Good Morning, Siblings!
Today’s readings are Revelation 1-3
This is our LAST book in the Bible!
I want to begin by reminding you that the Left Behind series is a work of fiction so it’s best to clear that out of your mind before you begin this study. Revelation is one of the most studied books in the Bible, especially today. People who have no interest in the Bible as a whole or even in the faith still come around to study Revelation as a means of anticipating and somewhat preparing for the future. It is ironic that many will dismiss the word of YHWH, giving it no precedence in their lives whatsoever, and yet when they come to Revelation they’re all in.
My sister had a conversation with another mom last week. Knowing how deeply she studies the Word, her friend asked her if she thought we were living in Revelations. Patti expressed immediate surprise and responded, “No, I think we’re living in Zechariah!”. This confused her friend so Patti went on to explain, “Revelations is important but the Bible started telling us about end times in Genesis (Gen 49:1) when Jacob said, “Gather around me and I will tell you what will befall in the last day..” (paraphrased). He was talking to the tribes of Israel and there’s some real prophesy there. If you want to read visions about the end times that we are living in and can be verified and translated accurately, you need to read Zechariah and THEN read revelations. Because ya know Zechariah is The Godfather of the vision mafia, but we can actually translate his visions and see what he’s describing. Did you know the nuclear bomb is described in Zechariah?” Patti furthered this conversation and I’ve no doubt that her friend went home that evening and put a new bend line in her Bible’s spine.
And so, with the foundational Scriptures under our belt, we stand before Revelations. I’ve said, time and again throughout this study, that it is more important to know the prophecy itself rather than one person’s interpretation of the prophecy. As we enter into this book of the end times, filled with prophecies that have yet to be fulfilled, this becomes more important than ever. Here is something to think on: The Pharisees did not recognize Messiah because they had set up some preconceived notions about how He was going to come and what He was going to do. He did not do exactly as they expected Him to and so they figured He could not possibly be the Messiah. Their interpretation of prophecy acted as a stumbling block and prevented them from recognizing the fulfillment of that prophecy. With so many books, movies, and speculations on Revelation in our media I wonder, have we done the same? There is one vital point that we must allow into this thought process and that is this:
Within our human reasoning, we must always allow room for God to be God.
Having said that, and seeing as how Revelation is such a prophetic book, I am bringing you a treat for this book. I tend to be more scholastic minded when it comes to Bible study. I look at historical facts, culture, and translations for my rabbit trails. I’m not one easily lent to speculation and when it comes to prophecy I am satisfied just letting it be words on the paper until it becomes something more.
However, this is an area in which my sister’s mind works entirely different from mine. She is a rabbit trail guru. She is great at reading unfulfilled prophecy and seeing the possibilities within it. And so, she has been writing away on notes for this book which I will be sharing with you over the next few days. Her name is Patti, and I think you’ll really enjoy this journey into Revelations with her.
Oh, by the way, some people are bothered when others write Revelation in plural form. I know this because y’all have messaged me about it. The name is singular but it does contain many events, and on top of that Southerners tend to pluralize a lot of things that others don’t. All of this to say that both my sister and myself will use it in both singular and plural form, as the mood hits and the fingers type, so prepare accordingly.
And now, Patti’s Notes On Revelations:
I think the blessing that we will have by reading revelations is not because we figure it all out. it’s because we have listened to all the words of prophesy (the whole bible) and now we have been given this, not to scare us, but to give us the knowledge we will need when all these days are finally upon us. We won’t be confused. It will all make sense.
So why can’t we understand all of these visions now? If I knew a train was going to derail I would try to stop it – and that would change the entire course. Us interfering in the Father’s plan is not part of the vision, but the Father has given us these signs and things to look for so that when they begin to happen we, as Believers who know His word, can help others. We will know it’s all from God and as tragic as it will be for some people, we are given the “signs and wonders” and when we pay attention and make it a point to know His word, this will prove to be a great blessing to ourselves and to others. We will have a battle plan and won’t be caught without “oil in our lamps”.
Others, however, will be caught off guard. Revelations is simply pulling together the entire bible and chapter one is basically telling us to just listen, “Shema Israel”. You’ll recall from our study that when YHWH says to “Shema” it doesn’t just mean to hear. This is our call to attention. To sit up straight and prepare to hear and do. The Father is saying, “Hear o Israel. Really hear me. This is important. Prepare for action. Here is what you need to know.”
Another thing that just came to me with Rev 1:3. It says blessed is he who hears and reads, it doesn’t say he who knows it. The rest of the Bible says things like write the words on our hearts or put them in the frontlets (Deut 6:8). We are to KNOW those words. But when it comes to Revelation, we are to read and HEAR. It’s like John is saying “just listen… hear me out. It will sound crazy but just listen”. I say stuff like that all the time! When it comes to the Bible I’m like an infomercial and I find myself continually exclaiming to folks “But wait!!! There’s more!!” ? For many today, Revelation is like Gods attention grabbing infomercial.
