What does Revelation 14:1-5 mean to us now?

27 03 2010

 

Being blameless and of faith has a resound that benefits us and reaches to Heaven and God’s ears. There is a direct link to how we are accountable to one another and how we are enticed into sin. This also directly relates to our faith and spiritual growth in Christ. If we are tempted or get caught up in sin, we must realize our need and call to repent, and seek Christ’s forgiveness. Being faithful and pure sexually means you are a person of faith and conviction, while to be unfaithful and in contrast, being loose sexually means we are loose with our relationship to God. This will result in personal and relational devastation and chaos. Sex causes a bond and is meant for a sacred occasion. When it is misused, it is devastating to all involved and greatly affects our faith and how we run our churches. This is also the reason sexual abuse is so devastating for people! The victim is bonded to his or her attacker in a perverse way, so the act stays in the mind as he or she keeps living it out.  

In the case of abuse or mistakes, we have to be diligent to seek forgiveness and repentance. And, if needed, we should seek professional counseling to overcome the experience through God’s grace, love, and forgiveness (Gen. 2:24-25; 34:1-3, 8; Prov. 5:15 -22; Rom. 8:12-17; 1 Cor. 6: 12-20; 7:3-5; 2 Cor. 10:5-6; Eph. 1:3; 2:4-10; 5:21-32; Col. 3:1-4; Heb. 13:4; James 4:4). 

Real worship comes from our gratitude and faithfulness to the Lord; it must never be pretentious! In our planning of worship, we must allow the Spirit to direct us. It is OK to compose, plan, and rehearse our praise and music, but we should not allow our worship to be a performance or a show of personalities. Rather, we are called to be an offering of praise to the main and only audience, who is Christ our Lord 

Questions to Ponder: 

  1. Christians, who focus on Christ, will be able to follow Him as He leads and loves. How has this been so for you? How can you be better at it?
  1. Why do some Christians allow themselves to be easily led by manipulations or showman personalities and not by the Truth of the Word? How is this like the way the beast will deceive people?
  1. If tough times really hit your church, will their allegiance be to the Lord and marked by Christ or to something else? Do you think that there is no excuse for being manipulated when the Truth is in us by both the Spirit and in writing contained in the Word?
  1. What can you do to make sure that your faith and deeds will not be deceived? How does Christ give you hope and victory? What can you do to see His hope more clearly in times of stress and discomfort?  What can you do to improve your loyalty, faith, and allegiance to the Lord and be marked by Christ? How will your faithfulness and Fruit be used?

 © 2007 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries http://www.intothyword.org





Exegetical look into Revelation 14:4-5

27 03 2010

 

  • Not defile themselves with women means keeping oneself free from sexual immorality. Wrong sex at the wrong time with the wrong person hurts both us and others, and defiles us before God. It destroys relationships when we are called to make good ones. This is also a call not to be involved with things that are worldly or pagan.
  • Pure/virgin refers to being chaste spiritually while giving a physical example, as in faithful with our sexuality. In Jewish culture, it referred to the call of purity for priests (Lev. 15:16-18; Deut. 23:9-11). Here it is a call to be faithful in our daily lives, relations, and relationships with others. The contrast is fornication with the beast or faithfulness to God. We cannot have friendship with God and still seek the evil ways of the world; it is our choice—either One or the other (Ex. 34:15; 1 Cor. 1:8; 6:15-20; Heb 13:4; James 4:4).
  • They follow. This is an image of sheep following the care of the shepherd. Here, Jesus is the Shepherd who loves and cares for us; we follow Him from our faith and gratitude, staying on His path (Matt. 19:21; Mark 8:34; John 10:4; 14-15; Rev. 7:17; 13:17).
  • The expression, First fruits, gives the image of faithfulness as an offering of the best we can be; “my utmost for His Highest” before the Lord is an expression of our true devotion to God. It is used as a term for the first Christian converts who exercised real, extreme faith and who were willing to cut off their family and cultural ties, and face persecutions. In the Old Testament, the Jews offered God the first of their harvest, which was the best, before they partook of the labor and toil of their cultivation. Here, it is a call to cultivate our faith and offer it up before our Lord as obligatory as well as a form of worship (Ex. 22:29; Lev. 2:12-16; Deut. 18:4; Neh. 10:35, 37, 39; Prov. 3:9). For us, it is more of the freewill verity of faith to declare our confidence of faith and holiness to God. It is also a means of conviction to others as people see our faith. The Spirit uses that to be a testimony (Lev 23:9-14; 2 Kings 4:42; Jer. 2:3; Rom. 11:16; 16:5; 1 Cor. 15:20).
  • No lie/no guile, meaning falsehood, refers to standing for ethics in God’s truth—nor engaging in false teaching, manipulating others for personal gain or skewed agendas, or theological falsehoods, keeping them and/or refusing to yield to real Truth. (Ex. 1:19-20; Is 53:9; Jer. 38:25-27; Rom. 1:25; 1 Pet. 2:21-22; 3:8-11; 2 Pet. 3:3-18; 1 John 2:22; Rev. 3:9).
  • Blameless/without fault means to be at peace with God because we are “bought” by Christ’s redemption. As Christians, we can have peace with God as a result of being justified by faith. By the same token, we can still sin, disappoint, and displease God even though we are saved. He calls us to live according to His requirements, and if we refuse, we need to take heed. Our salvation is secure but we are still accountable for our actions for we will receive commendation and rewards when He returns (Matt. 5: 33-37; Rom. 5:1; 1 Cor. 3:10-15; 6:11-20; 2 Cor. 5:10; Eph 1:3-14; 1 Pet. 1:19; Jude 24, 25).




