The Dragon and the Woman

Scripture: Revelation 12:1-5, Jeremiah 6:2, John 10:16
Date: 09/18/2006 
This sermon focuses on Revelation 12 and a woman and a dragon. What does this apocalyptic prophecy mean? What are the 1,260 days mean? A woman symbolizes the church in the Bible. The great dragon in this chapter is identified as Satan.
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Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to night number four of this incredible journey that you and I embarked upon last Friday night, "the most amazing prophecies." Tonight we interface. In case you forget, we are interfacing with the intriguing prophecy, the dragon and the woman. I read a translation somewhere that begins with this line, "and the dragon was enraged with the woman." And in just a moment Pastor Doug will come out. We will plunge into that study and I predict you will never be the same again because of what is going to be front and center this evening. These 9 nights we're just approaching the midway point, but these 9 nights are going to take us to the very threshold of eternity as we examine 2000-year-old prophecies that are setting the map for our journey into the immediate future.

But before we get into that and we bring Pastor Doug out for some q & a time, we need to sing that song, "give me the Bible." If you see those words on the screen, sing them. If you don't see the words, just keep singing. We practiced in our senior leadership team today just to see if we knew the words, and we actually got through the stanza, hallelujah. Let's all stand together as we sing our theme song, "give the me Bible." Are you ready... And let's remain standing tonight as pastor skip mccardy brings us before the Lord preparing our hearts through prayer.

Our father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. We thank you for this incredible seminar of Bible prophecy. It provides meaning to our history and illumines our future. Many who are attending this prophecy series around the world are not only curious about the meaning of the prophecies, but are also dealing with all kinds of personal issues. And we ask that in, our study tonight that along with providing clarity of understanding of the prophecies, that you will speak a personal word of guidance and hope to the personal issues of our lives as well.

And we thank you in Jesus' Name, amen. Thank you pastor skip and Pastor John. You may be seated. He's ready to go again tonight. How about a warm welcome for our speaker, Doug Batchelor.

Come on out, Pastor Doug. [Audience applauding] evening. Welcome, glad to see everybody here. Pastor. That was a dynamite story this morning.

Thank you for sharing it with us. Look at, we got a stack of questions. In fact we went through, must be about an inch wide of questions that have been turned in. Ragan, one of your team, has kindly put them--most of them onto cards. I'm just gonna fly through these.

Last night we got through 15 minutes worth. Let's see how far we can go tonight. Pastor Doug, here's a question, "why are there so many translations of the Bible and how do I know which one is right?" Well, that is a good question. When they say translations, you're probably talking about english translations. Of course, every nation has a translation in all the major dialects.

There are many different english translations because--well, I'm a little bit cynical. Part of the reason is money. the King James version is public domain. Publishers cannot copyright that. So sometimes publishers are inspired, "look, let's come out with a fresh translation.

" But then they copyright that and whenever its used, they get a special royalty off that. But obviously the languages change with time. We don't speak king James english anymore. And so some of it has been to modernize. Sometimes other manuscripts are found that give a little more accurate rendering of different verses and so they want to incorporate those things.

And most of the translations-- I'm not talking about the paraphrase--most of the translations, you lay them on top of each other are 99% identical. Or maybe 95%. I've got a computer program where I can open up a whole different translations. Look at one verse and all the different versions and they're usually saying just about the same thing, little different wording. And for a person at Bible study wouldn't be wrong to have more than one translation handy.

Oh, I've got several. This is from an andrews university student. "Pastor Doug, what are the differences between diabolical miracles, which seems to be healing people, then the ones God makes; or the miracles God performs versus, could it be the devil performs miracles? What's the difference?" Well, first of all, when the Lord performed a miracle, it was redemptive in nature. He would heal a person and say, "go and sin no more." The purpose was to save. Sometimes the devil will do miracles to manipulate a crowd or people to do something.

And so that's one sign. The other thing is you should judge all the miracles by the Bible. If someone performs a miracle. Matter of fact Moses said, "if a prophet proclaims a prophecy and it comes to pass but then he tells you to worship other Gods, he's a false prophet. It doesn't matter what kind of prophecy or miracles he might do.

" And so if they're saying anything contrary to the word, it's a false sign. Good. "Please explain--" okay, you mentioned this last night, somebody took you up on it. "Please explain the two women grinding at the mill, two men working in the field, et cetera." Luke 17:34 and this is where a lot of people get the idea of the secret rapture. In that day it's says, there'll be two women grinding at the mill, one is taken, one is left.

Two men are working in the field. One is taken, one is left. Two men sleeping in a bed. One is taken, one is left. What does that mean? And people surmise, "well, it means all of a sudden folks will just go beep and they'll disappear and someone's left behind.

" Well, first of all, in Bible symbols, a women is a symbol for a church. That's part of our study tonight. Outwardly these two women are grinding grain, a symbol of the word, bread. Outwardly doing the same thing. One is true, one is false.

Revelation there are two women, the church of God, the bride of Christ and a counterfeit. The bride of antiChrist you might say, and we have a lesson on both of those. There are two men working in the field. Jesus said, "the seed of the harvest is the Word of God." Outwardly, they're doing the same thing. You've got missionaries for all different kinds of religions all over the world.

True and false. There's only two kinds, true and false, saved and lost. Jesus said, "you're with me or against me." Two roads. We've got all these gray areas that we develop. Again, Jesus said, "two men sleeping in a bed.

" What does that represent? Well, death. Jesus said, "our friend Lazarus sleeps." How many kinds of people in the grave now? Two. Saved and the lost. Am I right? The Bible talks about the resurrection of the just and the unjust. And when Christ comes, the dead in Christ rise first, which leaves behind what group? The dead out of Christ.

And so this was simply Christ's way of saying that outwardly you've got all these different groups, but when the Lord comes, one will be punished. One will be redeemed. That's all I'll say for tonight. "When we pray, should we always, when able, kneel?" Well, when it says, "when able," when practical also. Whenever I have my worship in the morning, I kneel by my bed.

I knelt in a little room over here before the meeting and had personal prayer. I think when you come before the Lord and you're able to, you should kneel. I pray when I'm driving. And if you live in California, you pray all the time when you're driving. You can pray when you're swimming.

Peter did, he was drowning. He prayed," Lord, save me." You can pray standing up. Solomon stood and pronounced the benediction on the people. But especially in formal worship, there should always be some point during that service where you kneel before God. Now God is not interested in posture.

In other words, some churches, it's a ritual. You stand, you kneel, you stand, you kneel-- you can wear the Lord out with that. It's not calisthenics to pray. A prayer is especially humbling your heart before God and you--you show that by humbling your body and that's the purpose of kneeling. Good answer.

