How Do We Forgive?

Image of spirit leaving the body

Hatred and unforgiveness are tied together. Are we to forgive those who have trespassed against us unjustly? I realize that some people are just impossible to get along with, but how do we forgive those that call themselves Christians that lie, deceive, or manipulate others?

Christians are most offended and hurt when the person doing the hurting are close, such as family and friends. Did they ask for forgiveness? Most don’t. Most won’t even admit that they did anything wrong.

However, let’s take our focus off those that offend and put our focus on what unforgiveness does to us when we hold it in our hearts. A person who is unwilling to forgive will grow bitter and that bitterness will turn into hatred. When we hold a grudge against another, it usually spews out of our mouths like venom. We tell anyone who will listen, what that person did to us. Before long people avoid the person that is always blaming others for what they go through. Everything bad that happens, that person blames the one that did them wrong, even if it was years ago.

So how do we get to a place where we forgive them when the other person doesn’t even care that they hurt you?

Forgiveness proceeds grace! Forgiveness is giving grace to the one who doesn’t deserve it. You have to receive grace in order to give it. If you have a problem with receiving forgiveness and grace from the Great Grace Giver, then you certainly will not be able to give forgiveness to others.

Matthew 10:8 – …”Freely you have received, freely you give.” Anyone who feels like they have to earn forgiveness from God, will make others “earn” forgiveness from them! But once a person realizes that they didn’t deserve to be forgiven by God, then it becomes easier to forgive others without them having to earn your forgiveness.

Forgive in the Greek  means “Release.” When God forgave us, He released us from the punishment of sin. When we truly forgive someone, we release them and don’t bring it up again to them. God doesn’t keep bringing up our old sins, so why should we to others?

This will be a battle in our minds, but here is the point, “You don’t forgive people who were right!” We forgive those who have done wrong! We don’t have to forgive those who are nice and kind to us, we forgive those who have been nasty and mean and who have hurt us.

Is this easy? No. Some will chose to close relationships because the offense was too great, but if you want peace, forgive and move on.

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Revelation – Chapter 22

Verse 1 – And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb.

God is using a physical substance (water) to help explain a spiritual truth. Living water flows pure, clear, and fresh. It is not murky, stagnant, or polluted. It possesses life-giving qualities that man cannot live without. This is water that restores and refreshes, flows in abundance, and satisfies our thirst. The source of this water is the throne of God and of the Lamb.

Verse 2 – In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the trees were for the healing of the nations.

John is still describing all that is in the Holy City, but what is outside the walls of the New Jerusalem?

The leaves of the trees for “healing of the nations” was always confusing until I thought long and hard about what John was saying.

Isaiah 66:22 says, “For as the new heavens and the new earth which I make shall remain before Me,” says the Lord, “So shall your descendants and your name remain.

We have to keep in mind, that after the 1,000 year reign has ended, there will be thousands alive that were born during this time, that did not follow Satan. These “nations” are populated with those people.

If God could save Noah and his family during the great flood and then repopulate the earth, God can certainly preserve those born in the Millennium to repopulate the “New Earth.” The Bible says, “Kings will come from every nation to the Holy City to bring honor and glory to the King of kings.” So if this is not true, then where do the people come from?

Verse 3 – And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him.

In the New Jerusalem there will be no more: death, mourning, crying or pain; no need for a temple; no sun nor moon; no night; impure, shameful, or deceit and no curse.

Verse 4 – They shall see His Face, and His name shall be on their foreheads.

Verse 5 – And there shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. and they shall reign forever and ever.

This is hard for us to even imagine. There will be no need for any physical or artificial light because God will be the source. and it won’t kill us to look on the face of God.

Verse 6 – Then he said to me, “These words are faithful and true.” And the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to show His servants the things which must shortly take place.

No man is to trifle with these words that were written by John, by spiritualizing or reducing them to meaningless symbols.

