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Studies in Revelation
Part 12 - The Last Days - Part 6 - Captivity in Babylon - Part 1

To begin this study, let me reintroduce my list from Part 11 which agrees with the illustration of the lampstand we have been using to clarify the “last days.”

 

Forty-Two Months (1,260 Days | Time, Times, and Half a Time or 3½ Days)

1. Abraham to David – Called [14 Generations] (Feast of Passover)

2. David until the captivity in Babylon – Chosen [14 Generations] (Feast of Pentecost)

3. The captivity in Babylon until the Christ – Faithful [14 Generations] (Feast of Tabernacles)

 

As we have learned, our “forty-two months,” “1,260 days,” “time, times, and half a time” or “3½ days” are all synonymous, representing the “last days” which began with the advent of the Day of Pentecost in Acts, Chapter 2. As we discovered, our 42 months represents the prophetic “days” and “nights” of Pentecost and Tabernacles which the church has been moving through for almost two thousand years.

 

Strong’s defines our word “church” as “a calling out,” so it is that our list begins with the “called” of God. Simple logic dictates that before one can be “chosen” or “faithful,” they must first be called, and the Lord confirms this in the Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard and the Marriage of the King’s Son in Matthew, Chapters 20 and 22, respectively, ending both with, “For many are called, but few chosen.”

 

In this series, I’ve mentioned “captivity in Babylon” several times, so it’s quite important in our understanding of Revelation to consider what this typifies. In order to understand, we must address the two most important “women” if you will found in John’s visions. The first “woman” is seen in Revelation, Chapter 12.

 

Revelation 12:1-2 (NASB95)
1 A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; 2 and she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth.

 

As we see, there are several things to consider concerning this “woman” which John saw. Who or what does she represent? We find our answer in Galatians, Chapter 4.

 

Galatians 4:21-26 (NASB95)
21 Tell me, you who want to be under law, do you not listen to the law? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the bondwoman and one by the free woman. 23 But the son by the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and the son by the free woman through the promise. 24 This is allegorically speaking, for these women are two covenants: one proceeding from Mount Sinai bearing children who are to be slaves; she is Hagar. 25 Now this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem above is free; she is our mother.

 

First, two important “women” in Revelation, and then two important “women” in Galatians. As shown, Paul begins with the question, “Tell me, you who want to be under law, do you not listen to the law?” and then follows with, “For it is written that Abraham had two sons.” And why Abraham? Because Abraham is considered the “father” of faith, called of God to receive the covenants of God which our Creator made with him to advance His purpose in the earth; see Matthew 1:1, 3:9, 22:32, Luke 1:73 as well as Genesis 12:1-3 and Genesis, Chapter 15. No doubt, this is why our 42 generations in Matthew 1:17 begin with Abraham.

 

Now, before we get any further into our two “women” of Galatians 4:21-26, let me share a very precious understanding from earlier in this chapter.

 

Galatians 4:1-3 (NKJV)
1 Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, 2 but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father. 3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world.

 

See our words “child” and “children”? Both are the Greek transliteration nepios (nay-pee-ohs), which the Strong’s Concordance defines as, “Not speaking, i.e. an infant (minor).” By no means is this literal but instead speaks of our spiritual position in Christ. We could in fact say that all who are called of God become “heirs” the moment they are called, but as Paul makes evident, all of us begin our spiritual journey as a “child” of God and not a fully mature believer. So it is that Paul states, “Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all.”

 

Our word “slave” is doulos (doo-loss), which means, “A slave (literal or figurative, involuntary or voluntary)” while our phrase “in bondage” is derived from this word and means, “Enslaved.” Doulos is translated in Revelation 1:1 as “servants” in the King James New Testament.

 

Now, here’s my point. When viewed as “slaves” or “servants,” IT IS NOT in the sense of forced subjection but rather in the sense of “children,” who for their own benefit, must be under “guardians and stewards,” i.e. under the hand of a loving and wise father; see Hebrews 12:5-11. So, in this context, the idea of “slaves” in relation to our heavenly Father and His kingdom simply means we’re spiritual “children.” Consider the following from Romans which aligns with our passages in Galatians.

 

Romans 8:14-17 (KJV)
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

 

See our word “bondage”? Like our previous definitions, this word also means “slavery,” derived from our word doulos. Our word “children” is the Greek transliteration teknon, defined as, “A child.” But our word “sons”? This is huios (hwhee-oss), which means, “A son.” So it is that Paul said, “For as many,” that is not all, “as are LED by the Spirit of God, THEY are the SONS of God.” Folks, the difference between a “child” and “son” is just that. A “child” must be kept under “guardians and stewards,” but a son? A son is mature, understanding his father’s will and is led accordingly! This is the meaning behind our word “adoption,” which is the placing of a “child” into the same privileges and authority as his father when they are mature enough to be trusted with stewardship!

 

In perfect agreement with his stance in Galatians, Paul again tells us that when we are “children,” we are still “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.” Now, let’s go to 1st John, Chapter Two.

 

1 John 2:12-14 (NKJV)
12 I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name's sake. 13 I write to you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the wicked one. I write to you, little children, because you have known the Father. 14 I have written to you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the wicked one.

