Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Revelation Chapter 13 - April 29, 2009

14:1 - The 144,000 are a symbolic representation of the faithful followers of God...not, in my opinion, an actual number representing the number of people who really follow God (Though sometimes I wonder).

14:3 - What new song are they singing? There is this really great new Chris Tomlin song they are singing...just joking...I think they can do a little better than Tomlin. No, the new song they are singing is a song of victory, since Jesus has conquered. The old songs were songs of hope for the future that the victory has arrived they can sing about it - YAY!

14:4 - Does this mean the only people who are truly followers of Jesus were celibate? No, I think what this refers to is people who have not prostituted themselves to the beliefs of the world...people who have remained true to the faith and follower Christ. This is a call for every one of us as present day Christians to hold on to the truth of God. Stay faithful.

14:7 - What is the eternal message? Give God the glory...worship don't know how long you have? That's it right? It really is the is true in any era.

14:8 - The great Babylon is a symbolic representation to the systems of this world. Don't think just because you don't literally follow Babylonian culture that you are good to go. All human systems and cultures are flawed, and followers of Christ must stay true to His message as apposed to their lies.

14:10 - Those who chose in their life of earth to follow the world and serve themselves, will be tormented by the sight of Jesus and the saints because they will finally and fully understand just how wrong they were.

14:16 - This is a picture of the gathering of the people of God.

14:20 - This is a picture of the judgement that is poured out on those who rejected God...and it is a pretty brutal picture.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Revelation Chapter 13 - April 28, 2009

13:3 - After Nero died in Rome, the Roman empire was thrust into civil war. The empire was in chaos - wounded beast maybe? When Vespasian took over the rule by force, peace was restored and the strength of Rome was back. It probably looked like a miraculous resurrection.

13:4 - The people look at their great and powerful country (or beast) and use a twisted version of God worship by saying, "Who is like the beast? Who can fight against it?" I wouldn't know anybody that inappropriately worships their country like that...oh wait, uh, maybe I do.

13:10 - That is the call to endurance and faith for the saints! How incredibly powerful is that? If captivity is coming...then I'm a captive. If death is coming...then I die. They trust that God is in control and that His will is going to be done. While the beast rises up and hunts down the saints of God...the saints practice non-violence and continue to trust God. How many modern day American Christians would hold to faith ideals like these?

13:11 - This next beast has the horns of a he looks innocent yet speaks like Satan himself. How many men and women have led the world astray with a mask of innocence and a heart of darkness?

13:12 - Vespasian's son, Domition, was worshipped as the God Zeus. There is historical documentation that Christians who refused to worship their Roman rulers were executed.

13:18 - Everybody always wants to know this stuff, so here goes. 666 is a triangular of only four from 0 to 1000. 36 is the square root of 666, and 8 is the square root of 36. 8 is a number that some biblical scholars believe applies to Revelation 17:11, where it talks about the eighth ruler...the new Nero - the anti-Christ. As always, I believe that there have always been anti-Christs and there always will be until the end. One commentator suggested that Satan always has anti-Christs ready for when Jesus finally returns because even he does not know when that will in his opinion history has had a string of anti-Christs just waiting to war against Jesus (Which will be pointless and utterly futile, but hey, they get an "A" for effort).

Monday, April 27, 2009

Revelation Chapter 12 - April 27, 2009

12:1 - I believe the woman here is symbolically the nation of Israel...God's chosen people. Because out of Israel God brought His son Jesus Christ. The woman is about to give birth to Jesus and the dragon (Satan, duh!) is about waiting for his chance to destroy the savior of the world.

12:5-6 - And just when Satan thinks he has done it...he has won...Jesus rises from the dead and goes up to heaven.

12:8 - War breaks out as Satan and his minions try one last time to defeat the God of the universe, but he is defeated. The war is over...Satan is defeated...Jesus has won! We are on the victorious side! That is so beautiful. No matter what happens in this world or in this followers of Jesus we will be victorious!