Here's an individual describing two deaths in her family. One that ended with a traditional burial, one that ended with a cremation and essentially the question is, "what about cremation? I mean, is that okay biblically speaking?" We get that question frequently. We have a radio program every Sunday night. We tape live Bible questions, and we get that about once a month. People wonder.

Most of the time in the Bible when someone died, they were buried, as you would say, a traditional burial in the cemetery. With the shortage of space because of the sprawl, it's becoming more and more--and it's also 'cause of golf courses if you ask me. Because of--there's less and less space for cemeteries, it's getting very expensive. So more and more people are considering cremation. And they're wondering, you know, in the resurrection if they're cremated is this against the truth? Can it be permitted? There's no command in the Bible that says, "you shall not be cremated.

" There's one or two examples. Jonathan was cremated by the people of jabesh-gilead. And of course, many of the martyrs were cremated during the dark ages and, obviously, they're gonna be resurrected. When the Lord comes back, he gives you new bodies. So it's not like the Lord says, "oh, you know I'd like to put him back together, but the ashes are scattered everywhere.

I can't find all the parts, so well, sorry." I mean--so, you know, everyone who dies, ashes you are, unto dust you return. Typically in the Bible they were buried. A person is not, I think, evicted from heaven if they're cremated. So that's the answer. Ten questions turned in on this theme.

"The 144,000 in Revelation, do you think there will be a counterfeit to this group?" Do I think they'll be a counterfeit? Well, we had ten questions. Some of the questions were asking all kinds of things about the 144,000. Well, a counterfeit--the 144,000 are in the last days what the apostles were at the first coming. The first coming Jesus picked 12, filled them with the Spirit an said, "go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." At the second coming, he fills 12 times 12,000 with his spirit and says, "get the world ready." The 144,000 are the equivalent of the last day apostles that God has called. Will there be a counterfeit? Well, there's a counterfeit for every truth of God.

I'm sure there are counterfeit apostles. Could I suggest? If you go to the Amazing Facts website, I wrote a book called, "the 144,000." You can read it for free if you want or you can order it. And it's online. You can read it, "who are the 144,000?" Just click on the free library and there it is. Great.

That's a quick answer. Here's one from one of our overseas viewers. "I presently worship with the assemblies of God church in botswana. I've decided to stop going to church on Sunday for I'm convinced that the day of rest appointed by God is the Sabbath or Saturday. Is this also a day of worship?" Good question.

You know we get a lot of questions also on this subject about the Sabbath truth. People are asking questions. There's a big revival among groups wondering about: does it make a difference? Is the fourth commandment still valid? I'm not gonna go into depth on that tonight except to say, the Bible does say in Exodus 23 that the Sabbath is a holy convocation. It's not just a day of rest but a convening, an assembly. So it is a day of collective, corporate worship.

Good. "I'm catholic by religion but Christian by heart. I'd like to be baptized by the Spirit. How can I get baptized in the Spirit? My family doesn't know that I'm not following their belief." Well, the beginning of baptism by the Spirit, Peter said, "repent and be baptized and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." A measure of the Holy Spirit is promised at baptism. As Christ was baptized, came out of the water, the Spirit came down.

God will empower you with the Spirit to live the new life. But the Spirit can also come in waves of filling even after baptism. That's what happened to the apostles at pentecost. We can't always schedule that with God. My advise to you would be to whatever extent you empty yourself of self, Christ can fill you.

And so ask the Lord, say Lord, "less of me; more of you," and God can fill you. Amen. Beautiful. "Are there Scripture references that state a believer can lose his or her salvation?" Well, this is the greatest theological minds in the world have debated the subject of predestination: once saved, always saved; assurance of salvation. And while it is important for Christians who are walking with the Lord to have peace and assurance, some confidence.

Yet we should not be presumptuous. And Paul gives us a lot of Scripture to maintain that balance. He said, "you know, I fought a good fight. I finished the course. I know that there is a crown laid up for me.

" He had that assurance. And yet he said, "I've got to be careful when I preach to others if I'm hypocritical lest I be a castaway." He didn't claim to be perfected also. So he had that balance of assurance yet not presumption. Are there Scriptures that say a person can lose their salvation? Yes. Jesus will never let go of you, but you do not lose your freedom to turn away from him.

He can't force you to love him. And so if you choose to turn away, as some did during his earthly ministry, it'll break his heart. He won't let go of you, but you can let go of him. And so we still have our freedom. But if you stay with Christ, he will never let go of you.

Amen. Good. We got more but we'll continue tomorrow night. Thank you. Oh, well thank you so much, pastor, for our Bible questions.

Our study, as I said, is talking about the dragon and the woman. And, again, I'd like to begin with an amazing fact. Some of you, of course, have heard about cleopatra. Boy, I'll tell you, that was one interesting lady. I don't know if you've studied history on this individual; very colorful life even though she only lived 39 years.

She was one of the-- a brilliant lady. Wasn't necessarily pretty as many of the movies and the paintings portray because the coins that are stamped with her image show that she had kind of a big, manly head and a hook nose. But she was supposed to have a very melodious voice. She was a very shrewd politician, spoke nine languages and was the first of the ptolemy rulers to speak the local Egyptian dialect. Did you know she was the last pharaoh of Egypt? Part of the reason she came to that position, she had to marry her 11-year-old brother when she was 17.

I don't know what it was about their culture, but that was the rule. Later, he tried to have her ousted. She fled, came back, had him killed, had to marry another 11-year-old brother. Later she had an affair with julius caesar, had children by him; had an affair with Mark anthony, had children by him. Finally, octavian started to come and fight against them.

Mark anthony committed suicide. Cleopatra realized her days were numbered. She had her servants, tradition tells us, bring her a basket of figs. She didn't want to take poison, instead she chose to allow herself to be bitten by a serpent, and thus she died. All through history you find an interesting collage of stories that deal with women and serpents.

Sometimes they're dragons. Even in the english lore, you have a number of stories that are talking about the battles with the knights and shining armor rescuing the maidens from what? Fire-breathing dragons, right? And we learned that this is one of the ways that the Bible starts. It starts with this prophecy of Jesus talking to the woman and the serpent. Now, when we go the last chapter--or the last book in the Bible and go to Revelation 12. And I've got Revelation 12:1 on the screen.

I'm actually gonna read all the way through verse 5... "Then being with child, she cried out in labor and pain to give birth. And there appeared in heaven, another wonder, a fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns and seven diadems, seven crowns on his heads." By the way, don't miss that dragon that's got those ten horns. He appears in Revelation 13. He appears again in Revelation 17.

This is the beast. This is the dragon later known better as the antiChrist. "And his tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth." "And the dragon--" those stars are the fallen angels. "And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth to devour her child as soon as it was born." Kind of brutal. "And she bore a male child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron and her child was caught up to God and to his throne.

