The Book of Revelation Revisited

I’m revisiting the last book of the Bible, The Book of Revelation or The Revelation of Jesus Christ, because four years have passed since I last posted a related series called ‘How the World Ends as We Know It.’ I believe the book should be read annually to reset our focus, fill us with clear knowledge, and build up our faith in the marvelous promises that God will fulfill for His children at the end of time.

I will do my best to render a concise and succinct exploration, which hopefully, will not be near as voluminous as the first 13-part series…

The contents of the Revelation of Jesus Christ were revealed to the apostle John by Jesus Himself. The word ‘Revelation’ here, is translated from the Greek apocalypsis, meaning ‘the unveiling of things previously hidden.’ It’s a study of eschatology, i.e. of the ‘end times’ – the time between the first and the second coming of Christ.

Revelation serves to reveal the great battle between the good and the evil spirits in heaven; and it is also the last evangelical appeal in the Bible to reach out to unbelievers, so that they might latch onto their own salvation before it’s too late.

There are horrific scenes of how things play out for the unbelievers; but for the children of God, the book is meant to be a blessing of comfort, as we are given a vivid picture of our heavenly redemption.

John begins by telling us that Jesus directly relayed John’s revelations from God, and then he says that every word will come to pass. (Rv. 1:1 – 3.) John then shares the divine imperative that he receives at the outset:

John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Rv. 1:4 – 7. NKJV

John then, has been divinely directed to share Jesus’ revelations to the ‘seven churches in Asia.’ These particular seven were singled out because they represented in total, the broad examples of congregant behavior within each, (which still applies to today’s church), that either brought a blessing or a curse upon the church.

We see that the churches are being greeted by the Godhead: Jehovah God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Jesus is described as the ‘faithful witness’ because He continually delivered (and stayed true to) the testimony of His Father. Christ is also described as the ‘firstborn of the dead’ because He was the first to die and then be resurrected to eternal life. Finally, John refers to Jesus as the ‘ruler over all the kings on the earth. Indeed, Jesus’ name is above all names. (Phil 2:9, 10.)

Notice too, John points out that the Son of God already loves us, already washed our sins away, and has already made us kingdom priests for His Father – wherein we now hold the same high honor as the children of Israel. (Ex. 19:6)

Finally, we see that every eye will recognize Jesus’ return simultaneously, even those who crucified Him – physically or mentally. And all who had heard of His salvation and denied it, will mourn.

Next, the apostle shares a direct meeting from God Himself:

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” Rv. 1:8 NASB

God is asserting His authority as the author and creator of all things – declaring that what is about to be revealed is by His own hand, and that it will come to pass. ‘Alpha’ and ‘Omega’ is Greek for the ‘beginning and the end,’ meaning that all things began with God, and that He will determine their final fate at the end of time.

The stage is set to begin…

Goodnight and God bless.

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All God’s Children Are Preachers

Or they should be. We have all received Christ’s Great Commission:

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations [help the people to learn of Me, believe in Me, and obey My words]…” Mt. 28:19 AMP

Fortunately, God never leaves us at a loss. He sent the Holy Spirit to the apostle Paul so that he could teach his disciple Timothy how to lead the church. And knowing how to be a church leader is something all God’s children should learn, because we are all walking, talking and acting ambassadors of the church of Christ.

So, we come from the same place Jesus came from, when we represent Him – from love and faithfulness:

The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 1 Tim. 1:5 ESV

And before we get too far into the how of our commission, we must ground ourselves into the why:

…God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time… 1 Tim. 2:3 – 6. NKJV

Our Creator wants everyone to be saved; and the only way for that to happen, is for all to be led into a personal relation with God through Christ. So, we must testify:

And great, we confess, is the mystery [the hidden truth] of godliness: He (Jesus Christ) who was revealed in human flesh, was justified and vindicated in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory. 1 Tim. 3:16 AMP

We have to ‘train’ for our mission, separating ourselves from the ways of the world, and walk by the spirit. Godly behavior is a reflection of our faith in God’s word, which locks us into His kingdom. We stay strong by staying in His word; and we’ll need that strength when we come up against ungodly resistance:

