Tag: revelation

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**

Heaven’s Worship Service Part 1: God’s Regal Priets

Heaven’s Worship Service Part 1: God’s Regal Priets

Revelation 4:4-11

From this passage forward, worship is one of the imost prominent concepts in the Revelation, occurring 23 times so I want to opent with a word study…

Proskuneo

  1. to kiss the hand to (towards) one, in token of reverence
  2. among the Orientals, esp. the Persians, to fall upon the knees and touch the ground with the forehead as an expression of profound reverence
  3. in the NT by kneeling or prostration to do homage (to one) or make obeisance, whether in order to express respect or to make supplication
    1. used of homage shown to men and beings of superior rank
      1. to the Jewish high priests
      2. to God
      3. to Christ
      4. to heavenly beings
      5. to demons
  • Revelation 4:10: “him that sat on the throne, andworship him that liveth forever and ever,”
  • Revelation 5:14: “fourand twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth forever and ever.”
  • Revelation 7:11: “their faces, andworshiped God,”
  • Revelation 9:20: “of their hands, that they should notworship devils, and idols”
  • Revelation 11:1: “the altar, andthem that worship “
  • Revelation 11:16: “fell upon their faces, andworshiped God,”
  • Revelation 13:4: “Andthey worshiped the dragon which gave power unto the”
  • Revelation 13:4: “unto the beast: andthey worshiped the beast, saying, Who”
  • Revelation 13:8: “upon the earthshall worship him, whose names are not”
  • Revelation 13:12: “them which dwell therein toworship the first beast,”
  • Revelation 13:15: “and cause that as many as would notworship the image”
  • Revelation 14:7: “judgment is come: andworship him that made heaven, and earth,”

 

  • Revelation 14:9: “a loud voice, If any manworship the beast and his”
  • Revelation 14:11: “no rest day nor night,who worship the beast”
  • Revelation 15:4: “nations shall come andworship before thee”
  • Revelation 16:2: “of the beast, andupon them which worshiped his image.”
  • Revelation 19:4: “the four beasts fell down andworshiped God that sat”
  • Revelation 19:10: “at his feetto worship  And he said unto me,”
  • Revelation 19:10: “the testimony of Jesus:worship God: for the testimony”
  • Revelation 19:20: “of the beast, andthem that worshiped his image. These both were cast”
  • Revelation 20:4: “and which had notworshiped the beast, neither his”
  • Revelation 22:8: “and seen, I fell downto worship before the feet of the”
  • Revelation 22:9: “sayings of this book:worship “

 

 

Our attention now turns to the priests (Elders) surrounding the Throne. They have come to bring the sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving. The final blood sacrifice has been made (Hebrews 1:3, Hebrews 10:12) and now forever and ever the sacrifices offered to God are praise and thanksgiving…

John MacArthur-

4:4 twenty-four elders. Their joint rule with Christ, their white garments (19:7, 8), and their golden crowns (2:10) all seem to indicate that these 24 represent the redeemed (vv. 9–11; 5:5–14; 7:11–17; 11:16–18; 14:3; 19:4). The question is which redeemed? Not Israel, since the nation is not yet saved, glorified, and coronated. That is still to come at this point in the events of the end. Their resurrection and glory will come at the end of the 7-year tribulation time (cf. Dan. 12:1–3). Tribulation saints aren’t yet saved (7:9, 10). Only one group will be complete and glorified at that point—the church. Here elders represent the church, which sings the song of redemption (5:8–10). They are the overcomers who have their crowns and live in the place prepared for them, where they have gone with Jesus (cf. John 14:1–4).

An alternate view: Elders represent the people of God, especially in the Old Testament. The 24 courses of the priesthood represented all the priests (1 Chronicles 24), and the 12 tribes and the 12 apostles represent all the faithful.

The alternate view is nice but the key is In Revelation 5:9-10, the twenty-four elders sang a song of praise to Jesus, and they cried out: For You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood, out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation. In that passage, the twenty-four elders clearly spoke as representatives of all God’s people, of the great company of the redeemed.

Clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads:

Although angels are often portrayed in white robes, they are not pictured with crowns. Paul gives us a clue in Romans 8:17and if children, also heirs—heirs of God and coheirs with Christ—if indeed we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.

You would, realistically, expect to find all of the King’s children to be found with their own crowns as we see here.

The crowns are symbolic of rewards; the Bible speaking of 5 crowns as rewards for the believers.

 

Crown of Life

The Crown of Life is referred to in James 1:12 and Revelation 2:10; it is bestowed upon “those who persevere under trials.” Jesus references this crown when he tells the Church in Smyrna to “not be afraid of what you are about to suffer… Be faithful even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.”[7]

Incorruptible Crown

The Incorruptible Crown is also known as the Imperishable Crown, and is referenced in 1 Corinthians 9:25. This epistle, written by Paul of Tarsus, deems this crown “imperishable” in order “to contrast it with the temporal awards Paul’s contemporaries pursued”.[8] It is therefore given to those individuals who demonstrate “self-denial and perseverance.”

Crown of Righteousness

The Crown of Righteousness is mentioned in 2 Timothy 4:8, and is promised to “those who love and anticipate” the Second Coming of Christ. These Christians desire intimacy with God.

Crown of Glory

The Crown of Glory is discussed in 1 Peter 5:4 and is granted to Christian clergy, who “shepherd the flock in unselfish love being a good example to others” 1 Peter 5:2-4.

Crown of Rejoicing

The Crown of Rejoicing is also known as the Crown of Exultation, or Crown of Auxiliary. Delineated in 1 Thessalonians 2:19 and Philippians 4:1, it is given to people who engage in evangelism of those outside the Christian Church.[13] In the New Testament, Paul earns this crown after winning the Thessalonians to faith in Jesus.

Let’s develop this a little further…

The use of twenty-four elders most probably derived from 1 Chronicles 24:1-5 in which the priests were organized into twenty-four groups. This “kingdom of priests” represents the church that dwells in heaven with the Lord during the tribulation period. As was pointed out by Peter, the Church is a chosen people, a royal priest hood (See 1 Peter 2:9). It is almost as if Peter has spelled out exactly what his dear friend John was shown in Heaven. The 24 Elders, or Presbyters if you like (since both are synonymous translations of presbuteros) are a type and picture of the  Royal Priesthood of which Peter spoke and which comprises the church.

This would also help alleviate the concern of Israel being represented in heaven during the tribulation period when Israel had not yet believed in the Lord on a large scale. Further, it would remove the problem of these elders representing the apostles since John himself, an apostle, was the one having the vision (Would he have seen himself as one of the twenty-four elders and not mentioned it?).

