Posts Tagged ‘Revelation’

Hot and Cold

“I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.” (Revelation 3:15)

I’ve heard many interpretations of what Jesus meant when He uttered those words. Let’s suppose that ‘hot’ simply means a person who is saved and a ‘cold’ person means he is not. I believe that contextually it makes the most sense despite begging the question, why would Jesus wish that some of this group were unsaved?

The answer is also simple: unsaved people can be reached with the Gospel. That notion kind of reminds me of golf instructors. They prefer their students have no golf training whatsoever so they do not have to unteach bad habits. The lukewarm person has acquired many bad habits. Jesus goes on to describe them – they say of themselves, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing.” In their self sufficient state, they cannot comprehend that they are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.

Now consider the ‘hot’ person, who in reality he is nothing more than a cold person who came to realize his wretched (sinful) situation, his miserable (hell-bound) future, his (spiritual) poverty, his blindness (to Gospel truth), and naked (uncovered) condition. Jesus was referencing these cold folks when He said (in John 4:35), “Lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest.” Jesus also said that these same people (those who ‘realize’ their spiritual shortcomings) are blessed! “And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.” (Luke 6:20-12)

What does Jesus say to the wretched, miserable, poor, blind, naked, lukewarm person?

“Woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep. Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you!” (Luke 6:24-26)

The church descriptions given to us in the Book of Revelation are there to warn us, but sadly lukewarmness is the condition of the church today. For almost 2000 years the church has been cautioned, yet it is what we’ve become.

We can debate how far we’ve gone, but regardless we live in the age where lukewarmness is becoming the norm. It is an era of self-sufficient and self-satisfied pew-dwellers being led in prayers where guarantees of better earthly lives and Heavenly access are given. Far too often there is no recognition of sin or sin’s consequence, no Godly sorrow, no desperation, and no repentance. Subjection, commitment, or obedience to Christ Jesus is nowhere to be found. God’s word has been watered-down, added to, and subtracted from. What’s good is perceived as evil, and evil is perceived as good. Rebuke, correction, and chastisement have become four-letter words. And finally, the Jesus they worship is a construct of the mind who accepts you (and your favorite sin) just the way you are.

By the grace of God, we are not all there, but this deplorable condition is clearly evident wherever we look. Thankfully the course is correctible.

Revelation 1:3 promises, Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.”

One of those blessings is found in Revelation 3:20-22:

“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”

A lukewarm person is like Pharaoh, in that his or her heart is hardened against the truth of God. Despite counting themselves as believers, when queried it’s discovered the doctrine they follow is not Biblical. Blind to their own blindness, they are convinced that their self-sufficiency proves their faith’s legitimacy. However, if you recognize the error, there is hope: repent.

The Bible reminds us that the beginning of wisdom is discovered in the fear of the Lord. What does that mean exactly? Well it begins with the understanding that Hell is a real place and although it was made for satan and his minions, it is where those, who like satan, reject Jesus, will go. A normal person (a cold person) should be fearful of that, while a lukewarm person might likely deny that Hell even exists.

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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. 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. Revelation 4:6-7 Mobilizing Israel

In the Book of Numbers, chapter two, God diagrams how He desires the twelve tribes of Israel to be positioned around His Tabernacle. To some, these kinds of maneuverings seem happenstance, but with God nothing occurs without purpose and good cause. Before tackling the rationale, we should list some of the significant items recorded in the chapter.

On the Eastside…

On the eastside of the Tabernacle, and led by the tribe of Judah are Issachar and Zebulun; a group of 186, 400 battle-ready men. The south side was led by the tribe of Reuben, with Simeon and Gad; 151, 450 men in total. Led by Ephraim on the west side we have Manasseh and Benjamin at 108, 100 men. And taking up the read guard and Led by Dan were Asher and Naphtali with 157, 600 men.

