Category: Revelation Study

The Kinsman Redeemer and Blood Avenger (Various Scriptures)

The Kinsman Redeemer and Blood Avenger (Various Scriptures)

Goel (Hebrew: גואל, lit. “redeemer”), in the Hebrew Bible and the rabbinical tradition, is a person who, as the nearest relative of another, is charged with the duty of restoring the rights of another and avenging his wrongs.

One duty of the goel was to redeem (purchase back) a relative who had been sold into slavery. Another was to avenge the death of a relative who had been wrongly killed; one carrying out this vengeance was known as the goel hadam, commonly translated to English as “avenger of blood”.[1]

The term goel is also used in reference to other forms of redemption. In the Book of Isaiah, God is called the redeemer of Israel,[2] as God redeems his people from captivity; the context shows that the redemption also involves moving on to something greater.

In Christianity, the title goel is applied to Christ, who redeems his believers from all evil by offering Himself as the Paschal Lamb.

The obligations of the goel include the duty to redeem the relative from slavery, if the latter had been obliged to sell himself into slavery (Leviticus 25:48–49); to repurchase the property of a relative who had had to sell it because of poverty; to avenge the blood of his relative; to marry his brother’s widow in order to have a son for his brother, in the case that the brother had no son to pass on his name (Deuteronomy 25:5–6); and to receive the restitution if the injured relative had died (Numbers 5:8).

Numbers 35:9–30 regulates the duties of the goel hadam. The congregation must judge the case before it puts a murderer in the hands of a goel. More than one witness is needed for conviction. In case of accidental manslaughter, the slayer can save his life by fleeing to a “city of refuge” and staying there until the death of the high priest. Ransom is not accepted for murder. Revenge cannot be taken on the offender’s children or parents (Deuteronomy 24:16).

Leviticus 25:48–49 gives the order in which the nearest relative is considered the goel in the case of redeeming a slave: brother, uncle, male cousin and then other relatives. The same order was probably observed in the other cases, except in marrying a sister-in-law.

 

Kinsman-Redeemer

The kinsman-redeemer is a male relative who, according to various laws of the Pentateuch, had the privilege or responsibility to act on behalf of a relative who was in trouble, danger, or need. The Hebrew term (go el) for kinsman-redeemer designates one who delivers or rescues (Genesis 48:16Exodus 6:6) or redeems property or person (Leviticus 27:9–2525:47–55). The kinsman who redeems or vindicates a relative is illustrated most clearly in the book of Ruth, where the kinsman-redeemer is Boaz.

Avenger of blood

(Heb. goel, from verb gaal, “to be near of kin,” “to redeem”), the nearest relative of a murdered person. It was his right and duty to slay the murderer ( 2 Samuel 14:7  2 Samuel 14:11 ) if he found him outside of a city of refuge. In order that this law might be guarded against abuse, Moses appointed six cities of refuge ( Exodus 21:13 ;  Numbers 35:13 ;  Deuteronomy 19:1  Deuteronomy 19:9 ). These were in different parts of the country, and every facility was afforded the manslayer that he might flee to the city that lay nearest him for safety. Into the city of refuge the avenger durst not follow him. This arrangement applied only to cases where the death was not premeditated. The case had to be investigated by the authorities of the city, and the wilful murderer was on no account to be spared. He was regarded as an impure and polluted person, and was delivered up to the goel ( Deuteronomy 19:11-13 ). If the offence was merely manslaughter, then the fugitive must remain within the city till the death of the high priest ( Numbers 35:25 ).

 

Jesus as the Believer’s Refuge

 

The New Testament reveals there is still today a place of refuge, one unique way, and but one and only one plan of salvation, enter into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord and experience as a result, regeneration, spiritual rebirth, (John 3).

 

By faith, as a result of trusting in Jesus, the believer then experiences the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, and of Christ, and of God the Father. By means of spiritual baptism the individual is then taken out of the world-system (and his or her identification with the fallen-world) and is placed into the Body of Christ. The true church, the Body of Christ is a living organism. (Romans 6)

 

Jesus has been raised from the dead and has ascended into heaven. Joined to Christ, the believer has positionally been taken to heaven also, (Ephesians 2).

 

 

What is Jesus our refuge from? To a certain degree, Jesus is our refuge from Himself. As Christians, we love to talk about Jesus as the one who saves us from our sins, which we call redemption. On the other side of that coin is a fact that we generally attempt to avoid discussing: In His second coming, Jesus is coming to kill all of His enemies. He is coming as Goel, the Avenger of Blood.

 

The Avenger of Blood, in ancient Israel, was the nearest male relative, was responsible for protecting the property, liberty, and posterity of his next of kin, in addition to protecting their lives through the “avenging of blood.” This Old Testament Type of the Avenger of Blood is also fulfilled, as might be expected, by Jesus Christ the Lord.

 

God deems it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant rest with us to you who are afflicted, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance upon those who do not know God and upon those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They shall suffer the punishment of eternal destruction and exclusion from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at in all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. (2 Thessalonians 2:6-10)

As might be expected for a “next of kin,” the coming Judge, the Jew named Jesus, will be especially zealous for the maltreatment of His own people, the Jews, down through history.

 

I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat, and I will enter into judgment with them there, on account of my people and my heritage Israel, because they have scattered them among the nations, and have divided up my land, and have cast lots for my people, and have given a boy for a harlot, and have sold a girl for wine, and have drunk it.

