Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Revelation 15:1-8

Revelation 15:1-8
And I saw another great and wonderful sign in heaven: seven angels having the seven last plagues, that the strong passion of God is finished in them.  And I saw a sea of glass having been mixed by fire and the ones who conquer out of the beast and out of his image and out of the number of his name, who have set upon the sea of glass, and who haves lyres of God.  And they sing the song of Moses – God’s slave – and the song of the lamb while saying, “Your works are great and wonderful, Lord God Almighty.  Your ways are righteous and true, King of the nations.  Who should surely not be afraid, Lord, and who will glorify you name?  Since you alone are holy, every nation will come and will bow down to worship in your presence for your righteous acts were made known.”  And after this I looked, and the temple – the tabernacle of the testimony – was opened in heaven.  And the seven angels went out of the temple, the ones who have the seven plagues, who have been clothed in clean shinning linen, and who have girded themselves with a golden belt around their chests.  And one out of the four living beings gave the seven angels seven golden bowls that are full of the strong passion of God, the one who lives into the eras of the eras.  And the temple was being filled with smoke out of the glory of God and out of his power.  And nobody was powerful enough to go into the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels should be finished.

Thoughts for Today

First Thought:

When we read through this passage on day two and focus on the people of God, we are reminded of the scene in Revelation 4:6.  There is one quite noticeable difference, though.  In this recounting of the scene, the sea of glass is mixed with fire.  Fire is a sign of judgment.  The focus of Revelation is shifting from relationship with God to His judgment.  The focus is still on God; but it is on a different element of God’s character.  Earlier in this book we say God and His people and His calling to them.  Now we see the time for judgment is coming.  God still dwells among His people, but He dwells righteously.  Sin must be dealt with or righteousness does not happen.  Sin is either forgiven or it is condemned.

How do you feel as this book shifts its tone to that of judgment?  Do you feel any worry or concern?  Do you feel sorrow and sadness?  What other emotions does the time of judgment evoke within you?

Second Thought:

The followers of God who are in this passage are often thought of as the martyrs.  Notice that they are specifically spoken of in relationship to the beast and his kingdom.  It may not be that these people died literally – although that is certainly not an impossible situation, either.  It may be that these people sacrificed their desires in favor of God and His ways.  These people may be those who saw what the beast offered and chose God instead.  If this is the case, it goes back to a similar thought that we hear in Galatians 2:20. “For I have been crucified with Christ.  It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.”

In what way have you heard of martyrs who had quite literally died for the faith?  In what way has your humanity been sacrificed for God and His ways?

Third Thought:

We also come to the song of the martyrs.  Only the faithful can learn the song.  As I spoke a few days back, it is likely that this song can only be learned by those people who have truly experienced sacrifice for the sake of God.  Often times in life we can only know something when we have learned it, imitated it, and emulated it into our life to make it our own.  But you will also notice that in the song there are only words about God.  The focus is entirely upon God.  This should send two messages.  First of all, it should make sense that only those who are truly focused upon God can learn the song.  Second, it should remind us that the point of life is God.

What is the point of your life?  Is God truly the focus of your life?  Are you able to learn about God and focus upon Him?  Are you able to understand His ways and His word?

Passage for Tomorrow: Revelation 16:1-7
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