23.4 Revelation – Rejoice or Lament?

We see a stark contrast in the attitudes of men in this section of Revelation 18.  The kings, the merchants and the providers of transportation of goods mourn and lament the fall of Babylon.  They received their riches from the wickedness and excesses of this city and people.  They placed their futures, their lives and their riches in relationships with this wicked place.  When it falls, they feel loss.  They feel loss and shock, that something they were so thoroughly invested in could fall completely in one hour.

Invested is the key word.  For believers with investments in the kingdom of Heaven, of eternity with the Lord, the actions of Babylon have been that of terrorist.  The throw stones to break windows, they harass and threaten, kidnap and even kill.  Even though Babylon is powerless in contrast to the might of the Kingdom of God, they stand in ugly opposition to what is good and right and pure and sacred.  Those with investments in the Kingdom, rejoice when this is put to an end.  They rejoice the wickedness is stopped and God’s Kingdom will cover the earth.  It is something we have prayed for since little children:  Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven.

The dawn of the answer to the fulfillment of that prayer is a time for rejoicing by God’s people.  Do not lament.  Do not fear.  Do not carry guilt for your actions and connections with the Babylons of the Earth.  Instead, repent (forgive us our sins), and Rejoice.  For thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory, Forever.

My Answers:

8.
a.
Kings, Merchants, sea captains – each benefited directly from her sinful ways.  They were parties to the excesses.  Merchants had grown accustomed to her markets.  Transporters had carried (at a profit) her excesses to her.

b.
True treasure is found in heaven, not on earth.  We are only temporary renters here.  Why spend our time, energy, resources on temporary housing when we can send it ahead to our eternal home.  The things of this earth – all things of this earth – are temporary and subject to loss and destruction.

9.
God has judged her and the judgment she imposed on you.  It is a leveling of the scales of justice – God setting things right.  It also means an end to the continued wickedness of Babylon poured out on all who follow God

10.
Crimes against children of all forms and in all places.  Abuse, neglect, malnutrition, barriers to education, false-teachers and ungodly educators.  All evil and injustice is bad, but those committed against children are blatant acts against God because they are aimed at the innocent, those with no ability to protect themselves or respond.

03.2 Revelation – Blessed

Blessed

We sometimes get a bit too casual with blessings.  Bless you, bless you, oh, you sneezed, bless you, too.  But blessings from God are big deals.

I know there are more authoritative definitions, but I think of a blessing as receiving undue and unearned favor.  Blessings can be conditional, and have requirements or qualifications in place to receive them, but they are not wages or payment, they are a gift.  Blessings can be something that the receiver immediately sees as a positive, but not always.  Sometimes the biggest blessings in our lives can be hardships and challenges that helped us grow stronger, change path and walk closer to the Lord.

Since creation, God has blessed His people.  He gave a special blessing to Abraham, which he passed to his son Isaac who then passed it to Jacob who became Israel.  We see in the story of Jacob and Esau that a blessing is something of great value worth desiring.  From Jacob/Israel we see it is even something worth fighting for as he wrestled with the angel of the Lord.

Jesus was serious about blessings.  His first recorded sermon is filled with blessings from Matthew 5:

“God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him,
    for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
God blesses those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
God blesses those who are humble,
    for they will inherit the whole earth.
God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice,
    for they will be satisfied.
God blesses those who are merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
God blesses those whose hearts are pure,
    for they will see God.
God blesses those who work for peace,
    for they will be called the children of God.
10 God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right,
    for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.

So, when we read Revelation 1:3, we need to not take it lightly.  A blessing from God is something we should long for and desire with our whole heart.  This one is a conditional blessing offered freely when these conditions are met:

  1. Read aloud the words of the prophecy
  2. Hear it
  3. Take to heart what is written in it

By doing these things, we are offered a double blessing from the Lord.  And this particular blessing is an everlasting blessing, one that promises to the family of believers, everlasting life.  Not only is this something we should desire, but it is something that should cause a change in our lives.  It is impossible to “take it to heart” and not have a transformed heart in the process.

My Answers:

3.
a. Jesus Christ

b. God to Jesus to the angel to John.  Blessings

4. To receive undue favor.  An eternal blessing.  Increased faith leading to a better ability to witness

5. Not just knowledge but an emotional, physical and spiritual change. My love for God and others should change for the better.  My faith and the witnessing of that faith should become more bold.

02.2 Revelation – Remember, Redeemed, Removed, Renewed

Remember, Redeemed, Removed, Renewed
Revelation Themes

As the conclusion to the amazing story of the bible, the book of Revelation is filled with victory.  It is a victory that can be shared by anyone who chooses the gift of being on the team.

The fact that the book opens with letters of warning to the churches shows the mercy and grace of our God.  That even in this final book, where John outlines the end times of God’s wrath and judgment, God tells him to extend an invitation again to put on the jersey of Christ and be clothed in His sacrifice.  John, in particular, calls the church to remember.  If you have ears – then listen.  This is important.  This is important enough that believers for ages have been willing to be afflicted, persecuted and subjected to suffering for the honor of staying true to the team colors.  Remember and repent.  You want to be on the winning team.

A game-winning, grand-slam, home run happens at the moment that the ball connects with the bat.  Yes, it has to fly through the air out of the park.  Yes, the players have to run the bases and touch home plate.  But, from the very moment of impact, the work is done.  In the same way, Jesus’ work of paying the price for sin and defeating death is done.  When He resurrected from the dead, He connected with a strike ball that has been on a victory trajectory ever since. We are redeemed. It is done.  But Jesus is not done, yet.  One of the central themes of Revelation is this run of redemption.  The best is yet to come as He rounds the bases and returns back to home plate on Earth, gathering every one of His team to rejoice in victory.

When He returns, it will not be a partial victory, but a final one.  Satan and sin will not, as the saying goes, “live to fight another day.”  Christ’s return is a time when Satan and evil are just defeated, but completely removed.  Those who have made the choice of evil, who have rejected the gift of Jesus and rejected God, are judged and will be found to be incapable of paying the price of their own sins.  They and all enemies of God and good will be removed, forever.

And, finally, the book of Revelation closes with the most amazing gift of all.  God does not leave us to clean up the mess of this broken world.  We are not left in a war savaged place, with the need to tear out and rebuild on top of the weak foundations of the past.  But, instead, God takes us to a new place.  A place of beauty and peace of joy and happiness.  We have nothing to contribute to it, it is a wedding feast and the one true happily ever after ending.

My Answers:

3.
a.
1. greetings from him who is, who was and who is to come. Jesus the ruler of the kings of the earth.  Look his is coming with the clouds, every eye will see him – Look, I am coming soon, blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy
2. Be faithful, Jesus knows about affliction, persecution, suffering.  He will give you life as a victor’s crown. captivity and death will continue, but be patient, endure and faithful
12. Dragon removed from heaven, triumphed over by blood of the lamb.  The woman who gave birth to the child was protected, dragon went off to wage war with her offspring.  Beast was given… (note: it did not take, it was given – it is not in control)
19. For the wedding of the lamb has come – blessed are those who are invited – white horse, rider was faithful and true, KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS
21. New heaven and new earth, God’s dwelling place is now among His people – new heaven forever, river of water of life, tree of life, see the face of God in the city.  no more night, reign for ever and ever

b. God dwelling with His people for ever and ever – the new Heaven