Beyond the Gospels: Revelation

Today’s Scripture: Revelation 22:6-21
[It’s the final reading of the New Testament. Maybe you should open your Bible today.]

And he said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. …”
He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.”
Revelation 22:6, 20
If you’re holding your Bible, feel its weight. Run your hand across the words on the page. What you’re holding is trustworthy and true. It is to be handled with care. Not added to. Not detracted from. We need to tend to His Word by the power of the Holy Spirit, letting Him tend to our soul through Scripture.
His Word prepares us for His coming. And it is something we need to prepare for. 
“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me,
to repay each one for what he has done. …
Revelation 22:12
Grow Team hopes our journey through the Gospels and beyond has whetted your appetite for the Word. We pray you will keep seeking Him in it, with a heart prepared to obey. And as our Word says today: Worship God.
If you have completed the reading of the New Testament for the first time by following along since the 170 Challenge through the Gospels, we’d love to know. Use the Comment box below. [If you don’t see it, click the post title and scroll to the bottom, the same is true if you’re receiving it email. Clicking the title links to the blog.]
Even though we’ve finished the New Testament, you’ll still be hearing from us.
Advent starts Sunday and so does the Advent Devotional.

Beyond the Gospels: Revelation

Today’s Scripture: Revelation 22:1-5
[Click the reference above to read online.]

No longer will there be anything accursed…
Revelation 22:1-5
Do you see it?
He will bring us full circle.
No longer will anything be cursed.
What we broke will be fixed.
What we were ban from will be restored.
The tree of life will once again be available for us to eat from. The long night will be over. Once again we will be fully in God’s presence. 
Amen.
What does His Word reveal to you about His character by bringing us from Genesis to Revelation?

Father God, Your grace and faithfulness is unbelievable.
What we broke You will restore. The price we couldn’t pay, You did.
Holy is Your name. Awesome is Your character. Steadfast is Your love.

Beyond the Gospels: Revelation

Today’s Scripture: Revelation 21:9-27
[Open the Word today with your Bible or the link above.]

And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain,
and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God,
having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel…
Revelation 21:10-11
The new Jerusalem, the future home of the Bride, the wife of the Lamb. 
Its gates, the ways to enter in, are ascribed to the twelve tribes of Israel.
Its foundation, the strength and stability, found in the twelve apostles of Jesus.
God chose Abraham, and through him made the way for the twelve tribes of Israel to usher Jesus into the world as a blessing for all peoples.
Now the Lord said to Abram, “… I will bless those who bless you,
and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families
of the earth shall be blessed.”
Genesis 12:1, 3 ESV
God’s covenant with Abraham makes the way for us to enter His Kingdom, not as blood relatives, but as sons of faith. For it is Abraham’s faith, which credited him with righteousness. The covenant holds true for us: By faith we are saved. 

The Twelve apostles represent the good news, the gospel of Jesus Christ. By His sacrifice and blood, His death and resurrection, the faithful are able to stand secure in God’s Kingdom, without fear of condemnation.
The Old Testament and New. The prophets and apostles. Without both we cannot enter His presence. Still today, there are lessons to be learned, truths to be gleaned as we wait for the coming of His Kingdom.
Lord, move my heart to be in Your Word,
to see it as the entrance into faith,
and the secure footing I have in You.

Beyond the Gospels: Revelation

Today’s Verses: Revelation 21:1-8
[Click the reference above to read online.]

And he who was seated on the throne said,
“Behold, I am making all things new.”
Revelation 21:5 ESV
Jesus, the One on the throne, tells us to Behold! Look around you! I am making all things new…

Do you see it?
Can you even comprehend it?
He’s taking tears… sorrows… injustice… oppression… affliction… evil… disease… horrors… atrocities… and making them new.
There is a new heaven and new earth on its way.
All this we live in now has come, simply to pass away, make the way for new.
But Believers, those who know Him, those who thirst for Him and His righteousness, can live in the old, broken, tainted, corrupt, as if it were already new.
A few years ago, the biblical phrase: And it came to pass… came to mean something new to me, besides the fulfillment of or the arrival of a certain time.
Pass also means continuing on, as in pass by. For me, when a difficult time or trial, an illness or injustice comes along, I say: And it came to pass… meaning, in His sovereignty it will come, it will go, and it will do its work of making all things new.
This first heaven and first earth have come to pass in order for us to be ready for the coming Kingdom which will never pass away.
Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are
trustworthy and true.”
Revelation 21:5
Lord Jesus, open my eyes to see the work You are doing now
in the process of making all things new. Keep me focused on
 Your coming Kingdom. Remind me all this around me now
has simply come to pass.

