19.5 Revelation – Tabernacles

Tabernacles

As I read the passage regarding the harvest, I was reminded of the seasons of harvest.

There is the front end of harvest.  On the Jewish calendar this is in the springtime, designated as a holiday starting 3 days after passover, the day of first fruits, the day Jesus arose from the grave, and continuing for 49 days hence to Pentecost, comprising the time known as the Festival of Weeks.  Deuteronomy discussed it as, “Count off seven weeks from the time you begin to put the sickle to the standing grain. Then celebrate the Festival of Weeks to the Lord your God by giving a freewill offering in proportion to the blessings the Lord your God has given you.”  This also is the day the Holy Spirit came to Jesus’ disciples and Peter preached in the streets.

But there is also the back end of the harvest, the time to bring in the final elements of the crops in the fall.  Deuteronomy 16:13 tells of it this way, “Celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles for seven days after you have gathered the produce of your threshing floor and your winepress.  Be joyful at your festival—you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, and the Levites, the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns.  For seven days celebrate the festival to the Lord your God at the place the Lord will choose. For the Lord your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete.

Three times a year all your men must appear before the Lord your God at the place he will choose: at the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the Festival of Weeks and the Festival of Tabernacles. No one should appear before the Lord empty-handed: Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the Lord your God has blessed you.”

This was the time the people of God would move out of their homes and live in tents for a period of time.  It was a time of remembering the season in the wilderness before God brought them into the promised land.  It was a time closing out the season of harvest and moving into winter.

To those of us in the north, we think of winter as dark and cold and dreary.  But, as noted by Hebrew4Christians.com, the winter holidays on the Jewish calendar “remember special times when God acted on behalf of His people so that they would triumph over their enemies and therefore they prophetically picture the final victory in the world to come.”

So, as you read the passages of the harvest and the “trampling of the vintage”, have joy.  This is a final gathering of the threshing floor and the winepress, this is a clear sign that victory is right around the corner.  It is a time to look forward to, moving out of bondage but not yet reaching the promised land.  It is a time when we prepare to stand before our God, just as we connected to Christ in the Festival of unleavened bread and the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, so too, will we meet the Father Creator God.

My Answers:

11.
One like a son of man – harvest the earth and trample the winepress – take sickle and reap because the time to reap has come and the harvest of the earth is ripe – blood flowed as high as the horses’ bridles for 1600 stadia

12.
a.
Weeds – those who have falsely penetrated the ranks of the true believers

b.
to harvest the weeds and wheat – separate the two
To thresh the harvest.  To remove the wine from the fruit

13.
Confidence that evil ends – there is a time of final harvest not continued frustration.  Concern because there is a point in time after which no one further is saved.  Question how God would choose the end for the harvest – no further planning.

19.4 Revelation – An Incrementally Moving Line

An Incrementally Moving Line

One of the challenges of a philosophy of relative truth is the creeping line of right and wrong.  Basically, the idea is that, without an absolute definition of right and wrong that doesn’t change (i.e., based on God’s laws), then the definition is what ever seems right or wrong to us at the time.  Normally this translates into something that is close to where we currently stand is in the circle of “right”, things farther outside of our current position are “wrong”.

Let me put that another way as example.  An illustration of relative truth would be someone who has taken a position in an empty movie theater in the 3rd row, center seat.  Moving to the 4th or 5th row, is not a significant change in position, thus within the “right circle”, but moving to row 50 is a big change and would be “wrong.”  But once you’ve moved to the 5th row, now moving to the 6th or 7th doesn’t seem like that far of a stretch, etc., etc.

I was reading a paper* on the German occupation of France between 1940 and 1944 and there are very similar shifts that occurred.  For example, the paper states that following the invasion of France, within days of the armistice, the majority of farmers and factory workers returned to their posts in France.  But the German occupation’s key principle was that France should help (be of service to) Germany.  That meant that Germany needed to control production and supply to ensure that the desired goods were produced and sent back the Reich.  To enable this, rationing was put in place.  To implement rationing, people had to register with their local butcher and baker.  They were categorized based on need (e.g., age, work they performed, special conditions such as pregnancy).  This didn’t seem like such a major change.  It was their local shop.  It wasn’t a significant loss of power or control.  It wasn’t something worth going to arms over.  But it grew.  Rationing of one type led to more.  It meant control over everything someone could buy or sell.  It meant that without a ration card you could not buy or sell on the legitimate market.  It meant that the work you normally did of assembling cars was now changing to assembling tanks and weapons, ones that would be used against others that had been your friends and allies.  It meant times of limited supply where food security was non-existent (average caloric intake dropped by more than half).  It meant reporting others who cheated the system in exchange for more ration cards, which meant neighbors spying and reporting on neighbors.  It meant a gradual erosion of the fabric of life.  Not in one big step, but row by row by row over time.

This helped me see how subversive and subtle the mark of the beast could creep into the lives of people with relative truth.  It’s just a mark, a stamp, a symbol.  It doesn’t change who I am.  It’s not that big of a change.  It’s not that big of a thing.  Everyone else has it.  It’s not worth fighting over, starving over, dying over.

But it is.  It is crossing the line.  It is to kneel at the feet of the one who vehemently opposes God.  It means to betray and torment those who stand for God and it means denying God.  Not all at once.  Not a big leap, just moving row to row to row.

The only way to avoid this trap is to first expose the myth of relative truth.  If what is right and wrong depends on God’s standing not my standing, then it doesn’t change or move.  It means standing with the power of the Holy Spirit, relying on the word of God and knowing absolute right and wrong, not the sliding definition of the day.

