John 14:1-14 and the Second coming! PV

How would you express the importance of our connectivity to Christ to produce faith and fruit? How can you do this more even in times of harassment and/or doubt?

Now, let’s look at some of the key words in this passage. Remember, Biblical Eschatology has more to do with our faith ecology than misguided theories!

“Do whatever you ask.” Meaning to identity with His purpose, plan, and call. The call here is to expand one’s faith and thinking so Christ is all and working in and through us. In Jewish teachings, God provided a call to His pious people and provided for all who serve God because of the intimate relationship they and we have. But this is always in context to God’s will and providence and never an excuse for us to abuse or some kind of magic formula for success (Luke 11:1-13; John 15:16; 1 John 5:14).

Name” Refers to expressing the consistent name of God with reverence in prayer without uttering His Holy Name Yahweh, to seek His glory and not one’s own. For a person, it means to defend the honor and give respect to that person as you represent them and as you pass on their traditions. This also means to address them in person and when away from them, continue with respect and reverence and act accordingly to their authority.

Here, it is the same to Christ to honor Him and act in accordance to His call and commands, because we reflect His reputation. In contrast, the pagans used the names of their gods to manipulate them to get what they wanted for their own desires and power and control which was considered the utmost of wickedness, because only God is to be in control and honored (Ex. 5:23; Deut. 18:5-7, 19-22; 1 Kings 18:24-32; 2 Kings 2:24; Psalm 9:2; 18:49; 118:10-11; Prov. 18:10; Jer. 14:14-15; John 2:23).

Glory to the Father.” Meaning what we do in prayer echoes into eternity. To praise God for all He is doing and can do in my life. To be conformed to His likeness, to perceive before we receive. The key to a successful Christian life, ministry, and church is prayer. There is no way around it (Psalm 2:7; John 12:41; Philip. 2:11).

I will do it.” This is perhaps one of the most abused passages in the Bible; taken out of context, it is to satisfy one’s lust for power and control.

What does it mean to you what Christ wants us to do with the preparedness of His Second Coming?

What does it mean to you to Trust in God? How do you respond when someone says, do not be afraid or troubled?

What do you need more of to be comforted and empowered in Him?

What do you need to do to have peace and contentment, even when your situation does not offer or have it?

John 14:1-14 and the Second coming! PIV

What is the point of  John 14 and the Second coming? We are to be prepared by our faith not by our wayward theories!

“I am the way and the truth and the life!”

Meaning Jesus is the way to the Father. Jesus is exclusive, the only living Temple, Beacon, and Gate to God! The “way” in the Hebrew writings, refers to the pursuit of righteousness as one journeys through the wilderness of the tough times of waiting and confusion-even suffering. It is a beacon and we are to focus on Christ.

Truth in this context means He fulfills the Law and teachings of the Old Testament. Life means there is no existence without Him and there is no salvation without His atonement, redemption, and grace. Christians were first called “the Way” (Ex. 16:33; Lev. 10:2; 16; Num. 17:5; Matt. 7:14; John 1:1-4, 14; 3:16-18; 5:26, 33; 11:25-26; 18:37; Acts 4:12; 9:2; 19:9, 23; Rom. 10:14-15; Eph. 2:8-9; Heb. 10:19-20;1 John 5:12).

This question is far more important to our spiritual formation than any the ones of the false teacher crowd or the prideful teacher bergade:

How do you feel about your personal Christianity and that God will completely and thoroughly accomplish and achieve His purpose throughout the universe?

No one comes.” There is only one True God and only One right way and Jesus is that Only way and path to God, Heaven, and real righteousness!

Philip asked an impossible act, an appearance that even Moses was not allowed to see. This would have been a ridiculous question for a Jew to ask on one hand and yet a beginning to a statement of faith that Philip did not quite understand, but was starting to realize-that Jesus is God (Ex. 24:10; 33:18; Isa. 6:1; Ezek. 1:26-28; John 1:18; 14:21-22).

“I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me.” This is a dynamic and dramatic expression of the Divinity of Jesus, that there is One True God, yet distinct personalities, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, each sharing the same mutual, united, reciprocal indwelling essence. This is also an emphatic  statement for the Trinity, for the Whole of Godhood expressed in this one passage (John 10:38; 17:21; 2 Cor. 13:14).

