Promise of Eternity IV

Resurrection-of-the-Dead

“‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”  Revelation 21:4

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

The resurrection of the dead leads to a new life, our life after death that Jesus is able to provide by His death and resurrection.  This is also about what is to come, the Second Coming and the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God.  Jesus, our Rescuer, and Redeemer; He took on our human nature, but without our sinfulness, and remained pure to pay the debt for our sins (Rom. 1:4; Heb. 1:1-4; 2: 7, 14-15).

Let’s look at some keywords:

Wipe every tear….” This means we have victory in Christ and that God is true to his promises!  This is also a contrast of those who made oaths to the beast and/or are disloyal to God (Psalm 23:6; 49:14; Is. 25:8; 35:10; 51:11; 1 Cor. 15:54; 2 Cor. 1:20; Rev. 3:14; 7:17).

“No more death/swallow up death,meaning we receive the promised, eternal inheritance (John 11:25; 1 Thess. 4:13; 2 Tim. 1:10; Heb. 9:13-17).

Everything new, means God is the Creator; He will complete His purpose-He will work it out.  God intervenes in history and in our lives.  He will judge, as He demonstrated with the Flood (Gen 6-8; Isa. 4:5; 43:18-19; 57:19; Rom. 8:18-23; Heb. 8:13; 2 Pet 3:7-13).

“Alpha and the Omega, means God is eternal and rules over all places and time. This refers to the majestic, Messianic journey and work of Christ. He is omnipotent, or “all-powerful.” “Alpha and Omega,” also refers to the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet and embodies His Sovereignty.  Christ is all in all; He is LORD of all that is past, present, and that which is to come!  His will and purpose will come true, and ours will not; so, to grow, we must surrender to Him (Isa. 41:4; 44:6; John 19:20; Rom. 8:18-25; Gal. 2:20-21; Col. 1:17; Rev. 1:8; 22:12-16).

“Give to drink… water of life,” gives us an image and a promise of comfort, and provides the remedy to the greatest fear of loss to a desert dweller (Psalm 36:9; Is. 35:1-2; 55:1; Ezek. 47:1-12; John 4:10-14; 7:37).

He who overcomes means our perseverance of faith in Christ and the promises of our Lord.

“Be my son,” refers to our inheritance, the blessings we have in Christ, and His love and pursuit of us, for He does seek us (Rom. 8:15-17)!

We are a part of His Covenant and thus, He will give us not only a hope, but also a future. Our Christian lives, even in persecution and trials, are of great worth and meaning. Those who are His are called to be faithful and loyal to Him, and Him alone.  We overcome the ways of the world when we look to Christ and not to our desires or situations (Zech. 8:12; Mark 13:13; Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21; Jubilees).

Jesus lived, died, and rose again for you and me!  All we are to do is trust and obey Him, and as we continue in this endeavor, He gives us even more empowerment for enduring life and performing ministry along with His special favor and peace!  Even if we do not see Jesus, He sees us, loves us, and helps us persevere.  This may seem unattainable or even unfathomable when we are under stress or the hostile occupation of life.  However, we can do this because we have access to His empowerment; we are literally kept by God through faith.  As we grow in our faith, we become even more precious to God and He will preserve us through trials and life.

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Promise of Eternity III

Promise of Eternity

 

 

And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.” Revelation 21:3

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

 

 

A Jewish allegory is employed, “No longer any sea.” This is about how evil and oppressive things will be replaced with what is good.  The word sea is a Jewish metaphor for what is frightful and terrible, and what is inexplicable and/or hostile as the sea was greatly feared by them. The sea is where the monsters lived; people did not live anywhere near it, nor did they have a navy. This saved them from numerous deadly tsunamis over the centuries. Such imagery is used for invading armies and the occupation of the Romans. This does not necessarily mean the seas will evaporate or be removed, but the fear of it as “sea” meant evil.

Here, God is saying He will neuter evil’s power or remove it all together. This can also refer to how God will (has already done) neuter Rome, its power, and its influence (Job 7:12; 41:1; Psalms 74:13; 89:9-10; Is. 27:1; 65:17; Rev. 13:1-10).

God dwells with His people!  He is the God Who is now and Who is to come.

We are shown His perfection, holiness, and purity. God is the One who restores, converts, and brings salvation and hope. This also means righteousness, rightfulness, and renewal.  Christ is coming again and all will consummate His will and purpose.  Justice and His Kingdom will be fulfilled, and every knee will bow (Isa. 45:23; Rom. 14:11; Phil. 2:10; Rev. 21:1-22:5; Tobit; Jubilees; 4 Ezra)!

This is our great comfort, God seeks us; He wants to be with us, He is our refuge; He is the One to whom we look for leadership (Psalm 23; 80:1; 121:5-6; Isa. 4:5-6; 49:10; Micah 7:14; John 10:11-18; Heb. 3:1; 13:20; 1 Pet. 5:4; Rev. 4:6-7).

Jesus is our only way, the gate, and stairway to Heaven; there is no other way to God except through Him.

Now, the epic three-word phrase that gives us what to look forward to: Prepare a place.  Jesus is preparing for us, those He chooses, an eternal home; Heaven.  He brings peace and a future to those in Him. God will achieve His purpose; we will inherit His wonders and blessings and we will have no ties to the old nature of sin and evil.  Jesus is not just preparing a place for us in Heaven; He is preparing us in our journey of faith in the here-and-now, too (Isa. 42:9; 48:6; 51:15-16; 65:17-25; 66:22; 1 Cor. 15:35-57; Rev. 7:9; 21:1-8)!

Know that Christ is our Real and true hope! For our lives now and what is to come in eternity!

In application, a real Christian and an effective church leadership always point people to Christ as Lord and operate in the Fruit of the Spirit. Thus, our character will show calmness, personal care, tenderness, and the Love of Christ in meeting the needs of others–never out of arrogance or manipulation. That also means not to manipulate ends times teaching, that points to a personality and not The Person of Christ!  We are to be more than just a personality; as we are from the work of the Holy Spirit within us (Prov. 15:1; Isa. 40:11; 42:2-3; Phil. 4: 5; Matt. 5:5; 11:29; 12:15; Eph. 4:1-2; Col. 3:16; 2 Timothy 2:24; 1 Thessalonians 2:7).

When we operate in real faith and the parameters of the Fruit of His Spirit and Word, we will get End Times more properly, and our church will prosper.  Pastors and church leaders are being good ministers when we realize we are still human and fallen, and face our own sins and temptations that would cloud us from being true representatives of Christ.  When we are good ministers of the God, we point others to Him by our actions and deeds.

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!