Recent Posts
Lowell Brueckner

Enter your email address:


Delivered by FeedBurner

1 Corinthians 6

Labels:


 Chapter 6

Not living up to spiritual potential

1.      When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints?
2.      Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases?
3.      Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life!
4.      So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church?
5.      I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers,
6.      But brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers?
7.      To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded?
8.      But you yourselves wrong and defraud – even you own brothers!

Our time on earth is short… that is for sure! “What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes” (Jm.4:14). Earthly life is a vapor, a gas, the most unstable of all forms of matter. You cannot grasp it; it is temporal and always changing.  Job made several statements about it (Job 7:6-7; 9:25-26; 14:1-2) and the Psalmist followed with still more verses on the theme. Here is one example: “Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath!” (Ps.39:5; study also Ps.89:47; 90:5-7; and 102:3). I was not yet two-years-old, when I was taught this verse in Peter: “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls” (1 P.1:24). Jonathan Edwards wrote:

Where will all of our worldly enjoyments be, when we are laid in the silent grave?
Resolved, to live as I shall wish I had done, when I come to die.
Resolved, to live as I shall wish I had done, ten thousand ages hence.
Lord, stamp eternity on my eyeballs!

1 Corinthians 5

Labels:




Chapter 5

1.      It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife.
2.      And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.
3.      For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing.
4.      When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus,
5.      you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.

We have come to a portion in this book, where Paul passes judgment against sexual immorality. I don’t think that I am telling you anything new, when I say that immorality is a huge problem in the church today and it has been the downfall of many pastors and other leaders. The fact is, it was also a problem in biblical times, beginning in the book of Genesis.

Sexual misconduct is different from unnatural addictions, which come from nicotine, alcohol, and numerous kinds of drugs and barbiturates, in that it is a natural appetite innate to the human body, as is hunger and thirst. One cannot expect deliverance from it, but must learn to control it, just as he must control his appetite for food. Sexuality is very basically a part of human nature, in order to insure the procreation of the race: therefore it is a good thing.

However, all sexual activity, biblically speaking, is limited strictly and exclusively to a man and his wife, after they have committed themselves publically to each other for life. Solomon shares his wisdom on the matter in Proverbs 5:18-20, if you would like to look it up, and the writer of Hebrews gives us a solid New Testament position: “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled; for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous” (He.13:4).

1 Corinthians 4

Labels:



 Chapter 4

The importance of God’s judgment

1.      This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God
2.      Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.
3.      But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself.
4.      For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me.
5.      Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.

How are we to look at those, who are called into the ministry? Paul gives the Corinthians the true guidelines, which can be trusted, as the correct view concerning leadership in the church today. A little later, he will define particularly the apostolic ministry, but in the first verse he puts two titles upon himself, along with all others, who have a specific ministry to the church. This is not a position in a local church, but in the church, in general. 

These are to be seen as 1) servants and 2) stewards. In the last chapter we saw that ministry is synonymous with servanthood, and that comparison still holds, as we begin this chapter. However, Paul has chosen another Greek term for servant now, huperetes. Its definition is, literally, a subordinate oarsman. There are some Greek words which are very interesting and important in this chapter. It describes the slaves, who rowed the Roman ships. It is quite the opposite extreme of expecting honor as a captain, which is the picture that the Corinthians had formed of their favorite leader. They are to be seen, Paul shows, as galley slaves, chained to the bench and subject totally to Christ. If we are to apply this term literally, they are the oarsmen, who move the church forward through the sea of life. Obviously, there is no justification for those who lord it over others, so Peter warned the elders as a fellow elder, “Not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock” (1 P.5:3).

The other term, which Paul uses is that of a steward. Stewards were household managers to a well-to-do family, under the authority of the head of the house. They managed the purchasing and the distribution of the food. A steward to the church, in this context, must collect and distribute the mysteries of God. He does it under the direction of the Holy Spirit, who reveals these secrets to him, after which, the steward must distribute them for the benefit of the body of Christ. Once again, he is a servant to Christ and to the church.