" Verse 6, "the woman fled into the wilderness and she had a place prepared by God that they should feed her there 1,260 days." So here's a quick overview of the first verses. We're going to be looking at most of the chapter, God willing. Let's take it point by point. A lot of symbols are here. Now first of all, before I even get to that.

Symbols in the Bible, symbols in prophecy. What is a lamb, for instance, represent? Well, we're not guessing. In Revelation there's a lamb, but John the baptist pointed to Jesus said, "behold the lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world." We know what the lamb is. Do we need to guess about what the dragon is? That old serpent, and we'll get to that in a little bit. But there's so many symbols in Revelation.

I'd like to make a suggestion. There's a website called prophecy code. You might write this down, you at home. Prophecy code, and right there I think on the homepage of that website. Prophecycode.

com--org. It will take you there. There's a list of Bible symbols and their meaning. And that will really help you in your study. And then the supporting Scriptures for how you know they mean what they say.

I think there's even a list there for Bible Numbers and some of the Spiritual meaning for Bible Numbers. We're gonna talk a little about that tonight. Why did God give so many of these apocalyptic prophecies in symbols? Well, one of the reasons is because some of prophets like Daniel and like Ezekiel, like John, they were captives of a foreign power when they gave their prophecies. And partly to protect the messages, they were encrypted in these symbols so that the wise seeing would understand, but the others would not. So that could be one of the reasons.

Also because God--we think in pictures. And sometimes when the Lord paints these pictures of truth with images, these icons, they impress them on our minds. So even children can learn these things. All right. Let's go to the first symbol that's given.

It says there's this woman. "What does a woman represent in Bible prophecy?" We're gonna let the Bible tell us. You're right it's the church. Jeremiah, 6:2, "I have likened the daughter of Zion--" daughter of Zion's another word for the church-- "to a comely and delicate woman." And again, Isaiah 51:16, "say unto Zion, thou art my people." If you read in the second and third letters of John, he says--one church is writing to another church and he says, "thy elect sister greets thee." And so the terminology of the church as a woman is seen all through the Bible, new and the old testament. Now, some have thought this woman who is standing on the moon clothed with the sun, I've heard many say, "well, this is mary.

" And it didn't take very long for me to find a picture online that helps illustrate that. You'll see pictures everywhere of mary and look what's above her head. She's got the 12 stars. She's got the sun radiating behind her. She's standing on--a little of it's cut out here, but you can see that she's standing on the moon.

And while mary was a holy Godly, woman, she is not the woman in Revelation 12. And incidentally, I don't want to make any enemies, but I just need to be honest with you biblically. Nowhere in the Bible are we told to worship mary. We're told to worship Jesus. If you have a Scripture where we're told to worship mary-- I know.

I just used to go to catholic school and I was shocked to find it's not in the Bible. So I'll be happy to share that with everybody. But the Bible says, "worship God only." One of the Ten Commandments, "do not worship anyone else but God." And so, no mary is not the woman. Part of the reason we know that is later in the chapter, this woman is fleeing the roman persecution. And things that happened to this woman in this chapter never happened to mary.

While it is true that mary brings forth Jesus is the church, in a bigger sense, that was to present Christ to the world. And so question number two, "what do the sun, moon, and stars represent?" Well, one thing sun, moon and stars all have in common, they're light. They're light that God made. What did Jesus say to the church? "You are the light of the world," Matthew 5, right? And so--and it's light that God made. You go to Revelation 17, there's a woman there and she's kind of glittering too.

But it's all artificial. Standing on the moon--let me start with the sun here. I'm getting ahead of myself. The next question, what does the sun present? Sun represents the light of Christ. Jesus is called the sun of righteousness.

In Malachi 4, "who will arise with healing in his wings." And so Christ and the Gospel, the reality. It says that a light has shined on those who are in darkness and Christ is that light. The moon reflects the light of the sun. The old testament is the moon, new testament is the Gospel, the sun. The old testament prophecies were reflecting the light of the sun of righteousness who was going to rise.

And so she's standing on the moon. By the way, I can't understand when I go to these churches and they've got Bibles in their pews but all they have is the new testament. 'Cause the foundation for the new testament--the church stands on the old testament. And so if you pull away the moon, you take away the old testament from the church, the new testament stops making sense. And so you need both.

Say, "amen." Thank you very much. C, the crown above her head is light also. The 12 stars above the head in the Bible represents authority, leadership. The 12 stars, well, that would represent the 12 patriarchs, the 12 Judges in the old testament, 12 apostles in the new testament, the leadership. And so here you have a picture, a glorious picture of God's church, and this woman.

Many artists failed to paint her as pregnant. When she's in this first picture, she is about to give birth. Let's keep going now. Number three, "who is the man child that she brings forth?" What do you think? It's Jesus. It goes on to say.

.. Now, let the Bible interpret itself. If you go to Revelation 2:27, it says, "he, Jesus, shall rule them where a rod of iron." So the purpose, I told you in our study on Daniel 9, the purpose of the old testament church, Israel, was to introduce or bring forth to the world, Christ. And they did that, especially in acts 2. Holy Spirit's poured out jews from every nation where they're broadcast the Gospel and it spread everywhere.

And it also tells us Isaiah 9:6... That son that she brought forth is Jesus. And it goes on to say in chapter 12 of Revelation verse 5, "her child is caught up to God in this throne," speaking of the ascension of Christ. Now keep in mind, these Bible prophecies are not talking so much about what happens in one day. Prophecy often gives you a panorama of history and chapter 12 is one of the most amazing prophecies 'cause it's taking you from the old testament times all the way down to the end of time.

It's covering the panorama of the history of the bride of Christ, the church. Now, you might think this is kind of strange, but how can the church be the bride of Christ and bring him forth? You ever sing that song, "o, little town of Bethlehem?" It says, "be born in us today." You know it's interesting--you read the story of lot. Lot's wives were also his children. Isn't that right? Talking about after his other wife turned into a pillar of salt. In The Song of Solomon, he says, "my sister, my spouse.

" The church shares virtually every intimate relationship with Jesus as a child and as a spouse. Well, let's go on here. Who is--number four, "who is the dragon? Well, you don't have to guess about this one. Right in that saying, in the bosom of chapter 12 it tells us... And again, in verse 9.