Have nothing to do with irrelevant, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness…for godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for that life to come. 1 Tim. 4:7, 8. ESV

For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe. 1 Tim. 4:10 NKJV

Let’s return to seeing how we attend to our ‘commission’:

…pursue righteous, godliness, faith, love, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold of eternal life, to which you were also called… 1 Tim. 6:11, 12. NKJV

…keep the commandment unstained and free of reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ… 1 Tim. 6:14 ESV

Paul wrote a similar command to his disciple Titus, with regards to the self-conduct needed to confess God’s word:

He must hold firmly to the trustworthy word [of God] as it was taught to him, so that he will be able both to give accurate instruction in sound [reliable, error-free] doctrine and to refute those who contradict [it by explaining their error]. Titus 1:9 AMP

Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned…so that everything may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior. Titus 2:7, 8 & 10. ESV

Okay. We’re out there ready to spread the word. What is our leading message?

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearance of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify of Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. Titus 2:11 – 14. NKJV

…when the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace, we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:4 – 7. NKJV

Returning to Paul’s message to Timothy, we see how God equips us for spreading His salvation message:

For God has not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Tim. 1:7 NKJV

We are meant to use that power to deliver the message, keeping it pure, and teach others to spread the word as well:

By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us guard the good deposit entrusted to you. 2 Tim. 1:14 ESV

…be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. 2 Tim. 2:1, 2. NKJV

Again, all of this requires that we stay in the word of God:

Study and do your best to present yourself to God approved, a workman [tested by trial] who has no reason to be ashamed, correctly handling and skillfully teaching the word of Truth. 2 Tim. 2:15 AMP

Remember though, do not let your knowledge puff you up, but rather stay humble in the task that you have been entrusted with. You are saving lives, as you tell the good news with gentleness – disarming the hearer with love:

And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel, but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will. 2 Tim. 2:24 – 26. NKJV

Paul is saying  that we need to be intimately familiar with the accurate meanings of God’s word (via the Holy Spirit), so that we are always prepared to engage in communication that is rich in salvation for the ears of the recipient. And to be the most effective, the speaker must be one who has separated him or herself from the ways of the world.

Finally, Paul sends us on our way, reminding us that time is of the essence:

…preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and understanding. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching…As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 2 Tim. 4:2, 3 & 5. ESV

God wants all His children out soldiering for His kingdom, gathering souls for their salvation – while there are still people willing to receive His message.

That is the greatest love we can show to others, presenting them with a chance to latch onto endless love. Whether they accept it or not is entirely up to them. We can tell Jesus that we did our part.

You’re equipped, you’re ready – get on out there!

Goodnight and God bless.

How BIG is Your Jesus?

For He has rescued us and has drawn us to Himself from the dominion of darkness, and has transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption [because of His sacrifice, resulting in the forgiveness of our sins [and the cancellation of sin’s penalty]. Col. 1:13, 14. AMP

He is mighty BiG.

It is the blood of Jesus that broke Satan’s hold over us – granting us amnesty from our old worldly selves, and it ushers us into Christ’s kingdom.

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. Col. 1:15 – 17. NKJV

Jesus is the animated essence of God, drawn into existence before time or space began, to become God’s creative force for the entire universe – both material and spiritual. All things were made for Jesus, He has dominion over them and their very existence is dependent upon Him.

And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn of the dead, that in all things He may have preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. Col. 1:18 – 20. NKJV

(There were others who were raised from the dead, by the Old Testament prophets and by Jesus Himself, but they all eventually went on to die again. Jesus was the first to be resurrected to eternal life.)

Jesus is the centerpiece and the ultimate authority of the church. He is the reflection of the will of God, and the instrument of our reconciliation with our Creator. Our BIG Jesus is still at work today – cleansing us to make ourselves presentable before God. Our part is to remain in faith:

And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight – if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard… Col. 1:21 – 23. NKJV

It is imperative as God’s children, to convey to as many as we can, the bigness of our Savior and His salvation – because there is no salvation at the end of time for those who hear our message and reject it.

