18.4 Revelation – Awful Parents

Awful Parents

When you were a child…

Did you learn how to ride a bicycle?  Did you ever fall and skin your knees or elbows?

Did you ever play sports?  Did you get hurt, scraped up, bruised, broken bone?

Did you ever go to other places and have friends?  Did they ever say anything that hurt you or caused you worry, angst or sorrow?

If any of these things happened, you must have had horrible parents, right?  I mean, wasn’t it there job to keep you safe?  Wasn’t it their job to protect you and love you?  Wasn’t it their job to keep you from pain and hurt, either physical or emotional?

Other than some people who are either in denial or came from a very broken household, we know this is ridiculous.  Normal, loving parents want their children to be safe and secure and protected.  Parents hurt when their kids hurt.  Parents cry when their kids cry (maybe later, but all the same).  But normal loving parents also want their kids to grow and mature.  They want their kids to be strong physically and emotionally.  They want the best for their children.

To do this, they have to allow their kids to enter into calculated risks.  The parents still go first, scope things out, do all they can to limit the scope of the risk, but they don’t eliminate it.  Eliminating the risk is to live in a bubble.  Eliminating the risk is to limit growth.

God loves us enough to do the same.  Jesus came to earth and experienced absolutely every temptation and hardship ever known to man – and overcame them all.  Not so that He could prove He was perfect – He was perfect and was not subject to judgment by anyone else.  No, He did it as a gift to us.  There is no temptation that cannot be defeated, with Jesus.  There is no hurt or pain that, with Jesus, cannot be overcome.

Because of this, if we accept Jesus as our loving parent, He gives this gift to us.  He doesn’t hold us back from temptation and hardship – He doesn’t lock us into a bubble.  Instead, He goes first.  He scopes out the situation eliminating all unnecessary risks.  He stands by us.  He guides us through the difficulty so that we can grow and become more Holy and more like Him.

That is and Awesome Parent!

My Answers:

8.
Psa – failing heart but strength in God – physical strength is insufficient in comparison to God’s might
Prov – Discipline and rebuke are acts of a loving father who delights in His son
Rom5 – Suffering->perseverance->character ->hope … builds strength
Rom8 – as co-heir of Christ => sharing in suffering -> sharing in glory
Rom8 – All things (suffering included) are used by God to transform His beloved to be justified & glorified
Phil – In light of the worth of Jesus, all worldly possessions and prizes are but junk
Heb – suffering is a means to distill perfection (refinement), Jesus underwent it for eternal salvation

9.
Not to question or doubt the existence of God, but to question or doubt my thinking about who I thought He was and how I thought He should act – there have been times of question of why those who seek good suffer while those practicing evil flourish and prosper, there have been times when I was angry with God and more when I was impatient with Him, “how long, Lord…?”

18.4 Revelation – Awful Parents

18.2 Revelation – Because of Sin

Because of Sin

Why would God…?  What kind of God…?  We’ve all heard the statements made by non-believers as they judge God and His actions as an argument for why they don’t believe.

But, let’s face it.  Sin and pain and suffering were not God’s desire for the world.  His desire in creation, especially in the creation of mankind, was to invite another being to join the Trinity in love and holiness and fellowship and unity.  Things were good.  God even said those exact words as he completed the days of creation.

But for true love to occur, it cannot be forced and for it not to be forced there must be a choice.  Unfortunately, mankind chose to break the one rule in the garden and we have subsequently chosen to break every other rule and commandments ever since.  In pure love, God allows us to turn from Him and defy Him time and time again.  He allows us to follow the path of disobedience, a path that always leads to death, eternal death and eternal separation from Him.

Mercifully, God also gives us pain and sorrow and suffering.  Mercifully, because can you imagin the depravity of a world without those warning signs and hinderances to disuade mankind from fully following the path of sin?  Just as pain is a warning sign to prevent fatal injury, these things also serve as warning signs of turning from God.

But, we now live in a time when sin who so saturated creation, that pain and sorrow and suffering surround us.  It threatens to swallow our lives and draw us into darkness.  But, God is bigger than the effects of sin.  God is bigger than any pull of darkness.  God is big enough that no matter how far we try to run and hide from Him, He is only a whisper away.  God is big enough that when we see the error in trying to make ourselves the judge of God and instead recognize our own horrible sin, He does not use the same criteria we were using to judge us, but, instead, forgives us because of the saving gift of His son.

