Things that were and are

The Little Book of the Revelation - Second in a series

The Revelation opens with a view to how its contents are to be presented. Somewhat like a cascading waterfall, God gives the book to Jesus Christ who will make it known through an Angel to John and to the Seven Churches, and to you and me. (Rev 1:1-2)

We are promised a blessing if we read or hear the prophecy of the Revelation— if we keep it, that is, carefully guard and take care of what we learn. The advance views and warnings will serve as protection for our hearts, for it is easy to drown in rough waters, and the events described are predestined and imminent. (Rev 1:3)

The Revelation is an epistle to the churches (Rev 1:4), and so much more. In its first chapter we gain a description of the glorious Lord, what he has done for us, the promise of his second coming, and how he appeared to John.

John is charged by Christ to write what he will see and to send the book to the seven churches in Asia. (Rev 1:11) The first vision he must describe is of the Lord in the midst of seven candlesticks. (Rev 1:12-16)

Some interpretation of this scene is provided:

  • “As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands (candlesticks), the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.” (Rev 1:20)

The Revelation will pertain to ‘things which are’ and ‘things which shall be hereafter.’

  • “Write therefore the things which thou sawest, and the things which are, and the things which shall come to pass hereafter” (Rev 1:19 ASV)

‘The things which are’ in part pertain to the seven churches of Chapters 2 and 3, and some commentators say that these are also representative of types or difficulties that churches have experienced across the centuries.

Christ exhorts the seven ‘lampstands’, as follows:

These believers are walking the walk, patient, discerning, persevering; but they have left their first love. It is well to love serving, learning, and all the ways we press into faith, but don’t put those ahead of loving the Lord.
Good workers under trials though impoverished; tribulation is coming; keep the faith to avoid the second death.
Members exhibit faithful and bold service to Christ in an evil city; warned to separate from the Nicolaitans who brought into the church false doctrine, permitting sexual sin.
These are patient, charitable, faithful, and good workers; however, their leniency with a woman who called herself a prophetess must end. She seduced the faithful to practice sexual evil. Christ searches our reins and hearts, for steadfastness and devotion (Rev 2:23). Churches must discipline members who lead others astray into spiritual confusion and death.
A decimated church that must think back and go back to their good start; only a few are worthy to walk with the Lord; repent!
A church with a little strength that has kept Christ’s Word and will be protected from the hour of temptation coming upon the world.
Lukewarm, well-off, unprofitable believers who need to repent.

In the next post we will see more ‘things that are’ which will lift our sights, and comfort us, the church, in such great need of improvement.

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In the course of the wonders

The Little Book of the Revelation - First in a series

In the Book of the Revelation, in the course of the wonders, warnings, blood-spattered events, glittering visions, trumpets, cries of angels and spectacular catastrophes— we come upon a Little Book.

John is presented this unsealed scroll by an angel, and told to take it and eat it.

This surprising command and some related discourse are found in the 11 verses of Chapter 10.

  1. And I saw another strong angel coming down out of heaven, arrayed with a cloud; and the rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire;
  2. and he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left upon the earth;
  3. and he cried with a great voice, as a lion roareth: and when he cried, the seven thunders uttered their voices.
  4. And when the seven thunders uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying, Seal up the things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not.
  5. And the angel that I saw standing upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his right hand to heaven,
  6. and sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created the heaven and the things that are therein, and the earth and the things that are therein, and the sea and the things that are therein, that there shall be delay no longer:
  7. but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, then is finished the mystery of God, according to the good tidings which he declared to his servants the prophets.
  8. And the voice which I heard from heaven, I heard it again speaking with me, and saying, Go, take the book which is open in the hand of the angel that standeth upon the sea and upon the earth.
  9. And I went unto the angel, saying unto him that he should give me the little book. And he saith unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but in thy mouth it shall be sweet as honey.
  10. And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and when I had eaten it, my belly was made bitter.
  11. And they say unto me, Thou must prophesy again over many peoples and nations and tongues and kings.

What was in the Little Book? Why would its content be both sweet and bitter for John?

