May 2016

Watching destruction

End-time harvests

End Time Harvest in Revelation Revisited

The church of the Lord Jesus Christ stands before the beasts of Humanism and Religion and proclaims the Eternal Gospel. This is vividly presented in Revelation Chapter 13 and the first 13 verses of Chapter 14, but then the scene shifts to two dramatic end-time events, the gathering in of the church and the judgement of the godless. The visionary picture John uses to present these events is that of harvest, the gathering in of the wheat and the crushing of the grapes.

There were two major harvest times in ancient Israel; the grain harvest in April/May and the grape harvest in September/October. Passover was linked to the wheat harvest and the Feast of Tabernacles to the grape harvest. The two harvests of Revelation 14:14-20 draw on this familiar imagery.

John sees a vision of ‘one like a son of man’ harvesting the wheat. He has already applied this ascription to the Lord Jesus and the description he gives in Revelation 1:13 is very similar to Daniels description of ‘The Ancient of Days’ (Daniel 7:9-10). There is little doubt in my mind that Jesus himself, and not an angel, is in view here in the wheat harvest scene of Revelation 14.

This wheat harvest symbolises the gathering in of all followers of Jesus who are physically alive when He returns in glory. Matthew 13:24-29 records Jesus’ parable of the wheat harvest as representing the church and we can make a connection here to the harvest of Revelation 14.

The message conveyed by the grape harvest in this passage of Revelation is equally clear, but a lot more graphic. An angel swings his sickle on the earth and the grapes are gathered and thrown into ‘the great winepress of God’s wrath’. Once again, it is clear that the harvest depicted here is of people and not produce because it states that ‘they were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press as high as the horses’ bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia’ (Revelation 14:20). The primary source of this imagery is Joel 3:12-14, and I am reproducing it in full here because it is worth reading in the context of Revelation 14.

‘Let the nations be roused; let them advance into the Valley of Jehoshaphat, for there I will sit to judge all the nations on every side. Swing the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, trample the grapes, for the winepress is full and the vats overflow — so great is their wickedness!’

There is a small detail in Revelation’s description of the grape harvest that we need to note; the ‘trampling’ takes place outside the city. In Old Testament times Jerusalem was the ‘city of God’, the place of His temple which represented his presence in the midst of His people. The crushing of the ‘grapes of wrath’ references those who are not within the ‘city of God’. It is a judgment scene, a depiction of great punishment. We, as followers of Jesus Christ are often corrected and sometimes chastised, but we are not the objects of God’s wrath and judgement. The wheat is gathered and brought into God’s storehouse but the grapes are crushed outside of God’s storehouse. This is an important distinction to make as we come to the end of Part Four of Revelation because the next two chapters are all about the plague bowls of God’s wrath and we need to understand that believers are not in view here.

I want to return to Jesus’ parable of the wheat harvest that I cited earlier because it contains two vital lessons for us. It reads as follows:

Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.'” (Matthew 13:24-30)

Lesson 1

The first lesson to draw from this is that the church of our day contains both wheat and weeds, saved and unsaved, true disciples of Jesus but also those who are mere professors of His lordship. Just being a church member does not make one ‘wheat’, and nor does church attendance or adherence to rites and rituals. What makes the difference between ‘wheat’ and ‘weeds’ is the regenerating action of the Holy Spirit when He gives new birth into Christ. When we are ‘born again’ of the Spirit (John 3:1-11) then we are incorporated into the body of Christ and become His followers, His disciples, His family.

Lesson 2

The second lesson is that it is not for us to attempt to judge who within the church are ‘wheat’ and who are ‘weeds’, let alone attempting to root out those we consider weeds. We do not know the hearts of others (half the time we don’t even understand our own hearts) and if we attempt to do what Jesus has expressly prohibited, then we will damage the church. We will become critical and legalistic and will undoubtedly censure many people who are true believers passing through difficult spiritual times.


Perhaps you have heard the story of the man who died and went to heaven. When he arrived there he was greatly surprised to see so many people whose deaths had preceded his whom he didn’t expect to see in heaven. But what shocked him the most was the looks of utter surprise that appeared on their faces when they caught sight of him.


In my next post, I hope to introduce the 5th section of the Book of Revelation… why don’t you read chapters 15 to 18 in preparation keeping in mind that if you know Jesus as Saviour and Lord then you are not a subject of the Bowls of Wrath described in these chapters!