1 Corinthians 3

Labels:




Chapter 3



Carnality versus spirituality



1.    But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ.

2.      I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready,

3.      for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?

4.      For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human?



The Corinthians were in a contradictory state. On the one hand they were certainly people, who were recipients of the grace of God. They were rich in Christian speech and wisdom, and were receiving and practicing spiritual gifts. Yet, Paul said that they were still in the flesh. He went to Corinth somewhere near 52 A.D. and this letter is written from Ephesus around 56 to 57 A.D., so they had been Christians for four or five years. They are still infants (1).



Fleshly-minded people follow men and put their trust in men and their ministries. Because different men and ministries have been presented to the Corinthians, there are different opinions about which one has been the most profitable to them (4). Therefore there is jealousy and strife between the different members of the church (3). In his second letter to them, Paul revealed his goal to betroth “you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ” (2 Co.11:2). When this goal is reached in a practical, heart-felt sense, then Christians reach a spiritual state and the factions cease. 


1 Corinthians 2

Labels:



Chapter 2



Paul’s personal way of speaking



1.      And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom.

2.      For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

3.      And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling,

4.      and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,

5.      so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.



In these first verses, Paul better describes his way of presenting the message of the cross. He began in chapter 1, verse 17 saying, “Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.” The manner of presenting the gospel must match the message. It is about a Man, bloody and beaten, dying on a rugged cross. To preach that with eloquent wisdom is a contradiction to the message and, in fact, subtracts from its power; worse yet, it takes away from the glory that should only go to God (1:31).  The power of the message comes from God and the human power of an eloquent orator is far less than adequate in portraying the message.



I quote verse 21 of chapter 1 from the Amplified Bible: “When the world with all its earthly wisdom failed to perceive and recognize and know God by means of its own philosophy, God in His wisdom was pleased through the foolishness of preaching to save those who believed.” The church makes a mistake by appealing to human desire for entertainment or by catering to man’s ego in its presentation of the gospel. The design of God’s plan for salvation from the onset is to make the individual uncomfortable. The message must be blunt, straightforward, plain and without psychological manipulation. It is a simple declaration. In Paul’s words it is without “lofty speech or wisdom.” Again in verse 4, he affirms, “My speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom” (KJV).


1 Corinthians 1

Labels:




Chapter 1



Greeting and opening statements



1.      Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes,

2.      To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:

3.      Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

4.      I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus,

5.      that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge-

6.      even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you –

7.      so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ,

8.      who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

9.      God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

If Paul is called of God to be an apostle, meaning a “sent one”, and of course he is, in this immensely vital mission, which concerns the dispensation of the eternal gospel, then this letter is of utmost importance to us. The writing is inspired of the Holy Spirit and infallible; it is true instruction, which is alive and ageless. Paul joins with Sosthenes in his greeting, a combined effort to counsel the church, because this Jew is well-known to the Corinthians. After Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, was converted to Christianity, he was replaced by Sosthenes as the Jewish leader. When the Jews accused Paul before the Roman proconsul of Achaia, Gallio, he ignored their complaint and the Corinthian citizens took Sosthenes and beat him before the tribunal. Later, Sosthenes also became a Christian, the second important Jewish convert.

The letter is written to the church, meaning the “called-out ones” in Corinth. They are saints, because they have been sanctified in Christ Jesus. Saints are not an elite order of extraordinary Christians, who have done outstanding deeds, but are only called so, because of the work of Christ on their behalf. They join with this growing band of believers throughout the Middle East in the time of the apostles, and hundreds of thousands more have called on the name of the Lord, down through the centuries and throughout the world, up to modern times. He is our same Lord in the 21st Century (2).

