27.5 Revelation – Patiently Restored

I’ll confess, I struggle with God’s timing.  I pray and I patiently wait for God to answer prayer, through guidance, through direction, through provision, through an open or closed door.  And, I wait very patiently for about 20 minutes.  Sometimes I can stay patient for a day, sometimes even a couple of days. Waiting is hard.

Yet, as I confess and whine about how hard it is to wait on God’s timing, I’m struck by God’s patience revealed in Revelation 21.

At the fall of mankind, at the first sin of Adam and Eve, and actually before Adam and Eve were even created because of God’s omniscience, God knew exactly how He would restore the relationship.

God had created mankind in His image to live in harmony and communion with Him.  Through sin and disobedience we rejected God.  If Adam and Eve, or any descendants, had been allowed to earth from the tree of life, they would not have died, meaning they would have lived in a state of eternal separation.  Without death, there could be no repayment of the original gift of God (life), which Adam and Eve had rejected.  Without repayment, there could be no fairness or justice.  Without fairness and justice, God would not be God.

But keep in mind that God is totally in control.  He could have prevented the sin in the first place.  He could have immediately sent Jesus, died, resurrected, defeated death, banished satan and  produced Creation 2.0.  But He waited.

God has waited patiently for thousands of years.  God’s waiting has allowed you and I to have life.  God’s waiting has multiplied and magnified the body of faithful followers.  God continues to wait until every last human who would ever be born who would have chosen to accept the gift of grace and faith and mercy would be born and make that choice.

And that time of waiting, those thousands of years of the history of mankind and of all creation, in the timeline of eternity, is less than the blink of God’s eye.  The next time I’m impatient and whining about waiting on God’s timing, I need to remember this and blink and take to heart the admonishment of Jesus in Matthew 28:6 to the apostles on the boat in a storm (a good description of what my life feels like sometimes), “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

My Answers:

12.
the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal.  John 7:27-28, rev 21:6 To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life.

13.
a.
Because of Sin, separated from God, but if  ate of the tree of life then wouldn’t die and no restorative payment by death

b.
perfect communion with God in perfect peace and without sin – paradise

14.
Heaven

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27.3 Revelation – Built by God

There is one God and one new Holy City.  There is one dwelling place where those chosen and called will live in daily communion with God.  There is a New Heaven and a New Earth, but no separation between them.

Creation is new again, but God and believers come forward into the new existence. There is not a new God, God is God, unchanging and eternal.  The God of the tribes of Israel is the God of the apostles.  The God of the old testament is the God of the new and the yet to come.  Man is born again, in new bodies, free of sin and pain and tears.

But mankind has no dowry for the wedding day.  Mankind has nothing old, for all the old is gone.  Mankind has no possessions or deeds, because all have been judged and burned away.

But Christ, as the groom has beautifully ordained and dressed His bride.  As we read through the size and magnitude of the city.  As we view the beautify of the jewels, the emerald, the ruby, the sapphire, amethyst, pearls and gold.  As we see the names on the gates and on the walls, we need to remember one important thing:  All of these are from God, not for God.  The new Holy city is not built by human hands, it is built by God and descends from heaven.  These are not things that God owns, to show off to others or to display His wealth.  These are not things made valuable because of scarcity.  These are things presented simply because they are beautiful and simply for the joy of the bride.

One thing that is interesting to keep in mind is that, in the dark, these are simply rocks.  Nothing more, nothing less.  They are no greater or less than any other rock made by God.  But in the light the reflect the light in beautiful brilliant ways.  They reflect a rainbow of colors.  They reflect shine and depth, they reflect the love of God, the presence of the Lamb.

