My Thoughts

My Thoughts on Christianity and Other Things

Archive for the month “January, 2014”

Revelation 4: The Main Characters

Orion Spitzerlrot photo by NASA

Orion Spitzerlrot photo by NASA

Doing this post took me a lot longer than I expected. I did I lot of reading and a lot of studying but I now have a little better understanding of things.

This is what I learned about the main characters. Of course two of the main characters are the Lord Jesus and God Himself. But there are two other interesting groups of characters here. I have wondered about these beings for a long time. But first I must tell you what I have learned about the seven spirits of God. A commentary said the seven spirits were “various gifts, graces and operations of the Spirit of God in the churches of Christ.” After looking through the scriptures I found the 7 gifts of grace which are: prophecy, serving others, teaching, encouraging others, giving, leadership, and showing kindness. I found this in Romans 12:6-8 .

So let’s start with the twenty-four elders in Revelation 4:4 and many other places through out Revelation. Who were they? And dare I ask, are they human? Or are they spirits? I read a commentary that said the elders were upstanding people from both the New Testament and Old Testament. If they’re human, why or how could they be so important to be elders in Heaven without having their names mentioned? If they were men like Moses or Elijah I would think they would be mentioned by name. (Yet the two witnesses mentioned later on, also were not named.) If these twenty-four elders are spirits… well I wondered if there were such elders anywhere else in the Bible.

I looked up elders and got 187 entries in the English Standard Version. (Different versions had different wording.) Every one of entries for ‘elders’ seemed to be very human except for Isaiah 24:23 Then the moon will be confounded and the sun ashamed, for the Lord of hosts reigns on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and his glory will be before his elders.
Yet Isaiah 24:23 in the New Living Translation says: Then the glory of the moon will wane, and the brightness of the sun will fade, for the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will rule on Mount Zion. He will rule in great glory in Jerusalem, in the sight of all the leaders of his people.

There are a lot of prophecies in Isaiah I don’t understand, but there are some that I do. Reading Isaiah 24:23 in the New Living Translation reminded me of Acts 2:2 The sun will become dark, and the moon will turn blood red before that great and glorious day of the Lord arrives. Acts 2:2 is a quote of Joel 2:31 The sun will become dark, and the moon will turn blood red before that great and terrible day of the Lord arrives.

So are the elders Revelation 4:4 men or angels? That’s up for you to decide. I say angels because of the four creatures in Revelation 4:6-8 , but of course I could be wrong.

Revelation 4:6-8
In front of the throne was a shiny sea of glass, sparkling like crystal.
In the center and around the throne were four living beings, each covered with eyes, front and back. The first of these living beings was like a lion; the second was like an ox; the third had a human face; and the fourth was like an eagle in flight. Each of these living beings had six wings, and their wings were covered all over with eyes, inside and out. Day after day and night after night they keep on saying,
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty—
the one who always was, who is, and who is still to come.”

There are no creatures like these on earth. But what can we find out about them? Has anyone else seen them? Isaiah did in Isaiah 6:1-3 In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!”

Or at least I assume they are the same. They have six wings and they praise the Lord. I once heard they cover their face because the Lord is too holy to look at. They cover their feet because the floor was too holy for their feet to touch, so they fly. Sounds good. But when the guy on the TV show started talking about what the different faces mean, the close caption went goofy; so I don’t know what he said.

I read a couple of commentaries about the creatures and both of them basically agree that they are courageous as lions, mighty as bulls, wise as men (I question that one), and as swift as eagles.

Another passage that is interesting to me, is Ezekiel 1. They seem sort of the same but not really. Instead of six wings they only had four. One thing that really seems odd to me is that they were on wheels. If they could fly, why would they need wheels? What kind of vehicle were they on? They had a wheel within a wheel and they could not turn. If I didn’t know any better, I would say the vehicle or vehicles (four of them) had a gyro-compass in them. I couldn’t find a good picture of one, but I remember a little of what it looked like on the ship I was on nearly 40 years ago. I remember seeing a machine about 3 feet (1 meter) tall or more with a fast spinning wheel inside. The axles in the wheel always pointed true north. If these four creature couldn’t turn then they could only follow the longitude and latitude lines of the earth. I’m only guessing here of course.

Several times the last few days I have told my wife that I really wish I had a good Jewish Rabbi here to explain things to me. One more thing I wonder about. (OK, one of the hundred million zillion things) before the fall into sin, did Adam and Eve ever seen any of this?