Verse 7 – “Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”

“Soon” or “shortly” means before long, but Jesus said He is coming “quickly,” meaning “suddenly,” very fast. This is significant, because unbelievers get the wrong impression when they hear Christians say that Jesus is coming soon. What we should say is, “When Jesus comes, it will happen very fast, in a blink of an eye.”

Prophecy is so important because it can change our lives and cause us to be more concerned for the lost, time is short.

Verse 8 – Now I, John, saw and heard these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed me these things.

Verse 9 – Then he said to me, “See that you do not do that. For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.”

This is the second time an angel told John not to worship him. We are not to worship or bow to anyone but the Lord Jesus, alone!

Verse 10 – And he said to me, “Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand.

When Daniel wrote his prophecy several hundred year before the birth of Christ, he didn’t understand some of the things God had showed him. He wanted an explanation, but the fulfillment of his prophecies were a long time off, so he was told to “Seal them up until the end time.” This Revelation is different with John. John’s prophecy was already unfolding, and the Church Age had begun. God wants His people to know these things now.

Verse 11 – “He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still.”

This is a warning regarding the separation of the lost and the saved. A great “chasm” will separate the Lake of Fire from the Holy City that no one can cross. The decisions people make while living will determine their destiny for eternity.

Verse 12 – “And behold, I am coming quickly and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.

Not much is said in the church today about rewards. For the most part it is a neglected message. None of us deserves a reward for doing the will of the Father, but we know rewards will be given because  Jesus says so. If we would only let the goodness of God sink in, we would do more to honor Him. and we honor Him every time we help someone who can’t help themselves.

Verse 13 – “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning, and the End, the First and the Last.”

Verse 14 – Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.

Some versions of the Bible says, “Blessed are those who wash their robes,” but the King James version, I believe, is the closest interpretation – “Blessed are those who do His commandments.”

Those who do His commandments will be offered two rewards: access to the tree of life and be able to pass through the gates to get to the tree of life.

Verse 15 – But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.

Dogs are sometimes referred to as those who practice the occult. John just made a list of those who will be in the eternal lake of fire.

So who are those who “practice or maketh a lie?” False doctrines can be one, but some that come to mind are those which have convinced themselves that they are the opposite sex of what they were born with – that’s practicing a lie. Sexual immorality covers a lot of things and this is only one that falls into this category. Rape, incest , fornication are a few more which will have their part in the Lake of Fire, outside and far away from the gates of the Holy City.

Verse 16 – “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.”

The Root and the Offspring of David comes from the Old Testament and is reference to the Messiah. The Bright and Morning Star comes from both the Old and New Testaments. Jesus refers to Himself as the One who will appear near the end of the earth’s darkest hour.

Verse 17 – And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. And whoever desires let him take the water of life freely.

This is God’s final call for all believers and for believers to tell unbelievers to “Come!” The Holy Spirit works in and through the “Bride of Christ,” the Church, using believers to invite the lost to come to Jesus and drink of His salvation, the water of life.

To those that are tired of living without Jesus, who thirst after righteousness, come and drink and be filled.

Verse 18 – For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book;

Verse 19 –  and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

Some denominations don’t include the entire book of Revelation. Some have changed such words as “Him,” “darkness,” and “blindness” because they do not want to offend anyone. Some have produced a “New Bible” that contain an approved “inclusive” language. Is this adding to or taking away? You bet it is.

Verse 20 – He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come Lord Jesus!

Verse 21 – The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

These last words of the Bible serve a s a reminder that “Grace” makes salvation possible. Grace will keep us out of the Lake of Fire , and let us pass through the gates of the Holy City.

Grace is God’s riches at Christ’s expense. Salvation: everyone needs it (Romans 3:23). Everyone can have  it (John 3:16). Only Jesus can give it (John 14:6). Only believers receive it (John 3:36).

 

 

 

Revelation – Chapter 20

Satan Is Bound 1,000 Years

Verse 1 – Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.

Verse 2 – He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years;

Verse 3 – and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while.