As for ourselves, we must walk as Christ walked to the best of our ability and turn aside from the lies in the world:

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith… Col. 2:6, 7. NKJV

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. Col. 2:8 ESV

We can do this by keeping our focus on His bigness, and He in turn, passes some of that to our spirit:

For in Him all the fullness of Deity (the Godhead) dwells in bodily form [completely expressing the divine essence of God]. And in Him you have been made complete [achieving spiritual stature through Christ], and He is the head of all rule and authority [of every angelic and earthly power]. Col. 2:9, 10. AMP

Therefore if you have been raised with Christ [to a new life, sharing in His resurrection from the dead], keep seeking the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Col. 3:1 AMP

For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you will also appear with him in glory. Col. 3:3, 4. ESV

So, walk BIG for your BIG Jesus. You are the expert on God and His salvation through Christ. You are a facilitator of God’s salvation – a purveyor of His word. Express the BIGNESS…

Goodnight and God Bless.

Making Spiritual Progress

We make spiritual progress only because God within us is doing the work:

…He who began a good work in you will [continue to] perfect and complete it until the day of Christ Jesus [the time of His return]. Phil. 1:6 AMP

God wraps His arms around you and never lets go. All the while, He’s working within you, bringing you to spiritual perfection – preparing you for your Christ-deliverance into eternity.

We help God maximize that work when we embrace His path to the best of our ability:

…that your love may abound more and more [displaying itself in greater depth] in real knowledge and practical insight, so that you may surely learn to recognize and treasure what is excellent [identifying the best, and distinguishing moral differences], and that you may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ [actually living lives that lead others away from sin]… Phil. 1:9, 10. AMP

It sounds like a monumental task, but it really isn’t. If you continue searching the word of God and live out His commandments, the Holy Spirit will constantly bring you greater revelation of God’s purposes, which, He wants to fulfill through you. As you do this, God occupies more of your heart, tweaking your perfection, and applying compassion: picking you up when you fall short, and setting your feet back upon His path. So, you see that the odds of completing your mission are really stacked in your favor.

And how does that mission look?

Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ…standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; in no way alarmed by your opponents – which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God. For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake… Phil. 1:27 – 29. NASB

…having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his interests, but also to the interests of others. Phil. 2:2 – 4. ESV

It always comes down to walking the walk. The more that we emulate Jesus, the more of God’s purpose will be revealed – where He immerses us in His love, so that we can radiate that love outwards.

When we pursue our spiritual progress, Christ brings us closer to Him and His Father, revealing yet more of God’s divine plan, and allowing us to play an ever-increasing part. In that part, we must stand in faith and unity for the gospel, even in the face of worldly opposition – tirelessly working through whatever suffering the world brings to bear, continuing to usher in more souls for salvation.

God calls us to be humble and live in peace – united in Christ, holding the needs of others above our own.

Jesus is the ultimate example of humility: He relinquished His divine nature and stature, in order to become a mere mortal. In so doing, He could feel our sufferings; and out of His limitless compassion, take our deserved divine punishment upon Himself, for the salvation of the mortals that He and His father love so much.

Likewise, it is to the glory of the Father and the Son, that we too put our personal concerns aside, and strive to bring the Key (Jesus) to the kingdom to everyone that we can touch in our lifetime:

…it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life… Phil. 2:13 – 16. NKJV

We must be diligent in our continual pursuit of spiritual progress. We cannot forget the reverence that we must hold for God and His Son, nor the imperative that we must muster for completing the tasks that They set before us – especially in the face of opposition:

…I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Phil. 3:7 – 11. NKJV

We don’t have to be perfect in our endeavor. Nevertheless, we remain a marvelous work in spiritual progress because of our sincere efforts:

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own. Phil. 3:12 ESV

Why?

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself. Phil. 3:20, 21. NKJV

Transformed and transcendent.

We are content because we have faith. We have faith because Christ empowers us. We have abundance because our Father is a promise-keeper. (Phil. 4:11, 13 & 19.)

You are a marvelous work in progress…

Goodnight and God bless.