Category: Revelation Study

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).

The Conquering Imitator Part 1: Introducing the Antichrist

The Conquering Imitator Part 1: Introducing the Antichrist

Antichrists

  • There will be many who claim to speak for Christ but do not in truth (Matthew 24:5)
  • Some will have miraculous powers/manifestations to deceive (Matthew 24:24)
  • Many, including the final Antichrist, will clain that they are the Christ (Luke 21:8)
  • Antichrists are lawless and deceitful (2 Thessalonians 2:10)
  • Antichrists turn the grace of the Lord Jesus into license (Jude 4)
  • There are many antichrists (1 John 2:18)
  • Antichrists stand in opposition to God (1 John 4:3)
  • Antichrists curse God, speaking many blasphemies (Revelation 13:1-8)

 

 

I have said before, and need to repeat: it is not enough to simply believe in a Jesus, the Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Adventists all believe in a Jesus but he isn’t the Jesus who can save from sin. Even scarier, most of what passes for Christianity does not even believe in the right Jesus- they believe in a Jesus who is a life coach or some kind of genie, not the Sovereign God of the Universe.  You must believe in the right Jesus and in the right manner if you are to have any hope of being saved from your sin.

 

What does an Antichrist look like? Frightening as it is, he could look like you or I. You see, he will have just enough truth to convince you.

 

  • He denies the apostolic teaching of Jesus as having coming in the flesh (1John 4:22 John 7)
  • He is someone who has gone out from us i.e. he has deviated from orthodoxy (1 John 2:19) and leads many astray
  • His teaching makes it impossible to remain in God forever
  • They crept in unawares (Jude 4) which is to say that they look and even sound like Christians
  • Many are in it for riches (Jude 11)
  • They turn grace into license (Jude 4)
  • They will eventually be destroyed (Jude 5)

 

Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals

 These things, the 6 seal judgments must be understood as antecedent to the judgments IN the scroll as the seals must be broken before the book is opened and the Final Judgments revealed

 

The imagery of the “four horsemen of the Apocalypse” comes from Zechariah 1:8–17; 6:1–8. The colors in Revelation correspond to the character of the rider: White, in this case, symbolizes conquest. The imagery here is said, by the idealists and the amillennialists,  to symbolize the Spirit of Conquest. That is true, albeit only partially. Remembering that all the symbols in Revelation point to real events, we are left to the conclusion that this rider is, in fact a real person.

 

Behold, a white horse: If one were to take their interpretive clues more from movies than from the Bible, it would be easy to believe the rider on the white horse is Jesus. Jesus does return on a white horse in Revelation 19:11-16 and He brings the whole Host of Heaven with Him, but this is a satanic dictator who imitates Jesus.

 

I want to point out that I agree with John MacArthur- this is not simply a single person in a single moment in time. “The animal represents an unparalleled time of world peace—a false peace that is to be short-lived. This peace will be ushered in by a series of false messiahs, culminating with the Antichrist (Matt. 24:3–5).” What we must realize is that the rider on the white horse is the final culmination of a host of antichrist persons into one final Antichrist.

 

He rules (a crown was given). Though all authority in Heaven and Earth is given to Jesus (Matthew 28:18) this imitator is granted the usurpation of the authority on Earth for a season. He rules with a bow, not a sword; and he exercises dominion over the earth (went out conquering and to conquer).  Notice that the rider has a weapon of war but the absence of the mention of arrows suggests a bloodless conquering.

 

I would like to suggest to you that he rises to power in short order following the Rapture through convincing a world in chaos following the disappearance of millions of believers that he is able to solve their problems and restore peace and economic prosperity.

 

But the results of his rule, as described in the following verses, show clearly that this is not the reign of Jesus.

 

“The whole context and character of these seals absolutely forbid our thinking of this rider being the Lord Jesus, as so many affirm. His reign shall not bring war, famine, and strife in its train.” (Jennings)

 

He went out conquering and to conquer: Taking this to be the final satanic dictator over men, we see that he will be more terrible than all previous dictators were. He will rule over men as a false messiah, and lead man in organized rebellion against God, in the pattern of Nimrod, his first predecessor. He is the one often called the antichrist.

