“I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:28).

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Brescia, Italy – May 23, 2016: Brescia – The painting of Apocalyptic vision The courtesan Babylon sitting on the dragon in church Chiesa di San Giovanni Evangelista by Grazio Cossali.

The first is a vision I received several years ago. The second is a word I received recently; that’s the best and most sincere way I can describe the second. I pray that the Holy Spirit has both inspired and guided all that I have written and shared here today.

The vision: A man was standing near the edge of a large crater holding a book. The scenery was grayish and smokey; the aftermath of a great battle it seemed. The man and the book illuminated with light. The man was Jesus, and He held in His hands the Book of Life. Then from within the chasm, ascended a large, fierce looking beast, a dragon maybe, yet despite all the creature’s postering and bluster, the Lord was unimpressed. I believe the beast could have even breathed fire, perhaps, it did, yet the Lord was unmoved nonetheless. Referring to the book, Jesus said to the beast, “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:28). The beast said nothing, but it was made apparent to me that the creature intended to attack the people whose names were in the book. I believe this exchange may have taken place sometime between Revelation 12:12 and 12:13.

The word: The bride was hungry, so the tempter came to her and said, “If you are the bride, tell these stones to become bread.” And so, the bride ate. Then the devil took her to the holy city and had her stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the bride,” he said, “throw yourself down.” And so, she put God to the test. Again, the devil took her to a very high mountain and showed her all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” And so, the bride adopted his ways and received the kingdoms of the world. “Then the angel carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns. The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls. She held a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries” (Revelation 17:3-4). Many pick on Roman Catholicism exclusively, but she has many offspring (Revelation 17:5). She will be tolerated for a short time (Revelation 17:16).

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified” (Romans 8:28-30). Who is the true bride; who is the family of God? the Bible answers this question over and over, but I like Jesus’ response when He received a visit from His mother and brothers: “‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ he asked. Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother’” (Mark 3:33-34). Most people would have probably excused themselves and gone to greet their relatives, but Jesus wasn’t most people. Jesus wasn’t being disrespectful or rude to His visiting relatives, but rather, Jesus used the opportunity to share a greater spiritual reality.

“Though your people be like the sand by the sea, Israel, only a remnant will return. Destruction has been decreed, overwhelming and righteous.” (Isaiah 10:22), and as the apostle Paul writes concerning the prophet Isaiah: “Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: ‘Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea, only the remnant will be saved. For the Lord will carry out his sentence on earth with speed and finality’” (Romans 9:27-28). “Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus” (Revelation 12:17). I have come to see this life as a period of revelation; the sheep being separated from the goats; the wheat being separated from the weeds. “Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn’” (Matthew 13:30).

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future'” (Jeremiah 29:11). I’ve written about similar themes in Jesus Who?—How Great Thou Art! and Jesus Who?—Kingdom Come. There will be suffering not unlike that of the early church, and from out of persecution, the wheat will emerge from the chaff, and it is then, I believe, the end will come. But for the people of God, the end isn’t the end at all; it’s really just the beginning! “Nothing impure will ever enter it [The New Jerusalem], nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21:27).

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