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Monday, June 30, 2014
I haven't felt directed toward a particular subject for my next series of blog posts, so I am going to fall back on using some original scripture cards to share some of my favorite verses in scripture. May you find strength, comfort and encouragement in God's word. The first picture is from a beach sunrise in south Florida and the other was taken from a car window driving from Cape Girardeau to Festus, Missouri.
Thursday, June 26, 2014
There is another great promise from Romans 8.
Romans 8:31 “If God be for us, who can be against us?”
This verse reinforces the truth that nothing can touch me that isn't allowed by the Father for some purpose. I don’t have to fear anything or anyone. Nothing can separate me from the love of God that is mine in Jesus.
Romans 8:38–39 “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Some more of my favorite verses concerning the eternal security that is mine in Jesus come from the pen of the apostle John.
John 10:27–30 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.”
And again from the pen of the apostle Paul.
Philippians 1:6 “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ….”
Ephesians 1:12–14 “That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”
The Holy Spirit is given to us the moment we place our faith in God through Jesus. It is through the Holy Spirit that we receive comfort, encouragement and empowerment. When we go through hard times and experience the comfort of God’s Spirit, we are then able to help others through their hard times.
John 14:16–17 “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.”
2 Corinthians 1:3–4 “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”
Ephesians 3:20 “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us….”
2 Timothy 1:7 “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
Another really special promise to the child of God is that His Spirit within us intercedes before the Father on our behalf.
Romans 8:26–27 “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”
My heart’s desire is to be a mighty woman of prayer, but I fall so short. Sometimes I just don’t know how to adequately express what is in my heart—but the Holy Spirit knows just exactly how to express it. When I am not sure of the Father’s will in any given situation, He is; and He knows how to ask according to the Father’s will.
Another precious truth to me—God knows all my thoughts and motives and loves me still.
Psalms 139:1–4 “O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.”
He is never surprised by our sin; but because He loves us, He allows us to suffer the consequences of sin. The writer to the Hebrews explains it well.
Hebrews 12:6–10 “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.”
I guess the bottom line is that one has to determine if he/she believes that God is who He says He is as revealed in His word. Once that determination is made, the rest is simply put—though not simply embraced. If God’s word is true, then we can rest in His promises; either we believe Him or we don’t. Once we do, He promises to give us peace. My life verse again comes from Isaiah.
Isaiah 26:3 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”
Note that again there is a qualifier—to keep one’s mind “stayed” on our Savior. This thought connects directly to a verse from the pen of the apostle Paul.
1 Corinthians 10:31 “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”
For many years I thought my life was compartmentalized—one compartment for God, one for family, one for work, etc. There came a time that I finally realized that as a Christian, there is only one compartment in my life—a life lived as unto the Lord. Everything I do in life falls into that compartment. When I am serving my family, I should be focused on doing my best to honor God both in word and deed; I should be thinking about how I am testifying to His love at work in me through the way I interact with them. When I am at work, I should have the same type of focus and testimony. When I am making choices about how to use the resources He has given me, I should be thinking about how I can best glorify Him in the process. When I am enjoying using the talents He has given me, I should be striving to honor Him with those talents. Whether interacting with friends, neighbors or strangers, my focus should be on reflecting a testimony of my love for Jesus in all that I do and say. It’s basically living life recognizing that I am ever and always in His presence. That truth is much easier to express than it is to put into practice. And that brings to mind another very precious promise.
Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
I have determined to find my rest, sustenance and security in God as gifted to me through Jesus and continually empowered and provided for by His Holy Spirit. I pray that you will do the same.
Monday, June 23, 2014
As shown in the previous post, scripture is very clear to tell us that God is love, and that love is directed to every individual.
1 John 4:16 “God is love….”
John 3:16–17 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”
Notice that “whosoever” chooses to believe Him will receive eternal life. That truth is affirmed throughout scripture.
Ezekiel 33:11 “Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?”
