“A Horse with No Name”– But the Rider All Will Know! – Revelation 19 (Part Five)

Revelation 19:11 (Amplified Bible)

“I saw heaven opened,  and behold. a WHITE HORSE [appeared]!”

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PALM SUNDAY is rapidly approaching and Christians all over the world will celebrate Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem as played out in Matthew 21:1-11.

This moment was a joyous occasion: people gathered to cheer, threw down their robes in front of Jesus and the donkey He was riding, in show of honor.

“Hosanna!  Blessed is He who comes

in the name of the Lord!”

It had to be a high point for the disciples with their time spent with Jesus.  No doubt, they had to be thinking,

 “This is it!  This is the moment we’ve all been waiting for.  The people are ready to make Jesus their King and we will reign and rule with Him!”

THE FIRST ENTRANCE -

Jesus rode into town as a suffering Savior, sent to redeem fallen man.  He rode in but carried a cross out.  He had a hero’s welcome, but died a criminals death.

But how many of you know that Jesus is going to ride again?  Not on a donkey as before, but on a White Horse with no name.

He will come in the clouds with glory as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords–not as “King for the day,” but as “King for all time and eternity.”

He’s coming on a WHITE HORSE, carrying a sword and a crown on His head and fire in His eyes.

The Next Time Jesus Rides…REVELATION 19:11-21 (NIV):

The scene portrayed in the following verses comes chronologically at the end of the Great Tribulation and the beginning of Battle of Armageddon (Rev. 19:19).

The RAPTURE already has taken place and a great number of Tribulation saints (those who accept the Lord during the Tribulation) have gone to be with the Lord.

The Rider on the White Horse–

[11] I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war.  [12] His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one but he himself knows.  [13] He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.  [14] The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean.  [15] Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.  [16] On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:

“KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS”

[17] And I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying midair, “Come, gather together for the great supper of God,  [18] so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and mighty men, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, small and great.”  [19] Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army.  [20] But the best was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur.  [21] The rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.

HE WILL HAVE A DIFFERENT MANIFESTATION:

DEFINITION: manifestation= readily perceived by the senses and especially by sight; easily understood or recognized by the mind; obvious; making evident or certain by showing or displaying.

The next time JESUS rides, He comes in a different MANIFESTATION–Being a NEW REVELATION.  He’s going to be the same but He’s going to look different.  There will be no doubt about Who He is to all who see Him and know He is Lord.

Let me show you what I’m talking about by taking a look at the CONTRASTS; between JESUS’ FIRST RIDE on Palm Sunday, and “the next time” He rides:

The First Ride and The Next Time Ride Contrasts…

*In poverty, the son of a carpenter* – (poor by earthly standards) – the Son of the Living God.

*Simply Dressed* – the clothes of a “priestly robes, magnificent in splendor & beauty.  A robe dipped in blood, signifying that He gained His position and authority by the shedding of His own life’s blood.

*no crown* – a title with no crown…”on His head are many crowns”.  The only crown He would wear would be Multiple Crowns, signifying His ultimate Crown of Thorns being made authority over every king and kingdom.

*plain-looking* (Isaiah 53:2 (b)):

“…He has no form or comeliness, and no beauty that we should desire Him.”

The next time He rides…

“His eyes [blaze] like a flame of fire”; “on His head are many kingly crowns (diadems)”; that we should desire Him!

JESUS will look the part–everything a King should be and more!  POWERFUL is His appearance!

*eyes of compassion (forgiveness)* – Eyes like a blazing fire (judgment).

*riding on a lowly donkey* – Riding a magnificent White Horse.

*leader with a “rag-tag” following* – ULTIMATE LEADER–supreme; no army.  Surrounded by an average commander of the host of heaven’s men.

“My kingdom is not of this world” – “Mighty is His name”

THE NEXT TIME JESUS RIDES…

He’ll be everything the Jews always wanted Him to be, and more!  But this time…they’ll wish they never seen Him.

This MANIFESTATION, this look at JESUS is one that those in opposition to Him will look at and tremble.

The simple carpenter’s son is coming back…

And the next time He rides, He’ll be riding as “King of Kings, Lord of Lords.”  Every eye will see Him!  They’ll know in an instant, “HE IS THE LORD.”

One of these days, He’s going to ride again.  Will you be with Him, or left behind?

There’s Going to be NEW RULES

The next time around, JESUS is going to ACT DIFFERENT than before; a DIFFERENT WAY of doing things; CONTRASTS:

*came in humility as a servant* – Will come again with POWER & AUTHORITY.

He said things like, “He who would only be great must be a servant of all.”  

But the next time He rides, He will come “with a sharp sword coming out of His mouth”

*gave us all a chance* – This time…your chances will be all over.

“Today is the day of SALVATION”; “the Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love.”

BUT THE NEXT TIME Jesus rides onto the scene He’s going to mean business!

Some people have the false impression that God has gone soft on sin.  Those people are in for a rude awakening when the King comes riding on His white horse at the end of the age.

No more second chances granted.  

From the CROSS, the Son of God cried out, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”  

BUT, this time when He comes, the time for forgiveness will be no more.

THE NEXT TIME JESUS MOUNTS THE HORSE WITH “NO NAME”…

– HE’S GOING TO LOOK DIFFERENT & ACT DIFFERENT THAN HIS FIRST RIDE–

– SEE HIM WITH A DIFFERENT MANIFESTATION, DIFFERENT METHODS–

– THE WORLD WILL SEE A NEW REVELATION, NEW RULES–

Whose side are you on today?

The Rider Will Have a Different Mission the Next Time…

“He who will ride upon the white horse will come, and when He does, there will be NEW RESULTS.”  [See Footnote [i] }

NEW RESULTS: JESUS is going to LEAD DIFFERENT than the first ride–

When Jesus entered the scene the first time, He continually frustrated those who knew Him best and because they knew He had all the POWER–didn’t use it in the way they felt He should in overthrowing the Roman government and set up a new throne establishing a kingdom that would never end.

They didn’t understand His first mission and wanted Him to do ‘the next time ride’ at the first time He rode.  HE COULDN’T…HE WOULDN’T.

He was a man on a mission.

One that He and His Father had been planning since the foundation of the world.

Again, lets compare the differences of the FIRST RIDE and Jesus’ ride the next time:

*to redeem – His MISSION STATEMENT*  Isaiah says, “And He shall seek and to save that which is lost.”

The next ride, “The Son of Man comes to reign forever and ever…”  (Daniel 7:14; Luke 1:33).

*to die* – He died but death could not hold Him!

The next time…

“And the Ever-living One [I am living in the eternity of the eternities].  I died, but see, I am alive forevermore; and I possess the keys of death and Hades [the realm of the dead]”  (Revelation 1:18 AMP).

*to a CROSS – Gave up His glory* – To a kingdom, to the living He “humbled Himself on a cross”.

The next time… 

He shall reign forever and ever”; “Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end.”  

“He will reign on David’s throne and over His Kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.” (Isaiah 9:7; Hebrews 1:8).

The first time He rode,  

*He rode alone–it was a solo act*  It was something only He could do.

The Next time He Rides…we’ll be riding with Him!  

The armies of heaven are following, riding on white horses, dressed in fine linen white and clean (Revelation 19:14).

THE FIRST TIME JESUS RODE, the disciples and those who were following Him, walked along behind Him.

The next time Jesus rides, we’ll be riding with Him as part of the army of heaven!

There’s only one way to enlist in that army…

#1.  Accepting the shed blood of the loving Savior.

You can’t PARTICIPATE in Jesus’ second MISSION while refusing to accept what He did on His first mission on Calvary’s Hill.

You can’t REIGN with Him if you don’t let your sins die with Him right now!

You won’t RIDE with Him in the future, if you haven’t bowed your knee to Him in the present.

ARE YOU READY TO RIDE?

JESUS is going to ride again with a…

DIFFERENT MANIFESTATION,

DIFFERENT METHODS,

DIFFERENT MISSION,

When He comes on a “WHITE HORSE” (with no name)…in the clouds.  The WORLD will see a NEW REVELATION of Jesus, with NEW RULES, and NEW RESULTS.

Rev 19.11 Rider on the White Horse David Miles 500W

So if this were your last opportunity, would you be ready to meet the Lord?

The KING IS COMING!  Which side will you be on the next time JESUS RIDES?

PREVIEW OF COMING ATTRACTIONS:

PART SIX, the last in this series on The REVELATION TO JOHN–“Shall We Gather At The River”

 


FOOTNOTES and CREDITS:

“A Horse with No Name” was taken from the 1971 song written by David Bunnell and originally recorded by the band America. In no way do the lyrics of the song apply to this blog.

Footnote [i]: Wayde Wilson Sermon Notes March, 1999.

Photo Credits: Google Images.

“RAPTURE READY!” – Part Four of the REVELATION TO JOHN

Revelation 14:9-11 (NIV Bible):

[9] A third angel followed and said in a loud voice:  “If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand,  [10] he, too, will drink of the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of His wrath.  He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb.  [11] And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever.  There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name.”

Now I’m no great Bible Scholar, I haven’t studied at any Bible College or Seminary, and I make no claims to know all there is to know about the prophecies of REVELATION.  I intentionally skipped through the chapters (5-13), bypassing debate on the hidden prophetic gems, but encourage you to read and jot down your own notes and detective investigation.

That being said, I don’t believe that anyone, no matter how many degrees they may have earned from educational institutions, could say they fully understand it all either.

There are some things in God’s Word that He has not revealed with sufficient detail for us to know all about it.  We only need to know what He says will happen.

We need to know that no man can alter the plan of God.  And most of all, we need to know that we must be ready for the coming of the Lord can happen at any moment!

JESUS said in Luke 12:40,  “You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour and a moment when you do not anticipate it”  (AMP).

THE MARK OF THE BEAST–Mark-Of-The-Beast-No-Man-Can-Buy-Or-Sell

One matter of prophecy that has always been a source of ‘head scratching’, a puzzlement is how much guesswork by everyone who takes the Bible literally the Mark of the Beast.

