13.2 Revelation – Stopping the Wind

Stopping the Wind

Who can stop the wind?

Wind is an unseen but very real force.  It is constantly moving with both benefits and harm.  It helps cleanse the earth, move and dissipate smoke and polution.  It drives the rain clouds. It also produces tornadoes, hurricanes, down-gusts and micro-bursts.

Whether you see the stopping of the wind as a form of wrath in itself (by removing the beneficial properties of the wind) or a delay of wrath (by holding back the destructive power), either way, the power and ability to perform such a task in outside of our comprehension.

We can deflect the wind.  We can make shelters from the wind.  But we can’t hold it back.

But God can.  And Revelation 7 says that He will for His purpose.  He will send angels to hold back the wind and then another angel to seal 144,000.

Righteous harm will befall the earth.  It is inevitable and part of God’s plan of purification for the stain of sin on creation.  But God is in control even of the inevitable.  He can hold back even the wind for His purposes.  We see it in the end times and we see it in our daily lives.  All sin is against God and all of us sin.  We pile up debts of sin with no way to repay even the smallest.  God is not unjust.  He does not leave sin unpunished or unreconciled, but He holds back His right or setting the accounts right, so that the ones He love can be drafted to His service.

My Answers:

3.
standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds

4.
a.
destruction, invasion, wrath, power, anger

b.
Patience – protection of the earth, land, sea, trees and people to be sealed

c.
every day I sin and deserve the wrath of God.  All sin is against God.

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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.

27.3 BSF Matthew Week 27, Day 3

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

There is an old saying about not being able to see the forest because all of these trees are in the way.  That was the challenge for the high priests.  Their day-to-day reality was that of a nation living in the presence of a more powerful occupying army.  They were the religious leaders, but also the leaders of real, flesh and blood people and families all of a shared ancestry and nationality.  They lead, but they did not have power or authority.  That, in their view, belonged to Rome.

To set the stage for our study today, we really need to step back in time to John 11.  This is the story about Jesus coming at the call or Mary and Martha and then calling Lazarus out from the tomb.  He raised him from the dead in the presence of lots and lots of witnesses right outside of Jerusalem.  Picking this up in John 11 starting in verse 45: ”

45 Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him. 46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin.

“What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many signs. 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.”

49 Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! 50 You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”

51 He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, 52 and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. 53 So from that day on they plotted to take his life.

 

See, this is the story within the story – the trees within the forest.  Never does the high priest, whether the puppet master (Annas) or the current high priest (Caiaphas), ever contradict Jesus.  Their words and actions do not once deny that He is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.  They do not say that this man, Jesus, is not the messiah.  Jesus points out that their words and actions actually do the opposite.  Matt 26:63-64, “Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”  “You have said so,” Jesus replied.

Maybe they had doubts.  Maybe they didn’t want to believe.  Maybe their hearts were hardened.  Maybe they could not picture this man standing in front of them being the same one who would come on a cloud.  But I think as much as anything, in their little world, it simply didn’t matter if Jesus was the Messiah.  He wasn’t going to set them free from Rome.  If He kept going, Rome was simply going to come in and take away their temple and their nation and where would they be then?  In their world, it was better that one innocent man die than risk that happening.

It just so happened that their solution (Jesus’ death) and God’s solution (Jesus’ death) coincided.  But their plans ended in death and Jesus’ plans did not.  He had already shown, with Lazarus, his power over death.  His viewpoint of the forest was one from the vantage point of heaven and eternity.

My Answers:

5.
a.
Annas

b.
the father in law of Caiaphas

6.
a.
(1) false witnesses, “I am able to destroy temple and rebuild”, no answer? (2) oath, are you God? you say so (3) spit, strike

b.
made plans how to have Jesus executed, bound Him, led Him to Pilate

7.
a.
The son of man coming with the clouds of heaven – the one with authority, glory, power, worshiped, dominion

b.
It is a transition from Jesus work on earth to His glory in heaven. Their words and actions have led to prophecy fulfilled.

c.
He was the one, the Messiah, the Son of Man spoken of in prophecy – not blasphemy if true