Crossing Jordan

Initially, what I am about to say might seem like an insignificant detail, but it certainly adds to the overall symbolic picture—these tribes, positioned in this manner, form a cross. That is to say if you were looking down upon the encampment, in much the way King Balak did from atop the mountains, the likeness would be that of a cross—the largest segment at the bottom, the smaller at the top, and two almost equal portions on either side. How significant is that? I don’t know, but it is noteworthy. I suspect it sent a shiver down Balak’s spine, even though he knew not why.

Why Are They Leading Us?

The Jews themselves may have asked that very question, “Why does Judah, Rueben, Ephraim, and Dan get to lead these four regiments?” I submit to you that the explanation has much to do with the standards they bore. Oh not their moral standards, but the banners representing their individual clans: Judah’s standard was the lion, Rueben’s the ox, Ephraim the man, and Dan’s was the eagle.

So What

One of the first things we might recognize is that these four figures are emblematic of the four Gospels. In the Gospel of Matthew we see Jesus depicted as the King of the Jews (a lion), in Mark as the Servant (an ox), in Luke we see Jesus in His humanity (man), and finally in John His divinity (an eagle). It would seem that not only has God not forgotten the Jew in the New Testament, He has carried the Old Testament imagery right into the Good News

God’s Not Through with the Jew

That’s why I began this note with the Revelation 4:6-7 passage. Do you struggle with the Book of Revelation? If you knew your Old Testament you wouldn’t. If we want to know who God was referring to when He spoke of the first living creature (that) was like a lion, the second like a calf, the third living like a man, and the fourth like a flying eagle, all we need do is go back to the Old Testament, Tabernacle campgrounds. Coincidence? Not with God.

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The Battle That Never WasAnd I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh. Revelation 19:19-21My Yoke is Easy…My Burden is Light

The Book of Revelation is not a difficult book to comprehend when we understand that there is a God-inspired outline laid-out in Revelation 1:19. Pressing forward, the Christian discerns that chapter one deals with those things ‘seen’ by the Apostle John (the truth of who Jesus is), chapters two and three with the way things ‘are’ (church history), and chapters four through twenty-two addressing the ways things will be ‘after’ the church era. Chapters six through nineteen specifically deal with the Tribulation period, a phase that comes to a screeching halt in the last three verses [of our opening Bible passage] above.

Don’t Blink or You’ll Miss it

Oh, it will not be Christ’s second coming that the church will fail to see, for that will be nearly impossible. As He rides in on His white horse, His eyes like flames of fire and His head adorned with many crowns, we shall be right behind Him! No, the thing we might miss is the final conflict that the last thriteen (13) chapters of Revelation (six through nineteen) have been building up to. Read the above Bible passage again.

In the first sentence: satan the beast, the kings of the earth and their armies have assembled, ready to wage war against Jesus. If this were a Spielberg movie, we would all be poised on the edge of our seats, chins on palms–elbows on knees, everyone shushing their neighbor. But what’s this? The very next scene satan is captured and done away with. That was it? No battle? All satan had was nothing? I tell you, if this were a Spielberg movie, we might all demand a refund.

But It’s Not a Movie…It’s Jesus

And the crowd (the church) will be euphoric when the beast is defeated. So we might ask why all the build up for a seemingly anticlimactic conclusion; why a ‘thirteen chapter’ lead-in for a one-sentence finale? Recall the audience–the Apostle John is writing (then and now) to a persecuted and (as time goes on) chaotic church. And while it is true the Christian church will not suffer the Tribulation period, we will undoubtedly face tribulation daily. Jesus said…

In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33a

Appraising the concise, one-sentence account of satan’s defeat; absorbing its implications, we might better understand that our solution; ‘the solution’ is found in Christ Jesus alone. Battle? There is no battle; satan was knocked-out before he put on his boxing gloves. Combat? What combat; notice that Christ’s army comes to the conflict unarmed! When we ride-in with Jesus, He alone has the sword…and it comes forth from His mouth! One swipe; one word and it is all over.