We all want to know, “What is that Mark”,  “When will it be given” and “How can I keep from receiving it, even by accident?”

There is a great passage of Scripture that most of us have all read many times.  I get a thrill reading it every time: The Book of First Thessalonians, Chapter 4.  Every time the image crosses my thoughts, I silently pray,

“Lord, help me to be ready when this day comes!”

1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 (NIV):

According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.  For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.  After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.  And so we will be with the Lord forever.

Of course we all refer to the fulfillment of this prophecy as the “RAPTURE of the Church”–“The Blessed Hope.”

Although the word “Rapture” is never found in Scripture, but the event describes a “catching away” or “caught up” and that’s what “Rapture” means.

THREE MAJOR SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT OF THE COMING“TRIBULATION”–

I am not going into explaining all the details in this POST, but I will give you a list that most are familiar with:

#1.  PRE-TRIBULATION BELIEVERS:  The RAPTURE or “catching away” of the Church must take place BEFORE the Antichrist is revealed.

#2.  MID-TRIBULATION BELIEVERS:  “Rapture” won’t come until midway point of the Tribulation period.

#3.  Those who don’t believe in the RAPTURE at all.  They are convinced that believers will continue on through the Tribulation, and those who survive will just walk into the New Jerusalem joining all who have died in the past.

What do I believe?

My decision is believing that the “Rapture” must take place before the Antichrist can rise to power; before the beginning of the Tribulation.  In all my Bible studies, I’ve never seen one time where the Church (BELIEVERS) is subject to God’s judgment and wrath as it is poured out in the earth.

I could give you a lot of bible verses to support my position on the “Rapture,” but my point in this study is NOT to convince you of my point of view.  My point is that JESUS is coming soon and we need to see the SIGNS of His coming and make ourselves ready.

If you want one bible passage that points to the “Pre-Trib” Rapture, this is one of them. 

2 Thessalonians 2:7-12 (Amplified):

[7] For the mystery of lawlessness (that hidden principle of rebellion against constituted authority) is already at work in the world, [but it is] restrained only until he who restrains is taken out of the way.  [8] And then the lawless one (the antichrist)  will be revealed and the Lord Jesus will slay him with the breath of His mouth and bring him to an end by His appearing at His coming. [Isa. 11:4]  [9] The coming  [of the lawless one, the antichrist] is through the activity and working of Satan and will be attended by great power and with all sorts of [pretended] miracles and signs and delusive marvels–[all of them lying wonders–  [10] And by unlimited seduction to evil and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing (going to perdition) because they did not welcome the Truth but refused to love it that they might be saved.  [11] Therefore God sends upon them a misleading influence, a working of error and a strong delusion to make them believe what is false,  [12] In order that all may be judged and condemned who did not believe in [who refused to adhere to, trust in, and rely on] the Truth, but [instead] took pleasure in unrighteousness.”

The Antichrist will rise to POWER after the RAPTURE of the church–

He cannot be revealed as the Antichrist while the church is here; for we have the power of prayer, the anointing of the Holy Spirit. the power to bind him in the earth and…to limit his power through the Blood of Jesus Christ.

So it is impossible for the devil to take control of this world completely until that POWER (indwelling Holy Spirit) that limits him is removed.  Only then can he rise and become the world’s greatest dictator.

The Antichrist’s Rising…

__7219440After the Antichrist rises to power, one of the things he does is to implement a method of complete control over every man, woman and child on the face of the earth.

His whole purpose is to force every living person to worship and serve him, he’ll use the MARK to track them and control their every move.

Revelation 13:16-18 (AMP):

[16] Also he compels all [alike], both small and great, both the rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked with an inscription [stamped] on their right hands or on their foreheads,  [17] So that no one will have power to buy or sell unless he bears the stamp (mark, inscription),  [that is] the name of the beast or the number of his name.  [18] Here is [room for] discernment [a call for the wisdom of interpretation].  Let anyone who has intelligence (penetration and insight enough) calculate the number of the beast, for it is a human number [the number of a certain man]; his number is 666.

Now, if you believe that the RAPTURE of the church must come before the Tribulation begins when the Antichrist is revealed, then you don’t have to worry about the Mark of the Beast.  The MARK isn’t even given till halfway into the Tribulation when we will be in heaven.

If you want to believe the RAPTURE will come at the halfway point, or that there will be no RAPTURE at all, I can understand your concern of the Mark of the Beast and why you might worry.

I can tell you this.  If you are truly BORN AGAIN, your heart is right with God, and you are washed in the Blood of the Lamb and you are staying faithful to call of God on your life, then you can never take the MARK, not even by accident.  So don’t be concerned about what the world is doing that might look like it’s creating a way for the Mark of the Beast can be given.

Everything you see, pointing toward the day when the “MARK” will be given, is nothing more than God’s hand, working in the minds of men, bringing the technology and the methods by which the Antichrist is able to fulfill the plan of God–the Antichrist and Satan’s downfall and defeat.

There’s More Than One Sign…

There was an article that I read recently that impressed upon me just how close we are in coming to the RAPTURE; of the church and the revealing of the Antichrist during the Tribulation.  I want to share part of the article for you to see one way that this MARK of the Beast could be given.  [See Footnote [i] for reference]

Some Swedish workers can now enter their building without a key, make purchases at the office cafe with a sans card–with a chip implanted in their hand, the BBC reports.

Epicenter, a new Swedish office block, is offering employees a miniscule RFID (radio-frequency identification) chip, providing various access.

Not all are accepting it, but its been offered to some 400 workers…”We already interact with technology all the time.  Today it’s a bit messy–we need pin codes and passwords.  Wouldn’t it be easy to just touch with your hand?  That’s really intuitive.”

What will the “MARK” be?

— Will  it be a CHIP implanted either voluntarily or forcibly?

— Will it be a STAMP of invisible ink on the hand or the forehead?

— Will it be some other technology we haven’t even seen yet?

— Will it be a DNA reader that tracks your DNA by simply touching a screen?

— Will it be a GPS that tracks your location?

—  A satellite that can read the magnetic strips on a credit card, or some new invention?

I believe that the “MARK of the Beast” will be a literal mark, but I also believe that people will take it willingly if that day should come for you.

You will take it willingly because you will know the difference between life and death and…you won’t want to die!  You will willingly take that “MARK” to live in this world but when you take it, you will forfeit your inheritance–your promised eternal life–choosing to die.

“WHY WORRY ABOUT THE MARK OF THE BEAST IF YOU DON’T HAVE TO?”

Here’s the point of this particular blog-study I’m revealing to you:

You can accept JESUS as LORD right where you are when the RAPTURE comes and go to be with Him and all of us who are ready before the Antichrist is revealed.  You won’t be here on earth for the Mark of the Beast.  You’ll be in Heaven, having the time of your life, praising the Lord Almighty and enjoying all His benefits.

It’s Your Choice…

You can choose to reject Jesus and face the day where you will have to take that MARK, being eternally lost.  Or, you choose to accept JESUS now and live for Him, never seeing that MARK, nor will you ever die spiritually.  Jesus will give you eternal life.

Are you ready for the Rapture?  Will you come to Jesus?

The questions are far more important than “What will the Mark of the Beast be?

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Footnotes, Photo and Bible Reference Credits:

Footnote [i] – USA TODAY story Feb. 2, 2014 by Neal Colgrass Newser staff.

Photos:  GOOGLE IMAGES, Mark of The Beast images

Bible Credits:  Verses quoted from the New International Version (NIV); Amplified Bible (AMP).

The Door Is Opened With A Glimpse of Heaven – Part Three

The TEXT for PART THREE:  Read Revelation 4:1-11

“AN OPEN DOOR” – Revelation 3:20:

JESUS speaking,  [20]  “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears and listens to and heeds My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will eat with him, and he [will eat] with Me.”

The conversation continues, but with John speaking – Revelation 4:1:

AFTER THIS I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven!  And the first voice which I had heard addressing me like [the calling of] a war trumpet said,  “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place in the future.” (Amplified)

ENTERING THE THRONE ROOM -

Picture-Of-GOD-On-Throne-In-Heaven-Bible-Verse-Revelation-4-2-3-HD-Wallpaper-1024x656

 

Understanding Spiritual Things…

People today have an unprecedented longing to understand spiritual things by going to “mediums” or spiritualists and paying thousands of dollars in attempting to touch the supernatural.

Despite all these claims of going to heaven and the Lord, the person returning with a message from “God” are in contrast with REVELATION 4 and the rest of the Scriptures depicting the THRONE OF GOD.

To claim that someone has gone to see “God” in His highest heaven is not only wrong, unscriptural–NO ONE has seen God at anytime, even those who saw the THRONE ROOM.  They didn’t see GOD in His full glory!

That said, I do believe people can have visions and dreams that should be tested purely with Scripture and not with our own reasoning, or logic, but solely based on the Word of God.

CHAPTER 4 Looking Through the OPEN DOOR…

Past What Was Said In the Letters to the Churches:

The Apostle John’s writing style spins the story ever wider and wider until you get a full picture of what he sees.  He does this throughout his Epistles, and Gospel, and now in this letter of Prophecy as well.  It is so the reader, you and I, can have no disagreement who JESUS is in the midst of our own lives.

THE PURPOSE OF REVELATION…as we find ourselves drawing closer to JESUS…we’re not afraid of the images and symbolism portrayed on the pages in the upcoming chapters.  Sure, the events are unnerving at times, even scary, but “the FEAR of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom” (Proverbs 1:7; 9:10; Psalm 111:10). 

Drawing near to JESUS during our study is the objective, NOT CLOSER to what you want, but closer to who He is!