Coming Up: First Corinthians

Some of you know that after I follow my regular daily reading plan, which leads me through the New Testament twice and the Old Testament once, I tend to give the remaining months of the year to a particular book of the Bible. I have been considering,  to which book I should give special attention over the last quarter of 2019. I trust that I have picked the right one, as I decide to take on 1 Corinthians. I have already written out an introduction, so I would like to put it before you at this time, to help you with a little background, before we face the actual text. Please consider joining me in this expositional study and, if you do, please pray that God will give, to you and to me, light from heaven so that we can really profit from it in our inner beings.
 
Introduction to 1 Corinthian

At the Corinthian isthmus with two Greeks and a Spaniard
As the Apostle Paul closes his letter to the Philippians, he refers to “these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life” (Php.4:3). Clement of Rome was a church father, meaning a direct disciple of the apostles. He traveled with Paul and was an appointed elder of the church in Rome along with Linus and Cletus (plural eldership is always ordered and practiced by Paul). His writings from the first century are probably the earliest, after the apostles’ inspired Scripture. He most likely knew the church in Corinth first-hand, because he wrote a lengthy letter to it somewhere near the end of the First Century.


Daniel’s Life of Prayer

Labels:



Shelley and Dan
I am happy to be able to give you another message from our oldest son, Dan, something I haven’t done for quite some time.  Dan, Shelley and family were mission-aries in Macedonia, where Dan and others in his family still have many dear friends. They return to visit from time to time. Dan also ministers in other places in Europe.

Dan frequently shares exciting, sometimes astounding, testi-monies with us, of the clearly evident work of God in people’s lives. I chalk that up to the fact that the people in Swanton Christian Church are faithful to come together for prayer. Dan is pastor in Swanton, Vermont, only a few minutes from the Canadian border. He gave this message a few Sundays past on September 1, 2019. It is an encouraging and challenging word from the Lord, containing some very pithy statements.

Daniel’s background

One day, while Daniel was still living in his parents’ home, the Babylonians came and took him captive. Many think he was a young teenager. We don’t know if his parents were killed in the raid and we don’t have a clue, as to what this would be like. Three of his friends, whom we know better by their Babylonian names: Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego - I will just go with those names - were taken with him into Babylon. They were all of the nobility, but more importantly they were noble in character. Those were tough days; it was a long, hot journey and they were taken to a land, in which they couldn’t understand the language. They were forced to go to a school to learn the language. No one would choose to be treated this way. 

A Rest

Labels:



Our text today is taken from the book of Ruth and the words are spoken by a mother-in-law, Naomi, to her daughter-in-law, Ruth.

Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, "My daughter, should I not seek rest for you, that it may be well with you?        Ruth 3:1

Ruth determined to follow Naomi back to her native land: “Where you go, I will go,” she said, “Your people shall be my people and your God my God.” In chapter 2, she begins to take part in the benefits and blessings of this Promised Land. She actually had no rights to it, because she was a Moabitess and her people were forbidden to even enter the land. However, long before she existed, God devised a plan, and Ruth, though not one of the people of God, but a foreigner, was received into His plan. That was a high and undeserved privilege, but it was not the end of the story.

Ruth’s mother-in-law desires more for her. It already was going very well for Ruth, but Naomi would look for a “rest” for her. What does she mean by “rest”? She meant that Ruth should find a place of satisfaction and fulfillment, that would secure her future. It was a place, where she could put down roots, settle in, and be established. She was speaking of a home.

Romanian Pictorial

Labels:


I wanted to share with you a recent trip to Romania, complete with photos. It began on August 21 and involved a ten-hour layover in Barcelona. My friend, Jose, was there to pick me up and we had time to have a meeting before catching the plane to Bucharest. In the 8 P.M. meeting in Barcelona, I shared a message, which I hoped to develop also in Romania on The Year of Jubilee. Another good friend, Ionut, was at the Otopeni airport at 3:45 A.M. and drove me to his home for some rest before a trip into the mountains.
We arrived at the comfortable inn near Rucar in time for an evening meeting. David Harasemiuc, very proficient on the keyboard, led the singing. He is from a family of musicians and, being a lover of violin, I especially enjoy his sister, Patricia's, ability with that instrument. This girl, playing the violin, is not yet a teenager, (if I remember correctly) and is the daughter of long-time friends, Daniel and Cristina. Ionis, son of my translator and her husband, joins in song. 