My Answers:

6.
a.
Jasper Sapphire Agate Emerald Onyx Ruby Chrysolite Beryl Topaz Turquoise Jacinth Amethyst Pearls Gold

b.
Old and New Testaments – No kingdom or castle on earth has ever compared – gold is nothing but paving stones, but all creations

7.
12. On the gates were written the 12 tribes of Israel
14. The wall of the city had 12 foundations, and on them were the names of the 12 apostles of the Lamb

8.
a.
Glory: shone, brilliance, precious, clear as crystal, great, gem covered
Security: walls thick and of stone (precious), gates, wide and high as it is long (cube)
Perfect: dimensions are perfect, jewels are perfect, Gold is transparent as glass,

b.
It is real and measurable.  It has substance and beauty, it is sufficient as a city

c.
The beauty – it is not necessary, but it is right.

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

25.3 Revelation – Summary Judgment

In legal proceedings there is a motion known as a summary judgment.  It is basically an request made to a judge that says, assuming that everything the other part is arguing or presenting is valid, even if the best or worst things they claim are held as the truth, it still would not matter and we request that the court find for our position.

This is the situation we discover in the first resurrection.  Even if these martyrs and those chosen to help lead during the 1000 year reign of Christ were to be judged, and even if every sin, lie, wrongdoing, etc, etc, were held as accepted evidence, they still would be found not guilty.  Their stance, to lay down their life instead of recant their faith is prima-facie evidence.

But, here we must make a very important distinction.  It is not the act of being martyred that provides this evidence.  We need to be very, very clear on this point.  It is not the willingness to die for something you believe in that is somehow noble or worthy or causes the scales to tip in one direction in terms of eternal life or heavenly rewards.

Unfortunately, this misconception and lie is one the dragon uses.  This is how we have suicide bombers and terrorists and others deceived by lies.  These are not noble or honorable people, they are wicked, evil, lost souls who bought into a lie so thoroughly that they love it more than their own life.

The evidence is not in the act, no more that we are saved or lost by any single act.  The evidence is in the fact that they Holy Spirit was completely present in the lives of these Christian martyrs at the time they were killed for their faith.

Their deaths do not earn this this special resurrection or favor.  The life of the one in them at the moment of their death is the evidence and the proof – not of their own goodness or something deserved, but that they were cloaked in the redeeming blood of the lamb.

We should honor and learn from the Christian martyrs, but the teaching is not how to die, but how to live.

My Answers:

6.
a.
because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God.  Had not worshiped beast or image and no mark – They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years

b.
Standing strong leads to denigration and possible death by Satan, but to honor and life with Jesus –

7.
a.
The bringing back to life the martyrs – prior to 1000 year reign of Jesus

b.
the second death – damnation, judgment day – they have been found saved and holy – risen to live, a spiritual awakening and a new body

8.
Priests of God and of Christ, reign with Him for 1000 years – not just sitting around being bored – we are productive members of God’s society.

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.

23.2 Revelation – Brought to their knees

Another angel, with great authority and illuminating the world with the light of heaven, proclaims, “Fallen, Fallen is Babylon.”

But what does fallen mean?  Does it mean crumbled as from an earthquake?  Does it mean fallen as in an economic market crash?  Does it mean defeated in battle?  Or all of these?

The greek word that John uses in this quote is pipto.  There are a few other places it is used in the New Testament.  It is the word used to describe the wisemen in Matthew 2:11 who, upon meeting Jesus, “bowed down and worshiped.”  It is also the word that Satan uses in Matthew 4:9 when he tempts Jesus after his time of fasting in the wilderness, “All this I will give you if you bow down and worship me.”  It is also the word that is used repeatedly in Matthew 13 in the parable of the sower, “the seed fell upon…”

From these other uses, I think we get a deeper meaning of the proclamation of the angel.  This is not simply a setback for Babylon, it has been literally brought to its knees in submission to the light of God.

We see this further in the word that the NIV translates as “haunt”.  We think of haunt as a hangout, a meet-up, a place of congregation.  But the original Greek word as translated in the NKJV gives a stronger meaning.  It translates the word as “prison”.