2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
One who turns to God in faith becomes His child…
Galatians 3:26 “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”
…and has even more promises that are specifically for His children. One of the most cherished comes from the pen of the apostle Paul.
Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
“All things” work together for good to them that love God. Note that there is a qualifier; this promise is directed to those who “love God.” Though we might not understand why God allows certain things to happen in our lives, we can know that He is working to do good. I often think of Joseph in light of this truth. Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers, put into prison undeservedly, and “suffered” that condition for many years before realizing the “good” that God brought about from his bad experiences. Jesus, however, is the ultimate example of evil and suffering resulting in good. He spent His life labeled as illegitimate. During His ministry He was constantly under attack by the religious leaders of His day and even declared to be a servant of Satan. Finally, He suffered not only the hatred of the people, the excruciating pain of torture and the cross, but—most painful of all—was also forsaken by His Father for the first time ever as He willingly gave His life to make it possible for us to enjoy eternal life in the presence of the Father. Some of the most amazing verses to me are that it pleased the Father to do this and brought joy to the Savior. Why? Because He loved us so much that He wanted to restore us to righteousness and deliver us from the judgment of sin.
Isaiah 53:10–11 “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.”
Hebrews 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
2 Corinthians 5:21 “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
In other words, Jesus, the holy, sinless, righteous Son of God was made sin—my sin and your sin—and suffered the judgment of separation from the Father that we deserve by His willing sacrifice on the cross.
Jesus didn’t leave us with false expectations concerning this life; He warned us that we would experience trouble in this life. He also promised that He would always be with us and empower us to be overcomers.
John 16:33 “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
2 Corinthians 12:9 “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee….”
1 Corinthians 15:54–58 “So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”
Note that the promise is “when” not “if.”
Matthew 28:18–20 “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”
Note that Jesus has “ALL power” in heaven and earth. No matter what anyone may say to the contrary—this is the truth. As a child of God, we can rest in His power and authority. No one can take away the protection that is ours in the hand of Almighty God.
(to be continued…)
Friday, June 20, 2014
I’ve been thinking quite a bit recently about how the problem of evil and suffering is identified by many unbelievers as the basis for their unbelief. It is also true, however, that it is one of the primary reasons for doubt among believers. John the Baptist is a prime example from scripture. He had diligently preached the message of repentance and boldly proclaimed Jesus as the promised Messiah. However, once he found himself in prison and his circumstances certainly not according to expectations, he doubted.
Matthew 11:2–3 “Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?”
This is a subject that has been argued and debated throughout the years by those much smarter than I, and I certainly don’t claim to have the answer that will end all debate. I can only share how I have found peace in my own heart concerning this matter. I believe that many people use this subject as an easy out for rejecting belief in God because they don’t want to be accountable to Him. No matter how much they may deny their belief in God, the scripture tells us that God has revealed Himself to them through the testimony of creation; and that testimony leaves them without excuse for their professed unbelief. I will quote from the translation of the English Standard Version of the Bible because it is so clearly stated.
Romans 1:18–21 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”
It is also true, however, that there are Christians who find themselves doubting just like John the Baptist when confronted with evil and/or suffering. The question is usually framed something like: How could a good, loving God allow the people He created suffer for any reason if He is all-powerful? The main problem is our limited ability to understand His ways and His thinking. God told us so Himself through the prophet Isaiah.
Isaiah 55:8–9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Frankly, that it is a very comforting thought to me. If I could truly understand ALL His thoughts and His ways, He would no longer be God. The important thing is that as our Creator, He has chosen to reveal enough of His thoughts and ways to testify to the truth that He is Who He says He is in His word. That is one reason I so love the study of prophecy. It is the unique means through which God affirms the truth of His character and His word. He is who He says He is; He does what He says He will do. A study of God’s word and the record of history affirm this truth over and over again. God declares this very truth through the prophet Isaiah.
Isaiah 46:9–10 “Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure….”
Another part of the problem is our refusal to acknowledge our own responsibility because of our sin—our refusal to acknowledge God as Lord.
