Before reading the Bible, sin was a subject that I don't recall anyone ever talking to me about. It had only been referred to periodically in the various entertainments of the time. I never asked anyone about it because I assumed I knew enough about it to know that it is bad, and that was enough. But the time eventually came when assumptions were no longer satisfactory.
Sin is a universal problem because it effects the entire universe. Another problem was that I didn't understand it, but only knew that it was affecting my life. After reading the Bible, and resuming church attendance, it soon became obvious that the more people talk about sin the more they presume to understand the solution when they clearly don't understand the problem while asserting that they do. This is the biggest problem of them all because when a person is in this place, it is practically impossible for them to be converted to the truth, and experience a life that is free from sin.
At the heart of the conflict between him who is the author of sin, and him who is the author of life is the law that governs the universe. The reason sin exists is because he who is the author of sin became such as a result of bringing the justice of that law into question, and convincing a significant number of universal beings of his case as being a righteous one. This conflict entered our planet, and into our experience when our first parents entered into an agreement with this adversary of the law. We have been dealing with this conflict ever since. At least until now.
In order for this conflict to come to an end, the law must be vindicated before the universe. To make that happen, there must be a body of believers who not only have been made free from sin, but can not be made to sin under the most trying circumstances imaginable. The Bible refers to these people as the 144,000 and this experience as the time of trouble such as never was, the time of Jacob's trouble, and the hour of temptation that shall come upon all the world.
Living free from sin is not about one's actions, but their spirit, and how it relates to the law. The Bible speaks of a prophet named Elijah who was instrumental in bringing his nation to a place of decision between their God, and the god of a foreign nation. After it was demonstrated that their God was genuine, and the other false, Elijah proceeded in having the priests of the foreign god beheaded. Elijah was later translated to heaven without having to experience bodily death as result of his obedience and vidication of the character of God. If that happened today, Elijah would be accused of being a terrorist and a sinner because of the confusion that defines this generation.
People naturally tend to believe that the universe works on the basis of right and wrong, and that God arbitralily rewards or punishes people according to how much they please him or not through acts of prayer, confession, penitence, works of charity, etc. And, that heaven is given to those whose good deeds outweigh their bad. This perspective is itself a consequence of sin. This is the kind of religion of ancient Egypt that Moses had to lead the children of Israel out of so they could once again become acquainted with the God of their fathers, and his kingdom.
When one does become acquainted with the kingdom of heaven, they will see that the universe operates on the basis of cause and effect. As it is written, "for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." Galatians 6:7. Many will confuse this with karma, which is the idea that people reap according to the things they do. The fact is that it is our character that is the source of our sowing, and that our effects are related to who we are in relationship to the law rather than what we do.
This is why the apostle Paul said that all things are lawful unto him, but not all things are expedient (see 1 Corinthians 6:12). He understood that he could do anything without having to feel guilty for it because he would reap accordingly, and be at peace with the consequences. This is in contrast to those who reap with the belief that they have been dealt a wrong hand in life, or that someone else is lucky. These sentiments are expressions of the adversary who speaks in us in first person so that we think it is ourselves.
The fact is, we are naturally at peace with the adversary because we are born with his point of view as a result of our first parents eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Christianity calls this state of being original sin. But nowhere in the Bible does it say that we are born guilty because we have this point of view. Instead, we are born on probation to see if we can be brought to the place where we have God's point of view. The catalyst for bringing us to this place is referred to in the Bible as grace. When this grace comes upon us there is now enmity, or conflict where there was previously peace.
Getting victory over sin is much simpler than it sounds because we are accustomed to associating sin with behavior which we are so quick to judge, especially in others. In fact, it is our judgments that are a greater evidence of our sin than our behavior. Our sin is like our shadow: expose it to the light, and it will disappear. The great deception of this world is when people create their own version of the light in their imagination, call this graven image "Jesus Christ," and hold their sin up to that. This gives them the sense of being forgiven, and justified to continue in the familiar comforts of their natural view with its selfish interests. That is, until they encounter those with the genuine article.
The Bible speaks of the conflict between these two camps, and the end result of it. "I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom." Daniel 7:21-22. This passage was brought to my attention sometime after June 10, 2013 when the Voice had spoken to my mind while visiting with my parents saying, "my time here is finished." I didn't say anything to them about that at the time because it wasn't clear as to what it was specifically referring to. In June of 2012, I had moved back to Pennsylvania to be in closer proximity to my father as his colon cancer had returned. As it turned out, the time in question was that which had been spent contending with the different factions of Christianity over what it means to be a Christian. In other words, I was being instructed to stop fighting with others over the kingdom, and simply take possession of it.
Jesus knew this situation was going to occur, and he spoke about it in a parable.
"The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn." Matthew 13:24-30.
He then went on to give the interpretation of this.
"He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; the field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; the enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity (sin); and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear." Matthew 13:37-43 (emphasis supplied).
The sending forth of these angels can be seen in the fourteenth chapter of the Revelation, along with the 144,000.
And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. Revelation 14:6-7.
This is the only place in the Bible where the word everlasting is used in accordance with the word gospel. We naturally associate words like everlasting and eternal with time, but they can also be associated with quality or value. For example, in John 17:3 eternal life is defined as knowing God. With this, it can be seen that the significance of this everlasting gospel that this angel has is that it gives its receivers a quality of life that is equal with God himself. One can only have this quality of life if they know who they are in relationship to who God is. Therefore the objective of this angel is give people such an identity.
And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. Revelation 14:8.
Babylon was the first nation to centralize state power by subjecting all the nations surrounding it in the seventh century BC. This inlcuded Israel, whose inhabitants were taken into captivity if not slain in the conflagration. Since then, every centralizing power that has prospered on the scene of history has had some affiliation with ancient Babylon either in practice or ideology. This act of centralization has even infiltrated the nation/church of Jesus: the kingdom of heaven. Because Babylon is fallen believers no longer have to live in subjection to such a system. As stated before, there is always an answer to those who are willing to tell the truth.
And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. Revelation 14:9-12.
Whatever the mark of the beast is, it is associated with a centralized power structure. And, it will be received by everyone who doesn't see life as God does, regardless of their resolve. This is because if one doesn't see life as God does, then they see it as the adversary does. The mark of the beast is a permanent agreement that the adversary's point of view is the truth, and that God's is a lie. This is the expression of sin in its most basic, and diabolical form.
And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double. Revelation 18:1-6.
These three messages swell into one final warning of the consequences of not separating from the powers of this world. Someone recently posted a question on Twitter asking what the difference is between a cult and a community. My response was that while both are an assembly of people, a cult has a CULTure while a community doesn't because there is no connection among those of a community. This doesn't make communities evil, or insignificant, but disconnected people tend to ridicule people of culture out of jealousy. This is a sign of the harvest because believers do have a culture because of a connection not only with God, but with one another.