THE CURSE IS UNDONE! (Revelation 19-22)

Revelation 22:3 ESV No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him.

As we’ve read through the book of Revelation, several of the chapters depict a violent storm of God’s wrath. In today’s reading the storm of God’s wrath has passed, the bright rays of light illuminate everything and we notice that the sun is gone, but an even better source of light is present. God Himself is the light by which we will see! We see a wedding with a bride adorned in white, we see a river, we see the tree of life, we see a glimpse of our hope of glory, and we are reminded that the return of Christ is eminent.

What’s Missing: This subtle line, “no longer will there be anything accursed,” gripped me this morning as I read it. How wonderful will it be when there is no sin and the curse that follows it. When there is no consequence of the fall left to burden man. How free and wonderful will our worship be. How magnificent will be our enjoyment of all things. There will be no more guilt, no shame, no hunger, no hurt, no pain, no tears of sorrow, nothing to separate us from our God.

Who’s There: It’s not just about the curse being undone but because the curse is no more we will be able to abide in the presence of God. We will be where He is. No walls, no secrets, no separation. We will see Him for who He is and worship Him all the more! His glory won’t be veiled or hidden, but rather will be on center stage for all to see, worship, and adore. We won’t be running form Him, but running to Him. As dark as the clouds of God’s wrath hang in the background, the brightness of God’s glory will shine even brighter for those who are His.

Father, we stand in awe of you today! You are worthy of all worship and glory! We see only glimpses of eternity in this life. We behold shadows but crave the substance. Sin and the curse that comes with it has shackled all of creation. We longingly look forward to a day when our sin will be no more, where the curse is undone. We pray even now that you will our hearts with hope and longing for that day when we shall behold you in all of your glory. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

RESOURCES:

2020 Post on Revelation 19-22

Join us in reading though the New Testament in 90 Days! You can find the plan and previous posts here.

Mighty Is the Lord God (Revelation 16-18)

Revelation 18:7-8 ESV As she glorified herself and lived in luxury, so give her a like measure of torment and mourning, since in her heart she says, ‘I sit as a queen, I am no widow, and mourning I shall never see.’ (8) For this reason her plagues will come in a single day, death and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire; for mighty is the Lord God who has judged her.”

Reading through Revelation is very sobering. It can be especially eye opening to read this section as it describes the wrath of God being poured out. We can tend to think of God in terms of only, grace, mercy, kindness, love, etc. But we must also note that God is also a God of wrath. His patience will come to an end. Humanity will face the great and terrible day of the Lord.

Notice that God’s wrath isn’t poured out on those who have received him into their lives, but it is poured out on those who have rejected God time and time again. Like in the days of the flood, Noah and his family were spared, but those who were outside the ark perished. In a similar way, those in Christ are spared the wrath of God to come.

It’s not as though God is unfair with His wrath. Those who receive it, have earned it. Because of God’s justice his wrath is poured out in exact measure. Not one drop more than those who receive it deserve. Not one drop less.

We seldom ever think of the weight or our sin against a holy and a righteous God. In our own court system it’s one thing to abuse an animal, it’s another to abuse a human. In some places you receive the death penalty for murder, a life for a life. But what is the consequence for a trespass against a Holy Eternal God? It’s an eternal crime worthy of an eternal punishment.

It shocks us to see such wrath poured out at the hand of God. It should shock us that God has been so patient. It should shock us even more that Christ would redeem and save some of us the from this great and terrible wrath. Sometimes we don’t appreciate the love of God displayed in Jesus Christ as we should because we have failed to take into account the wrath of God. The wrath that we would face apart from Him and the wrath that he took in our place.

Father, thank you for your overwhelming grace to save sinners from the wrath that is due us. We confess that we do not always know or consider how great and terrible an offense our sin really is. You are just, you are good, you are holy, you are worthy of all of our praise. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

RESOURCES:

2020 Post on Revelation 16-18

Join us in reading though the New Testament in 90 Days! You can find the plan and previous posts here.

God is Still on the Throne (Revelation 10-12)

Revelation 10:5-7 ESV And the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven (6) and swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and what is in it, the earth and what is in it, and the sea and what is in it, that there would be no more delay, (7) but that in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be fulfilled, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.

There is a lot of symbolism in these chapters. You can look back at last years post to see how I understand some of the images that are described in this section of scripture. It’s important that we don’t miss the forest for the trees in the descriptions in the book of Revelation. God is sovereign over His creation! The point of the book of Revelation is to note that He is Almighty Sovereign God and He reigns over everything. There is nothing that take Him by surprise. Events unfold at his prerogative and at their appointed times.