 

The idea of a satanic dictator over men goes back all the way to Nimrod, the ruler over Babel in Genesis 10:8-14, where it says he was a mighty hunter before the LORD. This has the sense that he was a mighty hunter of men, and that this was offensive to the face of God.

The Wrath to Come (Various Scripture)

The Wrath to Come (Various Scripture)

Why preach wrath?

First, the holy character of God demands it. An essential part of God’s moral perfection is His hatred of sin. A.W. Pink asserts, “The wrath of God is the holiness of God stirred into activity against sin.” God is “a consuming fire” (Heb. 12:29) who “feels indignation every day” (Ps. 7:11) toward the wicked. God has “hated wickedness” (45:7) and is angered toward all that is contrary to His perfect character. He will, therefore, “destroy” (5:6) sinners in the Day of Judgment.

Second, the ministry of the prophets demands it. The prophets of old frequently proclaimed that their hearers, because of their continual wickedness, were storing up for themselves the wrath of God (Jer. 4:4). In the Old Testament, more than twenty words are used to describe the wrath of God, and these words are used in their various forms a total of 580 times. Time and again, the prophets spoke with vivid imagery to describe God’s wrath unleashed upon wickedness. The last of the prophets, John the Baptist, spoke of “the wrath to come” (Matt. 3:7). From Moses to the forerunner of Christ, there was a continual strain of warning to the impenitent of the divine fury that awaits.

Third, the preaching of Christ demands it. Ironically, Jesus had more to say about divine wrath than anyone else in the Bible. Our Lord spoke about God’s wrath more than He spoke of God’s love. Jesus warned about “fiery hell” (Matt. 5:22) and eternal “destruction” (7:13) where there is “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (8:12). Simply put, Jesus was a hellfire and damnation preacher. Men in pulpits would do well to follow the example of Christ in their preaching.

Fourth, the glory of the cross demands it. Christ suffered the wrath of God for all who would call upon Him. If there is no divine wrath, there is no need for the cross, much less for the salvation of lost souls. From what would sinners need to be saved? It is only when we recognize the reality of God’s wrath against those deserving of judgment that we find the cross to be such glorious news. Too many pulpiteers today boast in having a cross-centered ministry but rarely, if ever, preach divine wrath. This is a violation of the cross itself.

Fifth, the teaching of the Apostles demands it. Those directly commissioned by Christ were mandated to proclaim all that He commanded (Matt. 28:20). This necessitates proclaiming God’s righteous indignation toward sinners. The Apostle Paul warns unbelievers of the “God who inflicts wrath” (Rom. 3:5) and declares that only Jesus can “deliver us from the wrath to come” (1 Thess. 1:10). Peter writes about “the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly” (2 Pet. 3:7). Jude addresses the “punishment of eternal fire” (Jude 7). John describes “the wrath of the Lamb” (Rev. 6:16). Clearly, the New Testament writers recognized the necessity of preaching God’s wrath.

 

Christians on Hell

It has become common for Christians to describe hell as our freely chosen identity apart from God. Hell, it is said, is not so much where God sends the wicked, as much as it is what the wicked choose or create for themselves. This is the view famously espoused by C.S. Lewis in The Great Divorce. Lewis argues that hell is our own self-absorption and idolatry let loose for all eternity. Hell is God’s way of saying “Thy will be done” to us when we refuse to say “Thy will be done” to God. Hell is what we get when we choose human freedom instead of divine salvation. The gates of hell may be locked for eternity, but they are locked from the inside. We refuse to give up the hell within us, so hell is what we get around us.

 

This seems to indicate that Hell is a passive response of God toward sin. Is that all there is? Indeed not; we see images in Scripture of God actively cursing and punishing…

 

  • In the garden, God cursed the serpent, the woman, the man, and the ground. He said to the snake “I will put enmity between you and the woman” (Gen 3:15), and to the woman, “I will multiply your pain in childbearing” ( 3:16). He sent the couple away and drove them out of the garden (Gen. 3:23-24). In this first episode of sin we see the way in which covenants work. Disobedience does not just result in bad consequences; it results in divine cursing.

 

  • At the time of the flood, God responded to the rampant wickedness on the earth by declaring “I will blot out man whom I have created” ( 6:7).