Again, while not specifically explained, the information in Scripture most likely identifies these twenty-four elders as representatives of the church, those who will dwell with the Lord during the tribulation period while God’s judgments take place on the earth. Further, this fits the historic view of elders representing leadership of local churches (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9), offering a picture of God’s people worshiping God after escaping the tribulation as a result of the rapture (John 14:1-3; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:51-58).

Dr. Thomas Ice discusses the significance of the number 24 and I would like to quote him at length:

 

WHY THE NUMBER TWENTY-FOUR?

Some believe that the number 24 represents all the redeemed throughout history and not just the church. It is argued that in Revelation 21:12–14 the New Jerusalem in the Eternal State is made up of 12 gates with the names of the 12 tribes of Israel written on them (21:12). In verse 14, the wall around the city is made up of 12 foundation stones with the names of the 12 apostles of the Lamb written on them. Thus, 12 plus 12 equals 24 and that would mean that the 24 elders must be composed of all the redeemed, both Israel and the church.

There are a number of problems with this view. First, Revelation 21 does not use the number 24. Instead, to come up with 24 one must add the two numbers together and that requires an assumption not stated in the text. Why did Revelation 21 not use the number 24? Instead, there are two different items to which the two sets of 12 refer. The 12 gates signify the sons of Israel while the church is represented by 12 foundation stones. To mix the gates and foundation stones would be a case of mixing apples and oranges, so to speak. The 24 elders are seen throughout Revelation as a single group, whoever they represent. Revelation 21 does not use the number 24 and is not a reference to the 24 elders.

The number 24 is used in the Old Testament in a similar way that we see its use in Revelation. “There were twenty-four officers of the sanctuary representing the twenty- four courses of the Levitical priests (1 Chron. 24:4–5, 7–18), as well as twenty-four divisions of singers in the temple (1 Chron. 25).”

In Chronicles 24 was God’s choice to represent the Levitical priests and the Levitical singers. Thus, 24 appears to be a representative number in Revelation 4 as the elders denote the church in heaven before God’s war council in preparation for the judgment of the world during the tribulation.

Only in one instance does an individual from the 24 elders act as an individual (Rev. 5:5). In this instance it is to speak as the interpreting person to tell John to stop bawling because no one was found to open the scroll. The elder says, “Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals.” Why is one of the 24 elders called upon to explain things to John? One of the 24 elders is called upon, instead of an angel that normally explains things in Revelation, because they are the only ones within God’s throne-room that has personally experienced salvation. Since John’s question relates to salvation, it was appropriate for a redeemed individual to note that the Lamb of God—Jesus—was the one qualified to open the scroll. That scroll is the title deed to planet earth and if no one was able to open it then the redemption of earth and mankind could not have been carried out. That is why John was weeping, because he knew that his destiny and that of all of humanity depended upon finding one qualified to open the scroll.”

Spiritual Renewal Themes in Revelation

Spiritual Renewal Themes in Revelation

Revelation is one of the more complex books in the Bible but at the same time, we see principles for Spiritual Renewal and we also see the restoration of the creation during the Millennial Kingdom

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.

Excerpted from the NIV Spiritual Renewal Study Bible c.2005 by Zondervan

First Church of the Tares (Sermon Notes on Sardis)

First Church of the Tares (Sermon Notes on Sardis)

Sardis is, for all intents and purposes, dead. They had the appearance of being a lively church and even had that

reputation but they were dead. Many so called Christians are the same way, today; they are basically dead but their bodies have not caught up yet.

The Church in Sardis calls to mind the parable of the wheat and the tares and it must for Sardis is, itself, a  church full of tares. Let’s look for a minute…

 

Matthew 13:24-29

24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. 27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ 28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ 29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”

For ease of understanding:

  • The field is the world, not the hearts of men.
  • The seeds are the Gospel.
  • The harvest is the Church.
  • The wheat and the tares are true and false believers.

.

The interesting thing about this analogy is the distinction of the two at maturity. The wheat and tares are identical when young and is difficult to make the distinction. However, as the wheat matures, it begins to bear fruit (grain). The weight of the grain becomes heavy and bows the head of the wheat (as in humility). The tares bear no fruit (grain) and stands straight and tall (proud), almost as if calling attention to themselves.

 

Sardis, the dead church, is full of tares  and we see the result of that in today’s lesson.

You have a name, that you are alive

More accurately, a reputation. Like Thyatira, this was a church that looked good. The best way to describe Sardis…

  • The right music? We got it
  • Social programs? Go those too
  • Activism? We got it
  • Tithes and offerings? Cash is rolling in
  • Pedigree? The pastor went to the right seminaries and has all the right degrees.
  • Bible exposition and Jesus? Not so much

 

It is safe to say, just about nobody felt out of place in Sardis. They had the rituals and liturgy down pat. They were open and affirming.  Somebody gave a talk every Sunday but not necessarily from the Bible…

 

We say appearances can be deceiving, but nowhere is that more true than in the spiritual realm of churches, in dealing with the genuine spiritual state of both individuals and churches — appearances can be deceiving. It is possible for an individual person or a church to appear to be alive spiritually, but actually be dead. The Puritans called such an individual a “Gospel hypocrite.” The word “hypocrite” actually is related to the Greek word for “actor,” referring to someone who puts on a mask. When it comes to the Christian Gospel, it refers to a person who goes through the forms, the outward motions of Christianity, but inside is spiritually dead.

 

It is one thing for you or I to think a church is dead. When the Lord of the Church says it’s dead, we can go right to the funeral sermon since it is most assuredly dead.

 

Symptoms your  church is dying

  • A dying church rests on its past accomplishments and is satisfied with its presence state.
  • A dying church is more concerned about their rituals and their formalities than they are about spirituality.
  • A dying church is more concerned about social change than they are about seeing people changed by the power of God.
  • A dying church is more concerned with material growth than it is with spiritual growth.
  • A dying church is more concerned with pleasing men that it is with pleasing God.
  • A dying church clings more tightly to its creeds and confessions that it does to the Word of God.
  • A dying church is one that loses its conviction that the Bible is the Word of God.

When Jesus rebuked the Pharisees and Sadducees, He might as well have been talking to the Church in Sardis. Matthew 23:27-28  “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside, are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous, but inside, you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”

 

 

The question is, why? Why does this happen? Why was the church at Sardis dead? The cause of death is always the same — sin. Romans 6:23: “… the wages of sin is death.” James 1:14-15 said, “Each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” That is how death happens.

Let’s look a little deeper…

Dead: Despite their reputation of life, Jesus saw them for what they really were. But you are dead shows that a good reputation is no guarantee of true spiritual character. Despite their good appearance, Jesus saw them as dead. You have heard the term “dead orthodoxy” and Sardis is a prime example. Notice that Jesus does not say anything about the liturgy, the place of meeting, the giving, or anything that we might look at. There is no passion, no zeal. In Ephesus we said love for Christ had grown cold; here it is flat out gone. Spiritually, they were stone dead, their bodies just had not caught up.