Faith in me.” This is not just knowledge of God, rather an intimate connection that He first offers to use unity with us in His work for our redemption. All the blessings and wonder that we have and can have are locked up in Christ and He gives us the key of faith turned by our faith, commitment, and obedience.

“Greater things” or “works.” Works here do not mean miracles; rather, this refers to righteous deeds and a greater number of them in amounts, cultures, and regions of people transformed.

Consider that Jesus was limited to Palestine as he walked this earth; we have had the whole world to go at with the full force of the Church for many centuries, over twenty thus far. Thus, when Jesus went to the Father and sent us the Holy Spirit, the work began at Pentecost. This “works” (Greek ergon) does not mean miracles like signs and wonders, that is a different word rendering; rather, here it is a call that the Disciples through us today will have a greater Kingdom impact and expansion than when Jesus walked the earth.

How and why?

Mainly because Christ work is multiplied through His Disciples and then their Disciples and so on. Also, the empowerment of the Holy Spirit and the exponential increase of followers and opportunities are included (1 Kings 17:22; Matt. 28:18-19; John 2:11; 5:17; 7:21, 39; 8:39; 10:32; 14:16-17, 26; 15:13, 26; 16:7; 19:30; Acts 1-2).

John 14:1-14 and the Second coming! PIII

Is there an immanency in this passage? A rapture here?

A paraphrase, Then Philip asks Jesus to show them the Father, still not quite getting it. Jesus responds, you do not know Who I am after all this time? If you have seen Me, then you have seen the Father! So, why do you ask? I am in the Father and the Father is in Me and lives and works through Me. All you have to do is believe in Me because I am in the Father and the Father is in Me. The Truth is, anyone who believes in Me will carry on my work and even on a greater scale because I will be with the Father helping you. You can ask anything of me in my Name and I will provide for you in this great work; ask in my name for radical faith and I will give it!

What is going on? Jesus not only reveals to us the Father, He takes us to the Father. In this way, Jesus comforts, encourages, admonishes, and coaches while He gives testimony to His role and the events of His upcoming Passion.

So what does “Take you” mean? Here it is referring that Jesus is our only way, He is taking us to the Father in a personal impacting and transforming relationship! He is the gate and stairway to Heaven; there is no other way to God except through Him.
“Take you” is about Who and what Jesus did and does, the resurrection of the dead that leads to a new life, our life after death that Jesus is able to provide by His death and resurrection.

This can also refer to the Second Coming or the new age of the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God. It has nothing to do with a so called ‘rapture!’ Look at the word meanings, the context….

But, moreover, more importantly, this is about Jesus as our Rescuer and Redeemer; He took on our human nature but without our sinfulness, and remained pure to pay the debt for our sins.

In the process, His human nature voluntarily became lower than the angels, but as Fully God He is superior to them in essence, power, purpose, and distinction (Rom. 1:4; Heb. 1:1-4; 2: 7, 14-15).

Let’s look at the next key word for context, Know the way…to Who He is and where He went so we know where we are to go. In simpler terms, we need to ask what would Jesus have me do and then do it.

What does this mean? By knowing Christ and His Word we can know Truth and the path of God’s will that we are to follow. This is what we do on earth that echoes into eternity where we receive our rewards. We do this by Christ alone by faith alone. No other aspect of what we can do such as “works,” can give us merit; rather, our salvation is the result of His working in us (John 1:23; Rom. 1:16; 10:4-17; James 2:14-26).

This passage has been greatly abused by many so-called pastors who read it out of context and inserted their own feelings as truth. This is not about a rapture or a guarantee or a give to get scheme or a get because you believe. Rather, this is an invitation to radical faith.

We often get more than we want and have more than we need and do better in His will than ours. We are limited in thinking and power and He is not. God is not promoting Himself as a vending machine or a flying trip. Rather, He is saying we can trust in Him totally and completely with all we have now and for our future.

What is more relevant and important which is usually not taught in this passage? The perpetration of our spiritual formation. Because, He is not just preparing a place for us in eternity, He is preparing us for eternity too! What we go through is not just about sin in an unfair world, it is the building up of faith and being that display a beacon to a dimly lit world that needs His Light. Isn’t that far more important than arguing dates, strategies and raptures?

John 14:1-14 and the Second coming! PII

Is there an immanency in this passage? Yes, one that demands our faith development and deployment!