God created the world good. He created man without sin and with the ability to make his own choices. He didn’t create robots having no ability to love. He created us in His image—a Being defined as love.
1 John 4:16 “God is love.”
Love is directly connected to the ability to choose; it cannot be forced.
God also clearly identified the consequences of choosing to disobey in the one area that was forbidden. The full consequences of that one act of disobedience were not understood until after that sin. Though forbidden only one thing, man chose to rebel against God and bring the curse of sin upon his descendants and the world that had been entrusted to his care.
Yes, it was Eve that was deceived and Adam that sinned—not you or me; but, as their descendants, we inherited their sin nature. (I truly believe that the outcome would have been no different if you or I had been Eve or Adam.) Our actions—both good and bad—always affect others. If I am negligent when driving and cause a wreck, my actions will likely result in pain and suffering to those innocent of any wrongdoing. When those men chose to ram airplanes into the buildings of the World Trade Center, thousands of innocent people suffered. When we in America allowed the ruling authorities to eliminate God from our schools and government, we began an unstoppable descent towards moral corruption that has resulted in an ever growing culture of evil and suffering.
Because man was given dominion over the earth, his sin affected all that was under his authority. The earth itself became cursed. Because of this curse we now experience earthquakes, tornadoes, disease, etc. Evil and suffering are a consequence of man’s sin—whether an act of man or nature.
My purpose at this time is not to address unbelievers, but believers who find themselves confronted with doubt in the face of evil and suffering. I want to encourage you to focus on what you do know and understand—not what you don’t. There are many truths and promises I cling to like life preservers. The verses in Romans, Isaiah and 1John already referenced are some of them. I am not writing this as a paper to be graded with a prepared outline, but as a letter of encouragement from my heart as thoughts come to mind.
(to be continued…)
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
We have finally come to the end of our stroll through Revelation.
Revelation 22:16 “I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.”
I am reminded that this whole book was given as a revelation of Jesus Christ. Jesus is testifying to the truth of John’s record and its application to the churches. He declares Himself to be the root and offspring of David, a reference to the prophecy of Isaiah.
Isaiah 11:1–5 & 10 “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins…. And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.”
Even now, the Holy Spirit of God is at work wooing men to the Savior and ministering to the bride, the believers on earth. As part of His bride, we should be eagerly anticipating His return.
Revelation 22:17 “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”
Time is short; but as long as Christ tarries, the one who is thirsty, longing for the truth and recognizes his need for nourishment is invited to come to the Savior. “Whosoever” – This invitation is open to each and every person on planet earth. Jesus’ death on the cross was in payment for All sin—yours and mine.
Hebrews 2:9 “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”
Anyone who desires to know the Lord and responds in faith may take “the water of life” freely. There is no better understanding of this invitation than that which Jesus gave to the Samaritan woman at the well.
John 4:9–14 “Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water….Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”
Jesus is obviously comparing living water to salvation, and He made it even clearer in another teaching.
John 7:37–39 “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)”
Our spiritual life is directly connected to the presence of the Holy Spirit in us.
Romans 8:10–11 “And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”
The truth of God’s word is precious and important to all of mankind. Warning is given to anyone who might hear the words of this prophecy and then decide to add anything to it—for whatever reason. If anyone has the audacity to think that he can improve on the word of God, he will suffer greatly. The plagues described in this book are certainly not to be desired.
Revelation 22:18–19 “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”
As stated and supported by scripture in the previous post, the Lord is very clear that man is not to make any changes to the truth of His word. Anyone who would add to or take away from God’s word is obviously putting himself in the position of God; he is assuming he knows better than God. Obviously, that person is not walking in faith or obedience. That person will not have his name in the Book of Life, nor will he/she enjoy or any of the other blessings associated with spending eternity with the Savior.
