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26 November 2019

Jesus Refused Political Power

Satan tempts Jesus with political power
Satan tempted Jesus by offering to give to him, “All the kingdoms of the world.” All he needed to do to attain political power was to “fall down and render homage” to the Tempter (Matthew 4:8-9Luke 4:5-7).
In contrast, many U.S. Christians embrace the political means to advance their agendas which, of course, necessitates accommodation to the existing system; that is, compromise, allegiance to political regimes, alliances with corrupt parties, and the like.
Satan demanded homage from Jesus as the price of political power. Likewise, in the book of Revelation, the Beast from the sea demanded that the “inhabitants of the earth” render homage to its image if they wished to participate in the empire’s economic life. Political power and influence in this age are not free; they always come with chains!

24 November 2019

The Fourfold Division of the book of Revelation

Book reveals - Photo by João Silas on Unsplash
From Unsplash.com
Revelation consists of a Prologue (1:1-8), the Vision itself (1:9-22:7) and an Epilogue (22:8-21). The Vision falls into four recognizable divisions, each starting with an episode in which John came to be “in the spirit.” 
The first vision begins with John on the isle of Patmos where he "came to be in spirit." This describes how his visionary experience began but also serves to mark out the first major section or vision of the book.
Of relevance is the clause, "I came to be in spirit," and the location, "on the isle of Patmos."

21 November 2019

Revelation - Epilogue (Revelation 22:6-21)

Sunset over the ocean by Unsplash.com
By Unsplash.com
The epilogue concludes the book of Revelation by recalling earlier promises, reiterating warnings against faithlessness, demonstrating by example the necessity to render homage to God alone, and summoning Jesus to come quickly.
In the final paragraph provides testimony and assurances from uncontestable sources to the veracity and trustworthiness of the words of the book of Revelation, which are equated with prophecy and the testimony of Jesus. The book concludes with several calls for Jesus to come quickly, which will result in life for the obedient but a terrible fate for the disobedient.

New Jerusalem Inhabited - (Revelation 21:24-22:5)

Cascading River - Unsplash.com
By Unsplash.com
In the preceding section, the city of New Jerusalem was unveiled with its massive proportions. It would take more than a tiny remnant of saints to populate it. In his continuing vision, John now sees the city populated with an innumerable multitude of redeemed men and women from all nations, even from among the “kings of the earth.”
New Jerusalem is coterminous with the New Creation and equated with the “paradise of God.” All that was lost as a result of Adam’s sin is recovered and restored but, also, infinitely enhanced and expanded. The “curse” is no more, not even the possibility of its return; therefore, the saints with the Lamb will reign “forever and ever.”

New Jerusalem Unveiled - (Revelation 21:9-23)

World City by Unsplash.com
Via Unsplash.com
John has seen already a glimpse of the city of New Jerusalem. However, it is now to be unveiled in all its glory. The next section concentrates on the city’s dimensions.  It must be borne in mind that what is presented is a vision; reality represented in symbolic language.
A city that is twenty-four hundred kilometers square is a physical improbability, if not an impossibility, in the present age; such proportions stagger the human imagination. Likewise, the image of single pearls large enough to be fashioned into city gates is difficult to grasp.

14 November 2019

Greatness in the Kingdom of God

The Death of Jesus
In response to a bid for power by two disciples, Jesus defined just what “greatness” is in the Kingdom of God – self-sacrificial service to others with no expectation of reward – and presented his death as the prime example of just what he meant. “Greatness” in his realm is not measured by wealth, power over others, popular recognition, titles or offices. In fact, political power as exercised in this age is the exact opposite of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. Rather than impose his lordship over others, Jesus “gave his life a ransom for many.”