The Touch of the Master’s hand

The Bible is full of music from Exodus 15 right through to Revelation 15.  Of course, the book of Psalms is the richest portfolio of songs in the scriptures, and Psalm 139 is among its greatest.

The problem for us when it comes to the music of the Bible is that we are given the lyrics but not the melody, key, or tempo; we have to decide these for ourselves. For example, Psalm 139 can be sung slowly in a minor key as a lament, or it can be sung brightly in a major key as a song of praise. I think that David intended his Psalm to be sung in a major key, but I suspect that many of us hear it in our heads as a lament.

We could interpret the first four verses as “O God, you know everything about me; all my weaknesses and faults, and I am not happy about this… sigh”. But, we could also read it as, “O Lord, nobody knows me like you do, and I am so glad of this.” Equally, verses 5 and 6  could be sung as, “God, you have trapped me and your hand is raised to punish me! I just don’t get it! Why me Lord?” But I am convinced that David intended us to sing, “You go before me to guide me and behind me to protect me. Your hand of blessing is upon me. I don’t understand why you should care for me like this but it’s just wonderful!”

I think that the key sentiment of the song is captured in the words, ‘you have laid your hand upon me’.
When I read this in the context of a song, and knowing that David was a musician, I see Jesus, the Master Craftsman and Maestro Musician taking me up in His hands to play the music of heaven in, through, and with me.

With this sort of understanding of God, it is hard to continue to sing Psalm 139 as a lament. How can we sing verses 7 to 12  as “I just can’t hide from you Lord” when it is so obvious that we should be singing, “Lord, there is nowhere I could go in life that you would not be with me, guiding me and holding me fast.”

David’s song presents a wonderful truth: God created us and cares for us, and nowhere is this clearer in the Psalm than in verses 13-18  I want to use a recent project of mine as an example of how this truth applies to our lives.

Beater to Better

A few months ago I bought the cheapest new Classical Guitar I could find on the internet ($50) and set myself the following challenge: make this poor guitar look better, play better, and sound better, without spending any more money on it.

Sonata front on

Here is what it looked like when it arrived.  At first glance, it looked OK but closer inspection revealed rusted strings, high and tarnished frets, an unplayably high action, and layers of plastic/varnish complete with blemishes and missed spots. I later discovered that it was made of three-ply Basswood, totally unsuitable for a classical guitar. I played a short classical piece on it and someone remarked that it sounded like rubber bands on a cigar box!

Most of us look a bit like this guitar. Some are born into this world with imperfections but many more are beaten up by life itself. Circumstances, other people, or our own poor attitudes and decisions leave us tarnished, pitted with blemishes, practically unplayable, and our life-song sounding weak and toneless. But all this changes when we are in the hands of The Master. When we come to Jesus to receive new spiritual life, He breathes eternity into us but then He does not set us down; He works on us constantly to transform us into His image – so that we will look, play and sound better.

Beginners classical guitar

As I worked on the flawed guitar, I realised I was, myself,demonstrating a small and imperfect example of this transformational process. I stripped and scraped all the gunky paint from its soundboard and sanded it down until the original wood was exposed. Surprisingly, the plywood that was exposed responded to the ever finer sanding and started to look quite pretty. I also knew that the thinner, cleaner soundboard would vibrate more freely and produce a much better tone. I took off the rusty strings, filed down the frets to a uniform height and smoothed the rough fretboard so that the notes could be fingered with accuracy and ease. Then I lowered the plastic saddle and shaped it so that the intonation and action would be improved. The old rosette (the design around the sound hole) had been a cheap transfer that had come off when I refinished the soundboard so my daughter and I fashioned a new one from a piece of Brazilian Rosewood veneer I had. I reconditioned an old set of strings and strung the guitar… then I played … and it sounded even better than I had expected. Here is a picture of the transformed guitar.

Now I am neither a Master Craftsman nor a Maestro Musician so just imagine what Jesus The Master can do when He lays His hands on us!

He creates a new spiritual life within us and then He works on and with us to transform us into His own image. He lays His hand upon us. He takes us up to make something wonderful out of our flawed and battered lives.

There is a well-known poem about an old violin called ‘The touch of the master’s hand’. I found a version set to music and I am sure it will bless you. CLICK HERE TO VIEW IT.