Exegetical look into Revelation 14:1-3

27 03 2010

 

  • Lamb. This is an image of Jesus Christ, the sacrificial Lamb of God who redeems the sins of humanity. Christ is the ultimate depiction and application of this-Jesus Saves (Gen. 17:3; 22; Ex. 12:3; 2 Chron. 7:3; Is. 53:8; Mark 3:11; 10:45; John 1:29; 3:16; 1 Cor. 6:20; 2 Cor. 8:9; Heb. 12:22-24; Rev. 5:6)!
  • Mount Zion refers to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and/or the city of Jerusalem, the representations of Hope and sacredness, which are the most holy and sacred places in Judaism. Before Jerusalem was Israel’s city, it was a pagan fortress that was taken over by David; he established it as the capital (2 Sam. 5:7). Thus Zion, the pagan name, becomes a synonym for Jerusalem and a symbol as the eternal dwelling place of God. This is also an image of great comfort in that Jesus Christ has victory over evil and corruption (1 Cor. 15:24-28; Rom. 8:19-21; Gal 4:26; 2 Thess. 2:8; Heb 12:22-24; Rev. 11:19; 14:6-18; 19:11-16; 21:2), and will physically and spiritually rule over all of the earth (Matt. 19:28; Luke 22:28-30; Rev. 20:1-10). This also refers to the restoration of the faithful—from captivity for the Jews, and the promise of Christ’s second coming for Christians as Jesus rules from His throne in Zion/Jerusalem (Is. 2:2-4; 65:17-25; Zeph. 3:11-13; Zech. 9:9-10; 14:16-21; as well as 4 Ezra). Jesus in His glory, is seated on the throne, and the righteous (those who accepted Christ) will be clothed with authority by His righteousness to inhabit the New Kingdom (Dan. 7:22; Matt. 19:28; 25:34; Luke 12:32; 22:28-30; 1 Cor.  6:2; Rev 2:5; 21:2-3), fulfilling the Kingdom of God on earth (Matt. 16:18-19; 26:29; Mark 14:25; Heb. 8:11).
  • Jesus Saves is a symbol, meaning that the numbers are beyond counting or unfathomable to man. (Rev. 1:1; 2:20; 7:1-8; 22:6) This denotes how Israel returned from the Babylonian captivity to inherit the land (Ezek. 48). This also alludes to us, the Church, who are the inheritors (Rom. 11:1-36; Rev.12). 
  • His name…written on their foreheads is a contrast of allegiance to the beast versus to Christ (Rev. 13:16-18). It refers to the loyalty of the faithful and the contrast of the disloyalty of those who desire evil over the Way of God. God sees and protects those who are His (Rev. 3:12; 7:3-8; 13:16; 22:4).
  • Sound from heaven…rushing waters. This image is from Ezekiel, a display of God’s splendor, purity, and overwhelming elaborations, magnitude, and majesty. These words, as in any human language or thought, are insufficient to convey who God is or what Heaven is like (Rev. 5:6; 14:14; 19:11-13). Obviously, this is a figurative, not a literal description of Heaven (Ezek. 1:24; 43:2; Rev. 1:15).
  • Loud peal of thunder is the symbolic representation of God’s mighty power coming to deliver His people. It is also hope, a glimpse into the awesome majesty and power of God. This is not to be scary; rather, it refers to God’s Supremacy and Authority and our duty to heed His voice and reverence Him with our allegiance and continual faithfulness. (Ex. 19:16-19; Job 37:5-6; Psalm 18:11-15; 77:18; Ezek. 1:4-13, 24-28; 43:2; Dan. 7; 10:6; 1 Tim. 6:16; Heb. 12:18-29; Rev. 4:5; 8:5; 11:19; 16:18; 19:6).
  • Harpists playing their harps. A reference to worship and praise to God (Rev. 5:8; 15:2).
  • Harps were small, bowed, stringed instruments used in Jewish worship (not to be confused with the large, modern European harps from the 12th century), and were considered the most beautiful musical instruments of that time; here, they are presented as an image of something used to praise God with sincerity and reverence (1 Chron. 25:1-6; 2 Chron. 5:12; 29:25; Neh. 12:27; 1 Sam. 10:5; Psalm 33:2).
  • Sang a new song refers to the theme of our deliverance. This also compares to “ascents” of the soul, like the Psalms of Ascent (Psalms 120 to 134) as describing mystical experiences or encounters with God (2 Cor. 12:2-4). This is also an image of “being caught up” with our encounter with God, or meeting God as He is our life transforming and our true conviction for our faith and practice. It does not mean a “rapture” as in flying up in the air to meet God (Ezek. 2:2; 3:14, 24: 8:3; 11:1-24; Luke 17:30-35; John 14:2–3; Philip. 3:21; 1 Thes. 4:17).
  • No one can learn it refers that this song is an image of real music for those who are redeemed. This is also an image of an offering of gratitude for our salvation and used to express our deliverance or blessing. Here, it denotes being inspired by the Spirit and/or being spontaneous in worshipping Christ, the opposite of something “canned,” or obligatory (Psalm 33:1-3; 40:1-3; 96:1-6; 98:1; 144:7-9; 149:1; Is. 42: 8-12; 2 Cor. 12:2-4; Rev. 5:8-9; 14:3).