 

“What are you to me, O Tyre and Sidon, and all the regions of Philistia? Are you paying me back for something? If you are paying me back, I will requite your deed upon your own head swiftly and speedily. For you have taken my silver and my gold, and have carried my rich treasures into your temples. You have sold the people of Judah and Jerusalem to the Greeks, removing them far from their own border. But now I will stir them up from the place to which you have sold them, and I will requite your deed upon your own head. I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the sons of Judah, and they will sell them to the Sabeans, to a nation far off; for the LORD has spoken.”

 

Proclaim this among the nations: Prepare war, stir up the mighty men. Let all the men of war draw near, let them come up. Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears; let the weak say, “I am a warrior.” Hasten and come, all you nations round about, gather yourselves there.

 

Bring down thy warriors, O LORD.

 

Let the nations bestir themselves, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat; for there I will sit to judge all the nations round about. Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Go in, tread, for the wine press is full. The vats overflow, for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes, in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars withdraw their shining. And the LORD roars from Zion, and utters his voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth shake.

 

But the LORD is a refuge to his people, a stronghold to the people of Israel. (Joel 3:3-16)

 

If Jesus is the Avenger of Blood on behalf of millions of Jews who have suffered at the hands of Gentile oppressors and anti-semites, He is also the Judge of all the world.

 

The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. “Truly, truly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself, and has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of man. Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment. (John 5:22-29)

 

A final question remains in considering Jesus as the Avenger of Blood for all mankind. Who avenges the innocent blood shed by the Savior of the World Himself? Who is Jesus’ next-of-kin responsible for Jesus’ own vindication and for just retribution against the guilty on His behalf? Surely it must be the heavenly Father of Jesus, the God of heaven and earth who gave His only-begotten, dearly-beloved son to make it possible for any one, or all, of us to be saved?

 

In the book of the Revelation both Jesus and God the Father are characterized as turning loose their great wrath against an unbelieving world-

 

When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale; the sky vanished like a scroll that is rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the generals and the rich and the strong, and every one, slave and free, hid in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand before it?” (Revelation 6:12-17)

 

We have already seen in the typology of the Cities of Refuge and the Kinsman-Redeemer that all sinners, Jew or Gentile, who seek the forgiveness of God, based on the substitutionary death of Jesus, our Great High Priest—all these persons are released forever from all guilt for all their sins. So the final issue is, who among the unforgiven sinners of the world must face the final Avenger of Blood who will personally deal with the enormous problem of the bloodguilt of the shed blood of the innocent Lamb of God?

 

Responsibility for the death of Christ is clearly distributed throughout the world. All of us are guilty—all of us are responsible. But when Jesus stood in trial before Pilate…

…the chief priests and the elders persuaded the people to ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus. The governor again said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.” Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said, “Let him be crucified.” And he said, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified.” So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.” And all the people answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!” (Matthew 27:20-25)

 

Accountability for sin in the eyes of God is measured in proportion to light received and the amount of revelation given. Deliberate sin is more serious than inadvertent transgression.

 

Furthermore Israel was instructed by Moses about the defilement of the land which shed blood would bring, especially innocent blood.

 

You shall not thus pollute the land in which you live; for blood pollutes the land, and no expiation can be made for the land, for the blood that is shed in it, except by the blood of him who shed it. You shall not defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell; for I the LORD dwell in the midst of the people of Israel.” (Numbers 35:33-34)

 

God’s judgment on the whole world is inevitable and soon to fall on everyone. The Bible describes the final conflagration as including the most terrible of all world wars as being centered in the land of Israel. For the Jews it will be “The Time of Jacob’s Trouble” spoken of by their prophets. Believing Jews will find salvation, safety and refuge. The majority of Jews, the Bible predicts, will be destroyed in a terrible blood bath described in Revelation Chapter 14. (Most of the rest of mankind will not survive World War III either).

 

I looked, and there before me was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one “like a son of man” with a crown of gold on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. Then another angel came out of the temple and called in a loud voice to him

who was sitting on the cloud, “Take your sickle and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” So he that was seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested.

 

Ray C. Stedman gives a vivid exposition and commentary on these terrible time, We have to ask, who is this one seated on the cloud “like a son of man,” wearing a victor’s crown and holding a sickle in his hand? There can hardly be any doubt, can there? It is the Lord Jesus. He himself had told his disciples in Matthew 13, in the parable of the wheat and the weeds, when the disciples in the parable asked the Lord, “Shall we pull up these weeds?” He said to them, “No, let both grow together until the harvest, and then I will tell the harvester, ‘First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned, and then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.'” Then he

interpreted that parable to the disciples, saying, “The harvest is the end of the age (the seven-year period to which we have come in this book), and the harvesters are the angels.” This agrees exactly with what we have here. The angels announce that the time of harvest has come, and the words of Jesus then in Matthew 13 will be literally fulfilled.

 

Let me read them to you:

“The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.”

 

These are very clear words from the lips of Jesus himself. Now there is still another scene of harvest. Verse 17:

Another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. Still another angel, who had charge of the fire, came from the altar and called in a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, “Take your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of grapes from the earth’s vine, because its grapes are ripe.” The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great

winepress of God’s wrath. They were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses’ bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia [which is about180 miles].