How would a glimpse of what Heaven will be like give you hope? What else gives you hope?

This passage starts what is called Jesus’ “Farewell Discourse” where He gives His most passionate and important instructions to His Disciples and us. Here, Jesus is not consumed with His own coming agony, but rather turns His attention to His Disciples and their needs.

Let look at a key word about Heaven, Father’s house. This words means that 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).

Now let’s look what is waiting for us, Many rooms / mansions. Meaning to dwell and remain in God. This is figurative language because this “non-corporeal” (not a normal flesh and blood human existence) or metaphysical wonder can’t be explained in human language. In addition, “small” does not mean “limiting” here. This is also a fulfillment of the celebration of the “Feast of Booths” that acted in converse to God dwelling in the Temple as people lived in tents to dwell with God (John 2:21; 14:16-23; 15:1-7; 1 Cor. 2:9; 4:5; Col. 3:18-4-1; Rev. 22:12).

And what is He doing? Prepare a place.  Jesus is preparing for us, those He chooses, an eternal home; Heaven.

This is not just a residence; rather proof that God will completely and thoroughly accomplish and achieve His purpose throughout the universe. He will bring all things to fruition. He brings peace and a future to those in Him. Thus, 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 by 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)!

What is this all about? What is waiting for being in Christ and exercising our faithfulness!

This is the greatest carrot on a stick for us, Heaven, is that inheritance God is promising us beyond our scope of understanding. How incredibly wondrous this must be; our place and security is in Heaven to come and our joy can then be declared and lived out. This is also what we receive, our reward for all that we have done and endured for Christ and His children and the opportunities He gave us. This is what we look forward to, our dwelling with Christ, and what can also motivate us in the here and now.

Did you know that Jesus is not just preparing a place for you in Heaven; He is preparing you first by your journey of faith now too? How can this help you overcome fears and doubts?

John 14:1-14 and the Second Coming! PI

Do you have the ultimate hope and assurance that you are not made for this world, that your true home is heaven? How do you feel about this?

Read the passage and do not read into it what you want; rather just read it. Now look what is going on. First off the point of this passage is simple, it is as what it says, Jesus is the Only Way!”

The context is that Jesus is facing betrayal. He warns them not only of His impending death, but also of the trials they will face in building the Kingdom. He shows us that He is the way, the role of the Holy Spirit, the importance of our connectivity to Him to produce faith and fruit, and that even in persecution, we will always be comforted as we remain in Him He turns to His Disciples to comfort them and says; do not be afraid or troubled! Trust in God; trust in Me. He then gives them a picture of hope by showing them a glimpse of what Heaven will be like (John 14:1-16:33)..

A paraphrase, In Heaven there will be many rooms in My Father’s Home, one made up especially for each of you! I will prepare it personally and at the right time, I will come and get you and you will always be with Me. You will know all about it and how to get there. But, Thomas jumps in and says no Lord; we do not know how or where to go! Jesus comforts him with this startling revelation,

I am the Way, I am the Truth, and I am the Life! No one can come to the Father except through Me!

Jesus wants to get our attention of what is important, to not be afraid. “Do not fear!” This was often a response of an Angel to those who were awe struck and also one that God gave His Prophets when they were in dire times.

He tells us to not let our Hearts be troubled. The significance of this is to not fear or fret, but have a transcending peace and contentment even when the situation does not offer or give it. This is a depiction of the supreme comfort that we get from our Lord in a world filled with sin-bad choices surrounded by treachery, deceit, failures, and sacrifice.

And the primary point of all this that is often missed? To Trust as in to believe in God. This is a call to a personal relationship-unity with conviction with Christ, and it is a command to step up to faith, our response to the call of God with trust in Him through times of danger and fear. This is a depiction of a righteous person’s proper dependence upon Jesus as He is exemplified.

Jesus is our Sanctuary; He is the Eternal God on whom we can rely and not only give our life to, but also live our life for (2 Sam. 2:3; Isa. 8:17; 28:16; Psalm 118:22; Isa. 8:14-18; 28:16; John 13:36; Heb. 2:13)

What do you lack to have more wholehearted commitment to faith? What gets in your way of follow-through and obedience?

Does John 14 teach a Rapture?