 

Because they were dead, it is likely that there was no struggle, no fight, no persecution. It wasn’t that the church at Sardis was losing the battle. A dead body has lost the battle, and the fight seems over. There is no exhortation to keep up the fight because there probably wasn’t any to be had in the first place. Why was there no persecution, no struggle?  Being dead, the church in Sardis presented no significant threat to Satan’s domain, so it wasn’t worth attacking. My mentor, Mike, has told me several times, if you are in the midst of persecution or testing, you can be sure that you are doing what God wants you to do and the Kingdom of Darkness does not like it. Remember, Satan is described as a dragon, a roaring lion, and a serpent but never a vulture. He does not need to pick at the carcass of a dead church so why bother with it?

Sardis was “A perfect model of inoffensive Christianity.” (Caird) Their problem was not scandalous wickedness, but a decent death. Their image said “alive,” but in substance they were dead.

“The church of Sardis was at peace – but it was the peace of the dead.” (Barclay)

You see Rest in Peace on many a tombstone-well Sardis was doing just exactly that; they rested in a false peace and it killed them.

Resurrecting and Warning

Jesus commands the church to be watchful. There is no need for a dead body to watch anything so we can infer that Jesus is willing to raise up the dead which are in the church in Sardis. Also, this warning goes out to those who have not yet died spiritually but are sick, and it also warns those in the church who are lively, so that they do not fall into the trap of complacency. Remember, that in every church,  no matter how dead it seems, Jesus has reserved a remnant.

Be watchful: This first instruction from Jesus told them they need to examine and protect, strengthening what they have. The things which remain tells us that though the spiritual condition of the church of Sardis was bad, it wasn’t hopeless. Spiritually, there were things which remain that could be strengthened. Jesus had not given up on them and though they were dead, Jesus is Lord of the resurrection and could call them back to life in an instant.

 

I have not found your works perfect before God: This shows that their works, though present, had not measured up to God’s standard. The presence of works isn’t enough because God requires a particular intent and purpose in all of our works. They should be done with a heart and in a manner that show them to be perfect before God. James 1:27  “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”

 

The attitude and motivation of the works is what God evaluates. Works not done for God’s glory and His pleasure are not only found to be imperfect, they are rejected.

 

Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent: What they must do was to remember how they first received and heard the Word of God. Then they must hold fast to those things, and repent by turning and restoring the gospel and apostolic doctrine to authority over their lives.

 

Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief: Jesus warned them of the great danger in failing to watch. If they ignored His command to be watchful, then Jesus would come upon them as a thief, at a time completely unexpected.

 

I will come upon you: How would Jesus come upon them? He could come in the sense bringing immediate judgment. Or, He could come in the sense of His coming at the rapture of the church (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). Used in either sense, it showed He might come suddenly and unannounced, so they must be watchful.

 

 

You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments: Even among the dead Christians in Sardis, there was a faithful remnant, but only a few names. In Pergamos (Revelation 2:14) and in Thyatira (Revelation 2:20) there were a few bad among the good; in Sardis there were a few good among the bad.

 

He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments: Jesus identified the overcomers with those few names who have not defiled their garments (Revelation 3:4). These overcomers would wear white garments, received from Jesus.

 

The Book of Life

We need to pause to consider the Book of Life…

]It appears that there is a book of life that contains all the names of those living, Ex. 32:32.  It also appears that there is a Lamb’s Book of Life that contains all the names of the redeemed, Rev. 21:27.  When a person is saved, their names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.  Jesus said that this was the real reason for rejoicing, Luke 10:20.  It may be that when a person dies lost, their name is blotted out of the book of the living.  So, when the end comes, the names written in both books will match.

 

There is a Book of Life that is the registry of the living. We see it referenced in the OT.

 

In the OT the “book of life” (or its equivalents) was a register of the citizens of the theocratic community of Israel. To have one’s name written in the book of life implied the privilege of participation in the temporal blessings of the theocracy, while to be erased or blotted out of this book meant exclusion from those blessings. In other words, this book had reference to the rights of citizenship for the Jewish people (cf. Ex. 32:32; Ps. 69:28; Isa. 4:3).

 

There is a Book of Life, and it will be opened and referenced on the Day of Judgement. This means that the Book of Life is real, and will be read.

 

And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. (Revelation 20:12)

 

There is a Book of Life, and it determines if we go to heaven or hell. This means that the Book of Life is important.

 

And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:15)

 

There is a Book of Life, and knowing our names are written there should bring us great joy.

Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven. (Luke 10:20)

 

 

 

 

 

The Books of Life (Sermon Notes)

The Books of Life (Sermon Notes)

What is the Book of Life? Is it different from the Lamb’s Book of Life? The Bible mentions being blotted out of the Book of Life, does this mean I can lose my salvation.

These are important questions. 1st, there is more than one Book of Life mentioned in the Bible and they are different. There is one from which your name can be blotted out but it is not the Lamb’s Book of Life. Let’s look.

Several places in Scripture refer to God’s “book” (Exodus 32:32; Psalm 56:8; 69:28; Daniel 7:10; 12:1; Revelation 13:8; 20:15). In His infinite knowledge, God does not need a written record in order to keep track of human deeds. However, when He speaks to us, He often uses metaphor or parable to help us understand (Mark 4:33). As Malachi presented God’s words to the people, they would have understood what a book of remembrance represented. The kings of Persia kept such books, records of those who had rendered service to the king, that those servants might be rewarded. The book of Esther contains a good example of this (Esther 6:1–3).

 

There was an Old Testament “book of life.”

There are a couple Old Testament references to Books of Life. There is a Theocratic Book of Life AND a Book of the Living.

In the OT one of the “books of life” was a register of the citizens of the theocratic community of Israel. To have one’s name written in this book of life implied the privilege of participation in the temporal blessings of the theocracy, while to be erased or blotted out of this book meant exclusion from those blessings. In other words, this book had reference to the rights of citizenship for the Jewish people (cf. Ex. 32:32; Ps. 69:28; Isa. 4:3).

“So Moses returned to the Lord and said, ‘Alas, this people has sinned a great sin. They have made for themselves gods of gold. But now, if you will forgive their sin – but if not, please blot me out of your book that you have written.’ But the Lord said to Moses, ‘Whoever has sinned against me, I will blot out of my book’” (Exod. 32:31-33).

There is also a Book of the Living. Psalm 69:28: “Let them [David’s enemies] be blotted out of the book of the living.” This “book of the living” should not be confused with the Lamb’s Book of Life. David is referring to earthly, physical life, not eternal life in heaven.

 

It is entirely possible that the books mention by Moses and David are the same book but they certainly appear to be different and I tend to think that they are.

God has several  “books” and it is clear that not all of them are the Lamb’s book of life.