REVELATION 4 & 5 

In chapters 4 and 5 are found the greatest descriptions of HEAVEN in the whole Bible.  G.K. Beale, one commentator’s scholarly opinion said,

“The main point of chapters 4-5 is God’s punitive and redemptive purpose for the world beginning to be accomplished through the death and resurrection of Christ, through whose reign God’s purpose for creation will be consummately executed and divine glory accomplished.  The pastoral purpose is to assure suffering Christians that God and Jesus are sovereign and that the events that the Christians are facing are part of a sovereign plan that will culminate in their redemption and the vindication of their persecution.”  [See Footnote [i] ]

Our First Glimpse Into the THRONE ROOM – Revelation 4:1:

The Lord specifically commanded John “to come up here,” which refers to heaven.  This is in contrast to the “so-called” visions that people have had today in being transported to heaven.  Scripture clearly teaches, only two human beings have been to heaven while here on earth, the Apostles John and Paul in the third heaven and live to continue their life on earth.

Some may see this “coming up” to refer to THE RAPTURE of the church, however, this verse doesn’t describe the church ascending to heaven in resurrected glorification, but John going to heaven to receive glorification.

Who IS on the THRONE?

John plainly tells us who’s ON THE THRONE–

What is going on around the throne–

What comes from the throne–

What stands before the throne–

Who is in the center and around the throne and…

What is directed toward the throne.

Verse 4:2 Amplified Bible:

At once I came under the [Holy] Spirit’s power, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with One seated on the throne! [Ezek. 1:26 for reference].

Four times in the Book of REVELATION, John says he was “in the Spirit” [1:10; 4:2; 17:3; 21:10].

“AT ONCE I CAME UNDER THE [HOLY] SPIRIT…” means, he was immediately transported from where he was to where he finds himself, at the THRONE in heaven.

This means he stood face to face right in the middle of the throne room, right where our Lord and Savior dwells and someone is sitting on it.

THRONE=Rule and Authority

The THRONE is a symbol of God’s sovereign rule and authority [Psalm 11:4; 103:10 and Isaiah 66:1].  

The use of the THRONE here, emphasizes that although God’s realm is separate from the earthly, He is nevertheless in control over earth’s affairs.  Regardless of the circumstances of how rampant evil seems to run causing God’s people to suffer, they can know that His hand controls everything for their good and His glory.

The Picture Revealed in REVELATION 4:3 NIV:

“And the one who sat there had the appearance of JASPER and CARNELIAN.  A RAINBOW, resembling an EMERALD, encircled the throne.”

GOD SITTING on His throne is in contrast to the posture of REST displayed by Christ (Hebrews 1:3; 10:12; 12:2)–the act of Jesus sitting initiates, while the work of redemption has accomplished judgement and is about to take place.

GEMSTONES and the RAINBOW Significance–

“JASPER”

"CLEAR" JASPER/QUARTZ

“CLEAR” JASPER/QUARTZ

John’s description of He Who is sitting on the throne–as being as brilliant as GEMSTONES–JASPER as clear, because Jasper is used first in the list.  

This is KEY in understanding the importance, because JASPER stone is used in Revelation 21:11 describing the latter-day city as the GLORY OF GOD–JASPER STONE, shining like crystal and reflecting the “unapproachable light”; hence the GLORY surrounding God Himself with light.                (1 Timothy 6:16; Psalm 104:2)

“SARDIS” or “CARNELIAN”

SARDIS, from which the city got its name, is a fiery-ruby red color.  The gemstone expresses the shining beauty of God’s glory, and it may also symbolize God’s blazing wrath about to be poured out on the sinful rebellious world (Chapters 6-19). 

“A RAINBOW”

The RAINBOW is significant and demonstrates God’s serious in showing His mercy, despite the fact the great judgment is rapidly approaching.  This MERCY is undeserved and unmerited on His part, but shows further, how serious He is for us.

The PRECIOUS STONES surrounding the THRONE with the RAINBOW is the initial hint; not only that this vision eventually will issue a NEW CREATION, but it already portrays the beginning of the new creation in heaven: Precious Stone in Revelation 21:10-11, 18-23.  All are part of a depiction, “A RAINBOW” in the first revelation in Genesis of a new creation that emerged after the Noahic flood.

24 THRONES – Revelation 4:4

“Twenty-four other thrones surrounded the throne, and seated on these thrones were twenty-four elders, arrayed in white clothing, with crowns of gold upon their heads.”

WHO ARE THE “ELDERS”?

They are 12 Tribes from Israel in the Old Testament and 12 Apostles in the New Testament.

In this VISION, collectively, probably represents… ALL the REDEEMED of God for ALL time (both before and after Jesus’ death and resurrection).

They represent all those–both Jews and Gentiles–who are now part of God’s family.  The TWENTY-FOUR ELDERS shows all the redeemed of the Lord worshipping Him.

The fact they were clothed in WHITE is also symbolic:  Symbolizes Christ’s given righteousness to believers at SALVATION.

Also, the number 24 in Scripture is used to speak of completion and representation.

REVELATION 4:5 (NIV):

“From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God.”

SCRIPTURE and the phrasing in it, without a doubt, identifies God as the source of the later judgments to take place.  This means those who suffer for their FAITH can be rest assured, that those who deal out the punishment here on earth, God has not forgotten them.  He will surely JUDGE them with fire (19:20; 20:9-10; 21:8). 

In Revelation, LIGHTNING and THUNDER are connected with significant events in heaven.  They remind us of the lightning and thunder at Mount Sinai, where God gave the people His Law (Exodus 19:16).

Also, His POWER and MAJESTY are reflected (Psalm 77:18).

The “seven spirits” = another name for the Holy Spirit.

REVELATION 4:6 (NIV):  

At the FRONT of the THRONE–

“Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back.”

At the front of the throne is where John finds himself.  A front row seat with no one blocking the view.

The “SEA” is metaphorical since there is no Sea in heaven.

John saw at the base of the THRONE was a vast pavement of glass, shinning brilliantly like sparkling crystal.

REVELATION 4:7 (Amplified Bible):

Four Living Creatures

Four Living Creatures

“The first living creature (being) was like a LION, the second living creature was an OX, the third living creature had the face of a MAN, and the fourth living creature [was] like a flying EAGLE.”

The descriptions view the four CHERUBIM (“four creatures”) in relation to the created world–

THE LION= Strength.

THE OX= Domestic animals.

MAN= The height of creation.

THE EAGLE= Flying creatures.

Symbolically…the LION represents strength; the OX, is service; the MAN, reason and the EAGLE, speed.

REVELATION 4:8 (NIV): 

The FOUR LIVING CREATURES never stopped saying…

“Holy, holy, holy–

is the Lord God Almighty,

who was, and is, and is to come.”

The repetition of holy, holy, represents God’s attitudes.  And it’s at the core of who God is… is His HOLINESS!

HOLINESS is the essence of Who God is–

The theme of God’s holiness, as been displayed in Revelation 4, and is the PRAISE for God’s HOLINESS specifically demonstrated through His JUDGMENT.

Being HOLY, God hates sin and pours out His wrath on it.

The Lord Almighty…

The three words above is a distinction of who He is.  It shows His…POWER, STRENGTH, HIS UNCHANGING CHARACTER, HIS CONQUERING POWER.

Because God IS ALMIGHTY, He effortlessly does whatever His Holy Will purposes to do.

– WHO ALWAYS… was described that He was before time…

– WHO IS…describing that He exists outside of time and out of our understanding.

– WHO IS…still to come; describes the reference to the fact that He is coming again for His people.

GOD IS TO BE GLORIFIED – Revelation 4:9-11 (NIV):

[9] Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne and Who lives for ever and ever, [10] the twenty-four elders fall down before Him Who sits on the throne, and worship Him Who lives for ever and ever.  They lay their crowns before the throne and say:

[11] “You are worthy, our Lord and God,

to receive glory and honor and power,

for You created all things,

and by Your will they were created and have their being.”

These hymns direct us to the main point of the VISION and the whole of Chapter 4: God is to be GLORIFIED because of His Holiness and Sovereignty.

The bowing down of the elders is significant by the manner in the way they addressed the One on the throne.  And that is significant for us, because they understand that it was not them worshipping them, but the One Who deserved the worship.

The TWENTY-FOUR ELDERS specifically represent the purpose of the redeemed humanity, which is to PRAISE and GLORIFY God, and this purpose is actually carried out not only by them in heaven, but also by the true community of FAITH on earth.

The BASIS OF FAITH is two-fold:  

One, God’s creation is based solely on His will and proceeds from it–and two, God’s POWER is revealed through creation, as demonstrated by the PRAISING recognition of His created beings.

The verses signify once again, depicting ALL that is going to happen in the coming future, and that He is absolutely HOLY; we can WORSHIP Him because He knows all that is going to happen.  As He is under control, we can worship Him in the “right now” as the result of knowing this.

In this case then, express who you are, to Who He is and allow Who He is to radiate who you are.  He created everything for His divine pleasures and that includes you reading this.

This glimpse of HEAVEN should remind all of us today, that ultimately, everything in this life is fleeting away.  But, in pursuit, we come to know that life is everlasting.

*Part Four to follow next week in Revelation Chapter 14:  “Rapture Ready”


 Footnotes, Credits, and Photos:

Footnote [i] – Exposition of Revelation (MP3 Series) by G. K. Beale at http://www.monergism.com

Photo Credits:  “JASPER” the revelation painting journals wordpress.com/; Revelation 4:2-3 God’s Throne Room courtesy of http://www.neverthirsty.org. ; Four Living Creatures, Google IMAGES.

Bible Translations: New International Version (NIV); Amplified Bible (AMP).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Opportunities Knocking At Your Door – Part Two

PART TWO in the series in THE REVELATION TO JOHN — Chapter 3:

TRIVIA QUIZ:

Grab a church friend, your spouse, a bible study partner and each one take out a piece of paper writing down your answers.

FIRST QUESTION:  HOW MANY DOORS are there in your church’s sanctuary?  

Just take a wild guess and write the number down.  You can get the actual count later.

Second, how many doors are there in the entire church?  Put down a number.

