The Book of Revelation: Encouragement

Jesus promises to overcomers

Daily Spirit & Word: 674: The Book Of Revelation.

Encouragement to OVERCOME.

Watch the Video: The Ashers Bakery Couple: The McArthur’s at the end of this page.

Good morning my friends, yesterday it was a privilege to conduct the funeral of a lovely man George Donald Smith. A wonderful husband, father, neighbour and friend to many people. May he rest in the peace of the Lord Jesus. Did you know that God wants us all to prepare for the time we’re going to be with the LORD forever? So, over the next few days I’m going to be studying the book of Revelation and letters to the Seven Churches in Asia Minor given by the Apostle John.

Why Revelation? Because I believe The LORD has led me to this.

Why? I’m still working on that, but at the outset I believe Revelations is speaking directly to every Christian who loves the LORD Jesus today. And our world is rushing headlong into the coming of the Glory of the return of our LORD Jesus Christ. He’s coming soon!

It is probably true that some of the prophecies in Revelation contain three elements; fulfilled in the past, about to be fulfilled in the near future, and to be fulfilled in the far distant future (but bear in mind it was written almost 2000 years ago, so that far-distant future may be referring to our present age).

John was given the visions and messages to deliver to the churches in Asia, and they were referring especially to some of the things that were happening during John’s lifetime, or in the immediate future after the Revelations had been delivered; much of the book is dealing with events in the coming ages after John was given his Revelations.

Situation: John was in exile on the Island of Patmos. He was the beloved disciple, he was exiled there because of his proclamation of the Gospel. He was a very old man.

Here is part of John’s Introduction:

Revelation 1:9-18 (NIV)
9  I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.
10  On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet,
11  which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.”
12  I turned round to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands,
13  and among the lampstands was someone “like a son of man”, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash round his chest.
14  His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire.
15  His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters.
16  In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.
17  When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18  I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.

“I AM THE LIVING ONE; I WAS DEAD, AND BEHOLD I AM ALIVE FOREVER”

WOWzer! Just imagine hearing the LORD utter these awesome words.

SYNOPSIS (Overview) OF THE BOOK OF REVELATIONS.

Before delving into any study of the book of Revelation, it’s essential to try and grasp an overall perspective of the book. This will aid understanding. It’s like viewing a forest on a little screen broadcast from a drone hovering over the forest. You can see what the drone sees, so you can navigate your way through the thickest of forests. Revelation is a deep book, like a dense forest, but with this overview, you’ll be able to work out where you are going, the obstacles and the route you can take.

The book may be divided into a series of visions, some of which are partly or wholly veiled (the meaning and application are unknown, therefore we cannot be dogmatic about it), others are comparatively clear in their teachings.

Two EPOCHAL EVENTS should especially be kept in mind in studying the visions.

The birth of the male child, regarded by many as the incarnation of Jesus Christ,—Revelation 12.

The sounding of the seventh trumpet,—Revelation 11:15, which heralded His world-wide victory.

It is not always possible to tell just where one vision ends and another begins. But for convenience they may be studied under various numbers, according to the viewpoint of the student.

Chapter 1
Introduction and promise to obedient readers,—Revelation 1:1-3.
Salutation of John and of the glorified Christ,—Revelation 1:4-8.

First Vision.
Of the glorified Christ,—Revelation 1:9-16.

His command to write to the seven churches,—Revelation 1:19.
The message to the churches, chapters 2-3.

Chapter 2
To Ephesus, the backslidden church, persistent in service, strong in discipline, but with love growing cold,—Revelation 2:1-7.
To Smyrna, the poor but truly rich church, facing a period of persecution,—Revelation 2:8-11.
To Pergamos, the church of evil surroundings, steadfast, but infected with heresy,—Revelation 2:12-17.
To Thyatira, the church of good works but harboring a false prophetess,—Revelation 2:18-29.

