Monday, December 5, 2016

Revelation 19:3-8

Revelation 19:3-8
And a second voice has said, “Alleluia!  Even her smoke goes up into the eras of the eras.”  And the twenty-four elders and the four living beings fell and they bowed down to worship the God – the one who sits upon the throne – while saying, “Amen, alleluia!”  And a voice went out from the throne while saying, “Praise our God, all His slaves and the ones who are fearing him – the small and the great.”  And I heard many as a voice of a crowd and a voice as of much water and as a voice of strong thunder while saying, “Alleluia!  Since the Lord our God the Almighty reigned! We should rejoice and we should exult and we should give glory to him since the wedding of the lamb came and his bride made herself ready.  And it was given to her in order that she should be clothed in fine linen, bright and clean, for the fine linen is the acts of justice of the holy ones.

Thoughts for Today

First Thought:

Today were will study the remaining three alleluias.  In the second alleluia, we hear a voice giving praise because the smoke of Babylon goes up forever. At first, this sounds like a rather vengeful saying.  Is heaven truly rejoicing at the eternal desolation of something?  In a way, yes.  But it isn’t meant to sound so vengeful.  Remember that Babylon represents humanity and its sinful compulsions.  What heaven is rejoicing is that human sinfulness will be dealt with forever.  There will come a time when human sinfulness will be beaten.  There will come a time when the sinfulness of humanity will not rise again.  That is something to rejoice!

How does it feel to be a part of existence where we know that we should praise God, but we still find ourselves sinning day after day?  Why do we have reason to rejoice about a time coming when our sin will be dealt with permanently?

Second Thought:

In the third alleluia, we hear that the twenty-four elders (that’s the twelve tribes of Israel and the 12 disciples) coming together to give praise to God.  But they are joined by the four living creatures, who are typically thought of as representing nature.  In other words, in this alleluia we have all of the faithful parts of God’s creation coming to worship Him and give Him praise.  We have the pure portions of creation, the faithful who anticipated Christ, and the faithful who knew Christ and taught about Him.  In other words, God’s who plan of salvation unites in His praise, as it should be.

What does this passage teach us about unity under God?  Do you see yourself most as a part of the church (the 12 disciples) or the greater creation that loves Him?  Which is more important?

Third Thought:

The last of the alleluias introduces the idea of the marriage supper of the lamb, which we’ll talk about more tomorrow.  For today, though, we will focus on the bride.  The alleluia tells us that the feast is ready and the bride has made herself ready.  She is clothed in white, which is a symbol of purity.  It is significant to note that this story is told to us after Babylon s destroyed.  How can the bride be pure before sin is dealt with?  How can the bride wear white before Babylon is in ruins?  However, after God deals with sin, then the bride of Christ can wear white, for then she will be pure and ready for the presence of God.

When you think about the day that Christ’s followers will be united with God in person, what do you think that day will be like?  What emotions are evoked by a passage like this?

Passage for Tomorrow: Revelation 19:9-10

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