Beyond the Gospels: Revelation

Today’s Reading: Revelation 20
[Read the passage in your Bible or online at BibleGateway.com.]

A first resurrection.
A second death.
A temporary reprieve from evil.
A final judgment.

What does it mean?

When I consider prophetic words, I always remind myself of the prophecies of Jesus and how those interpreted it during His first coming. Most missed Him. Those who thought they knew exactly what to look for, were the ones who killed Him. His closest disciples didn’t even get what was happening until after it was all said and done. Then He had to explain it to them.

I think it’s a mistake to take prophecy and try to figure out what it all means. What it will look like when it happens. But what we can learn from prophecy, what we can glean from prophetic writings with accuracy, is God’s character. What does He reveal about Himself in the words and things to come?

  • He has complete power over the devil.
  • He has a special place for those who overcome the world, give their lives for His Word, and resist the beast.
  • He has power to resurrect the dead.
  • He has the authority and power to judge every person whoever lived. He judges each justly.
  • He is the Author of Life.

What have you learned about His character through the reading of Revelation?
How has it affected your faith?

Lord, let me see who You are in Your Word.
Grow my faith by what You reveal.

Beyond the Gospels: Revelation

Today’s Reading: Revelation 19:11-21
[Open your Bible or open the Word online by clicking the reference above.]

Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse!
The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True,
and in righteousness he judges and makes war.
Revelation 19:11

The Hero comes riding in on a white horse!

I wonder if this is the origin of heroes riding in on white horses to save the day. Our Hero, Jesus, is invincible. His Day is coming to set all things right! He is King of kings and Lord of lords. And like many heroes, He has a secret identity only He knows.

What is most revealing about His power and the name He is known by?

He is The Word Of God. The same Word who came as a Babe, incognito, into a world of darkness. He came quietly into enemy territory. The first time He came to seek and save the lost. Next time, He comes in full force. The full weight and fire of the Word will have its way. The Word both saves and judges.

We have the Word of God available to us today. What came in the flesh we have in written form, on paper and digitally. Through Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we have access to the Word which judges, saves, and comes to our rescue. It’s far better to be judged by His Word now, while there is still time to repent, then on the Day He comes riding in on His white horse.

What weight does His Word have in your life today?
Do you think you should give it greater attention? before He comes riding in the final time? on the final Day?

Jesus, You are The Word of God. You came to make the Way for salvation.
You came to seek and save the lost. But the Day is coming where God’s Word
will come with its full wrath for those who continually reject and neglect His Word.
Stir my heart for Your Word. May I know its saving power now, in my daily life.
Power to save others and me.

Beyond the Gospels: Revelation

Today’s Verses: Revelation 19:1-10
[Open up the Word, in your Bible, or online by clicking the reference above.]

“…Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come and his Bride has made herself ready;
it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”—
for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.
Revelation 19:7-8
Weddings. Most of us have been involved in a few. Brides ourselves or grooms. Mothers of the bride, fathers of the bride. Best men. Maids of honor. Groomsmen and bridesmaids.
Most put a lot of preparation into this once in a lifetime event. Here we have the marriage of the Lamb, Jesus, to His Bride, the Church. This too a once in a lifetime event. The fulfillment of all His promises.
In preparing for their marriage, brides take a lot of time and energy to find the right dress. The cut and fabric must be perfect. Accessories are carefully chosen: shoes, veil, headpiece, jewelry, flowers. So much goes into the attire of the bride. 
Here, at the marriage of the Lamb, we see the Bride, like all brides, is granted the privilege of making herself ready for the special Day. She can clothe herself in fine linen, bright pure linen, which is the righteous deeds of the saints.
I’ve always thought the wedding imagery might make it difficult for men to embrace the idea of being Christ’s Bride, but remembering the Church universal is His Bride should help. And our pursuit of righteousness, not vanity, should capture men’s hearts in preparing for this great Day.
So saints, how much time and energy are you putting into preparing for this Day. The once in a lifetime marriage of the Church to our Savior?
Consider the wedding preparations you’ve been involved in before… and now translate those to your spiritual life… 
Where does the work of righteousness need to be tended to in your life?
How can you be part of preparing the Bride for her special day?
Lord, help me to put more energy into preparing
for Your marriage to the Church. I want to contribute
to the deeds of righteousness, making her pure and bright.
I make myself available for Your use until the coming Day.