Well that’s it for now. Please check out everything I have said. And if I am wrong, please tell me. After all I have no training in this at all. The two commentaries I used were Geneva Notes and Matthew Henry’s Commentary. If you find an error, please let me know, and I will check it out to the best of my abilities.

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What Good Is Bible Prophecy?

optical-illusion-1 garfog.wordpress.com

When you read about God’s prophecy in the Bible, do you go cross-eyed? Do you get bewildered? Confused? Does any of it makes sense? How do you interpret this?

Is this a young woman looking away, or an old woman looking down?

Is this a young woman looking away, or an old woman looking down?

When I started working on Revelation: Seven Churches in the last post, I must say I was getting a low-grade headache which lasted for about three days. Also I was having an unbelievably hard time doing this post. My mind would wander here and wander there, and wander any where except about what I’m studying and writing.

I don’t believe the devil wants me to study this part of God’s word. This means what I’m trying to do is good! So I will press on. God willing.

So what good is God’s prophecy? Well it’s good for several things. One to just inform you with what to expect. To prepare you for some unpleasant things. For an example, once a friend told me what to expect from cataract surgery. I was about to go through it and was very nervous about it. I felt a little better about it afterward. The whole thing went exactly the way he said it would.

When Jesus was talking to His disciples about how He was going to die and rise again, He did it so they would know what would happen. I’m sure afterward the eleven of them said, “Oh yeah, it happened just as He said.” Remember the twelfth one committed suicide because he betrayed the Lord.

We can read God’s prophecy now and get an idea of what will happen, or maybe what’s happening now.

Prophecy can also serve as a warning. In Genesis 12:1-3 and Ezekiel 38:1 through Ezekiel 39:8 as well as Isaiah 54:15-17 (which talks about weapons of destruction) warns countries not to attack Israel. The two prophecies in Ezekiel and Isaiah hasn’t happened yet. But it will. Look at it this way, Ezekiel mentions Israel by name. Yet there was no Israel for over 2,000 years. Not until 1948 anyway. No one can deny this. Even those who hate Israel affirms this. You can not hate what doesn’t exists.

And this bring us to one last point I’ll make. God’s prophecies are often for encouragement. People will mock you and persecute you, if they haven’t already. Jesus himself said this many times. So when someone laughs at you saying there is no God and mock you for it; well remember the Bible said it would happen. Which means they themselves are proving prophecies are true. And often times they are even proving that God is in control.

I heard someone say “So what? Other religions say they would be persecuted too. This means nothing.” OK maybe other religions do say they would be persecuted. This in no way disproves the Bible. Matthew 5:10-12 God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
“God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.

I wish this wouldn’t happen to any of us, but it will, and for some of us, it’s already happening. But keep in mind, it only proves God’s word true.

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note: I have no idea who own the rights to the three pictures. The one of Jesus I have seen many years ago on an email. The other two I have seen many more years ago in a book or several books. I downloaded the images from http://www.bing.com.

Revelation: The Seven Churches

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In three days I read the book of Revelation three times. First in the New Living Translation and then in the English Standard Version then again in the New International Version.

I have read Revelation several times before and have even read through the whole Bible a couple of times. Recently I have signed up with a group in our church to read through the whole Bible in only four months. I have never done it in four months before. So anyway let’s see how this old mechanic will do, trying to figure out this book called Revelation.

A couple of people have told me that I should be more open about who I am. OK. I call myself a mechanic because I’ve been one for most of my life. However I also have an AA degree in computer networking and I used to be certified as an electronic technician. But as I have said in earlier posts, I have never been to seminary, or to any form of Bible college or training. It would very wise to test everything I say. And oh yeah, I am also a veteran of the US Coast Guard and the Army National Guard.

Revelation 1:3
God blesses the one who reads the words of this prophecy to the church, and he blesses all who listen to its message and obey what it says, for the time is near.

OK let’s see what this message is. After all we can’t obey if we don’t know the message.

First I don’t understand the seven or sevenfold spirits of God in Revelation 1:4 yet. By the way I will often say ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I don’t understand’. Often times in school, a teacher may not know something. But if the teacher tries to bluff or makes something up, the students will often pick up on it and the teacher will loose the respect of his students.

The book of Revelation was written by John from the island of Patmos. The seven churches were all from the western part of modern Turkey. These seven churches are represented by seven golden lampstands and each has an angel or messengers is represented by seven stars. Our Lord Jesus is doing the talking.

The seven churches in Revelation 2:1 through 3:22 are like many of us today.