God could seize Satan at anytime He chooses, but the Bible says He waits until the end of the Tribulation Period. It’s not hard to imagine that God can make a key and chain that could hold Satan. After all, Satan really hasn’t been free to do as he chooses all this time because his influence has always been limited.

Bound and chained, Satan will be cast into the Abyss, not being able to deceive during the 1,000 year reign of Christ.

Those believers which survived the Tribulation Period, will repopulate the earth. Multitudes will be born during the Millennium. During that time, the offspring will not know what temptation is. There will be no real test of their faith. When Satan is released, unfortunately, many will fall.

Saints Reign 1,000 Years

Verse 4 – And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgments was committed to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

I may be wrong, but it sounds like the ones who were beheaded during the Tribulation Period, would be given thrones in which to rule in judgment from.

Verse 5 – But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.

The first resurrection is called the resurrection of life or the resurrection of believers. The second resurrection is called the resurrection of damnation or unbelievers.

By Scripture saying, “The first resurrection,” people think it means there is only “one” resurrection, but that is not the case.

There was the resurrection of Christ and some Old Testament Saints; the resurrection of the Church at the Rapture; the resurrection of the two witnesses; the resurrection of the Tribulation Saints and the remainder of the Old Testament Saints at the end of the Tribulation Period. Then the Second resurrection at the end of the 1,000 year reign, of the unbelievers. (The 144,000 will still be living because God said no harm came to them.)

So by the time the Tribulation Period ends, all believers in Christ are raised.

Verse 6 – Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.

My understanding is this: Those who are alive and breathing, that enter into the 1,000 year reign with Christ, will die at some point. However, death has no power to keep them in the grave! They are immediately resurrected to be priests of God and of Christ, never to face an eternity without Him.

Satan Is Released and Leads Rebellion

Verse 7 – Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison

Verse 8 – and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea.

With Satan bound during the Millennium, people will be shielded from temptations and sin. Sickness and disease will not exist and people will live to be hundreds of years old. However, those born during the Millennium will have to be tested just like everyone else. When the Millennium is over, the Abyss will be opened one more time, and Satan will be released to resume his old ways.

When Satan is released, he will pick up where he left off. Tempting those that were born during the Millennium will prove that eliminating sin is not as simple as changing our environment. There is something wrong with the very nature of man’s heart. Rebellion is our nature, unless we surrender to Christ and are born-again.

At the battle of Gog and Magog Satan will once again try to become greater than God by gathering hordes of people from all over the world.

As far as Gog and Magog, I think they are two people that are born during the Millennium and help Satan surround Jerusalem.

Verse 9 – They went up on the breath of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And a fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them.

Satan never learned, “Do not harm the things of God!” He tries once more to gather a rebellious army and surround God’s beloved city, but they are literally consumed by fire.

Verse 10 – And the devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

Some people like to think that Satan, the Antichrist, and the False Prophet are annihilated, but the Scripture doesn’t say that. It says “Where they are tormented day and night forever and ever!”

The Great White Throne Judgement

Verse 11 – Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them.

All judgment has been committed to Christ. The only ones who have to face “this judgement” are the lost.

Verse 12 – And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. and another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things written in the books.

This is what people seem to forget, “Your good works are not going to get you to heaven for all eternity. You must be born-again, and then the “good works” follow!

The Book of Life contains every person who ever lived, except those whose names have been blotted out for rejecting Christ. There is no mention of the “Lamb’s Book of Life” here, because, these that stand before this Great White Throne, were never born-again.

Verse 13 – The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them.and they were judged, each one according to his works.

Can you imagine the terror of the people standing there thinking, “I was warned about this!”

The Bible teaches that man is “destined to die once, and after this the judgment.” Believers will go before the “Judgment Seat of Christ where their works will be judged in order to receive rewards or not. The purpose of the “Great White Throne Judgment” for non-believers, is to set the degree of punishment.

