Promise of Eternity II

revelation-21

 “I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.”  Revelation 21:2

The goal in our Christian life is to be apart from sin-not to allow ourselves to be influenced to compromise our faith and life in Christ.

When we choose to mix or add in evil and try to rationalize evil away, we become the evil people Revelation talks about and the fools that the Proverbs talk about.  We must be above reproach and open to inspection when we claim Christ as Lord.  Our faith matters, because what we do and say does indeed echo into and throughout eternity.  Our spiritual growth affects our moral success and failures (2 Cor. 5:10).  We will give an account and Christ our Lord will wipe away our tears!

Take a careful read of Revelation 21 without any preconceived notions, take in God’s marvelous Word.

New Jerusalem means God comes to us.  Jerusalem refers to the city where God reigns and where He is among His people. It represents the holiness and eminence, as Jerusalem is a place of gathering, community, and worship in Jewish culture and faith.  It was also a place for Israel to be a blessing and evangelist to the world. Where the world came to Israel to see a magnificent Temple and then they would hear about a One True God who takes cares for His people. Their gods they worshiped were petty, conniving, hateful and had no care. So, all people groups of the earth would send their tradesmen, diplomats, war, spies, and travelers too, though the hub, where The Temple sat, of the world’s trade routes.

For Now, this is reversed, as Christ in us, we go to the world. Then, we may have a further fulfillment at Christ’s return.

The contrast is, then, in the Old Jerusalem, where they journeyed to meet Him.  Now, the New Jerusalem is God who journeys to meet them. In ancient Judaism, this theme also meant “hope.” It is also a position and representation of the people of God, “His people,” as a bride of God. Here, it is pointing to Christ as Messiah and our hope. Christ and His Kingdom are the New Jerusalem.  Faithfulness is the key that opens to us the door to life in the New Jerusalem (Gen. 12:1-3; Neh. 11:1-18; Psalm 87:5-6; Is. 48:2; 52:1; 54:11-12; 62:12; 65:17-18; John 1:14; 13:34; 16:33; Gal. 4:26; Phil. 1; Heb. 11-10; 12:22; 1 John 4:20; 5:4-5; Rev. 2:11, 17, 26; 3:5-13, 12, 21; 19:7; 21:1-22:5).

This is further set in by this key word, Bride.  This is an identification of His people and an image of our Redeemer’s intimacy and the community between God and His children (Eph. 5:31-32; Rev. 19:7).

The key word, Throne… dwelling of God, means, “God is among us!” It refers to the Tabernacle-how God resides among His people, and the theme of “Immanuel.”   Tabernacle and Sanctuary are images of the Old Testament Tabernacle tent that was God’s heavenly dwelling. As a throne, this refers to the inner sanctum of God’s most holy of holies where the Ark, with the two tablets of the Testimony Moses brought from Mount Sinai dwelt.  This represented God’s home on earth as a “copy” of God’s Throne Room, made for His presence in the inner chamber of Jewish Temples and the Tabernacle, a tent used before the Temple was built by Solomon.  Now, John sees the real heavenly version has been brought down to us. This is very significant in Christian redemption (Ex. 24:9-11; 25:8-9, 40; 29:45; 32:15; 37: 24-28; 43:7-10; Lev. 26:11-12; Deut 10:5; 1 Kings 6:12-13; 22:19; Is. 8:8-10; 51:16; Ezek. 37: 24-28; Zech. 2:11; Dan. 7:9-10; Matt. 1:22-23; 13:38; John 8:42-45; 2 Cor. 6:16; Heb. 8:1-6; 9:1-14; Rev. 3:12; 4:1; 7:15; 11:19; 14:15-17; 15:5-16:1, 16:17; 21:22).

Jesus tells us in John 14:1-4 that we have an Eternity waiting for us! 

Father’s house, means Heaven where God’s presence dwells with us, as opposed to Hell where God’s presence is absent. This is our ultimate future hope and residence, our future reward and our current motivation to pursue righteousness.  Classically, in Judaism, this meant the Temple, God’s dwelling on earth, where God dwelt amongst His people. Here, this refers to our heavenly dwelling place that God prepares for us that no mere human words could ever describe (Ezek. 43:7-9; 44:9-16; 48:11, 35; Luke 16:9; John 8:35; 14:28; Acts 1:10-11; Rom. 5:2; 1 Cor. 15:16-19; Heb. 7:25; 1 Pet. 1:3-5; 1 John 2:1).