Beyond the Gospels: Revelation

Today’s Scripture: Revelation 18:14-24
[Click the reference above to read on BibleGateway.com.]

“The fruit for which your soul longed has gone from you,
and all your delicacies and your splendors are lost to you,
never to be found again!”
Revelation 18:14
Those whose hearts are tied up in the wealth of the world will find themselves at great loss on the coming Day. Fine clothes, gold and jewels, all wealth will go up in smoke in a single hour. A lifetime of pursuit and longing, lost in sixty minutes.
It makes me wonder about storing up treasure and His Word comes to mind:
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust
destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves
treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where
thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is,
there your hearts will be also. …” —Jesus
Matthew 6:19-21 ESV
There is a treasure we can pursue with all our hearts, which will never be lost, never be destroyed, never found lacking. His Kingdom. His heart. His Way.
What do you treasure? and where are you storing it up?
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
for his wondrous works to the children of man!
For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul
he fills with good things.
Psalm 107:8-9 ESV
Father God, redirect the longing of my heart toward You,
Your Kingdom, Your Love, and Your Way.
Amen.

Beyond the Gospels: Revelation

Today’s Scripture: Revelation 18:1-13
[Open the Word today, in your Bible or click above to open it on the web.]

“Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins…”
Revelation 18:4

The fall of Babylon will be great. And those who take part in her sin — kings and merchants — will be filled with grief at the sight of her destruction.

I can’t help but notice the primary cause of Babylon’s destruction, her primary sin, is sexual immorality. Especially in our culture today, where people are divided over whether or not there is such a thing as sexual immorality. The church dividing over the legitimacy or immorality of same sex relations and unions. The general acceptance of couples living out of wedlock. This used to be called the sin of fornication. The disposable nature of marriage. It boggles my mind as one who believes His Word.

And reading His Word to us today, I wonder if we should begin to take a look at just what constitutes sexual immorality. Who does truly get to define right and wrong? moral and immoral?

Then the question comes to mind: When the call comes for His people to come out of Babylon, will they hear it? Or will Babylon’s deception cause them to miss it? If there is no fear of sexual immorality, will it mean anything when He calls: Come out of her, My people, lest you take part in her sins? Will some of us think: Sin? What sin?

Sexual immorality. According to Him who established the world says there is such a thing. Maybe we would be wise to consider the question. Bring it to Him. And let Him define sin.

The Lord reigns; let the peoples tremble!
He sits enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earth quake!
The Lord is great in Zion; he is exalted over all the peoples.
Let them praise your great and awesome name! Holy is he!
The King in his might loves justice.
You have established equity; you have executed justice
and righteousness in Jacob. Exalt the Lord our God;
worship at his footstool! Holy is he!
Psalm 99:1-5 ESV
Father God I praise You as holy! The One who defines righteousness.
Let me not be deceived by the ways of the world. Open my heart to Your truth.
I do not want to miss Your call.

Beyond the Gospels: Revelation

Today’s Scripture: Revelation 17
[Click above to read on BibleGateway.com.]

They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them,
for he is Lord of lords and King of kings…
Revelation 17:14
Power, sex, corruption. It’s rampant among the leaders of the world. Sometimes it seems like no one is in charge and justice, integrity, honor, and peace are long gone.
But that’s just not true. There is One on the throne, who will make His Way known, and when He does, woe to those who have been deceived by power, sex, and corruption.
The beast on which the world’s powers sit will go to destruction. 

The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to rise
from the bottomless pit and go to destruction.
Revelation 17:8
He will be conquered by the One who was, and is, and is to come!
“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,
who was and is and is to come!”
Revelation 4:8 ESV
Lord God Almighty, continue to remind me You are on the throne.
No matter what corruption I see in national leadership, at home
or abroad, keep my eyes on You. The One who was, and is, and is to come.
Let me not be deceived by the one who is not, and is about to go to destruction.