The word “Hades” is used eleven times in the New Testament and is to be distinguished from the word Gehenna, which refers to the final hell, the Lake of Fire. Hades is the temporary abode of the wicked dead who await the Great White Throne of Judgment and their final sentencing.

Verse 14 – Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

Verse 15 – And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.

When God opens this book at the Great White Throne Judgment, the only names left in it will be the names of those who have believed in Christ as Savior and Lord over their lives.

Here’s the bottom line: Man does not set the laws nor standards of getting into heaven or even reaching God, God does. Too many people think because they are “good people,” that God accepts them. By whose standards do they consider themselves “good”?

Believers have one standard to go by and that is “You must be blood bought, born-again through faith in Jesus Christ” or a person will be doomed for all eternity, period! God makes no exceptions, because He is no respecter of persons.

 

 

 

 

 

Revelation – Chapter 6

In this chapter, the scene shifts from future events in heaven to future events on the earth.

Verse 1 – Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, “Come and see.”

Verse 2 – And I looked and behold a white horse. And he who sat on it had a bow, and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.

This rider is not Christ. Why? Because Christ is the One opening the seal. This rider comes on the scene with a bow, signifying military power. Notice, nothing is said about “arrows,” so this person will come forth as a man of peace at first – the Antichrist.

Crowns were worn by heads of state. Those who wore them usually earned or inherited them. But this man will receive his crown as a “gift,” meaning he will not earn it.

The Church has been raptured and the earth has been left in ciaos, no doubt. So, the world will be looking for a ruler who can put an end to nuclear weapons, wars, environmental and economic problems, poverty, etc.

But most of all, people will be looking for an explanation of what happened to millions of people who suddenly disappeared. This Antichrist will persecute and kill all those who oppose him. He will negotiate peace treaties that are fake.

Second Seal

Verse 3 – When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come and see.”

Verse 4 – And another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword.

This symbolism of the red horse is “blood” and the sword is “war.” This time was clearly prophesied by Christ in Matthew 24:6, 7. The outcome will probably be the “Ten Kingdoms Federation” over which the Antichrist will become head.

This rider has the authority to take peace from the earth. Not only will peace be taken from the nations, but from the individuals also. People will start fighting each other and killing each other for less reason than they do now.

Third Seal

Verse 5 – When He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come and see.” And I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand.

Verse 6 – And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine.”

War will rule the hole world after the Rapture. War will cause the collapse of social, physical, and political structures. They will destroy, confiscate, and hoard food supplies, causing famine, poverty, and death.

The set of scales always represents economic disaster and famine. The amount of money that it will take to just by a days worth of food will be astronomical!

A danarius was a day’s wage. There will be plenty of oil and wine because they do not need to be cultivated, so their ruthless destruction is forbidden.

Fourth Seal

Verse 7 – When He opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come and see.”

Verse 8 – And I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him. and power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with a sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth.

Notice how things get progressively worse; the first horse was only partially armed – went out to conquer; the second horse carries a single large sword – taking peace and causing bloodshed through fighting. The third horse – economic collapse and famine; and the fourth – a quarter of all the earth, death and hell following.

The sword signifies continuing war and bloodshed; famine signifies starvation; plague signifies diseases; and the wild beast of the earth begin to devour and come against the people. (Remember, no peace, even among the animals.) God will show the world how wrong it was to worship “Mother Nature.” Hungry animals will turn on the unbelieving world and add to the death and eternal damnation of more than a billion people.

Fifth Seal

Verse 9 – When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held.

The Martyrs whose “souls” John saw are not the Martyrs of “past ages”; those were taken up to heaven with the Church. These souls are the Martyrs who will be killed during the Tribulation Period.

After the Church is caught up, the preaching of the “Gospel of the Kingdom” will resume (Matthew 24:14). It is the souls of the martyrs of those who will be persecuted during this time that John saw. They asked that their deaths be avenged, but are told to rest for a “little while” until they were joined by others.

