“And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it.” – Revelation 21:23-24 (NASB)
The past few days we have been sort of looking toward Heaven. We considered in part the question, “What is Heaven?” It’s God’s abode, where He is with believers and Old Testament saint. Yesterday, the question “Where is Heaven” was answered by saying “It is Up” because that is how the Bible speaks of it and of those who come and go to heaven. Did you ever hear the saying “He’s so heavenly minded he’s no earthly good?” Is that still true or might we today say it in reverse? Today we ask “What is Heaven like?” Not easy to answer but we have glimpses. Revelation 3:12 says there’s a temple in heaven that the saints never leave, Revelation 7:15 for it is immense, infinite, eternal and God Himself is its Light,. John sees a vision of the New Jerusalem descend out of Heaven He sees the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. What kind of temple is it that God in eternal heaven spreads over all His people? It is His Presence which is why the saints – that will be faith believers – will never leave. For that, Let’s Imagine and rejoice with thanksgiving!
“Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his clothes, so that he will not walk about naked and men will not see his shame.” – Revelation 16:15 (NASB)
As faith believer and Christians let’s not think that these are times in which we can dispense with watchfulness or with holy zeal; we need these things more than ever, and may God the eternal Holy Spirit display His omnipotence in us, that we may be able to say, in all these things, “We are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37) These days and the ones coming are not easy for the faithful believer. In Revelation 1:3 it is written “Blessed is…” as in this verse for today it is written “Blessed is…” This is the only biblical book that comes with a blessing for the one who listens to it being read and explained and then responds in obedience. There are 7 beatitudes in the book.* Our Lord stresses the need for constant readiness for His return; “Behold I come like a thief!” The imagery pictures a soldier ready for battle, or a homeowner watchful for the arrival of a thief. Christians are not to be surprised by the return of Jesus; we are here warned by Him to be prepared and alert for Christ’s second coming.
“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. ” – Revelation 21:6 (ESV)
Thank goodness! This is a very frequently used expression which most of us do not stop and think about what it actually means. We are thanking a personality characteristic, the way one was treated in an exchange. Sometimes we are being grateful for a near missed unpleasant experience. We may have deserved but we were spared the consequences of our actions. Thank Goodness! True Goodness comes to us from God and Jesus was the demonstration of God’s goodness when he lived a sinless life and sacrificed himself to die in the place of all who deserve death as the wages of sin. That was our place, our debt, but Jesus took it upon himself to rescue us from that consequence. He did it out of Goodness. The Alpha and the Omega (first and last letters of the Greek alphabet.) did it for us. We were adopted as children of God and secured an inheritance in Heaven. So now Thank Heavens! For heaven belongs to those who, knowing their souls are parched by sin, have earnestly sought the satisfaction of salvation and eternal life, this lasting spiritual water of which Jesus promised in John 4:14, 7:37-38 and Isaiah 55:1-2.
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.” Revelation 3:20 (NASB)
We look again at a familiar verse and promise. Context is important and that is true here. This is a part of the message which our Lord Jesus sent to the assembly of believers in Laodicea in the first century. It was a specific invitation to the individuals in that church. The common interpretation of Christ’s knocking on a person’s heart, is not in the context which demands that Christ was seeking to enter this church that bore His name but lacked a single true believer. This poignant letter was His knocking. Jesus said that if any one person realizes that Jesus is waiting to be invited into his or her life, Jesus is ready and willing to respond. This is, of course, true of any local professing church. Christ must be invited to come in and become the center of worship, adoration, and love, but it is also true of the heart of man. Jesus wants us to be aware of His nearness and He has so much to share with us every day – at any hour of the day. Today, let’s each open the door to our lives and invite Jesus to be with us.
“Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth.” Revelation 1:4-5 (ESV)
The Apostle John was given the Revelation of Jesus Christ which he wrote under the inspiration of God’s Spirit. In the book God includes letters addressed to seven churches in what is called Asia Minor. Our verses today are the greeting from the common beginning of these letters. The seven letters were sent together and given to each church as the messenger brought them. In that part of the world, the custom was and is to greet people with the word “peace.” We read this greeting now because of the way it expresses the deep meaning of the source of our peace with God. It come from God and the reason He can give peace is because of who He is. To know that God has always been, that He is now, and that he will always be⸺produces a restful peace in our hearts. So when something disturbing happens let’s remember that the promises of our eternal God are sure and absolute. The seven Spirits are likely a reference to the lampstand with 7 lamps—also a description of the Holy Spirit. And 7 is the number of completeness, so John is identifying the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
“(I) do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him..” Ephesians 1:16-17 (NASB)
We can imagine that one of the greatest blessings we might experience in the first century would be the Apostle Paul praying for us. Paul was devoted to prayer just as his Lord Jesus set the example for his apostles. These words by the are from a prayer he wrote and sent to the Christians in Ephesus. Paul says that he did “not cease giving thanks” and it became a habit to pray for the young churches and to keep praying for the believers in all cities. He requested that God would give them the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in order that they would grow to know God better. They were believers who knew God but like us all, they needed to continue to know God in a deeper way. This prayer is given to us in the Bible applies to our lives as well if we have believed and come to know God. We too want to know God better. We can each ask God to give us wisdom and revelation and to teach us by His Holy Spirit more and more of God’s great truths for our Christian lives each day.
“Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord before Eli. And word from the Lord was rare in those days, visions were infrequent.” – 1 Samuel 3:1 (NASB)
“Where there is no vision (revelation), the people are unrestrained, But happy is he who keeps the law.” – Proverbs 29:18 (NASB)
In the time recorded in the Old Testament, the people did not yet have God’s complete revelation as we do in our Scriptures, the Bible. God would communicate and reveal himself through prophetic messages and through visions. The visions were God’s revelations mediated through an auditory or visual encounter. The time of the judges was a period of extremely limited prophetic activity. The few visions that God did give were not widely shared or known and observance of the Law of God was a low priority. There are obvious and veiled dangers in the practice of disregarding the teachings we have in God’s Word. No longer delivered in visions or prophetic messages, our Bible provides for us the complete revelation that God intended us to have. Because it is “God breathed” through people who were given the inspired word by the Holy Spirit and wrote it down for us, we trust it fully to be without error in its original writings. From it we learn about God and His expectations, His commandments, and how God wants us to live trusting His Word. Our promise is happiness for those who abide by the revelation we have in our Holy Scripture.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” – Revelation 1:8
The “I Am” in our verse today appears two more times in the Book of The Revelation of Jesus Christ. When we find in Scripture the combination of “I am” or “I am He” with the claim that He is the First and the Last, it is most certainly identifying the Son of God, Jesus Christ as the one and only God ever. Spoken by Jesus this is the claim that there is only one God and it is He. In Isaiah 43:11 God says through Isaiah “I am the LORD and besides me there is no savior.” Reflect back to the words of Jesus in John 14:6 when He told His disciples just prior to His arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane. “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” This is a consistent promise throughout the Bible that God is One. He is the One and only God. There is no other (Isaiah 45:22). No matter what we hear from the world religions, God has spoken “I am He and there is no other.” We trust that promise from the mouth of God.
“Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. Hebrews 13:13-14 (ESV)
Surely it is not wrong for us to think and talk about heaven. I’d like to locate it, and find out all I can about it. I expect to live there through all eternity. If I were going to dwell in any place in this country, if I were going to make it my home, I would inquire about its climate, about the neighbors I would have, about everything, in fact, that I could learn concerning it. If I was soon going to emigrate, that is the way I would feel. Well, we are all going to emigrate in a very little while. We are going to spend eternity in another world, a grand and glorious world where God reigns. Is it not natural that we should look and listen and care about who is already there, and what is the way there? In the Revelation the Apostle John describes what was shown to him. “And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” (Revelation 21:2 NASB) This city that is to come is promised and marvelously described for us in Revelation 21:22-27 (NASB)
Thanks in part to: A Living Daily Message From The Words of D. L. Moody selected by Emma Moody Fitt, Copyright, 1900, by Fleming H. Revell Company, now in public domain.
“ Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:13 (ESV)
In the first chapter of 1 Peter we learn that as believers we are call to be Holy. We know the word Holy. Some of us sing songs about God being Holy. The various churches label places and artifacts as Holy. God in the Old Testament has the People of Israel build a Tabernacle for worshiping Him. In it was the Holy Place and deeper in was the Holy of Holies. Holiness is important in God’s way and revelation in the Bible tells us He expects us to live holy lives. In our verse today Peter gives us three of five ways to approach being holy. We are to prepare our minds for action. Get our thoughts in the proper order so we are to be sober-minded. This means to be in control of what goes in and what comes out. This means not to mess around with things that intoxicate our thinking and crowd out or blue the things God wants us to think about. The third is to set our hope on the promise of the grace we have and will receive when Jesus Christ is revealed. That’s an end time event we’re to be prepared for.