29.5 Revelation – The Main Event

Revelation 22:17 starts with “The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!””

As I read this I thought about “come to what?”, “come to where?”.  Aren’t we already in heaven?  Hasn’t judgment day come and gone and this is the after-life?

A few weeks back I was at a, for lack of a better term, let’s call it a gala.  When we arrived at the venue there was interesting and enticing food and drink.  All the people in attendance were dressed in fine dress, some in very colorful native dress from their countries of origin.  There was music and entertainment.  The servers were welcoming and friendly.  Conversations were wonderful and engaging as friends embraced and new introductions and friendships were begun.  All attending had been invited and had made the choice to attend.  It was a wonderful event.

Then the doors to the main dining room were opened and we were called to come in to a banquet that had been specially prepared.  There was no rush or pushing or jockeying for position because each of us had a reserved seat with our name carefully placed.  Everyone was courteous and welcoming to each other, all filled with the joy of meeting with and being greeted by the host of honor, the master of the ceremonies.

When I read the invitation in Revelation 22 to come, and each of the times Jesus expresses that He is coming, I think of how these earthly galas will pale in comparison to the banquet of the spirit, the bride and the Lamb. I also realize that however wonderful I see the part of heaven that is described in the bible, there is even more and greater joy when the banquet doors are opened and we are called inside to meet God face-to-face.

Each of us has received an invitation.  Each of us has a ticket, paid in full by the sacrifice of Jesus and His defeat of sin and death.  But, each of us must choose to accept the invitation, dress in the robes provided by the host and show up.

Who do you still need to tell to come?  If you absolutely know for certain that the prophecy of Revelation is 100% trustworthy and true, what do you need to change in your life?  Your life is a witness to others (whether you intend it to be or not).  Your words are a witness.  Your heart drives your words.  If you have taken to heart this prophecy, has that invoked change in your heart, word, actions, life, interactions, love, witness?

My Answers:

11.
This is the only place for choice.  This is where man was allowed to choose.  The choice we make here is eternal.  I desire for as many as Christ has chosen me to reach to come.  Let no person stumble because of me!

12.
There is urgency, but also assuredness and completion.  It isn’t just a command, but also an invitation.  And all who accept the invitation also are empowered to call out for more.

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29.4 Revelation – Ands and Buts

As anyone who teaches or writes about the bible, I am prayerful and vigilant of the warnings in Revelation 22:18-19 to not add to or take from the word of God.  There is risk in any illustration or any words not directly quoted from scripture that they alter meaning, even if done inadvertently.

The things I watch for are the ands and the buts.

For example, the bible says (quote any scripture passage), but…  or John wrote (reference/quote), and I…

Whether in writing or in speech we need to train ourselves both to watch for and to avoid using these terms.  Clearly there are numerous examples where we are called upon to teach the bible.  Our study in BSF includes lectures and notes which provide illustrations and principles and applications.  We have study bibles which include additional resources.  All of these are good and add value to our study.  The key is that it is our study, yours and mine, and that our goal is not to learn what someone else thinks or says but what the word of God actually says and how God speaks to me and you directly to build a stronger relationship with each of us personally.

Hopefully, when you visit here or read other comments (after you’ve completed your own questions, of course), it isn’t to shape your beliefs or interpretations or even your answers around what I think or what my life experiences have been, but because you are so moved by the word of God that you want to continue to swim in the verses with another human being that also loves His word.  One of the things I love about God’s word is that the deeper you go, the more beautiful it is and the more we are moved to share it with others.

Amen?

My Answers:

9.
a.
Spirit says come, the bride says come.  I too say come.  I am thirsty for the joy of salvation.  I am thirsty for the power of holiness.  I am thirsty to shed off the pain and sadness and horrors of wrongness of this world and live in perfect peace.

b.
My treasures are not of this world.  I seek not for more for the sake of more, but for relationships and connections, for helping and leading others, young and old.  I look to God’s direction and calling.

10.
Because it is not ours.  We can be confident in what it says, but we only confuse and confound and create division when we try to interpret it to fit events, rather than allowing the events to unfold as Christ says they will

29.3 Revelation – The College of the Lamb

Revelation 22:13 sent me to the Greek.  I was curious, are these words, Alpha and Omega, the First and Last, the Beginning and End, just three different interpretations of the same scriptural word or do they actually hold different meaning.

I love the richness that is found in doing this and encourage you to do the same when you get curious about a passage of scripture.  I use an online reference bible, www.blueletterbible.com, for this.  By selecting any passage you can go to the “interlinear” which shows the original Hebrew or Greek.  These words then are linked to Strongs so you can see the definition of the word as well as other places in the bible where the same word is used and the context of those uses.  Since we are at the end of our study of Revelation this week, I’ll digress and give an example of how valuable this can be.  Take Genesis 2:18, where Eve is brought forth to be Adam’s “helper”.  The word used here is “‘ezer”.  However, before we fall into a trap of thinking this means assistant, support-staff, underling, or however else you think of “helper”, we see that every other time the word appears in scripture it applies to God.  That God is our “‘ezer”.  Clearly God helps us and assists us, but we don’t mistakenly think that makes us above God in those roles and relationships. Now, back to Revelation 22:13.

