Saturday, December 17, 2016

Revelation 22:6-11

Revelation 22:6-11
And he said to me, “These words are faithful and true.  And the Lord God of the spirits and prophets sent forth his angel to point out to his slaves what is necessary to become in short order.”  “And look!  I come quickly.  Blessed are the ones who keep the words of the prophecy of this book.”  And I, John, am the one who hears and who sees these things.  And when I heard and saw, I fell down to bow down to worship before the feet of the angel who pointed out these things to me.  And he said to me, “Do not see.  I am your fellow slave and of your brothers the prophets and of the ones who keep the words of this book.  Bow down to worship God.  And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.  Let the one who is unjust still be unjust.  And let the defiled one still be defiled.  And let the righteous one still do righteousness.  And let the holy one still be holy.” 

Thoughts for Today

First Thought:

For the next few days, we’ll be studying these back and forth speaking passages.  Jesus and the angel take turns giving messages to John.  It can be rather confusing to remember who is speaking, but if we focus on the content of the message we’ll do fine.  The first speaker is the angel that has been guiding John around.  This angel reminds us that God’s words are faithful and true.  In other words, we can trust God.  We can place our faith in Him and know that He will live up to His promises.  We also are reminded by this angel that these words were given to the people in order that they should know that an end is coming.  Even in a symbolic vision such as this, they cannot know the future exactly.  But they can have hope that an end is coming.  They can have hope that there is a promise of eternal life which is reliably believed.  In this, we are reminded once more that this is an apocalyptic message designed to bring hope to the people.

Do you ever have moments of doubt as to how you can be sure that God’s promises can be trusted?  If so, how do you overcome such doubt?  How does a book like Revelation show us that in most people those moments of doubt are actually quite common?

Second Thought:

The next speaker that we hear is Jesus.  He promises to come quickly.  He also offers up a blessing upon the people who keep the words of the Lord.  In other words, the blessed followers of Christ are the ones who keep an eye on obedience.  The best followers of Christ are the ones who are humbly willing to put their own desires to death and instead fulfill the passions of Christ and the Father.

Why is it important to realize that some of the last words of Christ in this book are about obedience?  How does this match up with the last words of Christ after the resurrection, when He came to earth the first time?

Third Thought:

The third speaker is the angel again.  In the angel’s speech we get two very curious messages.  In the first one, we get a reversal of the typical “Seal up this vision” message.  John is told to not seal up this vision.  While there are some parts of our future that God does not want revealed to us, He absolutely does want the final state of human existence revealed!  God wants us to be able to hope for a blessed future dwelling with Him!  The second message is even more curious.  The angel speaks about human beings remaining in their same state, for better or for worse.  What the angel is saying here is that some people will never change.  Furthermore, God will not force them to change.  There will be some people who hear the Word of God and feel conviction bite them deeply.  Their lives will change and they will give fruit of their faith.  There are other people, who even after hearing about the greatness of eternal life with our creator, who will not change their ways.  They will continue in sin.  In other words, the angel is telling John that you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him drink.  Neither is God willing to force such a person to drink.  God will not remove our free will.

Why do you think some people have an open heart and are willing to repent?  Why are some people stubborn in their ways and not even interested in repentance?

Passage for Tomorrow: Revelation 22:12-16
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