The origin of Abaddon is found in Judaism. According to the Brown Driver Briggs lexicon, the Hebrew word אבדוןa, avadon, is an intensive form of the Semitic root and verb stem abad. The Greek word for adaddon is Apollyon which means destroyer when translated into English. The context of Abaddon is part of John’s vision who is the angel of Hell also known as the Abyss.
Over them as king they have the angel of the Abyss (of the bottomless pit). In Hebrew his name is Abaddon [destruction], but in Greek he is called Apollyon [destroyer], Revelation 9:11.
Growing up in a Roman Catholic Church, I was taught about the wrath of God in the Old Testament. This biblical emphasis caused me to view God as a disciplinarian. Similar to the words of Moses in Deuteronomy 28:1-2, I believed that obedience to God was the key to having a successful life. Subsequently, I perceived the good and bad things that happened to me as blessings and curses.
The first woe (calamity) has passed; behold, two others are yet to follow, Revelation 9:12.
As I matured in my faith, this mindset was unhealthy and self-destructive. While attending a Sunday School class at Red Lion, a couple introduced me to Restoring the Foundations. This book and ministry helped me fill in the gaps of my flawed theology. If you find yourself in a destructive situation or in the process of being destroyed spiritually, I highly recommend RTF by Chester and Betsy Kylstra.
Korah is one of the individuals who rebelled against Moses following the Exodus out of Egypt. According to Number 16:31-32, the earth swallowed up all of Korah’s household and possessions. While some of Korah’s descendants survived the wrath of God, they were barred from entering the tabernacle for 7 generations. Based upon the passage below, the sons of Korah were finally able to make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem to worship at God’s temple.
How lovely are Your tabernacles, O Lord of hosts! 2 My soul yearns, yes, even pines and is homesick for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out and sing for joy to the living God. 3 Yes, the sparrow has found a house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young—even Your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God. 4 Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are those who dwell in Your house and Your presence; they will be singing Your praises all the day long. Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]! Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man whose strength is in You, in whose heart are the highways to Zion. 6 Passing through the Valley of Weeping (Baca), they make it a place of springs; the early rain also fills [the pools] with blessings. 7 They go from strength to strength [increasing in victorious power]; each of them appears before God in Zion, Psalm 84:1-7.
Depending upon where you live in the United States, going to church in 2020 is much more complicated than it use to be. If you don’t call ahead, register or sign up on line, you probably won’t be able to attend due to limited numbers. Since the Coronavirus outbreak struck in the middle of March, churches have either gone virtual, transitioned to outdoor services or limited their attendance due to new state guidelines. Until a cure is discovered, weekly pilgrimages to church might have to be altered.
Great is the Lord, and highly to be praised in the city of our God! His holy mountain, 2 Fair and beautiful in elevation, is the joy of all the earth—[a]Mount Zion [the City of David], to the northern side [Mount Moriah and the temple], the [whole] city of the Great King! 3 God has made Himself known in her palaces as a Refuge (a High Tower and a Stronghold), Psalm 48:1-3.
The concern for future generations is that teenagers will grow up without worship being part of their lives. While most congregations limits services to one day a week, accountability groups, Bible studies, fellowship and Sunday school classes play a key role in developing faith. Although some youth groups have used Zoom Chats to stay in touch, nothing can replace face to face interactions. Thus, as certain governors have enacted emergency orders to ban in person worship services, people of faith need to be creative. The goal is to do whatever it takes to make the pilgrimage to a local church possible once again.
Retention is the ability to recall, remember and retain information. Unfortunately, busyness, distractions and hectic schedules tend to weaken one’s ability to pay attention. Subsequently, whenever I meet someone new, names are often forgotten immediately causing me to ponder, “what’s your name again?” If I can’t remember the name of someone I just met in person, how is it possible to retain the knowledge about an invisible God?
For [God does not overlook sin and] the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who in their wickedness suppress and stifle the truth, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them [in their inner consciousness], for God made it evident to them, Romans 1:18-19.
The apostle Paul makes two interesting observations in a letter to the church at Rome. First, the earth, the moon and stars are signs of a higher power, a grand design. When you add other things such as rainbows, sunsets and tides, no one can say I didn’t know or see God. Witnessing wonders should gravitate individuals toward the Bible, a history book of life on earth. Yet, unless you open God’s Word up for yourself, retaining knowledge of God will fade away.
Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory and majesty and excellence of the immortal God for an image [worthless idols] in the shape of mortal man and birds and four-footed animals and reptiles. 24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their own hearts to [sexual] impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them [abandoning them to the degrading power of sin], 25 because [by choice] they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen, Romans 1:22-25.
Second, Paul reveals the consequence of failing to retain the knowledge of God. The further you fall away from God, the closer you become to exchanging the glory of God for worldly idols. Those who ignore, neglect or reject God’s advice about life often abandon faith due to the degrading power of sin. When sin becomes full blown, James 1:13-15, truth is exchanged for a lie. May these words from Paul instill a sense of urgency to retain the knowledge of God before you are too far gone.
There are certain expressions, quotes and sayings that have become synonymous with Hollywood films. Whether its “show me the money” in Jerry Maguire, “how about them apples” via Good Will Hunting or “you can’t handle the truth” from A Few Good Men, these scenes seem to transcend time. While these classic lines are proclaimed by fictional characters, one of these phrases is a touchy subject for demons.