My Answers:

3.
Because of sin – all have sinned and all live in a broken world filled with the sin of man over the ages.  We are people who chose to rebel against God and have continued that pattern continuously ever since.

4.
physical suffering with medical condition and surgery.  It brought me closer to God.  It renewed my spirit and the hope and acceptance that my family showed through it was a witness to others of the peace of God.

5.
God is greater and never fails.  His purpose is to save and bring all back into unity with Him, but He honors choice.  Through any challenge and suffering He is always present and does not forget.

18.2 Revelation – Because of Sin

17.5 Revelation – Not just Counterfeit, Not just Tricked

Not just Counterfeit – Not just Tricked

I used to think that the warnings Jesus gave about false prophets and false messiahs referred to the end times and the role that the dragon and beasts would play.  But in our reading this week it became clear to me that this isn’t the case.

I know there have been false prophets and false messiahs.  I know it is important to know scripture so as not to be confused and to test their prophecies and signs against what actually happens, what is true, what is the word of God.

But the beast, while deceiving people, is not masquerading as Jesus.  He/It does not desire to be like God or like Jesus, he doesn’t want people to think he is those things.  He wants to replace God and Jesus.  He doesn’t want confusion.  He blasphemes God and wants to be worshiped in His place.  The people who bow down to the beast know he is the beast – they don’t think he is Jesus.

I understand where BSF is coming from with their discussion of the false trinity and false messiah and false lamb, but I don’t see that to be the desire of Satan.  I don’t think he wants to be a conterfeit God, where people think they are actually worshiping God, but in fact are worshiping him instead.  I think he wants to replace God.

We see this even in our times.  God is ridiculed and denegrated, while evil is positioned as fun and hip and attractive.  To quote an old Billy Joel song, there is still a belief that ‘I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints, the sinners are much more fun.’

But that is a lie, perpetrated by the father of lies.  Hell is not more fun – it is hell.  An eternal life apart from God is not a party, it is agony and hatred.  Evil does not ever love – it only lies and hates and decieves.

I do not think believers will be tricked by the beast to believe it is the messiah returned.  I think those who read, hear and heed the word of scripture will know the beast is the beast.  The biggest challenge is not head knowledge, it is an adequate faith and hope and confidence to endure 42 months of persecution and agony.  But what Satan and the world can dish out, the elect can transform into honor for God:

Acts 5:40-41 – They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.  The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.

Rev 3:10 – Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.

In the end, Jesus Wins and Satan is left with nothing.

 

My Answers:

12.
a.
Dragon, Beast, Second Beast

b.
To take on the appearance of Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world – this one brings the world to sin

c.
the trinity of God is one of unity (between the elements of God and mankind), for peace, teaching, wisdom, gratitude.  The trinity of evil is to deceive, conquer, contrive war and cause mankind to fall and be denied peace and love

13.
a.
Test by the truth, by prophecy occurring, by consistency with the scriptures and prophets, will never draw you from God, good bears good fruit, evil does not – look at the fruit of the words.  Stay on guard – Revelation tells what will happen, don’t be amazed

b.
By studying the word, wonderful signs are seen only as fulfillment of what God has promised and confirmation of the truth of God and wickedness of those who bring about the signs.  The signs, instead of demonstrating their authority and power, confirm their identity.

17.5 Revelation – Not just Counterfeit, Not just Tricked

17.2 Revelation – But everyone is doing it

But everyone is doing it

How often do we base our decisions and direction on “conventional wisdom”.  We look at trends of what is hot in fashion.  We pay attention to polls for the direction of the populous.  We pay attention to ratings and reviews of what others think about vacation sites, restaurants and shops.  We have never lost the argument we used as kids that everyone else is doing something.  And, we continue to ignore our mom’s argument that if everyone else jumped off a bridge would you do it as well.

The fact is, we live in a fallen, broken, sinful world.  If the majority is doing something, odds are it is wrong or sinful.  As followers of Christ we are promised trials and difficulties, not majorities and power.  If Jesus was hated and unfairly condemned, why should we expect more.