12:11 - This is is a blueprint for defeating battling Satan and his freaky friends. 1.) The blood of Jesus Christ. You have to have that...the forgiveness...the righteousness from his sacrifice. 2.) The Word of Testimony. You have to know the gospel truth...who you are, who Satan is, and the power you have been given. 3.) You cannot love your life more than God. If you worship yourself and your life, you will fall victim to temptation after temptation in this world.

12:13 - This is such a scary thought, because we can see through history how Satan has pursued the Jewish people. Has that ever made any sense? In country after country the Jewish people have been rejected, killed, blamed, etc. It makes no sense! Why this small group of people? Because they are the people of God and Satan hates them.

12:17 - Satan couldn't defeat God and he cannot exterminate the people of God, so he has turned to wreak havoc on the rest of the world. You have to be ready. You have to beware. We are at war - never forget that.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Revelation Chapter 11 - April 21, 2009

This chapter is full all kinds of what I like to call "symbology," so I am just going to leave that stuff alone and talk about what really speaks to me. What speaks to me is the image of the two prophets of God standing alone and proclaiming his truth to the world. There is power in the truth of God and there is power in their message. The world rejects them and turns against them, but they continue to speak out. When their message has been spread throughout the world - the forces of evil kill them and dance and laugh at the destruction of God's prophets. The world thinks it has won...yet God breathes life back into his people and they rise again. God will win...the faithful are justified...the world is held accountable for its rebellion. This is the story over and over in Revelation and it encourages me. God, please let me stand against the tide of our world's culture of self-interest and proclaim your truth. God, please give me the strength to stay true to you no matter what gets thrown at me. God, please use me as a tool to spread your truth through this world.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Revelation Chapters 9 and 10 - April 15, 2009

9:4 - I don't mean to be a broken record here, but if the freaky armored locust/scorpions had to be told not to sting God's people, they are probably still around, right?

9:11 - Abbadon means Destruction. Appolyon means Destroyer. The angel from the bottomless pit seems to imply that this is one of Satan's angels. God has held them back, but is allowing them to take a last shot before He brings His final judgement.

9:20 - Even in the face of unspeakable horrors and destruction, the people of the world who do not follow God continue to worship themselves and idols. How true is this at all times? How many times do people need to see what drugs do to peoples' lives before they get that they aren't good? How many more example can we get that material things don't give you true joy? We see the horrors of sin all around us and we continue to bow down. It's crazy!

10:4 - Why do you think that God tells John not to write down what he has heard, to seal it up? I think 10:7 may have something to do with it. Because the time for revealing God's mysteries has not yet come. Maybe the angel was telling of the mysteries of God and God told John to hold off until the appropriate time.

10:10 - Why do you think the scroll tastes as sweet as honey and turns bitter in the stomach? Again, I think the answers come when we look down a couple of verses at 10:11. John has been made a prophet and the life of a prophet is very bitter sweet. They have the sweet connection to God and the truth of God, but they have bitter lives trying to get other people to understand the truth of God. It is a bitter life trying to speak God's truth to people that don't want to hear it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Revelation Chapter 8 - April 14, 2009

8:3-4 - When I was attending Dallas Christian College, Mark Worley used to lead a concert of prayer worship service each year. He would always read these verses and I have never forgotten them. The prayers of the saints are incense in the throne room of God. That is such a beautiful picture...I love to think that my prayers are being used to honor the Great King. It gives you a new understanding about the importance of prayer.

8:5 - Also, who says prayer isn't powerful. That same censer that is filled with the prayers of the saints is send crashing to earth causing bursts of lightning and peals of thunder. Our prayers make a difference in this world...our prayers are powerful. Never forget that.

