15.5 Revelation – Freedom

Freedom

We are called to lay our sins, our worries, our pain, our fears at the feet of our Lord and Savior.  When we turn things over to Jesus, we are freed from the burden.  But, that does not make them magically disappear.  Jesus takes these things from us and carries them in our stead.  He takes on each and every sin that is confessed.  He takes on the emotions we turn over to Him.

Those who love Jesus, such as the elders in heaven, see the baggage He carries for those He loves and long for Him to be freed of it forever.  The way this will happen is when creation has been set right again, when it is restored to the state of original creation with sin destroyed, evil destroyed, wickedness destroyed and its remnant purged from all creation.

Like every other restoration project, it begins with demolition.  The old, rotten and decayed is ripped away and destroyed.  This is what we see in the cleansing wrath of the judgements of God played out upon creation by His angels.  When the rot is ripped away, Christ will return to rule over a new heaven and new earth, where there is no pain, no sin, no tears.  Where the hardships and hurt that Jesus has carried for us have been destroyed forever.

 

My Answers:

11.
24 elders seated on thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying, Thanks to God, He is powerful, Wrath has come, the time to judge the dead and reward the servants, prophets and all who revere God’s name (both great and small), also time for destroying the earth

12.
All will be judged.  Rewards to servants, prophets, people who revere the name of God (great and small)

13.
Watchful.  I’m reading, hearing and heeding as commanded.

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15.4 Revelation – Tribe, Language, People, Nation

Tribe, Language, People, Nation

Revelation 5:9 – And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation

Revelation 7:9 – After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.

Revelation 11:9 – For three and a half days some from every people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial.

I found it interesting how thoroughly God has stirred the pot of humanity.  Today when we think about people from a certain part of the world or who speak a certain language, we make assumptions about their religion.  But by the end times, none of this will make a difference.  Jesus, the Lamb of God, has paid the price of sin for all mankind, regardless of race, language, nationality, or family and tribe.

However, as amazing as that is, it is even more troubling that there will be people from every tribe, language, people and nation who not only reject Jesus, but do so to the degree that they dance in the streets and exchange gifts celebrating the death of God’s own witnesses.  How sad that no group, however big or small, is “all in”.  Every group has members who will be part of these who reject the Lord.

The challenge in this is to think about the prejudices we hold.  Are we more or less likely to witness to one tribe or nationality than another?  Do we make an assumption that we should or should not make talk about Jesus to someone who speaks a certain language?

We will truly all be brothers and sisters in unity with our Lord.

 

My Answers

9.
a.
attack, overpower and kill them.  God preserved them in death for 3 1/2 days and then brought them back to life and raised them up, in the body, to heaven in a cloud

b.
Earthquake and 1/10th of the city collapsed.  7000 people killed in the earthquake

10.
a.
John 11: Jesus is the resurrection. Whoever believes will live even though they die and then never die
John 14: Jesus has prepared a place for His believers in God’s house, He will come back to take us there
1 Cor: Christ is the first fruits over death, it will be destroyed as all else is under Jesus
Phil: We are citizens of heaven, waiting to be transformed into His glorious body
1 Thes: dead raised first, after those still alive will be caught up with them in the clouds
1 John: We don’t know our transformed bodies yet but will when we see Jesus again, like Him

b.
Kids

15.3 Revelation – Real Witness

Real Witness

It is easy to get confused, particularly in the book of Revelation, about what is real and what is symbolic, what is a metaphor and what is simply struggling to find the proper words.  Over and over again John is faced with the challenge of putting in to words things that are not of this world.  Is something being like a horse mean it is a horse but different or that by horse he means an army where the horse is a representation of an army?  By like a locust or like a scorpion, are these actual analogies and descriptions, or symbolic representations of the devastation?

But then we get to Chapter 11 of Revelation and there are no doubts.  John is given a measure and told to measure the temple of God, the altar and the worshipers.  We are not given the dimensions, so you might wonder why it is important that he conduct the measurements but then doesn’t write them down.  I think this is because it is not the physical dimensions that matter but the absolutely assured fact that they have physical dimensions that is the point.  You don’t measure a symbolic representation.  Heaven is not symbolic.  The altar of God is not a metaphor.  This is real and measurable, tangible, with dimensions, shape, size.  The worshipers are actual worshipers.  It is real.

So, knowing that it is real, what are we called to do?  Simple, witness.  Notice that word is not convince.  It is not sell.  It is not market or push or argue or persuade.  It is witness.  When you are called to witness, you are called to do one simple thing: tell the truth exactly as you know it.  You don’t have to interpret it.  You don’t have to be able to see every angle or understand every metaphysical element.  You simply need to tell what you know to be true.

God calls us to witness in what we say, in what we do, in what we elect not to say and in what we elect not to do.  He calls us to witness by living changed lives that profess that what we believe and know to be true is something of such consequence that we don’t simply go on, but that we respond to it.

Knowing that you are a spiritual being, adopted as a brother or sister of Jesus Christ, living in an earthly body is a big deal.  It changes everything.  It changes your citizenship.  It changes your loyalties.  It changes your life.

Does the life you live witness to this fact?

My Answers:

6.
a.
The temple of God and the altar with its worshipers, exclude the outer court, because it has been given to the gentiles. they will trample the holy city for 3 1/2 years

b.
42 months, 3.5 years

7.
They are His witnesses.  The stand before the Lord.  If anyone tries to harm them fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies, they have power to shut up the heavens so that it will not rain, power to turn the waters into blood and strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want.

8.
They are not called to sell or force the gospel.  They simply witness.  The word does the rest.  Witnessing is simply telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  Telling it in words and actions, by what I do and what I resolve not to do.  Things that bring honor and glory to God.

It is convicting because, much of the time, my witness is a witness of my weakness and failings, not of God’s strength and power and perfection.

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