.. Now how can a dragon be cast out of heaven? Does the Lord have a dragon factory up there in paradise? If God is love, then why would he make a dragon? And that brings the next question. I'm gonna spend some time on this so be patient with me. If God is love? People always want to know. "Dragon cast out of heaven, how'd he get to heaven? Did the Lord make a devil? Where'd the devil come from? If God is more powerful than the devil, then why doesn't he just get a hit man and snuff him out, zap him? How come he puts up with him? Why would God make a devil to torment us? If every good and perfect gift is from God, did God--in his angel factory, was there a defect that he didn't see a bad transistor and out came a devil? Did God make a mistake?" I mean, people ask that.

Haven't you thought these things? I mean, if you're thinking, you'll wonder at some point. Now, if you go back in time, first of all, God is perfect. Everything he makes is perfect, and one of the highest of God's angels came by the name lucifer. Turn with me in your Bibles and this is not--or maybe it will be on the screen. Isaiah 14 and we've got this prophecy here about where lucifer came from.

You start with verse 12. We just heard about the devil being cast out of heaven, right? Revelation 12 here in Isaiah 14:12... You remember what the devil said to eve in the garden? "You'll be like God." He was sharing his own aspirations. The devil wanted to be God. This high holy angel that God made began to entertain thoughts of selfishness and rebellion in his own heart.

God made him perfect. God makes all of his intelligent creatures perfect, but they have freedom. And in order to love, you must have freedom. God cannot force you to love him or it stops being love? Isn't that right? I didn't have time to prepare my illustration tonight but sometimes what I do, at this point in my seminar, is I bring out a tape player and I preprogram my tape player to say, "I love you, doug. I love you, doug.

I love you, doug. You're wonderful. You're tall, dark, handsome. I love you, doug. I want to be like you, doug.

" Matter of fact, someone gave my wife a doll and it's called "the perfect husband." And it's a gag gift. And you press his buttons. It says all the things that every wife wants to hear. "Oh, you look great today. I just love you.

This tastes great. And oh, the house is so clean." And it goes on and says all these, you know, all these statements. And it's interesting but, you know, she doesn't keep that on her pillow. Because is that love? It's programmed. God doesn't make his creatures to go, "I love you, God.

I love you," 'cause that's not love. And when it comes to the subject of predestination and can you lose your salvation, I told you that Jesus will never let go of you. But if the Lord were to force you to be saved even after you've made a decision. If you want to change your mind, you've lost your freedom, it's stops being love. The idea that once you're saved, you can't be lost, takes away your freedom.

The greatest sign of God's love and freedom is the lake of fire. I'm quoting c.s. Lewis actually. He loves us so much that he won't force us to love him. It's an intelligent choice.

It's the greatest gift that he's given. And lucifer had that and he chose to love himself and God pleaded with him. We don't know how long this rebellion fermented in heaven before it broke out into an open war. But there in Revelation 12, it says, "war broke out in heaven between Michael and his angels and the dragon and his angels. And ultimately the dragon and his angels, 1/3 of the stars, are cast out.

Can you imagine that? If there are billions of angels, 1/3 of them were cast to the earth with lucifer. Kind of gives you the heebie-jeebies when you think about it. The good news is there are two good angels for every bad one. And I think the bad angels are weaker than the good ones anyway because you don't get stronger by being evil. You always deteriorate.

Sin erodes. And so the devil rebelled. There's another passage, you can look at. Matter of fact, when you go home--I've got so much to cover. Look at Ezekiel 28 and read the passages that deal with the King of tyre.

It tells us that the devil was perfect in all his ways until iniquity was found in him. He was lucifer then. The word "satan" means adversary. He turned against God. He wanted God's position.

And you know, there are a lot of false religions teach that you are God. That's at the foundation of many pagan religions, that you somehow work your way into being God. That's what the devil's aspiration was. Now, we're gonna get on some delicate ground here. We found out about who the dragon is.

It talks--in chapter 12, you can read the whole chapter about Michael, this archangel. It says, "the dragon fought and Michael and his angels fought." Who is Michael? Now, this is a mystery and you've got to listen carefully. Everybody sit up, pay attention, listen. 'Cause you misunderstand this, you're gonna go the wrong direction. Michael is never called an angel, never.

He's called "the archangel." That is separate from an angel. The word angel, angelos, it means messenger. Archangels means greatest or highest messenger. Michael, the name Michael, means who is like or who is as God. Let's look at some of the examples of Michael appearing.

Daniel 12:1, "at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince that stands for the children of thy people." And then it tells about a great time of trouble coming. The great prince that stands for the children of thy people. It means stands in behalf of, intercedes for, defends. Well, that's a position that Jesus holds. You read in 1 Thessalonians 4, "the Lord, himself, shall descend from heaven with a shout and the voice of the archangel.

the Lord with the voice of the archangel." Then you read in Jude 1:9, Michael comes to resurrect Moses. Who is the resurrection and the life? It's Jesus. You can find, in the story of Joshua 5 when the messenger, the commander of God's army appears to Joshua and he appears as the commander of his army and he says in 5:15, "take your shoes off your feet for the place where you stand is holy ground." The very same thing that was said to Moses when jehovah spoke to Moses, "take your shoes off." So whoever this Michael, the archangel is, he shares a lot of the attributes of Jesus. I happen to agree with the Bible commentator, Matthew henry. He said, "who else can this be but one of the pre-incarnation manifestations of Christ?" It is not saying that Jesus is an angel.

People misunderstand that. It's just saying that one of the ways that Christ identifies himself prior to the incarnation is as the commander of the angelic host. He is the King of Kings. The very fact that the dragon is a symbolic name for the devil, should stand to reason that Michael is a symbolic name for the commander of good which is who? That's Jesus, right? And so don't choke on that. Matter of fact, if you go to the Amazing Facts website, there's a whole book there.

You can read it for free. "Who is Michael, the archangel?" And I hope that will help you. So here you've got the primary prayers in the Great Controversy. Let's go on. "What does the dragon try to do?" It says that he wants to devour the man child.

Revelation 12:4... Now the devil works through kingdoms and powers. In Ezekiel, when you read about the devil, it's talking about the King of tyre and then it transitions behind the scenes to talk about the devil who's behind the King of tyre. In Isaiah, it starts out talking about the King of Babylon and then it goes to the power behind the King of Babylon which was the devil. King herod was a roman power.

The devil manipulated king herod to try to kill all the babies in Bethlehem, hoping to exterminate Christ at his birth. The devil wanted to devour Christ when he was weak as a baby. It's not the only time. It's the devil who inspired the pharaoh of Egypt to kill all the baby boys 'cause the devil-- he didn't have the prophecies of Moses yet. He wanted to keep the Savior from coming.

He knew a Savior was coming. And again, it was the devil who inspired queen athaliah to kill all of the royal seed of king David trying to prevent the Messiah from coming. Except they--Moses, of course, was delivered and later joash was delivered. You know, this is probably a good time to tell you about an interesting study. If you look through the Bible, you're gonna find that there are a series of seven miracle births of women who were barren that gave birth to baby boys, always boys.

