As we come to the end of our reading with mounting anticipation, a great “HALLELUJAH” is being prepared in heaven, to which we will give voice HERE ON EARTH!
DAY ONE – 1 John 1-5, 2 John, 3 John
(The following references are from Holy Bible, New Living Translation ®, copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.)
- 1 John 1:6– we are not practicing the truth
- 1 John 2:4– not living in the truth
- 1 John 2:8–Jesus lived the truth
- 1 John 2:8–the true light is already shining
- 1 John 2:20-21– all of you know the truth
- 1 John 2:21-22–you know the difference… truth and lies
- 1 John 2:27–what he teaches is true
- 1 John 2:27–teach you what is true
- 1 John 4:3–the truth about Jesus
- 1 John 5:20–know the true God
- 2 John 1–I love in the truth
- 2 John 3–who live in truth and love
- 2 John 4–living according to the truth
- 2 John 10–the truth about Christ
- 3 John 1–I love in the truth
- 3 John 3–living according to the truth
- 3 John 4–following the truth
- 3 John 12–as does the truth itself
- 3 John 12– we speak the truth
Since truth originated in God and was revealed in the creation, it can be discovered only in God and in His Son, Jesus Christ. When all the lies that have been perpetrated and propped up in the hearts of the ungodly are revealed for what they are, ONLY TRUTH will perpetuate into the ages beyond. Even Pilate, the authority who delivered Jesus up to be crucified, asked, “What is truth?” Sadly he never got His answer, even though he was face to face with THE TRUTH.
DAY TWO – Revelation 1-5
This is a revelation OF Jesus Christ which was given to Apostle John. Remember, John was the disciple especially loved by Jesus, who was next to Jesus at the Last Supper, while still in his teens. John was one of the three who SAW Jesus in His glory on the mountain and heard God’s voice; and he was the oldest surviving original apostle at the time of this revelation. The seven churches (assemblies) in Asia were the recipients of the messages Jesus Christ wanted us all to have. Seven times we are exhorted to “listen to the Spirit and understand what He is saying to the churches.” In fact, the readers of this revelation are promised a blessing for even reading it!
Exiled to a small island because of his faith and his preaching, John continued his life of devotion and service to Jesus. Then one day these striking scenes began to unfold before him. Scene one took place in the sphere of earth, in which John was introduced to Jesus in a way He had never before seen. Jesus was glorious and powerful, above and over everything, and obviously before, during and after everything! He introduced Himself as “the First and the Last.” Well! That got the old apostle’s attention for sure. Then came the messages from this ONE who identified Himself as LORD over all the gatherings of His ‘called-out ones.’ And for each of these seven messages, we are asked to pay CLOSE ATTENTION to their commendations and corrections. Promises are made to the faithful, to the ones paying attention and taking corresponding action. The second scene opened in heaven, in which John was privileged to ‘see’ Almighty God in visions and appearances that almost defy description–certainly persons and mysterious creatures not before seen on earth. This Great One was holding a scroll that was sealed, and no one seemed qualified to open it. But there was One, and He was introduced to John as “…the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the heir to David’s throne, (who) has won the victory.” Revelation 5:5 (NLT) John remembered the day when, as a young man, he saw Jesus ascending into heaven with clouds and heard angels: “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!” Acts 1:11 (NLT) But the Jesus he remembered is now the Ancient of Days, resplendent with glory and power. This Shining One commands all authority in heaven, with millions of angels at His disposal. There is NO OTHER LIKE HIM! The message that John was getting, and the message we desperately need to hear today is, LOVE JESUS, SERVE HIM, OBEY HIM, while there is yet time. We are in The Revelation, the last Bible book, and there should be some urgency in how we prayerfully respond to Him.
