Sunday, December 27, 2009

Revelation Chapter One-Greetings to the Seven Churches-Part I

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I cannot explain the excitement I have had in studying the scriptures the last couple days. Yesterday at the breakfast table, I found myself explaining to my mom the symbolism of a lamp stand in chapter one and its correlation to the description of a lamp stand in Exodus. After I got done explaining it. It was kind of funny because I recognized just how excited I was to find that (don't get me wrong, mom was excited too---but lol I was really excited). Whether or not you're even following along in reading in Revelation, that is my heart's prayer for all of God's people: to find joy in reading scripture; that we would find it exciting when symbols, prophetic messages and love letters from God are all discovered. I am not saying you have to get giddy or even emotionally aroused, rather when you read a passage, you at least say to yourself "Ha. That's neat." I also suggest telling someone about it too---explain when you've found; read the passage aloud to your family and friends just like John says in the beginning of the chapter one. Create a ripple effect in the minds of those around you and get them thinking about what is being said in God's word.

Chapter One-Greetings to the Seven Churches

The Key words/phrases that I found in the first portion of chapter one were the following:
"him who was and is and is to come", seven spirits, Jesus Christ and "coming with clouds."

  • These just stood out to me as words and phrases that could have deeper meanings and/or were described consistently throughout the passage.

"Him who was and is and is to come" (verse 4) as well as "'I am the Alpha and Omega, says the Lord God, 'who was and is to come, the Almighty.'" (verse 8)

  • God is eternal and in Christ, He will come to judge and save.

Cross references:

  • Revelation 4:8 "And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and are within, and day and night they never cease saying: ' Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty. Who was and is and is to come.'"

  • Hebrews 13:8 "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever."

  • Exodus 3:14 "God said to Moses, 'I AM WHO I AM'" or "I WILL BE WHAT I WILL BE."

  • John 1:1-"In the beginning was the Word and the Word was God and the Word was God."

"Seven Spirits"

Verse four also recognizes that there are seven spirits before the throne of ' who was and is to come.' My first reaction was "I thought there was only One Spirit" but as I read this verse, the cross reference passages and commentary provided---it is pretty evident that the Holy Spirit can be expressed as seven spirits.

Cross references:

  • Holy Spirit as one person: vs. 3:6,13 and Ephesians 4:4

-Vs. 3:6, 3:13 (in letters to churches): "He who has ears let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches

-Ephesians 4:4-"There is one body and one Spirit-just as you are called to be one..."

  • Appearing as Seven Spirits: vs. 3:1, 4:5--the fact that there are seven, according to the commentary, says that it represents perfection and the seven torches of fire (4:5) and seven eyes (vs 5:6) expresses his omnipresence and omniscience.

  • Holy Spirit expressed as Seven Spirits:

-Vs. 3:1 "....The Words of him who has the seven spirits of God and seven stars."

*Commentary: "A figurative description of the one Holy Spirit who issues an edict (announcement of law) to the seven churches. He will also appear as the Lamb's seven eyes sent throughout the earth (vs. 5:6).

-Vs. 4:5- "...before the throne of God were burning seven torches, which are the seven spirits of God."

- Vs. 5:6- " And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders, I saw a lamb standing, as though he had been slain with seven horns and seven eyes which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth."

"Jesus Christ"-vs. 4

Hehe, I know you know who Jesus Christ is---but here John addresses him as "faithful witness" (giving testimony).

He was faithful unto death--so should his followers (Vs. 2:13, 12:11, 20:3)--commentary and cross references.

"Coming on the clouds"-vs. 7

Cross references:

  • Daniel 7:13- "The son of man given dominion: I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like the son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented to before him."

  • Matthew 16:27- "For the son of man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father and then he will repay each person according for what he has done."

**Side note: "every eye will see him--even those who pierced him." I just wanted to point this scripture out because it could be used in deciding the order of which Christ will return. So even the people who pierced him will see Christ return---so those individuals specifically will be raised from the dead and technically, those alive today contributed to his death so we too shall see him.

-Zechariah 12:10- "And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a Spirit of grace and pleas for mercy so that when they look upon me, on him who they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weeps for his firstborn."

-John 19:37-"And again, the Scripture says, 'They will look on him whom they have pierced.' "

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Revelation Study-Prologue

Ha. That's right. I had high hopes of getting through chapter one, doing a word search and summarizing all of the cross references.....fat chance. Hehe, so I got through the first three verses--and even that I feel like I am skimming it! If you're reading this, I HIGHLY recommend that you do your own studies on these words, or on other important words in the text and seek out cross-references because, not only is there SO much to the text but I am so so very green at studying God's word like this!


Word searches-- revelation, servants (bondservant), blessed and near.
*ESV study Bible highlighted the words "show, made it known" as other words that could be searched.