 

  • In Genesis 12, the chapter where God promises to bless the whole world through Abram, he also promises to curse those who dishonor Abram ( 12:3).

 

  • In Deuteronomy 28we see the promise of covenantal blessing for obedience and cursing for disobedience. Both are actively sent by God. The curse is not a passive consequence of bad choices. On the contrary, we read in verse after verse: “The Lord will make the pestilence stick to you. . . .The Lord will strike you with wasting disease. . . .The Lord will cause you to be defeated before your enemies. . . .The Lord will strike you with the boils of Egypt” ( 28:21-27).

 

There are even instances, such as the Law of the Sabbath, where a violation of the Divine Law carries with it the death penalty.

 

Surely that is just the Old Testament, though. Don’t we have, in Jesus, the kinder, gentler God? Afraid not.

 

  • Jesus warns us to fear the God who can destroy both body and soul in Hell (Matthew 10:28)
  • Jesus, through the pen of the Apostle Paul, warns that God will give the wicked over to a reprobate mind (Romans 1)
  • Jesus, through the pen of the Apostle Peter, Jesus warns us that the earth is being reserved for fire. (2 Peter 3:7)

 

Is the coming wrath really necessary? Yes; God’s covenant keeping nature demands that He honor that curses in the covenants that He has laid down.

 

5 Types of Divine Wrath

  1. Eternal Wrath– Eternal separation from God – the final judgment for those who reject Christ.  This is going on now for those dead, and will go on into the infinite future.

 

  1. Eschatological Wrath– The outpouring of God’s judgment during the “last days.” (Revelation 6-19).  This wrath is yet to come.

 

  1. Calamitous Wrath – Such interventions as the Noahic Flood, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, etc.

 

  1. Consequential Wrath– the natural results of bad choices.  Whatever we sow, we reap.  This reaping, though passive on God’s part, it still seen as God’s judgment, and wrath, on sin.

 

  1. The Wrath of Abandonment– this is being described in Romans 1, and how God judges individuals, groups, and nations.  We see this type of wrath happening in America today.

 

The wrath of God is an integral part of the Gospel but it is not revealed in the Gospel. Rather it is revealed in the facts of our experience as humans.

 

  1. Ungodliness: This refers to man’s offenses against God. Unrighteousnessrefers to the sins of man against man.

 

  1. Who suppress the truth in unrighteousness: Mankind does in fact suppress the truthof God. Every truth revealed to man by God has been fought against, disregarded, and deliberately obscured. Think about it, when is the last time you heard a good old fashioned sermon on sin? We hear about problems, illnesses, habits, hang-ups etc. but rarely if ever a sermon on sin.

 

God becomes a life coach, your granddaddy in the sky who is just waiting to lavish gifts and blessings on your life instead of the superlatively holy One.

 

  1. His invisible attributes are clearly seen: God shows us something of His eternal power and divine nature through creation, by the things that are made. He has given a general revelationthat is obvious both in creation and within the mind and heart of man.

 

Although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God: The problem is not that man did not know God, but that he did know Him – yet refused to glorify Him as God. Therefore, mankind is without excuse. Instead of glorifying God we transformed our idea of Him into forms and images more comfortable to our corrupt and darkened hearts.

 

Nor were thankful: Man’s simple ingratitude against God is shocking. “I cannot say anything much worse of a man than that he is not thankful to those who have been his benefactors; and when you say that he is not thankful to God, you have said about the worst thing you can say of him.” (Spurgeon)

 

Professing to be wise, they became fools: Our rejection of God’s general revelation does not make us smarter or better. Instead, it makes mankind futile in their thoughts, and makes our foolish hearts darkened – and we become fools.

  1. The fact is once a man rejects the truth of God in Jesus, he will fall for anything foolish, and trust far more feeble and fanciful systems than what he rejects from God.
  2. This futility of thinking, darkening of the heart, and folly must be seen as one example of God’s righteouswrathagainst those who reject what He reveals. Part of His judgment against us is allowing us to suffer the damage our sinful course leads to.

 

For this reason God gave them up to vile passions: Paul wrote this from the city of Corinth, where every sort of sexual immorality and ritualistic prostitution was practiced freely. The terminology of Romans 1:24 refers to this combination of sexual immorality and idolatrous worship. The Old Testament, in fact, is replete with images of idolatry being equivalent before God as adultery.