Verse 10 – And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”

The souls of the Tribulation Saints are under the altar crying out instead of praising God around the throne with the rest of the Church. However, they are fully conscience and able to rationalize the torture, murder, and persecution they have endured. They have a sense of justice and want vindication, and they want their glorified bodies.

These martyrs will not be rebuked by Jesus for asking to be vindicated. Jesus just tells them to be patient a little longer.

Verse 11 – And a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.

These saints do have a body though because they were given the white robes of righteousness representing Christ.

Verse 12 – I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood.

This earthquake will be massive! The whole earth will go into convulsions. This very well could be caused by a nuclear explosion and when that happens, the sun is darkened and the moon turns blood red.

Verse 13 – And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind.

Remember when interpreting Scripture – When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense. In this case we are reminded that there are stars bigger than the earth.

Since the word “stars” in the Greek translation could also be translated “meteors,” this could indicate a meteor shower and could also mean a missile attack.

Verse 14 – Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place.

This does sound like a nuclear war. During a nuclear blast the wind is rapidly pushed out (displaced) for several miles, creating a vacuum at the center of the blast site. And then suddenly, this wind, like a giant tidal wave, rushes violently back into the vacuum. The sky actually rolls up on itself. This explosion will be so great that every mountain and island on the earth will move.

Verse 15 – And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hide themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains,

Verse 16 – and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!

Verse 17 – “For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”

Regardless of one’s status, there will be worldwide panic. Millions will rush to find cover and survival will be their only concern.

Will they then call on the name of Jesus? The Bible says they will call on the mountains and rocks to hide them. And they know exactly whom is causing all this destruction – God. Isn’t that what people do when hiding from their sin – call on everything but God?

The Lord Jesus Christ will either be your Savior or your Judge. If people reject His mercy they will be judged in absolute justice and wrath.

The “great day of His wrath” is another way of saying the Tribulation Period” has come. The multitudes of people who have rejected Jesus will recognize that day has come when the first seal is broken.

So many Christians won’t even attempt to read this book, and that’s just sad. When we read any instruction manual, do we leave out the end? No one should want to live through any part of this book, but multitudes will, because they have rejected the only One that can offer them salvation and an eternity with Christ in heaven. The Bible states that “Hell has enlarged itself,” so don’t be part of that . Make your decision today where you are going to spend eternity becasue it only get worse after this chapter.

 

 

 

 

Revelation – Chapter 4

The Throne of God

Verse 1 – After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.”

After John is shown the “Church Age” he hears a loud voice telling him to “Come up here.” This voice like a trumpet is the same kind of voice the Bible says will rapture the church.

Just to put at ease those who say the word “rapture” is not in the Bible, they are correct. However, this is correct only to a point. Rapture is an English version of a word that appears in Latin translations. (Keep in mind that most of the New Testament was written in Greek which was then translated into Latin and then to English.) Several verses of the Bible in Latin translation, contain the word “Repere” or one of its derivations. It means to be “caught up,” “plucked up,” or “taken by force.”

Verse 2 – Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne.

This expression, “I was in the Spirit, means that the Holy Spirit was giving John a vision. All prophecy comes from God through the Holy Spirit.

“One sat on the throne” – I think it’s odd that John doesn’t give any description of Him who sat on the throne, nor does he indicate who He is by name. Neither do Isaiah or Ezekiel attempt to describe the appearance of Deity, nor are there any intimations of that appearance given from which a picture or image could be formed. (I think this is so people can’t make an image or idol made with human hands and then it becomes idolatry.) I also believe it still holds true that we are not to make any image of things in the heavens so people don’t bow down to them. We bow before our King only, not an imitation.

Verse 3 – And He who sat there was like jasper and a sardius stone in appearance, and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald.

John still does not describe His form, but His spender only.

Jasper and sardius (Carnelian stone) were the first and the last stones in the breastplate of the High Priest. They remind us that Jesus is our High Priest forever and ever.

Jasper is translucent like a diamond and represents the purity and holiness of Jesus. And sardius is fiery red like the blood that Jesus shed on the cross.

