Revelation, book of hope

To be a follower of Jesus takes guts.  We live in a hostile world ruled by God’s enemy.  He and his demons hate God’s people and harass them continually.  God is not unaware of it.  That is why He gave us a very special message to encourage us and call us to persevere.  

That special message is in the book of Revelation.  How do we know it is a special book?  Look at its unique introduction,   

‘The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants what must soon take place.  He made it known by sending His angel to His servant John, who testifies to everything he saw — that is, the words of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.’  Revelation 1:1-2

It is the only one of the 66 books of the Bible which emphasizes that its origin is from God.  The special blessings for those who read and hear it is another unique feature, 

‘Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.’  Revelation 1:3

God encourages us to persevere.  His plans for His people are wonderful.  Listed below are a few of the things that will happen at the end of this age:

  • God will completely destroy Satan and his followers.  Banished to hell, they will never ever be able to do any harm to God’s people again.  
  • God’s servants will all be resurrected and live eternally with Him in peace and harmony. 
  • God’s Son, whom the devil attempted to kill forever, at the Cross, rose again.  He is the eternal Lamb who overcame and will sit at the right hand of God on their thrones in the New Jerusalem.  
  • Great joy awaits God’s people at the Wedding Banquet of the Lamb of God.  We will bask in the love of our Bridegroom eternally.    
  • We will see God’s face daily and love and serve Him.    

These are a few of the benefits God will give His people as a reward for their perseverance in the midst of often trying times and circumstances.  The book of Revelation is a wonderful book of hope.  The Most High gave it to us personally.

Pre-Creation Conference, Part 2

God’s Care for Man

In the previous blog, The Pre-Creation Conference, Part 1, Introduction, we discussed that the Bible reveals God’s plan for man.  The Godhead decided before creation that Jesus would be the Lamb of God, without blemish or defect. 

That causes us to ask two questions: 

  • Why did the Godhead plan that Jesus would be a Sacrifice on behalf of man?  
  • What happened to Adam and Eve that caused God to go to such lengths?  

If we look at all the decisions made before creation, and how they were worked out in history, one aspect is marvellous: God’s concern and care for man.  

Maybe a short Gospel presentation would be helpful at this stage: 

  • God made man in His image. 
  • Adam was to rule over creation. 
  • God commanded him not to eat from the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. 
  • Satan tricked Eve.  She ate and also gave to Adam and he ate it.  They disobeyed God. 
  • That enabled Satan to steal Adam’s right to rule.  Therefore the devil is now the prince of this world.  
  • Adam and Eve were evicted from the Garden of Eden and separated from the tree of life, which meant a break in their relationship with God. 
  • Therefore all Adam’s descendants are born in Satan’s kingdom.  So our minds are darkened in regard to knowledge of God.  We are alienated from God. 
  • God wants us to be His children and to be reconciled to Him again.  
  • Yet two decrees stand between us and God: 
    • ‘The wages of sin is death’ and we all sin.  Romans 6:23
    • ‘There is only forgiveness by the shedding of blood.’  Leviticus 17:11; Hebrews 9:22
  • God made provision in Jesus for us. 
  • In the Garden of Eden after Adam and Eve sinned, God shed the blood of innocent animals to cover Adam and Eve.  It was a picture of what Jesus would do.  He shed His blood so that we can be forgiven.   
  • The Sacrificial system of the Israelite nation was also a picture of the coming Lamb of God. 
  • The Lamb came, and shed His precious blood on the Cross.  Thus both decrees of God are handled. 

The marvel: God’s extra help for man

God made two more decisions before creation to ensure that there would be nothing to hinder the restoration of our relationship with Him.  He does not only handle and forgive our sins.  Included in the package is that we will be holy and blameless in His sight and it is all by grace and not merit. 

1. ‘For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight.’  Ephesians 1:4  

2. God has ‘…saved us and called us to a holy life – not because of anything we have done, but because of His own purpose and grace.  This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but has now been revealed through the appearing of our Saviour, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel.’  2 Timothy 1:9-10

God did it so that we can understand that it is His decision that we belong to Him.  It is not because we are so smart, clever or wonderful.  It was solely His doing.

Also, God, contrary to so many people in high positions, has no favourites.  If we had to earn salvation, obviously some people are just more disciplined, stronger, mentally superior, et cetera.  God could not allow it, so salvation is by grace.  

In this whole proses we see God’s wisdom, understanding, omniscience and complete care for us, fallible humans.  We can only praise and worship such a brilliant, good God!

To be continued….

Jesus, the beginning and the end

The Bible covers Jesus’ life from before the beginning of creation, right into eternity.  As God the Father talked to Jesus and told Him what to say,1 so the Old Testament ‘talked’ to Jesus and told Him what would happen to Him.

#  The Old Testament Scriptures reveal the life of Jesus.      

  • Sometimes we might be inclined to neglect the Old Testament.  Yet Jesus, filled with the Holy Spirit, never doubted the truth and accuracy of the Old Testament that predicted His suffering and Resurrection.  Think about Isaiah 52:13-15; 53.  The last verse of Isaiah 53 sums it up, ‘For He bore the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.’   
  • When Judas Iscariot led the crowd, sent from the chief priests and the elders, to arrest Him, Jesus said, ’But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?’ 2  

#  The New Testament Scriptures reveal Jesus as,   

The Word of God  

  • John 1:1-2 explains that Jesus was around before Creation, ‘In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.’   Notice the emphasis that He was with God in the beginning.  
  • 2 Timothy 1:9 repeats it, ‘This grace [from God] was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.’  Time began with creation.  
  • Revelation 19:13 again reveals Jesus as the ‘Word of God.’  

The Lamb of God  

The Living Word of God is also called the ‘Lamb of God.’  1 Peter 1:18-19 says, ‘For you know it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ a Lamb without blemish or defect.’  He was our Passover Lamb.  

Eternally on His Throne  

In the final scene before the ‘billions of years’ commence (not that there will be time then), we see God on His throne with His beloved Son at His right hand also on His throne, ‘…the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city.’ 3

Conclusion

Jesus is the Beginning and the End.  Truly miraculous!

References

  1. John 12:49  
  2. Matthew 26:54  
  3. Revelation 22:1
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