Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Alpha and Omega (Revelation 1:1-11, Matt 24:36-44, John 3:16-17)

"We won't know the day until it happens"
© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.
Canon Rebel T1i
It sure is exciting to think about the second coming of Christ.  An archangel is the lead angel in heavenly battles.  Michael is an archangel.  From this verse, it sounds like Jesus will take the lead in the second coming.  Gabriel was the angel that announced the birth of Jesus to Mary.

As I write through Revelation I'll be using Chuck Smith's, Blue Letter Bible (link) notes.  Chuck would never recognize me now.  The last time I saw him I was a little girl in Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, California.  Needless to say if the Lord kept leading me there in person, it doesn't surprise me to be lead there from New Jersey : )

Revelation is an apocalyptic book.  It's written in symbols like the book of Ezekiel.  It contains a description of the End Times. If you live in America you would've heard the end has already come many times...  Sometimes people use this information to try and frighten others into Christianity.  At one time a group of people were so certain it was the end, they left their homes and all earthly goods and stood on a mountain.  It wasn't the right day.  It happened again in the USA a few years ago.  We need to be cautious and remember the opening of Revelation.  We will not know the day He comes period.

We shouldn't ignore Revelation, just remember it's written in symbols that can be hard to interpret.  It's called the great and terrible day of the Lord.

36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. 37 But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 38 For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 40 Then two men will be in the field:  one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. 42 Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. 44 Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
(Matthew 24:36-44 NKJV)
It's all going to take place when we are going along in our daily business.  People will be getting married.  They'll be going to work.  Heading out on vacation.  Then some will disappear.  We call this the rapture, when believers are taken to Heaven mysteriously, without death.

There will be a last battle on earth.  I believe that.  I see trouble brewing all over the world.  Weapons are getting more powerful.  The good news is Jesus will physically return.  Faith has never been more necessary than now.  Jesus inspired the Apostle John to write these letters.  They give us insight into what God requires of our Churches.  In fact, one reason I always pray for peace in Jerusalem is because the last human battle on earth will be outside of Israel.  I haven't read Revelation in awhile.  There is so much symbolism, beautiful and sometimes frightening images.  

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
(John 3:16-17 NKJV)

Here's a fun acronym to remember:  Fear = Fake Evidence Appearing Real 

I have a feeling when we are raptured to be with Jesus, we won't be afraid. It will probably be filled with a ton of peace and joy. : )  Light as a feather.

Chapter 1

1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, 2 who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. 3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.

Something to keep in mind when reading Revelation is "4 For a thousand years in Your sight, Are like yesterday when it is past..."
(Psalms 90:4 NKJV)
That's why it's so hard to predict when this will all take place.  

I remember a funny story.  A man approached God and asked, "Is it true a day to You is like a thousand years?"
God smiled and said, "Yes it is."
Then the man asked again, "And a penny is like a million dollars?"
God smiled again and said, "Why yes that's true."
The man asked, "Can I have a penny?"
God chuckled and answered, "In a day."

Jesus tasked the Apostle John with telling the Churches how God viewed them.  The thought of it makes me nervous.  But God is full of mercy and grace.
4 John, to the seven churches which are in Asia:
Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth.
The first thing you notice in Revelation is the use of the number Seven.  It is considered to be God's number.  He created the world in seven days.  We are to rest on the seventh day.    There are seven colors in a rainbow.  The rainbow is God's visible covenant that He won't flood the earth like in the Ark.  In America we consider Sunday as the seventh day.  We use this day to worship with others at Church.  Seven is the number of completeness.  Six is the number of evil.  
The seven spirits are described in Isaiah 11:2-
And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD...
To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, 6 and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
His blood is the final sacrifice for our sin.  After Jesus was crucified there was no place to make a temple sacrifice.  Now it's all about faith.

7 Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.
Time in Heaven is so different from ours.  We have days, deadlines, hours, minutes, seconds.  I don't know exactly how this works but in Heaven time doesn't seem to be important.  Yay!  We'll never be late for work again!  Err we'll be dancing around the throne and really living.  Verse 7 says that even those who crucified Jesus will see him coming in the clouds.  All the tribes sounds like the Pharisees who didn't believe Jesus.  

8 “ I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “ who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
The "Alpha" is the first letter of the Greek alphabet, "Omega" is the last.  The New Testament was written in Ancient Greek.  Jesus is saying, "I am the first and last, the beginning and the end."  He was in the beginning in Genesis.  He is also in Revelation, the end.  He is, "the Great I Am."  John was the disciple that recommended Jesus send down a lightening bolt to take out a village that wouldn't believe in Him.  Here in Revelation, John is a very important messenger entrusted with giving us the message of what is to come.  God forgives.  Jesus understands our weakness and doesn't give up on us.

9 I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. 10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, 11 saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” and, “ What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.”
(Revelation 1:1-11 NKJV)

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