The three phrases do have different meanings or at least a different reference point.  Alpha and Omega are letters, written and spoken words and language.  First and Last are numerical, mathematical, all that can be counted and quantified.  Beginning and End reflects physical matter, being, states of substance and existence, life.

When we step back and look at those, we see that Jesus is the master over all that is known to mankind.  Every subject of higher learning is covered within these three bookends.  All of literature, math, science, philosophy, all of the -logies, Jesus is at the beginning and the end.

And, as we would give advice to anyone going off to college or studying in school, we are called to pay attention to our great professor and learn from Jesus, not from the false-teachers, deceivers and those who seek to lure us into lies.  As Peter wrote in 1 Peter 5:8a, “Be alert and of sober mind.”

 

My Answers:

6.
Alpha and Omega, First and Last, Beginning and the end

7.
a.
All are sinners.  But those with robes washed, have been purified by the blood of Christ’s sacrifice.  The others chose not to and were judged and have been found to be impure, doing what is shameful and deceitful and they will never enter the holy city, drink of the water of life or eat from the tree of life and live forever.  Instead, their path leads to death, eternal death

b.
Washed – I have accepted the gift and received (and continue to receive as I repent of my sins), the right and honor to be called a brother to Christ Jesus

8.
I ask Him to shine a light to my path.  To help me stay alert.  To help me stay focused and walking with Him daily, not distracted by the world.  Also to be bold in telling the gospel.

29.2 Revelation – To Heart

Our questions today focused on Revelation and the Bible as a whole being “trustworthy and true”.  I imagine that many will focus their answers around the bible being true with the idea that if it is true then, obviously, by default, it is also trustworthy.

However, most of the attacks I see on the bible today and on the basic beliefs of Christianity, are not attacks on the truthfulness of the bible, but on its applicability.  This is particularly true of the attacks coming from those inside the church who seek to put their own ideas of acceptability above what is taught by the bible, some not even recognizing or accepting that this is what they are doing.

The argument made goes something like this, it is not that the bible is untrue, but that parts of it applied then and there but don’t apply here and now.  If we simply go by what the bible says then, we would still be worshiping on Saturdays, eating only what was kosher, offering animal sacrifices, and administering capital punishment for everything from working on the Sabbath to rebelliousness on the part of children.*

If we only look at scripture as a rule book, then this argument seems to provide a strong backing to a modern or progressive rewrite of the word of God.  And, as we continue to progress as a modern society, we would continue the rewrite or redefinition of what is currently applicable and what is old fashioned.  That’s progress, right?

But the bible is not a self-help book or a rule book, it isn’t a user manual or legal compendium.  The bible is a love story.  It is a story of how every sin is a sin against God and yet, God still loves us.  It is a story of the measures that the Creator God will go to redeem His people that sold themselves into the bondage of sin.  It is a book of grace and mercy, not to change the definitions of sin to ignore what is and isn’t sinful, but to recognize the sacrifice that was made for us and try to grow in holiness.  Yes, there are rules and self-help elements, there are how-tos and do’s and do not’s, but that is why it is critical to know not simply a narrow passage of scripture, but to know and take to heart the entire bible.  It is “whole bible” learning and application.

The blessing of Revelation is not simply for those who read and hear the prophecy, but to those who take it to heart.  Taking something to heart means a heart transformation, not a message transformation.  A hardened heart seeks to redefine God’s word to fit in it.  A transformed heart is one that seeks to be reshaped into the holy image of our Lord’s heart.

John was rebuked for falling at the feet of the angel.  Today, many fall at the feet of pastors and leaders who absolve them of sin by redefining what is sinful, by reshaping the image of God to meet man’s desire, rather than reshape men to God’s desire.  Sadly, these souls do not receive the same rebuke from these leaders that John received from the angel.

*quote from blog posting of prominent pastor, left anonymous here to not be misconstrued in intent.

 

My Answers:

3.
a.
Because Jesus is Faithful and True.  There is precedent – everything in the bible is true.  There is authority, comes from the creator.  There is substance, the power of the Holy Spirit.

b.
Start with the hypothesis: what if it is true?  Then what does that mean for you?   It is not a history book or an owners manual.  It isn’t a book of rules and regulations.  It is a living love story.  Heb 4:12, For the word of God is alive and active…

4.
Rev 1:3, read aloud, hear, take to heart.
Blessed by revelation of the end of this story.  Blessed by drawing closer to who God really is and not whom He is “rumored to be” by mankind.  Blessed by seeing the power and awesomeness of our Lord.  Blessed by seeing the method of worship in heaven

5.
a.
Worship God!  John had bowed down to worship at the feet of the angel, he is a fellow servant

b.
When I seek fulfillment in places other than God.  when I have not been diligent in staying alert or walking daily with Him.  When I have been overwhelmed (positive or negative) and I’m awestruck, I forget how much more full of awe God is than even that.