Revelation Daily Devotional – Day 30

Day 30

Revelation 21

 

Here’s the climactic call to endure in this revelation. Having shown his fellow believers that Christ would keep them through all they were enduring and about to endure, John sees the curtain of time drawn back and reports to his readers the sublimely glorious future awaiting them if they endure to the end. Today, we generally don’t have to endure the direct persecution that these first Christians did. But the need to endure in the midst of a plethora of digital distractions, in an age when pleasures are plentiful, at a time when ridiculing fools have hijacked academia, and when pantheists who masquerade as environmentalists furiously deconstruct Christianity from the public square through their politicking –  the need for believers to endure is just as critical as ever!

Consider what is awaiting us. No more death. No more more pain. For those who love God this part of the revelation is altogether wonder-filled. For those who despise God this reinforcing of the consistent message of Revelation is vile, offensive, and despicable (Rev. 20:8). This just goes to show that the Word of God is delightful to those who love the God of the Word. The Apostle Paul described in terms of fragrances. For those who welcomed Christ’s lordship over them it was as if they enjoyed a sweet beautiful aroma in doing so. But for those who despised Christ and rejected His right to direct their lives it was as if they wallowed in a stench – a stench of death. Let us be a fragrance of life and delight.

Consider what is awaiting us. It’s delights are hinted at throughout the redemption story of the Bible. Hints. You have to become increasingly familiar with the Bible to begin to learn its language. After decades of studying it I am yet to get near plumbing its depths. But this I have discovered: The glory that awaits us is not bound up in heaven but the One who is enthroned there. Union with Him is the goal of salvation. Peace with Him is the source of all peace. He is our awaiting glory. He is the One who radiates the light of heaven. Miss Him and you actually miss the very message of the Bible. He will make all things new, but it can start now. Have you been made new?

 

Dr. Andrew Corbett

For more articles and discussion on the Book of Revelation, visit-

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Revelation Daily Devotional – Day 29

Day 29

Revelation 20:11-15

[Rev. 20:11] ¶ Then I saw a large white throne and the one who was seated on it; the earth and the heaven fled from his presence, and no place was found for them. [Rev. 20:12] And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne. Then books were opened, and another book was opened—the book of life. So the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to their deeds. [Rev. 20:13] The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and Death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each one was judged according to his deeds. [Rev. 20:14] Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death—the lake of fire. [Rev. 20:15] If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, that person was thrown into the lake of fire. 

“All good things come to an end” is only the first of what should be considered an incomplete expression. A latter half should be added, “so that something better can start.” Scientists tell us that the universe is winding down. Eventually, the energy that is within the cosmos will dissipate and with it the very fabric that binds all matter. Perhaps what John foresees, “earth and sky fled away” is Biblical language for what scientists tell us will happen. Time as we know it will come to an end. When it does the Judge of the Universe will be seated in judgment before Whom all will appear.

The Apostle Paul told us that every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Christ is Lord (Philippians 2:10-11). That will happen most honourably and most horribly on this “Last Day” (John 6:39-44; 11:24; 12:48). I have chosen to make my confession on that Day one of honour. Have you?

On this Day, the books will be opened. The Scriptures speaks of God keeping “books” in which our deeds are recorded, our prayers are registered, and our words transcribed. While these books are important, they are less important than the Book mentioned in the closing verse of this chapter: the Book of Life (Philippians 4:3; Revelation 3:5; 13:8; 17:8).

The Book of Life is a separate book to the books that record of deeds, prayers and words which means that there is another reason why someone’s name would be placed in it. This reason is grounded in the grace of God. That is, it is not because we ‘do’ something that we are saved from sin and made right before God. Christianity is not spelt -D-O-, rather (because of Christ’s saving work on our behalf) it is spelt: -D-O-N-E-. Every believer should memorise Ephesians 2:8-9. But every believer should understand that God will open “books” not just “the Book”. That is, while it is on the basis of the truth proclaimed in Ephesians 2:8-9 that our names are written in the Book of Life, it is on the basis of Ephesians 2:10 that our positive deeds, prayers and words are recorded in “books”.