  • Revelation= 'genre' revelation or an 'apocalypse,' a disclosure of unseen realities: Jesus is both the One Revealed (noted thru-out text as: Son of Man, Lion of Judah, Lamb and Word of God )and the Revealer (to John and believers.)--ESV Commentary

  • Servants--Ok. So this was extremely interesting to me, so you may or may not be aware of the term "bondservant" I was just introduced to it this past year in a sermon series done by our pastor. Basically a bondservant is associated with a disciple of Christ--At first, I thought I would look up the definition of 'bondservant' in the dictionary but then it dawned on me that perhaps the translation of the word may lose meaning in American text. I went to and looked it up and this was information that I found:

  • -servant: "ebed" (Hebrew) pronounced "eh'-bed"

definition- slave, servant, man-servant; subjects; servants, worshippers (of God)

servant (in special sense as prophets, levites etc); servant (Israel) or

servant (as form of address b/t equals)

  • Cross references for servant
  • Revelation 22:6 "These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of the 'Spirits of the prophets' has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place."
  • Revelation 22:16 "He made it known by sending his angel to his servant* (bondservant)
  • Blessed

(1) reads aloud the words of prophecy (2) who hear and keep what is written

  • Cross-references:
  • Revelation 22:7- "Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book"
  • Luke 11:28- "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it" (Prep for the verse is a woman says to Jesus in verse 27 "Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!"---interesting huh?)
  • John 8:51- "Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death."
  • 1 John 2:2-3-"He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments."

  • "..for the time is near"
  • Cross-references:
  • Revelation 22:10; "Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near."
  • 1 John 2:18- "Children, it is the hour, and as you have heard that the anti-christ is coming, so now many anti-christs have come."

-"last hour"- 2 Timothy 3:1 and James 5:3; 2 Peter 3:3--"last days"

-"final trial" "have already arrived" (Acts 2:17)--were inaugurated @ Pentecost

referring to the"coming of the Messiah"

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Revelation Study--Introduction

The ESV Bible gives an extensive intro into the book of Revelation. I will highlight some of the background information provided in this before we actually get into the book. Again, this is mostly for my own thoughts to process but any comments or suggestions of study is appreciated!

Author: John, son of Zebedee the 'beloved disciple.' John authored the Fourth Gospel and three NT epistles. The divine author is obviously Jesus Christ and John is merely relaying the information that was presented to him while in Patmos, an island in which John was banned to for sharing the Gospel.

Date: It is estimated that the book was written between 95-96 A.D. based on the reign of Domitian's along with the churches described in the first three chapters of Revelation.

Place: John wrote the book while in exile on Patmos which is just west of Asia--at the time he was banned from Ephesus which is about 75 miles from the island.

Theme: I really like the ESV concordance because it gives the themes with references supporting it here are the themes with references:

  • Jesus Christ has conquered Satan and has ransomed people from every nation to become a kingdom of priests who gladly serve in God's presence (1:5,18;5:5-10; 12; 1-11)

  • Jesus Christ is present among his churches on earth through his Holy Spirit, and he knows their trials, triumphs and failures (1:12-3:22)

  • World history, including its woes and disasters, is firmly in the control of Jesus, the victorious Lamb (5:1-8:1)

  • God is restraining his own wrath and his enemies' efforts to destroy the church as he patiently gathers his redeemed people through the testimony that his suffering people proclaim about Jesus (6:5-11; 7:1-3; 8:6-12, 9:4-6,18;11:3-7; 12:6, 12-17)

  • Present disasters, though limited in scope by God's restraint, are foreshadows and warnings of judgements to come (6:3-16; 8:6-13; 16:1-21; 20:11-15)

  • Maintaining faith to the death, believers in Jesus will conquer both the dragon and the beast. The martyrs' victory, now hidden, will be manifest in their vindication at Christ's return (2:12-11, 26-29; 3:11-13; 6:9-11; 7:9-17; 11:7-12, 17-18; 12:10-11; 14:1-5;15:20:4-6)

  • Satan's attacks the church's perseverance and purity through violent persecution, through deceptive teaching, and through affluence and sensual pleasure (2:1-3:22; 13:1-18;17:1-18:24)

  • At the end of the age, the church's opponents will intensify persecution, but Jesus, the triumphant Word of God, will defeat and destroy his enemies; the old heaven and earth, stained with sin and suffering, will be replaced by the new heaven and earth; and the church will be presented as a bride in luminous purity to her husband, the Lamb ( 16:12-16; 19:11-21; 20:7-22:5)

Again, this is all from the concordance from "Introduction to Revelation" within the ESV study Bible, so I am not making any claims to these wordings, and perhaps I will find other little themes or subjects as I read, but It's just nice to have a 'heads up' on what Revelation is about so that we can better study it with context of other books of the Bible as well. My goal is go through chapter by chapter and write a response on each one; perform some word searches on critical words and do some cross referencing with books. It's a lot of work but I am excited !