 

As we see in these passages, John wrote to three classifications of believers; little children, young men, and fathers, again speaking of our spiritual position in Christ. Note how John clarifies that “young men” have “overcome the wicked one,” that they “are strong” and that “the word of God abides” in them. This agrees with the position of “sons,” so, it’s easy enough to list our three classifications in this fashion:

 

1. Little children – Called

2. Young men – Chosen (Sons of God)

3. Fathers – Faithful

 

What differentiates a “son” from a “child”? A “son” is one who has overcome. This being the case, what is it that we, as believers, must overcome? John goes on to tell us.

 

1 John 2:15-17 (NKJV)
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

 

Now, compare what John wrote with what Jesus said in the following.

 

John 16:33 (NKJV)
33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."

 

Folks, what did Jesus mean when He said, “I have overcome the world”? Would it agree with what John said in our previous passages? Absolutely! Now, note how John sums up “ALL that is IN the world as “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.” The English Standard version renders “pride of life” as “pride in possessions” while the New International version renders it as “the boasting of what he,” i.e. anyone, “has and does.” Both translations lend itself to the idea that overcoming the world is to overcome the pride of our earthly attachments, which not only includes our possessions, but also many of the ideologies that we have such great affection for. This, I believe, is the difference between a spiritual “child” and “son.” The “child” still desires and holds to those things which they have and do while the “son” surrenders and submits to the will of God.

 

On a side note, consider the three elements of the “lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” with the three characteristics of the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” from the Genesis parable.

 

Genesis 3:6 (NKJV)
6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.

 

When we compare our three elements from 1st John with Genesis 3:6, here is what we have:

 

The lust of the flesh = Good for food.

The lust of the eyes = Pleasant to the eyes.

Pride of life = Desirable to make one wise.

 

Now, let’s move on and consider what Paul wrote in the following.

 

1 Corinthians 13:9-11 (NKJV)
9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

 

Here Paul speaks of knowing “in part” and prophesying “in part,” but “when that which is PERFECT has come, then that which is in part will be done away.” Our word “perfect” means “complete,” and not surprisingly, Hebrews renders this same word as “of full age” in Hebrews 5:14, which tells us that once we mature to the place of “sons,” then that which is “in part” is “done away.”

 

Our word “child” in these passages is again nepios. Now, what is interesting about the context of these passages is that they are a part of the great “love” chapter of the New Testament and what the King James renders as “charity.” “Charity” is the Greek transliteration agape, used 116 times in the King James New Testament, most often translated as “love.”

 

In our passages from 1st John, Chapter Two, we read, “Do not LOVE the world or the things in the world. If anyone LOVES the world, the LOVE of the Father is not in him.” If we take some time to ponder what John was saying, this brings to the forefront a very precious understanding. Let me explain.

 

In regard to the creation of humankind, we read in Genesis 1:26, “Let us make man IN OUR IMAGE, after our likeness,” while in Genesis 1:27 we read, “So God created man IN HIS OWN IMAGE, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” (KJV). Based on these two passages, I believe it’s safe to say that everyone, regardless of culture or creed, are in God’s “image.” So what does this mean? Let me continue.

 

In John 4:24, Jesus said, “God IS Spirit,” while in 1st John 4:8 and 16, John wrote that “God IS love.” So to put it simply, God is Spirit and Love. Would this be His image? I believe so! Now, with that being said, I am confident in saying that EVERY action we take is an ACTION OF LOVE, even when those actions are wrong! This is confirmed by what Jesus said in John 3:19—“This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men LOVED the darkness rather than light” (NASB95). What this reveals is the fact that ALL of our suffering, ALL of our chaos and confusion, is simply a matter of our love being MISDIRECTED and MISAPPLIED. When John wrote “do not LOVE the world,” he addressed this misdirection to let us know that love is, indeed, the most powerful force in the universe, EVEN IN REGARD TO THE DARKNESS AROUND US. No wonder then that our heavenly Father sees us as “children,” “sons,” and “fathers,” for all three denote that we are part of the great and wondrous “family” of our Creator. Brothers and sisters, when it’s all said and done, it will be LOVE which will free us from our “bondage to corruption” so we may walk in the glorious “light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God;” see 2nd Corinthians 4:4; (NKJV). Before I close today, let me share the following from 1st Corinthians, Chapter Three.

 

1 Corinthians 3:1-7 (ESV)
1 But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, 3 for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? 4 For when one says, "I follow Paul," and another, "I follow Apollos," are you not being merely human? 5 What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.

 

See our word “infants”? That’s our word nepios, the same word which Paul used in Galatians, Chapter Four. And what are the characteristics of spiritual “infants”? “Jealousy and strife” and the idea of who we follow. Sound familiar? It should, for there are many today who take great pride in their denominational and organizational leaders. Apparently, Paul was concerned about this attitude for he actually mentions this at the beginning of his letter to Corinth in Chapter One, verses 10 through 13. Truth is, there are a great number of us who believe what we believe, not because it has been proven, but because our spiritual leaders tell us to.

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