8:13 - I know that as the angels begin opening the scrolls, some crazy things start happening...some pretty scary things. But the lion-roaring eagle doesn't throw out any woes for the first four scrolls...meaning the worst is yet to come. Scrolls five, six and seven are gonna be wild!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Revelation Chapter 7 - April 13, 2009

7:3 - I love passages about God's patience. He is giving us time...holding back judgement so that we can get our houses in order and expand His kingdom. In Mark Moore's devotional on Revelation, he opted to look at the markings on the believers as God's fingerprints on His peoples' lives. When you are a follower of God, it should be evident by looking at your life. His fingerprints should be all over your actions and words and thoughts. I lean towards that explanation for the marking on the servants of God.

7:14 - These are the people who have been through the tribulations...they have maintained their faith in the midst of the craziness of life and remained servants of God. They didn't allow the horrors of this world rip them away from the love of God. They are washed clean. I want to be in this number.

7:17 - How great is the picture this verse paints. This is where our Lord Jesus Christ is leading us: into peace...into rest...into life, and away from being totally owned by sin and crushed by pain.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Revelation Chapter 6 - March 10, 2009

6:2 talks about conquerors.

6:4 talks about the violence of men.

6:6 talks about freed filled markets that make basic goods hard to buy.

6:8 talks about death, disease and famine.

So...basically a typical description of the world's events on the nightly news. All of that stuff is going on right now. The lamb has returned to heaven and opened the scroll...we are in the end times and have been since the resurrection. Of course not everything has happened yet...the events of verses 12 through 17 have yet to come.  

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Revelation Chapter 5 - April 7, 2009

We can spend a bunch of time getting lost in all the symbology (you like that?), or we can blow past the linguistic minutia and get right into the meaty stuff, which is what I prefer. And since this is my blog after all, you aren't going to find much in the way of numerology and end time predictions.

5:4 - This verse comes across as powerful to me. John sees God holding this scroll and no one is found who is worthy to receive the scroll from God and open it. Romans tells us - there is no one righteous, not even one. I believe that John is weeping because the scroll contains (symbolically) the mystery of God...the opportunity for man to reconnect their creator for the first time since sin came into the world. Truly knowing God is right before John's eyes and he weeps because he believes no one can unleash the mystery. So close, yet so far. Kinda like the Patriots going undefeated for an entire season and losing the Super Bowl (That must have hurt). Now replace "football" (In the big scheme of things a meaningless game) with the very meaning of existence - replace "the Patriots" with John, and "losing the Super Bowl" with not being able to fully connect with the God you were made to worship - hopefully you can see why there is weeping going on. Is there no hope for humanity? (Jesus enters, center stage)

5:5-6 - This description is one of the most beautiful when it comes to Jesus. The elder tells John there is no need to worry, because the lion of Judah has shown up. The lion of Judah is such a great name - dripping with power...whoever carries this title is the master of his domain, a king. They rip back the curtain and what does John see? A little lamb. Not only a little lamb, but a lamb that has been slaughtered - some might say this isn't really a picture of power, but I will beg to differ. The lion of Judah is the creator of all things - the most powerful being in existence - he is God...yet he had the strength to put his strength aside and allow himself to die for rebellious created beings. If that is not power, ultimate power...I don't know what is.

Heaven rejoices, because the hero has arrived and there is hope...there is promise of a bright future.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Revelation Chapter 4 - April 1, 2009

This is one of the chapters that Francis Chan talked about at the Live Love conference. This chapter is about worship. Pure and unadulterated worship. Read this chapter...this is the God we serve. This is who He is. Before Revelation  gets into the future predictions and such, it's like God brings John to the throne room so he knows just who he is listening to and following. Do you know who you serve - do you know your this chapter carefully.
- He is surrounded by beauty and things of infinite worth, and they are nothing compared to Him
- The wisest and purest of of all creation surround Him and they fall on their faces before Him
- His very presence produces lightning bolts and rumbles of thunder...power just emanates from who He is
- Creatures that can see everything and have power beyond anything we have ever seen on earth simply praise His holiness over and over...that's all they can do in His presence

Is this the God you worship and live for? Is your worship worthy of this God - the one and only creator of everything?!