02.2 Revelation – Remember, Redeemed, Removed, Renewed

Remember, Redeemed, Removed, Renewed
Revelation Themes

As the conclusion to the amazing story of the bible, the book of Revelation is filled with victory.  It is a victory that can be shared by anyone who chooses the gift of being on the team.

The fact that the book opens with letters of warning to the churches shows the mercy and grace of our God.  That even in this final book, where John outlines the end times of God’s wrath and judgment, God tells him to extend an invitation again to put on the jersey of Christ and be clothed in His sacrifice.  John, in particular, calls the church to remember.  If you have ears – then listen.  This is important.  This is important enough that believers for ages have been willing to be afflicted, persecuted and subjected to suffering for the honor of staying true to the team colors.  Remember and repent.  You want to be on the winning team.

A game-winning, grand-slam, home run happens at the moment that the ball connects with the bat.  Yes, it has to fly through the air out of the park.  Yes, the players have to run the bases and touch home plate.  But, from the very moment of impact, the work is done.  In the same way, Jesus’ work of paying the price for sin and defeating death is done.  When He resurrected from the dead, He connected with a strike ball that has been on a victory trajectory ever since. We are redeemed. It is done.  But Jesus is not done, yet.  One of the central themes of Revelation is this run of redemption.  The best is yet to come as He rounds the bases and returns back to home plate on Earth, gathering every one of His team to rejoice in victory.

When He returns, it will not be a partial victory, but a final one.  Satan and sin will not, as the saying goes, “live to fight another day.”  Christ’s return is a time when Satan and evil are just defeated, but completely removed.  Those who have made the choice of evil, who have rejected the gift of Jesus and rejected God, are judged and will be found to be incapable of paying the price of their own sins.  They and all enemies of God and good will be removed, forever.

And, finally, the book of Revelation closes with the most amazing gift of all.  God does not leave us to clean up the mess of this broken world.  We are not left in a war savaged place, with the need to tear out and rebuild on top of the weak foundations of the past.  But, instead, God takes us to a new place.  A place of beauty and peace of joy and happiness.  We have nothing to contribute to it, it is a wedding feast and the one true happily ever after ending.

My Answers:

1. greetings from him who is, who was and who is to come. Jesus the ruler of the kings of the earth.  Look his is coming with the clouds, every eye will see him – Look, I am coming soon, blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy
2. Be faithful, Jesus knows about affliction, persecution, suffering.  He will give you life as a victor’s crown. captivity and death will continue, but be patient, endure and faithful
12. Dragon removed from heaven, triumphed over by blood of the lamb.  The woman who gave birth to the child was protected, dragon went off to wage war with her offspring.  Beast was given… (note: it did not take, it was given – it is not in control)
19. For the wedding of the lamb has come – blessed are those who are invited – white horse, rider was faithful and true, KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS
21. New heaven and new earth, God’s dwelling place is now among His people – new heaven forever, river of water of life, tree of life, see the face of God in the city.  no more night, reign for ever and ever

b. God dwelling with His people for ever and ever – the new Heaven


02.2 Revelation – Remember, Redeemed, Removed, Renewed

01.5 Revelation – Jesus: Prophet and Fulfiller of Prophecy

Jesus: Prophet and Fulfiller of Prophecy*
*(see bonus video at the end of this post)

God had no issue with pulling out the stops to deliver the prophetic messages he had for His people, especially when those messages were a call to repentance.  He placed prophets in camel hair eating locusts and honey.  He had them walk around naked.  He had them speak an act so boldly in opposition to human authority that they were thrown in with lions or dumped in blazing furnaces.  The message, not the messenger, was the critical thing and these servants did what was required of them by God for the message to be heard (and hopefully heeded).

With the eccentricities of the old testament prophets in mind, it can be tempting to dismiss prophecy as strange, odd, radical and even crazy.  We may be tempted to have these thoughts as we read about multi-headed, multi-horned creatures and flying mutant animals, massive death and destruction and plagues and the dead rising.

However, we need to keep one key fact in mind.  Jesus Christ not only fulfilled prophecy, but He acknowledged Himself as a prophet.  Jesus made no hesitance to explain that He was sent by God to deliver God’s message to His people.  He did this not only through words, but also through His life, death and resurrection.