Revelation 14:1-5

27 03 2010

Introduction 

The Followers of the Lamb

Imagine this incredible scene! John now sets his eyes on The Lamb, standing on Mount Zion. Hope and victory are seen! Christ is there with those who are loyal to Him in faith and deeds, who have not allowed themselves to be deceived. Their focus is Christ and they follow Him as He leads and loves. They have been faithful and have kept themselves from sin even through the toughest of circumstances and temptations. John not only sees His Lord and great Hope, he also sees some of the wonders and sounds of things to come. John sees that Faith is tangible as God’s majesty is shown in is splendor and power. Yet, it was smooth and soothing, a great comfort and reassurance. The mark of the beast was rejected and the mark of Christ was received. The result was faithfulness and glory to Christ the Lamb. The faithful fruits that we display are also the encouragement others need and a testimony of conviction to those who struggle. Beware that there will be judgment for those who scorn righteousness and the precepts and plans of God. 

How would you feel and think if you set your eyes on The Lamb standing on Mount Zion?  How does Christ help you with your dependability to His precepts and call? 

This passage uses agricultural images given to an agrarian people living in a city. John receives another vision and gives it to us with a play on words (Ezek. 10:1; 44:4; Dan. 10:5). The call here is to be faithful or be harvested for judgment, because God wants the best for Himself just as He offered His best to us. Continuing the theme of allegiance, this is about the contest and contrast of the mark of loyalty versus disloyalty. Will our loyalty and faith be to ourselves and/or evil, being easily led by manipulations, or will our allegiance be to the Lord and marked by Christ? Previously, the Dragon and the Beast, representing evil and disloyalty has manipulated and twisted truth and deceived people. Then, in Chapter 13, evil’s intentions are made fully known and clear, so there is no excuse. There is no excuse of manipulation or deception; evil is what evil does and you either follow it or God. This passage refers to those who are saints, people who are the elect, saved by grace—the redemptive work of Christ. These are the people who are sealed by their faith, motivated by their devotion and trustworthiness to Christ, and marked by the flow of their faithfulness and Fruit. This is not some esoteric, metaphoric number or flutter for speculation. It is quite clear; it is us, those who are Christians, all who have ever been and will be—Christianity in completion and in unity with Christ. In this passage, these followers, the 144,000—all of faithful Christianity who are consecrated to give worship and praise to God on Mount Zion (Ezek. 9:3-f; Rev. 5:10; 7:4-8).