They're all types of Christs. Let me tell you who they were quickly. Sarah, was barren, through a miracle at 90, she gave birth to who? Isaac. Isaac's a type of Christ, isn't he? Abraham went up the mountain to offer his son. Isaac had the wood on his back as Jesus had the cross on his back.

Rebecca was barren, matter of fact all the wives of the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, their wives all struggled with barrenness. Jacob prayed and she had twins. Be careful what you pray for. Jacob--I'm sorry. Isaac prayed, rather, and they had twins.

Jacob was one of those boys. He's a type of Christ in that he was the patriarch who had the 12--he had the 12 patriarchs. He was The Father of them as Jesus had the 12 disciples. Then rachel is barren, Jacob's wife. He prays, she has Joseph.

Joseph is a type of Christ. The world is starving. He is sold by his brothers for the price of a slave and yet he forgives and saves them. Hannah is barren. In the book of Samuel now, she prays, has a boy.

That boy is a judge, a priest and a prophet. Jesus is our prophet, our priest and our judge. I can go on here. Mrs. MaNoah, I'm sorry, we don't know her name.

That's all we can call her is mrs. MaNoah, Samson's mother, was barren. An angel came. She gives birth to Samson. He's a type of Christ.

He delivered God's people from their enemies. The last thing he does, he's filled with the Spirit, stretches out his arms and lays down his life, doesn't he? That's what Christ did. Then there's this shunammite woman who is barren. Her son is out in the field and he's working with his father in the field for the harvest as Jesus is in the field harvesting. He dies and he's resurrected as Christ was.

And then the last miracle one is the predecessor to Christ, John the baptist. All through the Bible, you can see these facets, these images, these shadows that Jesus was coming, so we'd identify him when he came. They're all giving us different dimensions of Christ in his ministry. But it's all through these miracle births and the devil waned to attack in every case. Moving on with our study here.

Number five, "when Jesus ascends to heaven, where does the dragon next direct his fury?" You can read this in Revelation 12:13... Well, there's no record in the new testament that the devil went after mary, the mother of Jesus. But after Jesus ascended to heaven, did the devil direct his fury against his bride, the woman? Yes. Great persecution arose. Not only at first among the jews, but later among the Romans.

And unless you slept through your history class, you know that in the coliseums of rome, Christians were killed by the tens of thousands. Not only were they fed to the lions and they were burned alive and thrown to the gladiators, they'd have them torn limb from limb by wild horses. They were told to worship the pagan deities in rome or be executed. And many thousands of them lost their life because they chose first their allegiance to Jesus, to keep his commandments. Well, the devil tried to exterminate the church with plan "a.

" Plan "a" is just kill 'em all. But the more he persecuted the church, the more the church grew. And it's often true that blood is seed for the Gospel. Matter of fact, it always seems to be true that the greatest revivals of the church also happened during times of persecution. And rarely is the church more pure than when it is thriving in the midst of persecution.

It seems like God uses the heat to get the dross out of the gold and a hot iron to get the wrinkles out of the church's garments. Well, the devil then went to plan "b." Said, "look, if I can't make the church stop growing through just out-and-out persecution--" up until the time of constantine, Christianity was declared religio ilisitae, forbidden religion. Constantine, about 321, he came along and he said, "look, Christians are pretty peaceful. Nero said that, "you know, they're cannibals. They're eating the body and the blood of Christ.

" And he tried to brand them as crazy. But everyone could see they were the nicest people in the Kingdom, and Christianity began to spread everywhere. Matter of fact, they can barely put a subway in anywhere in rome with running into catacombs now. They had a virtual underground city in rome. All the Christians went underground.

And constantine, who was a shrewd politician said, "look, they're some of the most productive in people in the Kingdom. They're not hurting anybody." And so he--most historians believe--he feigned a conversion. He said, "you know, I've had a dream. We're now supposed to conquer under the sign of the cross. Christianity is now legal.

" He outwardly said, "I'll be a Christian." But he wasn't baptized 'til the time of his death. And he said--he ordered his army to March through the tiber river and all these roman pagans who were worshipping all the Gods in rome, they came through the river and they went in dry pagans. They went out wet pagans. But now they're being told, "you're Christians." And they had no idea what it meant to be a Christian. And all of a sudden, the devil was able to accomplish through compromise what he couldn't do through persecution.

Now he vented his furry at the church with the most devious of his plans. Plan "b" still works today. If you cannot destroy the church from the outside, plan "a," go to plan "b." Destroy it through compromise, introduce a virus on the inside, like a computer virus. And he began to bring in compromise and unconverted people and pagan teachings and customs until pretty soon, it became politically correct to be a Christian even though people were not converted. It didn't require bearing the cross anymore.

Instead of bearing the cross, they said, "let's just wear a cross. That ought to be just as good." And all of these substitutes came in. It became the national religion. It became accepted. And little by little, compromise came into the church.

Matter of fact, right about 538 a.d., As the roman empire led by the caesars was eroding, the roman empire now began to be strong through the government and the institutions of the church. Justinian, the roman emperor in 538, he moved the headquarters of the empire to constantinople, named after constantine. And he, basically, gave political power to the church and gave them an army. That's 538 a.d. And the church became a political institution.

And again, you'd have to have been sleeping through history class not to know about what was going on with the church during that time. It became an institution instead of a spiritual movement. It became political. It became a government. Church and state were totally married at this point.

Any of you ever play chess? I wasted a lot of time playing chess. John and I played a little chess. We met in the heritage singers. We'd sit on the bus and we'd play chess. Next to the King and the queen are what pieces? The bishops.

Because they became the political advisors. The church got into politics and it began to lose its spirituality in a sense there. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with Christians voting. Don't misunderstand me. Number six, "where did God lead the woman, the church, to protect her from the dragon?" Those who wanted to go by the Bible that weren't getting involved in all the paganism that was coming into the church, they had to go underground.

Now the true Christians were told they couldn't read the Bible. I know this is hard to believe, but are you aware that as the church began to be a political power, they took the Bibles away from the people and they said, "you're too ignorant to understand the Bible. Only the priests should own the Bibles. We'll read it and then we'll tell you what it says." That's a fact. I can show you a lot of documents from history where people were put to death for owning the Bible by the church.

They said, "you're at risk for misinterpreting. We can't trust it to you." They were chained in the monasteries, the Bibles were. That's why it goes on to say in Revelation 11, "the two witnesses will prophesy in sackcloths. "And the woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared of God that they should feed her there." Notice this number. "For a thousand two hundred and threescore.

