Eternity makes Halloween a Joke

American Classic – It’s Halloween and it’s no coincidence that I’m back in Revelation. We have had so many disaster movies, and some try to follow the outline of the events in Revelation, but all of them pale in comparison to the real ending of the world as we know it. In our movies, we’ve been conquered by aliens, conquered by our robots, conquered by a virus, we’ve been hit by asteroids, a global storm, suffered a nuclear winter and who knows what else, and that’s not counting the movies about disasters in a certain location, a volcano, an earthquake, or even tornadoes.


The end would be scary enough, but it’s even worse because we’re told what to expect. Now, I won’t get into that just here, it’s in the coming weeks, assuming I have even that much time. Now, after the end times, we get our reward, in either non-smoking or smoking. Now, for those who unfortunately enter smoking, there are a few Bible verses that tell you what you ought to expect, over 300, I think. To me, living through all of that is scarier than anything we could ever come up with.


Now some might say, “Look, we know you guys believe there is a day and time for all of that to happen, but it’s been hundreds of thousands of years since the world began and almost two thousand years since Jesus died. If he really isn’t dead, then where is he and when will he be here? Can’t you see that nothing has changed in all that time?”


It’s like a train, I think, you can see the track, and you can feel it rumbling as the train approaches, but it won’t be here until it gets here. Even then, it’ll be too late. The interesting thing, is that before The Day of the Lord, there is The Day of Salvation. 2 Corinthians 6:1-2, “1As God’s fellow workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. 2For he says, ‘In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.’ I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.”

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The Word shall be our Bread

WorcesterRouT – The Superscription (1:1-3)
This opening clause is a mark of distinction which gives us not only the title, but the theme.


It is a revelation about and from the Lord Jesus. It is a revelation, a disclosure about the Christ Himself. It reveals His present work in the church, and discloses future events, but the events concern the person of Christ Himself and His return and activities associated with His second coming. In support, note the following verses:
•1:5 — “and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness.”
•1:7 — “Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him,” so we have an unveiling.
•1:13 — Reveals Christ’s ministry in the middle of the lampstands.
•5:5-6 — Reveals Jesus Christ as the Lion and the Lamb.
•6:14 — Reveals the unveiling of the Lamb on the throne and His wrath.
•19:10 — Reveals the return of the Lord as King of kings.


The Chain of Communication
First, it proceeds from the Father to the Son
Second, the communication proceeds from the Son through an angel
Third, the communication comes from the angel as the Lord’s messenger to John
Finally, the communication of the book is from John to the body of Christ


General Eisenhower once rebuked one of his generals for referring to a soldier as “just a private.” He reminded him that the army could function better without its generals than it could without its foot soldiers. “If this war is won,” he said, “it will be won by privates.”


In the same way, it is the common, servant-like believer who becomes the very backbone of the body of Christ. We are often overly impressed by our great evangelists and superstar Bible teachers and leaders who stand before large crowds, but if the glorious message of the person and work of Christ is to reach the world, it will be done by a church that functions as bondslaves of the Savior (cf. Luke 12:15; 12:32; 2 Pet. 2:19; 1 John 3:17).


Someone has said, “The true test of a servant’s heart is whether or not I am willing to act like one when I am treated like one.”


The Things Communicated
(1) “The Word of God”—This book with its visions is called the Word of God and is part of the whole canon of Scripture. It stands in harmony with the rest of Scripture and provides us with the culmination and conclusion. This description stresses its authority and importance to the church. It brings out the concepts of inspiration, canonicity, preser¬va¬tion, and illumination (cf. 1:9; 3:8, 10; 6:9; 12:11; 17:17; 19:9; 20:4).
(2) “The testimony of Jesus Christ”—The word “testimony,” marturia, a noun form of the above martureo„, also carries the idea of “attestation, verification, validation.” This could mean “the testimony about Jesus Christ,” an ob-jective genitive, or “the testimony from Jesus Christ,” a subjective genitive. The latter is preferable because of the phrase, “the Word of (from) God,” and the context. The point is John testifies to both the Word of God and to the validation of his message from Jesus himself.” 
(3) “And of all the things which he saw”—The first two defined and described his testimony from the standpoint of its nature or character and source. This calls attention to the many details and areas that he saw and that will be found in the book—the great events and personages which precede and surround Christ’s coming, His kingdom, and His eternal glory.


The Promise, Plan, and Value of the Book (1:3)
The Promise—Blessing
The Plan—Exposition and Application
The Value—Its Timeliness


Appellatives (titles) of Jesus Christ (1:5a)
(1) Our Prophet—the faithful witness.
(2) Our Priest—the firstborn of the dead.
(3) Our King—the ruler of the kings of the earth.