I also discovered a copyright free version sung by Walter Brennan and it is below for you to save and enjoy if you so desire.


If you have found yourself like a flawed instrument, battered by circumstances, and singing your life-song in a melancholy minor key, then turn to Jesus, the Master, and yield to His hand. He will give you new life. He will take you up and play the music of heaven in, through, and with you.

If you would like to hear the whole sermon I preached on this topic, listen  to The Touch of the Masters Hand HERE, or click HERE for more images of the “Beater to Better” transformation in PowerPoint.

If you are reading this before June 2016, then have a look at my PREVIOUS POST to see how you can own “The Better” guitar for free!




Free guitar feature image

Learner Classical Guitar – FREE

Beginners classical guitar

I will be announcing the name of the recipient on the 14th June 2016, so there is still time for you to make a case for why the guitar should go to you 🙂

I am giving away this beautiful classical guitar to anyone who can make a convincing case that he/she will learn to play classical music on it, maintain it well, and practice regularly.

If you would like to know why I am giving away this guitar, I will be posting an audio with visuals next week … so watch this site.


If you are interested in owning this instrument, then COMMENT ON THIS POST and tell me why I should give it to you.

To comment, simply scroll down a little and you will find a handy box to type in. Please double check your email address so we know who you are! Thank you.




3 angels with interlinked message

The Eternal Gospel

Revelation Revisited Post 49

Humanism and Religion work together in an unholy partnership to oppose the church and to bewitch and control the world. Opposing them stands the church proclaiming an Eternal Gospel.

Humanism, (the sum of science, medicine, philosophy, economics, technology, military power, politics, and hedonism), delegates its authority to Religion (the sum of The Occult, New Age Mysticism, World Religions, Cults, and Apostate Christianity). Religion, in turn, endorses Humanism and acts as its prophet and miracle worker.

Those who are not sealed by the Holy Spirit as born-again followers of Jesus bear the mark of Humanism and Religion; they live by the principles, values, and priorities of the world rather than those of the Kingdom of God.

Chapter 13 of Revelation describes these two beasts that oppose the church and so what would we expect to find described in Chapter 14? The church of course! And here is how the church of the Lord Jesus is described:

Religion and Humanism*  It is composed of all Jesus-followers both in Heaven and on Earth, and also those Old Testament saints who lived by faith in the coming saviour. I have already shown in a previous post how 144,000 is a numeric shorthand for the full body of believers.

*  The believers who make up the church bear the name of the Father and the Son and they sing a ‘new song’ of praise before the throne of God.

*  They do not defile themselves with the idolatry of religion. In the book of Revelation both the true church and the false church are depicted as women. The latter is also referred to the Whore of Babylon.

*  True believers follow Jesus!

Revelation 14:6-13 describes three angels who proclaim ‘the eternal gospel’. This is the message the church is commissioned to proclaim on earth through all ages but with particular power and focus in the Last Days. This Eternal Gospel consists of three interlinked messages:

Revelation Revisited In Article Image“Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come!” Revere, honour and adore God, the creator of all that is.

“Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great!” Religion, the great deceiver of the world is defeated and ruined.

“If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the head, he, too, will drink of the wine of God’s fury.” The message is very clear – religion is worthless, God alone is to be worshipped, and anyone who lives by the values of the world (humanism and religion) will be judged.

John draws a stark contrast between the people of God and the people of the world and then cautions that the ongoing clash between these two groups will call for ‘patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus’ (Revelation 14:12).

Then John ends this section of the chapter, as I shall end this post, with the words of a voice from heaven which saying, “Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labour, for their deeds will follow them.” (Revelation 14:13)


Revelation Revisited Taurus

Why Religion is such a beastly word

Revelation Revisited second beastThe second beast of Revelation 13 is connected to the constellation Taurus, the great earth monster of the night sky.

This ‘load of bull’ depicts Religion in all its forms and anyone who has been following this series already knows what I think of religion.

The word ‘religion’ itself is mostly used in a benign way as a label for the various ways humans worship God and seek to serve Him, but I use it in an entirely negative sense as man’s attempt to make a god in our image and then to prescribe a way of worshiping this idol. In essence, religion is the enthronement of Satan and the denial of God.