 

Jude speaks of this in verse 4 of his brief epistle- the certain men who have crept in unawares have turned the grace of God into license.

 

John MacArthur on Divine Wrath: It is wrath against sin.  You knew that.  It’s not an uncontrolled, irrational fury.  God is not like a criminal who takes his vengeance out on the nearest person.  It is discriminated.  It is carefully pointed at the unrighteousness and ungodliness of men, asebeia and adikia.  What do these words mean?  “Ungodliness” and “unrighteousness.”

 

 

In Jude it says God is going to “come and execute judgment on all, and convict all that are ungodly among them, of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed.”  Three “ungodlies” in a row.  And then it says, “And of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”  Four in one verse, “ungodly,” not rightly related to God.

It refers to impiety toward God.  It refers to a lack of reverence, alack of devotion, a lack of worship.  And it leads to idolatry.  It views sin as a failure to reverence God.

Unrighteousness- When you are not rightly related to God and don’t reverence God properly, then your transactions with everyone else around you aren’t right, either.  And so ungodliness leads to unrighteousness.

All sin, you see, first attacks God’s majesty, and then His law.  And the reason – and I really believe this – the reason men treat men the way they do is because they treat God the way they do.  Ungodliness leads to unrighteousness.  People say, “Oh, what’s happening?  All the murders, and all the crimes, and all the horrible things that are going on.  Why is so man so inhumane to man?”  It’s because he is so unrelated to God.  All human relationships and all human transactions are corrupted.  And we’ll see more about that in the 2nd and 3rd chapter, as well as the remainder of the 1st chapter.

So, God’s wrath is set against sin.  Thomas Watson says, “Sin is to the soul as rust is to gold, as stain is to beauty.”  Sin in the Scripture is called a menstruous cloth.  It’s called a plague sore.  Joshua’s filthy garments were a hieroglyphic of sin.  And you know as well as I how God hates sin.

Interestingly, sin is the only thing God specifically and explicitly hates.

 

All men possess enough of the germs of divine truth and moral law to preserve them from hell, but they’ve halted the growth and development of those by the love of sin. And the wrath of God waits.

 

 

 

The Lion Who is the Lamb (Revelation 5)

The Lion Who is the Lamb (Revelation 5)

Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loosen its seals? This is a challenge no creature can answer because no creature is worthy to open this particular scroll.

No one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it: The strong angel looked through the entire universe to find someone worthy, and did not find anyone worthy to even look at the scroll.

This is testimony to the Sovereignty of the Living God i.e. His Kingship: There was no answer to the strong angel’s challenge because the creation is utterly incapable of deciding or effecting its own destiny. Someone above the order of created beings must determine the course of history – only God can unfold this plan.

 

THE FATHER’S REIGN WITH PROVIDENTIAL CARE AND GRACE

The Baptist Faith and Message connects God’s Fatherhood to his reign over all things. God reigns over the universe, his creatures, and the flow of human history.

Scripture repeatedly affirms God’s providential reign over the universe. This reign begins with his act of creation but persists throughout history. Even after the Fall, God reigns over the universe with providential care and grace. David praises God’s reign over the daily cycle of the sun, “which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy. Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them, and there is nothing hidden from its heat” (Ps 19:5-6). God makes the sun rise every morning. He daily gives all the earth its heat. Another Psalm similarly teaches, “Say among the nations, ‘The Lord reigns! Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity’” (Ps 96:10). God reigned with care by establishing the earth and sustaining its continued existence. This providential care assures us that one day he will fully judge all the people of the world throughout history. One of the final “Hallelujah” Psalms especially emphasizes God’s ongoing care for the universe as abundant cause to praise him (Ps 147). We should praise God because he created the stars (v. 4), he provides rain (v. 8), he provides food for wild animals (v. 9), he makes the seasons pass one into another (vv. 16-18).