 

Is this the same story of harvest twice-told? No. You will notice the first harvest is a harvest of wheat. It is cut with a sickle, and it is a separation of the true wheat from the false-looking wheat, the “darnel” is literally the word, the tares of the field. It looks like wheat, but it is not. The angels will separate the two. But this is clearly a grape harvest, a vintage harvest, and the vine in Scripture is always a symbol of Israel.

 

** The prophet Isaiah uses this symbol of Israel being brought as a vine out of Egypt and planted in a beautifully cared-for land by God himself. Psalm 80 refers to the same thing–Israel is described as a vine. At the Last Supper the Lord himself said, “I am the true vine and you are the branches,” speaking of his Jewish disciples.

 

This is the symbol of Israel, and it is referring to the judgment of apostate Israel. Strangely enough, most of the nation of the Jews today do not believe their own Scriptures. Many of them are atheists. Many of them have denied the Word of God and the Old Testament, or that it applies to them as a special people at all. This therefore is the judgment of apostate Israel. It is called in Jeremiah 30, “the time of Jacob’s trouble.” Many scriptures describe it. It will be a time of warfare once again against Israel, the time of the invasion of the nation by great armies from the north.

 

Palestine is overrun. This is when the woman (who is true Israel) that we saw in chapter 12 flees and hides in the desert. But apostate Israel is destroyed, and Jerusalem is sacked and partially destroyed. You can read that in Zechariah 12 through 14.

 

The prophet Joel describes it in vivid language. Let me give you these words from his third chapter:

 

Let the nations be roused; let them advance into the Valley of Jehoshaphat [which means “God judges”], for there will I sit to judge all the nations on every side. Swing the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, trample the grapes, for the winepress is full and the vats overflow–so great is their wickedness.”

Obviously this is the same scene as we have here.

 

Notice, by the way, in verse 20, the change from a symbol to the literal meaning. Grapes are thrown into the winepress (that is a symbol), but blood pours out–that is the literal meaning of wine; that is when wine symbolizes. When we take the Lord’s Supper, wine symbolizes the blood of Christ for us. Blood covers the land for 180 miles, the length of Israel, in a terrible scene of judgment…

 

The Go-el, or Kinsman Redeemer

 

The Book of Ruth (see Ruth: The Romance of Redemption) is a beautiful love story found in the Old Testament in which a foreign, (gentile) woman of Moab finds a home, an inheritance, a husband—and a place in the ancestral lineage leading to Jesus the Messiah. It also tells us in practical language the role of the Kinsman Redeemer in ancient Israel. The role of this relative was to redeem lost land and property and to protect the person and inheritance of the party in need of help. (For details see also the Reference Notes)

 

The Hebrew go-el gives us another magnificent type of Christ as our Redeemer, for He saves us totally, whether we are Jew or Gentile.

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace which he lavished upon us. For he has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of his will, according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him, according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to the counsel of his will, we who first hoped in Christ have been destined and appointed to live for the praise of his glory. In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, which is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:8-14)

 

Peter the Apostle reminds us,

You know that you were ransomed (redeemed) from the futile ways inherited from your fathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was destined before the foundation of the world but was made manifest at the end of the times for your sake. Through him you have confidence in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. (I Peter 1:18-21)

A Redeemed Host (Revelation 7:9-17)

A Redeemed Host (Revelation 7:9-17)

A Great Multitude Worships Around the Throne of God

A great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues: The diversity here is evidence

that the Great Commission will be fulfilled before the end, even as Jesus promised (Matthew 24:14).

Because John knew they came from different nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, we know that there will be differences among people in heaven, just as there is on earth. We will not all be the same. We will be individuals.

“I suppose as he looked at them he could tell where they come from. There is individuality in heaven, depend upon it. Every seed will have its own body. There will sit down in heaven not three unknown patriarchs, but Abraham – you will know him; Isaac, you will know him; and Jacob, you will know him. There will be in heaven not a company of persons, all struck off alike so that you cannot tell who is who; but they will be out of every nation, and kindred, and people, and tongue.” (Spurgeon)

Recall that, in the Scripture, the phrase from every tongue and tribe and nation is an idiom referring to both the totality of humanity and to the gentiles particularly. Previously we saw a remnant of the House of Israel being saved and now we see a host of gentiles being saved.

This begs a question which John MacArthur answers quite nicely.

How were Gentiles brought into the family of God?

Historically, the Gentiles (the “uncircumcision”) experienced two types of alienation. The first was social, resulting from the animosity that had existed between Jews and Gentiles for thousands of years. Jews considered Gentiles to be outcasts, objects of derision and reproach. The second and more significant type of alienation was spiritual, because Gentiles as a people were cut off from God in 5 different ways (Eph. 2:11, 12):

1) they were “without Christ,” the Messiah, having no Savior and Deliverer and without divine purpose or destiny.

2) They were “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel.” God’s chosen people, the Jews, were a nation whose supreme King and Lord was God Himself, and from whose unique blessing and protection they benefitted.

3) Gentiles were “strangers from the covenants of promise,” not able to partake of God’s divine covenants in which He promised to give His people a land, a priesthood, a people, a nation, a kingdom, and a King—and to those who believe in Him, eternal life and heaven.

4) They had “no hope” because they had been given no divine promise.