Many people in an attempt to prove a rapture will often cite the NIV translation of John 14:3, “Take you” as a proof that we will rise up to meet Jesus. First off, that would be cool and I am hoping for that. But, I have to be honest to the Text and only teach what the Bible, in proper context, acutely says from actual word meanings inductive analysis, especially what did that term(s) mean to a first century Jew and Roman. What we do not what to do is disrespect God and His Word by seeking, “what I want it to mean for me.” Because we will then, draw wrong conclusions and as Bible teachers lead people astray. What we want to do is appropriate and effectual applications from the Text of God’s most holy Word, then grow ourselves and the people that God gives to disciple deeper to His heart and true Truth for His glory. 

So what is going on in John 14?  

The NIV states, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” Verse 3 

The NASB states, “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” 

The Greek word is “paralambano”          it is a verb meaning “to take to,” as to take with one’s self, to join an associate or a companion (from Kittel’s “Theological Dictionary of the New Testament,” the definitive work in this matter). 

Remember context, this was Jesus’ “Farewell Discourse” where He gives His most passionate and important instructions to His Disciples and us. He was facing betrayal and He turns to His Disciples to comfort them and says; do not be afraid or troubled! Trust in God; trust in Me. He then gives them a picture of hope by showing them a glimpse of what Heaven will be like. He is giving us a picture of the greatest carrot on a stick for us, Heaven, is that inheritance God is promising us beyond our scope of understanding. How incredibly wondrous this must be; our place and security is in Heaven to come and our joy can then be declared and lived out.

He was imparting one of His most important messages, to trust in God. He was giving a call to a personal relationship-unity with conviction with Himself, The Christ. “Trust” is a command to step up to faith, our response to the call of God with conviction in Him through times of danger and fear. Jesus wants us to grasp a picture of a righteous person’s proper dependence upon Jesus as He is exemplified. That He is our Sanctuary; He is the Eternal God on whom we can rely and not only give our life to, but also live our life for (2 Sam. 2:3; Isa. 8:17; 28:16; Psalm 118:22; Isa. 8:14-18; 28:16; John 13:36; Heb. 2:13).

In addition, Jesus was communing the importance to the pursuit of righteousness as like with one journeys through the wilderness of the tough times of waiting and confusion-even suffering. He is giving us a beacon and we are to focus on Christ. That he is Truth in this context means He fulfills the Law and teachings of the Old Testament. That He is Life, there is no existence without Him and there is no salvation without His atonement, redemption, and grace. Christians were first called “the Way” (Ex. 16:33; Lev. 10:2; 16; Num. 17:5; Matt. 7:14; John 1:1-4, 14; 3:16-18; 5:26, 33; 11:25-26; 18:37; Acts 4:12; 9:2; 19:9, 23; Rom. 10:14-15; Eph. 2:8-9; Heb. 10:19-20;1 John 5:12).

 Consequently, “to take” means a call to join our Companion because He is Lord, and referring that Jesus is our only way, the gate and stairway to Heaven; there is no other way to God except through Him. The real intended meaning was about 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 passage has nothing to do with a rapture, it is all about Christ and we are to focus on Him not trends, trivialities or speculations.

With the context of heaven, this can also refer to the Second Coming or the new age of the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God. But, moreover, this is about Jesus as our Rescuer and Redeemer; He took on our human nature but without our sinfulness, and remained pure to pay the debt for our sins. In the process, His human nature voluntarily became lower than the angels, but as Fully God He is superior to them in essence, power, purpose, and distinction (Rom. 1:4; Heb. 1:1-4; 2: 7, 14-15).

Yet, this passage has been greatly abused by many so-called pastors who read it out of context and inserted their own feelings as truth. Rather, this is an invitation to radical faith. Jesus is saying we can trust in Him totally and completely with all we have now and for our future. Because, He is not just preparing a place for us in eternity, He is preparing us for eternity too! What we go through is not just about sin in an unfair world, it is the building up of faith and being that display a beacon to a dimly lit world that needs His Light.

Keep in mind, that the study of eschatology can be important, but, compared to issues such as prayer, Bible study, who Christ is, basic doctrine, faith development, living in the Spirit, and growing in character and service to our neighbors and people in need, it really is not that important for us to know or to teach! It is OK to disagree with non essential doctrine, as long as we do not divide over it!

