When Corruption Snuck Into The Church

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Today’s Scripture:

“And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.” (Revelation 6:3–4).

Seeing God’s Face:

When things are not going well in the world, or in our lives for that matter, it is becoming increasingly easy to lose sight of God. Does He love you personally? Yes, Jesus gave His life so you could be free from sin and live forever. Is He seeing your trials? Yes, He’s always watching and listening for your sincere prayers, to give you what you need. Does all of this cryptic Bible stuff apply to you? Yes, there are many things that may seem like they are facts and figures for religious people to argue about, but God has actually told us critical things ahead of time that can save your life if you patiently listen and apply what you hear.

Today’s Observation:

Our worthy King Jesus is pictured as having opened the second seal, but immediately we see a drastic change in color. The horse revealed under the first seal was pure white, representing a point in early Christian history when God’s people loved nothing more than to please Him. They hid the Word in their hearts so they might not sin against Him. If they stumbled and fell spiritually, they repented and turned from their evil ways. They kept the lines of communication open with God, so they could hear His voice on all matters in their lives.

However, the horse pictured under the second seal is red. As we can clearly see in the book of Isaiah, there is a contrast between the purity of white, and the sin of red. The Bible says, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; Though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: But if ye refuse and rebel, Ye shall be devoured with the sword: For the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.” (Isaiah 1:18–20). Further, the Bible calls the father of all sin, the devil, a red dragon in Revelation 12.

It is more than reasonable to understand that these seven seals represent events on earth that in many ways correspond to aspects of the previously highlighted seven churches. That being the case, the second seal reveals a time of incredible sin in Christian history. Somehow during the period of A.D. 100-313, corrupting heresies crept in to the faith. Where the Bible says that Jesus is our only Mediator, the church began to make confession to earthly priests. Where the Bible said that we must not have any graven images, nor worship anything in God’s place, the church began to baptize pagan idols calling them saints and setting them up in cathedrals as something to be venerated. Where the Bible said that we should remember His holy seventh-day Sabbath to keep it holy, the church started to forget, and set up its own version of God’s command in its place. The devil basically used the same method of deception he used on Eve in Eden. God said X and the devil came in and said Y. In the wilderness of temptation with Jesus, our King hearkened to the Scriptures in their purity, and the devil reinterpreted them, to suit his evil intentions.

Obviously, red also represents bloodshed (You probably don’t need me to prove that to you with a text. There are scores of them). Under the Emperor Constantine, there was so much bloodshed and a strange mingling between the civil and religious. Strangely, the strong arm of civil authority was appealed to for persecuting religious matters. There is no doubt that as our theme text says, peace was very hard to come by at that time.

Life Application:

The reality of history is often not as happy as any of us would like it to be. There are events recorded that many of us would wish to forget—it’s just too gloomy. However, one blessing that even those gloomy times in history provide is the blueprint for not repeating the errors of the past. In the context of today’s thought, we have the privilege of 20/20 hindsight to help us stay close to what the Bible teaches, rather than accepting the lies of the red dragon. Our motto must be that if God said it, we believe it.

I’d like to challenge you to do something today: Take an inventory of your life. I don’t mean a pensive, psychobabble sort of inventory dating back to your experiences in the womb. I mean, your daily choices. Measure them up against the Bible and see if they coincide or conflict. Like, when it’s time to unwind and you want to watch a little TV, is it something that supports your relationship with God, or does it conflict? When you talk to your best friends or coworkers, do you entertain uplifting conversations or gossip and criticism? When you have to choose between time alone with God, or something else, which do you choose? If you are a manager at work or in law enforcement, how do you use your authority? Can you be trusted to do the right thing even if someone is disrespectful to you? I am taking this inventory too. The Lord can help all of us make right choices in the mundane things of life, which prepare us for those big decisions that most never see coming. Just be faithful, and watch God insulate you against making the errors of our dark past.

*For further study I have included a link to a classic lesson from former Amazing Facts president Joe Crews here: http://goo.gl/RPy0EG

A Prayer for Your Hearts:

Lord, please give us your Spirit today. In the name of Jesus I pray, amen.

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