Rev 1:15 Feet like burnished brass? This right here is what divides many people. Does Jesus have blonde hair and blue eyes or did he actually look like what we’d expect of a man of middle eastern ancestry? I personally think he looked middle eastern but at the end of the day, I don’t care if he’s purple. I just pray I know Him when I see him.
John was ultimately sentenced to Patmos (Revelation 1:9). Patmos was a small, rocky and barren area where many criminals of Rome were sent to serve out their prison terms in harsh conditions. There were mines on the island that the criminals were forced to work in. Why would they have sent John to this island? At the time, the early Christians were considered a strange cult group who were known for causing trouble within the Empire. After John had arrived, he began to have visions that were written into the Book of Revelation of the Bible.”
So he wrote about our future fate while suffering through his. I think this context helps us to get a fuller picture of his somber state of mind.
Revelaton 2 details a series of letter to churches. Imagine if John was sending out letters like this to churches today! Imagine if you were in one of these churches that received a letter. Would you be defensive or would you step back and take a look? I think people in John’s time were more willing to both “listen” and “hear”. Today, I fear many are deaf by choice and too quick to be offended.
Ok can I stop to mention the 800 pound gorilla in Revelation 2:1? Seven stars, seven branches on the menorah (YHWH designed it in Exodus 25:31-37). These letters threaten to take their menorahs if they don’t straighten up. Rev 2:5. Remember that the early “Christians” were Jews who followed Yeshua. They had menorahs and kept the feasts.
It’s worth noting that the Bible says we are at war with the principalities. This messenger (aka angel) was an overseeing principality sent by God himself. It was a good principality. In my head this proves that there are principalities battling constantly. That’s just a flight of thought that popped in my head.
Revelations 2:6 I’m looking up info on Nicolaitans and wow! They were power hungry. They had their own belief system, loosely based off their “Christian” teachings. They appeared to desire to be a religious authority but were mixing in pagan beliefs. As we’ve seen syncretism was prevalent during Biblical times and it is still very much so today. The Nicolaitians were founders of some modern religions and their principles are definitely something you might want to look into further. If YHWH hates their works, I sure don’t want to be caught living in a likeminded fashion.
I love these letters to the seven assemblies but keep in mind they already had these prophesies. They already had the visions from Daniel and had been warned what would befall them in Dan 10:14 and in the visions from Zechariah and Ezekiel. They believed in the visions and probably searched them out as much as people today try to figure out Revelations. I don’t think we can truly understand Revelation without first learning all the visions they were already aware of.
I’ll move on now.
Rev 2:24-25: It appears that many were teaching and leading people astray with mixed beliefs. To those who didn’t know better or have access to the teaching He doesn’t punish them for that.
Rev 3 is the letter to the USA, oops I meant Sardis ?. Okay, I was kidding but I’d be surprised if you don’t see the similarities to the United States in this letter.
- Sardis was one of the most powerful places in the world
- They looked great but they were dead inside. Complacent. They are even told to wake up!
- I heard a preacher say, with regards to the United States, that we were wealthy on the outside but spiritually bankrupt. I see a lot of the modern day religion in this letter
Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Rev 3:2
He told them to wake up. It sounds like they are merely showing up out of habit but they are lacking motivation. They aren’t diligently seeking or doing like much of the world today.
Rev 3:3 mentions the thief in the night saying. This seems to be referencing 1 Thessalonians 5, read the whole chapter, 1 Thess 5:12-15 especially! This is what they’re doing. They most likely had knowledge of this letter. This chapter in Revelations seems to be repeating it. I wonder if this shamed them and opened their eyes. Is he quoting Paul or did Paul simply receive the same message?
15 “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. – Rev 3:15-16
This is like a modern day mic drop. I need to jump in the boiling water because I’m a little lukewarm at times too!
Rev 3:10 Guard with endurance!! Like Leviticus 26:2 guard with reverence. Don’t be lukewarm. You can’t just dip your toes in the water and expect it to be a bath. You have to jump in!
Don’t be a Sardis!
We end Revelations 3 with a statement that Messiah often made at the end of a parable. “He who has an ear, let him hear…” This is to say, to anyone who would listen, let them listen. To those who do not want to hear the truth, let them cast it aside. This is the statement tossed out when truth has been expressed, warnings issued, and the recipient has to decide if they will heed it or ignore it, their decision and the consequences of their decision, are in their hands.
Shema, Israel. Stand at attention. The Father is moving.
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!
May YHWH bless the reading of His Word!