The bull was the animal associated with the Canaanite god Baal and this was why the Israelites made a golden idol in the form of a bull when Moses didn’t return to them from the mountain. Here are three strong clues from Revelation 13 that the Earth Beast represents Religion:

  1. The beast looks like a lamb but speaks like a dragon. The lamb is an animal chosen to symbolise Jesus, and the Earth Beast cunningly presents itself as The Christ, but it’s evil and destructive words betray its real identity.The lamb is an animal chosen to symbolise Jesus, and the Earth Beast cunningly presents itself as The Christ, but it’s evil and destructive words betray its real identity.
  2. It operates under the authority of worldly leaders and governments (the first beast) yet it leads its followers to worship humanism. Religion and Government have always been powerfully evil partners. Worldly authority enables religion to operate, protects, and even funds it, and religion endorses and elevates worldly authority to almost god-like status. The idea of separating church and state in national affairs is a recognition of the danger of unholy alliances of this kind.
  3. It performs deceiving miraculous signs. Miracles are not necessarily signs of god-approved spiritual activity, yet most people think they are. Miracles are wrought through the application of spiritual power and the devil is spiritually powerful. This is why we are instructed to ‘test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world’ (1 John 4:1)

John gives another important feature of the work of the Earth Beast when he writes that it forces every unregenerate person to ‘receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead’. (Revelation 13:16). Now, instead of trying to argue that in a future cashless society we will all have to have a smart-card chip embedded on the back of a hand and foreheads, it is far more productive to seek to understand what John had in mind here.

Devout Jewish men of John’s time wore little boxes, called phylacteries, when they went to pray. These little boxes were bound with leather strips to their right hands and to their foreheads and contained small portions of the Jewish scriptures. This custom arose from a literal interpretation of Deuteronomy 6:8 and 11:18  where they had failed to see that God was simply instructing them to keep His word in their hearts and minds. Nevertheless, the association of God’s Word and the forehead and hand symbolism became a religious cliché. So, to the original readers of Revelation, to bear the mark of the beast on hand and forehead was a symbolic way of saying ‘think and live according to Satan’s word and not God’s word’.

Paul used the ‘seal’ imagery in a positive sense when he stated that born-again Christians are sealed by and with the Holy Spirit.

A follower of Jesus thinks and acts under the prompting of the Holy Spirit and according to the Word of God; a follower of the devil thinks and acts under demonic prompting and instruction.

Disciples of Jesus are sealed with the Spirit of God while disciples of Satan are sealed with his evil spirit.
One last point of interest in this chapter of Revelation is the unveiling of the Unholy Trinity. The Holy trinity consists of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but the unholy trinity consists of the dragon, the beast from the sea and the beast from the earth. The dragon represents Satan, the beast from the sea represents the False Prince, and the beast from the earth represents the False Prophet. Put another way, the devil tries to stand in the place of God the Father, the False Prince (sea-beast) tries to stand in the place of God the Son, and the False Prophet (earth-beast) tries to stand in the place of God the Holy Spirit.
“But Christopher, you haven’t even mentioned the infamous number of the beast, 666!”
O that … well I hate to tell you this, but you are going to have to do a little work to get my take on this subject. So, if you are interested click HERE  to download my book ‘Revelation in the Stars’, and then go to pages 178 to 180 where all will be revealed…




About Me

My name is Christopher Peppler and I was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1947. While working in the financial sector I achieved a number of business qualifications from the Institute of Bankers, Damelin Management School, and The University of the Witwatersrand Business School. After over 20 years as a banker, I followed God’s calling and joined the ministry full time. After becoming a pastor of what is now a quite considerable church, I  earned an undergraduate theological qualification from the Baptist Theological College of Southern Africa and post-graduate degrees from two United States institutions. I was also awarded the Doctor of Theology in Systematic Theology from the University of Zululand in 2000.

Four years before that I established the South African Theological Seminary (SATS), which today is represented in over 70 countries and has more than 2 500 active students enrolled with it. I presently play an role supervising Masters and Doctoral students.

I am a passionate champion of the Christocentric or Christ-centred Principle, an approach to biblical interpretation and theological construction that emphasises the centrality of Jesus

I have been happily married to Patricia since the age of 20, have two children, Lance and Karen, a daughter-in-law Tracey, and granddaughters Jessica and Kirsten. I have now retired from both church and seminary leadership and devote my time to writing, discipling, and the classical guitar.

If you would like to read my testimony to Jesus then click HERE.