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Showing posts from October, 2021

Beast and False Prophet Destroyed

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The Rider on the White Horse destroyed the “Beast from the sea” along with the “False Prophet,” the “Beast from the earth” – Revelation 19:17-21 .  Next, John saw the destruction of the “ beast from the sea ” and the “ False Prophet ” at the final battle when the “rider on the white horse” overthrew the forces of “ Gog and Magog .” The passage does not state where this occurred, other than on the earth. In focus is the destruction of the “ Beast ” and its vassals, and their consignment to the “ Lake of Fire ” - [ Photo by Tyler Quiring on Unsplash ].

Martyrs and Overcomers

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In Revelation, overcoming saints persevere in the “testimony of Jesus,” no matter the cost, “even unto death.”  Two themes repeat frequently in the Book of Revelation , “ witness ” and “ overcoming ,” and the two are closely related. Beginning with Jesus in his own “martyrdom” on the Cross, his followers are summoned to persevere in his “ testimony ,” and thereby, they “ overcome ” to emerge victorious, especially in the city of “ New Jerusalem .” They are to “ overcome, just as I overcame .” - [ Photo by phil thep on Unsplash ].

First Four Seals - Aftermath

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The first four seal openings occurred under the watchful eye of the “Lamb” and the “four living creatures” around the “throne” – Revelation 6:8 .  Collectively, the four “ riders ” were authorized to kill “ a fourth of the earth .” Each seal was “ opened ” by the “ Lamb ,” and each respective “ rider ” was commanded to ride by one of the “ four living creatures ” that surrounded the “ throne .” The forces released by the first four seals resulted from the “ Lamb ” breaking open the seven “ seals ” of the scroll - [ Photo by David Wheater on Unsplash ].

Day of Wrath

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The day of “wrath” is coming when the wicked will pay the ultimate price for their disobedience to God – Romans 2:5 .  According to Paul, the proclamation of the gospel unveils two forces that are at work in the world - “ righteousness ” and “ wrath .” But they will produce two very different results - “ salvation ” and “ destruction .” Which result anyone reaps will depend on his or her response to the gospel, for it is the “ power of God for salvation to everyone who believes .” - [ Photo by Presentsquare on Unsplash ].

To You is the Promise

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The gift of the Spirit is for all men and women who repent, “even to those afar off,” all in fulfillment of the promises of the Father  -  Acts 2:37-41 .  After completing his sermon to the crowd of pilgrims, Peter issued what we, today, might label the “first altar call,” summoning his audience to repent. But something more than a call to accept the gospel was transpiring, and the conclusion of his discourse ended on a note of fulfillment, and even more significantly, with a foretaste of things to come -  Photo by  Henrik Eikefjord  on Unsplash .

Slave of HIS Kingdom

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To be a citizen of the kingdom of God requires a life of self-sacrificial service for others, not power over them   –   Mark 10:35-45 .  According to the New Testament, collectively, Christians are a “ kingdom of priests .” As citizens of this realm, they rule with Jesus both now and in the “ age to come .” But such a high calling raises the obvious question:  How does each believer participate in his present reign? Fortunately, both Jesus and Paul provided straightforward explanations for how the disciple implements his sovereignty - [ Communion Elements - Photo by  James Coleman  on  Unsplash ].

His Appearing

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When Jesus “appears,” faithful believers will rejoice exceedingly and participate fully in the glories of that day .  In his first epistle, John exhorted his congregations to “ abide ” in Jesus so that “ when  he appears , we may have boldness and not be shamed away from him at his  arrival .” John was summoning believers to holy living in consideration of the inevitable “ arrival ” of Jesus and the rewards that he will bring with him – ( 1 John 2:28–3:3 ). - [ Photo by  Will van Wingerden  on Unsplash ].

Epilogue - Revelation

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If anyone fails to keep the words of the book, he will be excluded from citizenship in the city of New Jerusalem – Revelation 22:6-21 .  The Book of Revelation concludes with an epilogue that recalls the earlier promises to “ overcoming saints ,” reiterates warnings against faithlessness, summons believers to render homage to God alone, and calls for Jesus to “ come quickly .” Testimony and assurances from uncontestable sources attest to the trustworthiness of the “ words of the book ,” which are “ prophecy ” and the “ testimony of Jesus .” - [ Photo by Thomas Kinto on Unsplash ].

New Jerusalem Inhabited

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New Jerusalem is populated fully in fulfillment of the covenant promise to Abraham to “bless all nations” – Revelation 21:24-22:5 . In the preceding section, “ New Jerusalem ” with its massive dimensions was unveiled. It will take far more than a tiny remnant of “ saints ” to populate it. Now, John sees the “ city ” populated with the “ innumerable multitude ” of the redeemed from every nation and ethnic group, including many from among the “ kings of the earth .” - [ Photo by David Barajas on Unsplash ].

New Jerusalem Unveiled

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The physical dimensions and shape of “New Jerusalem” are presented to show it is ready to be populated   –   Revelation 21:9-23 .  John caught a glimpse of “ New Jerusalem  descending from heaven ,” but now, he sees it unveiled in all its glory. This next section concentrates on the city’s physical dimensions and shape.  Its enormous size staggers the human imagination, but sufficient room is necessary to contain the  innumerable multitude  destined to inhabit the “ holy city .” - [ Photo by Yalın Kaya on Unsplash ].