5) They were “without God in the world.” While Gentiles had many gods, they did not recognize the true God because they did not want Him.

“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ”(v.13). “Far off” was a common term in rabbinical writings used to describe Gentiles, those who were apart from the true God (Is. 57:19; Acts 2:39). Every person who trusts in Christ alone for salvation, Jew or Gentile, is brought into spiritual union and intimacy with God. This is the reconciliation of 2 Corinthians 5:18–21.The atoning work accomplished by Christ’s death on the cross washes away the penalty of sin and ultimately even its presence. “He Himself” (v. 14). Through His death, Christ abolished Old Testament ceremonial laws, feasts, and sacrifices which uniquely separated Jews from Gentiles. God’s moral law (as summarized in the Ten Commandments and written on the hearts of all men, Rom. 2:15) was not abolished but subsumed in the New Covenant, however, because it reflects His own holy nature (Matt. 5:17–19.)

Standing before the throne and before the Lamb: Again, John saw everything in heaven in reference to the throne of God. “This is a peculiar subject of their joy: that God has a throne, that he sits upon it, and that he ruleth over all things, and all things do his bidding. The central thought of heaven, then, is divine sovereignty.” (Spurgeon)

Clothed with white robes: These robes remind us not only of the covering righteousness of Jesus, but also of priestly service. “They are arrayed for holy service, and arrayed at once, for they wear white robes fitted for their priestly service.” (Spurgeon)

Palm branches: These remind us of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem (John 12:12-16), where Jesus was also praised as Savior and King. The word Hosanna means “save now!”

Palm branches were emblems of victory. It shows this great multitude celebrates a great victory. “The palm, the ensign of triumph, indicates most certainly a conflict and conquest. As on earth palm would not be given if not won, we may conclude that the Lord would not have distributed the prize unless there had been a preceding warfare and victory… From the very fact that the glorified carry palms, we may infer that they did not come from beds of sloth, or gardens of pleasure, or palaces of peace, but that they endured hardness, and were men trained for war.” (Spurgeon)

Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb! Having an emblem of righteousness (white robes), they worship God for salvation. They recognize that God is the source of salvation, and no one else. Salvation isn’t something we earn, it is something God gives.

All the angels… the elders and the four living creatures… worshiped God: As the great multitude worships God, the others in heaven are compelled to join their voices in praise. All created beings around the throne join in.

Blessing and glory and wisdom, thanksgiving and honor and power and might: As these other created beings hear the worship the great multitude brings to God, they see more clearly the power and wisdom and majesty of God. They can worship God all the more by seeing the salvation He brought to the great multitude. 

(13-14) The identity of the great multitude.

Then one of the elders answered: It was important that John knew the identity of this great multitude. But he didn’t know that he should ask, so one of the eldersprompted him to ask.

These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation: This vast multitude, from every tribe and tongue and nation, are those rescued for God’s kingdom in the period of the great tribulation.

Note: the Greek indicates they are continually coming out. It is an active process during the Great Tribulation. If you will recall, I have mentioned several times there will be a great revival during the time of the Tribulation.

They had trouble on the earth during the great tribulation. In the ancient Greek grammar of this passage, “the” is emphatic. This was a time of great tribulation for this multitude. This leads many to believe that most, if not all, of these are martyrs from the great tribulation.

The presence of so many tribulation saints is a powerful statement of God’s grace and mercy. Even in this time of judgment and wrath on the earth, many are saved.

Keep it in your mind that the whole of Revelation is the greatest testimony to God’s Grace in the whole of Scripture. In the midst of pouring out the most terrifying judgments imaginable, God is still a Redeemer; He is still a Savior

Because the great multitude are mentioned right after the 144,000, many think they are – at least in part – due to the work of those 144,000 servants of God. Perhaps the 144,000 are evangelists who help reap this huge harvest for the kingdom during the great tribulation. This is the logical conclusion to draw because a redeemed Israel, made fully righteous, are now bringing the total fulfillment of their purpose- to be a light of God to the people of the world.

Washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb: Those saved in the great tribulation are saved just like everybody else, by the blood of the Lamb. Even if they are martyred, their martyrdom does not save them. Only the work of Jesus can cleanse and save.

“They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Not one of them became white through his tears of repentance, not one through the shedding of the blood of bulls or of goats. They all wanted a vicarious sacrifice, and for none of them was any sacrifice effectual, except the death of Jesus Christ the Lord. They washed their robes nowhere but in the blood of the Lamb.” (Spurgeon)

White by blood is an interesting phrase; we don’t think of things being made white by the application of blood. But the blood of Jesus cleanses us: Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool. (Isaiah 1:18)

  1. (15-17) What this great multitude does, and how it is blessed.

They are before the throne of God: In heaven, the redeemed enjoy the immediate presence of God. They can come right into the throne room and be with God. There are no barriers, no waiting lists.

These saints knew affliction on earth, and they triumphed over it. But it wasn’t their affliction that saved them. It was Jesus and their relationship of faith with Him. “Affliction of itself does not sanctify anybody, but the reverse. I believe in sanctified afflictions, but not in sanctifying afflictions.” (Spurgeon)

And serve Him day and night: In heaven, the redeemed serve God. We don’t know exactly how, but they do. “Heaven is not only a place of rest from earthly toil but also a place of privileged service.” (Walvoord)

He who sits on the throne will dwell among them: In heaven, God will dwellwith His people. This is the ultimate fulfillment of King David’s great desire in Psalm 27:4One thing I have desired of the LORD, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple.

The Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them: In heaven, the redeemed will know the loving care and nurture of their Savior. He will protect them from every affliction (they shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat). He will also provide for their every need (lead them to living fountains of waters).

Jesus does shepherd us now, and He is close to us and cares for us now. Yes, but in heaven it will be so much more. “The true Christian life, when we live near to God, is the rough draft of the life of full communion above. We have seen the artist make with his pencil, or with his charcoal, a bare outline of his picture. It is nothing more, but still one could guess what the finished picture will be from the sketch before you.” (Spurgeon)

God will wipe away every tear from their eyes: In heaven, the redeemed will know no more sorrow or pain. The hurt and the struggle of this earthly life are gone, and tears are a thing of the past, because God will wipe away every tear.

 

144,000 and God’s Great Revival

144,000 and God’s Great Revival

As opposed to simply providing lesson notes, which is my normal custom, I want to address objections and disputations with regard to this passage of Scripture.

Objection: The Bible says not all of Israel is Israel (Romans 9:6), so you cannot say that all of Israel will be saved in the Tribulation.

Answer: The Bible does indeed make the statement that not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel but to imply that this verse means that “all” of Israel will not be saved is specious at best. I heard a sermon from John Piper wherein he says “Israel is God’s chosen people and most of them are perishing, cut off from the Savior, Jesus Christ. And the reason it is a crisis for you, and not just for Jews, is that, if God’s promises to Israel do not hold true, then there is no reason to think his promises to you will hold true. The rock solid security of God’s elect in Romans 8 (Verse 33: “Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies!”) – this security that we exult in, at the heart of our faith, is worthless if God proves unfaithful to his covenant people. If God does not keep his promises to Israel, will he keep the promises he makes to us?”

Statement of Fact: A number of sound Bible teachers teach that the 144,000 are not to be taken literally and, instead, are a representation of all that will be saved during the tribulation.

Answer: This is an understandable sentiment but it is deficient for 2 reasons. First, there is no reason to assume Revelation needs to be “spiritualized” There are figurative aspects to be sure and they need to be dealt with according to the normal rules of language. Secondly there is nothing in Revelation 7 that indicates that the 144,000 and the multitude are the same. I would argue the opposite is true; the multitude and the 144,000 cannot be the same because one is from Israel and the other is from every tongue and tribe (often times referred to as ha’Goyim/the Nations) and thus the multitude are still more gentiles who are saved.

Question: Is it logically possible that all Israel will be saved?

Answer: That all Israel will be saved is, in fact, a logical possibility. Moreover it is plausible, and guaranteed. 

In two of the sets of judgments, we see the unmitigated death and destruction that the Holy God allows to be unleashed on a Christ Rejecting world. What we do not see, in Revelation, is how many of those who are killed are part of Israel and as a consequence we do not know how many Israelites are left alive to be saved although Zechariah 13:8 states that 2/3 will be cut off and die. We can, then, infer that the salvation of the remaining 1/3 as “all” Israel to be saved is logically possible. As to probability, bear with me…

7 Seals Judgment

Rev.6:3-2nd Seal: Wars on earth

Rev.6:7-4th Seal: Death released. 1/4 of the worlds population to die by plagues, disease, and beasts of the earth

Rev.6:9-5th Seal: Persecution and mass killing of God’s people worldwide

Rev.6:12-6th Seal: Massive earthquake wrath of God.

TRUMPETS

Rev.9:13-6th Trumpet: demons released and 200 million army kills 1/3 of the world’s population.

Some points from the Revelation Teaching Series by another of my mentors

  1. “shall be saved”…salvation by faith in Jesus Christ vs works

Genesis 15:6 Habakkuk 2:4 Romans 4:9 – 5:1 Romans 9:24-26 Galatians 3:16-29

  1. “all Israel”

Romans 2:25-29 Romans 9:6b Romans 9:27 Ezkekiel 20:5, 8, 13, 16-17, 33-44

 

We come to some questions:

  • When will God rule over Israel…when will God be Israel’s King?
  • When will Israel pollute His name no more?
  • When will Israel be sanctified before the Gentile nations?
  • When will Israel know that Jesus Christ is Lord?
  • When will Israel loathe themselves and their tawdry history?
  • When will the Lord purge Israel of the rebels/unbelievers?

 

The answer to all of the above questions is

During the 70th Week of Daniel  (Dan 9:24)

Ezekiel 36:16-31 Zechariah 13:8-9 Romans 11:25-29

“all Israel” are those who believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, their King and Savior

Ezekiel 40-48

Question Does any reputable Bible teacher believe all Israel will be saved?

Answer:

Dr. MacArthur points out that “all Israel” means all of those members of the nation of Israel that survive the Time of Jacob’s Trouble/Great Tribulation.

Romans 11:17– only some branches are broken off, so a believing remnant are being preserved unto/until salvation.