What does Revelation 13:5-10 mean to us now?

 

            We also see this beast fight against God and the righteous people of the faith. Yet for some reason, God lets him continue. This may seem strange; why would God allow evil? But, we have to understand that there is a greater eternal purpose that we do not always see (Heb. 11:35-40). This beast is a fake and a forger, taking what is hideous and convincing us that it is attractive. We must see through the ways of evil and its many imitations and implications, and not be deceived. Satan will fall and every knee will bow; so, whatever we follow, if it is not Christ, it is not only temporary but it is deadly to us as well (Phil. 2:10). 

The point John makes is that God wants us prepared so that our eyes are opened to how Satan and evil work and his repetitive patterns so we do not fall for them. Spiritual warfare tends to be more of a battle of our will than its metaphysical dilemmas. The bottom line is that God is still in control, even in persecutions and oppressions! Our call is that no matter what comes to us, we are not to be surprised; rather, we are to be prepared by faith. 

The question is, are you attracted to what is fake and deceiving ignoring who and what Christ is? You may not worship the beast, but what is first in your life? Is it righteousness, seeking faith and maturity, growing in character? Or, do you want what is convenient, what looks good, what is satisfying and appealing, and what is trendy, regardless of whether or not it is good for others around you? This applies to how we run our churches; do we do so to please our people, or do we do it to please Christ? Do you capitulate to gossip and seek to please who gives the most money, or do you seek His precepts and instruct your people about His Way, regardless of what they may feel, and, of course, always acting in love? 

Remember, this beast wants people to be terrorized into submission; in contrast, Christ offers grace and forgiveness, with love as His motivator! 

Questions to Ponder: 

  1. How would you contrast this beast with Christ’s offers of grace, forgiveness, and love? How does being terrorized help motivate people to submit to something they normally would not do? 
  1. Why do you suppose some Christian groups use this passage to worry and terrorize Christians? Does God want us to worry?
  1. Why does the beast demand our worship? What are the causes and motivations for humans to do this?  Why do this beast/ Satan / evil people declare war upon the faithful?
  1. Can you give an example of counterfeit praise? If someone who is evil takes praise that is meant for God and twists it, what would it look like? What about misplaced motives in some of our worship leaders who seek entertainment and praise for themselves and not honor for God; are they antichrist-like?
  1. Whom do you trust and upon what do you place your life? Is it good or evil? Is your faith in Christ, or will you allow yourself to be misled, seeking the desires of the flesh and not faith in our Lord Jesus Christ? What can you do about it?

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

 

The Four Main Views of Revelation 13:5-10

 

The Preterist view: They see this passage as the cause and effect of Emperor Worship, which was prevalent with most of the Roman Emperors. If you did not worship the Emperor, you lost your land and often, your life too. The Jews and Christians were the only groups who refused this practice and that is shy they were singled out for persecution. Worship also meant allegiance and loyalty, which was not the problem; it was when they said they were god, or a god, that caused dissention (John 19:15; Rom. 12:1-2). Thus, the antichrist figure was also predominate through Roman history as opposing Christ, His people, and waging war—all things that took place then and continues to do so in various means today. Thus, this passage is about Nero and the other Roman persecutions against the Early Church. Given power is seen as God’s sovereignty, and make war as the devil’s ways and attacks on the believers as well as Nero’s attacks and persecutions to the faithful. Forty-two (42) months was seen as short time for God’s judgments and/or a literal time of attack on Jerusalem. It is interesting to note that Nero’s attack and siege on Jerusalem actually lasted 42 months—November 64AD to June 68AD. 

The Futurist view: They see this passage as the second half of the Great Tribulation as expressed by this phrase, 42 months. Most see this as a Europe possessed by Satan, who leads a revived Roman Empire (This is exactly what Hitler and Mussolini did and why this view saw him as the antichrist at that time), who creates peace in the holy land, and becomes a world ruler until Christ returns and defeats him. (As thrilling and exciting, and could possibly be probable, as self fulfilling, it is not found either in this passage or from the rest of Scripture.) Blaspheme is seen as Daniel’s “pompous words” and self-exulting words of the antichrist (2 Thess 2:4). Let him hear is seen as a warning to the seven churches and/or to us today. Captivity is usually seen as Satan being defeated by Christ. Endurance is seen as a call to the Church to be patient; God is in control and will win. 