The concept of a “book” was also used to portray God’s all-inclusive decree; that is to say the very days of one’s life are ordained and written in God’s “book” before one of them occurs:

“Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them” (Ps. 139:16).

But this does not appear to be the same as the Lamb’s Book of Life .

Further there is a Book of Remembrance which was written down in the sight of God. Malachi 3:16 “ Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored his name.” This book may be looking forward to the Lamb’s Book of Life or it may be the book itself (Fearing the Lord and honoring His Name being part of our salvation). In either case, it will most certainly be one of the books which are opened at both judgments, the Bema Seat and the Great White Throne.

 

There is also the notion of “books” of judgment in which are recorded men’s deeds. They serve as that by which or from which one shall be judged:

“And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done” (Rev. 20:12; cf. Dan. 7:10).

Again, however, this is not the same thing as believers having their names inscribed in the Lamb’s book of life from the foundation of the world. In the case of the Great White Throne, the books are the record of the deeds of the damned. Having not come to Christ for salvation, there is no chance of acquittal of the charge of sin and therefore these books give evidence of the justice of their damnation.

The Lamb’s book of life lists those who have been (and are to be) saved.

This particular book is what Spurgeon referred to as the Roll Call of the Elect.

On most occasions where the Lamb’s book of life is mentioned it refers to the register of those who have been chosen for salvation from eternity past. It is not temporal or earthly blessings that are in view, but participation in the eternal kingdom of God as recipients of eternal life. For example:

“But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect” (Heb. 12:22-23).

“But nothing unclean will ever enter it [the New Jerusalem on the New Earth], nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Rev. 21:27).

Heaven is the most exclusive of all exclusive clubs. It isn’t really a club but that is certainly a metaphor which is easily understandable. Spurgeon’s moniker is quite apropos. This book is what is in view in the hymns “When the Roll is Called Up Yonder” and “A New Name in Glory.” We rightfully celebrate that our names our written down. The Lamb’s Book of Life is the proof that we have the privilege to inherit Christ forever.

Only the elect are written in this book.

It would appear from several texts that not all are written in this book, but only the elect. This is a very sobering reality. While we are not given a lot of information on how election works, it is clear from Scripture that the names in the book were written down before the foundation of the world (a euphemism for creation).

Earth Dwellers:

In Revelation, the terminology of “earth dwellers” or “those that dwell on the earth” is a standard designation for non-believers. These are the ones who “worship” the Beast (Rev. 13:8a). They are the ones “whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain” (Rev. 13:8b).

To paraphrase Steven Lawson, your repentance and obedience to Christ does not cause your name to be written down, it reveals that is always has been written down.

It would appear that to be one whose name has been written down before the foundation of the world is simply another way of saying that he/she is elect (see Eph. 1:4).

You don’t believe in Jesus in order to have your name written, but because your name has been written.

People often ask: “What must one do to have his/her name written down in the Lamb’s book of life? Can someone whose name is not now written in the book do something, such as believe in Jesus, so that his/her name will be written in the book?” The answer to the first question is, nothing. The answer to the second question is, No. Names are inscribed in the book of life before the foundation of the world. This is by God’s sovereign and altogether gracious choice.  This is not to say that the Book of Life does not affect our temporal existence. You don’t believe in Jesus in order that your name will be written in the book. You believe in Jesus because your name has already been written down in the book. Each person will arrive at the point in time when God had already known that they will repent. At that moment, the Lamb’s Book of Life will bear its fruit, repentance.

The major thing to know, here, is that we have no clue, not one scintilla of an idea as to who’s name is written down. Therefore we can properly say, “Whomever wishes to come, come to Christ and be received.” No matter your position on Electing Grace, conditional or unconditional, the message is the same, “Whosoever will, let them come.” There will never be a time when we can look at a person and know that they are on the roster of the redeemed so we offer the Gospel to anyone who will receive Christ.

God has always known who would be written in the book. How that works out remains to us a mystery. Is grace irresistible and so we come or are we freed by grace and come of our own volition? Personally, it think it is both. I think the Holy Spirit frees us from the burden of sin and in so doing, Christ becomes so irresistible that we simply must have Him. Because our names are written, we want what is ours by Divine Grace, Christ Himself, our portion and treasure.

 

God has not chosen to reveal to us the names written in the Lamb’s book of life.

It is none of our business. We are not free to speculate about it. What he has revealed is the responsibility of each individual to repent and believe the gospel. If a person does not believe the gospel, he has no one to blame but himself. If he does believe the gospel, he has no one to praise but God. I realize that this is quite possibly the most challenging doctrine in the Scripture.

Quoting Spurgeon on the just damnation of the sinner: “Why is it that a man remains ungodly and does not fear God? It is because he says, “I like this drink, I like this pleasure, I like this sabbath-breaking, better than I do the things of God.” No man is saved by his own free-will, but every man is damned by it that is damned. He does it of his own will; no one constrains him. You know, sinner, that when you go away from here, and put down the cries of conscience, that you do it yourself. You know that, when after a sermon you say, “I do not care about believing in Christ,” you say it yourself—You are quite conscious of it, and if not conscious of it, it is notwithstanding a dreadful fact, that the reason why you are what you are, is because you will to be what you are. It is your own will that keeps you where you are, the blame lies at your own door, your being still in a state of sin is voluntary. You are a captive, but you are a voluntary captive. You will never be willing to get free until God makes you willing. But you are willing to be a bond slave. There is no disguising the fact, that man loves sin, loves evil, and does not love God. You know, though heaven is preached to you through the blood of Christ, and though hell is threatened to you as the result of your sins, that still you cleave to your iniquities; you will not leave them, and will not fly to Christ. And when you are cast away, at last it will be said of you, “you have lost your birthright.” But you sold it yourself. You know that the ball-room suits you better than the house of God: you know that the pot-house suits you better than the prayer-meeting; you know you trust yourself rather than trust Christ; you know you prefer the joys of the present time to the joys of the future. It is your own choice—keep it. Your damnation is your own election, not God’s; you richly deserve it.

 

None of us deserves to have his/her name written down in God’s book. We all deserve eternal damnation. The only explanation for why a hell-deserving sinner has his/her name written down in the Lamb’s book of life before the foundation of the world is because God is gracious and merciful and wishes to provide his Son with a Bride that will enjoy his glorious presence and love for eternity. Had God chosen not to inscribe anyone’s name in his book, he would have done no one an injustice.

 

What about names being blotted out?

Is it possible for someone whose name is written down to have it erased or removed? Some say yes based on Revelation 3:5 – “The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life.”

These point to a  particular custom in ancient Athens according to which the names of condemned criminals were erased from civic registers before their execution. The Greek word translated “to erase” (exaleiphein), “was the technical term for such degradation” . They are suggesting that  Jesus is saying that it is possible for a sinning, unrepentant Christian (such as were many at Sardis) to fail to overcome or conquer and thereby to forfeit their place in the book of life. Their names, already inscribed in the book, will be erased, signifying the loss of their salvation.