DAY THREE – Revelation 6-10
Dear Reader, we are today given a glimpse into the Great Tribulation coming upon the world, variously referred to as the Day of the Lord. Words fail to inform our emotions sufficiently, so we cannot possibly register the correct feelings that match the scope and nature of the calamity . When the Great Flood occurred in Genesis, there were no words to describe the carnage, for there had previously been NO RAIN on the earth; and the enormity of the tragedy was unknown in human history. Such is the Great Tribulation. NO AMOUNT of war, famine or cataclysm prepares us for the worldwide destruction and suffering which will follow in rapid succession, one event upon another. However, incredulous as we might be reading these chapters, remember that THE ONE WHO OPENS THE SEALS was Himself the victim of all the world’s evil, turned against Him with savage force and incalculable rage, to rid the world of His sovereign grace and salvation. The devil himself inspired the brutal crucifixion of Jesus, and that same destroyer would gladly take out every one of us who follows Jesus with similar rage and evil prejudice. That we live and thrive another day is attributable to the great love and protection of our Heavenly Father who has commissioned us to give testimony of the Kingdom of God here on earth. Reading this Revelation again is a stern reminder that we live in a temporal world that has given itself to establishing a permanent order WITHOUT GOD. Those of us who tremble before the Lord in humble repentance and worship Him with gladness of heart, struggle to fully appreciate this great, final conflict that has begun and is playing out in full view of the nations. We may not understand everything, but we can certainly see the unexplainable increases in catastrophic occurrences in nature and international politics. And yes, there is a universal awareness that our world cannot indefinitely continue its present erratic course without intervention. The real tragedy is that, while public religion appears to be waning in the nations of the world, defiance toward God’s Kingdom is gaining momentum. People of God everywhere should be on constant alert and highly sensitized to changes in the spiritual climate around us. In the west, we are so thoroughly plied with technology, social connectivity and instant information about everything, that our distractions threaten to overrun our desire to remain faithful to Jesus. My plea as a fellow believer/follower is that we will read and understand; read and wake up; read and take appropriate actions to encourage, help and support one another in our common faith. Religious and political differences must give way in favor of our total reliance on the Kingdom of Heaven–now our highest priority and the world’s ONLY HOPE. What shall we do today to make a real difference?
DAY FOUR – Revelation 11-13
It is important to remember that, as Genesis is a book of beginnings, Revelation is a book of endings. Our Bible begins with these words: “In the beginning God…” It is only fitting that at the end of time, this same Almighty God–Creator of heavens and earth; Savior of mankind; and ruler over all there is, MUST RESOLVE all that has, since the days of Adam and Eve, corrupted the earth and troubled all of mankind. Human beings themselves fell prey to the evil rebellion against the Creator; that must be resolved. Satan, the devil and destroyer, led the rebellion against God; that too must be resolved. Finally the corruption that has brought misery to mankind must be resolved permanently. In John’s great visions events unfold rapidly–no longer in years and millennia, but in days and months. Prominent in all of this is the land of Israel, that little centerpiece of earth’s real estate that dominates nearly all of the Old Testament narrative and forms the backdrop to all of God’s dealings with this world kingdom. We can only ponder, sometimes wonder, where we are in all this drama. Are we witnessing in our 21st century what Jesus and the apostles described in scripture? Are their predictions unfolding before our very eyes? Has the Day of the Lord dawned on planet earth, the beginning of suffering that presupposes the final conquest of evil, rebellion and corruption? What John saw he could barely explain in words we can understand. Yet we are asked to look… and understand. What John heard we are asked to hear… and believe. Where are we to get this kind of wisdom and understanding? Our universities and think tanks are filled with propaganda that empowers kingdoms and kingmakers in this world, in their unquenchable thirst for power and wealth. To whom then can we turn? WE MUST TURN TO JESUS. The God who came from heaven to earth to reveal the eternal Kingdom of Heaven was killed here–died for our sinful rebellion to RESOLVE sin and provide eternal life to all who will follow Jesus. The visions in this Revelation depict the final stages of earth’s rebellion against heaven and against God, ALL OF WHICH WILL SOON give way to the Resurrected Jesus who has all power and authority in heaven and earth. We cannot look elsewhere for answers to the mysterious events and creatures featured in John’s visions. Rather than trying to pinpoint God’s timeline for all of these things, we do well to simply humble ourselves in reverential fear of our Holy God and WORSHIP HIS SON JESUS CHRIST, who towers over this world kingdom and is preparing to REIGN FOREVER AND EVER! The Revelation belongs to God and His Son, and He will crush the rebellion in a manner that FULLY RESOLVES all of human history in order to usher in His glorious and eternal kingdom. And we… we are here… for such a time as this.