Think, too, about how strange some of the prophecies that Jesus fulfilled seemed before His coming.  A virgin will be with child?  God with us?  He will lead Israel to greatness and rejected by Israel?  He will be the ultimate conqueror and pierced and killed, despised and rejected?

But, with the word of the bible and the power of the Holy Spirit, we can clearly see how these prophecies were and will be fulfilled.  We can see that the prophecy of God’s plan for salvation through Jesus, first arriving on a colt and then, at His return, arriving on a cloud are not contradictory, but simply point to two different times.  We can also see that all of this is not random, disconnected information, but all prophecy is ultimately about the one key thing that has always been God’s plan for mankind – to be fully reunited with Him in glory for all eternity, free of sin and suffering and death, for His glory as God.

My Answers:

11. Jesus – predicted His coming through prophecy from God

That the plan (the original plan) was for Christ to come, die, rise again, to prepare a place and time and to come again to bring those in His flock home


That it is the climax of the story of God, the conclusion of the redemption but the beginning of the only true “happily ever after.”


This video is an interesting presentation showing how Jesus’ fulfillment of prophecy is evidence on which to build faith.

01.5 Revelation – Jesus: Prophet and Fulfiller of Prophecy

01.3 Revelation – Why does God provide prophecy?

Why does God provide prophecy?

I’m a parent, so I get it that sometimes the answer to why really is because I know best and I say so.  God is under no obligation to explain why He does things.  But, there are times in the bible when He has chosen to share with us why, and in those we learn a lot about the attributes of God Himself.  Take, John 3:16, “for God so loved the world that…”  We see God’s love and His sovereignty over all things, His generosity and mercy and His sacrifice and grace.  Those attributes are consistent through everything else, because God is consistent.

So, in regard to prophecy, I think there are several things we can see from our own nature and the scriptures.

First, we seek enlightenment.  We hunger to know more about what is going to happen.  It gives us security and predictability, it is provides expectations and comfort.  When we gain this enlightenment from prophecy, we not only receive expectation and hope, but we receive assurance because God’s prophecy is reliable because God is reliable.

Second, we have been given God’s prophecy not only as a cerebral knowledge or philosophical enlightenment, but for practical application.  It is evidence on which we build faith and assurance.  It is promises that commit believers to a path (even to the degree of choosing to be killed rather than to deny Christ).  It is to be used for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training.

Third, it is a gift from God, a delegation of His knowledge and power, but not relinquishing His knowledge or power.  We have seen it so frequently in men, that we accept it as a slogan, “knowledge is power.”  Wicked men have always attempted to use knowledge to build themselves up into positions of control and power over others.  God has given us knowledge through prophecy that can be used for His purposes, but He has withheld knowledge that would promote wickedness.  Let’s face it, if God revealed that the second coming of Christ was going to happen on a certain day, we can all imagine how men would manipulate things up to the dawn of that day for their own power and control.  God’s gift of prophecy is not for man to use as a weapon against other men or as a way for us to have control or power over God – it is a gift, provided to draw us into a relationship with Him.

My Answers:

6. Profit, worry, lack of faith, lack of peace or contentment

Isaiah: God declared what would happen long ago, presented it, allowed others to take counsel in it.  God alone.

Amos: God is a personal God who seeks to reveal Himself and His actions to man through the prophets

2 Tim: Scripture is not just for knowledge but for practical application

Hebrews: Prophets did not denounce the prophecy given to them by God, they lived it out in faith and many suffered and died in that faith

1 Pete: Prophets searched trying to find the time and circumstances of the savior – their prophecy was for this time not their time

It is accurate and true, worth living by and dying for.  We don’t know the timing because the timing is not the important element – the important element is that God is God and all of the stories all come back into His story.

Is/Luke: Jesus, the messiah, would be born a son, to a virgin and He would be “God with us.”