These verses have always given me great pause when I think about sharing “the truth” of God’s word. I am not a scholar. There are many very learned men who disagree on “the truth” of God’s word. I try to be very careful to let those with whom I share my thoughts regarding the Bible know that I am just telling them “what I understand” any given section to be saying. Although I feel very strongly about many of the “truths” in scripture as I see them, I tremble at the thought of ever leading someone in the wrong direction. I continually ask the Lord to protect me from presenting anything that would be dishonoring to Him. I am trying to follow the instruction given by the Apostle Peter.
1 Peter 3:15 “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear….”
It’s always a hard thing to process that we all have the same word from God and the same Holy Spirit to teach us, yet there are so many that disagree regarding its correct interpretation. I truly pray that the Lord will keep my heart and mind sensitive to the leading of the Spirit, and that I will not miss out on understanding the truth He wants to share with me due to not being willing to listen without prejudice to something that may conflict with what I think I already “know.” I believe that is one of the greatest lessons to learn from trying to take each verse of scripture and asking the Spirit to help you understand. It keeps you humble by revealing all that you don’t know and have yet to learn regarding God’s word.
Revelation 22:20–21 “He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.”
Who is the one talking? Jesus. He is the one that has said He is coming quickly
(cf verse 12). What does John respond? So be it! Come, Lord Jesus. My sentiments exactly! I am so looking forward to going home and never having to deal with sin again.
I want to close with one more quote from Dr. Joseph Seiss: “If I have read into this book anything which He has not put there, or read out of it anything which He has put there, with the profoundest sorrow would I recant….If I err, God forgive me! If I am right, God bless my feeble testimony. In either case, God speed His everlasting truth!”
Saturday, June 14, 2014
This post begins with a statement of an important biblical principle.
Revelation 22:11 “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.”
Though man was given freedom of choice, there comes a point in time when there are no more opportunities for grace and forgiveness. At that time, if you have chosen to be unjust (actively do wrong morally, socially, or physically; hurt, injure, be an offender) and/or filthy (associate with dirt and depravity…to become morally dirty), then your eternity will be with those likeminded—all who have rejected Jesus and chosen to follow Satan in rejection and disobedience. On the other hand, if you choose to accept God’s gift of salvation that clothes you in His righteousness (innocence, holiness) and holiness (purity, being morally blameless), you will continue in that state for eternity in fellowship with the Savior.
Revelation 22:12 “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.”
This can only be the Messiah talking. This is the one about whom the revelation was given—Jesus Christ. He is coming quickly/suddenly. When He comes, He will reward (pay for service—good or bad) every man (each individual who has ever lived) according to his works. This sounds at first hearing like salvation by works. I think the following two verses shed the best light regarding Jesus’ perspective as He uttered these words to John.
John 6:29 “Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”
The work of the believer is to believe on Jesus, the Son of God. This will result in eternal fellowship with the Savior.
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
The work of the unbeliever is revealed when measured against the law. Our work in the flesh can never measure up and will only bring forth death, separation from God forever.
John 3:18-19 “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”
Isn’t it sad that most men reject God because they love their evil deeds so much and can’t stand the thought of giving them up to serve God!
Revelation 22:13 “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.”
Jesus is still speaking; identifying Himself in the same way that God is identified, as shown in the following verses. The Word of God is clear and consistent in presenting the Father and Son as two yet one.
John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
Isaiah 44:6 “Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.”
The introductory phrase to the next verse again seems to say that we can earn our way into eternal fellowship with the Savior and all its privileges.
Revelation 22:14–15 “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.”
The book of James was given to help us understand saving faith. Our faith is proven by our works. If we say that we have faith, but our actions do not match what our lips say, we are only deceiving ourselves. True faith will produce action—obedience to His word.
James 2:14-17 “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.”
The Apostle John also addressed this truth in his first epistle.
1 John 2:3-4 “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”
Dogs – This was a term of humiliation and designated one as bad or evil.
Sorcerer – One who gives spell-giving potions, a posioner, a magician
Whoremongers – Prostitutes, fornicators
Murderer – One who commits intentional homicide
Idolators – Image worshippers
“whosoever loves and tells lies”
All those that fall into these categories will be separated from God forever!
