13.5 Revelation – A Call to Christ

A Call to Christ

One of our questions today was in regard to others that we know who are not part of the multitude singing praises to the Lamb.  Like most, my first thoughts went to friends and family and co-workers who have not accepted Jesus.  But there was something I read this week that helped me think on a bigger scale.

One of the missionaries that we follow and support is dedicated to working with the Muslim community.  He originally was stationed in the middle east, but because of health issues is now ministering to them in California.  In one of his recent newsletters he discussed the following:

ISIS and Radical Islam have done more to bring marginal Muslims to faith in Jesus than most of the works of Christians.

At times we see only the negative in a situation or the actions of evil men.  This is definitely the situation with terrorism and terrorists.  Yet, even this, God uses for His good.  By dividing and marginalizing those who do not believe in His son, He is prompting many to look outside of the rut of the faith they were born in to and look for a God of love and peace.  By fleeing the radicals, they become open to something different and new.

My Answers:

10.
a.
PRAISE, “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”

b.
no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language standing before the throne and before the Lamb. – Universal, multi-lingual

c.
Family, friends and co-workers – continue to witness to them

11.
Parable of the Wedding Banquet, Matt 22 – new robes provided by the bridegroom.

Sins are washed away – clothed in new – sacrifice of the blood poured over the priest for atonement has washed clean

12.
a.
Lamb:
Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world

Shepherd:
Jesus is the good shepherd who knows his sheep and his sheep know him – who protects them and seeks out even last one

LW:
Jesus is the living water given freely and abundantly to anyone who is thirsty

b.
With praise of His attributes

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13.4 Revelation – Flood Gates

Flood Gates

There are dozens if not hundreds of specific examples in the bible when God withheld His righteous wrath.  I know within my own life, the tally of moments that have been wasted on things other than serving Him is monumental.  The number of sins against God are an unbearable weight.  Multiply that by the multitudes of people and time and the amount of wrath that has been withheld is unfathomable.

Yet, God waits.  God is patient and kind.  God loves.  God is the father of the story of the prodigal son.  And, God is just.

When the flood gates of wrath are opened on the Day of the Lord, I don’t think we have any comprehension of how things will be.  I’m grateful for the book of Revelation and for this study so I’m more equipped to recognize the signs and heed the warnings.  I’m even more drawn to praise God.

My Answers:

8.
Number 16, where Aaron ran through the camp with incense and the Lord stopped the plague.  God is willing to turn back His anger and hold His righteous wrath.  He is patient and forgiving, but not unjust.

9.
I give thanks to Him for His patience and for forgiveness, not from what I have done but from what Jesus did.

13.3 Revelation – 144,000 Between the Eyes

144,000 Between the Eyes

In the reading of Revelation (or any other prophecy), we must resist the temptation to read too much in to the scriptures.  We know what we know and don’t know what we don’t know.

It is also true that scripture brings light to scripture.

For example.  We know the angel is sent to mark 144,000.  We know 144,000 is 12x12x1000 and that there were twelve tribes (and 12 apostles).  But what about 1000?  We don’t know, but we do know in Deuteronomy 1:11, after wandering in the desert for 40 years, Moses gives final instructions to the Israelites for their entry into the Promised Land and calls forth this blessing onto them: “May the Lord, the God of your ancestors, increase you a thousand times and bless you as he has promised!

Also, why are the 144,000 marked on their foreheads.  We’ll visit the 144,000 again in Revelation 14, but it is an interesting thought to ponder.  A business person or politician wears their name and affiliations on their chest and lapel (flag lapel pin).  A soldier wears their stripes on their arm.  An athlete wears a jersey with their team name on the front and number on the back. But the seal of God is placed on the forehead of these descendants of the 12 tribes.

But in Deuteronomy 6:6-8, the people of God are instructed, “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.”  This led to the practice of the Tefillin, the literal wearing of scrolls of scripture strapped to the forehead and wrist.  (These verses will be interesting again in Revelation 14 when the 3rd angel in the mid-heavens warns against receiving the mark of the beast on a forehead or hand).

One of the questions this week discusses confidence in being sealed.  One of the items that goes with this in BSF children’s program is the memorization of God’s word.  In our lesson this year, these memory verses are also on our weekly lessons.  They are fine to read and ponder, but wouldn’t it be better if we all memorized these verses?  Wouldn’t it make sense to strengthen our minds to go along with the seal of the Spirit?  Can you think of a better way of knowing the right words of peace, comfort, wisdom and joy in your life and witness to others, than for those words to be the actual words of the bible, imprinted in your memory?

My Answers:

5.
The seal of God – the Holy Spirit – another scripture: the story of Rahab, Joshua 2

6.
Judah, David, Jesus – It is in the leadership position, also that it is the tribe directly following the shekinah glory of God

7.
a.
I have the assurance of the scriptures and the peace of the Holy Spirit

b.
Longing for them to be sealed as well.  A joy in being able to share with them the Good News and the Spirit of God

13.2 Revelation – Stopping the Wind

Stopping the Wind

Who can stop the wind?

Wind is an unseen but very real force.  It is constantly moving with both benefits and harm.  It helps cleanse the earth, move and dissipate smoke and polution.  It drives the rain clouds. It also produces tornadoes, hurricanes, down-gusts and micro-bursts.

Whether you see the stopping of the wind as a form of wrath in itself (by removing the beneficial properties of the wind) or a delay of wrath (by holding back the destructive power), either way, the power and ability to perform such a task in outside of our comprehension.

We can deflect the wind.  We can make shelters from the wind.  But we can’t hold it back.

But God can.  And Revelation 7 says that He will for His purpose.  He will send angels to hold back the wind and then another angel to seal 144,000.

Righteous harm will befall the earth.  It is inevitable and part of God’s plan of purification for the stain of sin on creation.  But God is in control even of the inevitable.  He can hold back even the wind for His purposes.  We see it in the end times and we see it in our daily lives.  All sin is against God and all of us sin.  We pile up debts of sin with no way to repay even the smallest.  God is not unjust.  He does not leave sin unpunished or unreconciled, but He holds back His right or setting the accounts right, so that the ones He love can be drafted to His service.

My Answers:

3.
standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds

4.
a.
destruction, invasion, wrath, power, anger

b.
Patience – protection of the earth, land, sea, trees and people to be sealed

c.
every day I sin and deserve the wrath of God.  All sin is against God.