|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?
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).
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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: