abominations and filthiness of her fornication. On her head, she's got this name John, where I actually given her name John, mystery, Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and of the abominations of the earth."

John: That's pretty stern stuff right there. What is she? It's a mystery, Babylon the great, the mother of harlots, the mother of abominations. Wow! That's strong medicine.

Gary: Well you have to look at the meaning of this and the Bible says in James 4:4 that "Spiritual adultery is when a church makes friendship with the world and is not true to her husband, Christ." Adulterers and adulteresses' scriptures says "Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God. Here you have a woman who should be married to Christ and following His commands and honoring Him, but instead she's compromising with the world to gain the favor of the world. Now ancient Israel did that, didn't they?

John: They sure did, left and right, time and time again. They take one step closer to God and ten steps away from God. God said I want you to be singular, peculiar, particular, I want you to clear your mind, don't go mix up with the heathens, don't marry the heathens, anything like that but boy, what did Israel do? It didn't take them long and they were way out on left field.

Gary: And again worshiping the gods of the pagans, they began worshiping in a manner of the pagans worshiped and they began dressing like the pagans and before you know it, they didn't look like God's people any longer.

John: Man, I wonder if you can say we've got any of that going on down here in the close of time where people are starting to worship like pagans and dress like pagans and carry on like pagans.

Gary: Well that's why the Bible says this is Babylon. Babylon represents confusion and also goes back to ancient Babylon, all false worship. Actually you can trace back to literal Babylon, millennia ago, all of that false worship comes out of Babylon.

John: Babylon, or old Babylon, if I understand correctly was a real center for sun worship and for ancestor worship, spiritualism and sun worship, which if you know what you're looking for and you look clearly, you can see that very clearly in Christianity today.

Gary: Not to mention the non-Christian religions. it's all out there as well.

John: Sure.

Gary: Well if you look at these two women as I said before, you'll find these different characteristics, you just chart them out of the Bible. Let's start, John, with the mother church Babylon.

John: Before you do, we've got to mention that we have a great offer today.

Gary: Please do.

John: A book written by none other than Gary Gibbs himself. I want you to have this, we'll give it to you, "Coming One World Church," very well-written, very informative. We'll give you a phone number and an email address at the end of this program. You contact us and we'll get that to you absolutely free. It's a gift and it's important enough for you to really want to have this, Coming One World Church, the information when we're done.

Gary: In Revelations 17, the harlot woman of Babylon. We're given four characteristics to identify her, verse four says she's arrayed in purple and scarlet. Her official colors, purple and scarlet.

John: OK, scarlet is red really isn't it?

Gary: That's right.

John: Yeah.

Gary: Then verse nine, she sits on seven mountains it says, OK she sits on a place, a location that consists of seven mountains. Then verse six, she is drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus and she's persecuted God's people.

John: In other words she's responsible for obviously many people.

Gary: And then verse 18, she is the head of that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth. She has political power and influence over the world, over the world leaders.

John: Are you saying here that this is a church organization or is this a woman early on... remember a woman represents God's true church, a negative woman later on Revelations 17. Now there's something to think about there, go on and push forward with a little more on this.

Gary: Well I don't know how specific I want to be, you know I'd rather what listeners do is actually go and look this up and study it out themselves. Get out Revelations 17 and start charting these items here because it's very clear. You've got the official colors, purple and scarlet, they sit on a city of seven hills, they have a history where they have persecuted Christians and then they have political power over the kings of the earth and look that up and see what power might be out there.

John: It shouldn't be too hard to figure that out.

Gary: The other identifying feature here, it is a mother church, so this is a church that has spawned many other churches. Then you'll find that mother and the daughters are part of that system that has strayed from God. Now we need to ask the question, how have they strayed from God? That's a very important thing to look at. Well it says that she's committed to sin and sin, the Bible says in one John 4:8 is transgression of God's law.

John: OK, sure.

Gary: These churches are not upholding God's law. Now that's a perfect segue now to look at the other woman because this woman has four or five characteristics and she is depicted as keeping God's law.

John: OK, she'll be the antithesis really of this negatively portrayed woman where this was negative. She's got to be positive so let's go ahead Revelation chapter, where are you taking us?

Gary: We're looking at Revelation 12 now, where we started and we have a number of things here, the first I want you to look at is here in verse 14, it says that she is given two wings of a great eagle that she flies in to the wilderness where she is nourished for a time, times and half a time from the face presence of the serpent. Now this is a complicated prophecy, really not too complicated in fact but it's more complicated than we have time to cover here but it's a time prophecy.

