The Book of Revelation
contains some startling things...
God promises blessings for those who read and study
it, and mentions that if we do,
we can avoid the 'plagues' written therein...
in studying this I found seven plagues
that can be avoided by the church....
SEVEN PLAGUES OF THE CHURCH
There are many examples in the Bible of plagues being sent upon people in the Bible. We read these and yet, there is little awareness of the fact that plagues still afflict people today. Most realize that the tribulation period is abundant with plagues on the sinners. Why are Christians not aware of the plagues that are for the church age, and in fact, are for those in the congregations of our own time.
There are spiritual laws, and the law of sowing and reaping are still in effect today.
Galatians 6:7 (KJV)
"Be not deceived, God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."
There are many who are deceived. They think that they can sow bitterness, spiritual abuse against others, lies, anger, gossip, strife, etc. in the church, and God will look the other way. God takes sin very seriously. What Christians sow, they will reap... the same as for those who have never been saved. The Bible is full of warnings.
Revelation 22:18-19 (NKJV)
"For I testify to everyone
who hears the words
of the prophecy of this book:
If anyone adds to these things,
God will add to him the plagues
that are written in this book;
and if anyone takes away from
the words of the book
of this prophecy,
God shall take away
his part from the Book of Life,
from the Holy City,
and from th things
which are written in this book."
This prophecy is written for the church age,
and shows that God still uses plagues on people
in this age.
We would like to delegate plagues
to the Old Testament,
to the tribulation, or to just the non-religious.
It makes us uncomfortable to think of plagues
on the Christian church,
the ones in our own midst.
However, we must rightly divide the Word of God,
and honestly look at what the Scriptures say.
The Greek word for "plague"
is the word - "plege".
This word means "wound", "stripe", "stroke", and "calamity".
The Lord does chasten those that He loves with "stripes." To the church at Laodicea, which represents the predominant church of the last days, the Lord Jesus says:
Revelation 3:19 (NKJV)
"As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten; be zealous therefore and repent."
This shows that the purpose of plagues
is the chastening of the people.
The Lord sends plagues to make some lethargic, apathetic, rebellious ones to become more zealous of repentance and to change from their sinful ways. The Lord sends plagues to make them realize God's displeasure, and lack of blessing. When plagues are sent by God, some will repent. Therefore the purpose of God in plaguing His people is to bring them back to Him in repentance.
Hosea 5:15 (KJV)
"...in their affliction,
they will seek Me early (first)..."
Let us look into the description of the church age for the plagues that would afflict us in this time. In Revelation 2 and 3, there are some sins mentioned within the church ages. These often have the plague identified, that will afflict those with those sins.
1. THE SIN = LOSS OF FIRST LOVE /
THE PLAGUE = REMOVAL OF CHURCH
Revelation 2:5 (NKJV)
"Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place; unless you repent..."
The sin that brings this plague to such churches is the sin of leaving the "first love", as in this church of Ephesus. There are many churches that are known for spiritual abuse, bickering, gossiping, strife, grudges, unforgiveness... etc. They are supposed to be known for their love... They are to love Jesus so much that the love for their brethren is a natural by-product.
Whenever the "first love" is lost, the "first works" (Rev. 2:5) also change. They no longer show their love to each other. The sinners are judged, and not loved. They criticize, instead of intercede for their wounded brothers and sisters.
Unfortunately, there are many church congregations today with such a sin. They have lost their first love. Over the years, I have witnessed churches who would:
physically abuse with blows to the head of a child,
berate teens with verbal abuse that would make the Lord cringe,
ignore the new converts who did not dress in expensive enough clothes,
shun those who did not live in the same part of town,
criticize the weak and stumbled,
gossip about the newer saints,
and abuse the ones outside their clique.
The Lord watches the congregations, and loves even the "babe" in Christ. He sees these sins, and other sins, and tells such churches that a plague will come upon them, if they do not repent. Unfortunately, many such churches do not repent, but stay the same year after year.
The plague promised to such church congregations, is the removal of their church. In these last days, more than ever before, there will be churches close, be split, or go into "spiritual non-existence." The Lord warns such church congregations in the prophecy of the book of Revelation.
2. THE SIN = DOCTRINE OF THE NICOLAITANES /
THE PLAGUE = THE LORD WILL FIGHT THEM
Revelation 2:16 (NKJV)
"Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and fight against them with the sword of My mouth."