Okay, exchange your papers with the person who took the same quiz.  Just kidding–you can mark your own.  Now how did you come up with your answer?

I’ve been told people, who get bored during their pastor’s message, count just about anything & everything–how many doors?; how many chairs?; how many lights?; you name it.  I’ve often myself, looked up at the wood-planked ceiling where I usually sit,  staring at what looks like the face of Jesus embedded in the grain patterns.  I think you get the idea.

My PURPOSE for the “trivia quiz”–was only that you be aware of what’s around you–the OPPORTUNITIES already granted to us by Jesus; yet we fail to follow through by not being aware of any doors at all.

DID YOU KNOW THAT A LOT OF DOORS ARE MENTIONED IN THE BIBLE?

Both the Old and New Testament mention “doors”–often with different meanings.

DOOR=INTIMACY

REVELATION 3:20:

“Here I am! I stand at the DOOR and knock.  If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will go in and eat with him, and he with Me.”

We usually apply this passage in an evangelistic sense. and yet it was written to a church of believers.

THE ILLUSTRATION:  The willingness of Jesus to pursue believers who have grown cold in their relationship with Him.  The imagery is Jesus knocking at the DOOR of a church–maybe your church–waiting for the church to reopen that DOOR so that a vital relationship can be re-established.

Another type of door mentioned in Scripture.

DOOR=SALVATION

JOHN 10:9:

“I am the DOOR; anyone who enters in through Me will be saved (will live).  He will come in and he will go out [freely], and will find pasture.”

JESUS was teaching the remarkable TRUTH for all to see:  He is the only way to SALVATION.  Inside that DOOR, that GATE, there is safety and everything we need.

There’s a THIRD type of door to mention.

DOOR=OPPORTUNITY

I was reading a prayer request from a gentleman who was unemployed.  The bank creditor was making demands, and almost simultaneously, been turned down after a seemingly good employer interview.  He explained: “I won’t give up knocking on the doors, but I’m tired of waiting in the hallway of opportunity.”

The apostle Paul says in a letter to the church at Colossae:

“Pray for us, too, that God may open a DOOR for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains”  (Colossians 4:3).

The DOOR OF OPPORTUNITY refers to the way that God gives opportunities, even when we are waiting in the hallway. Opportunities to preach the gospel; how He prepares willing ears to listen and eager hearts to receive it.

THE SIXTH OF THE SEVEN CHURCHES–Philadelphia – Revelation 3:7-8:

Other than its geographical location, this particular church is more than just a gateway to the East or a fertile valley, but also an “open door of opportunity”–spiritually speaking.

*NOTE:  [Be sure to READ Revelation 3:7-13].

In Philadelphia, there was a small bunch of Christians faithful to the task.  Neither large in number, powerful or influential, but they were significant to Christ Jesus, Who takes the time to write them a letter.

CHRIST=THE LETTER

Jesus introduces Himself with terms which are relevant to the audience:

1.  He says He is Holy–

HOLY=morally perfect without flaw or blemish.

HOLINESS is an important attribute of God.

HE IS TRUE=the One behind everything, the One Who is wholly trustworthy and reliable.

JESUS holds the KEY OF DAVID= ___

This is an interesting description in which I found reference to the Old Covenant–Isaiah 22:

THE PROPHET ISAIAH in this story, condemns the city of Jerusalem.  

The people had just been DELIVERED from their enemies camped outside the city; but they showed no gratitude in the divine rescue.  The charge lain before them, they were self-sufficient, trusting in their own efforts.

He then turns to Shebna, the chief steward of Jerusalem, who was guilty of a similar sin as the city residents itself.  He was guilty of seeing himself as indispensable, a “STRONG MAN” (Amplified Bible); a “MIGHTY MAN” (Verse 17, NIV translation).  He apparently paraded himself through the streets in a mighty chariot and prepared for himself a splendid grave.  As a result of his unfaithful service, he was replaced by Eliakim.

The Significance of the IMAGE portrayed…

The CHIEF STEWARD of the city held the KEYS!

KEYS OF DAVID= This was the MASTER KEY, not only to the city, but to the palace.

He was second only to his king and controlled who could come and go–who had access to the king and who didn’t have access.

He was the one who opened the DOORS and shut the other DOORS  (Isaiah 22:20-23).

The IMAGE Continues in REVELATION 3:7-8:

An Open Opportunity

An Open Opportunity

[7]  “To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:  These are the words of Him Who is holy and true, Who holds the KEY OF DAVID.  What He opens, no one can shut; and what He shuts, no one can open.”

[8]  “I know your deeds.  See, I have placed before you an OPEN DOOR that no one can shut.  I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept My word and have not denied My name.”

*[I capitalized words for emphasis to this blog.]

2.  JESUS is here claiming to be the NEW ELIAKIM–the One Who holds the PALACE KEY, not an earthly door, though, it was heaven’s DOOR.

Christ Jesus opens and closes the DOOR and allows people to enter the kingdom–He is in control of the OPPORTUNITIES which we have and no OPPORTUNITY is not appointed but by Him!

The Church’s Position-

Philadelphia was a BLESSED city, living in the “Land of Opportunity,”  BUT…why were they so BLESSED?  Wouldn’t you want to know why a church in your community was so BLESSED?  And yet, Christians tend to be more interested why a church in the town is so UN-BLESSED!

Revelation 3:8 NIV:

“I know your deeds.  See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut.  I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.”

The NIV translation here is a bit wrong in my opinion.  The Greek reads like this:

“I know your works.  Behold I have set before you a door that is open, and no one is able to shut it because you have little power; have kept My word and have not denied My name.”  *[See Footnote [ii] ]*

JESUS gives us THREE REASONS for Taking OPPORTUNITIES:

1. WEAKNESS -

This was a small church without prestige in the surrounding community.  If you are attending a small church or have attended a small church, you might get the idea here.

It regularly got beaten up by the local Jews (the RELIGIOUS ) who condemned them.  Their doctrine sure didn’t agree with theirs.  But because it was weak, they RELIED ON GOD; they knew whose work it was and didn’t try to seize His authority.

Perhaps a lesson for all of us fiercely independent people.

2. WORDLY -

No, I didn’t forget the “L” between the “R” and the “D”.  Yes it is a word and if it isn’t, it should be.

The church members were CONSUMED by the WORD.  Keeping God’s WORD  meant that they knew God’s Word and… we could likely conclude, therefore, they spent time studying God’s Word.

Are we “WORDLY” or are we “WORLDLY” in our focus?

3. WAVERING-not -

Here was a church, who no matter what they were faced with, refused to give up on their FAITH.  The ridicule, the peer pressure, the opposition, persecution did not make them WAVER.

They were FAITHFUL while waiting in the hallway praising God to the end.

The 3 W’s — WEAK, WORDLY and WAVERING NOT…

These THREE WORDS were the reasons given for the open door–the OPPORTUNITY to preach the gospel to their neighbors, their friends, to people passing through the city–or even waiting in the same hallways.

DIFFICULTIES & OPPORTUNITIES:

We can be surrounded by trial, bother, inconvenience, pain…and may in fact, be surrounded by many opportunities.

Christ recognized that often OPPORTUNITY & OPPOSITION go hand in hand and gave the church in Philadelphia…

4 specific words, PROMISES of COMFORT: 

1.  PROMISE TO HUMBLE THEIR ENEMIES.

How do you HUMBLE anyone, much less your enemies?

[9]  “I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars–I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you.”

JESUS promised the believers that not only would He humble their opposition, but He would open their eyes to the TRUTH!

Now there was an OPEN DOOR of OPPORTUNITY!

God isn’t pleased by outward rituals but PLEASED by inward attitudes.

2.  PROMISE TO KEEP THEM FROM THE HOUR OF MAXIMUM TRIALS.

[10]  “Because you have guarded and kept My word of patient endurance [have held fast the lesson of My patience with the expectant endurance that I give you], I also will keep you [safe] from the hour of trial  (testing) which is coming on the whole world to try those who dwell upon the earth”  (Amplified Bible).

A couple of things to take note here.  The coming TRIBULATION period is going to be GLOBAL in nature–come on the whole world.

Also, to TEST those who live on earth; not just talking about Christians in the church here.

This phrase is repeated several times through the Book and refers to believers and unbelievers alike.

3.  THE PROMISE OF STRENGTH AND SECURITY.

[11]  “I am coming soon.  Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.  [12]  Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of My God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from My God; and I will also write in him My new name.” 

new-jerusalem2

THE NEW JERUSALEM

 (See Revelation 21-22)

 The Two Great Pillars of the City…

The Jerusalem temple was destroyed in 70 AD where TWO GREAT PILLARS stood.  One of the pillars was called Jachin (which means “established, permanent”), and the other Boaz (“strength”).  with that in mind, another PROMISE is given.

Christ PROMISES the believers, the “overcomers” in verse 12, by using the image of the “pillars” that He will set His believers up in such a SECURE fashion that can never be removed.

“Never again will he leave it”  

Jesus was simply saying, no matter what’s going on around you…what’s in the news headlines, when you labor for Me, you will reach a place where you will not have to leave ever again.  It is a picture of SECURITY, PERMANENCE and STRENGTH.

4.  THE PROMISE OF A “NEW NAME”

I often wondered in growing up as a child, why my parents couldn’t come up with a better name for their first child, other than the name MELVIN.  I was teased almost every day, even as a teenager.  The comedian, Jerry Lewis would use the name on the Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis TV show every week:  “MEL-V-I-N!” .  Someone must have protested to the show’s writers, for on one occasion, Mr. Lewis said that there was a U.S. Navy Ship with the name: USS MELVIN.  I would then make use that information as a “come back” when teased later.

Christ promises a NEW NAME which is represented by our character.  If… we OVERCOME, we will be given three names:

1.  The NAME of God shows we will be godly.

This is the PURPOSE of the Holy Spirit dwelling in our lives.

