December 23, 2018
THIS IS ADVENT: CHRIST HAS COME AND IS COMING AGAIN
While exiled on the Isle of Patmos, the apostle John saw a vision of Christ’s second coming. His description of the Son of Man coming on the clouds was like what the prophet Daniel saw in his vision 600 years before Christ’s first coming (See Daniel 7:13).
What John saw is also how Jesus answered the high priest who asked whether he was the Messiah, the Son of God. To which Jesus replied, “You have said it. And in the future you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand and coming on the clouds of heaven” (Matt. 26:64). The high priest tore his clothes at Jesus’ reply and declared him guilty of blasphemy. The Jewish council rejected Jesus and sent him to Pilate to be crucified.
Yet, a day is coming when Christ will fulfill the vision of both Daniel and John. He will fulfill the answer he gave the high priest. When Christ returns, he will come as King with a “gold crown on his head” and as Judge with a “sharp sickle in his hand.” This is Advent: Christ has come and is coming again.
December 13, 2018
THE TRINITARIAN WORSHIP OF THE FOUR BEINGS
John saw four “living beings” continually praising the One seated on a heavenly throne. These four beings have been variously interpreted to represent the four evangelists: Matthew (Lion), Mark (Ox), Luke (Man), and John (Eagle). These four images also align with the emphases of each gospel. For Matthew emphasized Christ as King (Lion), Mark emphasized Christ as Servant (Ox), Luke as Son of Man (Man) and John emphasized Christ as God (Eagle).
It is also interesting to note that these four images were on the banners of the tribes of Israel’s wilderness encampment that camped according to the four points of the compass. The tribe of Judah camped to the East with the banner of a lion, Ephraim to the West with an ox, Reuben to the South with a man, and Dan to the North with the image of an eagle on their banner.
John does not comment on their identity. He only records what they continually repeated–– that God is three times holy, omnipotent and eternal. One Day, we shall join in their worship, casting our crowns before Christ’s royal throne.
December 31, 2017
It’s become my habit to highlight a verse from each of the four daily readings in the One Year Bible on the last day of the year. So, on this last day of 2017, I offer a prayer for all of us from each of the readings:
From Malachi, I pray that we will receive healing and the power to go out kicking up our feet like young calves.
From Revelation, I pray that we will look forward to Christ’s return and be blessed by the promises of His Word.
From Psalms, I pray that we grow in our awareness and acknowledgement of God’s “mighty acts” and “excellent greatness,” so that we are always praising the Lord.
From Proverbs, I pray that as members of His Bride, the Church, we would be be clothed in “strength and honor,” always “rejoicing in time to come.”
I pray these prayers over all of us, knowing that His Word is true, His promises sure, and His ear, always listening, ready to answer the prayers of His people.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
December 30, 2017
John saw the “holy city,” the “New Jerusalem,” come down. This is the very place that Christ went to prepare, saying, “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” (John 14:2-3).
He was following the same pattern as any Jewish groom would in the 1st century. Marriages had two ceremonies in those days: First, the betrothal ceremony and then, the wedding ceremony. The groom and his father would pay the agreed upon bride price at the betrothal ceremony. Then, the groom would return to his father’s house to prepare a place for his bride, usually adding on a room or two to his father’s house. Finally, the groom would go to get his bride and bring her to his father’s house on their wedding day, celebrating with a great banquet.
The “New Jerusalem” is the place that the Lord Jesus has prepared for us! The Father has already paid the price for our betrothal when He sent Jesus to die for us. Jesus has risen and returned to His Father’s house to prepare a place for us. Very soon He will return to take us to be with Him.
As my sweet mother used to sing, “I’m bound for that city, God’s home, that bright city. O yes I am!”
Click below to listen…
“I’m Bound for That City” – Wilda Dillon Combs
December 29, 2017
This is the Great White Throne judgment of God. This is not a trial, for the verdict is already in. This is a sentencing. And the resurrected dead both great and small will “stand” (12) for the verdict, which is the “second death” (14).
