In times of crises and doubt, the book of Revelation is a wonderful reminder of the sovereignty and salvation of God. The times were far different, the suffering had a human cause, but the book highlights the concern of God, a reminder we urgently need today. Read with me, please, the eighteenth chapter of the book.
God caused the great fall of Babylon, in Revelation 18. The name of the city figuratively represented Rome. As the great capital of Babylonia had fallen, so would the center of the Roman empire, whence came the sufferings and persecutions of the saints to whom the apostle John had written. Continue reading “Mighty is the Lord God who judges”
To see the first and last times that a word occurs in the Bible can often produce interesting observations. This, of course, is pretty much an English exercise for most people. Also, since one will be looking at Hebrew and Greek in the original languages, the exercise doesn’t work so well.
Among the versions there will be variations. (I use the NET Bible.) Still, it’s sometimes a fascinating game, much more so than those that most people play.
This month’s theme and key word is work. In the U.S., at the moment, more people are employed (which we assume means they’re working) than ever before, although the coronavirus may change that. Continue reading “Rest from hard work”
It is altogether fitting that the last word on righteousness comes from the last chapter of the last book of the Bible. The old apostle John, last of his tribe, writes what are probably his last words to a cowed and persecuted church.
As he wraps up the series of apocalyptic visions showing the grand victory of Christ and his followers, he makes what at first glance appears to be a strange statement. Continue reading “The last word on righteousness”
“I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, saying, ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last'” (Revelation 1:10-11 NKJV).
There are many ways to categorize people. One that I sometimes use has to do with how we schedule our pleasures. Some like to do the best (most enjoyable) things first. That may be eating dessert before the meal, or taking one’s leisure breaks as early as possible. Others prefer saving the best till last. I am among the latter group. I always keep the best piece of chocolate in the box for the final treat.
Reserving special pleasures for later offers several benefits. For example, there is the extended pleasure of anticipation. After all, once a particular dessert is eaten it is finished and cannot be enjoyed again. But while we look forward to it we savor the coming pleasure many times before finally consuming it. Continue reading “First or last”
“I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book” (Revelation 22:18–19 ESV).
What a stern warning to end this book of prophecy! And what a stern warning to end the collection of books we call the “New Testament.” Continue reading “Don’t tamper with God’s word”
“After these things I heard what sounded like the loud voice of a vast throng in heaven, saying, ‘Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, because his judgments are true and just. For he has judged the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her sexual immorality, and has avenged the blood of his servants poured out by her own hands!’” (Revelation 19:1-2 NET).
As we mentioned in our previous article, John’s Revelation is not the easiest to understand. There are many explanations and interpretations, but there are also eternal truths in the word-pictures that John used to paint a picture for us. Continue reading “God’s judgments are true and just”
“Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, and he had an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth – to every nation, tribe, language, and people. He declared in a loud voice: ‘Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has arrived, and worship the one who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water!’” (Revelation 14:6-7 NET).
John’s Revelation is not the most straightforward scripture. There are many explanations and interpretations, some of which have merit and some are more in the realms of fantasy. But whatever interpretation we want to place on it, there are some eternal truths that we can see in the word-pictures that John used to paint a picture for us. Continue reading “Fear God and give him glory”
Revelation 3:14-16 is a rich passage for any preacher who fears his congregation is lacking in zeal or dedication to Christ. In these verses, Jesus condemns the church at Laodicea memorably as being “neither hot nor cold,” and warns that because they are “lukewarm” he will “spit” them out of his mouth. Any preacher worth his salt could nail down the points this powerful passage lays out. Continue reading “Neither hot nor cold”
“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending” (Revelation 1:8)
In the Revelation, Jesus speaks for the final time. Four times (Revelation 1:8,11; 21:6; 22:13), he refers to himself as “Alpha and Omega.” Why? What does this phrase mean, and why does he use it? Continue reading “Why did Jesus refer to himself as “Alpha and Omega?””
“And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying,’Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations! Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed’” (Revelation 15:3-4 ESV).
Isn’t God amazing? Continue reading “The victory of the Lamb”