Before all Israel is saved, its unbelieving, ungodly members will be separated out by God’s inerrant hand of judgment. Ezekiel makes that truth vividly clear:

“As I live,” declares the Lord God, “surely with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm and with wrath poured out, I shall be king over you. And I shall bring you out from the peoples and gather you from the lands where you are scattered, with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm and with wrath poured out; and I shall bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I shall enter into judgment with you face to face. As I entered into judgment with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will enter into judgment with you,” declares the Lord God. “And I shall make you pass under the rod, and I shall bring you into the bond of the covenant; and I shall purge from you the rebels and those who transgress against Me; I shall bring them out of the land where they sojourn, but they will not enter the land of Israel. Thus you will know that I am the Lord.” (Ezek. 20:33–38, emphasis added; cf. Dan. 12:10;Zech. 13:8–9)

Those who hear the preaching of the 144,000 (Rev. 7:1–814:1–5), of other converts (7:9), of the two witnesses (11:3–13), and of the angel (14:6), and thus safely pass under God’s rod of judgment will then comprise all Israel, which—in fulfillment of God’s sovereign and irrevocable promise—will be completelya nation of believers who are ready for the kingdom of the Messiah Jesus.

“Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israeland with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israelafter those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My law within them, and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. And they shall not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” (Jer. 31:31–34; cf. 32:38)

God’s control of history is irrefutable evidence of His sovereignty. And as surely as He cut off unbelieving Israel from His tree of salvation, just as surely will He graft believing Israel back in—a nation completely restored and completely saved.”

Most importantly, the reason why, at some point, the entirety of Israel looks upon Him whom they pierced, mourns, and turns to Christ is the fact that God does not change

Malachi 3:6

I, the Lord, do not change

Hosea 2:14-20

14“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness,

and speak tenderly to her. 15And there I will give her her vineyards

and make the Valley of Achore a door of hope. And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth, as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt.

16“And in that day, declares the LORD, you will call me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal.’ 17For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be remembered by name no more. 18And I will make for them a covenant on that day with the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the creeping things of the ground. And I will abolishf the bow, the sword, and war from the land, and I will make you lie down in safety. 19And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. 20 I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the LORD.

1 Samuel 15:29

29 “And also the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind”

Psalm 102:12 & 25-28

12 But Thou, O LORD dost abide forever; And Thy name to all generations. . . 25 Of old Thou didst found the earth; And the heavens are the work of Thy hands. 26 Even they will perish, but Thou dost endure; And all of them will wear out like a garment; Like clothing Thou wilt change them, and they will be changed. 27 But Thou art the same, And Thy years will not come to an end. 28 The children of Thy servants will continue, And their descendants will be established before Thee”

Beloved, I hope this is helpful. Until next time, grace to you.

 

Nikao (Overcome)

Nikao (Overcome)

 Revelation 3:5 –overcome, nikaō; Strong’s #3528:

A word meaning “to gain victory” or “get beyond.” It is used by Jesus to set the standard of life for believers in John 16:33: “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Here and six more times in Revelation, Jesus urges believers and churches to remain faithful to the end. Overcoming is the ultimate demonstration of the reality of one’s faith in Christ and the way to His promised rewards. The word is also used in John 16:33 and Romans 12:21.

Kardia

Kardia

Our next word study is found in Revelation 2:23

Kardia (heart) Strong’s #2588:

From a root word meaning “to quiver” or “to palpitate” (cf. “cardiac” and “pericardium”). The physical organ of the body, the center of physical life, the seat of one’s personal life (both physical and spiritual), the center of one’s personality, the seat of one’s entire mental and moral activity, containing both rational and emotional elements. It is the seat of feelings, desires, joy, pain, and love. It is also the center for thought, understanding, and will. The human heart is the dwelling place of the Lord and the Holy Spirit. In verse 23, the omniscient Lord sees into the innermost being where all decisions concerning Him are made.

A Summary of the Great Tribulation

A Summary of the Great Tribulation

Although God’s people may expect tribulation throughout the present age (Jn. 16:33; Acts 14:22), the word “tribulation,” as here, is also used specifically of a future time (Mt. 24:21,29; Mk. 13:24). This future time is also referred to as the time of Jacob’s Trouble (Jer. 30:6-7)

Since our Lord links the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel with this time of tribulation (Mt. 24:15-21; Mk. 13:14-19), it is evident that the tribulation is to be connected with the seventieth week of Daniel (Dan. 9:27). Furthermore, the Biblical references have in common an allusion to unprecedented trouble (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 9:27; 12:1; Mt. 24:21-22).

While the seventieth week of Daniel is seven years in length (see Dan. 9:24, note; compare Rev. 11:2, note), and the terms “tribulation” and “great tribulation,” as used in the Scriptures, both have to do with the latter half of the seven years, it is customary to use “tribulation” of the whole period, and “great tribulation” of the second half of the period.

From the Scriptures we may deduce that the tribulation will begin with the signing of the covenant to permit the renewal of Jewish sacrifice (Dan. 9:27); it will be a period of unexampled trouble and judgment (see chain ref., Tribulation, Ps. 2:5 to Rev. 7:14), and is described in Rev. 6-19; and it will involve the whole earth (Rev. 3:10), but it is distinctively “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7).