As insightful as this may be, it is NOT what is in view. In the message to the Church at Sardis, Jesus is not referring to the Lamb’s Book of Life. He is referring to the book of the living. Essentially, Jesus is saying that you will not be killed in divine judgment.

It is a logical absurdity, easily refuted by John 10:28, to suggest that a name could be blotted out from the Lamb’s Book of Life. Simply put, if eternal life can be lost, it was not eternal in the first place.

 

Several factors lead me to conclude that John does not envision the possibility of a true Christian forfeiting salvation.

We should begin by noting that all of the other promises to the “conqueror/overcomer” are coined in positive terms with no threat (implied or explicit) of losing a salvation once gained (see 2:7,11,17,26-27; 3:12,21). This isn’t to suggest that Christians can’t backslide and sin badly. The rebukes in these seven letters indicate otherwise. Nevertheless, the evidence of the reality of true saving faith is perseverance (i.e., “overcoming”; cf. 1 John 2:19).

If it is asked why this promise is couched in negative terms, the answer is obvious: Jesus couldn’t say “I will write his name in the book of life” because the names of the “overcomers” (i.e., the elect) were already written in the book from eternity past (see Rev. 13:8; 17:8). There is no indication in Scripture, least of all in Revelation, of additional names being inscribed in the book as a reward for faithfulness or perseverance. Rather, faithfulness and perseverance are the evidence or fruit of having had one’s name written in the book. Those who worship the “beast” do so precisely because their names were not written in the book in eternity past (13:8; 17:8).

The Resurrection and the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit are the sign and seal of our names being written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

 

Jesus is the firstborn from the dead; He is the firstfruits of the resurrection to life. (Revelation 1:4 1 Corinthians 15:23)Top of Form

Bottom of Form

 

The title “firstborn of the dead” for Jesus is of great theological importance, especially with Easter in the background. The Greek word for “firstborn” that John uses is prōtotokos, a word that literally refers to birth order—the first child born. This is a concept of great significance in the Old Testament, where the firstborn son inherited his father’s place as head of the family, receiving the father’s blessing and a double portion of the inheritance (Deuteronomy 21:17). After the Passover in Egypt, God told his people that every firstborn child was set aside as his own (Exodus 13:2), and the nation of Israel as a whole was referred to as God’s “firstborn son” (Exodus 4:22).

Because of the biblical significance attached to the concept, the word “firstborn” acquired a metaphorical sense and came to also refer to the special status of the firstborn as the preeminent son and heir. In the New Testament, Jesus is shown to be the “new Israel,” the culmination and fulfillment of God’s promise to bless all the nations through the offspring of Abraham (Galatians 3:7). Jesus fulfills the intended role of Israel as God’s faithful firstborn son in his perfect life and sacrificial death, and he is vindicated by God in his glorious resurrection.

 

Other references to Jesus as prototokos:

For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Romans 8:29)

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. (Colossians 1:15)

He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. (Colossians 1:18)

When he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.” (Hebrews 1:6)

“[The prophets and Moses said] that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles.” (Acts 26:23)

 

In fact, Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:20)

 

G.K. Beale explains,

John views Jesus as the ideal Davidic king on an escalated eschatological level, whose death and resurrection have resulted in his eternal kingship and in the kingship of his beloved children . . . . “Firstborn” refers to the high, privileged position that Christ has as a result of the resurrection from the dead . . . . Christ has gained such a sovereign position over the cosmos, not in the sense that he is recognized as the first-created being of all creation or as the origin of creation, but in the sense that he is the inaugurator of the new creation by means of his resurrection.

 

Because Christ was first to rise from the dead, He is the guarantee that we, who are written down in the Lamb’s Book of Life will rise as well. Some will rise at the Rapture. Others will rise at the resurrection before the millennial kingdom.

 

We conclude with John 6:40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”

The everyone, in this verse, are those who are written down in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

 

 

The Books of Life (Scripture References)

The Books of Life (Scripture References)

Our continuing study of Revelation brings us to the topic of the Books of Life. The following Scriptures provide a bit of a quick reference on the subject and there will be an in depth sermon to follow.

 

Revelation 20:15

And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Luke 10:20

“Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.”

Hebrews 12:22-23

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,

 

Daniel 12:1

“Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.

Philippians 4:3

Indeed, true companion, I ask you also to help these women who have shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel, together with Clement also and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.

Revelation 3:5

‘He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.

Revelation 21:27

and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Exodus 32:31-33

Then Moses returned to the LORD, and said, “Alas, this people has committed a great sin, and they have made a god of gold for themselves. “But now, if You will, forgive their sin–and if not, please blot me out from Your book which You have written!” The LORD said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book.

Psalm 69:27-28

Add iniquity to their iniquity, And may they not come into Your righteousness. May they be blotted out of the book of life And may they not be recorded with the righteous.

Revelation 13:8

All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.

Revelation 17:8

“The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss and go to destruction And those who dwell on the earth, whose name has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will wonder when they see the beast, that he was and is not and will come.

 

 

Psalm 56:8

You have taken account of my wanderings; Put my tears in Your bottle Are they not in Your book?

Psalm 139:16

Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.

Malachi 3:16

Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD and who esteem His name.

 

The 7 Churches in Revelation (used by permission of Turning Point)

The 7 Churches in Revelation (used by permission of Turning Point)

This week’s lesson is the 7 Churches in Revelation. The notes you will find today are from my pastor, David Jeremiah.  You can find the notes and additional resources at http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/articles/seven-churches-of-revelation-bible-study.aspx

While exiled on the island of Patmos, the apostle John received a revelation from Jesus Christ that we now call the book of Revelation. In this vision, Christ gave John seven messages for seven first-century churches in Asia Minor. Read on to discover why Christ wanted to speak to these seven churches and what the messages mean for us today. Watch and listen to these messages here.

1. EPHESUS: THE LOVELESS CHURCH (REVELATION 2:1-7)

The church of Ephesus had many positive qualities; Christ commended them in five specific ways—they were dynamic, dedicated, determined, disciplined, and discerning (Revelation 2:2-3). But verse 4 reveals where they went wrong. “Nevertheless, I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” Everything about the Ephesian church looked good on the outside, but inwardly they had heart trouble. Their devotion to Christ was waning.

If you find yourself in this place with your relationship with Christ, here is a three-part formula on how to return to your first love.

Remember

“Remember therefor from where you have fallen” (Revelation 2:5).

If we have left something or someone, the first step is to remember where we started.

Repent

The next logical step after remembering where we started and realizing where we are now is to repent. This means to reverse course and go in the opposite direction. “. . . repent . . .” (Revelation 2:5).