DAY FIVE – Revelation 14-18
The Genesis story informs us that God created the inhabited world in six days, and rested on the seventh. All was in motion, in perfect harmony and calibrated to maintain predictable order in His universe. Adam and Eve were placed there; biblical genealogy indicates that some seven thousand years of human history have unfolded to the present. We have been reading this history for more than a year in our Bible adventure. But the chapters we read today are filled with apocalyptic predictions of terrible destruction as not seen up to this time anywhere. What does it mean? John’s visions of a world gone mad, of the crumbling heaps of human achievement, are punctuated with pictures of heaven in which the hundreds of millions of souls from earth that have lived, believed in and trusted God throughout the ages are now ‘saved’–that is, they are alive and beyond reach of the sin, rebellion and destruction that have troubled the nations of the world since the beginning of time. A conspiracy of evil, driven by demonic passion, idolatry and gross immorality, has reached a feverish pitch, having enslaved the masses and led to the worldwide acceptance and worship of the ‘beast,’ so called because of his dark rage and rebellion against Creator God and His Son Jesus. The world of humanity has descended into the black darkness in which reason and sensibility have totally lost their power to restrain evil. The final judgments of human government and mortal supremacy have begun. As trumpets sound, swords clash, nations rage, and angels move swiftly to enact God’s orders throughout the earth, a fateful dread and fear begins to wash over humanity, the realization that ALL IS LOST and there is NO MORE REMEDY. The topography is catastrophically leveled, the sea turns to death, the rivers to blood; even the great Euphrates River is dried up so that an army two hundred million strong can begin its march of death. The world economy has finally collapsed under its own weight of incalculable debt and greed, ending the dreams of every nation. There is nowhere else to turn, no one who can now step forward to lead into tomorrow. The nations are AT AN END, and the time has now come for the LAST PLAGUES–the final thrust of judgment and the end of the world as we have known it. Revelation 18:20 (NLT) “Rejoice over her fate, O heaven and people of God and apostles and prophets! For at last God has judged her for your sakes.” It is time for God’s ultimate Salvation to step forth from heaven, to preside over His triumphant victory over evil, and to disclose the working of His eternal plan set forth at the beginning of time.
DAY SIX – Revelation 19-22
Peals of praise–like the sound of thunder or roaring rivers–flowed from heaven, one after another, marking the transition of power on earth–from governments run by earthlings to that of our Lord Jesus Christ, making Him “King of all kings and Lord of all lords.” As earth’s armies, amassed to avenge the fall of human rule and the world economy, and to break free from heaven once for all, waited with their leader THE BEAST for the Son of God on the white horse to appear, the stench of death and hell was already beginning to assault their senses. Then He came. His servants seized the beast and his prophet and threw them alive into the lake of burning sulfur, as His sword slew the armies of defiance. And then it was over. The battle for heaven’s rule was instantly and finally won by Jesus, and He brought His heavenly kingdom fully to earth to reign for a thousand years, to be followed by an eternity filled with God and His wonderful new creation! This Revelation began with Jesus and it ends with Jesus. He is the very spirit and testimony of all true prophecy, making Him the worthy recipient of all our worship, loyalty and allegiance. And He is the fulfillment of God’s promise to Adam and Eve to save from among the world of humanity ALL who will worship and serve Him. God has ALWAYS had His gracious plan of salvation which He freely offers to all.
A footnote to Revelation is that it is THE END of human rule and THE BEGINNING of the new heaven and earth for all of those who have lived, loved and followed Jesus in a life of faith and obedience. Even John himself, the old apostle who had survived boiling oil poured on his body, ascribing all glory, honor and praise to Jesus–whom he first knew as a young man of Israel living under Roman government; whom he followed from his youth; and to whom he devoted the rest of his life in the Gospel of the Kingdom of heaven–gushed with anticipation as he cried, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” That was two thousand years ago. Then John rested with the saints and has waited these two millennia, as we ALL NOW WAIT, for Jesus to take His righteous scepter and begin to reign as promised. We too join two thousand years of faithful believer/followers who welcome these days of conflict which MUST COME on the earth in order for HEAVEN to finally RULE AMONG MEN. And while we wait we worship and serve our Father and His Lord Jesus Christ. We have died to any future except that which involves Him and welcomes Him into our daily existence here and now. As did Jesus, we ignore the humiliation of the cross and despise the shame in the eyes of the world in order to believe and follow Him. Thus with John, our life is a praise and a prayer… “EVEN SO, COME, LORD JESUS!”