Notice the rainbow is a full rainbow around the throne. We only see half of the rainbow on earth, but in heaven it is a full circle.

Verse 4 – Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads.

The number twenty-four occurs six times in the Old Testament. In every case, it is associated with the priests of Israel. At one occasion, the entire nation of Israel was represented by twenty-four special priests. But if we wait until Chapter 5, verse 10, we will hear them speak and identify themselves: “And hath made us kings and priests to our God’ and we shall reign on the earth.” And 1 Peter in 2:9, explains the “crowns of gold,” as a “royal priesthood.”

Verse 5 – And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.

Thunderings and lightnings represent a significant event is approaching. The Tribulation Period is about to begin.

We learned in Chapter 1 verse 4 that there are seven Spirits of God, so these lamps are designed to be symbols of the Holy Spirit.

Verse 6 – Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back.

In front of the throne was a beautiful crystal, glassy sea. Prophecy experts say the sea of glass is: (1) the Church because the sea is a Biblical symbol for the masses of humanity, (2) and the water of the word. Whatever it is, it indicates that all is calm in front of the throne of God. Nothings is present that would cause turbulence or unrest.

“Four living creatures” are living beings and are some type of angelic beings who possess characteristics of the seraphim and the cherubim. Their eyes indicate they can see all that is happening in every direction. They could be the highest and greatest of all heavenly beings.

Verse 7 – The first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle.

(Some versions of the Bible say the second creature is an ox, but three out of the five text I use say “calf.”)

The first creature was like a lion – Jesus is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. The Lion is the king of the beast and Jesus is the King of Kings.

The second creature was like a calf – representing endurance, strength and perseverance, a beast that carries a burden (Jesus carried our sins).

The third was like a man – Jesus was fully human, representing intelligence and wisdom, that the operations of the government of God are conducted with intelligence and wisdom and power. Meaning, the divine administration is not the result of blind fate or chance, it is founded on clear knowledge of things on what is best to be done, on what will conduce the common good.

The fourth living being – No other bird is supposed to fly so high; none ascends with so much power; none is so majestic and grand in his ascent towards the sun as the eagle. Just as an eagle rules the skies, Jesus rules the heavens and reigns over all things.

Verse 8 – And the four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!”

The six wings are characteristic of the seraphim. They never stop singing and they never sleep. They are there to exalt the name of Jesus, the One who was, and is, and is to come!

Verse 9 – Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever,

Verse 10 – the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying:

Verse 11 – “You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created.”

The twenty-four elders follow the lead of the four living beings. They worship the One on the throne by falling down and placing their crowns before the throne. They are totally submitted with His authority and power. This is a good lesson for all believers to follow.

We may not understand a great deal about His marvelous creation, but we understand it was brought into existence because Jesus wanted it to exist. And it continues to exist because it is His will.

We often forget what is taking place outside of our small world until we begin to focus on the bigger picture. I personally think that Christians would act more like “Christians” if they read this book more often. There are some things that are about to take place whether some believe it or not that no one will want to go through! God said it will happen, so it will come to pass.

 

 

Hebrews – Chapter 10

Verse 1 – For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect.

Verse 2 – For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purged, would have had no more consciousness of sins.

Verse 3 – But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year.

When the people gathered to offer sacrifices on the Day of Atonement, they were reminded of their sins, and undoubtedly felt guilty all over again. This practice was only a shadow of the good things to come.

If these sacrifices had removed their sins and freed their consciousness of all guilt, then they wouldn’t have had to continue with them. The very fact that they did this year after year showed that their conscience had no peace.

Verse 4 – For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.

So why did they do it? First of all because, God commanded it; second, it was a shadow and pointed to the coming Messiah, which pointed to the once and for all perfect sacrifice made by Him.

Verse 5 – Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You have prepared for Me.

Verse 6 – In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure.

