Revelation 18

Revelation 18: The Saints are Called out of Babylon

 

John explains that the Saints [The Followers of Christ] are called out of Babylon [the Earth/Worldly things] before her great fall. One of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints summed up what is happening around the world and the consequences;

 

“Much of the world is being engulfed in a rising river of degenerate filth, with the abandonment of virtue, righteousness, personal integrity, traditional marriage, and family life. …

 

“… Despite pockets of evil, the world overall is majestically beautiful, filled with many good and sincere people. God has provided a way to live in this world and not be contaminated by the degrading pressures evil agents spread throughout it. You can live a virtuous, productive, righteous life by following the plan of protection created by your Father in Heaven: His plan of happiness” (“How to Live Well amid Increasing Evil,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2004, 100).

 

Because of the great wealth and materialism sweeping throughout the world, we are challenged to avoid the ‘material things’ of life and to focus ourselves on more important things, like God, family and friends. Success and having material things is not, in of itself a bad thing. However, if we let it control our lives and our sole purpose is to obtain more stuff we need to re-examine what is important.

 

John goes on to speak of the evils of materialism and explains that in the end, those material things of the earth will go away. But he explains that the “…souls of men.” (Revelation 18:13) will be ensnared either through greed, lust, addiction, or through human trafficking in the Last Days. We know that the wicked men and women (governments and organizations included) will fall and GREAT will be the fall of them in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

 

Advertisements

Galatians 5

Galatians 5: The Fruits of the Spirit

                “STAND fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” (Galatians 5:1)

                Paul makes a very bold statement in declaring that we are free in liberty when we follow the commandments of God. However, if we get entangled in the evils of the world we will be in bondage. Paul goes on to say that in the “…Spirit [we] wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.” (Galatians 5:5) We are not always going to have signs or wonders performed in front of our eyes for us to believe in Jesus Christ, or His doctrine and commandments. We walk by faith and by that faith we serve one another. “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (Galatians 5:14)

Paul gives the Galatians a great piece of advice, which can be applied to everyone: “…Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16) Paul explains that lust pulls away from the Spirit, those who are led by the Spirit have no need for the law… because the Spirit will guide them in the ways of the law.

Paul explains the works of the flesh: “…Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness [lustful], Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance [contention], emulations [rivalry, self-seeking], wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings… they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19-21) Those who follow after the desires, and lusts of the world will not inherit the kingdom of God.

                Paul goes onto explain that those who follow the Spirit will feel something different than those who are following after the flesh. For “…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance; against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)

                Those who are filled with the Spirit and fight against the lusts of the world are filled with the joy of the Spirit. Those who rid themselves of those evils, have participated in their own crucifixion of the evil and have been Spiritually reborn and symbolically resurrected of their old ways. “…they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.” (Galatians 5:24-26) Paul urges the Galatians (and the reader) to walk by the Spirit and love one another.

2 Samuel 13-14

2 Samuel 13-14

Chapter 13: Ammon Rapes his Sister Tamar

Absalom, the son of David had a sister named Tamar and his brother Amnon was in love with her. Amnon had a friend (who happened to be David’s brother’s son, or Amnon’s cousin) who told him that if he loved her, then he should have her. So Jonadab (Amnon’s cousin) tells Amnon to make himself sick and then ask David to have Tamar come unto him to take care of him and make him food.

So David commands Tamar to come in unto Amnon and make him food. After she made him food, Amnon commands everyone in the room to leave, so that he can be alone with his sister. When his sister came to him to give him food, he grabs her and tells her she should “lie down with him”, but Tamar fights and pleads for him to not do this, because this would be committing a great “folly” (a stupid idea or act). It says that she told him to not do it, but Amnon being stronger than her, was able to force her, that is what we call “RAPE”.  After he is done raping her, he is filled with anger and commands that she leave. Tamar tells him that by telling her to leave and sending her away after he had raped her, was as bad if not worse than the act of raping her in the first place.

From this, we can learn about the Law of Chastity (The law of chastity is a moral code defined by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. According to the church, chastity means abstinence from sexual relations before marriage, and complete fidelity to one’s husband or wife during marriage), President Ezra Taft Benson once said;

“There is no lasting happiness in immorality…  Just the opposite is true. There may be momentary pleasure… But quickly the relationship will sour. Guild and shame set in… Love begins to die. Bitterness, jealousy, anger and even hate begin to grow. All of these are the natural results of sin and transgression. On the other hand,  when we obey the Law of Chastity and keep ourselves morally clean, we will experience the blessings of increased love and peace, greater trust and respect for our marital partners, deeper commitment to each other, and, therefore a deep and significant sense of joy and happiness.” (“The Law of Chastity,” in Brigham Young University 1987-88 Devotional and Fireside Speeches [1988], 51).

Tamar runs off crying and takes her robe of colors off (that was for virgins), she was ashamed and went to see her brother Absalom, who comforted her and gave her a place to rest from her pain. Absalom was upset and when King David found out, it said that he was “wroth” with anger.

Absalom has Ammon killed under his hand and Absalom flees to Geshur to get away from everything, King David longs for his son Absalom and his comforted by the fact that Ammon is dead!

Chapter 14: Absalom Sees the King after Years

Joab decides to try and reconcile the estranged relationship between Absalom King David. We learned from the last chapter that Absalom fled to a city of refuge and in previous books we learn that cities of refuge were actually designed for the innocent and not for the guilty. They were designed to help get away from someone (after accidental manslaughter) so the next of kin wouldn’t try and take revenge.

Three years has gone by and Joab decides it is time to reconcile with King David. So Joab has an elderly woman come in and talk with David about how she was in similar situation. She mentions that we are like water that is spilled on the ground that cannot be gathered up again. Essentially saying that the day of reconciling must be today, because once we die… there is no way to do it.

Two more years go by and Absalom and King David are finally reconciled.