John: The students of Bible prophecy down through the years have understood this to represent a period of 1,260 years.

Gary: This prophecy is actually mentioned around six times in Daniel and Revelation. It began in 530, it ended in 1798 so it covers a large portion of time. There are 1,260 years and I want to invite our listeners. don't take our word for this, call, write, enroll in our Bible study course and take the course. You will discover this prophecy is covered there, but this prophecy ends in 1798. Now, Christians have already recognized this time period, it doesn't matter which denomination you're talking about.

Historically, they looked at this being fulfilled in the late 1700's. This woman, the church is in hiding until then. Now historically, what happened is during the Middle Ages, God's people are being persecuted. They had to flee into the wilderness because they were being persecuted for following in the Bible.

John: I wonder if many people really realize that it was very, very difficult to be a Christian then. You know in some parts of...

Gary: True Biblical Christians.

John: Yes, in some parts of the world it's very difficult today but here in the United States, very, very easy but back then the Biblical Christian, it often meant your life.

Gary: And it wasn't communism, or necessarily Islam, that was attacking these Christians, it was Christian persecution on Christian.

John: That's correct.

Gary: Because the church had strayed so far. It accepted so much paganism and gotten so far away from the Bible that those believers in their midst that want to get back to the Bible were a threat to them. They were persecuted and they were killed by the millions, hundreds of millions in fact.

John: You've got here this thing that ruled for that long period of time. That's one identification point.

Gary: So it's going to come up after 1798, all right, second or third you find in Revelation 12:17, "That she'll keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ." They're going to keep all the commandments of God, all ten.

John: That's a very clear one it says in Revelation 14, "Here they keep the commandments of God." In Revelation 22, "Blessed are they that do the commandments of God, keep the commandments of God." It doesn't make much sense to say "Well here's a group of people waiting for Jesus to return, they're ready to go to Heaven." But they're living in known disobedience of God's expressed will, that doesn't make any sense at all.

Gary: When you look at those ten commandments, there is one that really separates Christendom and that's that fourth one. The fourth one says "Remember the Sabbath day, keep it holy."

John: It says that very clearly unfortunately though, a lot of Christians say, "Well they don't really mean that even though I don't have a verse to show you that says that it doesn't really mean that." This is something I would challenge anybody listening to think about. The Bible clearly says that and if the Bible is clear then we ought be clear on that too if we love Jesus Christ.

Gary: It's going to be a church who keeps all God's commandments and I believe including the fourth one, it will be a church focused on Christ as a testimony of Jesus Christ.

John: It would have to be focused on Jesus Christ and his free salvation.

Gary: Then the last points in Revelation 14:6, they take the Gospel to every nation, tongue, and people. It's going to be a worldwide Gospel movement. Now I want to invite our listeners John, you should go out and look up church history and look at where the church strayed in the middle ages. Look at the church movements that arose in the 19th and 20th centuries. Look at the churches that are following God, keeping His commandments, there are worldwide movements preaching the Gospel and when you start doing that, you'll narrow down the number of denominations very quickly and the number of churches. You'll begin seeing where God is leading His people today.

John: You're going to need to do this with a spirit of openness. Friend, pray and ask for the Holy Spirit's guidance. What we're encouraging you to do today is to look upon the Bible says and ask the Lord Jesus Christ if He would lead you in the same direction that His Holy Spirit is moving right now, lead you in harmony with the truth of God's word.

Gary: Remember, God has people in all different denominations and churches around this world and God loves us all and God is bringing us together through a study of His word.

John: We are just so glad that you've been able to join us in a study of God's word today. We'll have more next time and we sure hope you can join us and be sure and contact us and get that book written by Gary Gibbs, "Coming One World Church," more next time here at Bible Talk.

Man: If you'd like more information on what we've been studying today, we have a comprehensive Bible study guide we'd love to share with you that's absolutely free. This study includes many of the texts we've just discussed and expands on the subject including information you want to know. To receive this free, informative, Bible study guide, simply call, write or email and ask for "Coming One World Church." The toll free number is 866-Biblesays. That's 866-2425372. You can write to us at Bible Talk, PO Box 1058, Roseville, California 95678 or email us at bibletalk@amazingfacts.org. Bible Talk has been produced in association with Amazing Facts in the studios of LifeTalk Radio.

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