The Revelation of St John the Divine

In the past two weeks, our church Bible study group has now at last gotten to the book of Revelation and, so far, it is a pretty phenomenal read. I know I haven’t been reporting on our studies much in recent entries, but I think this is such an important book that I should type up some of our group discussion and my own comments on this matter thus far.

I know that there are a lot of doom and gloomers out there worried about 2012, total economic collapse, an increasing police state, the state implementing martial law, planet-wide natural disasters, earthquakes, giant solar flares, migrating poles, etc., etc., etc. to them I respond with: “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7) and

   Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
   Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
   Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
   And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
   And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
   Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
   Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (Matthew 6:28-31)

Anyway, whatever the book of Revelation or even 2012, holds for us, it is not for us to have fear. One contemporary para-medium, called Ion, has spoken recently of things that if strange things are afoot, that if we want, that such events can be little more than ‘dew on the pumpkins in the morning.’ We must speak now of the marvelous good ahead and know that indeed it awaits us. “Peace, be still” (Mark 4:39).

From Ninin Ga Shinobuden, v.1, p.14.

As our group jumped into the text, John opens with a grand display of what the second coming of Jesus Christ will be like:

   Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.
   I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. (Revelation 1:7-8)

And there is a bunch more speaking about all the glory and wonderfulness, some of which includes:

   And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.
   And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:
   I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. (Revelation 1:16-18)

There are lots of references in the Holy Bible concerning the quickness and sharpness of God’s word. It is worthy to note this utterance of holding the keys “of death and of hell” and to live forevermore. It reminds me of the verses in which Jesus tells us that those who drink of his water “shall never thirst” and it “shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14) and this reminds me of Jesus’ words elsewhere that those experiencing this new eternal life, “They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover” (Mark 16:18).

After this John proceeds to speak more of Christ’s present messages to hir seven churches upon the earth. Interestingly one person in the group brought up that these messages could be to future churches and not the ones at the time John wrote this. Whatever the case may be, chapters 2 and 3 are basically the messages to those seven churches, but they all follow a very similar format/pattern: Each opens by addressing the angel of that particular church, and calls the church to repent where needed, and then each closes saying, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” followed by words talking about what awaits the faithful.

In chapter 2, verses 4 and 5 we had quite a bit of discussion. The verses read:

   Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
   Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

What is this “first love”? We seemed to agree that it’s referring our love for the gospel, and perhaps for each other, that one first experiences when they embrace the gospel itself, and to repent means to come back into being in that place.

All of these messages, at and/or near the ends, talk about what awaits the repentant or faithful:

   • To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. (2:7)
   • …Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. …He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death. (2:10-11)
   • …To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it. (2:17)
   • And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. And I will give him the morning star. (2:26-28)
   • He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. (3:5)
   • Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. (3:11-12)
   • To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. (3:21)

The final one is quite striking, that we will sit with Jesus on God the Father’s throne. That is some pretty intense stuff. As we read into chapters 4 and 5, it talks about a lot of specific things (a sea of glass), people (twenty-four elders), and beasts (with lots of wings, and full of eyes both about them and within them) that seem to always dwell around the thrown of God.

From Ninin Ga Shinobuden, v.2, p.69.

The last verse of chapter 4 was the most striking to me, when the twenty-four elders fall down before the thrown to worship they declare:

   Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

The reason that this is so striking to me is because of the words, “for thy pleasure they are and were created.” That everything was actually made purely to pleasure God hirself. That is such an interesting idea! And, so if we are truly and actually to sit down on God’s thrown, and if we actually believe that the kingdom of God is within us and not something coming that you can point to or see, then these things lead one to conceive of a different kind of second coming:

   And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
   Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. (Luke 17:20-21)

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