That does not mean we just throw up our hands and say, “oh well.”  It doesn’t mean we give up and go along with what everyone else is doing.  We are foreigners on this earth and our home and kingdom is in another place, in the heavenly realms.

Our direction should come not from what everyone else is doing, but what the bible commands and what Jesus gave.  We follow the spirit of the Holy Ghost, not popular opinion or polls.  We take definitions of truth from what God commands in His Holy Word, not by what is trending in popularity.

When the beast emerges from the waters everyone follows him, everyone worships him.  There is a remnant that does not and for 42 months they suffer and endure.  Right is right, now and then, but it is seldom what is popular.

 

My Answers:

3.
a.
10 horns, 7 heads, 10 crown on its horns and on each a blasphemous name.  resembled a leopard but had feet like  of a bear and a mouth like a lion.  one of the heads had a fatal wound had been healed.  dragon gave power, throne, authority, people worshiped

b.
that people were so accepting and worshiped the beast – this is weird and strange.  Why would this be worshiped (right now people reject worship of anything but themselves)

4.
Jesus spoke with authority (Mar 1:27), authority he received from God (authority to forgive sins Luk 5:24, drive out demons cure disease Luk 9:1, The Father living in me who is doing his work Jhn 14:10).  But Jesus used his authority to teach and help and cure and support, not as a means of power or control over people.  He was worthy of worship, but chose to submit to persecution

5.
a.
By testing it against scripture, by counsel with other believers, through prayer

b.
I have gotten myself back on track of being detoured by sinful thinking and enticed by things such as greed or self-worth by being confronted by the truth of the scriptures and the words of Godly people.

17.2 Revelation – But everyone is doing it

16.2 Revelation – Get Away

Get Away

In our scripture today from Revelation 12, the mother and the child are both protected by God by his provision of a place of sanctuary: the child to heaven and the mother to a place prepared for her in the wilderness.

I think this is important as we live and make choices in a fallen, corrupt world.  There is no doubt that sin surrounds us and seeks to overcome us.  It is roaring in boastfulness in every type of media that we see and hear.  Everyday can be a battlefront.

But, God calls us to his sanctuary.  He calls us to spend time in Him, being refreshed and restored.  Do the evils ones desire and attempt to invade even this part of our day?  Absolutely, but we should turn that battle over to the Lord and simply submit and rest in Him for a time.

But how much do we avoid the perils of the rest of the day?  Do we make decisions that take us away from sin and sinful people or put us in partnership with them?  Do our jobs and our co-workers give us strength or are they ones that we battle?  Do our neighbors and friends bring us closer to God or provide an avenue of temptation.

We can look down on groups, such as the Amish, as being backward by choosing to live separated from society.  But, is there a lesson to be learned in terms of building a community of strength and sanctuary?

2 Timothy 3:1-5 outlines the wickedness of our times and the people in them, but it closes by saying, “Have nothing to do with such people.

My Answers:

3.
(1) a woman – Israel, Eve, Mary, the Church, mankind (2) red dragon – Satan, sin (3) A son – Jesus

4.
a.
Gen: serpent, crafty, twists word, questions, tempts, lies – cursed to crawl, enmity, crush head (strike heel)
John: murderer, not holding to truth, lies, liar, father of lies (evil ones on earth are his children)
1 Pete: your enemy, prowls like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour

b.
it corrupts men.  The power of the Holy Spirit and the redemption of the blood of the lamb are any person’s only hope.  Also, stay away from these sinful people – Have nothing to do with them

5.
a.
Child was snatched up to God and to his throne.  The woman fled into the wilderness to a place prepared for her by God where she might be taken care of for 1260 days

b.
He has given me the bible so I can understand Him.  He has died for my sins so I am forgiven.  He protects me from evil.  He gives me godly people (a church) to be in communion with.

16.2 Revelation – Get Away

15.2 Revelation – Mystery

Mystery

Years ago I was going through a religious education class and had lots of questions.  When asked a question he didn’t know or didn’t want to address, the instructor would hold his hands in the air and say, “it’s a mystery.”  Not only was that frustrating, but it is also inaccurate.  It implies that not only is God bigger than what our mind can comprehend, but also that we should just go along on blind faith.

