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Showing posts from January, 2022

Purification of Sins

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Having achieved the purification of sins, Jesus “sat down” at the right hand of God where he intercedes for his people .  The key point of the opening paragraph is the accomplishment of the Son on behalf of the saints and his consequent appointment before God. Unlike his predecessors, Jesus did, in fact, “ achieve the purification of sins ,” and then he “ sat down ” in the presence of God in the “ true and greater tabernacle ”  - [ Photo by  Nathan Dumlao  on Unsplash ].

Sons of Light

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The Day of the Lord will mean salvation to the “sons of light” who remain ever vigilant and prepared for it – 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 .  Rather than provide a list of “signs” whereby believers can ascertain the imminence of the “ Day of the Lord ,” the Apostle Paul gave instructions on how they must live in anticipation of that day’s sudden and unexpected arrival. It would not overtake the Thessalonians because they “ were not in darkness ,” but instead, they were “ sons of light ” and “ sons of the day ”- [ Photo by Michael Held on Unsplash ].

Upon these Last Days

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The era of the Levitical priesthood terminated with the superior “word” revealed by God in His Son.  God has spoken His superior “ word ” in the Son “ at the end of these days .” The clause may reflect the idea attested elsewhere by the New Testament that the “last days” began following the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus. Certainly, its use here signals that a significant new era began with his arrival - [ Photo by  Terry Tan De Hao  on Unsplash ].

To The Assembly

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The Thessalonians received the gospel in tribulation but remained faithful in anticipation of the arrival of Jesus   –   1 Thessalonians 1:1-10 .  Opposition to the new faith forced Paul to leave Thessalonica before his work was completed. When he attempted to return to the city, he was thwarted " by Satan .” Because of anxieties about the congregation, he sent Timothy to investigate. His first letter is his thankful response after receiving good news about the congregation’s faithfulness - [ Photo by Andrew Seaman on Unsplash ].

Son of Man has Authority

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Jesus is the Son of Man foreseen by Daniel, the one with absolute authority from Yahweh over the earth .  After defeating Satan in the wilderness, Jesus began to proclaim the “ good news ” of the kingdom – “ The season is fulfilled, the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe the gospel .” The term “ Kingdom of God ” was a summary statement that meant different things to different people, but he identified his mission most closely with the “ Son of Man ” from the book of Daniel - [ Earth Photo by NASA on Unsplash ].

Seven Spirits of God

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Greetings are sent to the seven churches of Asia from God, Jesus, and the seven spirits of God that are before the throne .  The salutation to the “ seven churches ” is from God, Jesus, and the “ seven spirits of God .” The latter phrase is unique to  Revelation , and the idea of God having “ seven spirits ” creates difficulties since elsewhere Scripture stresses His oneness. Moreover, in  Revelation , the “ Spirit ” always speaks in the singular - [ Photo by  Vladimir Fedotov  on Unsplash ].

He Who Is

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God is the One who is and who was and who is coming, the Almighty Creator of all things who now sits on the throne at the center of the Cosmos .  In  Revelation , God is the “ Almighty ,” the “ One Who sits on the throne ,” and the “ Alpha and Omega .” But above all, he is presented as the “ One Who is and Who was and Who is coming .” This is more than a declaration about His nature, for the appellation is modified at key points to mark the consummation of the present age - [ Photo by Radu Chelariu on Unsplash ].

Meaning of Discipleship

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To be his disciple means to pursue self-sacrificial service for others, and especially so to the weak and insignificant .  On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus explained to the disciples what it meant to be the Messiah, and not for the first time, for in the city of David, he would face his final confrontation with the Temple authorities and death at the hands of the Romans. Was not that city the appointed place where the prophets were killed, and the Messiah himself must suffer rejection and death? - [ Photo by Aleksandr Kozlovskii on Unsplash ].

Fatih of Jesus Christ

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According to Paul, men are not set right before God “from the works of the law,” but instead, “from the faith of Jesus Christ .  Having demonstrated that all men have sinned and violated the revealed will of God, both Jews and Gentiles alike, Paul concludes that no one can be set right before God “ from the law .” Jews have the Mosaic Law but fall short of its requirements. Gentiles have the witness of their own conscience yet continue to live and even revel in sin - [ Photo by Cdoncel on Unsplash ].

Greater Lawgiver

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Matthew portrays Jesus as the Greater Moses, the True Lawgiver who brings the “Law and the Prophets” to their intended fulfillment. In Matthew’s gospel, the life of Jesus echoes events from the history of Israel. The point is not that Christ reenacted what Yahweh did in Moses and for Israel, but that he brought what God had begun in the distant past to fruition. He is the Greater Lawgiver foreshadowed in the story of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt under Moses - [ Photo by  Ian Cylkowski  on Unsplash ].

