Bible Tuesday – Revelation Part 39

I saw Heaven and earth new-created. Gone the first Heaven, gone the first earth, gone the sea.

I saw Holy Jerusalem, new-created, descending resplendent out of Heaven, as ready for God as a bride for her husband.

I heard a voice thunder from the Throne: “Look! Look! God has moved into the neighborhood, making his home with men and women!

 

Let’s just stop right here for a minute.  Have you ever read a more delicious piece of scripture?  God has moved into the neighborhood.  I mean can I just have a moment?!?!  Can you even imagine anyone choosing to live among us?  And God has chosen to do so twice!

They’re his people, he’s their God. He’ll wipe every tear from their eyes. Death is gone for good—tears gone, crying gone, pain gone—all the first order of things gone.”

Revelation 21:3-5

This is the very heart of the book of Revelation.  Most people immediately think of destruction and horror when they contemplate this book. I know there is a bunch of stuff here that is hard to understand or contextualize.  But this passage could not be more accessible.  All people in all times know pain and tears and death.  And God reveals here that the time for these things will be soon over.  Seriously, will you take 30 seconds and just try to imagine that?

No pain.

No death.

And not just no tears.  God will wipe every tear from our eyes.  God himself.  Every tear.

My goal in writing is not primarily to convert anyone.  But you can study world religions for the rest of your dang life.  You can round up every deity worshiped by every person ever in the history of the world.  But you will never  find another God who will wipe away your tears.

 

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Bible Tuesday – Revelation Part 38

I saw a Great White Throne and the One Enthroned. Nothing could stand before or against the Presence, nothing in Heaven, nothing on earth. And then I saw all the dead, great and small, standing there—before the Throne! And books were opened. Then another book was opened: the Book of Life. The dead were judged by what was written in the books, by the way they had lived. Sea released its dead, Death and Hell turned in their dead. Each man and woman was judged by the way he or she had lived. Then Death and Hell were hurled into Lake Fire. This is the second death—Lake Fire. Anyone whose name was not found inscribed in the Book of Life was hurled into Lake Fire.

Revelation 20:11-15

All of us will stand before God and be judged.

All of us.

Every atheist.

Every believer.

Every hypocrite.

Every martyr.

Every murderer.

Every adulterer.

Every King, Queen, Prince and Princess

Every President, Chancellor, Prime Minister and Leader.

Every preacher, teacher, priest and saint.

And from Henry VIII to me, Just Rachel, one thing will be true.

Every knee will bow.

We will all acknowledge Jesus.

And those of us who have placed our trust in Him?  Those whose names are written in the book of life.  Will we be filled with self righteous “I told you so’s”?   No.  We will be more aware than ever that we are completely unworthy of such amazing grace.

 

 

 

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Bible Tuesday – Revelation Part 37

I saw an Angel descending out of Heaven. He carried the key to the Abyss and a chain—a huge chain. He grabbed the Dragon, that old Snake—the very Devil, Satan himself!—chained him up for a thousand years, dumped him into the Abyss, slammed it shut and sealed it tight. No more trouble out of him, deceiving the nations—until the thousand years are up. After that he has to be let loose briefly.

Revelation 20:1-3

I know a whole bunch of people who blame everything bad that happens in their life on the devil.  And, look, I’m not Satan’s defender here but Satan is not omnipresent or omniscient like God.  He can’t be everywhere and he can’t read your mind.  Maybe you got a flat tire because you ran over a nail.  Maybe you got sick because of a germ.  Spiritual warfare is real but every dang thing that happens to you is not caused by dark forces.  And trust me when I tell you that if you stop looking for Satan in every stupid little thing that happens, you will have a much better ability to see when he really is at work.

So Satan is gonna get locked up for 1000 years.  I have no idea why.  I’m just trusting God on this deal.

 

I saw thrones. Those put in charge of judgment sat on the thrones. I also saw the souls of those beheaded because of their witness to Jesus and the Word of God, who refused to worship either the Beast or his image, refused to take his mark on forehead or hand—they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years! The rest of the dead did not live until the thousand years were up. This is the first resurrection—and those involved most blessed, most holy. No second death for them! They’re priests of God and Christ; they’ll reign with him a thousand years.

When the thousand years are up, Satan will be let loose from his cell, and will launch again his old work of deceiving the nations, searching out victims in every nook and cranny of earth, even Gog and Magog! He’ll talk them into going to war and will gather a huge army, millions strong. They’ll stream across the earth, surround and lay siege to the camp of God’s holy people, the Beloved City. They’ll no sooner get there than fire will pour out of Heaven and burn them up. The Devil who deceived them will be hurled into Lake Fire and Brimstone, joining the Beast and False Prophet, the three in torment around the clock for ages without end.

Revelation 20:4-6

 

So Satan is bound for 1000 years.  That means that at least 50 generations will be born while Satan has no presence in the world at all. Sounds fantastic doesn’t it?  But see what happens when he is released?  Satan is still able to deceive the nations.  You see sin wasn’t bound for 1000 years.  Free will wasn’t bound for 1000 years.  Satan is good at what he does.  In fact, he’s the best at it.  But he can’t do it without our help and we just almost make it too easy for him, don’t we?