This is important because there will be moments where it looks like He is losing. His faithful servants will be persecuted. There is an evil enemy that seeks to devour them. Yet, even when it looks like the faithful are perishing, God is in control…. As we round the corner going into the Passion week before Easter, we are reminded that it must have looked like evil was winning when Jesus was crucified, yet it was through His death and resurrection that we are saved!

My big takeaway from todays reading is to remember that all of history is headed to a particular destination and will reach that destination at the exact right time. I’m reminded that God is in control. Somehow as I fret with small things that cause us stress (family, bills, work, etc.), I am comforted to place these things in the hands of the Lord and pray for His kingdom to come. There is great personal peace to be found by seeking first the kingdom of God.

Father, thank you for these chapters in the book of Revelation today that reminds me that you are in control. I admit I am often consumed with the minor details of life that I can’t control. How refreshing it is to know that you are in control of all things. I pray for your kingdom to come and your will to be done. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

RESOURCES:

2020 Post on Revelation 10-12

Join us in reading though the New Testament in 90 Days! You can find the plan and previous posts here.

Jesus Is Worthy (Revelation 4-6)

Revelation 5:4-5 ESV and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. (5) And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”

There is some similarity between Isaiah’s vision in Isaiah 6 and what John observes here. What an incredible thing it must be to gather in the sights and sounds of the throne room of the LORD God Almighty! Certainly He is worthy of all worship, honor, and glory. To see and hear these magnificent angelic creatures uttering praise to the Lord must have been an incredible experience and certainly John would have felt both God’s grandeur and his own insignificance.

When John sees there is a scroll that needs to be opened and no creature is worthy enough to open the scroll he weeps. In that moment he feels the weight of inadequacy and that no one was adequate to open this scroll. Then Jesus steps forward. He is Worthy. He has conquered sin and death. The world belongs to him twice. Once for it’s creation, and now through it’s redemption.

I was reminded to come to the Lord today in awe and worship. Jesus is worthy of all of our praise and adoration. He stood in the gap between men and God and purchased our salvation.

If you can, imagine a world where sin was left unchecked. Where for all of our striving, all we were accomplishing was our own damnation. Where everything we called good was actually an offense to our maker. Where no one was capable of worshipping God. Where the Creator was only mocked. That the only way He would or could be glorified was by the eternal damnation and destruction of a rebellious people. What a terrible place this earth would be. It would literally be Hell.

Now imagine, what if the Lord were to rescue and redeem all of creation. What if he took sin away from the world? Where folks walked down the street without lust, greed, envy, hatred or strife. What if everyone, everywhere genuinely loved one another and wanted the best for one another. What if everyone was genuinely happy to see other doing well? What a place this earth would be. That would be Heaven!

Jesus is worthy of all praise and worship because he has bridged the divide between man and God that was created by sin. He has redeemed those who have believed on him to eternal life. He created, preserved, and ultimately redeemed this world.

Father, thank you for Jesus Christ who is worthy of all of our worship. Thank you that He is worthy to step up and open the scroll here in Revelation. Thank you that he is worthy to rule the world. Thank you that you are sovereign in all of creation. Thank you that you have a plan for redemption and restoration for people who are sinners like me. THank you for the gift of faith that I can trust Jesus Christ and follow Him. Thank you for your overwhelming mercy and grace. You are worthy of all our worship. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

RESOURCES:

2020 Post on Revelation 4-6

Books:

Join us in reading though the New Testament in 90 Days! You can find the plan and previous posts here.

I Know Your Works (Revelation 1-3)

“I know your works”

Jesus Christ in Revelation 2:2, 2:9, 2:13, 2:19, 3:1, 3:8, & 3:15

This phrase, “I know your works,” is repeated by Jesus through the second and third chapters of Revelation. In context they come as part of a larger charge that Jesus gives each church of the churches mentioned in individually (by location). I was struck with awe at the simplicity of these words and the implications for us today. How incredible are these words in the mouth of Jesus Christ to His church!

First, we dwell on who Jesus is and what he has done for the church. Before he ever shares about knowing our works, he reminds us who He is in each passage. These are the words of the one who, “loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood” (Revelation 1:5). He is genuinely for us! He isn’t hoping we’ll fail. He isn’t an enemy there to mock us. He isn’t even just a friend to pick us up when we’ve fallen. He is our Lord and Savior! The one who went to the cross for us so that we might be free from sin! These words on his lips are filled with the wonder of salvation.

Second, we notice that Jesus is God and is omniscient. When He says that He “knows our works, we must admit that He knows our works better than we do ourselves. There isn’t any shading or coloring the lines one way or the other. He looks and he sees them for what they are. If our works are made of particle board hidden beneath a thin veneer and are trying to be passed off as solid wood, He knows that! If they are the real deal he knows that!