The elements of the great tribulation (the latter half of the seventieth week) are:

(1) the cruel reign of the “beast . . . out of the sea” (Rev. 13:1) who, at the beginning of the final three and one-half years, will break his covenant with the Jews (by virtue of which they will have re-established the temple worship, Dan. 9:27), and show himself in the temple, demanding that he be worshiped as God (Mt. 24:15; 2 Th. 2:4) {The rise of the Beast, while chronicled in Revelation 13, it is alluded to in the opening of the 1st seal.}

(2) the active interposition of Satan “having great wrath” (Rev. 12:12), who gives his power to the beast (Rev. 13:4-5). It is important to remember that even though Satan has fierce wrath, that wrath is governed by God the Holy One and is used as a minister of Divine Wrath.

(3) the unprecedented activity of demons (Rev. 9:2,11; compare v. 20); and

(4) the terrible bowl judgments of Rev. 16. These bowl judgments are teh final opportunity for the wicked to turn toward God in repentance and faith. Bowls six and seven are devoid of the opportunity to repent and are the most terrible of God’s outpouring of wrath. Following the seventh bowl judgment, Christ returns

The tribulation will, nevertheless, be a period of salvation. An election out of Israel will be redeemed (Rev. 7:1-4) with an innumerable multitude of Gentiles (v. 9). These are said to have come “out of the great tribulation” (v. 14). They are not of the priesthood, the Church, to which they seem to stand somewhat in the relation of the Levites to the priests under the Mosaic Covenant. The great tribulation will be followed immediately by the return of Christ in glory, and the events associated therewith .

There is a difference of opinion about the location in Revelation at which the great tribulation is first alluded to. Some suggest as early as ch. 6; others, as late as ch. 11.  Either way, it is described in chs. 11-18.

 

**Adapted from the Scofield Study Bible**

Spiritual Renewal and Recovery Themes in Revelation

Spiritual Renewal and Recovery Themes in Revelation

Redemptive History reaches its final culmintation in the Book of Revelation and it is here where God gives us our final lessons on being renewed and restored to relationship with Him and our final lessons on recovering from our sin…

 

God Rules Over All

God is sovereign. He is greater than any other power in the universe. Nothing and no one can compare to him. When we look at the turmoil in the world today, the problems we face, the pain we have suffered or the pain we have caused others, we may wonder whether God will really be able to right all the wrongs. But John wrote this book to assure us that though evil may seem to win today’s battles, God is all-powerful and will assert himself for his people. In the end, all things will be made new in Christ.

God Is the Source of Hope

The book of Revelation reveals to us the ultimate source of hope—Jesus Christ. He is coming again and will deal with the problems of our sin-scarred world, restoring what is broken and dealing with the injustices around us. Life is never hopeless, regardless of what has happened to us or what we have done. We can focus on God’s love, grace and forgiveness. He has made our restoration possible in Christ, and Christ will return to complete his task of renewal throughout all creation. If we are looking to Christ, we can hang on to our hope despite the difficult circumstances that we may face.

The Pain of Consequences

Every one of us cries out for justice. When evil and injustice prosper, we begin to feel angry. It often appears that people get away with their selfish and wicked deeds. But in reality God will judge all wicked actions. Those who openly defy him will ultimately face the awful consequences of their sin. Those who turn to God in repentance for forgiveness need not fear the future day of judgment. Judgment is an awful thing, and the pain of sin’s consequences should motivate us to turn our lives over to God and obediently follow his plan.

Justice Belongs to God

Being in recovery does not release us from our sense of justice. As we deal with the wrongs we have done, we may feel that others are not dealing with theirs and that we have legitimate grudges to harbor. While these feelings are natural, they are not godly and endanger our recovery. The book of Revelation makes it clear that justice belongs to God; he alone has the right to avenge the wrongs of others. What’s more, he alone has the power to change their lives. Anger and bitterness make recovery more difficult than it already is. Part of giving our life and our will over to God is releasing the bitterness we feel toward others.

**This lesson is adapted from the NIV Spiritual Renewal Study Bible and the KJV Life Recovery Bible**

Riders of Judgment- The Red, Black, and Pale Horses (Sermon Notes)

Riders of Judgment- The Red, Black, and Pale Horses (Sermon Notes)

Lesson Text- Revelation 6:3-8

 

The three remaining horsemen are personifications of the events that unfold under the reign of Antichrist- war, famine and pestilence, disease/plague, and death

The red horse brings war and conflict.

Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth: This rider didn’t need to bring war and destruction. All he needed to do was take peace from the earth.

The false peace that the Rider on the White Horse brings in is very short lived. Doubtlessly, world leaders still trying to cope with the Rapture think they have been under some kind of attack and, despite the best efforts of the Conquering Imitator, the rumblings of war begin.

 

Though the chief architect of the false peace, when wars break out all over the world he will have no choice but to resort to war himself in order to preserve his authority and power. Antichrist will be as skillful at war as he was at promoting the false peace. Daniel 8:24 describes his career as a warrior: “He will destroy to an extraordinary degree and prosper and perform his will; he will destroy mighty men and the holy people.” Among his victims will be many of God’s people (cf. 6:9; Matt. 24:9).

 

 

And it was granted: This authority was granted to the horseman. This is, directly or indirectly, the judgment of God.

 

a great sword was given to the rider. Machaira (sword) refers to the short, stabbing sword a Roman soldier carried into battle. It was also a weapon used by assassins. The vision depicts a great sword to describe the extent of the war. Antichrist’s false peace, then, will dissolve in a maelstrom of battle, assassination, rebellion, revolt, and massacre.