There appear to be two resurrections and two judgment seats in Scripture. The “first resurrection” (5-6) is for those found in Christ. They will appear before the “judgment seat of Christ” (2 Cor. 5:10). The Greek word translated “judgment seat” is “bema.” The Greek “bema” is not a seat of criminal justice, but of ceremonial reward, as is seen in those who judge at the olympic games. For Christ has already paid the price for their justification. What remains is the giving out of crowns and reward according to their works of faith.
The second resurrection is for those who died without Christ. They will stand for the Great White Throne judgment and be sentenced.
The modern mind may reject the idea of God and a final judgment. Yet, the Word of God is clear. “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Heb. 9:27).
December 26, 2017
Do you know whether your name is in the “Book of Life?” We have many books and records in this world. We keep records of births, graduations, marriage, and even death. But there is no “Book of Life” in this world. This “book” is kept in heaven. It is a timeless book and therefore the names therein were written before time started ticking. Those whose names are in the Book have believed in Christ as the Lamb of God and therefore reject all false world religions. Yet, those “whose names are not written” in the Book are easily deceived by the false religions of the world. They will reject the truth and believe the lie (Rom. 1:25, 2 Thess. 2:11). In the last days, a great worldwide religious delusion will encompass the nations and only those whose name is in the Book will see it for the lie that it is.
Can you “know” whether your name is in the Book of Life? Oh yes! The apostle John explained how you can “know” with confidence in his first epistle:
“Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:12-13).
December 23, 2017
John heard a “voice from heaven” describing the Lord’s perspective on the patient endurance of believers during the tribulation. From the world’s perspective they were being persecuted and killed for their faith in Jesus, but from the Lord’s…
1) They were “blessed” – Completely content and satisfied. Happy.
2) They had found “rest” – Both sabbath and shalom. No more striving. No more anxiety. Rest.
3) Their “works follow” – They say you can’t take it with you, yet the Lord says your works of faith will follow you to heaven. Nothing is wasted. Works of faith are remembered and recognized.
So, don’t give up. As the apostle Paul wrote, “Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (Gal. 6:9).
December 21, 2017
Not your usual Christmas card verse, yet John’s revelation pulled back the curtain to show Christ’s coming from a heavenly perspective. The “dragon” represents Satan. The “woman” is Israel. And the “male child” is the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. Israel has been under almost continuous persecution since Christ’s birth. Yet, in the last days there will be a season of relief (see v. 14 “she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent”). After this the persecution will worsen towards Israel and those who have come to faith in Jesus (v. 17 “her offspring”) because Satan will know his days are numbered.
There may be both good days and hard days ahead, but we can be confident that the Lord is with us and has a plan for us. At Christmas we celebrate Christ’s coming and the confidence we have that He is coming again to end Satan’s worldly reign.
December 16, 2017
Those believers who “come out of the great tribulation” will dwell with the Lamb, who is the Lord Jesus Christ. He will shepherd them as David’s Psalm 23 described. And the tears of their tribulation will be wiped away by the Lord Himself.
No more hunger, no more thirst, no more crying, for the Lord Himself will shepherd them.
December 16, 2017
John saw Christ the Lamb open the first of seven seals. The first four seals revealed the four horsemen of the apocalypse. The word “apocalypse” comes from the Greek word meaning, “to unveil” or “to reveal.” Thus, the title of the book, the “Revelation of Jesus Christ.” The identity of the four horsemen is a matter of much debate. But a careful comparison of Christ’s description of the last days in Matthew 24 with Revelation 6 is helpful. The first rider has a crown, a bow and rides a white horse. This is not Christ, although he does seem to masquerade as such. This rider represents religious deception, those that come claiming to be Christ, “deceiving many” (Matt. 24:5). In the last days, there will be a great religious deception that will “conquer” (“overcome”) many.
Yet, those who know the Lord Jesus Christ will not be overcome. For they are “overcomers” in Jesus’ name. As John wrote in his first epistle, “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:4-5).