Micah/Matt: Jesus, the promised one, would be born in Bethlehem, a king and ruler of Israel

Is/Matt: Jesus would suffer, be despised and rejected.  He would be fully man, a man of suffering and pain

True prophecy is entirely true, it is entirely consistent with the rest of scripture and in particular God’s attributes and God’s nature and, in its time, it is fully and completely fulfilled

It is evidence that speaks to the reliability of God and God’s word.  Because God and His Word are important, prophecy is important because it is God’s word.  We should not ignore any part of God’s word.


01.3 Revelation – Why does God provide prophecy?

01.2 Revelation – Prediction vs Prophecy

Prediction vs Prophecy

The book of Revelation in the bible is a book of prophecy.  It is not science fiction.  It is not reflection or musings.  It is not an anthology or timeline or even a threat.  It is prophecy.

In this regard, it stands in good company with the other books of the bible.  There are 17 old testament books referred to as the books of the prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.  There is also prophetic words spoken in many others, from Genesis through the Psalms and even into the new testament.  Jesus not only quoted the prophets, but He himself was a prophet.

But, to understand this, we first need to understand the difference between prophecy and prediction.  There are two key distinctions between prophecy and predictions: source and reliability.

Prophecy always and only comes from God.  It is God delivering enlightenment about the facts of a future event to His creation.  It can be delivered by God through His own voice, through His own hand, through His word given to men, through His Son, or in any other way that God chooses, including a donkey.  The prophet is simply the one who delivers the message.  It is always the message, not the messenger.

Predictions are based on patterns.  All of science is centered around predictions.  When this, then that.  Because God is in all of His creation, He can and does reveal Himself through patterns, but this is different than prophecy.  Patterns are much more about the consistent nature and ongoing attributes of God, where prophecy is about specific intervening points where God will be taking action in the future of His creation.

The other key distinction is reliability.  Because prophecy is from God and God is fully in control, every prophecy will be fully and completely fulfilled, 100%, guaranteed.  Read that last line again.  Prophecy is not about what might happen, it is about what will happen, because it is a promise made by the one in control who never lies.  Predictions on the other hand are simply probabilities based on environments and assumptions.  Even our best scientific “facts” are limited by space and time.  The way things behave on land may be different than in the depths of the ocean or in outerspace, when standing still verses when travelling at incredible speeds, today vs a million years from now.  The word of God has now such limits.

In the same way, prediction is limited to patterns that we have observed.  Venturing out of those patterns in no longer predictions, it is guessing.  Prophecy, on the other hand, is the revelation of future fact.  The understanding that something has never happened before influences prediction, but it has no bearing on prophecy.  The reliability comes from the source and that evidence that past prophecy has never been wrong.  This is not to say that all past prophecy has already been fulfilled (if it was, then we wouldn’t be here studying the book of Revelation because we would already be living in heaven), but it does say that no prophecy has been incorrect.

My Answers:

3. Bible, weather, forecasting, polls, science, extrapolation, fortune tellers, horoscopes

4. Prophecy is from God not from man.  It does not have origin in human will, but spoken from God through humans carried to and through them by the Holy Spirit

5. Prophecy is evidence.  It is for the benefit of man to increase faith.  God revealed and fulfills it so man’s faith would (will) be increased.

01.2 Revelation – Prediction vs Prophecy

00.0 Revelation – The Bible

When I used to travel for business I enjoyed reading Tom Clancy novels.  Clancy was a master of weaving threads into his stories.  You would be reading about a Russian submarine commander and then, with the turn of the page, the story would shift to a cargo ship in a storm which accidentally loses the ties on a piece of lumber which tumbles into the sea.  300 pages may go by before all of these separate threads suddenly merge into a final climax of the book.

But God, the greatest author, is the master of creating a tapestry of inter-joining threads through time.  He started with a single thread, “in the beginning, God”.  He is the thread, the origin of the story.  From here he spins Himself out into all of creation, the heavens and the earth, day and night, plants and animals, us.  He allows for darkness to exist, because He wants us to choose the golden threads of light.  But even when we choose darkness through sin, God still, like a master weaver, simply weaves that into His masterpiece to further highlight the brilliance of His gift.