Verse 7 – Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come – in the volume of the book it is written of Me  – to do Your will, O God.’ ”

(Verse 5) Since it was impossible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sin, Christs’ coming into the world was a better sacrifice. The Messiah came to render obedience of the highest order, even to such an extent that He was willing to lay down His own life. (Verse 6) The idea is that God had no pleasure in the sacrifices compared to obedience. (Verse 7) “In the volume of the book,” is the five books of Moses in a scroll. Referring to the time would come through the Messiah to take the place of those sacrifices, and by His obedience unto death would accomplish what they could not do.

Verse 8 – Previously saying, “Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the law),

Verse 9 – Then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He takes away the first that He may establish the second.

Verse 10 – By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Setting aside the first system in order to establish a far better, meant doing away with the sacrifices contained in the ceremonial law. It did not mean doing away with God’s moral law, the Ten Commandments. As we, as Christians, can fulfill the ceremonial law by receiving Christ living in us.

Verse 11 – And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.

Verse 12 – But this Man after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God,

Verse 13 – from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool.

Christs’ work is contrasted with the work of the priest. The priests’ work was never finished. Christs’ work and sacrifice (dying in our place) is finished, therefore He is seated! Christs’ sacrifice effectively cleansed us from all unrighteousness.

Verse 14 – For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.

Verse 15 – And the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before,

Verse 16 – “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws into their hearts and in their minds I will write them: (Jeremiah 31:33, 34)

verse 17 – Then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds, I will remember no more.”

Verse 18 – Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.

Our sin cannot be paid for by us. This is where many Christians disagree. Christ paid the penalty in full for the world’s sin, past present and future. However, one has to believe in Him, and receive Him, as our Redeemer and Savior, in order for our sins to be forgiven. There is no more offering, no more sacrifice, and certainly, no more penalty for sin to the Christian, Jesus paid this  penalty with His death, in full!

Some don’t realize that even their future sin is forgiven and paid for. We better hope it is, because all of our sin was future when He died. We weren’t even born yet when He died for us, so all of our sin was future!”

Are we perfect? Only in our spirits, not our conduct and behavior, as of yet. This attitude of forgiveness does not mean that we live anyway we choose because we are forgiven . If a person is truly born-again, they don’t have a desire to sin anymore. When we do mess-up though, we can admit it to ourselves and another if you hurt them, and then try, through the power that lives in us, not to do it again.

Hold Fast he Confession of Faith

Verse 19 – Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus,

Verse 20 – by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh,

Verse 21 – and having a High Priest over the house of God,

Verse 22 – let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies wash with pure water.

When Jesus died on that cross, the veil that divided the Holiest of Holies was torn, done away with, because Jesus became our High Priest, making it possible, through His blood that was shed, to walk in the presence of God. Christians now, can go boldly before the throne of grace, without fear. Christ’s blood gave us access to our heavenly Father.

“Full assurance of faith” – unwavering confidence, such a fullness of faith in God which leaves no room for doubt.

“Sprinkled from an evil conscience” – by the blood of Jesus and His sacrifice, gives every believer a clean conscience of guilt, it gives us peace. Being baptized with water is the symbol of holiness – pure water.

Verse 23 – Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

The apostle encourages Christians to hold fast to their faith, even in trials, or by the arguments of others. Because God is faithful, we in turn are faithful to Christ.

Verse 24 – And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,

Verse 25 – not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

Fourth Warning: Danger of Drawing Back

Verse 26 – For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sin,

Verse 27 – but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.

The point is that there is no other acceptable sacrifice for sin than the death of Christ on the cross. If someone deliberately rejects the sacrifice of Christ after clearly understanding the gospel teaching about it, then there is no way for that person to be saved, because God has not provided any other Name under heaven by which we can be saved (Acts 4:12).

Verse 28 – Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.

This does not mean in all cases the offender against the Law of Moses died without mercy, but only those offenses that were punishable by death.

Verse 29 – Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing,and insulted the Spirit of grace?