But that also means stopping the subtle slide that has all ready occurred and repent (return) to God.  Move back to square one, row 1, next to God.  Stop living life based on doing what everyone else is doing.  But that carries a cost.  It means you will go against the direction of the masses.  It means you will be opposed and ridiculed by the world as old-fashioned, archaic, out of touch, prejudiced, wrong, a fool.

Former Supreme Court Judge Antonin Scalia once said, “God assumed from the beginning that the wise of the world would view Christians as fools…and he has not been disappointed.… If I have brought any message today, it is this: Have the courage to have your wisdom regarded as stupidity. Be fools for Christ. And have the courage to suffer the contempt of the sophisticated world.” (Speech at Living the Catholic Faith conference, 2012.)

*Smith, Meredith, “The Civilian Experience in German Occupied France, 1940-1944” (2010), History Honors Papers. Paper 6.
http://digitalcommons.conncoll.edu/histhp/6

My Answers:

9.
a.
Designates following the beast, if not inwardly then in outward appearance.  Gives ability to partake in commerce (eat, clothing, living).   For eternity it means rejecting God, facing full wrath, Name not written in the book of life, eternal burning in sulfur

b.
If not saved and name written in the Lamb’s book of life they will falter (who could stand up under their own power in this situation?)  and those who do not persevere choose the beast instead of God and they will receive eternal file and no rest

10.
During this time of tribulation those who die “in the Lord” are specifically blessed by God for they are like martyrs, refusing to deny Christ, through their bodies – they have special rewards in heaven

19.3 Revelation – Do this in remembrance of me

Do this in remembrance of me

At the last supper, Jesus took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” (Matthew 26:27-29)

Later that night, while praying in the garden “Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”” (Matthew 26:39)

We have been given the choice of cups to drink.  We can drink from the cup of forgiveness or the cup of sinfulness.  We can drink of the cup that is Christ’s righteousness or we can drink of the cup of self-righteousness.

If we choose to accept the gift of Jesus and drink from His cup – He has emptied it of the wrath that we deserve by filling it with His own blood.

If we choose to not accept the gift, then we are choosing to be judged on our own perfection, not His, to face God’s wrath on our own, without His covering.

As God has held back His wrath, mankind has gotten drunk drinking from their own cup of self-righteousness.  We have made idol after idol after idol to replace God – all man-made and all imperfect.  We idolize ourselves.  We idolize human power.  We idolize wealth.  We idolize a really good bite of chocolate.  We break our covenant to be His people and He our God.

But at the end of the day, after an indulgence of adultry against God, the check comes – the check of wrath and the only currency of payment is blood.

 

My Answers:

6.
a.
1st: Fear God give him glory, b/c hour of his judgment come. Worship him made hvn, earth, sea, h2o
2nd: Fallen(x2) Babylon the great which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adltrys
3rd: If anyone worships beast and takes mark => drink  full strength cup of wrath (sulfer, smoke, etrnal)

b.
To those who live on the earth – Every Tribe, Language, People, Nation

7.
Repentance and Salvation – to open eyes and turn from dark to light – Christ died, buried, risen – coming again

8.
Take authority, go, make disciples, baptize and teach, be with Jesus – For Jesus sake, let light shine out of darkness, let heart shine – Live like priests of royal priesthood, declare praises to God, out of darkness into his Wonderful Light

19.2 Revelation – Followers of the Lamb

Let’s face it, following is hard.

Each week with our kids we will have some time when we need to move from one area to another.  It might be a water fountain break.  It might be moving to a different area for a discovery activity.  When we do, we’ll designate a line leader – an honorary position for one of the kids.  We’ll position an adult leader toward the front of the line and another at the caboose side of the line, and… off we go.

But, it never fails.  At least one child breaks ranks.  They run ahead.  They take a different path around a table.  They lag behind still pulling together their materials.  They get distracted or want to make a detour along the way, like waving to a friend or taking a bathroom break.

We’re the same way when it comes to following the Lamb.  How often have you been guilty of praying for patience and expecting it to be answered immediately?  Or asking for God’s timing, with the assumption that it must occur within, at a maximum, the next week?  And when we face trials and tribulations they always last too long.

Part of the challenge is that when we turn things over to Jesus, we don’t fully turn them over to Him.  Those things still fill the windshield of our life and it is hard for us to see around them.

But as followers of the Lamb we are called to turn our focus to Jesus and eternity instead.  Paul said it this way in his second letter to the Church of Corinth: So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

If you are having trouble seeing past the challenges of life, a good place to start is either with your eyes closed in prayer or with them focused on the words of the bible.

 

My Answers:

3.
a.
Lamb standing on Mt Zion w/ 144K/ a sound from heaven like roar of rushing waters & like a loud peal of thunder, harps, singing

b.
Had Lamb’s name and Father’s name written on their foreheads, sang a new song before the throne and before the 4 living creatures and the elders.  No one else could learn the song.  144K had been redeemed from the earth.  They had not defiled themselves with women (remained virgins), They follow the Lamb wherever he goes, purchased from mankind and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb.  No lie was found in their mouths.  They are blameless

4.
They were men (not angels), marked with the seal of the H/S, purchased through the saving blood of Jesus

5.
a.
H/S in, bought, honor God with bods; walk in the way of love, avoid sex immor, not like idolaters; tender and compassionate w/ same mindset as Christ, not looking out for own interest – without grumbling; if confess sins forgiven – if deny sin, then lie and call Christ a liar as well.

b.
1. Body: to turn it over fully to His service not personal gratification  2. Time: not my own vs. the amount of wasted time 3. Thoughts: distracted even in deep prayer