 This passage testifies to the fact that our faith is our benefit. When we are faithful and keep ourselves from sin—even through the toughest of circumstances and temptations—we persevere into greater use and maturity. How has this been so for you? What prevents this from happening?





What does Revelation 7: 1-8 mean to us now?

26 08 2009

 

Remember, the context is also about worship and church leadership. Jesus is the ONE who is qualified and able to judge and, by his grace, to give us a reprieve. It is amazing of all the convoluted theories on this number that ignore Jewish customs, apocalyptic metaphors, and of course, the context and Old Testament that tell us the meaning. Many commentators see this passage as just pertaining to actual Jewish tribes or a group of Jewish believers who convert during the period of tribulation.

We are not told exactly who and what these 144,000 are. Possibly, it is because it is not important, as the reason and purpose of pointing to Christ and showing us opportunities to get our priorities in line with His are far greater. We can either honor His name by living lives worthy to be in Him, or we can reject His offer of salvation and reconciliation and do as we want; and we can “want” ourselves all the way from judgment to hell. The bottom line meaning is that God keeps His promises to individuals and to people groups, as He here confirms.

The point of this passage tells us that God is at work even when all seems lost¾and then it gets even worse! God is still there, even in tribulations, no matter how short or great His love and grace are carrying us through it! The purpose that John has in mind, and what God calls us to in the context of this passage, is the obvious: Beware! Judgment is coming! And now, here is some grace. Here is a quiet time so you can assess where your priorities and direction in life will be, but there is not much time.

Questions to Ponder:

  1. How would you feel if you were going through the worst calamities you have ever faced, and suddenly you got a reprieve? How do you think Christians would react if in the midst of dire tribulations there came a heavenly shout of “WAIT?” How would the rest of the world react? What about you?
  1. Why do the ungodly continue to live as they see fit, ignoring God, and enjoying the sins of the world? How will they feel when the faithful receive their seal and place in the Kingdom from our Lord?
  1. Can you trust God in how He judges? How are you impatient when things do not go your way? How can you more fully understand His grace, and trust in His love?
  1. What can you do to trust Him more and not have need to fear these events that one day will come about in their fruition?
  1. What kind of a respite do you think you need from Christ? What are you going to do about it? Do you need a quiet time so you can assess where your priorities and direction in life should and will be? How can you do this? When will you do this?

 © 2006 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries http://www.intothyword.org





The Four Main Views of Revelation 7: 1-8

26 08 2009

 

The Preterist view: They see this passage as happening during the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., and God as minimizing the evil to the Church during the carnage. Accordingly, to early church historians, all the Christians escaped, many to “Pella,” and no one was killed. God identified His faithful, provided for them, and they escaped harm before the fall of Jerusalem. A similar occurrence happened in 586 B.C. when the Romans invaded, and the faithful Jews were protected, which was predicted by Ezekiel in chapter nine. God “marked” His people and protected them as He did at the Passover with the blood on the doorposts (Mal. 3:2; Eph. 1:13). They see the 144,000 as God’s faithful Jews, who acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah and are saved, even though most of the other Jews were apostate and the reason for the conquest and judgment by way of the Romans. Others see the 144,000 as the actual faithful Jews who escaped the fall of Jerusalem.

The Futurist view: They see this passage as literal, as four literal Angels and four literal corners, even though the earth is a sphere. Some see this as four “quarters” or sections of the earth. They also derive from this passage that Angels are in control of the elements and nature. They also see this passage as not a reprieve but an extra narrative of what is going on during the opening of the sixth seal, since they believe there are no Christians present as they all have been raptured before this period. Their debates center on whether people can be saved after the rapture or not. Others in this camp see the first part of this passage as just a stylistic interlude as with chapter 10. They see the 144,000 as a select number of Jews who are faithful and receive salvation during the tribulation, and have no bearing on the Church. They see the “sealing” as God preserving those Jews who evangelize and bring Israel to repentance (Zech. 12; Matt. 24:14; Rom. 11:26-32). Dan is not mentioned as they see the antichrist coming from Dan (Gen. 49:17; Jer. 8:16).  Some who are “post—tribulationists” see God protecting His faithful during the Tribulation.