The ones so threatened are those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes. This terminology is almost forgotten in Christian circles, because in many congregations, it is more than a doctrine, it is a practice, and is thought to be most holy. The Nicolaitanes were a group of people who wanted the church to have two classes of saints. A clergy and a laity were to each have their own duties and privileges. The Lord hated this doctrine, and still does. he sees no difference between any two saints. One group is not to be more blessed, more privileged, or have different rules than the others.
In our times, there is a fresh outbreaking of this false doctrine of the Nicolaitanes. Some ministers of churches want to shepherd, command, and be lord over the others of the congregation. They want special rank, special privileges, and special recognition from the others. The rest are simply to fill a pew, do some menial tasks about the church building, and fill the offering plates to overflowing. This is not the Lord's pattern for the church congregations.
The Lord loves all saints, and has for each saint a particular ministry. We are to gather to worship together, and to minister to one another in a body church... This body church should have a pastor to minister and teach the Word of God, but he/she is not our mediator, not our lord, and not our boss. We should honor them for their calling, and seek help in our particular callings from them... They are to be an "example," not the "lord."
I Peter 5:3 (KJV)
"Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock."
Those who hold to such dogma in these last days are open to the plague against such, as stated in Revelation. The Lord says that He will "fight" against them with the sword of His mouth. This indicates to Me, that the Lord is speaking out a message against such a hated doctrine. There are more and more modern day prophets speaking out God's message to this last generation. There are many now who do not seek acclaim, lordship, or try to be as God to the saints.... Many are seeking to develop in every saint their own God-given, Spirit-empowered, ministry.
Recognizing that God is no respecter of persons,
many of the ministers are admitting
their own fallibility,
and seeking the ministry of all saints
to accompany their own,
and see the church grow.
Those who continue to hold this doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, that is so hated by our Lord, will find that the message of anger, and judgment, and harsh condemnation even within their own being will grow stronger and stronger in these last days. God is trying to straighten out His church, before the rapture, and before the judgment time for the church.
3. THE SIN = LACK OF REPENTANCE, AND CONDONING THOSE WHO REFUSE TO REPENT THE PLAGUE = SICKNESS ON THE ONES WHO DO NOT REPENT, TRIBULATION ON THE ENABLERS
Revelation 2:22 (NKJV)
"Indeed, I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds."
In the congregations of these last days, there, regrettably, are many who sin. I have witnessed some who teach false doctrines, spread heresy, split congregations, chase out pastors, lie about others, gossip, abuse physically and spiritually, and then will not repent of these sins. In most of these same congregations, there are some who will condone what these others have done. They may think they are exercising love and acceptance, but they are in actuality becoming partakers of the sins of these others. These enablers are likewise to be judged by the Lord.
Much sin in the congregations of these last days has been condoned by these people I will call the enablers. The sin is horrible enough, but the refusal to exhort, and correct these unrepentant, hard-hearted, self-willed sinners - is appalling to God. God will judge them also.
In congregations where children have been abused, teachers and leaders have lied about the abuse, false accusations have been made against the innocent victims and anyone who would say "STOP", and the victims who said "This is not right!" were chased from the congregation..... some have stayed within the congregation to continue to worship with these unrepentant sinners. This is not God's plan, and slowly many realize this and leave that congregation. Some who continue to worship with sinners, without rebuking their sins, become partakers of such sins.
The Lord says the ones who are unrepentant sinners will face a plague of sickness. The ones who are the condoners, enablers will face great troubles and tribulation. These plagues will become more and more evident as we approach the rapture time.
4. THE SIN = BEING LEADER OF THE UNREPENTANT GROUP /
THE PLAGUE = DEATH OF CHILDREN
Revelation 2:23 (NKJV)
"I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He Who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works."
The groups mentioned above usually have one who leads such rebellion and sin. One, who should be encouraging and preaching the need of repentance and change from the wickedness, often is the one making sure that the sin is allowed to continue. This is often the pastor of the church congregation.
The Lord will strive to break the stubborn will of this person. I have witnessed one such person who strives to turn others against the victims of the abuse. Some who tried to stop abuse and lies are called "false prophets". Even when the "prophecies" that these sinners have called "false", occur as prophesied... this person continues the attacks. Though he has been proven to be one of the false prophets, instead of the one that he preached was the "false prophet", he attacks more vehemently... hoping no one will remember his false prophecies.