 

Promise of Eternity PI

eternity b

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.” Revelation 21:1

John 14:1-4; 2 Corinthians 5:1-10; Revelation 21:1-4

What to expect? Total renovation!  God will be making all things new, and we have hope beyond wonder as a new heaven and a new earth will be formed.  We can take comfort that God will remove evil from humanity, separating out the good. The old earth and heaven will be restored prior to sin; even fear will be gone.  In Revelation, everyone is celebrating, shouting that the presence of God is now among us all, as God Himself now lives with us and within us for eternity.

Then, the greatest comfort is given; God wipes away all of our sorrows and fears so there is no more death, suffering, or pain as evil is wiped away for good.

God’s Word is true and trustworthy.  He reveals one of His names, the first and last, the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End.  He promises refreshment to quench the thirst of all who are victorious in Christ, who will inherit everlasting life.  Christ gives us springs of water without charging us what is owed, and thus, His grace continues.  But, God will also keep His promise of judgment; all those who are evil will be removed from those who are good, and all those evil people will be sent to hell for all eternity.

New, in context, means “rejuvenated.”  God is changing the “old order of things,” but that does not necessarily mean He is replacing it.  As Paul states, we are being reconditioned in Christ by our “new” covenant of grace, as the “old” is passed away (Gen 3:17; Is. 51:15-16; 65:17; 66:22; Rom. 8:18-23; 2 Cor. 5:17).

New heaven and a new earth. This theme comes from Isaiah 65, teaching that God will completely and thoroughly accomplish and achieve His purpose throughout the universe.  As Christians, we will be “transfigured” so we will have no ties to the old nature of sin and evil.  An “extreme makeover” where the entire creation is restored to its original parameters-before sin corrupted everything-and we receive our new bodies (Gen. 1:1; Is. 42:9; 48:6; 51:15-16; 65:17-25; 66:22; 1 Cor. 15:35-57).

This IS God the Creator, Redeemer, and Consummator communing with us and making a total transformation and renovation of His creation!

He will bring all things to fruition. He will bring peace and a future to those in Christ!  As magnificent as this is, it is only the backdrop of what will be going on; the far more spectacular “center stage” is that God IS among us.  He is our Lord, Protector, and Sustainer.  He will remove the evil; so those who are in Him will never hear, “depart from me.” Rather, we will hear “come to me and I will give you rest.” He has saved us, but here is how He continues to save us as His grace is continually at work, involved, and shepherding us now and for eternity. He promises us all things new, and for those who reject Him, all things of judgment.  In the meantime, we have Christ in us now, empowering us-a preview, and a real, effectual presence and hope for us now. This is to inspire us for faith, reliability, and steadfastness in our Christian life (Ex. 33:14; Matt. 7:23; 11:28-30; 25:41; John 5:22).

Our lives here on earth, whether joyful or in suffering, is not the end of the story!  God will achieve His purpose; we will inherit His wonders and blessings!

Christ will “wipe away every tear.” This must resound in us not just for our personal hope and comfort, but also to enable us to trust in Christ for all things and situations.  Those in Christ are His and His for all time; there is no fear or dread when we are with our Lord King.  He IS the Alpha and Omega.  He will bring all things new to those who know and love Him, and judgment to those who fight Him. We can be encouraged, as we have hope, reason, and purpose, to be faithful because of our confidence in Him, producing active faith that glorifies Christ and builds His kingdom (Eph 1:14; Heb. 12: 18-29)!

 

 

 

 

Can you find where ‘apocalypse’ is in the Bible?

apocalypse

I have seen it in movies, in TV preaching, from false teachers, from sensational books, on the cover of “Time” and so forth. But can you find it? I have tried, I tried hard to prove it and to disprove it and to just find it. I am sorry, I only been looking for it for 35 years, I read the Bible daily, and I can’t find it? And not to be facetious, I really tried. It is not in quality Bible Dictionaries like the ‘Oxford Dictionary,’or in ‘scholarly ones like ‘Colin Brown’ or ‘Kittel.’ Well maybe it is me, others claimed they have seen it, even wrote books on it.  I know I am limited in my education of the Bible with just 2 PHD’s and of course seminary; but, I can’t find it! Anyone, anyone?

 If you try to look up the word “apocalypse,’ in online sources this is what you will get, “Sorry, we didn’t find any results for your search. Please try the following:” and then no suggestions…

So, where does ‘apocalypse’ come from?

It is somewhat in the Greek word, well very somewhat. The word for, Revelation, is from the Greek title word “apokalypsis,” which the Anglicized version turns into “apocalypse.” However, in the Greek, this term means, “discourser of events,” as opposed to total destruction or end of days or something secret or hidden. Thus, even though Revelation is symbolic in places, it is not hidden to us when we take an honest look and compare it to other Scriptures rather than trends or newspapers.