I began a series of three Bible studies on The Year of Jubilee. Perhaps in the near future I can share the content on this BlogSpot. 
 
The house has 10 guest rooms and comfortably housed 60 people. On Saturday, more arrived, totalling around 80 altogether. I take you with me up the stairs to the next floor....  

Gospel Awakening

Labels:

Rachel and Mike
This is the first message I have ever posted on this BlogSpot from our son, Mike. It was his opening message that he preached, after taking on the senior pastorate at Church of Hope in Elk River, Minnesota. Very early in his ministry, Mike was a chaplain in a Christian high school. Later he became a youth pastor and, as he states in this article, he was asked to take on the children’s ministry besides, in that same church. 



Here are a few words from Mike’s own personal testimony: “When people ask me where I’m from, I'm not sure what to say. I was born in Mexico. For the first seven years of my life, I lived in Minnesota, moved to Germany, lived there for twelve years and now I'm back in Minnesota. I spent half a year in Alaska, too. That's where I’m from.”


“I grew up on the mission field and I have to say that I wouldn't trade that opportunity for anything in the world. When I am asked what caused me to continue in God's work after leaving home, I have to agree with the answer that my older brothers and sisters give to the same question: It's the reality of God – it’s as simple as that.”
  

Revelation 22

Labels:



Chapter 22

1.  Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb
2.  through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
3.  No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him.
4.  They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.
5.  And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.
6.  And he said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place.”
7.  “And behold I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”
8.  I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me,
9.  but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.”
10. And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.

It’s interesting to note that heaven provides security and healing, even though enemies are destroyed in the Lake of Fire forever, and sickness will cease to exist. In the last chapter, verse 12, there is a high wall and an angel guarding each gate of the city. If you have ever had a doubt that sometime in eternity, sin or the consequences of sin might revive, this vigilance is recorded to assure the reader that God has secured eternity. The Creator insures and reassures that these maladies will never again return. 

Earthly cities attempt to beautify themselves with trees, parks and rivers or lakes, but the heavenly city seems to be, essentially a park… a well populated park! There is no mention made of buildings, but in this chapter, John is taken inside the city to see, first of all, a river. It is called the River of the Water of Life. The source or fountain of the river is the throne of God and the Lamb. The river is as bright as crystal (1).

Revelation 21

Labels:



Chapter 21



1. Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.

2. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

3. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.

4. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

5. And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”  Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

6. And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.

7. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.

8. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”



The New Jerusalem



In Genesis 1:2, the verb that describes the action of the Holy Spirit at the dawn of creation is moved in a number of major versions of the Bible, such as the KJV: "The Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." Moved suggests an extremely broad action to a Hebrew word, which should be much more specific. The first definition for that word in the Strong’s Hebrew dictionary states: A primitive root; to brood. It is the same verb used in Deuteronomy 32:11, where it is usually translated flutters… “Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that flutters over its young…”



If the Holy Spirit is seen brooding over creation, it adds passion to His movements. Then, when the trinity communes in Genesis 1:26 and states, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness,” we see man’s creation, not only as the main event in creation, but an uncovering of the heart of the Creator. The entire biblical revelation of the purpose of the existence of mankind is that of a being, who is capable of having intimate communion with God. I will not yield to the temptation to go into details that will clearly prove the point, but will simply declare it to be fact, hoping for your acquiescence. When we are talking of creation, we are specifically speaking of the creation of man, male and female, and the rest of the work was to provide an ideal ambiance for his existence.  