Repeat

Repeating to the original good works will help you get back to the place where you began. “. . . do the first works” (Revelation 2:5). Return to what you did when you first became a Christian—the spiritual disciplines that kept you close to Christ and motivated to follow Him.

2. SMYRNA — THE SUFFERING CHURCH (REVELATION 2:8-11)

Christians in developed countries today think little about being persecuted for their faith. But there are churches in the world where such persecution is a daily reality. Such was the case for the ancient church in Smyrna. They suffered because of pressure, poverty, and persecution (Revelation 2:9). Christ’s words to that church can prepare all believers for what might come.

Be Fearless

“Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer” (Revelation 2:10). Because Christ is Lord over all of life’s circumstances, we have nothing to fear. Paul wrote that there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:35-39). Fear is a natural human response, but we live supernatural lives through the power of Christ in us.

Be Faithful

“Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10). Given the intensity of the persecution in Smyrna, I believe Christ was saying, “Yes, you may lose your life for My sake, but be faithful until the end.”

3. PERGAMOS — THE COMPROMISING CHURCH (REVELATION 2:12-17)

Pergamos was nicknamed “Satan’s City.” The Christians in Pergamos were surrounded by pagan beliefs and practices. In spite of their faithfulness in some areas, the Christians in Pergamos had compromised their faith in others. They had allowed idolatry to creep into their congregation.

Satan is still employing the strategy he used in Pergamos: What you can’t curse and crush, you can corrupt through compromise.

Wherever two or three are gathered together in Christ’s name, Satan will be there to try to corrupt the truth.

Speak the Truth in Love

Christians should not be combative or antagonistic. Wherever corruption or compromise tries to gain a foothold, we need to be vigilant, sober, and on guard and speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).

Remember the Lesson from Pergamos

Guard against the dilution of true doctrine by false teaching and authoritarian leaders. If that makes us intolerant in the eyes of some, then so be it. Christ will commend us just as He did Antipas, His “faithful martyr.”

4. THYATIRA — THE ADULTEROUS CHURCH (REVELATION 2:18-29)

There are Christians and churches today who feel a need to be relevant and all-inclusive when it comes to spiritual and moral boundaries. The ancient church in Thyatira must have felt that way as well. This church allowed an immoral individual to lead many others away from Christ (Revelation 2:20). What does Christ say to a church that is tolerating immorality in her midst?

THE THREAT OF DISTRESS (REVELATION 2:22)

When the prophetess refused the chance to repent, Christ warned of His judgment: “Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed.” Whether taken figuratively or literally, we should take those words as a warning. God is holy and will not abide rebellion forever. As Hebrews 10:31 says, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

The Threat of Death (Revelation 2:22-23)

This warning is not just to the prophetess but also to “those who commit adultery with her.” They would find themselves in “great tribulation” unless they repented of their immorality.

The Message to the Christians (Revelation 2:24-25)

The message for those that stood their ground and did not engage in the cult of immorality is to “Hold fast what you have till I come” (verse 25.)

The Message to the Conquerors (Revelation 2:26-29)

This is a message to those who would choose to remain faithful to Christ “until the end”. Christ promised that they would reign and they would be raptured.

5. SARDIS — THE DEAD CHURCH (REVELATION 3:1-6)

With this church there are no commendations; Christ begins immediately with a denunciation: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.” The church was full of what we today would call “nominal Christians”—Christians in name only. Christ gives five specific directions for the church that is dead.

  • Be Sensitive to the Inroads of Sin in the Church (verse 2)
  • Be Supportive of Those Who Remain True to Christ in the Church (verses 2, 4)
  • Be Submissive to the Control of the Holy Spirit in the Church (verse 3)
  • Be Subject to the Authority of God’s Word in the Church (verse 3)
  • Be Sorry and Repent for the Sin of the Church (verse 3)
There is hope for those that do what Christ has directed. He promises eternal life for those that repent and submit to Him (Revelation 3:5).

6. PHILADELPHIA — THE FAITHFUL CHURCH (REVELATION 3:7-13)

Christ commended the church in Philadelphia for four things: they have an open door, they have a little strength, the have kept the Word of God, and they have not denied the Lord. If we want to be commended by Christ like this church, we will go through open doors of ministry, depend on His strength, and be true to Him and to His Word. What does this mean for us today?

The Potential of the Local Church

If Christ is present and the church is committed to Him, there is going to be a door of opportunity for ministry. Every church should pray for those doors to be recognized, opened, and walked through.

The People of the Local Church

Many churches today think there are too few people, there is too little money, there are too few gifts, and there are too few opportunities. Remember this simple truth: When we are weak or little, Christ is strong and big. Building the Church of Jesus Christ is not up to us. We depend on the head of the Church to give His Body the strength we need.

The Principles of the Local Church

In verse 8, Christ summarizes three principles that apply to every Church: open doors for ministry, depending on Christ’s strength, and keeping the Word of God. Being faithful to God’s Word will lead to open doors for ministry and depending on Christ’s strength since they are both taught in the Bible. When the Word of God is the first priority, everything else will fall into place.

The Priorities of the Local Church

Because the Church of Jesus Christ is His Church, we are to boldly identify with Christ regardless of the cost. We must proclaim Christ as the Bible does—the only name whereby we can be saved (Acts 4:12).

7. LAODICEA — THE LUKEWARM CHURCH (REVELATION 3:14-22)

The church in Laodicea was lacking in every way. It was a compromising, conceited, and Christless church and Christ said that it made Him sick (Revelation 3:16). Today’s Church should take note; those words may apply to us as well. We would be well advised to apply this counsel to our lives and churches today.

The Prescription for Spiritual Poverty

The Laodiceans were rich, but their riches were worldly, not spiritual. They needed spiritual wealth which can only come through Christ (Revelation 3:18).

The Prescription for Spiritual Nakedness

Nakedness in Scripture is a metaphor for defeat and humiliation, therefore Christ counsels them to procure “white garments” from Him that the shame of their nakedness might be covered (Revelation 3:18).

The Prescription for Spiritual Blindness

The only salve for spiritual blindness is repentance and submission to the Lord Jesus Christ, asking Him for the fullness and wisdom of His Spirit to restore our spiritual sight.

The Prescription for Spiritual Compromise

There is only one word of counsel for the spiritually compromised: “Therefore be zealous and repent” (Revelation 3:19). God doesn’t love us only when we are doing the right things. He loves us all the time and He wants us to repent when we need to.

God loves us too much to leave us the way we are.

The Prescription for Their Christlessness

Christ has this to say for any without Him: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20). When Christ is moved to the margins and pushed outside the Church altogether, He stands knocking and seeking to be invited back in.