" That's 60 days, 1,260 days. That number appears all through the great prophecies. You find that number in the books of Daniel. You find that number several times in Revelation. Elijah, when he fled from jezebel, what does a woman represent? Woman is a church.

Jezebel was like the fallen church. How many of you know jezebel was a bad woman? Have you ever said, "oh, she's so cute just like jezebel?" No one ever says that, right? People don't name their daughter jezebel. They name their dog jezebel. It's like nero, who names their boy nero? You name your dog nero but not your boy. So it's a reputation for evil.

Jezebel, for 3 1/2 years, 1,260 days. She was killing the prophets and Elijah fled into the wilderness and God fled him there. Isn't that right? Miraculously fed him there. Now, if you know your Bible, old testament, you start understanding the new testament. The church had to go underground during that time.

But God fed her. Many of them had Bibles and they would pass the Scriptures. But it says, "these two witnesses--" I'm in Revelation 11 now. "Would prophesy clothed in sackcloth." That means they'd do their work but it was in mourning because it was under persecution. And sackcloth is like a potato bag.

You can put the light of God's Word in a potato bag and some will still get out, but it's obscured. It's restricted. And during this terrible age of darkness from 538--I'll give you the closing time here--1798, it was a time of great darkness for the church. And the church fled into the wilderness, but God fed her. Did Jesus flee into the wilderness where he was persecuted by the devil after his baptism? He didn't flee, but he went into the wilderness? Yeah, angels fed him at the end of his temptations.

Do the children of Israel go into the wilderness where God prepared them there? God often prepares his people for great things in the wilderness. It was in the wilderness, God prepared Elijah for Mount Carmel. It was in the wilderness of arabia, God prepared Paul for his great ministry. I even went to a cave for a little while. He prepares his people in the wilderness.

And so it was during this persecution that the church was growing strong during that time even though there was a lot of compromise that was visible. Number seven, "so where is the bride of Christ today? How do we find God's true church?" You know, I wrote a book called, "how to survive in church." And let me see if I can remember what I wrote. What are the main reasons people pick a church? How do you pick a church? You want to know what the main reasons are that people pick the church that they go to? Let me tell you some of them. It's the church where my family goes. A lot of people go to a church 'cause it just happens to be the church where they grew up.

Good enough for grandma and grandpa, good enough for me. Good enough for mom and dad, good enough for me. People pick a church because it's close to the house. You think, what does your church believe? "I don't know, but it's not very far away." You'd be surprised. "That looks like a nice church and it's just up the street.

" "What denomination?" "I've never heard of it before, but it's not very far. A church is a church, right?" You'd be surprised how many people don't know what their churches teach. Some people pick the church because they say, "the music is great." "Why do you go there?" "Oh, they've got the best music program, and I'm in the choir." "What do they believe?" "Not sure but wow, the strains of music are--whoo." That's true. Some people pick a church for the music. And I like a good music program.

Some people pick a church because the pastor is charismatic. I know that's why you come to pmc here, right, pastor dwight? Or good looking. You'd be surprised. Some people say, "why do you go there?" "Oh, pastor, he's really something." I know that's not why they go to Sacramento central. But you'd be surprised.

Some people pick a church because of the architecture. "Wow, I want to go to that--look at that building. It's beautiful. The stained glass, the modern design, comfortable pews so I can sleep." You'd be surprised. That's why some people pick the church they go to.

You know, I heard about a russian immigrant. You may have seen this slide on the screen a minute ago. He spent his life in russia, immigrated to the u.s. And he wanted to fit in. And he said, "so what do you eat for breakfast?" He asked a friend.

He said, "oh, we eat cereal, most of us." Okay, he went to the Market. He said, "I'd like to buy some cereal." And he was directed to this aisle as long as an airport terminal where on both sides was an almost endless variety of cereals. And his mind was swimming. "Well, how do you pick it?" 'Cause they got it for everybody. They got cereal for kids.

They got cartoons and prizes inside. They got cereal for old people that promise health benefits. They got cereal for yuppies. They got cereal that is fast and some you gotta cook. They got sweet cereal.

They got natural cereal with no sugar. It takes like sawdust. They got all kinds of different cereal, right? You sell some of that here in town, don't you? I'm glad I'm leaving in about a week. Oh, where was i? Oh, yeah. But the devil Markets religion the way some of these corporation Market cereal.

They say, "what do the people want?" I will give them something for what they want." But what is the only right reason to pick a church? You know how I pick cereal? I read. I don't look at the color of the carton. I don't look at the prize inside or the special offer on the backs or some celebrity who's on the cover. I flip right away as I go down the aisle, I want to say, "what are the ingredients?" If the first ingredient is sugar, I keep looking. A lot of people pick their churches based on the design on the cover, all these extraneous things.

Now, is there anything wrong with having a church that has a nice building? No, this is a beautiful building. I'm jealous. Is there anything wrong with--our church, we're looking at a building program right now. Anything wrong with having a church that has a good music program? Wouldn't you prefer that to the option, the other one, everyone sings like feeding time at the zoo? Isn't it nice to have a church where the pastor's charismatic and he can keep you awake? Isn't it nice to have a church where, you know, you've got a good children's program? We all want these things. None of those things--it's nice to have the same church your parents happened to go to.

It's nice if it's not a thousand miles away, nothing wrong with those things. None of those are the right reason to pick a church. Want me to tell you the right reason to pick a church? The foundational teachings of that church. Don't you want to go to a church where people are loving and nice? But that's not even the right reason. The foundational teachings--here's the reason-- are the teachings of Christ and His Word.

That's a reason to pick a church. And if you find that group where the foundational teachings of that body are the teachings of Jesus Christ, that's his church. They might be meeting in a renovated hamburger stand. They may not be able to sing. They may be a little grumpy.

They might have uncomfortable pews. But it's God's church. Don't be deceived into the Marketing plans of the devil to get people to go to church for all the wrong reasons. So how do you find--does God still have a church in the world today? Is everybody here aware that just before Jesus comes back, there's gonna be a polarizing and everybody is gonna be shaken into one of two groups? You're either gonna be worshipping the beast in his image or you're gonna get the seal of God and be part of his flock. And I want to say for the record now, I believe that God has his children in many different denominations.

Loving--when I first became a Christian, I was not a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church where I am now. I've fellowshipped and worshiped with a number of different denominations. And I found Godly people that are gonna be in heaven in those churches. You know one reason I'm in the church I'm in now? I got tired of going to some churches that said, "unless you're a member of this church, you're all lost." When I heard the Seventh-day Adventists say, "we believe." Matter of fact, in our writings it says, "the greatest part of Christ's true followers are in the fellowship of other churches." I said, "praise the Lord." Now, that doesn't mean that everyone--it doesn't matter what you believe. There is one truth.