(to be continued…)
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Revelation 22:6–7 “And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done. Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.”
“These sayings” – I think this is referring to everything that has been shown and told to John during this “revelation.” It is ALL sure and trustworthy; it was meant to reveal not conceal. God Almighty, who inspired the holy prophets, sent his angel/messenger to show, to make clear to His servants (all believers from that time forward) the events that would “shortly” come to pass. The Greek for “shortly” implies that events would happen very quickly once they had begun. Again, I can’t help but think of the verses that explain God’s perspective on time.
Psalms 90:4 “For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.”
2 Peter 3:8 “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”
I am reminded again of the unchanging character of God. He always prepares His people and tells them what to expect in light of coming judgment.
The speaker obviously changes. Who has this revelation been about? Who is the one whose coming we await? The speaker has to be Jesus. When He returns, it will be quickly (shortly, suddenly, without delay).
“Keepeth” – guard, maintain, hold fast, preserve, watch
This message is precious. It is worth preserving and guarding with an attitude of watchfulness as to the return of Jesus, future to the time of its revelation to John. Though the context of this verse is referring specifically to the revelation being given to John, it would also seem to be an appropriate beatitude regarding the whole Word of God. God never changes, nor does His word; His word is truth.
Malachi 3:6 “For I am the LORD, I change not….”
Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.”
Psalms 119:160 “Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.”
Proverbs 30:5–6 “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.”
Deuteronomy 4:1–2 “Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers giveth you. Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.”
“blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book” - The declaration of this blessing is a powerful rebuke to those that declare the study of prophecy to be unimportant and a waste of time. Sadly, there are many recognized leaders in the church today who hold that view. Whatever their motive, it is self-serving and/or in disobedience to the will of God for His people.
Revelation 22:8–10 “And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God. And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.”
Once again, John testifies again to the fact that all that he has written he saw and heard with his own eyes and ears. Although he has been warned before, John again falls down to worship at the feet of his angelic guide. The angel rebukes John and tells him to worship God. The angel identifies himself as a “fellowservant,” one who serves the same master. He also identifies himself as “of thy brethren.” This indicates a connection from the womb, which I think is saying that he is one of Jewish birth. Not only that, but he is one of the prophets.
This can get really confusing. John has had “angels” and “elders” speak with him during the process of this revelation. I have always considered the angels to be those of the “higher creation” in the heavens that are God’s special ministering servants on behalf of man. Actually, the term is inclusive of any individual doing God’s bidding as requested at any given time—His messengers. It would seem that there is a likelihood that some of God’s prophets will get to participate in the events about which they prophesied since this angel was originally identified as one that had poured out one of the seven vials of judgment.
John is told that this book is not to be sealed or kept secret. The information contained in this prophecy is important for the churches to know. Why? Because the time is at hand—near.
Here we are looking at these prophecies almost 2000 years after the fact. That doesn’t seem very “near” in our eyes; but in relation to eternity, the passage of time has been minimal. As we listen to God’s message, we need to keep our faith focused on His truth and not our expectations. What to God is “a very little while” can often seem like forever from the human point of view.
Psalm 37:10 For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.
Haggai 2:6-7 For thus saith the LORD of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come:
Hebrews 10:37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.
In God’s economy of time, “yet a little while” and the wicked will not be found on earth; that won’t happen until eternity begins. In just “a little while” from the time of Haggai’s prophecy, “the desire of all nations,” which I believe is a reference to Jesus, the Messiah, would come; that would be over 500 years later. “Yet a little while” and Jesus will come again according to the writer of Hebrews; it’s already been 2000 years.
Notice that the directive given here is completely opposite to the instruction given to Daniel regarding his record of prophecy. Daniel was told that the words given him were sealed until the time of the end, whereas John is told that the information that had been given to him was important for the churches to know “now.”
Daniel 12:9-10 “And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.”
(to be continued…)