Accolades (praise) to Jesus Christ (1:5b-7)
(1) For His present ministry—“who loves us.”
(2) For His past ministry—“who released us…and made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father.”
(3) For His future ministry—“Behold, He is coming with the clouds…”

The Ultimate Revelation

Verdana – “The Revelation of/to John” – it is a revelation from Jesus Christ given to John
“The Revelation of Jesus Christ” – can mean the revelation from/about Jesus Christ


(1) It is the revelation that comes from Christ (cf. the second clause in 1:1, “which God gave Him to show to His bondservants,” and 22:16 make this point clear). Jesus Christ, being God Himself, gave this revelation to His ser-vant.
(2) But Jesus Christ is also the center of the book. The book is supremely the revelation about the Savior who has overcome and will return to defeat all evil (1:7, 13 [Note that each message to the seven churches begins with some aspect of the vision of Christ in 1:13-16]; 5:5-14).


The book itself is singular, it’s one Revelation.


Theme: The prominent theme of the book certainly concerns the conflict with evil in the form of human personalities en-ergized by Satan and his world-wide system, and the Lord’s triumphant victory to overthrow these enemies to estab-lish His kingdom both in the millennium (the 1,000 years of Revelation 20) and in eternity.


Importance and Purpose of the Book
First, because blessing, not confusion is promised to those who will read it (1:3).
Second, the Bible says “all Scripture is profitable,” meaning every book of the Bible.
Third, this book is also important because it deals with “things which must shortly come to pass.”
Fourth, it is also important because of the way it reveals the Lord Jesus.
Fifth, Revelation is also important because of its unique warnings and challenges to the church in the sec-tion spoken of as “things present” (2-3).
A.) On the one hand, it provides us with an extended commentary on the spiritual warfare described in Ephe-sians 6:12.
B.) On the other hand, it gives us light concerning things to come, of things that have not as yet occurred in his-tory, but will. 
Sixth, it is important because it discloses conditions that will be present in the end-time system of the beast and the final world empire, politically, religiously, economically, and internationally.


Author: John, Date: A.D. 81-96 Location: Isle of Patmos


Interpretation of the Book
(1) This book is a part of the canon—a part of that which God has spoken.
(2) As a part of the Bible, this book is what God has spoken through the apostle, the human author.
(3) The uncertainty and confusion that this book has been accused of creating is not the fault of the book or the fault of God.


Some say that this book was fulfilled in the history of the early church.
Some say that this book will be fulfilled in the overall history of the church.
Some say that this book represents a battle between good and evil, but without any impact to the past, present, or future.
Some say that this book is yet to be fulfilled in a literal sense.

Back to the End

VendomeT – I’m going back to the book of Revelation for the next short while. Now, in order to understand Revelation, I’ve had to do some homework. All my notes are taken from Bible.org’s article series on Revelation.


God promises blessing to the student of this book (Rev. 1:3).


It is in this book that the victory of God as the God of history is seen in the culmination of the ages and the establishment of the eternal state.


The Purposes of Prophecy
1. It Is Not Designed to Make Us Prophets
2. It Demonstrates the Accuracy of the Bible – Deuteronomy 18:20-22; Jeremiah 28:9; Deuteronomy 13:1-5; and Ezekiel 26:1-5
3. It Reveals the Power and Wisdom of God –  Isaiah 10:5-19
4. It Reveals the Plan and Purposes of God
5. It Protects Believers from Satan’s Counterfeits
6. It is Designed to Give Comfort – John 14:1-3; 1 Thesselonians 4:18; 5:11; and 2 Thesselonians 2:2
7. It is Designed to Promote Holiness – Philippians 3:15-21; Colossians 3:1-5; 1 John 2:28-3:3; Titus 2:9-15; and 1 Peter 1:13-17
8. It is Designed to Unfold the Loveliness of Jesus – Revelation 19:10


Dangers in the Study of Prophecy
1. The Danger of Sensationalism – Acts 17:21 and 2 Timothy 4:3
2. The Danger of Ignoring Prophecy – Daniel 9
3. The Danger of Pride – 2 Corinthians 8:1
4. The Danger of Imbalance – John 1:4; Revelation 1:7, 8; 19:10; 1 Thesselonians 4:13; 2 Thesselonians 2:8; Titus 2:13; and Philippians 3:19-20
5. The Danger of Discouragement


Kinds of Fulfillment in Prophecy
1.) Double Reference Fulfillment (Near and Far) – Daniel 8:9-11 and 23-27
2.) Dual or Partial Fulfillment – Isaiah 9:6-7; Isaiah 11:1-10; Isaiah 61:1-3; Luke 4:17-20; 1 Peter 1:10-12; Daniel 8:27; 12:8; Isaiah 11; and Isaiah 53
3.) Single or Complete Fulfillment – Isaiah 23; Ezekiel 26; Nahum 1:15; Zephaniah 2:13; Micah 5:2; Daniel 9:24-27; and Revelation 3:10
4.) Historical Fulfillment as Prophetic Foreshadows – Daniel 8:9, 21-25; Psalm 22; Matthew 2:15, 17; and Matthew 12:39


I remember watching a televangelist tell the congregation something simmilar to this account: “There was once a town where very little ever happened. One day, a man ran into town shouting ‘The dam is breaking! The dam is breaking!’ Everybody who heard him fled, they were running this way and that. People were getting hurt, shoved, and they were so afraid for their own lives, they didn’t even notice. Some were running home, others were running out of town, but one man was so troubled with his life, he sat down and waited for the waters to come. The more he thought about it, the more he realized, they didn’t live anywhere near a dam.”