It also means an uncovering, an unveiling or, as we have it in the English, a Revelation. The other title that has been used is “The Apocalypse.” Thus, Revelation is a book of disclosure of John’s seven visions and God’s exhortations to encourage early Christians enduring severe persecution to remain loyal to Christ and Christ will retaliate against those who dare hurt His anointed (Judges 6:11-23; Dan. 7:16; 10:5-21).

The word apocalypse has come to us in the last century to also refer to a trial, like the phrase, The hour of trial. This is a way to say the “Apocalypse,” or times of extreme hardship, trials, suffering, and/or being tested. This phrase denotes a widespread, universal (as throughout the Roman Empire) suffering as opposed to a local persecution. This can also refer to the “Great Tribulation” and/or the “Great Judgment” where we all go through tough times or our personal journey when times are harsh (Rev. 2:9-10; 3: 7-13).

It has been used to refer to “To test those,” to mean we are purified and refined when we go through the consequences and quintessence of life. These have a purpose; nothing happens to us without a reason that is meant to teach and grow us (Job 23:10; Psalm 12:6; Prov. 17:3; Isa. 43:2; Jer. 11:4; Dan. 12:1; Matt. 24:4-28; Mark 13:19; 1 Cor. 4:3-5; 2 Thess. 2:1-12; 1 Pet. 1:5; 4:13; 5:1; Rev. 13:5-10).

So what does apocalypse mean?

From the original Greek rendering and from the contexts and actual intended meaning, it means ‘comfort,’ to be loyal to Christ, for His plan is unfolding. It does not mean what most people think it means, a total destruction or an end to the world, it actually means the opposite. Consider that, John is proclaiming an important fact we must all agree upon, that God is Sovereign and in control! He gave us grace that we did not deserve and a precious plan that will unfold.

We have hope both now and in the future.

 

Revelation Bible Study in Pasadena, and new Facebook Revelation Bible Study!

We will have a live Bible Study, at Lake Avenue Church, Pasadena, Ca! Journey
Mid-Week Bible Study Thursdays, Sept. 08 – June 28 , 2012

7 – 8:30 pm, FL 203. First Fall 2011 meeting is Sept. 8.

http://www.lakeave.org/adult-classes-electives-and-bible-studies.html

….it is not what you think, it is better! This will be unique, because when we study
the Bible inductive, thus, we see what it actually says in context not what the
‘megalomaniacs’ think it says…

http://www.intothyword.org/pages.asp?pageid=56857

And if you are not in Pasadena, you can participate here and discus on
Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/groups/32228568200/

What Does Revelation have to do with Church Now?

Why are some Christians so greatly interested in chasing fads and so little interested in effectual truth?

Revelation, as most evangelicals understand it, is about the last days and the judgment of evil, and, for the most part it is. “However,” (a BIG “however,” and a “however” most of us do not like to hear and will rarely study or teach on is this. We rather desire to read into the Bible what we want it to say instead of doing an honest, carful, biblical eschatological study or the simple approach of exegetical eschatology. Then we camp on our hill and tend to die on it in our pride, bringing foolishness to ourselves and the Kingdom of God. Let’s not do that.  

We need to see that Revelation is also about how we are called to lead and manage HIS CHURCH! It really is not just about end times, it is so much more. End Times is an aspect, but not the focus. We forget it is a letter to seven churches who were struggling, dealing with disloyalty from within and persecution from without and End Times was the “hook” to get them to refocus at the big picture to look too God and church right.

For example in Revelation 17, the question we need to ask is, are we being a “harlot” with His Church? Not, who could be the harlot that may come? Consider that prostitution is a form of adultery—not just in the sexual sense, but being disloyal to God so we are committing adultery to Him. It is unfaithfulness, and thus corruption and disintegration of our life, faith, and then the family because of the breakdown of the Church resulting in the breakdown of society (Is. 57:3; Jer. 3:8-9; Hos. 2:4). This is about who you pledge your life to. Is it to your own pride? Or, is it to His Church and the glorification of Christ? Or, do you chase bad trends, sins, and the ways of the world? Are you so concerned with your way of doing things that His Way is pushed aside or skewed? If so, perhaps you are the “harlot,” or at least acting like it. Consider the struggles of these seven churches and the struggles in your life and church. You may have some prayer and repenting to do! I know I have had to do so!

Research insights into the Date of Revelation, Part VI

Did the Early Church Fathers give credence?

Some of the other Early Church Fathers give credence to a late date. Jerome, Sulpicius Severus, and Hippolytus all thought that John was exiled to Patmos under Domitian, where he saw the visions and wrote the Apocalypse. Another was Clement of Alexandria, who was an “Ante Nicene Father.” In his work, “Who is the rich man that shall be saved? XLII,” he gives credence to a late date too. So say many Futurist scholars. But, when the text is examined,

the Apostle John. For when, on the tyrant’s death, he returned to Ephesus from the isle of Patmos, he went away, being invited, to the contiguous territories of the nations, here to appoint bishops, there to set in order whole Churches, there to ordain such as were marked out by the Spirit…

The key is how you translate the phrase the tyrant’s death, because it could be Domitian as this theory argues, but it could be someone else like Nero. Jerome also stated in his Book of Illustrious Men that during the final reign of Domitian, he instigated the biggest persecution of all, even greater than Nero’s. Therefore, this sets up the situation for Revelation. However, these statements can easily be cross-examined and refuted because of contextual issues similar to the Irenaeus refute. Thus, these late date theories may come out of interpretative errors by their scholars, from reading into a theory and grasping for any evidence, or that the historians just could not recognize how Christ’s statements applied to the audience as he said they did.

The other main theory for a late date is when the events recorded in the book of Revelation take place in Domitian’s reign (81- 96 AD), the contention is that it is in the future after the date of around 82 to 96 A.D. This is backed up by the early church historian, Eusebius (A.D. 300-340), who actually did not state the date but just gave a general connection between John and Domitian, which could just mean John was still alive in Domitian’s reign.

Keep in mind that a Futurist view will require that the date for Revelation be after 70 A.D.

When I originally wrote this fifteen years ago, I was seeking to research and perhaps prove a late date, but the investigative study proved to have too many holes. However, as I said in the beginning, Revelation does not come with a date and time stamp, so scholars and Bible students need to make a reasonable, logical investigation before an assumption can be made about the date and views. Although I personally lean toward an early date now, I am not an advocate of it nor am I totally convinced. Why? Because Revelation has more to do with how we live than what will come. Thus, having a Preterist or Future view or even something else is not as important as what the beasts in our lives are, as well as in whom and where our hope is (which is more of a Spiritualist view, but I can’t hold to that—I am Reformed! lol)

Research insights into the Date of Revelation, Part V

A late date after 70 A.D.?

Most modern, historical, and biblical scholars tend to state that Revelation was written between 95 and 96 A.D. with the major exceptions of McGuiggan, Jay Adams, Philip Schaff, and some others who contended for an early date of 70 A.D., specifically in the spring, during Vespasian’s reign, thus making an argument for an early date steps one out of the herd into the presumption of pride or a theological agenda; of course, the majority can be wrong too. If the later date is true, then the Preterist position cannot stand up well—if at all. The majority of the prophecies were fulfilled (except Christ second coming). Keep in mind that the key to this position is Jesus’ own words in Matthew 24.

Most scholars contend that the date of Revelation was around 95-96 A.D. near the end of the Domitian’s evil reign. How, and why?

Iraneaus is the main spokesmen to this date. He lived in the second century A.D., a principal “Early Church Father” who made a statement in 185 A.D. that the apostle John “saw the revelation…at the close of Domitian’s reign (A.D. 81-96). (Ref: Contra Haereses 5.30.3; ANF, 1:559-60 also called in the fifth book of his work “Against Heresies”.) The argument against this is that in context, his statement is not clear, rather ambiguous, but can be implicit in various ways.

Here it is: We will not, however, incur the risk of pronouncing positively as to the name of Antichrist; for if it were necessary that his name should be distinctly revealed in this present time, it would have been announced by him who beheld the apocalyptic vision. For that was seen not very long time since, but almost in our day, towards the end of Domitian’s reign.

There are at least four main problems with this statement. 1. It is actually a “second hand” account, which he quotes from Polycarp. Thus, it is not a direct quote from Irenaeus. 2. In context, this quote referred to Polycarp’s remembrance (also referred to by Eusebius) “that” sometime toward the end of Domitian’s reign there will be an antichrist (which simply means anyone who opposes Christ; here in a grand scale). 3. It is not clear from this statement to what Polycarp was referring or what he meant by “that was seen.” It could have been referring to Revelation or to a coming antichrist that was also implied by John. 4. Irenaeus suffers from credibility issues and/or textual and scribal errors. He also wrote when he was very old and/or made major mistakes. For example, in the same work as the aforementioned quote, he states that Jesus was crucified when he was fifty years old. Thus, the principle source for the late dating of the Book of Revelation has some significant holes.