The King Who’s Coming

The King Who’s Coming

It is nearly impossible to look at the world without noticing that it has spun out of control and that’s the bad news. The good news is this: the world is right on schedule to meet its appointed culmination. How will this happen? Well if you will pardon the pop culture reference, it will happen with the return of the King.

The Lord of All the earth is about to make His return and to restore a paradise that has been lost. Officially, we call this “Our blessed hope” and it can be articulated this way: “The Imminent Return of the Lord Jesus Christ in the clouds of glory to gather His Church unto Him, is the Blessed Hope of the church.” Following that event, will be the Tribulation, the days of wrath, which will then culminate in the Millennial Kingdom.

In this week’s lesson, we are going to look at the King Who Is to Come.

Our text this week is Revelation 1:10-18

10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like the sound of a trumpet,

If you look back to Exodus Chapter 19, when the Lord made His visitation Sinai, His visitation was preceded by the sound of a trumpet, and it is interesting to note, that in most of human history, the blast of a trumpet announced the arrival of a coming King. In 1 Thessalonians 4:17, we see that, at the Rapture, the arrival of the King to gather His people to Himself into the clouds is accompanied by the sound of a trumpet. So we have two possible things in play here: 1. John heard the sound of a trumpet heralding the arrival of the King of the Universe. 2. The voice John heard was as loud, distinctive, and piercing as a trumpet blast. I tend to think that number 2 is the more likely scenario although 1st is a possibility.

11 saying, “Write in a book what you see, and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.”

We are about to be treated to a glimpse into the Eternal Throne Room. Not only that, but we are about to receive a privilege unmatched anywhere in Scripture. Ever the teacher, the Lord Himself is about to give us the definitive exposition on the Scripture. We are going to see, in the imagery He uses, the Lord of all the Earth in resplendent glory and majesty.

We need understanding with verse 12-16 This vision is absolutely not a physical description of Christ in His Glory; we are not yet at the point where we will be able to behold Him as He now is. Instead, this is the lesson: Christ gives us a composite of Old Testament symbols representing the Lord of All:

 

10 Noteworthy Items

  1. One like the Son of Man

First, we need to note that this was not some otherworldly creature. The person that John saw was human in form. Over 80 times in the Gospels, Jesus refers to Himself or is referred to as the Son of Man. This term does not simply identify the humanity of Jesus; His use of it to refer to Himself shows that He identifies with us. The One who is God above all gods, whose own precious blood redeemed the church, has humbled Himself to the point of being able to identify with the Bride. Since she can never be God, like the groom is, He has brought Himself to her and came in her likeness, as a Son of Man.

  1. “Clothed” in a garment down to the feet

By being clothed in a garment down to the feet, Christ shows Himself in His High Priestly role. (Hebrews 2:17 and 3:1) From the Ascension until this point in Redemptive History, Jesus has filled the Office of ha Cohen Gadol, the High Priest continually offering intercession for His saints before the Throne of God the Father. His shed blood at Calvary was the final atoning sacrifice which then left the role of the High Priest to be intercessor before God.

  1. Girded about the chest with a golden band

In Matthew 28:18, Jesus tells us that all authority in Heaven and on Earth has been committed to the Son. In the Ancient World, a gold band was a symbol of power and authority. Kings, Satraps, Governors, etc. wore these bands around the waist as a sign of their authority.

  1. His head and hair were white like wool

This identifies Christ with the Ancient of Days (Daniel 7:9-14). Not to be confused with the “white hair of old age,” this is a blazing white that speaks of righteousness. White is, perhaps, an insufficient adjective. This is absolute, superlative, holiness; a holiness so bright that leaves no room for any shadow. The white is Shekinah, the personal divine holy presence of God Himself.

  1. His eyes were like a flame of fire

In Greek, this phrase literally says “eyes shot fire.” Two things are in play here: first, this phraseology indicates indignance at the apostasy of the churches since the Church not being what she should be would certainly arouse the indignance of Christ. Secondly, eyes like a flame of fire speaks of the omniscience of Christ. Every thought and motive must pass through this gaze and all that is impure will be burned away.

  1. Feet like fine brass, refined in a furnace

If we look back to the Tabernacle for a moment, the altar of burnt offering was covered with brass and its utensils were made of the same material (Exodus 38:1-7). Glowing hot, brass feet are a clear reference to divine judgment. Jesus Christ with feet of judgment is moving through His church to exercise His chastening authority upon sin.

  1. Voice like many waters

When you stand near a waterfall, every other sound is drowned out by the thunderous roar of the waters. This is a picture of Jesus on the Day of Judgment; every voice, every sound will be brought to stillness before His authority. That is to say, when Christ calls His Judgment Court to session, the entire cosmos will come together and be convened.

  1. In his right had He held seven stars

Many times in Scripture, we see that stars and angels are used interchangeably and since the word angelos means messenger, it is clear that these would be messengers to the 7 Churches. What is not clear is whether Christ is referring to 7 actual angels or to the pastors of the 7 churches that He was sending His messages to. That Christ holds them in His hand shows Him as absolute Lord over all things, including the Church.

  1. Out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12)

A two-edged sword speaks of judgment and portends to judgment on those who would attack Christ or His Church. The Standard of Judgment that Christ uses is none other than Sacred Scripture, His Word. What will determine your salvation and your righteousness? Nothing more or less than the standard laid out in the Bible.

  1. His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength

Think back to Matthew 17:12 on the Mount of Transfiguration. His countenance (face) is blazing in unmistakable resplendent glory.

Looking down to verse 17…

17 When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last,

It is possible that John simply passed out, but it is also possible that the shock of seeing Christ in His glory caused John’s aged heart to fail and, as He did so often in the Gospels, the Lord healed John with a touch.

“Do not be afraid”; when one is approaching the Sovereign Lord in His majesty, there is a measure of fear but that is not all that is alluded to here: The Lord, in His all-consuming holiness could have struck John dead for any sin, at all, that he had. Jesus, though, has an excellent memory, and knowing John as the Disciple Whom Jesus loved, he reached out in His grace and mercy and strengthened him.

18 and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.

I know Baptists don’t do this, but every time I read this verse it makes me want to jump and shout. I don’t think most people get this verse. The Living One who was dead and it alive forever more!! Stop and get that. The Source of Life, who was murdered by His creation is alive forevermore! No one will ever again take His life from Him and the life that He gives to His Church can never be taken to her either!

 

NOTE: Audio will be available at a later time

 

The Unfolding Revelation of Jesus

The Unfolding Revelation of Jesus

The whole of the Bible is the story of Jesus: Our Savior, Healer, Baptizer in the Holy Spirit, and soon coming King. The following is how each book presents Jesus and the verse associated with each presentation.