Good works are not the root of our salvation – they are the fruit of our salvation! What you do, pray, and say, matters. And it will matter for eternity. If you have not yet determined to glorify God with your talents, time, tongue or treasure, maybe in light of the “books” of God it might be a good day to start doing so.

Andrew Corbett

http://www.andrewcorbett.net/e-books/index.html#tmebitb

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Revelation Daily Devotional – Day 28

Day 28

Revelation 20:1-10

[Rev. 20:1] ¶ Then I saw an angel descending from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the abyss and a huge chain.
[Rev. 20:2] He seized the dragon—the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan—and tied him up for a thousand years.  [Rev. 20:3] The angel then threw him into the abyss and locked and sealed it so that he could not deceive the nations until the one thousand years were finished. (After these things he must be released for a brief period of time.)
[Rev. 20:4] ¶ Then I saw thrones and seated on them were those who had been given authority to judge. I also saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of the testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. These had not worshiped the beast or his image and had refused to receive his mark on their forehead or hand. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.  [Rev. 20:5] (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were finished.) This is the first resurrection.  [Rev. 20:6] Blessed and holy is the one who takes part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.
[Rev. 20:7] ¶ Now when the thousand years are finished, Satan will be released from his prison [Rev. 20:8] and will go out to deceive the nations at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to bring them together for the battle. They are as numerous as the grains of sand in the sea. [Rev. 20:9] They went up on the broad plain of the earth and encircled the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and devoured them completely. [Rev. 20:10] And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet are too, and they will be tormented there day and night forever and ever.

Questions always abound when things seem to go wrong. People were being martyred, none the least were the great apostles- Peter (who was recently crucified upside down) and Paul (who was beheaded). It seemed like Satan was triumphing. How much worse could it get? With all of this happening in the background, John sees thrones. Christians were suffering because of things being decreed from temporal thrones. But these were not temporal thrones revealed to John. He was seeing the Church seated as Paul had described in Ephesians 2:6. 

Rather than the Church being the victims of Satanic plots the Church will be victors over Satanic schemes! The Church would triumph – not in the temporal-political sense but in the spiritual sense. It would more than endure – it would grow. It would bring the spiritually dead as described in Ephesians 2:4 to life as described in Ephesians 2:5 a resurrection referred to by Christ in John 3:3 as being “born again’. Have you been experienced the blessing of this “first resurrection”? 

Not until Christ’s purposes for the Church on earth is nearly completed will Satan be allowed to wreak such havoc again. But this would not be for a “thousand” years. A thousand is often used in Scripture to signify ‘not meant to be counted’. In this Revelation passage it indicates how long Christ will reign – “forever” (Revelation 1:6; 11:15).

Today, believers are members of the same triumphant Church which John saw reaching every tribe, nation and tongue (Revelation 7:9). This triumph is not temporal-political but spiritual where the dead souls are made alive through the power of the Spirit as the Word is proclaimed. Let us join the triumphant by proclaiming the Lordship of Christ in word and deed, at home and wherever the Lamb may choose to send us.

Andrew Corbett

www.andrewcorbett.net

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Revelation Daily Devotional – Day 27

