26.5 Revelation – Completely Saved without Separation

I loved the question in our study today of the three completions of God.  We have the completion of creation in Genesis.  We have the completion of the payment of redemption by Jesus on the cross and we have the completion of the death of the old creation and the origin of the new creation, the new heaven and the new earth.

Everything from the first creation is dead and gone, passed away.  The entire earth and all physical things, the spiritual world, even death and Hades have been cast into the lake of fire, something that was part of the first creation.

But God makes a new heaven, a new earth and a new holy city.  The only thing, other than God Himself, that comes into the new creation are the saved, those whom Jesus bought out of the old world and its death and gave a home in the new creation. If not for the completion of the payment of redemption on the cross, we, too would be part of what passed away.

I also love the things that John emphasizes in Revelation and the things he just says in passing.  Time and again he discusses facts around Satan’s demise and Jesus’ victory.  For weeks of our study we often had questions that sounded very similar to the questions from the previous week or a couple of weeks ago, because he loops back into the story, telling things in more depth or from a different angle or perspective.

But, then, in passing, in a single sentence, he just happens to mention that the new earth won’t have a sea.

No sea?  The sea is a real thing, we can see it, feel it, touch it, taste it smell it, etc.  But it is also a metaphor, a symbol, a stand-in for the message of separation from God.  The lands are separated by the sea, not the other way around.  The sea is unforgiving, it rages, it produces storms and waves, it swallows lives.  All water ultimately flows to the sea and the sea is filled with death. The waters of the sea are inhospitable.  More men have walked on the moon than have been to the bottom of the sea.  The beast rises out of the sea.  While evolutionists want to claim the sea as the origin of life, we know there is one greater than the sea, who is the true author of creation.

Jesus walked on the water of the sea.  Jesus spoke a word and the sea was calmed.  The sea obeys God.  God commanded the sea to rise up in the flood of Noah.  God prevented Jonah’s death in the sea and delivered him to dry land.  Jesus called many of his apostles out of jobs of making a living from being in the sea to being alive in Him.  One of the first things He did with his apostles after his resurrection was to prepare a meal for them on the shores of the sea and called them out of it to fellowship with Him.  In Daniel and Revelation we read of the angel of God who stands over both land and sea.

While there won’t be a physical sea in the new creation, there also will not be a symbolic sea either.  There will be no more separation from God.  The water we drink will all be of the spirit and our thirst will be quenched.

 

My Answers:

10.
No sea, no tears, no death, no mourning , no crying, no pain, no sin – everything is being made new – comforted and encouraged because of my confidence that I and my loved ones will be present there.

11.
Gen: completed work of creation – a day of rest as a model for His creation and as a sign of completeness
John: Jesus’ death on the cross, it is finished, the payment for sin (a perfect life sacrificed) was done
Rev: A/Z Beginning and End, to the thirsty I give spring of water of life – The completeness of judgement and the time for the new creation, replacing the other corrupted by sin, with eternal life for all believers without cost.
John 7:37-38

12.
a.
He grants people their desire – they desire to be eternally separated from Him and all that He gives and stands for

b.
the decision is one of eternal consequence

Advertisements

26.4 Revelation – Permeated with sin but Present in Peace

In Genesis 1, again and again we read that God’s creation was good.  But, then sin entered and, like a virus, it spread into every part of creation.  Every part of creation.  It spread into man’s DNA, our very existence, our nature.  But it also spread into the soil (blood), into the plants (weeds), into the rocks and streams and waters and air.  It spread into space, into the universe.  It spread into everything animate and inanimate.  It spread into the spiritual realm with the serpent and demons and fallen angels.  It is so invasive and so corrosive that the ultimate proper response is not to control or manage it, but simply to remove it.

In Revelation 21, we read that is what God does.  Every part of creation dies.  The living and the inanimate.  The mortal and the spiritual.  The earth and the cosmos.  All of it simply goes away and exists no more.  And, God starts a-new.

A new heaven and a new earth.  A new existence that in which God is fully present, where there is no more hurt or pain or sadness or separation.

We get fleeting glimpses of this in our present day.  The joy and innocence in a child’s eyes.  The shiver of the spirit when we feel God move in our life.  The peace that comes in the midst of prayer in a dire situation.  While we long for these flickers to light into raging fires, they are too quickly gone, smothered in the sin of the world.

But these glimpses are not mirages, they are real.  They are embers of the fire that burns in our God’s heart that He wants to place in ours for eternity.  It is the warmth and peace and joy that surpasses all understanding and keeps our hearts and minds on the truth, on the Word, on Jesus Christ.

The challenge for us, as believers, is not in finding the words to say to share the good news of Jesus Christ.  It is not in finding the spirit and conviction to talk to others.  It is not in our prayer lives.  The challenge is in our witness for Christ.  All of those others things impact it, but our loudest witness is in living a life noticeably different than the rest of the world.  A life that, despite the trials and tribulations, the pain and persecution, still shines with joy and assurance and peace.  Too often the witness that people see is one of hypocrisy of lip-service and compartmentalization of our faith to an hour on Sunday morning.  We are sinners and do not have the ability to shine this living witness on our own, but through prayer, reading the word and the power of the Holy Spirit, the reflection of God’s holiness can shine through us.

