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.

29.3 Revelation – The College of the Lamb

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

27.5 Revelation – Patiently Restored

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

26.5 Revelation – Completely Saved without Separation

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.

25.3 Revelation – Summary Judgment

24.4 Revelation – Eyes Like Blazing Fire

In Luke 11, the words of Jesus are recorded, “No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl.  Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light. The eye is the lamp of the body.  If your eyes are healthy (generous), your whole body will be full of light.  But if your eyes are unhealthy (stingy), your whole body will be full of darkness.  See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you.”

Our eyes are organs that soak in what we choose to look at.  If we fill our vision with things of this world, with wickedness and lust, with hatred and sin, then we fill our selves up with darkness.

But the eyes are also a reflection back to the world of our souls.  When our souls are filled with the spirit, a light shines out from us.  A light of joy, a light of happiness and generosity, of giving and of peace.

When we look around us at the world today we see the effects of sin.  We see a living Babylon and lots of darkness.  This reminds of the words of Leonard Sweet in his book AquaChurch 2.0: Piloting your Church in Today’s Fluid Culture (pg 58)

“Light illumines the darkness.  If there’s darkness, the blame should be attached where it belongs; not to the world that is dark but to the church, which is failing to provide the light.”

The answer to the darkness in the world is not going to be found in the darkness.  It is only going to be found by the power of the Holy Spirit within the called, chosen and faithful followers of Christ.  It is only through shining that light that darkness is set back.

John notes in our passage today that: Christ’s eyes are like blazing fire.

Let’s reflect that light!

 

My Answers:

9.
Jesus – They are attributes of Him and also point to His eternal place as a person of the trinity, not only at creation but active in it and active in everything since – He holds the stars in His hand.

10.
His name is the Word of God.  He is unique.  His name is truly unlike any name.  His name is that of God, formed into a word to be pronounced and proclaimed by all mankind.
His blazing eyes tell me he sees and knows all and rage burns behind that vision.
His double edged sword is Him, the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (Heb 4:12

11.
I will read and learn His Word and call on Him and use it everyday, on my tongue and thoughts.  I will quit attempting to hide from Him (a pointless act).  I will recognize that He is alive and active and He alone is judge

24.4 Revelation – Eyes Like Blazing Fire

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.

23.4 Revelation – Rejoice or Lament?

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)

23.2 Revelation – Brought to their knees