The Idealist view: They see the “winds” in the passage as symbolic for the four horsemen in the previous chapter, and site Zechariah 6:5. Others see this taking place before the opening of the seals, and still others see it as God’s grace protecting His faithful. They see the 144,000 as symbolic of the camp groupings during the Exodus (Num. 31:4-5). They also see no distinction between Jews and Christians. They see God protecting the Church during His judgments, but they will still suffer the results of the wars and catastrophes.

The Historicist view: They see this passage as a pause of His judgments as God protects His faithful before the angels continue their destructive mission. Others have said this refers to God protecting the Seven Churches from invaders; still others see this as the period of Constantine when Christianity became accepted, and peace and prosperity reigned for the Church until the Barbarians took over Rome and the Church fell to the Dark Ages. The general idea is that God cares, has a plan, is in control, is concerned for His faithful, and will protect us. They see the 144,000 as symbolic for the entire professing Church, as “God’s Israel.”  Others see this as Constantine’s conversion; others see it as God protecting the seven churches from the invaders. Some see this as a select number of Jews who are faithful and who receive election in Christ.





Exegetical look into Revelation 7: 4-8

26 08 2009

 

  • The number refers to those who are the real, authentic followers of Christ, the righteous who are covered by Christ’s righteousness and thus “saved” from God’s wrath. (Rev. 2:9; 3:9; 21:2, 14). This also may allude to Israel’s restoration as a nation, which occurred in 1948, but this is highly speculative and not supported in the context of the passage. The problem is that passages such as 2 Chron. 36:21, Jer. 24:1-7; 29:10; 32:44; Ezek. 20:34; 36:33-35; 37:15-28; Dan. 9:2; Hosea 3:4-5; Amos 9:14-15; Micah 7:8-11; and Zech. 12:6-8 are read into this passage. These Old Testament passages speak of Israel being restored after the Babylonian captivity, but not necessarily as a nation thousands of years hence.
  • Sealed means that those who are faithful, who accept Christ as Lord and Savior, and who are claimed as His will be protected. The image here is like important documents in ancient times that were folded or rolled, tied with a string, and then wax or clay placed on the seam, and impressed with a signet ring (Rev. 9:4; 14:1; 22:4). Jesus seals us for protection showing that He cares, is in charge, and has ownership over us. His ownership means He possesses us¾not Satan, not the world, and not even our fallen nature and sin. His possession of our soul and life is our great comfort and relief (Gen. 4:15; Ex. 8:28; 9:4; 11:7; 11:18; Isa. 44:5; Rev. 5:6; 9:4; 14:1)! 
  • 144,000 is a symbol, meaning that the numbers are beyond counting or unfathomable to man (Rev. 1:1; 2:20; 22:6). This denotes how Israel returned from the Babylonian captivity to inherit the land (Ezek. 48). This also alludes to us, the Church, who are the inheritors (Rom. 11:1-36; Rev.12). 
  • 12,000. Twelve, like most numbers in Revelation, is not an actual number nor is 12,000 or 144,000; rather it refers to “fullness.” Twelve is also found, in various Jewish sects and in the Dead Sea Scrolls, to mean “the people of God.” Then the “12” is magnified as to 12 multiplied by 12 to mean complete fullness or God’s bountiful provisions and blessings. This is a symbolic Jewish metaphor for being “servants of God,” just as the key phrase previous to this symbolizes. This also means that He is the Provider. The debate over the numbers centers on whether they represent the entirety of saved souls or just those who just are “restored” Jews. Nonetheless, the term “servants of our God” makes it more understandable (Ezek. 9; Matt. 10:30; Rev. 9:4; 14:1-5; 21:8; 22:15).
  • All/Every Tribe. The term, “tribes,” is used for the sake of illustration rather than actually referring that only some will be saved. Rather, it means that God, in His fullness, selects whom He selects for His purpose¾Jews and Gentiles alike. (Ezek. 9:4; Eph. 2:11-22; Rev. 9:4; 14:1).
  • Joseph is listed twice as his sons, “Manasseh and Ephraim.” Levi is omitted as the priestly tribe without land inheritance rights. Joseph has two for His faithfulness while Dan is excluded from the list, perhaps because of their rebellious nature to God and idolatry as well as an Early Church tradition foretelling that the “antichrist” was to come from that tribe. Judah may be listed first before the first-born Reuben, because Christ the Messiah came from the tribe of Judah. The sequence of the tribes has no significance as they are often listed in various ways, depending on who is listing them (Gen. 37:21; Judg. 18:30; 1 Kings 12:29; Ezek. 48:1; John 6:70).





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