He who renounces Christianity ought to be regarded as deserving a much more severe punishment than the person who apostatized from the Jewish religion. There are some who have denounced Christianity for another religion and their punishment will be severe. That is trampling the Son of God underfoot by despising the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Are we Christians narrow-minded about what is acceptable to God? Yes! The gospel, the true gospel, is the only way to Jesus Christ. Not by works; not by ceremonies; not by rituals; and certainly not by any other Name! All other religions are false. Ephesians 2:8 – For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.

Verse 30 – For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. and again, “The LORD will judge His people.”

This is quoted from Deuteronomy 32:35 and Romans 12:19. It is quoted to show we do not avenge ourselves. It is God who will give punishment to whom it is due.

Then from Deuteronomy 32:36, He will judge them when they deserve it and correct His own children when they need it. This truth was abundantly clear in the history of the Israelites; and the same great principle would be applied should any sincere Christian apostatize from their faith.

Verse 31 – It is a fearful things to fall into the hands of the living God.

For the purpose of punishment – which is the idea here – fear. God is strictly just, and will inflict the punishment which ought to be inflicted.

Verse 32 – But recall the former days in which after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings;

Verse 33 – partly while you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations, and partly while you became companions of those who were so treated;

Verse 34 – for you had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven.

For the scholars not to know who wrote this book, it sure sounds like it was the Apostle Paul. He says because “You had compassion on me in my chains,: that was Paul.

These Christians, had went through many trials and persecutions, as some do today. The apostle reminds us, those trials are not our focus, Christ is. There are rewards for those who endure to the end.

Verse 35 – Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward.

Verse 36 – For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:

Verse 37 – “For yet a little while, and He who is coming will come and will not tarry.

Verse 38 – Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.”

Verse 39 – But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.

The apostle encourages us all not to disregard our confidence in God, even when trials seem to become unbearable. We have to look to our eternal future when hardships come, because our trials are but a little while. Jesus is coming for us.

Titus – chapter 3

Maintain Good Works

Verse 1 – Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work,

Verse 2 – to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle showing all humility to all men.

As Christians, we as well as what Paul was telling the Christians back then, are to obey laws that are not contrary to the word of God. And a Christian should not have to be coaxed, or persuaded to do good to others.

“Speak no evil of no one” – we are not supposed to make a person’s bad traits more prominent, and pass over all that is good. I suppose, we should stick to that old saying, “If you can’t say something good about someone, don’t say anything at all.” (I would be wise to follow that advice.)

Verse 3 – For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in, malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.

When a person becomes a true believer, yes, their personality and character will change. When the Holy Spirit places a new heart into that person at conversion, you will see a change. If you don’t and that person continues in a hateful, deceitful, sinful life-style, I doubt they were truly ever born-again. There must be a transformation.

Verse 4 – But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared,

Verse 5 – not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,

Verse 6 – whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior,

Verse 7 – that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

God’s mercy saved us, not our works. His mercy came when He sent Jesus to take our sins upon Himself. And after the cleansing of God’s Holy Spirit, we have the hope of eternal life with Christ.

Verse 8 – This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.

This verse not only means to be kind and charitable, but to live a holy life.

Verse 9 – But avoid foolish disputes; genealogies, contentions, and striving about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless.

Paul didn’t want Titus to get into arguments about petty things that amounted to nothing. Some of the false teachers were basing their heresies on genealogies and speculations about the law.

Verse 10 – Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition,

Verse 11 – knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned.

A person who is causing division in the church should be corrected. If they do not repent and change after confronting them, they are to be cut off from the fellowship of others.

Verse 12 – When I send Artemas to you, or Tychicus, be diligent to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there.

Verse 13 – Send Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey with haste, that they may lack nothing.

Verse 14 – and let our people also learn to maintain good works, to meet urgent needs, that they may not be unfruitful.

Verse 15 – All who are with me greet you. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. Amen.

Good works and charitable acts are stressed throughout Scripture.