A plague is sent by God upon such types of sinners. The awfulness of this plague is dreadful, outrageous, and sickening. To see innocent children die, and be in life threatening illnesses is awful to watch. We would like to stop such things, out of love... and yet, we did not send the plague... and all we can do is pray and intercede for the sinner, the instigator of the unrepentance of other sinners, to be broken soon... before the plague claims innocent lives.
It is natural, and frequent that Christians today say, "God does not do that anymore..." Yet, He was doing it during the former rain revival of the early church, and He is doing it again in the latter rain revival of the last day church. Shocking, but Scriptural is this reality.
5. THE SIN = NOT OVERCOMING SIN /
THE PLAGUE = NAMES BLOTTED OUT OF THE BOOK OF LIFE
Revelation 3:5 (NKJV)
"He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels."
Exodus 32:32-33 (NKJV)
"Yet now, if You will forgive their sin; but if not, I pray, blot me out our Your Book which You have written. And the Lord said to Moses, 'Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My Book.'"
Some who continue in sin, and do not overcome sins by repentance and faith in the Lord... will ultimately face the plague of having their names blotted out of the Book of Life. Unfortunately, being saved and being written in the Book of Life, does not guarantee heaven. "Once-saved-always-saved" may be believed by many, but it is not Scriptural. Some former saints are now in hell... and many others of our day may join them, if they do not overcome sin and temptation.
Too many people in the church congregations are trusting in a past experience. The recent behavior of many is sinful, disgusting, and hated by God. He will send plagues to make them realize their sinfulness... and the ultimate plague of our God, against these sinners is the blotting out of their names from the Book of Life. Hell fire awaits some who sit weekly in the pew, and hope their names are still in the Book of Life, despite their sins.
6. THE SIN = LUKEWARMNESS
THE PLAGUE = BEING VOMITED OUT BY THE LORD
Some who do not brazenly go back to sin, sit in comfortable pews and "vegetate." They do not serve God ardently, and they do not serve the devil with any great zeal either. The Lord is tiring of such pew fillers. He sends a warning to such.
Revelation 3:16 (NKJV)
"So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth."
The language is blunt, and the reality is frightening. Yet, the Word clearly states that God will not tolerate lukewarmness in these last days. He wants to return and rapture a church that is without spot or wrinkle... but the church is too much filled with sinners, abusers, enablers, and lukewarm people... He must judge, condemn, and plague the church to effect a change in time for the rapture... It is a dangerous time to be a pew-filler Christian. God is going to stir up those in the congregations to being "hot" for Him, or cool them off to "cold" for the enemy... He will force the pew-fillers to make a choice!
7. THE SIN = CHANGING THE PROPHETIC MESSAGE
THE PLAGUE = ALL THE PLAGUES AFOREMENTIONED, INCLUDING LOSS OF SALVATION, LOSS OF OUR HEAVENLY HOME, AND LOSS OF THE PROMISES OF THE LORD...
Revelation 22:18-19 (NKJV)
"For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book; If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the Holy City, and from the things which are written in this book."
Deuteronomy 4:2 (NKJV)
"You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you."
Deuteronomy 12:32 (NKJV)
"Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it."
It is amazing how carelessly some saints, congregations, denominations, and Biblical scholars of our time handle the Word of God. It is the Living, infallible, and inspired message from God, and people think they can change it, add to it, or ignore parts of it. It is a dangerous, and sinful thing to not honor, obey, and heed the Word of God. "Rightly divided" we profit from this inexhaustible Book.
Some today want to omit the prophecies of Revelation, and want to hope that life will go on, as before, when it is obvious to any scholar that this is the last generation. The warnings, the judgments, the fact of being in the last days... must not be omitted and ignored. Yet, many congregations have not heard a true teaching on the book of Revelation. The greatest error of many congregations, is the omission of this book.
Others add to the book, and change its message. They want to teach it, but not as a revelation for us today. They desire to add error, and other doctrines not taught in this book, so as to placate their own conscience. Their conscience would be guilt-ridden if they interpreted the revelation as written.
God is angered at the persons who ignore such a great, valuable, and necessary book for the saints of the last days. When it is relegated to a lower place than other books of the Bible, when it is added to, in order that its true message is obscured, or when it is totally ignored... God sends plagues aplenty!
This book of Revelation is the only book that contains promises of special blessings for the reading of it. It also contains this great warning for the misuse, neglect, or changing of its message. How vitally important it is for us to heed its warnings. We need to be very concerned about the plagues that are possible for our day, for our congregations.