In John 14, verses 2 and 3 (AMP version), Jesus speaks to His beloved disciples: “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places (homes). If it were not so, I would have told you; for I am going away to prepare a place for you. And when I go and make ready a place for you, I will come back again and will take you to Myself, that where I am you may be also.” In John 17:24, He pours his heart out to His Father: “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me…” And now, as we draw near the end of the New Testament, John the beloved disciple sees, “the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (2). This is the perfect, eternal ambiance for His followers. He told them that He would prepare a place and here it is, prepared as a bride. It fits their new nature like a glove.


Revelation 20

Labels:



Chapter 20



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

2. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years,

3. and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while.

4. Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

5. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection.

6. Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.



Leading up to the Millennium



We have a very short account by John, concerning the millennial reign of Christ upon the earth, but the prophets had much to say about it. We will not be able to give an exhaustive study on the subject, because that would easily require a book. However, we will go back to the prophets and pick up more details about this tremendously important period of human prophecy. After six millenniums of man’s rule, the return of Christ brings them to an end and then, He will reign on earth for a final one thousand years. This gives much more sense to God’s creation, after Adam sinned so early in human history and chaos has followed ever since. God will show us an ideal reign through the Prince of Peace, the last Adam. There will be paradise on this planet!



We have just studied the Battle of Armageddon and the destruction of world empires. The beast and the false prophet have been thrown for eternity into the Lake of Fire. There are other events preliminary to the Millennium. One is the Judgment of the Nations, as described in Matthew 25: 31-46. Notice when this takes place: “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne” (Mt.25:31). This will involve the treatment given to Christ’s brothers, according to the flesh, the Jews, during the Great Tribulation. The participants will be divided into two groups, described as sheep and goats. They have carried out the law of their nature, apparently unconscious of the source of their actions, and either aided or neglected the Jews in their tribulation plight.


Revelation 19:10-21

Labels:


 
Dear Friends, please note that I am adding the following two paragraphs to the last article of Rev. 19:1-9. I just put them here for your convenience. Thank you. Everything I do is in flux, and always open for improvement and correction 😃 . The new article starts below with verse 10

“Write this!” (9). This command is common in the book of Revelation, as the canon of Scripture comes to an end. The first human writer, who recorded the words of God, was Moses and God on various occasions, commanded him to write. Israel’s history and literature was written for future generations. God commanded the prophets to write. Luke told Theophilus concerning the Gospels, “Just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you” (Lk.1:2,3). Even Pontius Pilate wrote on the cross, “Jesus of Nazareth, king of the Jews” in the three most important languages of the day. Paul told the Colossians, “When this letter has been read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and also read the letter from Laodicea” (Col.4:16). So the Gospels and the epistles prospered in the early church and hundreds of copies were written to pass along.



That, which is written, is preserved beyond the spoken word and is validated over the spoken word. The Holy Spirit is the Author of all Scripture and He has shown His concern for future generations, seeing to it that His Word has been preserved through writing. It alone holds absolute authority over everything that concerns the people of God. Jesus spoke the written word, in replying to the temptations of the devil. In history, the devil always mounted persecution against the translators of the word, as well as those who have had the word in their possession. To this day, he is attacking those who possess, read and practice the written word. Beware of those, who deny or belittle the whole, or any part, of the written Word. Liberals, who still like to call themselves Christians, question the veracity and authenticity of the Bible. Society largely considers it an antiquated book. Let us give it its rightful place in our hearts, minds and lives and give thanks continually to God, because today we have the full revelation of God’s word. He has faithfully preserved it to this present generation. “These are the true words of God.”

 
Revelation 19:10-21



10. Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

11. 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.

12. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself.

13. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God.

14. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses.

15. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.

16. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.


Revelation 19:1-9

Labels:



Chapter 19



1. After this I heard that seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,

2. for his judgments are true and just; for he has judged the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality, and has avenged on her the blood of his servants.”