The Idealist view: They see this passage as the command and control of evil governments who seek to subjugate and subvert their people, such as Nazi Germany and Communism. Governments have the right to expect loyalty, but not to seek what belongs to God alone (Rom. 13:1-7; 1 Pet. 2:13-14). This is also about the influence of Satan as an ageless principle that evil’s influence and power are not absolute or unconditional like God’ love and grace are. Forty-two (42) months is seen as the siege of Nero against Jerusalem. Authority is seen as the persecutions to the faithful over the centuries, and captivity to some is being caught up in evil while others see this as the fate of the beast. 

The Historicist view: They see this passage as symbols and procedures of evil. Blaspheme is seen as one making him or herself equal with God or deceitfully convincing others that he or she is God. Usually in this camp, the Catholic Church and its papacy are the targets of being evil, because of the tribulations and persecutions of the faithful over the centuries, with very specific charges for most medieval popes. Forty-two (42) months is the span of 1260 years seen in chapter 11, with the time period of conflict being between the faithful and the apostate, medieval Catholic Church.

Exegetical look into Revelation 13:5-10

 

  • Was given: This calls attention to the best as being subordinate to Satan, and Satan is subordinate to God; God is still in control (Greek is passive)!  
  • Forty-two (42) months: A metaphor for a limited time of unrestrained impiety, evil, and/or oppressions. This is symbolic, referring to grace, that He is still there and sets His limits of what persecution will take place, by His grace. See Revelation 11:1-6 study for more info (Dan. 7:25; 9:27; 12:7-12; Rev. 11-13).
  • Proud words and blasphemies: This too is a contrast, as Satan is proud and Christ is the Servant leader; Satan blasphemes while Christ edifies and praises God (Heb. 2:12).
  • Exercise his authority” God allows, but establishes limits for His purpose that we do not fully know, pointing to Daniel 7:21-22 and the antichrist-like figure or representation, meaning opposing Christ. It is perhaps a reference to perhaps Nero and/or Domatian who greatly persecuted the early Christians, actually setting them on fire to light their gardens at night.
  • Blaspheme God: refers to pride and the proud mouth. Also an image of Antiochus Epiphanes, 215–163 BC, who was a Greek ruler and a madman who greatly oppressed the Jews, tried to wipe them out, partily destroyed Jeruslum, and mocked God while demanding that he be worshiped. Most Jewsih scholars belive this is who Daniel was warning about (Dan. 7:8-25; 11:36; 1 Macc. 1:24; 41-43). 
  • Make war against the saints: The contrasting images of war and peace; on one side, Satan as a warrior leader who brings war; on the other side, the great, divine warrior Christ, who brings peace, both battling it out. The war is the persecution of those who refuse to worship what is false or evil. The good news here is that despite the persecutions, Christians of faith have victory as the prayers of the faithful that reach heaven are used to finally defeat evil and the beast (Ex. 15:3-11; Is. 59:16-18; 63:1-6; Dan. 7:1-8; Hab. 3:3-15; Zech. 9:13-16; 14:1-5; Rev. 12:17; 19:11-21).
  • Every tribe… all inhabitants: The contrast is to pledge our allegiance to Christ by His sacrifice, or to Satan by his deception. (See Revelation 5: 8-14 study). When we are in Christ, we are part of a greater Kingdom than one Satan can mimic or link us to.
  • Will worship the beast: The emphasis is the intimidation and persuasion to worship what is false, and people responding out of ignorance or desire. Neither is an excuse.
  • The Book of Life: This is basically the heavenly roster of the saints who have been found by Christ as faithful, who received their election, and who persevered. All ancient cities had rosters of those who lived there, and those added and expelled, like a census. Like a city roster, the Book of Life contains the names of all the people who are currently living. When a person dies, if he or she has claimed Jesus as Lord, has received his or her election, has let it become rooted in him or her, and has been faithful and obedient remains in this book. All others are blotted out. This also refers to predestination. Once our names are in His book and we are saved by His grace, we are secure in our faith and have eternal security (Ex. 32:32-33; Psalm 69:28; Dan. 12:1; Rom. 9:19-21; Phil. 4:3; Rev. 3:1-6; 13:8; 17:8; 20:12-15; 21:19, 27).
  • Was slain/Lamb slain: Satan’s attempt to mock the character and work of the Lamb who died to purchase the sins of those whom God has chosen. Satan can try to mimic but he can’t reproduce Christ’s work or take our salvation away (Is 53:7; John 1:29, 36; Rev. 1:18; 2:8; 17:8).
  • He who has an ear, let him hear: This is perhaps a warning to the seven churches that God means what He says (Ezek. 33:30-32; James 1: 21-27; 2 Pet. 1: 3-11)! This also means that God fulfills His promises. Do you take His Word seriously, learning and applying it? If not, why not?
  • Go into captivity: A warning to the barbarians, Romans, and other persecuting powers that invaded the Jews and threatened the Christians. This is also an image of judgment, and a warning against rebellion and the consequences for our own bad actions and decisions (Jer. 15:2; 43:11; Rev. 14:11-12).
  • If anyone is to be killed with the sword: Here, the beast forces worship, whereas a Christian worships God out of gratitude for who He is and what He has done. If the faithful do not comply, the beast kills them, as this has taken place countless times on countless occasions. The comfort we have is that our martyrdom does not mean the end; it means victory for us and Christ (Rev. 6:9-11; 19:11-21).
  • Patient endurance and faithfulness: This is the call to remain faithful and keep our trust in Christ no matter what comes our way in sufferings or the temptations of Satan. We are to focus on His Way, even in persecution and stress. This theme is prominent in Revelation (Matt. 26:51-54; 2 Cor. 10:4; 1 Pet. 2:19-24; Rev. 1:9; 2:2-3, 13, 19; 3:10; 6:11; 13:10; 14:12; 16:15; 18:4; 20:4; 22:7, 11, 14).