Day 27

Revelation 19:10-21

[Rev. 19:10] So I threw myself down at his feet to worship him, but he said, “Do not do this! I am only a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony about Jesus. Worship God, for the testimony about Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”
[Rev. 19:11] ¶ Then I saw heaven opened and here came a white horse! The one riding it was called “Faithful” and “True,” and with justice he judges and goes to war. [Rev. 19:12] His eyes are like a fiery flame and there are many diadem crowns on his head. He has a name written that no one knows except himself. [Rev. 19:13] He is dressed in clothing dipped in blood, and he is called the Word of God. [Rev. 19:14] The armies that are in heaven, dressed in white, clean, fine linen, were following him on white horses. [Rev. 19:15] From his mouth extends a sharp sword, so that with it he can strike the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod, and he stomps the winepress of the furious wrath of God, the All-powerful. [Rev. 19:16] He has a name written on his clothing and on his thigh: “King of kings and Lord of lords.”
[Rev. 19:17] ¶ Then I saw one angel standing in the sun, and he shouted in a loud voice to all the birds flying high in the sky:
“Come, gather around for the great banquet of God,
[Rev. 19:18] to eat your fill of the flesh of kings,
the flesh of generals,
the flesh of powerful people,
the flesh of horses and those who ride them,
and the flesh of all people, both free and slave,
and small and great!”
[Rev. 19:19] ¶ Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to do battle with the one who rode the horse and with his army. [Rev. 19:20] Now the beast was seized, and along with him the false prophet who had performed the signs on his behalf–signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. Both of them were thrown alive into the lake of fire burning with sulfur. [Rev. 19:21] The others were killed by the sword that extended from the mouth of the one who rode the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves with their flesh. 

By now you should be aware that the message to worship Christ exclusively is one of the predominant themes of this majestic revelation. Revelation 19:10 demolishes the idea that any worship shown to Jesus was merely reverential respect. Here we see that even the act of worship, that is, bowing in surrender, to anyone other than Christ is forbidden. The angel who is transmitting Christ’s revelation to John expressing and immediately forbids John from showing any form of worship to him. “Worship God.” 

In the famous painting depicting Christ from Revelation 3:20 (“Behold I stand at the door and knock…”), called “The Light of the World”, William Holman Hunt shows Jesus knocking at a door in an overgrown orchard at night. Christ is holding a lit lantern. But this glowing lantern seems unnecessary because of the brilliant moonlight which enables the viewer to clearly make out the scene. F.W. Boreham was in London in 1924 and visited Mr Hunt’s famous painting at St. Paul’s Cathedral. He understood that the artist meant to show that there was no door-handle on the outside of the door. He understood that the overgrown vegetation over the door meant to show that the inhabitants rarely ventured outside. But the lantern? There was no need for it. 

Yet Boreham knew that Mr Hunt wasted nothing in his allegorical art. He remarked to his wife that this was a mystery to him. A kindly older gentlemen standing just behind Dr. Boreham interrupted with an apology for eaves-dropping. He excused himself by pointing out that he was no further away than Mr Boreham’s elbow when he expressed this mystery. “I knew Mr Hunt well” he said. “If you would permit me, I can enlighten you with what Mr Hunt himself told me about the lantern.” F.W. Boreham welcomed the offer. The artist’s friend explained that Mr Hunt wanted to convey that Christ was knocking on the door of a lukewarm church. Because there is no handle on the outside, the occupants must open up to Christ and invite Him in. But this church is located on the edge of the orchard adjacent to the wild woods. While Christ wanted entry to the church, it wasn’t to be for too long because He really wanted to lead the occupants out of their dwelling and to journey with Him into the darkness of the wild woods – hence His lantern was lit and trimmed. The church becomes lukewarm when it ceases to venture out into the darkness with the light of Christ.

Christ is still knocking and He still bears a lit lantern to guide His Church into the darkness to rescue a lost world. Let us open up to Christ and enjoy our times with Him but recognise that He bids us to not just “go” but to “go with Him”.

Andrew Corbett

www.andrewcorbett.net

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Revelation Daily Devotional – Day 26

Day 26

Revelation 19:1-9

[Rev. 19:1] ¶ After these things I heard what sounded like the loud voice of a vast throng in heaven, saying,
“Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,
[Rev. 19:2]  because his judgments are true and just.
For he has judged the great prostitute
who corrupted the earth with her sexual immorality,
and has avenged the blood of his servants poured out by her own hands!”
[Rev. 19:3] ¶ Then a second time the crowd shouted, “Hallelujah!” The smoke rises from her forever and ever. [Rev. 19:4] The twenty-four elders and the four living creatures threw themselves to the ground and worshiped God, who was seated on the throne, saying: “Amen! Hallelujah!”  