And it also means that before Christ comes back when this polarizing happens, people are gonna be pulled together based on biblical truth, not on the prize in the box. So how do we find out what the true church is? Do we need to know that? Especially when there's so much deception in the last days. Isaiah 8:20, "according to the law and the testimony, if they do not speak according to tHis Word, there's no light in them." We must go by the law and the testimony, means the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus, the law and the prophets. Number seven, "in Revelation 12, God calls his end-time church the remnant. What does the word 'remnant' mean?" A remnant is a remainder, the residual, the residue, what is left, what has survived.

Any of you ever gone to a store and you buy a remnant? If you're a man you buy--sometimes I bought remnant lumber. You can actually get cabinets or counter tops or things that you don't need a big one. You can get a short one. It's a leftover piece. Ladies, you've probably bought remnant fabric before.

You can get remnant flooring and carpet. It's what's left. One thing you'll know about the remnant is that when you buy a remnant, it will be identical to the original, but it's all that's left. God's church has been under attack by the devil, but he still has a people. You can find, through history, that Gods seems to preserve a remnant.

During the time of the flood, God had a people. Before the flood, the children of seth, The Sons of God. But when The Sons of God, the children of seth, saw the daughters of men, the children of cain and they began to intermarry, when the children, when God's church began to intermarry with the descendants of cain, they lost their identity and all the thoughts of their hearts were only evil continually and they were all destroyed except a remnant, Noah and his family. Then at the tower of babel again, they began to compromise. God saved a remnant from mesopotamia, Abraham.

And then he saved that remnant out of Egypt. Many died in the wilderness, but he saved a remnant out of that group that made it to the promised land. And then unfaithfulness came in again and God continues to save a remnant. They were carried off to Babylon, but he brought a remnant back. And out of all the people that heard Jesus preach, there was only 120 in the upper room on the day of pentecost.

God continues to save his remnant. It says, "he's gonna have a remnant in the last days, that is gonna be going back to the Bible." Number eight, "what additional two points does Jesus provide in Revelation 12:17 to identify his end-time remnant church?" This is very important. He tells us, "the dragon--" now I'm in the last verse of Revelation 12, "the dragon was wroth with the woman and he went to make war--" that's the battle of armageddon. "With the remnant of her seed." The word "seed" there means descendants. "Which keep the commandments of God--" here is two great identifying characteristics-- "keeps the commandments of God and has the testimony of Jesus Christ.

" First and foremost, keeping the commandments of God would represent the law and the prophets. The commandments of God, the testimony of Jesus. You can read in Isaiah 8:16, "bind up the law, seal the prophets--seal the testimony among my disciples. The law and the prophets represents the Word of God." So one of the ways you're going to know God's bride in the last days is she's going by the Word of God. But even more specifically, you would think you know as a basic, God's church in the last days is gonna believe in the commandments.

Would that include the ten? What do you think? Are there many churches that keep some of the commandments some of the time? You know what the Lord said in Deuteronomy 5:29, God says, "o, that there was such a heart in them that they would fear me and keep all of my commandments always that it might be well with them and their children." God is looking--you know, virtually everybody in jail keeps some of the commandments some of the time. Right? Ask me, I've been there. I mean, so, you know, God is looking for people who are consistent. King darius said to Daniel, when he went to the lion's den, "your God who you serve continually." God is wanting a people that are consistently obeying him and that means all Ten Commandments. It's amazing, people these days, they say, "oh, Pastor Doug, we're not under the law now.

We're under grace." I say, "what do you mean by that?" Well, we don't have to keep the Ten Commandments. That's the old covenant." Really? Now, I don't believe we're under the law. We're not under the penalty of the law, but does that mean we're free to break them? And I'll ask and I'll say, "well, are we allowed to break the Ten Commandments?" "Oh, no." "Well, does God want us to keep them or break them?" "Well, with the Spirit of the law. That's it. We're supposed to keep the Spirit of the law.

" I said, "okay. What does that mean?" "Well, you always keep the letter of the law when you keep the Spirit." Stay with me. the Spirit of the law or the letter of the law says, "do not commit adultery." the Spirit of the law says, "if you look on the opposite sex to lust, you can commit adultery in your heart." How can you possibly keep the Spirit of the law and break the letter? Can you say, "oh, no, I'm not thinking about it, but I am doing it?" That doesn't make any sense, does it? And then some people will say, "the letter of the law says thou shall not kill. Jesus said the Spirit of the law is if you are angry with your brother without 'cause, you're guilty of murder." For you to say, "well, I keep the Spirit of the law. I don't think angry thoughts against anybody.

I do murder, but I don't think any angry thoughts when I do it." So there's all of these diversionary teachings that we're not supposed to keep the Ten Commandments. Friends, they're not called the ten suggestions. They're not the ten recommendations. They're not the ten good ideas. God wrote them in stone.

He spoke them with his voice. They're the Ten Commandments of God. And one of the characteristics--what is sin? The transgression of the law. Do we still need a Savior from sin? The devil doesn't want people to know about Jesus. And if you don't know about sin, you won't need a Savior.

And if you don't have the law, you don't have sin. Paul says, "where there's no law, there's no sin." Can't be any plainer than that. God's church, in the last days, still talks about the problem and then it tells about the answer, Jesus. The problem is the law. We've sinned.

But you gotta teach the law believing in the commandments. And God saves us from our disobedience. Amen? It's like that bumper sticker that we run into it says "Christians aren't perfect, just forgiven." Well, I hope we're more than just forgiven. I used to be a thief. Am I supposed to tell the policemen, "well, I'm-- you know, I'm a Christian.

Nobody's perfect," while I'm stealing?" What kind of witness is that? God wants to save us from our disobedience, amen? Make us new creatures, new hearts, walk in a new life. But you don't hear much about the law anymore, do you? Is it just me? As I surf through the different Christian radio programs and tv programs, I listen to them. Do you listen to them, pastor dwight? There's some good things you hear. But largely absent is the teaching about the Ten Commandments. You know why? As soon as you do it, people say, "that's kind of negative.

" It makes people feel bad. Legalistic. Here's the question, is obedience legalism? Does got want us to obey? Yes, he does. One of the characteristics of the church, keep the commandments of God. What did Jesus say? John 14:15, "if you love me, keep my commandments.

" Amen? We don't do it to be saved. We do it because we are saved because we love him. For this, 1 John 5:3... You want to hear an amazing fact? Okay, then I'll skip it if you don't want to hear it. Boy, you're a quiet group here.

Back in the early 1800s in sing sing prison. An ex-forger. I want you to look at this picture on the screen. This picture is the Lord's prayer. That is a magnification of the Lord's prayer that is etched on the top of a straight pin.