Chapter 3
To Sardis, the dying church,—Revelation 3:1-6.
To Philadelphia, the weak but faithful church,—Revelation 3:7-13.
To Laodicea, the lukewarm, self-satisfied church, boasting of her wealth while poor and miserable and blind,—Revelation 3:14-22.

Recurrent thought, the promises to overcomers.

Second Vision: Partly Veiled.
Chapter 4

The vision of God in heaven upon His throne, the creator of the universe, receiving the worship of the living creatures and the four and twenty elders,—Revelation 4:1-11.

Chapter 5
The opening of the seven-sealed book by the Lamb, the singing of the New Song, and the universal worship of the Lamb. Conjectural interpretation-Christ in His redemptive office alone can unlock the deepest divine mysteries.

Chapter 6
The opening of the six seals, (veiled),—Revelation 6:1-17. There have been many widely different interpretations; it is not worthwhile to add another. One clear lesson,—Revelation 6:9-11, the saints tested by divine delays. See Divine Delays, 3607.

Third vision: Partly Veiled.
Chapter 7
Suggested thought, God’s protection of His chosen people,—Revelation 7:1-8.

Fourth Vision.
Chapter 7: Comforting assurances
The innumerable host of the redeemed,—Revelation 7:9-10.
The means by which they appear in God’s presence,—Revelation 7:13-15.
Their activities and eternal felicity,—Revelation 7:15-17.

Fifth Vision: Partly Veiled.
Chapter 8
Momentous event, the opening of the seventh seal, causing silence in heaven.—Revelation 8:1.
Possible explanation: that all the harps and the voices of the angels were stilled by the fact that during the period of the seventh seal Christ was to leave for His earthly mission.

This is not purely imaginary. The fullness of time was evidently approaching-“There shall be delay no longer,” (Revelation 10:6). If this conjecture is correct, here in Revelation 8:1 we are at the very sources of the divine plan of salvation, and we shall see the events focusing toward the birth of the man child in the twelfth chapter.

In Revelation 8:3-4 the thought appears to be that the prayers of the saints are ascending to God for the coming of the messianic kingdom. (So we should be praying that Jesus Christ would come very soon to rule and reign upon the Earth).

Chapter 9
Then follows a veiled portion of the vision, the sounding of the six trumpets in chapters 8 and 9, apparently announcing impending judgments.

Sixth Vision: Partly Veiled.
Chapters 10-11
We can say no more than that the events seem to be moving forward toward the great consummation. This is indicated by the announcement of the mighty angel (Revelation 10:5-7), that there shall be delay no longer, but that the good tidings spoken of by the prophets are about to be fulfilled.

Among so many different opinions it is hazardous to suggest any interpretation of the “little book” in Revelation 10 and the “two witnesses” in Revelation 11. Possibly as these immediately precede the vision of the birth of the male child in Revelation 12, they may refer to the prophetic period prior to the coming of Christ.

In our studies we suggest that Revelation 12-20 contain partly veiled visions connected with the great Messianic conflict.

Seventh Vision.
Chapters 12-13
The great epochal event, the birth of the male child, Christ, and the simultaneous manifestation of the Satanic powers arrayed to destroy Him.

The justification for this viewpoint is that during Christ’s earthly life the powers of darkness were in frenzied activity. Note the attempt of Herod to destroy the child, the testing and tempting of Jesus Christ in the wilderness, the numerous cases of demoniacal possession, and the malignant persecution of the religious Pharisees, Saducees and Civil Authorities under King Herod which resulted in Christ’s crucifixion.

We are not seeking to give any detailed interpretation of the mysteries but to call attention to the spiritual weapons by which the victory was to be won (Revelation 12:11).

Eighth Vision: Partly Veiled.
Chapter 14

Without strained interpretation it is possible to regard this chapter as a prophetical summary of the coming conflict between the Lamb and His enemies,—Revelation 14:1-13.

If this view point is accepted, in the first five verses the one hundred and forty-four thousand would represent the ancient worthies of the old dispensation.

The opening up of the world-wide missionary campaign,—Revelation 14:6-7. See World-wide Missions, 2379. The preliminary announcement of the final victory (Revelation 14:8-11). The blessedness of the holy dead,—Revelation 14:12-13.