[Rev. 19:5] ¶ Then a voice came from the throne, saying:
“Praise our God
all you his servants,
and all you who fear Him,
both the small and the great!”
[Rev. 19:6] ¶ Then I heard what sounded like the voice of a vast throng, like the roar of many waters and like loud crashes of thunder. They were shouting:
“Hallelujah!
For the Lord our God, the All-powerful, reigns!
[Rev. 19:7]  Let us rejoice and exult
and give him glory,
because the wedding celebration of the Lamb has come,
and his bride has made herself ready.
[Rev. 19:8]  She was permitted to be dressed in bright, clean, fine linen” (for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints).
[Rev. 19:9] ¶ Then the angel said to me, “Write the following: Blessed are those who are invited to the banquet at the wedding celebration of the Lamb!” He also said to me, “These are the true words of God.”

“Hallelujah!”

What is the primary purpose of the Church? Some claim it is evangelism. Certainly this is important, but it is not primary. Consider how much time the New Testament takes to call the Church to evangelise. Compared with everything else it says, evangelism (as important as it it undoubtedly is) is not considered the primary purpose of the Church.

In fact, it can easily be shown that evangelism is actually the result not the cause of the Church fulfilling it’s primary mission.

The Church’s primary purpose is gloriously revealed in this passage and it is a timely reminder for us today who live a world too busy and too demanding to return to: worship God.

Worship is not limited to, or merely the act of, singing a song in church. Worship is the expression of sincere surrender to God and acknowledgment of His supremacy in all things. Evangelism is a subset of worship because it calls people to surrender to God and thus turn from worshipping idols to worshipping the True.

One day we will stand in the presence of God and feel utter worship around us as we join the throng who roar and thunder their sheer devotion to Lamb seated on the throne. But today we can join with all heaven and be part of the privilege of worshiping God right where we are.

Andrew Corbett

www.andrewcorbett.net

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Revelation Daily Devotional – Day 25

Day 25

Revelation 18:1-24

Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, for God has given judgment for you against her!
Revelation 18:20

The age old question, “Where is God when it hurts?” is answered here. In the midst of all the evil and suffering that these first century believers were assaulted with, their inevitable sense of divine abandonment must have been palpable. We are no less subject to this as well. Things go bad for us. When assumed that since we had given our lives to God that He would – He must – assure that things go well for us! But then life happens. We are subject to such futile things as opposition, strained relationships, sickness, loss, tragedy (Romans 8:20). But God never lets such futility go too far or for too long. Such things are designed to prepare His children for their glorious eternal destinies and through their persevering faith in God in the midst of these trials they are to reveal to the world the glory of God. 

The rejoicing charged here is not over the demise of their persecutors but over their vindication for declaring with their lives and testimonies that Jesus Christ was Lord. The instrument of demons had paraded as the holy instrument of God and saw their war against Christ’s apostles and prophets as doing God’s will, but God Himself would have the last word!

Let God have the last word in your life. Remember, many of the first century apostles and prophets laid down their lives in their attempts to reach out to the persecutors. They were honoring their Lord’s injunction to do so. So should we today. If we took this more seriously, we might find that increasingly our message about culturally sensitive matters may well be increasingly vindicated as well.