This man named al shilling was in sing sing prison. He was a forger. After 25 years there, he died. When they found his body, they found six straight pins in his top pocket. And the guard was gonna just toss them out with his personal effects.

But he noticed that six of them were silver. The seventh one--there were seven of them, was gold. And he saw something on the top. They got a magnifying glass. They said, "what is that?" Realizing the man had been an expert forger, counterfeiter, they magnified it and found out he had written out the entire Lord's prayer on the head of a pin perfectly, and it took him years to do it.

You know, the key to following the Lord is to have him write his law in our hearts. That's the new covenant, isn't it? I thought that was an amazing fact. I just wanted to share that with you. Number nine, "what other points does prophecy provide to help identify God's remnant church?" Well, it tells us a number of things. There is a dark age period from 538 to 1798.

What happened in 1798? Well, during this time, the-- justinian announced in 538 that the bishop of rome would be the leader of the church now. And he picked out one leader of the church and he's later known as the pope. And they had almost uninterrupted rule over the church until 1798. You ever heard of someone named napoleon? Napoleon entered rome, or his general actually did it, and took the pope captive. And it sort of broke the hold that the church had had on the church.

And they were allowed to come up above ground again during that time. Up until that time, they were held back and held under and tremendous persecution against the freedom of everybody owning a Bible and people being able to follow the Lord according to the dictates of their conscience. Right about that time in 1798, it tells us that this church is going to come out of the wilderness, so to speak. It will be apparent again. And that was after this 1798 period.

Of course, what country was developing at that time? Pilgrims came to our shores looking for religious freedom. The truths that this remnant church is teaching, will be the same truths that the apostles thought. A remnant is gonna be like the original. When Christ comes back, the church is going to be teaching and spirit-filled the same way it was when he left. Amen? We are going to return to the faith that was once delivered unto the saints.

Answer c, it's gonna be teaching all ten of the Ten Commandments that they are part of God's will. Answer d, it's gonna not only keep the commandments of God, but have the testimony of Jesus. You read in Revelation 19:10, the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy. Gonna teach the law and the prophets and still have all the gifts of the Spirit including the gift of prophecy in their midst. Answer e, it's gonna be a worldwide movement.

You know, there are a lot of local community churches now. Bless their hearts. I think it's nice that they serve their communities. But no two are the like. They're sort of community churches.

And they're teachings, their theology, is gonna pretty much be linked up with whatever their pastor happens to be impressed with. They are not really worldwide movements. And there is--you know, God committed, to ancient Israel, the oracles of truth. Were they his people? How many of you believe in the old testament, Israel? They were his people. He called them.

Do they have problems? Were they perfect? But he had committed to them the truth. God has a people in these last days he's committed the truth to and they are a worldwide movement. You know, I wanted to show you this. I grabbed this off the 3abn website. You want to know where this program's going right now as I talk? This is the footprint of 3abn satellites to the world right now.

Isn't that amazing? All those different areas can receive this broadcast. Not only are we on 3abn, hope channel is broadcasting this now around the world. A friend of mine in the netherlands, we're on cable all over scandinavia on lifestyle tv. I want to greet my friends from lifestyle that are there in sweden. Stations--and then south America, it's being uplinked again.

This is a worldwide message that is going to the world right now. I don't know if I should show you this next map. These are just some of the places Pastor Doug has done meetings around the world. And Amazing Facts has 12 other evangelists that have gone all over the world. I'm just one of them.

It's a worldwide movement that is going on around the world. Number ten... Can we find where God wants us to go? Jesus promises Luke 11:9, "seek and you will find." Now, people are wondering, where does the Lord want me to go? Does he have a church for me? Does it matter that we go to church? How important is it for us to be part of the bride of Christ? I think it's crucial that we are in that group. Number 11, "how many churches are gonna fit these specifications?" Does it matter in the last days? Ephesians 4:5 say it with me, "one Lord, one faith, one baptism." While you heard me say that there are many Christians from many different churches in the last days, I think it's important for you to know that it's not like all rivers lead to the ocean. It does matter where you are in the last days or you could be deceived.

That's why Jesus said, "if it were possible, even the very elect would be deceived." We've got to know that we're in the right place when that time comes. It's not like, "oh, it doesn't matter what church you're in. They all go to heaven." Well, you know that's what jim jones says. He used to be a Christian preacher of an independent church. How do you know you're in the right place? Foundational teachings are the--read the ingredients, friends, amen? What do they teach? Number 12.

.. He says... See Jesus tells us, in the last days, there are going to be many different groups and many different folds. But before he comes back, how many will there be? One. He's gonna bring us together.

Jesus said, "all men will know that you are my disciples by your love for one another." The devil has fractioned the church on all these other issues. He wants to pull us together based on the word in the last days. That's why these messages are going out, that God's people can once again be united based on the Bible and the truth. Number 13, "how does that one body--how does that one enter the body or the church?" The Bible tells us... People made decisions to get baptized and to be part of his church.

Oh, I've got more I could say to you. One of drawbacks of live television is that it's live. And I'm watching the clock and I'm running out of time. I'm trusting the Holy Spirit has spoken to you tonight and you understand that it is important. In the days when the world was destroyed back in the time of Noah, Christ said, "the second coming's gonna be the same way as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be when The Son of man comes.

" How many ways of escape were there in the days of Noah? One ark. And in the last days, God is going to fill his people with his spirit. They'll be one body that will be united in their love, in their faith, in their teaching. There'll be a harmony there. And all the world is gonna assailed against them.

They've got to know that they're building on the foundation of Christ and His Word and his teachings. Do you know that's where you are, friends? Are you going to a church based on any of those other criteria? Is that the first thing? It 's okay to have a nice building and some of these other features, but is it a biblically sound church? That's where we need to be. I'd like for you to pray about that. I'm gonna have John come and sing a verse in this familiar hymn, and then I want to have prayer with you as we close. [Music] the church has one foundation 'tis Jesus Christ the Lord.

She is his new creation. By water and the word. From heaven he came and sought her to be his holy bride. With his own blood, he bought her and for her life he died. The supreme object of love on earth is that for which Jesus poured out his blood.

It's his people. He loves his church. Are you part of that body, friends? Do you want to be? Is that your desire? Let me pray with you right now that God will guide you as you seek in His Word for that church that's built on the rock. Loving father, we are thankful that Jesus has guided us through His Word, that he will lead his church through the wilderness into the promised land. Help us, Lord, to make sure that we are following the map of the holy Scriptures as our guide.

You promised if we seek, we'll find. And I pray that everyone here will seek based on the criteria of what does the Bible say? What do the teachings of Jesus say? And lead us into your kingdom, into that body. In Christ's name we pray, amen.

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