Ninth Vision: Partly Veiled.
Chapter 14
The harvest and vintage of grapes,—Revelation 14:16-20.

Tenth Vision: Partly Veiled.
Chapter 15
The early victors and their song,—Revelation 15:1-4.
The Seven Angels and the golden bowls,—Revelation 15:5-8.

Chapter 16
The outpouring of the seven bowls of wrath,—Revelation 16:1-21.

Eleventh Vision: Veiled.
Chapters 17-18
The doom of Babylon, the harlot city, and the enemies of the Lamb whom He shall overcome.

Twelfth Vision.
Chapter 19
The hallelujah chorus in heaven celebrating the spiritual victory,—Revelation 19:1-6.
The marriage of the Lamb,—Revelation 19:7-9. See Christ the Bridegroom,

Thirteenth Vision.
Christ, the spiritual conqueror upon the white horse, smites the nations with the sword of the Spirit,—Revelation 19:11-16.
Partly veiled. The beast and the false prophet and their allies overcome by Christ. See Christ the Victor.

Fourteenth Vision: Partly Veiled.
Chapter 20
The binding of Satan,—Revelation 20:1-3.
The first resurrection,—Revelation 20:4-6.
Satan loosed and his evil activity,—Revelation 20:7-9.
The doom of Satan, the beast, and the false prophet,—Revelation 20:10.
The last judgment,—Revelation 20:11-15.

Fifteenth Vision.
Chapters 21-22
The new heaven and the new earth.
The holy city, a type of the church, the Lamb’s wife.

Chapter 21
Characteristics of, Heavenly origin,—Revelation 21:2; radiant, 21:11; separated and protected,—Revelation 21:12; accessible,—Revelation 21:13; sure foundations,—Revelation 21:14; immovable,—Revelation 21:16; beautifully adorned,—Revelation 21:18-21; having a spiritual temple,—Revelation 21:22; divinely illuminated,—Revelation 21:23-25; glorified,—Revelation 21:26; undefiled,—Revelation 21:27.

Chapter 22
Paradise restored. Distinguishing marks of the river of life,—Revelation 22:1; the tree of life,—Revelation 22:2; removal of the curse,—Revelation 22:3; the beatific vision and the divine impress upon saints,—Revelation 22:4; eternal day and saints’ dominion,—Revelation 22:5.

The last teachings, faithful and true,—Revelation 22:6; emphasize the speedy coming of the Lord,—Revelation 22:7; God only to be worshiped,—Revelation 22:8-9; character tends to final permanence,—Revelation 22:11; the last promise,—Revelation 22:14; the last invitation,—Revelation 22:17; the last warning,—Revelation 22:18-19.

Benediction and prayer,—Revelation 22:21.

PROMINENT PEOPLE: The Lamb of God, at last victor over all allied powers of evil (mentioned about thirty times), Four Living Creatures, Twenty-four Elders, 144,000 Jews, the Two Witnesses, Satan, Beast of the Sea, the False Prophet, the Great Harlot, Angels of Heaven, Saints of Heaven, John.

The PROMISES / REWARDS to Those Who Overcome (The ones who live the victorious Christian life).

  • Spiritual Food : Revelation 2:7
  • A New Name : Revelation 2:17
  • Authority : Revelation 2:26
  • Robes Of Righteousness : Revelation 3:5
  • A Memorial Pillar : Revelation 3:12
  • Enthronement : Revelation 3:21
  • An Eternal Inheritance : Revelation 21:7

The Lord Jesus is cheering you onto victory in the Christian life.