So has it been with this book, people have said, “It’s coming today! I’ll be here next week!” More than a hundred people have guessed and each and every one of them were wrong. We can’t know the date, but we are asked to “be ready”. So I won’t tell you the when, I’ll just tell you to be ready.

Teacher, Teacher

Trebuchet MS – I was listening to a sermon just yesterday and the pastor pointed out that if the youth had any hope as the next generation of church leaders, the adults would have to practice the lost art of discipleship. He then said that Moses taught Joshua, Elijah taught Elisha, Paul taught Timothy, and Jesus taught all of his disciples.


Make no mistake, teaching a disciple isn’t like teaching a classroom of students. It involves significant effort on the parts of both the teacher and the student. It involves discipline. Now, the western method of teaching is one teacher to about twenty-five students. The discipleship method of teaching is one teacher to one student, and sometimes only a few more. The western teacher teaches and one a week or so tests the students on what they remember. The eastern teacher and student are constantly teaching, asking, and answering.


Christians are Jesus’s Disciples. The things he taught the Twelve, are there for us to learn. Jesus was primarily teaching his disciples, but he didn’t object when a huge crowd gathered to listen to the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus sent out his disciples to go and teach and to make disciples of all nations. There’s much more to discipleship, but I’ll leave that for you to discover. I remember that this stuff was very helpful: Follow the Rabbi


 

Acts: Standing in Defense of their Beliefs

Tahoma – If you think that we now have all the cards stacked against us, it was even worse as the early church began to get organized. Stephen, Paul, and Peter had to answer for the truth about Jesus. They knew that if their audience knew scripture, they could teach using doctrine. However, Peter and Paul had to rely on the evidence they were presenting and the logic they were using to help people understand what the early church really was.


EXAMPLES: USING DOCTRINE
Exposing false teaching or correcting false accusations
Acts 6:8-7:60 Stephen’s defense
Acts 17:1-4 Paul’s defense
Acts 28:23-28 Paul’s defense
 
Some might say, “Well that’s the early church, it’s all well and good but it has nothing to do with us.” They would be wrong. In many things, the early church proves to be an example. Sometimes they show us what no to do better than they show us what to do, but we’re all human. From these passages, you could guess that these people knew what they believed, why they believed it, and why other teachings were not true.


EXAMPLES: USING EVIDENCE
Appealing to Historical Evidence:
Acts 26:1-29 Paul’s defense
Appealing to Scientific Evidence:
Acts 14:14-18 Paul’s defense
Appealing to Legal (Eyewitness) Evidence:
Acts 2:22-36 Peter’s defense
Acts 5:29-32 Peter’s defense
Acts 10:34-43 Peter’s defense
Acts 13:16-41 Paul’s defense
Acts 22:1-21 Paul’s defense
 
We know that it’s not all talk either, because Peter and Paul have quite a reputation. They backed up everything they said with everything they did. Peter served in Israel, Paul traveled throughout the neighboring countries and even further. Their teachings are virtually unchanged, and taught to this very day. If we ever need to defend our faith, the book of Acts is chock full of examples that others used to defend their stands.


EXAMPLES: USING LOGIC & REASONING
Acts 17:19-31 Paul’s defense
Acts 24:24-25 Paul’s defense
 
The early church relied on defending themselves with the Word, because they faced great persecution. In Hebrews 11; we are told, “36 Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. 37 They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.” Such was the persecution of the early church.

Comeuppance

Sylfaen – In the movie The Mummy, Evy tells Beni, “Nasty fellows such as yourselves always get their comeuppance.” To which Beni scoffs and repplies, “They do?” She then responds, “Always.” And we all know what happened to him, for those who haven’t seen the movie, let’s just say that he met a thourough demise.


The definition of comeuppance is a deserved rebuke or penalty. You can live by the book, but there will eventually be a time when you mess-up and then you’ll have to be punished by the book. If the word “Law” is on the cover of the book, then you have to go through the legal system. Most people would say that it is right to follow the law and it is wrong to break the law.  However, should that book have the word “Bible” on the cover, you have another system to think about. Some have compared it to the legal system. However, nobody can follow the law and be right all the time. This is because when you are right at one level, the bar is risen too high for us to meet. To make up the difference, we’re going to need a boost.


The more things we try other than the right thing, actually bring us down further and faster. Eventually we’re going to have to recognize that anything we do to get ourselves over that bar will fail. The only boost that will not only get us over that bar but also reserve us a seat in the heavenly concert is accepting Jesus into our hearts and lives.


By the Law and by the God’s Law, Jesus was righteous on all accounts. He neither broke the Law nor sinned against God’s Law. On that cross, he took upon himself the comeuppance of everybody who would come to believe in him, past, present, and future. If he had just died, then we would have had no hope. However, he rose again. He has defeated death. I no longer worry about my comeuppance, which would have been a southern eternity. Will your comeuppance come back to haunt you?