3. Once more they cried out, “Hallelujah! The smoke from her goes up forever and ever.”

4. And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who was seated on the throne, saying, “Amen. Hallelujah!”

5. And from the throne came a voice saying, “Praise our God, all you is servants, you who fear him, small and great.”



Heavenly hallelujahs and an amen



These verses describe heavenly praise. Warren Wiersbe comments that this is the heavenly “Hallelujah Chorus”, referring, of course, to that well-known part of Handel’s “Messiah”. Wiersbe would agree wholeheartedly, I’m sure, even though he used this comparison, that the praise that John heard in this chapter far exceeds any comparison with songs that are merely earthly, no matter the fame that they have received.



I know some people who claim that the words hallelujah and amen are religious terms. Sadly, they show their lack of spiritual understanding and, for that reason, their lack of appreciation for heavenly things. Let me ask you a couple questions: What do these words mean to you? Do you think that they are English vocabulary? I believe that they are words that can only receive a proper definition from a “heavenly dictionary". They were given to the Hebrews because, “the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God” (Ro.3:2). They cannot be justly translated into human language and therefore, in the church in every part of the world, Christian pronounce these words, as they were in the original Hebrew language.



While the judgments of God are falling upon the world, there is great joy in heaven, expressed by loud voices of a great multitude. They are voices of prophets, apostles and saints in general, who are now rejoicing in heaven. They begin with the first Hallelujah, which we try to translate, as best we can, Praise the Lord.  In heaven, doubt does not exist, as to the outcome of what is taking place on earth. In spite of everything, the heavenly multitudes give praise to God! He is the fountain of salvation, glory and power and everything is securely in His powerful hand. He is our God and, because that is so, He works salvation, glory and power towards our well-being (1). We, who are still on earth, should continually mix our praises with those in heaven.


Revelation 18

Labels:


 
Chapter 18

1.  After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was made bright with his glory.
2.  And he called out with a mighty voice, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place for demons, a haunt for every unclean spirit, a haunt for every unclean bird, a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast.
3.  For all nations have drunk the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of her luxurious living.”
4. Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues;
5.  for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.
6.  Pay her back as she herself has paid back others, and repay her double for her deeds; mix a double portion for her in the cup she mixed.
7.  As she glorified herself and lived in luxury, so give her a like measure of torment and mourning, since in her heart she says, ‘I sit as a queen, I am no widow, and mourning I shall never see.’
8. For this reason her plagues will come in a single day, death and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire; for mighty is the Lord God who has judged her.”

Double retribution: “Fallen, fallen”

In chapter 15, we saw the introduction of the seven angels with the seven bowls of wrath and chapter 16 related the act and result of each one being poured out. Similarly in chapter 17, we received an introductory description of Babylon and in this chapter, its actual destruction is detailed.

This is a future, figurative Babylon and I tried to describe it in the last chapter as basically a religious system, but heavily involved with the financial and political situation in the world. Her destruction is total and everlasting. “She has become a dwelling place for demons, a haunt for every unclean spirit, a haunt for every unclean bird, a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast” (v.2) I thought of the fall of literal Babylon, as it was depicted in Isaiah 13, and wondered if that record wasn´t left for us to ponder, as a precedent to the fate that John predicts for this final city.

Here are a few observations from eye witnesses, who visited the ruins of historic Babylon a couple centuries ago. Compare their testimonies with verse 2: “There are many dens of wild beasts in various parts. There are quantities of porcupine quills. In most of the cavities are numberless bats and owls. These caverns, over which the chambers of majesty may have been spread, are now the refuge of jackals and other savage animals.”… “The natives believe that the ghost of Nimrod walks amidst them in the darkness, and no one would venture on so hazardous an experiment (that is, to enter the ruins at night)”…  “All the people of the country assert that it is extremely dangerous to approach the mound after nightfall, on account of the multitude of evil spirits by which it is haunted.”