We as humans, tend to think of this spinning and weaving as always going out and becoming bigger, wider, longer.  Stretching and expanding, spinning further and further out of control.  But the greatest author, God, tells a different story in the bible.  These multiple threads are not the conclusions in and of themselves.  Instead, there is one protagonist, one single main character, that interconnects every thread of life throughout eternity.  The point is not to spin off into a million or billion different stories, but instead to open our eyes to the fact that all of these different stories all lead back to a single, unbroken, thread.

In the book of Revelation, we see the climax of the story.  We see the author separate the dark from the light, we see the lifting and joining of every story and every soul who is connected through grace and faith.  We see the destruction of the darkness, but, more so, we see not only the salvation of God, but we see how everything, through all time, has not been about us, but it has always been about Him.  We think of the bible as books of law and poetry, as history and prophecy, but, it is actually a biography, written so we may understand God and God’s big story.

And, finally, while we reach the climax in Revelation, we don’t reach the conclusion, because, as we will read and study, that thread continues into the sequel, into new life in a new heaven and new earth through the same amazing, eternal God.


00.0 Revelation – The Bible

30.0 Moses, Reflection

Encountering God

What an amazing study it has been to delve into God’s word on the life of Moses.  There have been so many ways I have been encouraged and convicted, humbled and emboldened through this study.

Reflecting back, it was interesting to reflect on the 4 stages of Moses’ life that we studied this year: 40, 40, 40, Forever.  40 years in Pharaoh’s house in Egypt, 40 years as a shepherd, husband and father in Midian, 40 years as a prophet and leader to the Israelites and Forever in the Eternal Promised Land of heaven to continue to be in the presence of God.

Each of us goes through stages of life as well.  These are always easier to see in hindsight, but God continues to work us and shape us.  He is holy and His desire for the faithful is that we would be holy as well.

But through all of this, one particular event that moved Moses between life stages kept coming back to my mind.  It was the day Moses had an encounter with God at the burning bush.

Two things stood out to me in this.

Let’s go back to Exodus 3 starting in verse 4b: “God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.” “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Then He said…”

First, was Moses’ response.  Moses’ response was obedience.  When called, he answered.  When told to take off his sandals, he obeyed.  Then God introduced Himself to Moses and shared the calling and mission He had for Moses’ life.  I believe one clear message from this is the life of a Godly Man is not founded on knowledge or good deeds, it is begun with an attitude of obedience.

How we fight being obedient!  We look to the right and to the left.  We stumble and fall.  We allow ourselves to get week by not staying in a daily walk with God and yield easily then to temptation.  But a position of obedience, on our knees, praying for ourselves and the people around us, is the position we can begin anew each day.

The second part of this is that Moses encountered God.  Encounter is an interesting word.  Our church (probably like many) has a mission statement that includes the words “encounter God.”  Looking at the definition of encounter, it has a couple of somewhat different meanings/uses.  The first is an unexpected meeting.  The second is to meet in conflict.  The second is very close to the root origin of the word: en = in, such as in the car or in the presence of and counter = contrare, opposition, such counter-productive or counter-intuitive or the French term, au contraire.

When we seek for ourselves and others to encounter God, we are seeking not for a warm and fuzzy experience, but for a convicting experience.  Our day to day lives reflect our sin nature.  We think of ourselves as master of our own life, master of our destiny, and we pay homage and bow down to any matter of false gods.  Where we invest our time, talent and attention reflects what is most important in our lives.  But an encounter with God convicts us of how “in confrontation” that lie is to the truth of God.

Asking for an encounter also means call for the unexpected.  But, so often, we fill our days up with so many “things” that we are far more likely to rush by the burning bush than we are to stop.  We, all too often, carve out a block of time in our so, so busy week, Sunday morning for example, and as God to yield to our desire to be in control and give us an “unexpected meeting” at that time and place as long as it doesn’t last more than 60 minutes because we have other things to do.  Surprise!

Yes, there were many things in the life of Moses.  Yes, God was faithful to him even before he was born.  But this encounter was pivotal and was simply the first of many encounters over the next 40 years.

If an encounter with God is truly want you want for yourself and for your family, your church, your workplace, your neighborhood, then start by being obedient.  Kick your shoes off.  Slow down and accept that God is in control, you and I are not.  Enter his holy place.  And, when you hear His call, answer, “Here I am.”