2.  The NAME of The City of God.

The last 2 Chapters in Revelation–the New Jerusalem being the bride being prepared for her husband, JESUS.  This new name speaks of the loving intimacy Christ has for His FAITHFUL.

3.  Given a NEW NAME that no one knows.

Names in the Bible symbolize one’s CHARACTER or role.

Before JESUS was born in Bethlehem, an angel appeared to Joseph and told him that Mary would have a son, who was to be called “JESUS”.  Why?  “Because He will save His people from their sins.”

When we get to heaven, each one of us will have a new ministry, a new area of service, and come with a NEW NAME symbolic of this new ministry.

PROMISES THAT ARE AVAILABLE IF…

The promises listed in this study were available to the church in Philadelphia and also available to us–IF…we are FAITHFUL; taking the opportunities JESUS sets before us in the meantime.

Perhaps JESUS has an OPEN DOOR for you right now.  Do you have the FAITH in Him to step through it?

[13}  “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

 

[PART THREE TO FOLLOW – “Entering the Throne Room”]

 


 Photo Credits:

Photo – Heaven Images 123rf.com/stock-photo/heaven.

NEW JERUSALEM IMAGE:  Google Search – New Jerusalem images.

Bible Translations:

NIV (New International Version); AMP (Amplified Version).

Footnotes:

[i] – The Little Church that Tried @ Ray Stedman.org.

[ii] – Bible Hub – Rev. 3:8; INTERLINEAR.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Needed Keys In Understanding the REVELATION TO JOHN – Part One

 

WHY DOES THE BOOK OF REVELATION NOT BEING PREACHED TODAY?

8454499314_7168031652That’s a good question.  I’ve heard various replies over the years: “It’s to difficult to understand” or “It’s scary to hear about beasts–a dragon, lake of fire, hell, etc.”  

My purpose in this study, is to address the issues and difficult questions that always arise when we read the book on the surface.

THE REVELATION in the bible is NOT a ‘light read’ of biblical metaphors. Like All Scripture, the words describe an unveiling of the truth–past, present, future.  It is NOT like a “crystal ball”; no fantasy made up by man.

First, A Disclaimer–

As I began this investigation study in the last Book of the New Testament, and… for as many times I’ve read and studied the words in the past, I still come with some anxiety.  But since I was prompted going forth by the Holy Spirit– ( I don’t debate with the Holy Spirit), I found myself underlining words and phrases in Chapter One; making notes in the verses, following up with other biblical passages to give me (“you”) a spiritual glimpse–the “needed keys” available into the mysteries often overlooked.

My intentions throughout the course of this study is not to debate this study.  Nor do I intend to blog about every chapter in the Book.  I will be posting only what the Spirit directs me to write and proclaim.  So grab your Bible, ink pen, highlighter, and let’s get started!

THE THEME–

The theme is not the seven churches, not the seven bowls, the seven trumpets, the Beast, the Antichrist or the symbolism.  The THEME is Jesus Christ Victorious!!!

REVELATION CHAPTER ONE – AN INTRODUCTION:

Key Verse 1:19 (N.I.V. Bible Translation will be used in this study unless so noted.):

“Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later.”

REVELATION is broken into 3 major parts according to Revelation 1:19 -

1.  What John has seen.

2.  What John is presently seen.

3.  What is coming.

In other words, write down the past, present and future events:  “Write therefore, what you have seen (The Past)” – the Lord Jesus as the Glorified One.

**NOTE:  “Revelation” not Revelations” (plural).  It is the “Revelation” of JESUS, not of John.  If your Bible says The Revelation of St. John the divine…IT’S WRONG.

A.  The PREFACE, the PROLOGUE, the Warm-up begins – Revelation 1:1-3:

“THE REVELATION of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending His angel to His servant John,   (2) who testifies to everything he saw–that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.  (3) Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.”

IMPORTANT WORD “KEYS” for the study in UNLOCKING the doors–

I want to show you an invaluable KEY when reading and understanding in any biblical study.  I underline with pen on the bible pages, certain words that stick out to me.  Then, with the leading of God’s Spirit, I use resources I have at hand (Expository Dictionary, Vine’s Complete Dictionary, etc.–or even Google).

The following KEYS (steps) is one idea on how to approach each chapter.  If you have your own methods, you might incorporate some of these:

1.  “REVELATION”=apokalypto (Greek); where we get the English word “Apocalypse”: (unveiling, disclosure) of Christ Jesus.

2.  SERVANTS=  All believers.

3.  SOON TO TAKE PLACE=

Vs. 1:3 “…because the time is near.”

Vs. 22:6-7 “…must soon take place.”

Vs. 22:10 “…the time is near” or “…at hand”  

Vs. 22:20 “…I (Jesus) am coming soon.”

4.  ANGEL= Messenger of God (anyone, human or heavenly, who proclaims God’s message).

5.  JOHN= identifies himself as John

Vs. 1:1  “…to His servant John”

Vs. 1:4  “John”

Vs. 1:9  “I, John”

Vs. 22:8  “I, John”

6.  BLESSED= the first of the seven beatitudes in the book; Greek word “Makarios” = “HAPPY, HAPPY” are those who will enjoy eternal life in glory (See footnote [i]).  

“BLESSED”= a favorable circumstance God puts on a person– Psalm 1:1; Matthew 5:3.

Vs. 14:13  “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on”

Vs, 16:15  Jesus speaking, “Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed.”

Vs. 19:9  “Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!”

Vs. 20:6  “Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection…”

Vs. 22:7  “Behold, I am coming soon! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book.”

Vs. 22:14  “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.”

7.  PROPHECY= means foretelling the future as well as proclaiming any word from God.

B.  The GREETINGS & DOXOLOGY (Hymn or Verse or Praise to God) – Revelation 1:4-8:

–More KEYS on the Key Chain…

8.  SEVEN SPIRITS= The Holy Spirit in each church?

The SEVEN CHURCHES listed are located 50 miles apart forming a circle in Asia Minor, moving in a clockwise direction.

the-seven-churches-of-revelation

Using Bible Maps can give you an additional perspective in understanding.

9.  A KINGDOM OF PRIESTS= this Old Testament designation of Israel is applied to the New Testament Church:

1 Peter 2:5:  “you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood…”

1 Peter 2:9:  “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood…”

10.  PIERCED= ekkenteo, Greek found in John 19:37; Revelation 1:7 and refers to each text to “piercing” Christ on the cross.  “Karah”, Hebrew word used in the OT is a symbolic anticipation of the future suffering of Christ:  

Psalm 22:16:  “For [like a pack of wild] dogs they have encompassed me, a company of evildoers has encircled me; they pierced my hands and my feet”  (Amplified Bible).

Isaiah 53:5:  “But he was pierced for our transgressions…”

John 19:34:  “Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear…”

So shall it be! AMEN= A double affirmation.

11.  ALPHA & OMEGA= first and last letter of the Greek alphabet. 

GOD is saying He is beginning and the end; He is and was and will be.

C.  VERSES 1:9-20 – “Jesus among the Seven Churches”:

12.  SUFFERING, KINGDOM & PATIENCE= the three pivotal themes in REVELATION.

13.  PATMOS= a small island off the coast of modern Turkey.

JOHN was imprisoned here until his release in 96-98 AD.  [*Note: Suggestion: look up “Patmos” on a map for reference].

14.  THE LORD’S DAY= technical term for the first day of the week; so named because JESUS rose from the dead on that day.

Also, the day Christians met together, took a collections, and why we attend church on Sundays today (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2).

15.  IN THE SPIRIT= In a state of Spiritual Exaltation–not a dream, but a vision like Peter’s– [Acts 10:10].

16.  SCROLL= pieces of parchment or papyrus sewn together and rolled on a spindle.

The book was not invented until about 2 AD.

17.  SEVEN= Hebrew number of perfection or completion.

18.  SEVEN GOLDEN LAMPSTANDS=the SEVEN churches (Vs. 1:20).

19.  SON OF MAN=Jesus Christ.

Daniel 7:13, 14:  “In my vision at night I looked, and there before was one like a Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence.  He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and His kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.

Mark 8:31:  He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that He must be killed and after three days rise again.

20.  ROBE TO HIS FEET= traditionally, the high priest wore a full length robe to his feet.

Bible References:  Exodus 28:4; 29:5.

Reference to Christ as the high priest supported the fact that He is wearing a golden sash around His chest. 

21.  WHITE LIKE WOOL= suggest wisdom and dignity.

Daniel 7:9:  “I kept looking until thrones were placed [for the assessors with the Judge], and the Ancient of Days [God, the eternal Father] took His seat,  Whose garment was as white as snow and the hair of His head like pure wool.  His throne was like the fiery flame; its wheels were burning fire”  (Amplified Bible).

Isaiah 1:18:  “Come now, let us reason together,” says the Lord.  “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be made as white as snow…”

22.  EYES LIKE BLAZING  FIRE=penetrating insight.

23.  SHARP DOUBLE EDGED SWORD= the sword is the Word of God which is used for our protection, but also our divine judgement.

Hebrews 4:12:  For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of the joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.  (Amplified Bible)

24.  FELL AT HIS FEET= great respect and true awe!

25.  LIVING ONE= Based on Old Testament references to the Living God; in contrast to the dead gods of paganism–Christ Jesus possesses life in His essential nature.

26.  KEYS OF DEATH AND HADES (Sheol, or the place of the dead)= Christ has absolute control over their domain.

27.  ANGELS=heavenly messengers, earthly messengers/ministers, personifications of the prevailing spirit of each church.

~THE BOOK OF REVELATION~

This book is primarily a book of prophecy; it seems to begin as an epistle or a letter.  It addresses SEVEN different churches with SEVEN different problems or challenges.