The proclamation, not prediction, of the angel – a completed event not future possibility – is of a Babylon that has become its own prison of wickedness and brought to its knees in submission to the might of God.

My Answers:

3.
a.
Another angel coming down from heaven with great authority and illuminating the earth with his splendor, shouted with mighty voice

b.
Fallen, fallen – she was corrupt from the inside out in every way and now she is fallen

4.
a.
They do not provide, they consume.  They are never enough.  They leave the hollowness on the inside.  They drive people to communion with wickedness and lies and every unclean and detestable thing.  They seek to elevate self only, not creating community or helping the widows, orphans, poor, disenfranchised.

b.
The things that are of the kingdom to come and the will to be done.  The things of heaven, not of earth.  The Godly things that are noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy (Phil 4:8)

21.5 Revelation – God’s justice and mercy under the new covenant

God’s justice and mercy under the new covenant

Yesterday we talked about how sin broke our perfect holy relationship with God, the same way a child breaks a window.  We discussed that while justice and mercy were consistent in the old testament as well as in the new, since there is only one God and He is unchanging, the “fix” under the old testament was insufficient.  A patch was put in place, but it wasn’t a fix.  We simply did not have the means to pay the price of the fix.

You see, the price of the repair was one perfect life, lived, and laid down in perfect, full, and holy obedience.  Only one man has ever lived such a life, and He is who starts the New Testament and the New Covenant.

By Jesus’ work, through His entire life, to deny temptation, to resist sin, culminating first in His sacrificial death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead, Jesus fully paid the price to restore the perfect holy relationship between God and mankind.

By accepting the sacrifice of Jesus as the offering made for you, and agreeing to come under Him as your savior, you are not held responsible for the broken relationship, no payment is required and the relationship is restored.  Jesus perfectly repairs the broken glass on both sides of the window (God’s side and Man’s side).

Standing firm in resolve to not accept Jesus is to be, as my grandmother would have said, “way too big for your britches” and “your mouth is writing checks you cannot cash”.  If we deny to accept Jesus, then we tell God, we think the mud we flung up in the window is sufficient repair.  It is not only wrong, but it is insulting.  God, in mercy, holds back wrath even on these people, but only for a time.

In the final days, when Jesus comes again, He will come again to set things right.  He will wash the window of our spiritual relationship clean with the full power of God’s wrath.  All the mud and dirt will be removed and the window will once again sparkle as new.  But those who want to be judged by the dirt they produced, will no longer receive mercy and payment for sin will be required.  It is a payment that can never be fulfilled without Jesus, so they agonize forever in the debtor’s prison of Hell.

While this sounds horrible, it is what they want and choose, because the offer to accept Jesus’ payment was never rescinded.  Also, the removal of sin from the world, something that only makes sense to do along with a restriction on new sin entering, is something we who have accepted Jesus’ gift long for.

Don’t you want to see the beauty in the perfectly restored window of the perfectly restored relationship with God?  When John talks about the entire sea of glass before the throne alight with fire, this is what I think of.  No dings, not cracks, no smudges, no blurs, no imperfection of any kind, no dirt, no mud, no dust – a perfect shining brilliantly, like it is on fire, reflection of the perfectly restored relationship.

My Answers:

10.
a.
While we were sinners (i.e., did nothing to earn it), Christ died for us.  We are justified by His blood (found not-guilty) and saved from wrath through Him and reconciled to God.  On our own merits we deserve death but instead we are made alive in Christ, given a new life, a new body, a new spirit for eternity

b.
Christ bore our sins.  He, who was perfect, was not compelled to die – it was not a just sentence for Him since He was free of all transgression.  So, He did not suffer and die for His own sins, but for ours.  The fact that He paid the price is a ticket that He need not use but gives as a gift to each of us if only we accept it.

11.
humility, love, sacrifice, not conforming to the pattern of the world but being transformed to become holy, to be honest with God and ourselves, to confess our sins and truly repent (which includes change)