Third, we notice that Jesus sees all of our works. The good ones, the bad ones, and the incomplete ones. I appreciate how Jesus addresses each church first with affirming the positive. We see him acknowledging what obstacles each church is facing and how they have responded. We all need this affirmation from our Lord and Savior and we all need to give it to others when we see them walking in righteousness.

Yet, Jesus doesn’t just address the positive. Most of the churches also had areas of concern. In love, He speaks to them and acknowledges what they need to do in those areas. How well must they have received these words of correction following his affirmation.

Today I am reminded that Jesus sees our works. He knows what we’ve been through. He knows the trials that we have faced. He knows the private moments of faithfulness where we chose to trust Him. He affirms us in those works. He also knows where we need to correct course and today we should be all the more energized to honor the Lord in area’s of our life where we have been slack.

On another level I am encouraged to day to disciple and care for others the way our Lord has cared for his Church. Were possible, we should be quick to affirm the good in others before we address them in correction.

Father, thank you for Christ who died for me and washed me from my sins. Thank you that I am a new creation in Jesus Christ and that it is possible to do good works in your name, though your Spirit. Thank you for the affirmation we receive from You when we walk in righteousness. May we be so affirming to others. Thank you for the correction you provide in our lives. May we be eager to address the areas that need correction so that we might glorify you all the more. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

RESOURCES:

2020 Post or Revelation 1-3

Join us in reading though the New Testament in 90 Days! You can find the plan and previous posts here.

Day 88: Revelation 13-15 (NEW TESTAMENT 90)

Today’s reading comes from Revelation 13-15 follow the link provided here to read the ESV online.

There is much that remains a mystery about the symbolism we find in the book of Revelation. One thing that really stuck out to me today was how the gospel will go out to all the nations. John observes in the passage we read today, “Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth–to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people– saying with a loud voice, “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water” (Revelation 14:6-7).  This reminds me of where, Jesus, speaking to the disciples about the end of the age, says, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14).

It seems as though in John’s vision that we are getting very near the end. I am grateful that though all the really scary stuff, we still see the light of the gospel going to all the world even in the midst of persecution and hardship.  I think this says something about the grace and benevolence of God to call his people to repentance. 

FATHER, Thank you for the power of the gospel that has transformed my life. Thank you that the gospel must and will go out to the entire world. I pray that in my generation that we are faithful to take your gospel as far and fast as we can take your message. I pray that we would remain strong in the face of whatever obstacles or challenges we may face. Thank you for the grace to shepherd your people. IN JESUS NAME, AMEN.

What did you take away from today’s reading? What are your thoughts or questions? Feel free to comment below and enter the discussion.

Find out about New Testament 90 – Here

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Day 87: Revelation 10-12 (NEW TESTAMENT 90)

Today’s reading comes from Revelation 10-12 follow the link provided here to read the ESV online.

I will confess that there is much about this part of Revelation that still remains a mystery to me. That being said, there are several things that stick out to me. In 10:8-11, where John is given a scroll to eat is reminiscent of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 15:16) and Ezekiel (Ezekiel 2-3). The big difference between these prophets and the instruction given to John, here in Revelation, is to many peoples, tongues, and nations, whereas the other prophets seem to have a call specifically to the Nation of Israel.

Speaking of Israel, the woman mentioned in chapter twelve seems to be a pretty clear reference to the covenant people of God, known as the Nation of Israel. The sun, moon, and twelves stars motif (12:1) first appears in Josephs dream (Genesis 37:9-10) about the sun, moon, and eleven stars who bow down to him. His father understands the dream to refer to all of Joseph’s family (the very beginning of the Nation of Israel). Also the woman giving birth to a child is a symbol used in Isaiah (Isaiah 26:17, 66:6-9). In those references the woman is understood to be God’s covenant people, Israel.

I don’t have a ton of clarity on the other figures that are beginning to appear here other than to note that the members of the Satanic or Unholy Trinity are beginning to make their appearance. This false trinity consists of the Dragon, the Beast, and the False Prophet. We will see a fuller picture in the reading ahead.

My biggest take away from reading this portion of scripture is simply this. There is a lot that I do not understand. There are symbols that I can’t figure out. There are characters that I don’t know where they fit… but I do know that in the book of Revelation, God is still on his throne. He isn’t surprised. He knows future events and while there is a lot of mystery to the details of how things will unfold, there is no mystery to the fact that God is in control and bringing everything, even rebellious creatures to submission. And for that insight I am grateful.