 

Andrew Corbett

www.andrewcorbett.net/e-books

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Revelation Daily Devotional – Day 24

Day 24

Revelation 17:1-18

[Rev. 17:1] ¶ Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and spoke to me. “Come,” he said, “I will show you the condemnation and punishment of the great prostitute who sits on many waters, [Rev. 17:2] with whom the kings of the earth committed sexual immorality and the earth’s inhabitants got drunk with the wine of her immorality.” [Rev. 17:3] So he carried me away in the Spirit to a wilderness, and there I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns.  [Rev. 17:4] Now the woman was dressed in purple and scarlet clothing, and adorned with gold, precious stones, and pearls. She held in her hand a golden cup filled with detestable things and unclean things from her sexual immorality.[Rev. 17:5] On her forehead was written a name, a mystery: “Babylon the Great, the Mother of prostitutes and of the detestable things of the earth.”  [Rev. 17:6] I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of the saints and the blood of those who testified to Jesus. I was greatly astounded when I saw her. [Rev. 17:7] But the angel said to me, “Why are you astounded? I will interpret for you the mystery of the woman and of the beast with the seven heads and ten horns that carries her. [Rev. 17:8] The beast you saw was, and is not, but is about to come up from the abyss and then go to destruction. The inhabitants of the earth—all those whose names have not been written in the book of life since the foundation of the world—will be astounded when they see that the beast was, and is not, but is to come. [Rev. 17:9] (This requires a mind that has wisdom.) The seven heads are seven mountains the woman sits on. They are also seven kings: [Rev. 17:10] five have fallen; one is, and the other has not yet come, but whenever he does come, he must remain for only a brief time. [Rev. 17:11] The beast that was, and is not, is himself an eighth king and yet is one of the seven, and is going to destruction. [Rev. 17:12] The ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but will receive ruling authority as kings with the beast for one hour. [Rev. 17:13] These kings have a single intent, and they will give their power and authority to the beast. [Rev. 17:14] They will make war with the Lamb, but the Lamb will conquer them, because he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those accompanying the Lamb are the called, chosen, and faithful.” [Rev. 17:15] ¶ Then the angel said to me, “The waters you saw (where the prostitute is seated) are peoples, multitudes, nations, and languages. [Rev. 17:16] The ten horns that you saw, and the beast—these will hate the prostitute and make her desolate and naked. They will consume her flesh and burn her up with fire. [Rev. 17:17] For God has put into their minds to carry out his purpose by making a decision to give their royal power to the beast until the words of God are fulfilled. [Rev. 17:18] As for the woman you saw, she is the great city that has sovereignty over the kings of the earth.”

What is the worst sin? Outright rejection of God? Apparently not. Apparently it is unfaithfulness – that is, when those who have entered into a covenant with God are unfaithful to God by worshiping idols. When Covenant-People pretend to be faithful while committing idolatry, they were charged with “prostitution” (Isaiah 1:21; Jer. 2:20). Because marriage is a divine picture of being in covenant with God, marital unfaithfulness is considered the worst sexual sin. If you are married, treasure your spouse and do not take them for granted.

Scholars have noted that the Prostitute of Revelation 17 is dressed in the garb of High Priest with some notable differences. Where the Old Testament High Priest had “Holy unto the Lord” (Exo. 28:36-38) across the band of his turban, this character has “Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth’s abominations.”

John reveals that this character was committing (spiritual) prostitution with surrounding nations and in particular the nation that ruled the world whose kings were ruling them. And while the Great Prostitute had been waging a war against the Lamb and His servants, this foreign king would soon join in fighting against the Lamb and His Church. He would be the sixth in a line of kings. He would only carry out his war for 42 months which is half of 7 years. Perhaps, there is a message here for John’s original audience. Seven speaks of complete. Three and half, whether stated in days or months, or even as “a time, times and half a time”, may well indicate incomplete. If so, then John is revealing that the persecution they were facing their political masters would not wipe them out – it would be incomplete.

This is why Revelation 17:14 must have been far more than a quaint wall plaque for these mid-first century believers! While the beleaguered Church would have to endure a relatively short time of persecution and tribulation from two fronts, one religious and one political, John reveals that these enemies would suddenly become enemies of each other with the political persecutor brutally winning out. But the consoling revelation in this passage is that the Lamb will ultimately win out. It should still console Christ-followers today.

 

Andrew Corbett

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