Revelation 13:5-10: What are the Contexts?

 

This passage is about our allegiance; whom do we trust and on what hope do we place our life. Will it be good or evil? Will our faith be in Christ or will we allow ourselves to be misled, seeking the desires of the flesh rather than faith and our Lord Jesus Christ? 

The book of life, or Lamb’s Book of Life, is a powerful and important theme for what we trust and have hope for, especially for those under persecution and oppression. It is basically a divine ledger that is first mentioned in Exodus 32:32-33 (Psalm 69:28; Dan. 12:1; Mal. 3:16; Rev. 17:8). It is a register of all the citizens in the Kingdom of Heaven, the register of the elect who will escape God’s wrath (Rev. 21:27). Those whose names are not in the book of Life are cast into hell (Rev. 20:15). Our names were written in the book before the foundations of the world (Rev. 17:8), and when one comes to faith in Christ, he or she is among those who were purchased by the blood of the Lamb (Rev. 3:5; 5:9). 

Remember, God is outside of time and space, so we have to stretch our minds a bit. It was written long before we were born, and it is “sealed” when our faith become real and impacting. Some say it is erased when we are called but never respond, while others say it was never written if one never comes to faith. The Armenians see it as God looking through the corridors of time and making His decision. The Reformed position is that God elects us for His purpose, but does not damn us (double predestination); we damn ourselves as “our choice becomes His preordained degree.” (St. Augustine). The Bible teaches both, but the emphasis is on God’s sovereignty as clearly spelled out in Romans—it is to His purpose. If it were just about what we would do, then the work of salvation would be based on what we have done and not on what Christ has done; the work of Christ would then be pointless (a pure Armenian position.) 

The Book of Life was also a symbol of comfort and security for the early Christians who were being persecuted; they could look to their promise and reward and remember that this life is temporary and only a training ground for what is to come. We need to understand that God has a guarantee for us and this life is only a shadow where we learn character and maturity; we are not made for this world, but for the one to come. We are to learn and grow through all that is given to us and make the most of our lives, but our true home and reward is still to come (Rev. 17:8; 20:12 –27). To have one’s name erased from this book would seem a loss of our citizenship in Heaven due to renouncing of faith or an unpardonable sin. We get this from our English readings of the passage (Rev. 13:8; 17:8; 20:12, 15; 21:27; Phil. 4:3); however, it is more to the indication that the name was never present. “Erased” was a metaphor in the Hebrew language and culture meaning it never happened, whereas in our language, it means it was once there and now it is gone. It is a basic misunderstanding of Greek into English, but Greek scholars are still in debate over this trivial and minor area.