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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.”

09 November 2019

The Descent of New Jerusalem - (Revelation 21:1-8)

John sees New Jerusalem
The following paragraph brings the third literary division of the book to its conclusion (Revelation 17:1 – 21:8). Having witnessed the destruction of Babylon, the False Prophet, the Beast from the Sea and the Dragon, as well as the final judgment, John is shown a vision of what awaits the faithful at the end of the present age – New Jerusalem descending from heaven to the earth.
Promises made to overcomers in the seven letters to the churches of Asia now find their fulfillment in the New Creation with its “holy city, “Jerusalem.” The pictures presented incorporate language from several Old Testament promises given originally to national Israel. However, the company that receives them is comprised of “peoples,” plural; faithful saints from every nation, tongue, nation, and people.

The Great White Throne of Judgment - (Revelation 20:11-15)

Lake of FIre
The Dragon, the False Prophet, the Beast from the Sea, and Babylon have all been overthrown and destroyed. The conspiracy against the Lamb and his followers only sealed the doom of its perpetrators.
Throughout the book of Revelation, Jesus, the sacrificial Lamb, remains in firm control of events; he uses the malevolent plans of his enemies to implement God’s redemptive plan for the entire cosmos, often in paradoxical and unexpected ways. That plan will culminate in the New Creation.
The time has arrived for the final judgment, an event anticipated at the close of each of the three sevenfold series; the seven seal openings, the seven trumpets, and the seven bowls of wrath.

27 October 2019

Persecution, "Rights" and the Cross

The Crucifixion of Jesus
In some Christian circles, rage and belligerence are, apparently, appropriate “Christian” reactions to persecution, perceived or real, or even to simple criticism.  Such things are signs of society’s hostility to the church and threats to the civil “rights” of believers. Believers must enter the political process to “fight” for their God-given “rights” and privileges.
But angry reactions by Christians to perceived attacks on their “rights” only demonstrate their assimilation to the values of the surrounding pagan society with its values that are contrary to the teachings and example of Jesus, especially to the paradigm of Christ crucified.

Perfect as the Heavenly Father

The Good Samaritan

Christians may be confused or even overwhelmed by the exhortation of Jesus recorded in Matthew 5:48, “therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” “Perfect” is often taken to mean conformance to some unobtainable standard of Divine righteousness. How can any human ever hope to emulate the perfect righteousness of God?
Interpreting this passage accurately necessitates paying heed to context. Matthew 5:48 is part of the conclusion to a larger literary unit within the Sermon on the Mount. Further, the conjunction “therefore” connects the exhortation with what has preceded it. The statement of verse 48 is a clarification of what Jesus just stated in verses 43-47 and the conclusion of the larger literary unit.

26 October 2019

The War and the Judgment of Satan - (Revelation 20:7-10)

The Trinity Detonation
From Unsplash.com

The point has been reached for the judgment and final downfall of the Dragon, the Devil. The book of Revelation in its second major division introduced the cosmic enemies of the Lamb (in chapters 12 through 14):  The Dragon, the Beast from the Sea, the Beast from the Earth, and Babylon the Great. In the third division, chapters 17 through 20, it presents their destruction but in reverse order:  Babylon, the beasts from the sea and the earth and, now, the Dragon.