FATHER, We rejoice in your sovereignty. I confess I don’t know what a lot of these things symbolize, but I rejoice to know that when events unfold, you are not caught off guard. We rejoice that all of world history is coming to completion in you. We pray for your guidance and grace in our hour, especially in the days of uncertainty in which we now live. Direct our path for your glory. Thank you for the incredible grace of watching over your flock. IN JESUS NAME, AMEN.

What did you take away from today’s reading? What are your thoughts or questions? Feel free to comment below and enter the discussion.

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Day 85: Revelation 4-6 (NEW TESTAMENT 90)

Today’s reading comes from Revelation 4-6 follow the link provided here to read the ESV online.

In Revelation chapter four, the Apostle John gets invited into the throne room of heaven. He witnesses a series of events from a heavenly perspective. Because John received this “revelation” in a vision (1:9-10) there are many things that appear as symbolic.

In chapter four we also see the angels around the throne of God utter the Trisagion (the word holy 3 times in a row). Some suppose the reason for the word “holy” being uttered three times is representative of the trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). When something is mentioned three times in a row it also is considered to have a multiplying effect and so it is understood that the praise of God uttered hear is continually compounded. In essence, God is infinitely holy.

The new Song in Revelation 5:9. We like to sing old songs, they are familiar and remind us of the character of God. New songs are written or sung in the scripture when God has delivered his people. Miriam sings a song after Israel escapes through the Red Sea and Pharaoh’s army is drowned, etc. This new song will be for the Jesus’s ability to reconcile us to God. 

The number seven is used repeatedly through out the book of Revelation. Typically in biblical literature the number seven means perfection and/or completeness. The world was created in six days and God rested on the seventh day, hence the world was complete and it was perfect in the way that God created it.

The 5th seal is interesting (6:9 -11). Those who have suffered for the cause of Christ will have a special place in the presence of God. They are given white robes, which symbolize purity. White was given to the members of the church at Sardis who did not spoil their garments with unrighteous deeds and were promised to walk with Jesus (3:4-5). We also fast forward to Revelation 19:8 where white garments represent the righteous acts of the saints.  It is also worth noting that the Lord provided garments for Adam and Eve after they sinned and he provided the garments here too.

FATHER, Thank you so much for the brilliance of your word. We look forward to the day when we will see you in all your glory. We are grateful that Jesus is worthy of all glory and honor and He is able to bridge Heaven and Earth. Give us grace to live holy lives that are pleasing to you. If we are ever granted to suffer I pray that we would honor you. Thank you for the grace to shepherd your people. IN JESUS NAME, AMEN.

What did you take away from today’s reading? What are your thoughts or questions? Feel free to comment below and enter the discussion.

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Day 84: Revelation 1-3 (NEW TESTAMENT 90)

Today’s reading comes from Revelation 1-3 follow the link provided here to read the ESV online.

The book of Revelation (notice it is NOT book of “Revelations” as so many are fond of calling it. There is no “s”) is one of the most organized books of the bible. It begins with John on the island of Patmos on the Lord’s Day (Sunday) receiving a vision from the LORD (1:9-10). It comes with a blessing for those who read it (1:3). The first three chapters contain an introduction and seven brief letters written to seven churches.

In chapter one, John sees the risen Christ (1:18). Jesus appears differently than we might suspect (1:13-16). He has white hair, is bright as the sun and his voice is like many waters. All the descriptions of Jesus listed here will be referenced later. Many of the things in the book of Revelation have their key in earlier portions of scripture, especially the Torah (the first five books). Once you have read the Old Testament you are more prone to catch many of the references made in Revelation. For example, you will think of the seven lamps in Exodus 25:37 when you hear about seven lamp stands (1:12).

Each letter to the seven churches follows a similar theme. Jesus first makes a reference to his own attribute(s), listed in chapter one (for example: the one who holds the seven stars in his right hand). Then he shares an affirming word for what the church is doing right. Followed by a, “Nevertheless, this I have against you” statement, which indicates an area the church needs to fix. Then next will be a word on how to respond followed by the, “he who has an ear to hear…” statement.

This formula is great for comparing the churches and understanding how the please the Lord. It is also helpful in seeing how to address our brothers and sisters in error. If the Lord should see fit to correct his people by this formula, well then it seems like a good one for confronting our brothers in sin. We might remember the character of God, affirm the positive, call out the unresolved issues, provide direction and clarity with a reminder that it is a grace to have the word of the LORD applied to our lives.

FATHER, thank you for your amazing word. We look forward to reading Revelation and pray that we are blessed by it. We ask for wisdom and discernment to understand. We pray for ears to hear what you would be saying to us. Thank you for the incredible grace of leading your congregation in this unique time. IN JESUS NAME, AMEN.

What did you take away from today’s reading? What are your thoughts or questions? Feel free to comment below and enter the discussion.

Find out about New Testament 90 – Here

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