He is encouraging you to remain faithful: Just like the young couple in Northern Ireland, the now infamous Asher’s Bakery Case (see little video): who took a stand for their faith and refused to produce a cake from their Bakery for the wedding of a gay couple. They felt their faith in the Lord would be compromised and if they’d gone ahead they’d be condoning something they believed to be sinful. It’s been very costly for that young couple, they’ve come under attack from; the media, the courts, the establishment, those in society who think everyone should support gay rights to marriage. The faith once delivered to the saints makes it clear that Homosexuality is a sin: praise the LORD for this very brave young family. They’ve stood together throughout their ordeal. Pray for their upcoming appeal case. No matter what the outcome, thank the LORD. Determine in your heart that you will live in accordance with God’s Word revealed.

Conclusion:

I hope you’ve found the overview helpful my friends. If you’ve just skipped down the page to the conclusion, can I encourage you to take the time to re-read and dwell patiently over the outline. When you’ve taken the time to read through the OVERVIEW: Just like the view a drone and give whilst hovering overhead a dense forest, I hope you can see that John was given an AWESOME privilege and responsibility to record the things he’d seen in visions on the Island of Patmos. The Holy Spirit and the visions of the LORD ensured the words recorded are contained in the final book of the Bible. These WORDS of Jesus Christ are POWERFUL for every Christian today: Helping us all to remain steadfast in the face of hardships, attacks and the headlong rush into God’s final days of the Creation.

When I first became a Christian I was afraid to read the book of Revelation, it was a bit scary to me, but then the LORD showed me in prayer one day; “It’s my WORD, my WORD is useful in many ways and this book is going to help you stay close to Me”…

Have an Awesome Day with Jesus.

(P.S. I’ve been feeling a bit poorly Sunday and yesterday, had to struggle through a funeral, shivering last night with a flu fever and my body aching with man-flue, but the LORD woke me up early and got me into His WORD again today. Praise be to our LORD and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen!).

Asher’s Bakery Couple:

Ashers Baking Company’s General Manager Daniel McArthur, and his wife Amy, speak out ahead of their appeal on Wednesday 3 February 2016. Please keep them in your prayers.

Who told you that you were naked?

Sin and Disobedience

Daily Spirit & Word: The Fall of Mankind into Sin.

“I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
Good morning my friends, my holiday is over, I’m back at work, it’s been awesome to have a long break from my usual routine, but it’s also good to get back to ‘normal’. It’s early morning and I’m up with my Lord Jesus. You know something, I’ve been meeting with Him every single day of my holiday, because you cannot have a holiday from being a follower of Jesus.

Yesterday someone came around to my house and asked me this question; “How many times can you go away from the Lord before you finally and fully fall away?” It was a simple and honest question. When someone asks me a question like that, I know that it’s like a loaded-gun or an iceberg, there far more below the surface than above the water. Some people have said to me, “How can you fit 120 men inside one of those, referring to my Submarine?” Then I have to explain, “You know my friend, an Submarine is much like an iceberg, there’s far more beneath the water than there is above” If you could see a Submarine in a dry-dock then you’d realise what I mean, it’s an immense piece of exciting engineering which always reminds me of a whale.

My response was, “You only need to go away from the Lord ONCE before it becomes permanent.” His face fell immediately, because, as I’d guessed, he was looking for a way to excuse his life of sin. You see my friends, we cannot have a holiday away from the Lord once we’ve started upon the journey of faith with Jesus. Do you remember the Lord’s words on this subject?

Hand to the Plough:

Luke 9:62 “And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

But I’m going through Genesis at the moment and a phrase jumped out a me this morning:

Genesis 3:7-11 7  Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realised that they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. 
8  Then the man and his wife heard the sound (voice) of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
9  But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” 
10  He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” 
11  And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree from which I commanded you not to eat?” 

Thankfully, those who’ve trusted in Christ Jesus have been SAVED:

Colossians 1:13-14 13  “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14  in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

When we come to Jesus who knows the end from the beginning, He knows your whole life, even before you gave in and trusted Him as your Saviour, so He knows those times that you’ll yield to temptation, that you’ll be weak and fall into sin. And He still gives you the blessings of the knowledge of forgiveness and a new heart to obey Him. What amazing grace and mercy.