Some of us are like the Ephesus church and have lost the love we had when we first became believers. What is scary is the Lord knows this. He knows our hearts, our minds, our feelings. We can fool a lot of people, but we can not fool Him. And if we don’t repent from this, God will take away the lampstand. I don’t know what that means really; but I do not want to find out. It is good that the Ephesus church hates the practices of the Nicolaitans. They were basically faulty teachers who led others astray.

Unlike the Pergamum who did follow the teachings of Nicolaitans as well as eating food sacrifices to idols and committing sexual immorality. I don’t believe there is much of a problem of eating food that’s been sacrificed to idols in North America, but the sexual sin is everywhere. Sexual immorality covers a large area of activities. Adultery, incest, homosexual activities, and others. I’m not judging, I am only saying what scripture says, in both the New and Old Testament. Anyway if those in this group don’t repent, they will find the Lord Jesus Himself fighting against them. This will not be good. On the plus side it is good that they never deny their faith in the Lord Jesus.

One warning that I must add. It’s about Revelation 2:14 where it talks about Balaam. Numbers 22 talks about how Balaam refused to curse Israel. (Which is a good thing.) But think of sin as pollution. You may be holy until that first sin; then you become polluted. Any little sin (wrong doing) is like a supertanker breaking open and spilling oil on a beach. Think you’re mostly OK? Try telling that to the wildlife on the beach. This is why we need to know Jesus, to be forgiven.

The Thyatira church is similar in that they tolerate the woman called Jezebel who misleads God’s servants into eating food that’s been sacrificed to idols and sexual immorality. If they don’t repent, they will suffer greatly with her. On the plus side, the Lord has seen your love, faith, service, and your patient endurance. He sees your constant improvement in all these things. Revelation 2:19. Revelation 2:24-25 says some of you are OK though.

The Sardis church is like so many today. We humans love to pretend. We want to fit in. Many of us pretend to be “spiritual” when in fact we’re dead inside. We can fool a lot of people, but we can’t fool God. So wake up, be alive! Revelation 3:3 says Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you. Fortunately some will be found wearing white, walking with the Lord for they are worthy.

I find the Laodicea church interesting. My wife and I are far from wealthy, yet we do know a few who are. I would like to think they have their act together. But knowing human nature, I know some do not. (I’m glad I have no idea who.)

After reading this several more times, I wonder if maybe some of the rich get a little too comfortable. I wonder if since they can buy most anything, they stop relying on the Lord. What if they of course still believe and love the Lord but at the same time are no longer in fellowship with Him. Of course I am only guessing at all this. But if I am correct it would maybe explain Revelation 3:15-18. Now Revelation 3:20 is looking also looking a little different. “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.” In other words Revelation 3:20 is says, “Hey you! I’m knocking on the door of your life. Let me in so we can have fellowship together.”

By this time you may have realized that I have not mentioned either the church of Smyrna nor the church of Philadelphia. If you read Revelation 2:8-10 and Revelation 3:7-10 you’ll see Jesus isn’t holding anything against them.

Another thing I left out until now was the ‘victorious’ parts. So if you are victorious:
1 – You will be given the tree of life . Which is the same tree as in Genesis 3:22 .
2 – You will not be hurt by the second death as in Revelation 20:14 which is the lake of fire.
3 – You will get hidden manna and a stone with a new name on it. (I don’t understand the stone part.)
4 – You will have the authority over the nations, and will also be given the morning star. I find the morning star interesting because according to 2 Peter 1:19 and Revelation 22:16 the morning star is Jesus. So if you seek the Lord you will find Him. 2 Chronicles 15:1-4.
5 – You will not have your name blotted out of the Book of Life and will be knowledge before the Father and His angels. The book of life is also mentioned in Revelation 20:14-15.
6 – You will become a pillars in the temple of God. And He will write on them the name of His God and the new Jerusalem. In other words everyone will know we belong to the Almighty.
7 – You will sit on the throne with Jesus Himself.

One thing that I forgot to mention is God discipline those Him loves Revelation 3:19 .

Well that’s all for now. Someone told me they would like to memorize the book of Revelation, and for that I say that’s great. However I don’t want to memorize words, I want to understand them. Now I wonder if memorizing might be easier. I believe the seven churches is the easy part. Other parts of the book will be much more difficult. Oh Lord please help me with this. What did I get myself into?

Also don’t worry, I will write about other stuff from time to time. After all I don’t want everyone to be bored to tears. Because if everyone was bored to tears the whole world could flood and then I would be to blame. Not good.

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