You believe that God is one; you do well [to believe that]. The demons also believe [that], and shudder and bristle [in awe-filled terror—they have seen His wrath]! – James 2:19
On the surface, demons are spiritual entities associated with the devil and evil. According to the Bible, one third of the angels in heaven exercised their freewill, backing Lucifer’s plot to exalt himself. This coup against God the Father was immediately exposed, resulting in their expulsion from heaven. Upon falling to earth, these fallen angels have aligned themselves with the devil, aka Satan, formerly the archangel Lucifer. This former angel of song uses a plethora of sneaky methods to hide that which is true. Corruption, deceit and lies are sown to delay the inevitable, the wrath of God.
Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” And he answered, “Legion”; because many demons had entered him. 31 They continually begged Him not to command them to go into the abyss, Luke 8:30-31.
While Jesus’ earthly brother explains why demons believe and fear God, a first century doctor goes into further details on this subject. The Bible refers to the abyss as the regions of hell, a bottomless pit, a place of eternal suffering without ceasing. This fact serves as a clear and present danger for fallen angels. Demons can’t handle the truth because hell is their eternal destiny. From their perspective, the more souls they can drag down with them, the better. In view of this spiritual reality, test everything you hear with the Bible so that half truths will be exposed and the truth will set you free.
Two weeks ago, there was a tropical depression forming in the Gulf of Mexico. Most meteorologists believed this system would eventually make landfall some where along the Mexican coast as a minor rain event. In the matter of 48 hours, Hurricane Harvey intensified into a giant, pounding southeast Texas with over 50 inches of rain over the last week. After viewing all of this devastation, media pundits are trying to make sense of this unexpected event.
And when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. This must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains. “But be on your guard. For they will deliver you over to councils, and you will be beaten in synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them, Mark 13:7-9.
Some of these panelists have suggested this is a sign of the apocalypse, the beginning of the last days or the wrath of God. Curious about previous Hurricanes and Typhoons, I did some research to see if this has ever happened before. While listening to a historian, I discovered that a similar storm stalled over Cuba more than 60 years ago that brought over 100 inches of rainfall. Due to the lack of technology at the time, there isn’t the video like that aired nightly of the greater Houston area. Like the 2000 filmed based upon a true story, when the conditions are ideal a Perfect Storm can and will form.
I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things, Isaiah 45:7.
Whether you have the ability to choose where you live or not, there is no perfect place on earth to reside. Every location has its appeal and negative aspects. The beach is great but potential storms lurk out in the sea. Mountains are beautiful until blizzards and white out conditions arrive. The west coast is scenic until earthquakes abruptly interrupt your plans. Meanwhile, the Midwest is a wonderful place to live until tornado season arrives. In the end, you have to make the best of where you live, appreciating the good and enduring the bad. As for Texas and Louisiana, these people need your prayers as recovery will take months and possibly years. In the meantime, God is in control as this tragedy has brought communities together to help one another survive. This is my take on making sense of the unexpected event known as Hurricane Harvey.
Somewhere along the way, I picked up a belief that God immediately punishes individuals for their sins. Perhaps, I heard too many sermons on the wrath of God from the Old Testament growing up. Subsequently, I began to read too much into daily events, as if I knew why good or bad things were happening to me. Fortunately, I’m not the only one who struggles to understand God.
“Be careful,” Jesus warned them. “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.” – Mark 8:15
One day while traveling across the countryside, the disciples forgot to bring their usual allotment of bread for their trip. As soon as this was brought to Jesus’ attention, He began to warn the disciples. Thinking Jesus was mad at them for forgetting the bread, each misread what the Lord was trying to say. Instead of seeing the big picture, the twelve disciples were blinded by a narrow view of this world.
Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember? – Mark 8:18
A day earlier, Jesus had fed thousands of people with a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish. Focused on whose fault it was, forgetting the bread, each disciple failed to see that Jesus was and is the Bread of Life. The yeast of the Pharisees is cynicism from human beings who try to discredit Jesus’ miracles. Therefore, if you begin to live by sight and not by faith, you too may soon misread signs from God.
As television evolves, the more preposterous ads, shows and slogans become. Look no further than a time machine powered by Doritos, cologne that serves as a chick magnet and cars that cause a baby to speak their first words. By the time Sunday evening rolls around, Super Bowl XLIX commercials will likely push the envelope further to a new low.
But God was very angry when he went, and the angel of the LORD stood in the road to oppose him. Balaam was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him. – Numbers 22:22
The Bible contains its own version of improbable events. A serpent that walks and talks, seas that turn to solid ground then swallows up an entire army and a man who rises from the dead. While post-modernists may tend to believe Hollywood more than the authors of the Bible, one of my favorite passages is when a donkey knows best.
Then the LORD opened the donkey’s mouth, and it said to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?” – Numbers 22:28
According to a 2013 study, more than 164 million households own a pet. Although cats and dogs get most of the attention, its not uncommon for country folks to own a donkey. Own his way to curse Israel, Baalam travels on a donkey with Moabite officials. However, his donkey encounters an angel of death. Unseen by Baalam, he begins to beat his donkey, a shocking sight to those who support PETA. After the third attack, the Lord enables Baalam’s donkey to speak. Opening the eyes of his master, God allowed Baalam to realize that sometimes donkeys and all animals alike know best.