It foretells things that are to come.  But I want to mention again: It IS a REVELATION about Jesus Christ; REVELATION depicts JESUS AS:

“The faithful witness”,

“The firstborn from the dead”,

“The ruler over kings of the world”,

“The Alpha & Omega, the Beginning and the End”,

“The One who is and was and is to come, the almighty”,

“The beginning of all Creation”,

“The Lion of the Tribe of Judah”,

“The Lamb on the throne”,

“The Messiah who will reign forever”,

“The King of kings and Lord of lords”,

“The bright morning star”.

Lessons To Be Learn In This Upcoming Study:

*  The church is warned on sin lifted to holiness;

*  We will see vivid pictures of worship, the ministry of angels;

*  Eschatology= Doctrine of last days.

*  The final political setup of the world;

*  The career and ultimate defeat of the Antichrist;

*  Christ Jesus 1000 year reign; and…

*  The final state of the wicked and the righteous–the unsaved and the saved.

As we go through The Book of Revelation in the weeks to come, I will try to point out ties between the Old Testament and the New Testament.

EXAMPLES:

In Genesis the earth was created; in Revelation it will pass away.

In Genesis was Satan’s first rebellion; in Revelation Satan’s last rebellion.

In Genesis the sun, moon and stars were meant for the earth’s government; in Revelation these same heavenly bodies are for the earth’s judgement.

In Genesis the sun was to govern the day; in Revelation there is no night.

In Genesis the entrance to SIN; in Revelation the exodus of SIN.

In Genesis the curse was pronounced; in Revelation the curse is removed.

In Genesis death entered; in Revelation there is no more death!

In Genesis Satan’s doom being pronounced; in Revelation Satan’s doom is executed.

Feel free to point out in this series notes you made, discoveries you found in the comment section of this blog-site.  It will be helpful to all who follow along.

PART 2 to follow in Revelation 3. So start reading in your own bible (ink pen) and I’ll see you there!

 

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Sources for this Study:

Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words.

EXPOSITORY DICTIONARY OF WORDS – Stephen D. Renn.

NIV Complete Concordance.

Photos and Maps:

Google Images

Photo Pin

Wikipedia Maps -The Seven Churches in Revelation

Bible References:

New International Version (NIV)

Amplified Bible

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

God’s RESUME for His Disciples–That’s Us!

I ran across an example of a RESUME in my studies this week, to preface a biblical study in Psalms:

Resumes of Apostles

To: Jesus, Son of Joseph

Woodcrafter’s Carpenter Shop

Nazareth 25922

From: Jordan Management Consultants

Dear Sir:

Thank you for submitting the resumes of the twelve men you have picked for managerial positions in your new organization.  All of them have now taken our battery of tests; and we have not only run the results through our computer, but also arranged personal interviews for each of them with our psychologist and vocational aptitude consultant.

The profiles of all tests are included, and you will want to study each of them carefully.

As part of our service, we make some general comments for your guidance, much as an auditor will include some general statements. This is given as a result of staff consultation, and comes without any additional fee.

It is our staff opinion that most of your nominees are lacking in background, education and vocational aptitude for the type of enterprise you are undertaking. They do not have the team concept. We would recommend that you continue your search for persons of experience in managerial ability and proven capability.

Simon Peter is emotionally unstable and given to fits of temper. Andrew has absolutely no qualities of leadership. The two brothers, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, place personal interest above company loyalty. Thomas demonstrates a questioning attitude that would tend to undermine morale. We feel that it is our duty to tell you that Matthew had been blacklisted by the Greater Jerusalem Better Business Bureau; James, the son of Alpheus, and Thaddeus definitely have radical leanings, and they both registered a high score on the manic-depressive scale.

One of the candidates, however, shows great potential. He is a man of ability and resourcefulness, meets people well, has a keen business mind, and has contacts in high places. He is highly motivated, ambitious, and responsible. We recommend Judas Iscariot as your controller and right-hand man. All of the other profiles are self-explanatory.

We wish you every success in your new venture.

Sincerely,

Jordan Management Consultants

  Continue reading

Searching to Obtain a “Soul Lift” Instead of a “Facelift”

A “New Image” for the Old–

A woman who turned 101 years old, was asked by a local news reporter, what she thought of living to such a ripe old age.  Her reply made me tickled:

“You know this growing old stuff is for the birds.  But considering the alternate, I’ll take growing old.”

When I reached the age of collecting Social Security and Medicare benefits in my 60’s, the “You Know You’re Getting Older When…” jokes began to play against my self-worthiness.  I know, a ‘man of God’ concerned about what he looked like in the mirror? Sorry, it happens sometimes.

“You know you’re getting old when…”

*  You and your teeth don’t sleep together.

*  You try to straighten out the wrinkles in your socks and discover you aren’t wearing any.

*  You are on a first name basis with your pharmacist.

That last little “giggle” really applies in my life.  Walking into our small town pharmacist the other day to pick up a called in prescription when a voice rang out,  “Hi Mel!”  And of course, I returned the greeting and yelled across the store “Hi Jerry!!” instead of yelling back across the pharmacy counter, “What ya’ say?”.  But as the lady centenarian exclaimed, “considering the alternate…”; guess I can still chuckle at “getting older” jokes.

SCRIPTURE - 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 Amplified Bible:

[16] Therefore we do not become discouraged (utterly spiritless, exhausted, and wearied out through fear). Though our outer man is [progressively] decaying and wasting away, yet our inner self is being [progressively] renewed day after day.

[17]  For our light, momentary affliction (this slight distress of the passing hour) is ever more and more abundantly preparing and producing and achieving for us an everlasting weight of glory  [beyond all measure, excessively surpassing all comparisons and all calculations, a vast and transcendent glory and blessedness never to cease!].

[18]  Since we consider and look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are visible are temporal (brief and fleeting), but the things that are invisible are deathless and everlasting.

We Are Living in a Plastic Surgery World!

I recently read in a survey dealing with plastic surgery in America, that 48% of women are interested in liposuction, cosmetic surgery, or a combination of the two.  An additional 23% said they would “possibly” be interested [Footnote [i] ].

Despite the traditional implications of cosmetic surgery as a feminine procedure, a surprising number of men expressed a similar interest.  Twenty-three percent of the men surveyed said they were definitely interested, 17% said they “might be interested [Footnote [i] ].

Outwardly we are wasting away! (2 Corinthians 4:16)

The apostle Paul’s opponents FOCUSED on the bodily presence, worldly skills, and money.  Sound familiar today?

The Greco-Roman world worshiped the body, consider the Olympic Games.  They focused exclusively on the external: exo anthropos; dee-af-thi-ro; “to rot thoroughly” – i.e. to ruin – corrupt, destroy, perish.

2 Corinthians 4:4:  “For the god of this world has blinded the unbelievers’ minds [that they should not discern the truth], preventing them from seeing the illuminating light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ (the Messiah), Who is the Image and likeness of God.”

Verse 4:18:  “Since we consider and look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are visible are temporal (brief and fleeting), but the things that are invisible are deathless and everlasting.”

In Paul’s Day…

In Paul’s day, as in our day, most people seem to focus on what is VISIBLE and FLEETING.

In our culture the “worship” of the human body.  Someone watching on TV an infomercial while eating Nachos, seeing a person receiving a stomach bypass surgery, collagen injections and liposuction.  Is there something wrong with that picture?

Our actions to resist the inevitable becomes obvious and therefore ridiculous.  If you can get a tan in a can, why get one?

EMBRACE your aging, regardless your number!

“As a white candle

In a holy place,

So is the beauty

Of an aged face.”

[Footnote [ii]]

ANTITHESIS: Inwardly we are being RENEWED day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16):

Paul tells us there is another option available to seek:  We can be RENEWED “day by day” - Our “earthly home” or “earthly tent” (2 Corinthians 4:16; 5:1, 4).

Some of the most  handsome, beautiful people I know and recognize in this life are godly people.

graham

Billy Graham

 

Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa

CHOOSE to focus on the INVISIBLE and the ETERNAL:

The Human Heart -

“seek” or “search” to have a SOUL LIFT instead of a FACELIFT.  The start begins with the inward renovation  with Jesus Christ:

“Always carrying about in the body the liability and exposure to the same putting to death that the Lord Jesus suffered, so that the [resurrection] life of Jesus also may be shown forth by and in our bodies”               (2 Corinthians 4:10 AMP).

It is a daily process, “day after day”; His life in us and not our life.

SYNTHESES–Deductive Reasoning comes into play at this point–

We have “precious treasure” stored in JARS OF CLAY:

“We possess this precious treasure [the divine Light of the Gospel] in [frail, human] vessels of earth, that the grandeur and 4200524837_e5ef456736exceeding greatness of the power may be shown to be from God and not from ourselves”  (2 Corinthians 4:7 AMP).

The NIV translation of the above verse says “jars of clay”; baked clay pots, cheap, breakable and replaceable but still serves a necessary function:

*  2 Cor. 4:16;

*  4:7  “may be shown”

*  4:17  

ILLUSTRATION of treasure in “jars of clay”

We can possess God’s LOVE within our lives, but if all you have is the outward, then it will pass away:

“Therefore you not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.  He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ”                   (1 Corinthians 1:7, 8 NIV).

To focus on the outward and neglect the inward is but “Fool’s Gold.”

2008 Fitness magazine poll:

1,000 women were asked what they would do to get their desired weight:  21% said they would trade ten years of their life!

The greatest prize to find in life is…

Not your outer appearance but your inward glory.  When it comes right down to it, true makeovers happen from the inside out.  Care and maintain your body image, but do not worship your body.

The “Disobedient Body” – a Story by Philip Yancey (See Footnotes for source) – A powerful Metaphor for the Church:

HOPE

I have a bright, talented and very funny friend in Seattle named Carolyn Martin.  But Carolyn has cerebral palsy, and it is the peculiar tragedy of her condition that its outward signs–drooling, floppy arm movements, inarticulate speech, a bobbing head–caused people who meet her to wonder if she is retarded.  Actually, her mind is one part of her that works perfectly; it is muscular control she lacks.