We must be content to set aside the Seven Thunders, but for the Little Book, we will pry for discoveries that will help to establish the true religion, as Sir Isaac Newton urged that studies in the Revelation ought to do.*

For context, we will begin by summarizing the contents of chapters 1 through 9, beginning in the next post.

*Sir Isaac Newton Commentary on the Revelation


Perspectives on Job

Job Sees The Light - Forty-fourth and final in a series

Some final notes on the book of Job:

1. An aspect that is not especially integral to the plot is that Job’s daughters mentioned in the final chapter received an inheritance among their brothers (Job 42:14-15). Commentators state this was not the norm, and that it proved Job’s wealth and a family unity. Also, as we know, women can be left without husbands and cast on the mercy of others, so to have their own inheritance could be helpful. Perhaps this showed that Job had not forgotten how it felt to be without resources, and did not want any of his children to experience that dilemma.

2. Was Job really blameless? In what sense did God mean that he was “perfect and upright” (Job 1:8 KJV)? We learned he was not; on the contrary God wanted to draw him out of himself, to enter the high plane of humility. He needed to see he had pursued his own perfection to the exclusion of God’s overarching right to be glorified for his preeminence as the Creator and everlasting Father.

Likewise Paul the apostle grew to understand that self righteousness was merely trusting in flesh (Phil 3:4-7). He arrived at the same revelation as Job. Anyone whose faith is resting on his own qualifications must come in to a new way of seeing.

3. An evolutionist will not like the Book of Job. God claims Creation as living proof of his superiority and sovereign power over the universe, man included. If man cannot worship God as the Creator, he has been blindsided by Satan.

4. God has the right over each of our lives to impose any trial, and we can trust that as he does, there are good and perfect reasons and an expected beautiful outcome. (Isa 64:8)

5. Finally, was Job Melchizedek? To be sure, no one can know. Yet, it is a matter for reflection.

Christ became our high priest “after the order of Melchizedek.”

A. W. Pink in “An Exposition of Hebrews” points out there are aspects to this verity that would matter to Jews who needed to emerge beyond their dependence on the Levitical priests.

Melchizedek is mentioned in Scripture as king of Salem which could only refer to Jerusalem, and priest of Jehovah, the “proper name of the one true God.” (ref) In Hebrews we are told that Levi himself paid tithes “in Abraham” to Melchizedek since he was Abraham’s descendant but not yet born (Heb 7:9-10) when Abram was blessed by Melchizedek.

Melchizedek mysteriously is present after Abram rescued from enemy armies his brother, Lot, who provided two ancestors to the line of Christ. (Mat 1:5,7 —Ruth of Moab, Rehoboam’s mother, an Ammonitess- 1 Ki 14:21) Lot and others living in Sodom were carried off with their possessions when their own king had fled in battle. Abram pursued the enemy troops along with 318 members of his own household (Gen 14:14), freeing Lot and his neighbors along with their goods.

After Melchizedek refreshed Abram with bread and wine and blessed him as belonging to the most high God (Gen 14:18-19) who had won the battle, Abram tithed to him from the spoils of the rescued.

In this single event memorialized by David (Ps 110:4), Melchizedek is established as a priest who takes precedence over the Levites. Jews should feel free to worship Christ who is the priest not modeled after the law of a carnal commandment (Lev 8:1-13), but after the power of an endless life (Heb 7:16), who lives now to make intercession for whosoever believes.

We know that Job by his repentance from self righteousness gained the power of an endless life, shown by God’s complete embrace of him thereafter. He then acted as a priest for his friends by interceding for them, asking God to forgive their sins. (Job 42:8)

Thus Job may have been Melchizedek. We cannot find any other individual in Scripture who would qualify for this honor. Considering this possibility calls us to reflect on what must be done to gain an endless life, which from one Testament to the next was different yet in locked relation.

Whether or not Job was Melchizedek, an endless life is a marvel to ponder:
For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:
And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:
Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.
(Job 19:25-27 RSV)

Attention Readers

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