The Bible also teaches that God providentially cares for his creatures. We’ve already considered this from Ps 147:9, but it is taught throughout Scripture. It is a major theme of God’s first speech to Job in Job 38-39Psalm 146 similarly affirms God’s care for the people he has created. He provides justice for oppressed people, food for hungry people, and freedom for captive people (v. 7). He gives sight to the blind, lifts the heads of those bowed down, and loves righteous people (v. 8). He protects sojourners, widows, and orphans, even as he punishes the wicked (v. 9). Well did Jesus comfort us, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows” (Matt 10:29-31).

 

Paul makes the point: God “made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place” (Acts 17:26). God the Father is sovereign over all things, from the stars in the sky, to the number of hairs on our heads, to the course of human history.

 

John weeps because there is no one worthy to open the Scroll. We might be tempted to look at worthiness in terms of value or ability and while those are part of it, in this case worthiness is to be equated with legal claim. Not one created being had legal claim to the document in the Father’s hand.

 

THE LION WHO IS THE LAMB HAS CLAIM TO THE SCROLL

 

Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah: One of the elders (not an angel) rescued John from his grief, showing him the one who has prevailed to open the scroll. This One was the great figure of Old Testament prophecy: the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, Messiah of Israel and of the Gentiles.

 

The Messianic title Lion of the tribe of Judah comes from Genesis 49:9-10, Isaiah 31:4, and Hosea 11:10. The title Root of David comes from Isaiah 11:10and is repeated in Revelation 22:16.

Trapp says that a Lion is a fitting image of our Messiah, “1. For the excellency of his strength. 2. For his heroical spirit. 3. For his principality; the lion is the king of beasts. 4. For his vigilance; the lion sleeps with open eyes.” Yet, when John turns to see, it is not a lion, glorious in power and beauty that he beholds. Instead…

And I looked, and behold… stood a Lamb:

John uses a particular word here. The word he uses,  “Signifies a little or delicate lamb.” (Clarke)

 

The Lamb is presented in a way both sympathetic and powerful; He is living (stood a Lamb), but He still had the marks of previous sacrifice upon Him (as though it had been slain).

 

When men want symbols of power they conjure up ferocious beasts and birds of prey such as those that represent nations and sports teams. But the representative of the kingdom of heaven is a Lamb, representing humility, gentleness, and sacrificial love.

 

You cannot help but be taken back to Ancient Israel. John the Baptist is proclaiming his message of repentance and then he sees Jesus approaching. At the sight of his cousin drawing near, John utters what has been the message of the Church for centuries, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29)

 

Saying the Lamb looks as though it had been slain gives us a peek into the vantage point of God the Father. The sacrifice of the Divine Son is always before His face. That is to emphasize the fact that God will not forget the sacrifice. The satisfaction of His wrath against sin stays before Him forever and ever. The sacrifice of the Son, in the fullness of His grace, restrains the wrath of God from consuming the Redeemed.

 

Having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth

 

7 Horns, no doubt arranged in the shape of a crown, picture omnipotence. In the ancient world, horns were a symbol of power. 7 being the number of completion, The image of the horns make a declaration for us: this is not just Jesus, this is Christus Pantokrator, THE CHRIST WHO IS ALL POWERFUL!!

 

7 eyes speak of omniscience-Christ does not just see, He sees it all. The image repeats the earlier declaration of Christ, “I am Alpha and Omega…” All knowledge is comprised of words, made up from the alphabet and in identifying Himself as both the first and the last letters of the alphabet, Jesus is not only declaring His omniscience, He is pointing out that He is the sum of all that is worth knowing.

 

And there it is…The Divine Son is worthy to take the scroll-He has legal claim to God’s Testamentary Document as He alone is Beneficiary and Executor thereof.

 

HEAVEN’S SECOND SONG

In Revelation 4, the song focuses on creation; here the song focuses on redemption…

 

  • The song honors the priceof redemption: for You were slain.
  • The song honors the workerof redemption: have redeemed us.
  • The song honors the destinationof redemption: have redeemed us to God.
  • The song honors the paymentof redemption: by Your blood.
  • The song honors the scopeof redemption: every tribe and tongue and people and nation.
  • The song honors the lengthof redemption: have made us kings and priests to our God.
  • The song honors the resultof redemption: and we shall reign on the earth.

 

Note: The Textus Receptus, in verse 9, reads you have purchased us. The NA28 reads you have purchased a people. It is my estimation that it is proper to say, “You have purchased us, a people…