Genesis

  • Seed of the woman (Genesis 3:15)
  • Shiloh (Genesis 49:10)

Exodus

  • Passover Lamb (Exodus 12:3)

Leviticus

  • Anointed High Priest (Leviticus 8:7-12)

Numbers

  • The lifted up healer {Bronze serpent} (Numbers 21:8-9; )
  • Star of Jacob (Numbers 24:17)
  • Scepter of Israel (Numbers 24:17)

Deuteronomy

  • Future Prophet Like Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15)
  • The great Rock (Deuteronomy 32:4)

Joshua

  • Captain of the Lord’s army/Lord of the Hosts (Joshua 5:14)

Judges

  • Angel of the LORD (Judges 2:1)

Ruth

  • Kinsman redeemer

1 Samuel

  • The great judge (1 Samuel 2:10)

2 Samuel

  • Son of David (2 Samuel 7:12-13)

1 Kings

  • Lord God of Israel (1 Kings 8:15, 25)

2 Kings

  • Lord of the cherubim (2 Kings 19:15)

1 Chronicles

  • God of our salvation (1 Chronicles 16:35)

2 Chronicles

  • God of our ancestors (2 Chronicles 20:6)

Ezra

  • Lord of heaven and earth (Ezra 1:2)

Nehemiah

  • Covenant-keeping God (Nehemiah 1:5)

Esther

  • God of providence

Job

  • Risen and returning Redeemer (Job 19:25)

Psalms

  • Anointed Son (Psalm 2:2, 12)
  • Holy One (Psalm 16:10)
  • Good Shepherd (Psalm 23:1)
  • King of glory (Psalm 24:7-10)

Proverbs

  • Wisdom of God/Embodiment of wisdom (Proverbs 8)
  • Architect at Creation (Proverbs 8:30)

Ecclesiastes

  • The one above the sun

Song of Songs

  • Fairest among 10,000 (Song 5:10)
  • Altogether lovely (Song 5:16)
  • Our Beloved (Song 6:3)
  • Him who our soul loves (Song 3:4)

Isaiah

  • Virgin-born Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14)
  • Wonderful Counselor (Isaiah 9:6)
  • Mighty God (Isaiah 9:6)
  • Everlasting Father (Isaiah 9:6)
  • Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6)
  • Servant (Isaiah 52:13)
  • Man of sorrows (Isaiah 53:3)

Jeremiah

  • The Lord our righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6; Jeremiah 33:16)

Lamentations

  • Faithful and compassionate (Lamentations 3:22-23, 31-33)

Ezekiel

  • The tender shoot (Ezekiel 17:22)
  • The one who has the right to judge (Ezekiel 21:27)

Daniel

  • The rock (Daniel 2:34)
  • One like a divine being (or like “the Son of God”) (Daniel 3:25)
  • One like the Son of Man (Daniel 7:13)

Hosea

  • King of the resurrection (Hosea 13:10-14)

Joel

  • God of the battle (Joel 2:11; Joel 3:2, 9-17)
  • Giver of the Spirit (Joel 2:28-32)

Amos

  • Lord God Almighty (Amos 4:13)
  • Plumb line (Amos 7:7-9)

Obadiah

  • Destroyer of the proud (Obadiah 1:8, 15)

Jonah

  • Risen prophet (Jonah 2:10)
  • God of the second chance (Jonah 3:1-2)
  • Long-suffering one (Jonah 4:9-11)

Micah

  • God of Israel (Micah 4:1-5)
  • Born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2)
  • God who pardons (Micah 7:18-20)

Nahum

  • Avenging God (Nahum 1:2)
  • Bringer of good tidings (Nahum 1:15)

Habakkuk

  • Eternal (Habakkuk 1:12)
  • Pure (Habakkuk 1:13)
  • Glorious (Habakkuk 2:14)

Zephaniah

  • King of Israel (Zephaniah 3:15)

Haggai

  • Desire of all nations (Haggai 2:7)

Zechariah

  • My Servant (Zechariah 3:8)
  • The Branch (Zechariah 3:8)
  • Builder of the Temple (Zechariah 6:12-13)
  • King of triumphal entry (Zechariah 9:9)
  • Pierced one (Zechariah 12:10)
  • King of the earth (Zechariah 14:9)

Malachi

  • Sun of Righteousness (Malachi 4:2)

New Testament

Matthew

  • King of the Jews (Matthew 2:2; Matthew 27:37)

Mark

  • Servant (Mark 9:35; Mark 10:43-44)

Luke

  • Perfect man, Son of Man (Luke 2:40, 52; Luke 9:22, 58; Luke 22:48)

John

  • Ever Living God (John 1:1-5; John 20:28, 31)

Acts

  • Ascended Lord (Acts 1:9)

Romans

  • The Lord, our righteousness (Romans 10:4)

1 Corinthians

  • Our resurrection (1 Cor. 15)

2 Corinthians

  • God of all comfort (2 Cor. 1:3)

Galatians

  • Redeemer of those under the law (Galatians 4:4-5)

Ephesians

  • Head of the church (Ephesians 1:22; Ephesians 2:19-20)
  • Giver of gifts (Ephesians 4:7-16)

Philippians

  • Supplier of every need (Philippians 1:19; Philippians 4:19)
  • Obedient servant (Philippians 2:5-8)

Colossians

  • Fullness of the Godhead (Colossians 1:9; Colossians. 2:9-10)

1 Thessalonians

  • The coming Christ (1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11)

2 Thessalonians

  • The all-consuming Christ (2 Thessalonians 2:8)

1 Timothy

  • Savior of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15; 1 Timothy 3:16)

2 Timothy

  • Author of Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
  • Righteous and rewarding judge (2 Timothy 4:8)

Titus

  • Our great God and Savior (Titus 1:3; Titus 2:10, 13; Titus 3:4)

Philemon

  • Payer of our debt

Hebrews

  • Appointed heir of all things (Hebrews 1:2, 4)
  • Greater than prophets or angels (Hebrews 1:4; Hebrews 3:3)

James

  • Ever-present God (James 4:8)
  • Coming One (James 5:7-8)
  • Great Physician (James 5:15)

1 Peter

  • Spotless Lamb (1 Peter 1:19)
  • Great example (1 Peter 2:21-24)
  • Lord of glory (1 Peter 3:22)
  • Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4)

2 Peter

  • Beloved Son (2 Peter 1:17)

1 John

  • Word of life (1 John 1:1)
  • Advocate (1 John 2:1-2)
  • Sacrifice (1 John 4:10)
  • Son of God (1 John 3:8; 1 John 4:15; 1 John 5:5)

2 John

  • Son of the Father (2 John 1:3)

3 John

  • The truth (3 John 1:4, 8)

Jude

  • Preserver and only wise God (Jude 1:1, 25)

Revelation

  • Alpha and Omega (Rev. 1:8)
  • Lion of Judah (Rev. 5:5)
  • Root of David (Rev. 5:5)
  • King of Kings (Rev. 19:16)
  • Lord of lords (Rev. 19:16)