My Answers:

7.
Our current existence – because it has been corrupted by sin –  all of creation, not redeemed directly by the saving power of Jesus Christ, must suffer death and destruction

8.
During the time in the garden God walked and talked with man daily.  In isolated instances after He did the same (Enoch, Moses).  He spoke to and through the prophets.  He revealed himself in visions and direct signs and through angels (Lot, Daniel).  He became man and dwelt among us (Jesus).  He is coming again to reign for 1000 years after which time all creation will be purged and replaced with a new heaven and a new earth and only those who have committed their lives to Him will live for eternity in peace.

9.
a.
God’s answered prayer – Also that God has revealed Himself through circumstances that simply cannot be described in any other way than divine intervention.

b.
Because of the peace of the presence of the Holy Spirit – it is a feeling, but also a comfort and consolation and contentment that can be described in no other way than “from God”

26.3 Revelation – Their Day in Court

I think the precious beauty of God’s justice and fairness is most beautifully portrayed in the court scene of Revelation 20.  Every single person, from every time, the living and the dead, the great and the small, the one with years and years of life and the one with days, they all get their day in court.

Our courts in the US, which are normally deemed as some of the most fair and unbiased in the world, daily refuse to hear cases.  Their dockets are already full.  There is no absolute right to have a case heard.

In the court of public opinion people are judged constantly not as individuals but by association, prejudice, race, ethnicity, age, height, beauty, neighborhood, dress, etc., etc., etc.  We lump people together and our biases and bigotry come out.

But, God promises to hear everyone.  All the books are open.  Each individual has the opportunity to take their stand and allow their facts and evidence to speak for them.

Unfortunately for them, the burden of proof is not to be better than most others.  It isn’t even to get an “A” grade of 90%.  The requirement for acquital from sin is perfection.  For any sin, is sin and sin is not perfect.

The proper response in the court of the final judgment is not in taking a stand, but in bowing on our knees.  To fall on the mercy of the court and seek the promised assurance that Jesus gave that His perfection paid our price for sin and we are absolved of standing on our own merits.

There are many things that are a mystery, but the fact that, as Paul said, “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” is not a mystery.  No human, in their right mind, claims to be perfect (except Jesus Christ).  Yet many choose to stand on their own instead of bow to Jesus.

But when the heavens and the earth have shrunk away and all your possessions, marks, buildings, wealth are gone and all of your deeds are presented together, what is there to stand on?  As we know, there is only one – Jesus Christ!  And because He, the rider on the white horse, is called Faithful and True (Rev 19:11), we can stand on His promises, on His Word and on the power of His Blood with complete assurance and confidence.  Complete!  Not kinda confidence, not 90% assured, but 100% through Him.

 

My Answers: (day 2 and 3 combined, so same answers)

3.
Jesus.  He was given the throne by the Father

4.
The earth and the heavens fled from His presence, there was no place for them – Jesus (bigger than heaven and earth)

5.
a.
Books of judgment.  Books of record of choices and decisions and deeds

b.
Believers, those who are righteous because of Christ, those who labor for His kingdom to spread the gospel, those who are His bride

c.
eternal damnation – eternity spent in torment of burning fire in the lake of fire – those who deny Jesus and choose their own path or the path of false gods and idols

d.
Yes and yes, by being bold and by living to not be hypocritical of my faith.  I stumble and fall, but I should live as a foreigner in this land and not conform to the wickedness of this world.

6.
That God/Jesus is bigger than the heavens and the earth and that He will come as judge and all will be judged

26.2 Revelation – Bigger than the heavens and earth

We recognize that we live in a reality of 4 dimensions: height, width, depth and time.  We also recognize, in faith, that there are things that are outside of those dimensions.  For example, God is not bound by the dimensions, neither are angels or demons, at least not in the same way we are.  But even of humans, we believe a person continues to exist after death and before resurrection within some state not bound by the physical world.

But, even with all that, it is incredibly difficult to imagine the magnitude of God on the Great White Throne of Judgment where the entirety of earth and the heavens shrinks away.  The word that is used here, pheugo, in other uses in the bible means to flee, to seek safety by flight, to run away, to escape out of danger.

Matt 2:13, the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream.  “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape (pheugo) to Egypt.”

Matt 8:34 (on the demons being cast into swine) Those tending the pigs ran off (pheugo), went into town and reported all this, including what had happened to the demon-possessed man.

Matt 10:33 (Jesus’ instructions to disciples) When you are persecuted in one place, flee (pheugo) to another.

Imagine the magnitude and power of the throne of Jesus that on His arrival into this physical dimension the entirety of creation physically flees away.  I would say, “it heads for the hills”, but the hills will be fleeing away as well.

It is nearly impossible for us to imagine, yet, it is simply the presence of our God and savior.  And everything that is corrupted by sin, the entirety of creation, in recognition of its sinful nature pulls away from the glory of God.

My Answers:

3.
Jesus.  He was given the throne by the Father

4.
The earth and the heavens fled from His presence, there was no place for them – Jesus (bigger than heaven and earth)

5.
a.
Books of judgment.  Books of record of choices and decisions and deeds

b.
Believers, those who are righteous because of Christ, those who labor for His kingdom to spread the gospel, those who are His bride

c.
eternal damnation – eternity spent in torment of burning fire in the lake of fire – those who deny Jesus and choose their own path or the path of false gods and idols

d.
Yes and yes, by being bold and by living to not be hypocritical of my faith.  I stumble and fall, but I should live as a foreigner in this land and not conform to the wickedness of this world.

6.
That God/Jesus is bigger than the heavens and the earth and that He will come as judge and all will be judged