 

That people should kill one another: Our modern age is marked by war and conflict. Since World War II, there have been more than 150 wars of some kind in the world, and at any given time there may be some three dozen armed conflicts taking thousands of lives yearly. The nations of the world often spend more than $1 trillion on military expenditures a year.

 

This begins the largest holocaust in human history-unimaginable slaughter on a scale never seen before.

 

The black horse brings scarcity and inequity.

 

John’s use of the word behold reveals how startled and shocked he was by the rider’s ominous appearance. The color black is associated with famine in Lamentations 5:10 (KJV). Famine is a logical consequence of worldwide war as food supplies are destroyed and those involved in food production are killed. Jesus also predicted this future famine in Matthew 24:7: “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes.” God has used famine as a means of judgment in the past (e. g., Lev. 26:26; Deut. 32:24; 2 Kings 8:1; Ps. 105:16; Isa. 3:1; Jer. 16:4; Ezek. 4:16-17; 5:16; 14:13; Hag. 1:11), but this will be the most devastating famine in all of human history.

 

A black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand: The scales symbolize the need to carefully measure and ration food. This speaks of a time of scarcity.

 

Scarcity is probably a kind understatement. As the entire world plunges into war and skirmishes the food supply and thus the economies of a host of nations is obliterated.

 

As in the United States during the Depression, in Europe in the aftermath of World War II, and today in many war-torn third-world nations, there will be starving people standing in food lines. But they will not find enough food to live on, as the fourth seal in John’s vision reveals.

 

Following the appearance of the black horse and its rider, John heard something like a voice in the center of the four living creatures. Since the four living creatures were stationed around the throne (4:6), this, most certainly, is the voice of God, the One sitting on the throne (4:2-3). I cannot find a logical alternative. Therefore,  God speaks here as a reminder that the famine is a direct judgment from Him.

 

Could it be more clear? Is there possibly a more exacting reference in Scripture that refutes the idea that a “loving God” does not judge?

 

A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius: These prices are about twelve times higher than normal. It means that it would cost a day’s wage to buy the ingredients for a loaf of bread. This describes “a time of famine when life will be reduced to the barest necessities.” (Walvoord)

We often see great famine in the world today, yet fewer people suffer from hunger today than 100 years ago. However, understanding the world’s precarious ecological balance, it would not take much to plunge many into the kind of scarcity and inequity mentioned here.

Do not harm the oil and the wine: Yet, the nicer things will be available for those who can afford them. There will still be the oil and the wine that should not be harmed.

 

The disparity between rich and poor now comes to its ultimate expression as the poor will not even be able to buy bread while the rich still have their oil and wine (a metaphor of the niceties of life). It, frankly, beggars the imaginations to contemplate the hostility that these disparities create.

The pale horse brings death.

 

A pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death: This last rider shows that there will be a tremendous death toll from the dictatorship, war, famine and other calamities described by the previous three horsemen.

 

John described the final horse as an ashen horse. Chlōros (ashen), from which the English words “chlorophyll” and “chlorine” derive, refers to a sickly, pale, yellow-green color. It describes green vegetation in its only other New Testament uses (8:7; 9:4; Mark 6:39). The horse’s color vividly portrays the pale-green pallor of death characteristic of the decomposition of a corpse. Fittingly, the rider who sat on it had the ominous name Death. Death on a massive scale is the inevitable consequence of widespread war and famine. In this macabre and terrifying scene, John saw Hades … following with Death. Hades (here representing the grave) becomes, as it were, the grave digger, burying the remains of Death’s victims. Death and Hades are also paired in 1:18 and 20:13, 14.

 

Our modern age has seen hundreds of millions killed by dictators, war, and famine. Yet all that will pale in comparison to the death toll coming in the wake of this ultimate dictator. No wonder Jesus said of this time For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. (Matthew 24:21)

 

 

The death toll is quantified…

Power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill: Power was given to the horseman, and given by God. Though all hell breaks loose on the earth, God is very much in control. He still holds the scroll and opens the seals.

 

As it stands, today, there are nearly 8 billion people on the planet. We cannot tabulate the number who will be taken at the Rapture but it is entirely reasonable to think that death toll from these three horsemen would be north of 1 billion people, a greater death toll than all the wars of the 20th Century combined.

 

 

 

ptōcheia (word wealth)

ptōcheia (word wealth)

Revelation 2:9  brings us to consider poverty in the New Testament Context

ptōcheia (poverty); Strong’s #4432: From a root meaning “to cower.” The word indicates a state of abject poverty, destitution, indigence, and affliction, and is used three times. In the NT it describes the voluntary poverty that Christ experienced on our behalf (2 Cor. 8:9); the condition of saints in Macedonia (2 Cor. 8:2); and the extreme want of the church of Smyrna (Rev. 2:9). The root word means “to cower,” describing the posture of a beggar.

Martus (Word Wealth)

Martus (Word Wealth)

Revelation 1:5  brings us our first Word Wealth for the Boook of Revelation…

Martus (witness); Strong’s #3144: Compare “martyr” and “martyrdom.” One who testifies to the truth he has experienced, a witness, one who has knowledge of a fact and can give information concerning it. The word in itself does not imply death, but many of the first-century witnesses did give their lives, with the result that the word came to denote a martyr, one who witnesses for Christ by his death (Acts 22:20; Rev. 2:13; 17:6).