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The Just Shall Live By Faith - The Book of Revelation
Week 39, 2016
As we covered, The Reformation took root and spread with the development of the printing press and the Bible being made accessible to the people. As the Scriptures were read, the contrast between the practices and doctrines of the institutional church and the Word of God were easily seen. Multitudes, and even nations, began to break away from the Roman church in Europe. Thus began The Reformation, or the reforming of the church.
This renewal movement was not accomplished without great conflict in every nation. Every king and governmental authority was in “the valley of decision,” having to choose between the new and the old. As this division rent Europe, the power of Islam grew in the east and was intent on conquering Europe. Pirates so dominated the Mediterranean Sea that it was called an Islamic lake.
As the Inquisition grew and multitudes of Protestants were tortured and slain, some Protestant areas mobilized and wars broke out between them and the Catholics. Because of the brutality of the Inquisition, some Protestant leaders even cheered the coming of the Islamic hordes, thinking that life under Islam could not be as bad as life under the Roman church (Martin Luther was one of these).
Islam was not coming to liberate but to dominate. Islam means “submission,” and those who would not convert to Islam when captured were either enslaved or killed. Consider how bad it had become under the Roman church that some preferred slavery or death under Islam. Then consider the plight of the Jews, who were threatened by all sides.
I’m not covering this to smear any church or group, rather to paint an accurate picture of those times and how the roots of many of the serious problems we face today began then. This period was not called “The Dark Ages” by many historians without reason. To be of any persuasion was to be considered a deadly enemy of every other group. In all our partisan fighting today, even with terrorism, we are still far from facing the diabolical evils of the end of the Middle Ages.
One reason why the Jewish people are used so prophetically in Scripture is that their conflicts within and without parallel the plight of humanity. For this reason, we will briefly cover their history through this time and how it foreshadowed the time when Israel is again at the heart of world conflicts.
The Reformation ignited when Martin Luther, while reading the Book of Romans, awakened to how the just must live by faith. Interestingly, Paul’s epistle to the Romans, which would be the city John saw in Revelation that the harlot church would sit upon, would ignite the world’s deliverance from that church. The Word of God has infinite power, but it also has wisdom beyond human wisdom.
Paul’s epistle to the Romans is considered the most important theological book in the Bible. It is the most profound declaration and explanation of the Gospel and New Covenant in Scripture. We also find the Jewish people’s place described in chapters nine through eleven. Why would the people of the Old Covenant be given such a prominent place in the declaration of the New Covenant? In this section we are also told of a grafting together of the two that will begin the resurrection.
When we grasp the crucial part that the Jewish people have to play at the end of the age, we understand why Satan has been so intent on destroying them. When we grasp their place in His purpose, we cannot help but to have a vision for Israel—it is linked to the church coming to its full purpose and purity in being prepared for the King.
next week 40