I don’t believe that is what the word mystery in the case of the Mysteries of God, is supposed to mean.  If God was simply going to be a mystery, why would we have the bible?  Why would God reveal so much of Himself to us through His word, through His creation and through the Holy Spirit?  Why would Jesus have spent so much time teaching in the temple if this was all just supposed to be some incomprehensible puzzle or equation to which we cannot find an answer.

Instead, I think the Mystery of God is like a present.  Parts of our ultimate relationship with the Lord, part of the ultimate spiritual connection that we will someday enjoy, has been wrapped up like a present.  We don’t have it now, but it is a gift that God wants us to have, has purchased for us and is prepared to give to us.  The revelation of the Mystery is a time when we unwrap the gift and enter a time of living in even more perfect joy with our Lord and Creator.

When John is told to not write down the words of the 7 Thunders, it isn’t so that we can’t know them, like God wants to keep something from us.  It is so that, at the appropriate time, we can hear them for ourselves, in all their splendor and majesty and triumph and revel in the joy those harmonic voices will bring.

 

My Answers:

3.
a.
a mighty angel coming down from heaven, robed in a cloud, rainbow above his head, his face was like the sun, legs like fiery pillars, holding a little scroll lay open in his hand, planted right foot on the sea and left foot on the land and gave a loud shout like the roar of a line.  When he shouted, the voices of the 7 thunders spoke – John was going to write down what they said, but told to seal it up and do not write it down.

b.
by him who lives for ever and ever, who created the heavens and all that is in them, the earth and sea and all that is in them

4.
a.
Rule/domination of both land and sea.  Also, reference back to Daniel 10 and angel he saw at river

b.
The voice of God, the 7 spirits of God

c.
The word of the Lord is sweet, but as the word is digested we feel the calling of the work to do in spreading the message to others and the hardship and pain that brings about in this very broken world – John was to continue to prophecy

5.
God’s desire for a personal relationship with each part of His creation.  His unwavering love.  How the hardening of hearts can be a blessing to those people and to others

15.2 Revelation – Mystery

14.3 Revelation – Sin permeates creation

Sin permeates creation

We tend to have a major separation in our minds between animate and inanimate objects that may be overstated.

In Exodus 4, when Cain killed Abel, “The Lord said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.  Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.  When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.””

In Luke 19, as Jesus makes His triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and the pharisees ask him to rebuke the crowds, He says, “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

All of creation has a voice and our sin and the sin of our ancestors has permeated and distorted the resonance of that voice.  What once was a beautiful melody is now noise.

We think of sin as ephemeral, while we know it has long lasting repercussions.  We think of it as intangible at the same time we feel the weight and pain of it.

Sin has corrupted not only mankind, but all of God’s creation.  The sounding of the first four trumpets touch this corruption.  They yank it out and destroy it.

They also serve as a sign for God’s call to the assembly.  He does not need trumpet blasts, they are not for Jesus, they are for us as a sign and a calling to repent.  He does not need an eagle or vulture flying in the mid heavens calling out a warning of Woe, Woe, Woe, that is for us.  He did not need to start with the soil and water and plants, he could have started with the ones causing the corruption instead of the corrupted, but, again, these are signs to repent.

To repent is to turn away from all that we would like to be right, but isn’t, and turn only to the truth.  To acknowledge the truth is to acknowledge our sin, our weakness, our corruption.  It is easier to blame something or someone else.

How is God calling you to repent?  We all have sin and all need to repent.

 

My Answers:

6.
1st: came hail and fire mixed with blood hurled down on earth, 1/3 of earth, 1/3 trees, all grass burned up
2nd: like  mt, all ablaze, thrown into  sea, 1/3 of sea turned to blood, 1/3 living sea crtrs die 1/3 ships dstr
3rd: great star, blazing torch, fell on 1/3 of rivers/springs WORMWOOD 1/3 waters turned bitter, many die
4th: 1/3 sun, moon, stars turn dark.  1/3 of day without light  1/3 of the night

7.
To allow the people of earth to repent and turn back to God

8.
a.
Patient, Just, Righteous, Glorious, All-Powerful, Mighty, Creator, Willing to Forgive, Jealous

b.
An appreciation of God’s power and might and that He holds this back, although all we deserve is wrath.

14.3 Revelation – Sin permeates creation