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword…You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. Hebrews 4:12, John 5:39

Jesus is the Word

Jesus is the way—the only way and we need to share this truth. We need to tell our families, our friends (and our enemies), our co-workers, and carry the message across the globe.

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And I heard the number of those who were sealed. One hundred and forty-four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel were sealed: of the tribe of Judah twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand were sealed…the tribe of Gad…the tribe of Asher…the tribe of Naphtali…the tribe of Manasseh…the tribe of Simeon…the tribe of Levi…the tribe of Issachar…the tribe of Zebulun…the tribe of Joseph…the tribe of Benjamin… Revelation 7:4-5144, 000

Who are these 144, 000 people spoken of in the Bible? Ask the Jehovah Witness and he will tell you that it is the Jehovah Witness. Ask the Mormon and he will say it is Mormon. Ask the Seventh Day Adventist and he will say it is Seventh day Adventist. However, if we ask God, He will say it is the children of the twelve tribes of Israel—Revelation 7 cannot be any clearer. God is not through with the Jew and to believe otherwise is to call our Father a liar.

What About Me

What about you; where will you be? Well, if Jesus Christ is your Lord and your Savior, you will have been ‘plucked out’ before the seven year Tribulation period. What about this term, ‘plucked out’…I have never seen this term used in my Bible? There is nothing to worry about; it means you have been ‘raptured’ (which is another term you won’t see specifically used in your Bible).

Replacement Theology is Bogus

Replacement theology; or the notion that the Lord has forgotten about the nation of Israel and has replaced it with the Christian church, is a false teaching. It is erroneous because the Bible clearly declares otherwise and to promote it is to promote anti Semitism. And besides, if it were true, than that would mean that God has broken His promise to the Jews. Honestly, if God starts breaking promises, than we are all in big trouble.



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Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. Revelation 1:12-13Let’s Start at the Bottom…

At the bottom of this Bible verse, that is. Why the ‘Son of Man’ allusion, because Jesus used the term regularly and it speaks to His relate-ability. Inspired by the Son of Man, John makes the reference here because of this prophecy in Daniel.

“I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed. Daniel 7:13-14

Why is that important? Because many folks do not realize that this Book of Revelation is not new. Everything written in this volume has been previously recorded in other areas of both the Old and the New Testaments. Revelation is in a very real sense a divine funnel that brings all these earlier prophesies and allusions into focus, or at the very least into one place.

Godly Girdles

Will Jesus actually be adorned in this manner? Perhaps, but I sense Jesus has revealed to John something about His character, rather than His clothing. The described ‘outfit’ is a priestly garment, however, in Old Testament times the waist was girded, not the chest. Here we envision Jesus wearing a golden sash around His heart and His whole body being covered head to toe. If we are the body of Christ (and we are), than that image confirms for us that we are ‘bound’ (as a girdle binds) in Christ’s heart and that we are completely covered. It reminds me of our Lord’s lamentation (recorded in Matthew 23:37) for those who would reject His provision…

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!”


Will there be lampstands in Heaven? Possibly, but again I am reminded that the Lord’s earthly Tabernacle with all its paraphernalia were merely symbolic of all things God and His Glory. When I visualize the lampstand spoken of in Exodus 25:31-33…

“You shall also make a lampstand of pure gold; the lampstand shall be of hammered work…one piece…Six branches shall come out of its sides: three branches of the lampstand out of one side, and three branches of the lampstand out of the other side…(The) bowls shall be made like almond blossoms…with an ornamental knob and a flower…”

I first see Jesus: pure gold, hammered (beaten), and stretched out for our sake. I then see us; His body the church and note that while we are in fact fruit-bearing branches connected to the vine, we are one solid piece. And as my eyes take it all in, I hear my Lords voice telling me clearly, lovingly, and truthfully…

“As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world…You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden…(and) I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” (John 9:5, Matthew 5:14, John 15:5)


Let’s do the math. The passage I chosen today speaks not of a single lampstand, but seven of them, with Jesus standing in the midst of them all. Jesus will go on to reveal to John that these seven lampstands are symbolic of the seven churches of Asia (Turkey). But of what else does this speak?