Fear the Living God

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The pronouncement by Darius after Daniel’s rescue from the lions is alluded to in the angel’s pronouncement to the “earth dwellers” in Revelation .  When Daniel was miraculously delivered from the lions, “ Darius the Mede ” was relieved, so much so that he issued a decree to all his subjects commanding them to revere Daniel’s God. But he also condemned the prophet’s accusers to be cast into the lions’ den instead of Daniel. And both incidents are reflected in the  Book of Revelation . - [ Photo by  Greg Rosenke  on Unsplash ].

Unlocking Prophecy

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Jesus is the key that unlocks the book of Revelation and the prophetic texts from the Hebrew scriptures .  Jesus plays the central role in unfolding the plans and mysteries of God, and only he is qualified to reveal the nature of Yahweh. In him, all the promises of God find their “ yea ” and “ amen .” He is  the interpretive key  that unlocks the Hebrew scriptures and provides the correct understanding of prophecy, and this is especially so in the book of  Revelation  - [ Photo by  Kelly Sikkema  on Unsplash ].

Firstborn of the Dead

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Jesus is the “Firstborn of the Dead,” a reference to his past resurrection and the basis for the future resurrection of the saints   –   Revelation 1:1-3 .  The first vision of  Revelation  is preceded by “ greetings ” from the “ One who is, who was, and who is coming ,” from the “ seven spirits before His Throne ,” and from Jesus, the “ faithful witness ” and the “ firstborn of the dead .” In his sacrificial death, he bore faithful witness, which God vindicated by raising him from the dead - [ Photo by  Bruno van der Kraan  on Unsplash ].

Lamb of Israel

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Jesus is the “slain Lamb,” the true Messiah of Israel sent by God to redeem humanity and “shepherd” the nations .  The Book of  Revelation  is addressed to the “ churches of Asia ” and begins with  salutations from God, the “ seven spirits that are before His throne ,” and especially from Jesus Christ,  the “ faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth .” These labels not only establish his royal “credentials,” but point to how he obtained sovereignty over the earth - [ Photo by  Sulthan Auliya  on Unsplash ].

Following Jesus

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The Messiah of Israel submitted to the way of the Cross and summoned his disciples to follow him on the very same path .  One day, Jesus told his disciples that if anyone wished to come after him, “ l et him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me .” This was more than metaphorical or hyperbolic language. It was said at the very time Jesus was on his final journey to Jerusalem where he would demonstrate to the world just what it means to “ deny oneself and take up the cross ” - [ Alpine Path - Photo by  Kalen Emsley  on Unsplash ].

Resurrection and New Creation

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Paul links the bodily resurrection of believers to the New Creation since both are integral to the promised redemption  –  Romans 8:1-23 .  In  Romans , Paul declares that there is “ now no condemnation ” for anyone who is “ in Jesus .” This happy condition is because the “ law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set them free from the law of sin and of death .” And his letter also links the salvation of believers to the inheritance of Christ and the redemption of the creation itself - [ Photo by  Jingda Chen  on Unsplash ].

Living Word

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Jesus is the “word made flesh” in whom the glory of God is revealed, the same “word” by which He created all things  –  John 1:14 . The gospel of John identifies Jesus as the  Logos , the “ word ” by which God made all things. This is one of the central themes that is explicated in the body of the book. In doing so, John was not engaging in metaphysical speculation but building on traditional ideas from the Hebrew Bible about how Yahweh created the universe and gave life by His spoken word - [ Photo by  Ben White  on  Unsplash ].

Faithful Witness

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In the salutation to the seven churches, Jesus is identified as the “Faithful Witness” because of his self-sacrificial death   –   Revelation 1:5 .  The vision of John begins with salutations to the churches of Asia, first from God, then from the “ seven spirits ,” and finally, from Jesus, the “ faithful witness .” The Son of God bore “ witness ” in his death, which becomes the pattern that the “ seven churches ” are summoned to emulate as they give “ testimony ” even while enduring persecution “ for the word of God ” - [ Photo by Esau Gonzalez on Unsplash ].

Babylon Then and Now

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The story of Ancient Babylon’s demise is reflected in the “sixth trumpet” and the “sixth bowl of wrath” in Revelation .  In  Daniel , on the eve of the city’s conquest by the “ Medes and Persians ,” King Belshazzar gave  a feast “ for a thousand of his lords ” and “ tasted wine ” from the sacred vessels that Nebuchadnezzar had looted from the Jerusalem Temple, disrespecting the God of Israel while also praising the false gods of Babylon - [ Photo by  Nicole Reyes  on Unsplash ].