I found an online source/copy of the ESV study Bible! Here's the Link:

Oh ps: Another area that the introduction touches on is the "Schools of Interpretation" which compares four approaches to studying Revelation---I would like to present some of that too--just so we can have an idea of what words like "Pretribulational Premillennialism" mean and why people believe that way and perhaps you will find that you agree more with one approach than the other. I am not intending on debating my personal view, but I would actually like to just come closer to understanding what they mean! :) I feel so behind in escatology.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Revelation Study

Ok, so today I started the journey through Revelation and I have to admit, I am so so blessed to have the English Standard Version Study Bible which gives an extensive introduction to the book. I was somewhat contemplating on whether I should first just dive into the book itself before reading the introduction but then I thought it would be good to have a general background before I try to determine what is going on just based on my own knowledge. I wanted to highlight some of the information that was introduced more for my own "concreting" --if that's a word, so that I engrave some of this information into my mind. One thing that I am praying for is not so much that God would "reveal the true answer of when and how He is coming" because I know that I can't come remotely close to that, but that He would grant me the ability to make somewhat of distinctive view point on it. I really struggle in 'making decisions' or standing on one side or the other when it comes to controversial topics in Christianity; I think it's a good thing in the sense that I maintain a balanced approach however, it can often be used as an excuse NOT to study and form some degree of an educated-opinion--if that makes sense. So this is subliminally challenging for me in helping me discern the information and putting things together. Like I said, this is an on-going process and by the end of Christmas break, I have no intentions of 'having the answer' but I am excited to just dive into the book of Revelation with hope that God will reveal himself to me and His desire to share His plan with His children. The passage in John 15:14-16 says this:

"14You are(A) my friends(B) if you do what I command you. 15(C) No longer do I call you servants,[a] for the servant[b](D) does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for(E) all that I have heard from my Father(F) I have made known to you. 16You did not choose me, but(G) I chose you and appointed you that you should go and(H) bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that(I) whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you."

So we can expect, as friends or 'bondservants' of Christ, to know our Master's doing through Christ but in the same sense recognizing this:

"6(M) "Seek the LORD while he may be found;
call upon him while he is near;
7let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
8For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.
9(N) For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:6-9

I fully recognize that the limitations of my knowledge are far, far less than God's and that forces me to depend upon God's wisdom over my own. So we'll see :)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

A Familiar Story of Expectation


Ok, so one of my all time most favorite stories/movies happens to be none other than….(drum roll!) THE LION, WITCH and the WARDROBE by C.S. Lewis! :) I was first introduced to the story in Mrs. Carlson’s 5th grade class and I remember her saying, “Now there’s an underlying theme that some of you may pick up on so when you do, you should come tell me!” As the plot continued to unravel, I slowly began to recognize that this story sounded awfully familiar and then BAM! It hit me when Aslan, the lion, was preparing to die on the stone table. Leading up to that scene however, all of Narnia was being transformed. The animals were seeing drastic changes taking place and word was spreading like wildfire that Aslan was coming and winter would soon be over! Queen Jadis, the evil, extremely-pale-looking woman would soon be overthrown and there would be peace in all Narnia! Mr. and Mrs. Beaver were anticipating the return of Aslan and were the first to relay the message to the children. I love the part when they are being chased by the wolves and all of a sudden “Father Christmas” comes out of no-where and gives them their weapons for the battle that will take place before the peace in Narnia. Aslan was calling for an army to rally with him in the fight to overthrow Jadis and the “dark side.”

What does this all have to do with the message Pastor Rick shared on Sunday you may be asking? Well, besides me getting super excited about the movie, if you recall, Rick spoke on expectations and how often we wait in anticipation for something, like Christmas, and then it ends up not being at all what it surmounted to be. Although the superficial things of Christmas may not meet your expectations, the true meaning behind Christmas will: Jesus Christ.

Did you know that Jesus is coming again? This time however, he will not be just a babe in a manger, he will be in all of His glory and splendor.We too are to be like the animals of Narnia and await the expected arrival of Jesus (Aslan if you didn’t catch the subliminal message earlier, hehe). We should be preparing and expecting a full-out battle with real evil (if you're not encountering the battle already!). Revelation is often thought of as a scary and complicated book. To me however, this passage of scripture appears to be pretty uplifting and straight-forward:

Jesus Is Coming
7"Behold, I am coming soon! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book."
8I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me. 9But he said to me, "Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers the prophets and of all who keep the words of this book. Worship God!"
10Then he told me, "Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, because the time is near. 11Let him who does wrong continue to do wrong; let him who is vile continue to be vile; let him who does right continue to do right; and let him who is holy continue to be holy."
12"Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. 13I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
14"Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. 15Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
16"I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you[a] this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star."
17The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.
(Revelation 22:7-17 NIV from

See, something just tells me that..oh I don't know, "Jesus is Coming?" How many times does He say it? Ha, sometimes I giggle as to think how often He has to repeat Himself in relaying messages like this in his word because of thick-headed people like myself! With all that aside, perhaps over the long Christmas break, you should join me in studying Revelation. After hearing Rick’s message and reading a passage like this, my expecations of Christ’s second coming has heightened and I want to know all that I can about His return. Do you think it's too late to ask Father Christmas for some weapons of my own? I'm sure we could quick add it to our lists--he still has 20 days!