Carolyn lived for 15 years in a home for the mentally retarded, because the state had no other place to put her.  Her closest friends were people like Larry, who tore all his clothes off and ate the institution’s houseplants, and Arlene, who only knew three sentences and called everyone “Mama.”  Carolyn determined to escape from that home and to find a meaningful place for herself in the outside world.

Eventually, she did manage to move out and establish a home of her own.  There, the simplest chores posed an overwhelming challenge.  It took her three months to learn to brew a pot of coffee and pour it into cups without scalding herself.  But Carolyn mastered that feat and many others.  She enrolled in high school, graduated, then signed up for community college.

Everyone on campus knew Carolyn as “the disabled person.”  They would see her sitting in a wheelchair, hunched over, painstakingly typing out notes on a device called a Cannon Communicator.  Few felt comfortable talking with her, they could not follow her jumbled sounds.  But Carolyn persevered, stretching out a two-year Associate of Arts degree program over seven years.  Next, she enrolled in a Lutheran college to study the Bible.  After two years there, she was asked to speak to her fellow students in chapel.

Carolyn worked many hours on her address.  She typed out the final draft–at her average speed of 45 words per minute a page–and asked her friend Josee to read it for her…Josee had a strong, clear voice.

On the day of the chapel service, Carolyn sat slumped in her wheelchair on the left side of the platform.  At times her arms jerked uncontrollably, her head lolled to one side so that it almost touched her shoulder, and a stream of saliva sometimes ran down her blouse.  Beside her stood Josee, who read the mature and graceful prose Carolyn had composed, centered around the Bible text: “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surprising power is from God but not from us.”

For the first time, those students saw Carolyn as a complete human being, like themselves.  Before then her mind, a very good mind, had always been inhibited by a “disobedient” body, and difficulties with speech had masked her intelligence.  But hearing her address read aloud as they looked at her on stage, the students could see past the body in a wheelchair and imagine the whole person.

 


FOOTNOTES:

[i] – Statistics, Surveys and Trends – American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.

[ii] – Joseph Campbell, “The Old Woman”.

Photo Credits:

Billy Graham – BG Photo cnsnews.com

Mother Teresa – Google Photos at  http://www.biography.com/mother-teresa/

 – Photo Pin.

Story Source Credit:

The “Disobedient Body” / “Disappoint with God” a  story of Carolyn Martin; the “Hope” chapter by Philip Yancey – https://books-google.com/books 2009. 

 

“For dust you are–to dust you shall return,” doesn’t COMFORT Me!

Over the years of my Christian life, I have come upon instances of grief and suffering in the body of Christ.  The questions in my mind at the time were always the same.  “What can I do, say, to comfort them in times of illness, even death in their family?”

stock-photo-sadness-89664067GRIEF & SUFFERING:

How do we deal with GRIEF and SUFFERING in our midst?  Our skills and know-how are not nearly as important to others as our genuine concern.  The RIGHT WORDS are really simple and ordinary ones.  Words like “I’m sorry,” and “I am praying for you.”   My pastor’s wife received news over the Christmas holidays that her dad was in a severe accident and in ICU of the hospital in Arizona.  What could I say to COMFORT her?  And so far, I’ve said nothing!

So let’s learn together from God’s Word in dealing with grief, suffering, concern for people in the body of Christ on what to say when you don’t know what words to use.  You will need your Bible for this topic.

TEXT:  2 Corinthians 1:3-11 NAS:

[3] Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort;  [4] who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.  [5] For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.  [6] But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer; [7] and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort.  [8] For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively; beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life;  [9] Indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves in order that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead;  [10] who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope.  And He will yet deliver us,  [11] you also joining us through your prayers, that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the favor bestowed upon us through the prayers of many.

After counting the word “COMFORT” ten times in 7 verses, the theme is quite obvious.  It also must have made an impact on a Preacher one Sunday morning, although I think he missed something in the translation:

A preacher was making the point that death is a natural part of the life cycle.  He pointed to and quoted Genesis 3:19, saying that we came from dust and to dust we will return [*Note – I got my title for this blog from the quoted verse].

After the service,a five year old boy came running up to the preacher.  All out of breath with excitement he asked, “Is it really true what you said, that we came from dust and return to dust?”

The preacher said, “That’s right my young friend.  That’s what the Bible says.”

The boy replied, “Then you better get over to my house right away and look under my bed because somebody’s either comin’ or goin’!”

Death IS part of the Life Cycle…

12076256215_445ac8114c

Bad times come into life for everyone.  They certainly came into the life of Paul.  Take a look at Verses 8-9:

[8] For we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about the affliction and oppressing distress which befell us in [the province of] Asia, how we were so utterly and unbearably weighed down and crushed that we despaired even of life [itself].  (Amplified Bible)

[9] Indeed, we felt within ourselves that we had received the [very] sentence of death, but that was to keep us from trusting in and depending on ourselves instead of on God Who raises the dead.  (Amplified Bible)

The apostle Paul uses words like affliction, distress, weighed down, crushed, despair and more.  He felt it was all beyond his ability to endure.  In fact, he thought he was going to DIE!

Hard Times will come…’ve

You have probably been through some hard times.  I know I have, scattered throughout my life:  Lost my job–several times; been fired too; two of my three children have Type I Diabetes; mother succumd to Alzheimer disease.

You might be deep in debt and facing a financial crisis as you’re reading this blog-post.  Your CRISIS may be health related; dealing with a troubled and rebellious child.  Or, you may be coping with the death of someone that you’ve loved deeply.

No matter what kind of SUFFERING you’re enduring, no matter what the source, be ASSURED you’re in good company.  PAUL suffered; our LORD suffered and people who you see and sit by on Sunday mornings are suffering.

SUFFERING BECAUSE–We are Human.

HURT and SORROW and PAIN take many forms, that come from many sources.  Paul and countless other Christians suffered and are suffering today because of their FAITH in Jesus.

Accidents happen, diseases are contracted, cancer appears, tornadoes strike, floods ravage and DEATH stalks us all.  Simply because we’re HUMAN and we live in a world cursed by sin.

So often, we don’t choose the suffering.  However, we can choose our response to the distress we bear.  We can be bitter and angry.  We can complain that God isn’t fair.  We can quit, give up, trow in the towel!

Or…

Paul made his choice to use his suffering..

Probably a better way to phrase this is to say that Paul chose to be used by God through PAIN.  Look more closely at Verse 6:

2 Corinthians 1:6 (Amplified Bible)

“But if we are troubled (afflicted and distressed), it is for your comfort (consolation and encouragement) and [for your] salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which works [in you] when you patiently endure the same evils (misfortunes and calamities) that we also suffer and undergo.”

If we are DISTRESSED–“troubled”, it is for your COMFORT and SALVATION.  Oswald Chambers wrote:

“If you are going to be used by God, He will take you through a multitude of experiences that are not meant for you at all, they are meant to make you useful in His hands.”

The “WHYS” in our troubles–

WHY IS THERE SO MUCH PAIN?

WHY DID SOMEONE DIE?

WHY DID A LOVED ONE HAVE A TERRIBLE DISEASE?

WHY AREN’T THINGS DIFFERENT?

“WHY?”

I’ve tried over the years to answer the questions for myself; others around me who are going through so much “stuff.”  I have pulled books down from storage; used Commentaries written by bible scholars; dived into word studies using my bible, and found out this:

God doesn’t offer much in the way of an answer to “WHY”.  He seems more interested in “HOW’.

HOW WILL WE RESPOND? – HOW WE WILL BEHAVE?

He gives us the opportunity to allow both the good things and the terrible events we face in our lives…

To mold and shape us…

Maybe make us stronger…

Perhaps to make us wiser.

But always to CONFORMS US to fit His hand like a tool.  Paul saw himself as a TOOL; an instrument to be used in God’s hand.

SHAPED and MOLDED by God's Hands

SHAPED and MOLDED by God’s Hands

Using “COMFORT” as a God-given Tool:

Sometimes God used DISTRESS…sometimes He used good things to COMFORT.  In all of it, His PURPOSE was to use Paul as His tool to comfort others.

God wants to COMFORT the people around you because He is the Father of COMPASSION–the God of ALL COMFORT:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of sympathy (pit and mercy) and the God [Who is the source] of every comfort (consolation and encouragement)”  (Vs. 3 AMP).

SURRENDER is the Key to Responding–

In verse 9 of our text in 2 Corinthians 1, Paul says he had “learned”–‘surrendered’–to his reliance on God.  In fact, the pressure, despair and the sentence to death pushed him to SURRENDER, to let go, to rely on God and not on himself.

He relied on GOD for COMFORT; he learned to trust God’s promises for his comfort as he tells us in verse 4, God comforts us in “ALL” our troubles.

So, how does God comfort us?  

Would you expect God to impregnate our spirits directly from heaven courage and hope?

I suppose He might and you may have even experienced something like that.  Not sure the Scripture promises it will always be that way.  What I can point out to you is the experience of Paul found in 2 Corinthians 1:4:

“who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God”  (NAS).

Paul was the conduit when God’s COMFORT came to him and he let that COMFORT flow through the lives of others.  How do you suppose Paul received God’s COMFORT?

Guessing just a little, I suppose he was comforted by others who had been comforted by people who had been comforted.  That’s how God does it.  I’m not saying it is the only way, but that’s how Paul explains it happens.

So how do you do that?  How do you SHARE the comfort?  What do you do?  What do you say when you don’t know what to say?

A Few Ideas to Share–

Just be available.

Just Being There

Just Being There

You don’t need to say anything.  Simple expressions, like a hug, a smile, a simple touch of someone’s hand to start with that shows LOVE and CONCERN.  They mean a great deal.

Bringing food, cutting someones grass, picking up someones mail, running errands, the list goes on and on.  They all help because they’re expressions of LOVE.

We need to do something at a time when most often there are only limited ways we can help.  We don’t take food because people in grief don’t have food.  We take food because it is something we can do to demonstrate we care.