Yes Jesus has ‘rescued’ you from the dominion of darkness: However, we still get those same, Adam like, feelings of separation when we sin. Remember how Adam and Eve, once they’d eaten the forbidden fruit, made coverings for themselves out of leaves and hid themselves in the garden of Eden. What was it that made them hide? They heard the voice of the Lord in the garden. The Lord was either singing or saying something out loud, and the voice of the Lord became a terror to them. They knew that they were naked; i.e. that the Lord could see what they’d done, it was open before Him who’s eyes see and know everything. It’s the same with anyone who sins, even just a little, the mere fact and act of disobedience has the exact same effect, we all want to run away and hide from God, from his presence, from His Holy voice. We don’t want to see Him, we don’t want to hear Him, we don’t want to be anywhere near Him, so we run away and hide and try our best to cover-up our shameful nakedness.

Asking that question, “How many times can we go away from God before it becomes permanent?” is like asking “How many times can I choose to sin and get away with it?” The answer is “NONE” You’ll never get away with it, God knows it all and He’s right there as a witness to every single act or thought of disobedience.

Alexander Maclaren has said it brilliantly: “These are still the two lies which wile us to sin: ‘It will do you no harm,’ and ‘You are cheating yourselves out of good by not doing it.’ Alexander Expositions of Holy Scripture – Genesis.

When God asked Adam, “Who told you that you were naked?” He KNEW that Adam and Eve had eaten and had received the knowledge of Good and Evil.

My friend related how he’d been feeling; that there was an emptiness, a barrenness, how God seemed distant, far away. Then he said something amazing, “You know, I know, that God has not moved away, it’s me”…

Temptation to sin: We’ve already lost the battle when we’re thinking to ourselves; “I wonder how many times I can do this and get away with it?”

Disobedience: Acting or Thinking sinfully; results in cutting us off from the Lord. Even after we’ve come to faith and trust in Jesus. Until we get right with Him again we’re separated from Him, we’re not walking with Him, we’re in the darkness and there is a feeling that we want to cover-up our shameful nakedness, to hide our inner-self from the Lord. There is no peace when we’re walking in the darkness. There is no joy in our hearts.

“Who told you that you were naked?”

When we choose to sin, afterwards it’s like the LORD is not there, as if our relationship has died, we’re cut-off from Him. We’ll also get fearful and want to run and hide from God, because we become aware that He can see right through us. 

When Temptations Come:

We’ve got a choice: We can listen to God’s voice, His witness within, our Conscience, that will be crying out to us; “This will lead to the death of your relationship with God”. Or we can reason with ourselves and con ourselves into believing; It’s not that bad, everyone else is doing it, everybody thinks it’s OK, it won’t do me any harm, why not enjoy yourself, you deserve it, you’ve earned the right to enjoy it”

But Moses Chose A Different Way:

Hebrews 11:25  “He chose to be ill-treated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time.”

When we choose to follow God’s WAY: It’s costly in terms of dying to self, in saying “No!” to the pleasures of sin for a season.

Hebrews 11:25  “Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;”

Yes we can enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season, but whilst we’re doing so, we’ll be doing it away from Jesus and it will be as if He’s dead to us, as if He’s not real, as if there is no God. The realisation will come to us that we’re NAKED and we’ll want to run and hide like Adam and Eve. But just like a dark-cloud hides the sun, the sun still continues to shine behind it’s dark lining; so God continues to reign and rule behind the darkness of our disobedience.

Just as God called out in the Garden of Eden for Adam: “Adam, Where are you?” He’s calling out to you and me today: “Where are you?”

  • Are you walking with the Lord?
  • Are you seeking to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season?

Have an awesome day with Jesus. Choose LIFE, JOY, PEACE and FELLOWSHIP with God today. It’s going to be FREEDOM and FOUNTAINS of LOVE flowing within.

Prayer: “Dear Lord Jesus, I pray today that when temptation comes, I’ll be listening to You in my heart. Help me to know that choosing to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season is like death to my relationship with You. This day Lord; I’m choosing LIFE and the joy that comes as I walk with You. Help me Lord! Amen.”

Don.