7 x 7 = 49 + 1 = 50

Seven lampstands, multiplied by seven is forty-nine. Add ‘One’ and we have fifty. My friends, that number speaks of jubilation the likes of which we have never known. Remember, all the ‘stuff’ and all the ordinances are merely pictures of God’s great things to come.

And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a Jubilee for you… in it you shall neither sow nor reap …For it is the Jubilee; it shall be holy to you…Then the land will yield its fruit, and you will eat your fill, and dwell there in safety. Leviticus 25:10-12, + 19

God only knows if these things (lampstands, girdles, etc) will appear as Revelation describes, but we may know with certainty the love, truth, and faithfulness of our Lord will have eternal prominence.

Happy Thanksgiving

When I read these things, the flame that burns beneath my desire to serve Him is torqued-up full. My hope and prayer is that the same is true for you. As we gather around a common table this Thanksgiving Day, we are mindful of what He has done (in our lives) and what He will continue to do. We are reminded that John (like Abraham) was given revelation because of their faithfulness to disseminate that which He had previously provided. When we chose to share the spiritual wealth, so to speak, we receive more of the same. To the degree we give, is the degree we receive.

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Full DisclosureThe 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, who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. Revelation 1:1-2

Ciphered For Your Protection

Have you ever wondered why the Revelation of Jesus Christ is supposedly encrypted? Well there are (at least) three reasons as to why this divine message had been coded; the very first of which is that by so doing, it afforded security to the saints.

In the days the Revelation was first shared, the persecution of the church was at an all-time high. Caesar Nero in fact was responsible for the deaths of over three million Christians! Writing and sharing in code offered a degree of protection. It would be improbable that a protagonist, who having gotten hands upon an early manuscript, would understand the four-hundred (plus) allusions and illustrations relating to the Old Testament. Much of the writing would appear [to them] as nonsensical and capricious.

Secondly, the use of signs, pictures, and symbols has the competency of transcending time, culture, and generation. As language, custom, and expression continue to change, symbolism and signage endure. An example might be your own home town…The place has likely changed several times through the years, while the sign outside the city limits has not.

Thirdly, the ciphered-style stimulates our passion and zeal. Consider Revelation’s text and we discover that it is one thing to proclaim, ‘A world leader is coming, ’ and quite another to refer to this person as ‘The Beast.’ It is one thing to denounce the ‘worldly commercial system’ and quite another to say ‘Babylon…the mother of all harlots…the whore!’ Does not the ‘Bride of Christ’ sound much more intriguing than the ‘Christian’ designate; is not the ‘Lion of Judea’ a noble title for our Lord? These codes are both vivid and powerful for the believer.

Why John

Perhaps you have never wondered why this Revelation of Jesus was given to John, but suffice it to say, you should be acquainted with the reason as it will be helpful to you in your daily walk with Christ–God knew John. That is to say John’s record preceded him—he (previously) bore witness to the Word of God in his Gospel and in his three epistles, demonstrating that he had embraced Christ and shared all he had received. We see a similar occurrence in Genesis 18:17-19 when God opts to reveal his plan to Abraham regarding Sodom and Gomorrah…

And the Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing, since Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice, that the Lord may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.”

Take Heed to What You Hear

That is the lesson for us. Why do we go to church; why do we read His Word? Are we merely seeking to become smarter sinners? Is our desire to gain biblical knowledge and insight selfish in nature, or is it our mission (like John) to share that which we have freely received. The truth of the matter is that consistent revelation comes to those who come with the attitude that they will give away what it is they have received. In so doing, swiftly the words of the Gospel Author make perfect sense.

Give and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you. Luke 6:38

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