Descent of New Jerusalem

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Following the final judgment, John saw the “holy city, New Jerusalem” descending from heaven to the earth  –  Revelation 21:1-8 .  The next paragraph presents “ New Jerusalem ” to the reader and concludes the  third literary division  of the book. Having witnessed the destruction of “ Babylon ,” the “ False Prophet ,” the “ beast ,” and the “ Dragon ,” John received the vision of what awaits the faithful at the end of the age – “ New Jerusalem descending from heaven to the earth .” - [ Photo by  eberhard grossgasteiger  on Unsplash ].

Paul and the Revelation of Jesus

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At the “revelation of Jesus” on the “day of the Lord,” the saints will experience glory, but the wicked will receive “everlasting destruction.”  Most often, Paul labels the future return of Jesus as his ‘ parousia ’ (“ arrival ”), ‘ erchomai ’ (“ coming ”), or ‘ epiphaneia ’ (“ manifestation ”), but on two occasions, he also calls it his ‘ apocalypsis ’ or “ revelation .” By comparing how he applies these terms, it quickly becomes apparent that, in each case, the same final event is in view - [ Photo by Jonny Gios on Unsplash ].

Day of Visitation

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Peter exhorted Christians to persevere in sufferings and to live holy lives in the knowledge of the impending “day of visitation.”  In his first epistle, Peter wrote to Christians who were under pressure to conform to the expectations of the surrounding society. Their situation was not unique, for they were members of the worldwide suffering community of believers. One of his themes is the necessity to remain steadfast through tribulations until the “ day of visitation ” when Jesus is “ revealed ” - [ Photo by Benjamin Davies on Unsplash ].

Rider on a White Horse

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The Messiah “shepherds” the nations by the “word” that proceeds out of his mouth in preparation for the final battle - Revelation 19:11-16 .  The vision now anticipates the destruction of the “ beast ” and the “ False Prophet ” by introducing the warrior figure riding a “ white horse .” The groundwork for the coming “battle” was laid with the announcement of the victory of the “ Lamb ” over the “ beast ” and the “ kings of the earth ” in chapter 17 (For he is “ Lord of lords and King of kings ”) - [ Photo by joseph d'mello on Unsplash ].

Tribulation, Kingdom, Endurance

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Exiled on Patmos, John was a “fellow-participant” in the tribulation, kingdom, and endurance that is in Jesus  –  Revelation 1:9 . At the start, John identified himself as the “ fellow-participant ” with the churches in  “ the tribulation and kingdom and endurance  in Jesus .” He was banished to Patmos for his “ testimony ” for Jesus, and like the “ seven churches ” on the Asian mainland, he had endured “ tribulation ” for the sake of the “ kingdom ” of God - [ Photo by Marcus Woodbridge on Unsplash ].

Church - Sanctuary of God

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In his letters, the Apostle Paul consistently applied Temple language to the church of Jesus Christ .  Quite consistently, Paul referred to the church as the “ sanctuary of God ,” and he also applied related terms to Christian congregations that were applied originally in the Hebrew Bible to the Tabernacle and Temple. While the language is metaphorical, it describes the new realities and identity of the people of God since the death and resurrection of Jesus - [ Photo by  Evgeni Tcherkasski  on  Unsplash ].

Ends of the Ages

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The Apostle coordinated the commencement of the “last days,” the time of fulfillment, with the Death and Resurrection of Jesus .  The Apostle Paul coordinated the commencement of the “ last days ” with the death and resurrection of Jesus. In him, the time of fulfillment had arrived, and all the promises of God were finding their “ yea and amen ” in Christ.  God had spoken truly but partially in the prophets of old; but now, he was speaking fully in His Son - [ Photo by Gontran Isnard on Unsplash ].

Ekklésia - The Assembly

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The Christian use of the term “church” or ekklésia is derived from the “assembly of Yahweh” gathered for worship described in the Hebrew Bible .  The Greek term commonly rendered “ church ” in English versions of the Bible is ekklésia , which means “assembly, congregation.” While it was used in ancient Greek for an “assembly” of local citizens gathered to legislate laws and discuss matters of state, it is a mistake to assume that is the sense of how the term is used in the New Testament - [ Assembly - Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash ].

Reigning from Zion

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Following his Resurrection, Jesus began his reign from the messianic throne on “Zion,” as prophesied by David  –  Psalm 2:6-9 .  According to the Psalmist, the “ son ” will be anointed to reign on the throne of David “ on Mount Zion…  my holy mount .” As attested in the New Testament, that king is none other than Jesus, and his reign over the earth began following his resurrection and ascension. And ever since, he has been extending his sovereignty to the “ uttermost parts of the earth .” - [ Mountain Sunrise - Photo by  Damian Markutt  on  Unsplash ].

Lamb Overcomes the Beast

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The Lamb overcomes the Beast and Babylon because he is the “Lord of lords, and King of kings”  –  Revelation 17:14-18 .  Next, John was provided with the interpretation of what he saw - “ Babylon ” is the “ great city ” that sways the political powers of the earth in alliance with the “ beast ,” and her persecution of the “ saints ” is an extension of the Dragon’s “ war ” against them. But Jesus overcomes the “ beast ” and “ Babylon ,” though he does so in unexpected and paradoxical ways - [ Photo by  Pranjall Kumar  on Unsplash ].

Greetings from the Throne

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The salutations from the throne to the churches highlight key themes of the book, especially the present reign of Jesus  –  Revelation 1:4-8 .  Next, the book presents greetings to the “ churches ” from the “ throne ,” from God, Jesus, and the “ Seven Spirits .” It stresses Christ’s present over the political powers of the earth, and his sovereignty is based on his Death and Resurrection. The recipients of the book   are identified, the “ seven churches ” in Asia - [ Photo by Andrew Dunstan on Unsplash ] .