But this last stand for Satan is blessedly brief.  And the fire and brimstone that the Baptists love to preach?  Ya’ll it’s real and it’s Satan’s final forever destination.  Pay attention to the way this last ‘battle’ plays out.  This is not a ‘clash of titans’ where God and Satan square off and battle for supremacy. There is no scriptural indication of a fight at all.  Remember that when you are feeling embattled.  Spiritual warfare may be scary and hard for us but it’s not even a skirmish for God.

 

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Bible Tuesday – Revelation Part 36

I am beginning to fear I may never finish this series.  I am a slacker in need of grace and forgiveness.  @0 minutes of peace and quiet around this nuthouse would help a lot too 🙂

 

The Angel said to me, “Write this: ‘Blessed are those invited to the Wedding Supper of the Lamb.’” He added, “These are the true words of God!”

I fell at his feet to worship him, but he wouldn’t let me. “Don’t do that,” he said. “I’m a servant just like you, and like your brothers and sisters who hold to the witness of Jesus. The witness of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

Revelation 19:10

Don’t you just love that we get to go to supper with Jesus? Ya’ll…I cannot wait!  I bet we won’t even have to do dishes and nobody will be calculating Weight Watchers points.

 

Then I saw Heaven open wide—and oh! a white horse and its Rider. The Rider, named Faithful and True, judges and makes war in pure righteousness. His eyes are a blaze of fire, on his head many crowns. He has a Name inscribed that’s known only to himself. He is dressed in a robe soaked with blood, and he is addressed as “Word of God.” The armies of Heaven, mounted on white horses and dressed in dazzling white linen, follow him. A sharp sword comes out of his mouth so he can subdue the nations, then rule them with a rod of iron. He treads the winepress of the raging wrath of God, the Sovereign-Strong. On his robe and thigh is written, King of kings, Lord of lords.

Revelation 19:11-16

‘Pure righteousness” – can you even imagine?  It’s sad to admit but one of the things I long for is the day when I don’t have to argue with people about God.  (And when I say ‘argue’, I mean stomp around the house and rant and rave behind said people’s backs.  I can’t help it.  I’m a lover, not a fighter.)  When Jesus rides that white horse, the arguments will be over.  And I assure you that on that day, those of us who were right won’t be gloating.  We will be humbled in the presence of that pure righteousness…just like the rest of you heathens.

I saw an Angel standing in the sun, shouting to all flying birds in Middle-Heaven, “Come to the Great Supper of God! Feast on the flesh of kings and captains and champions, horses and their riders. Eat your fill of them all—free and slave, small and great!”

I saw the Beast and, assembled with him, earth’s kings and their armies, ready to make war against the One on the horse and his army. The Beast was taken, and with him, his puppet, the False Prophet, who used signs to dazzle and deceive those who had taken the mark of the Beast and worshiped his image. They were thrown alive, those two, into Lake Fire and Brimstone. The rest were killed by the sword of the One on the horse, the sword that comes from his mouth. All the birds held a feast on their flesh.

Revelation 19:17-21

Well this deal just got weird again in a hurry, didn’t it?   It appears there is going to be a great big battle and the birds are gonna feast on dead bodies.  Circle of life I suppose…

 

 

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Bible Tuesday – Revelation Part 35

Following this I saw another Angel descend from Heaven. His authority was immense, his glory flooded earth with brightness, his voice thunderous:

Revelation 18:1

I just really am curious about this particular angel, aren’t you?

Ruined, ruined, Great Babylon, ruined!
    A ghost town for demons is all that’s left!
A garrison of carrion spirits,
    garrison of loathsome, carrion birds.
All nations drank the wild wine of her whoring;
    kings of the earth went whoring with her;
    entrepreneurs made millions exploiting her.

Revelation 18:2-8

It’s all over for Babylon ya’ll.  You can read the whole chapter here.  But trust me when I tell ya, it’s nothing but doom.

But after all this doom, something interesting happens.

I heard a sound like massed choirs in Heaven singing,

Hallelujah!
The salvation and glory and power are God’s—
    his judgments true, his judgments just.
He judged the great Whore
    who corrupted the earth with her lust.
He avenged on her the blood of his servants.

Then, more singing:

Hallelujah!
The smoke from her burning billows up
    to high Heaven forever and ever and ever.

The Twenty-four Elders and the Four Animals fell to their knees and worshiped God on his Throne, praising,

Amen! Yes! Hallelujah!

From the Throne came a shout, a command:

Praise our God, all you his servants,
All you who fear him, small and great!

Then I heard the sound of massed choirs, the sound of a mighty cataract, the sound of strong thunder:

Hallelujah!
The Master reigns,
    our God, the Sovereign-Strong!
Let us celebrate, let us rejoice,
    let us give him the glory!
The Marriage of the Lamb has come;
    his Wife has made herself ready.
She was given a bridal gown
    of bright and shining linen.
The linen is the righteousness of the saints.

It appears that there is great rejoicing in Heaven when God finally issues His righteous judgement.  No one is questioning God in this passage.  It’s quite lovely, isn’t it?

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