30.0 Moses, Reflection

29.5 Moses 29, Day 5

Seeing through God’s Eyes

As Moses enters his last day of life at age 120, he is obedient to God and climbs a mountain.  From there we are told, “God showed him the whole land”.

First, I thought it was interesting how much this fit to the original promise of God to Abram that started all of this back in Genesis 12:1. “The LORD had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.””

Second, I was curious if the view from Mount Nebo matched the biblical account. There is a lot of guesswork in trying to identify any specific spot in the middle east.  This writing took place long before accurate maps and there were no GPS coordinates provided.  But, from my research, there appears to be fair agreement on the location of Mount Nebo.  It is a mountain rising from Jordan’s plateau with a current height of 2230 ft above sea level, keeping in mind that the dead sea to its west is 1401 ft below sea level.  A mountain range rises to the west of the Jordan river, blocking the due west view to the Mediterranian Sea, but there are sight lines not obscured by other mountains.  We also don’t know the effects of erosion or other shifts in the landscape over the past thousands of years.

Here are maps I found online.  The first is from Near East Tourism, http://www.netours.com/content/view/257/30/ and the second is from biblestudy.org  http://www.biblestudy.org/maps/division-of-promised-land-to-twelve-tribes-israel-large-map.html

Sightlines from Mt. NeboDivision of Promised Land to the Children of Israel

As you can see, keeping in mind the very rough nature of these maps, the recount of the view starts with “from Gilead to Dan“.  Gilead is a city to the north and Dan is both a city and a territory belonging to the tribe of Dan, which are no where near each other.  You can’t see the city of Dan from Mt. Nebo but you would get very close to the assumed northern border of the territory of Dan.  It goes on to say he saw “all of Naphtali, the territory of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Mediterranean Sea”.  Today we can’t see “all of” Naphtali, but we can see part of it.  We can see Ephraim and Manasseh and the land of Judah.  We can see the Mediterranean Sea.  Following down the river through the Dead Sea, we can see, “whole region from the Valley of Jericho, the City of Palms, as far as Zoar.

But look again at the wording of this.  He saw Dan, Naphtali, territory of Ephraim and Manasseh, the land of Judah.  Keep in mind, that when Moses is called by God to look over all of this land, the Israelites have not yet crossed.  They’ve taken a census, but they haven’t divided the land.  The amount of land they possessed west of the Jordan, at this point, was zero.

What God allowed Moses to see wasn’t just a bunch of dirt and rocks.  It wasn’t the cities of enemies or the struggles and battles that lay before the Hebrew people.  Instead God allowed Moses to see the land as it was promised and would be.  A land belonging to the tribes of Israel, rich with food and water and livestock and massive in its dimensions.  He allowed him to see their earthly home.

And then, as Moses was still being allowed to look through God’s eyes, he would have been allowed to see his own eternal home.

Many have used the term “seeing is believing.”  Show me with my own two eyes and I will be.  I need to see it to believe it.  But what we see at the conclusion of Moses life is the heavenly version of that saying.  Believing is seeing.  I need to believe it to see it.  It reminded me of the story of the Apostle Thomas in John 20:24-29 which concludes with Jesus saying, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

The promised land for the Jews was a foreshadow of something bigger, better and everlasting.  Open your heart and open your faith so that you can see.  How do you need to ask the Lord to remove the blindness of your heart where your view is blocked by fear, doubt or disbelief.

My Answers:

Covenant promise, unconditional, Forever, Everlasting possession, to Abraham and his offspring.  The key is that while this covenant refers to a physical place, land that can be walked and measured by width and breadth, it also refers to something bigger and more significant and more eternal.  If the land was all there was to the promise, it would not be forever or everlasting.  The promise was not just of the physical space but in the spiritual realm, a promise of everlasting life and eternal communion with kinsman and the Lord.

It was a foreshadowing of the promise of God to an everlasting home.  Our eyes are not focused on where we stand, but where we are going.  Where we stand, we are strangers and foreigners, but where we are going is a spiritual (and ultimately physical) forever.

filled with the spirit of wisdom.  The Israelites listed to him and obeyed the Lord

True greatness comes by serving the Lord, not by human strength.

29.5 Moses 29, Day 5