The “Elephant in the Room” Experience–

There are of course, some things that are better left unsaid.

Most of us know not to say, “I know just how you feel!”  Even if you have had a similar loss of a loved one, say the loss of your parent.  The loss of your parent is not like the loss of my parent.

RELATIONSHIP is unique and each person is unique and our feelings stand alone.  We don’t need to hear that time heals all wounds.  For one thing, it’s not true.  We just read in 2 Corinthians 1, God is the source of ALL compassion and comfort, NOT TIME!

Time may not heal and certainly, at the moment of intense loss, the IDEA that some day all of this will not matter to us is ludicrous.

Knowing the People Around Us in our Lives–

P.T. Forsyth said:  “You must live with people to know their problems, and live with God in order to solve them”  (P.T. Forsyth, Leadership, Vol. 4, no. 13).

It may be helpful to remember your own time of loss.  If you haven’t lost someone close to you in death, talk to someone who has.

Recall what helped when tragedy struck.  Then use that experience to help someone else.  Use the COMFORT God comforted you with to comfort someone else.

I hope this blog-post has helped you when COMFORT is needed in your own lives and when comfort is needed in someone elses need.

 


 

Credits:

Photos – Photo Pin

Bible Translations used:  New American Standard (NAS) and the Amplified Bible. 

 

 

 

 

In the New Year, Ring Those Bells and Don’t Forget the Pomegranates!

EXODUS 28:33-35 AMPLIFIED BIBLE:

[33] And you shall make pomegranates of blue, and scarlet [stuff] around about its skirts, with gold bells between them;  [34] A gold bell and a pomegranate, a gold bell and a pomegranate, round about on the skirts of the robe.  [35] Aaron shall wear the robe when he ministers, and its sound shall be heard when he goes [alone] into the Holy of Holies before the Lord and when he comes out, lest he die.”

I just finished my study and investigation of God’s Word in the Book of EXODUS.  There is so much symbolism, pictures connecting the OT with the NT.  The three verses referenced above in Exodus 28:33-35 and Exodus 39:24-26 are no exception.  Can we take the PRIEST’S ROBE description and find some “hidden wisdom” to apply to our own spiritual life?

“The secret things belong unto the Lord our God, but the things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all of the words…”  (Deuteronomy 29:29 AMP).

THE PRIESTLY GARMENT:

Pomegranates & Bells

Pomegranates & Bells

Everything about the high priest and his garment described in the referenced verses is a picture of our eternal High Priest, Jesus Christ and every item of the garment holds a TRUTH.

Now you might be thinking at this point, “What does the details of the priestly garment in Exodus have to do with my role in the New Covenant?”  Scripture is quite clear in the answer:

You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood…” (1 Peter 2:5)

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9).

Our Representative in Heaven and HIGH PRIEST:

TODAY, Jesus entered the true Holy of Holies in heaven, representing us before God, as the Perfect Man, the eternal High Priest after the order of Melchizedek (Hebrews 5:5, 10; 6:20).  His work on the Cross is so perfect–this High Priest did no sin, knew no sin that He is perfectly qualified to represent ALL the believers of the world.

Because of the perfection and the eternal nature of this High Priest of ours, we are eternally SAVED and BLESSED.

Today, we don’t see JESUS in the natural but He is representing us as the PERFECT HIGH PRIEST in heaven.

RING THOSE GOLDEN BELLS!

There’s a quotation from Judaic writings (the “Talmud”) that fits in nicely with the golden bells on the hem of the High Priest’s garment:

“The BELLS said to the fruit-bearing tree, 

‘Why do you not make any noise?’  They replied

‘Our fruits are sufficient advertisement for us’.”

The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur)–

The high priest garments

The high priest garments

On the Day of Atonement, once per year, the high priest would undress himself of the glorious garments in the Holy Place to make a SACRIFICE.  He wore only the “holy” coat of fine-twined linen with the hat/skull-cap (the mitre).

The high priest dress was ALL WHITE  entering the Holy of Holies, the presence of God; whereas, the Tent of Meeting, he wore blue, purple, scarlet, and gold.  But this is only a visible difference…because “WHITE” is the sum of the other colors.

The ‘Tinkling’ Bells…

All year-long, until this day, the BELLS on the high priest’s robe of blue would ring clearly and the children of Israel know that he was ministering before the LORD MOST HIGH for them.

When the priest put on the garments once again for glory and beauty after the ritual was completed (Leviticus 16:23), the BELL would ring out to God’s people who the SACRIFICE made earlier had been accepted by GOD on their behalf and that their high priest was still alive.

DISCLAIMING THE FABLE…

According to the fable spread throughout Christianity today,

“…so awful was the presence of Holiness in the Holiest Place and so fearful were the Jews, that the priest who entered into the Holiest might not be approved of by God from a committed sin, that there was a long rope tied to his ankle which extended into the outer Court as he would walk into the Holy Room beyond the Veil.  After a certain amount of time, if they failed to hear the BELLS on the hem of his garment ringing and he failed to reappear, he was assumed dead and was pulled from the Room by this rope, since no one dare enter the “…Holiest Place to secure the dead body of the priest”  [*See Footnote [i]].

Aren’t you glad that when you enter your church on Sunday morning, or you kneel next to your bed at night to worship and praise God, someone doesn’t attached a rope to your ankle just in case your SACRIFICE of Worship isn’t worthy?

God’s Word Is Always Specific in Detail–

If a rope was to be tied on the ankle, God’s Word would state which ankle, how much time to wait, and how long the rope would be and what it would be made of.  Furthermore, the Glory Garments were not worn in the Holy of Holies to sprinkle the blood on this one-time-a-year ritual.

Our Great High Priest in Heaven…

Remember everything about the high priest and his garment is A PICTURE!  So what do the GOLDEN BELLS mean to believers today?

 

GOLDEN BELLS

GOLDEN BELLS

GOD speaks of divine RIGHTEOUSNESS–

It’s the BEAUTIFUL gift of righteousness by FAITH given to every believer.  THE BELLS make a chime that always conveys a message.

JESUS said in the gospel of John that the Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin and the BELIEVERS of righteousness because Jesus goes to be with the Father.

What was Jesus talking about?

The GOLDEN BELLS–

The Holy spirit is pictured by the Wind, “Ruach” in Hebrew.  When the BELLS ring out from the Holy place, a message is conveyed– every believer is righteous because JESUS’ perfect work on the Cross.

Today, the Holy spirit convicts the believer, not of sin, but of righteousness, even when we sin, because JESUS is still alive representing us perfectly before the Father in the Holy of Holies in Heaven.

Also, the “gold bells” is a picture of our mouth and tongue inside.  In fact, in my detective work, I found the hanging part within the BELL is called the tongue!  That certainly gave me a vivid picture.

The Gospel Ringing Out!

I believe the “golden bells” are an emblem of the Gospel, as preached by Christ Himself, His apostles and ministers; your pastor and yes, even you and I as we should be demonstrating the Gospel Message in word and deed to those around us!

The “Sound” of the Gospel Needs to be Heard…unless of course, the church is DEAD!

This “sound” is not a musical sound.  The “SOUND” I’m referring to is a sound that “describes”: THE SOUND OF LOVE, GRACE, MERCY, PEACE, PARDON, RIGHTEOUSNESS, LIFE, and SALVATION; music to one’s ears when heard.

AND JUST IN CASE…DON’T FORGET THE POMEGRANATES!

“The POMEGRANATES” on Aaron might be an emblem of his priesthood, the ceremonial Law.  pomegranatefruit

They were also shadows and types of, and of Jesus Himself, of VIRTUE, ODOUR, FRAGRANCY…

—  His SUFFERINGS, SACRIFICE, INTERCESSION, also of the CHURCH…called an “orchard of pomegranates”  (Song of Solomon 4:13; John 15:5; Ephesians 5:9).

The ORCHARD OF POMEGRANATES consisting of various members, as the pomegranates of various seeds, or grains that should perpetuate the fruit’s effectiveness to all–growth, spiritual fruit, harvest, etc..

JESUS speaks to all us when he says “…every healthy (sound) tree bears good fruit [worthy of admiration], but the sickly (decaying, worthless) tree bears bad (worthless) fruit” [“pomegranates”] (Matthew 7:17).

The JUICE of the FRUIT which the blood of Christ may resemble and their hanging on the hem of the garment may signify the ACCEPTABLENESS of them through the righteousness of Christ Jesus and the GOSPEL MESSAGE produces; and particularly the BELLS and POMEGRANATES signify together the SOUND DOCTRINE (Titus 1:9)–a savoury life and conversation to those around us–believers and unbelievers.

CHRISTIAN BELIEVERS ARE GOD’S PRIESTS ON EARTH:

“You are a CHOSEN race, a royal priesthood…”  (1 Peter 2:9).

We are dedicated as PRIESTS to be ministers of God’s Word.

Are your garments in order?  Are the “golden bells” ringing out in your community, your church, your family?

Are the “pomegranates”, the fruit of your faithfulness, your righteousness demonstrating who you belong to in this world?

If your answers to the questions are “NO” or “SOMETIMES”….the people that live near your church may just think you’re DEAD!

And just maybe, for a visual effect for emphasis, there could be a tub full of ROPES at the sanctuary entrance this next Sunday– to slip around some ankles, just in case of an emergency.

The New Year Is Coming–

So in this upcoming New Year, the ringing of your golden bells should be heard; the Word Seed of the pomegranates should be spoken: separated and planted.  And perhaps, as people drive by, maybe even stop in the parking lot, they might hear the gold bells ringing and see the orchard of pomegranate trees planted all about the grounds!

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And All Year Long!

 


Footnotes & Credits:

Robe of High Priest Image: http://www.mishkamministries.org

Photos:   Photo Pin

Footnote [i] - http://www.delrifkah Feb. 12th, 2011.www.

Commentaries:  Gill’s Exposition of the Whole Bible – Exodus 28:34 Commentary.

 Bible Translation: Amplified Bible.