It seems that Christians throughout history have commonly believed that Christ would return during their lifetime…
The early New Testament apostles believed this until it became clear to them that His return would not occur that quickly.
So how can we know when Christ will return?
The answer is found in the prophecies that are in the Bible, which is our Operations Manual for Life.
We find in the Book of Revelation one of the most challenging books in the Bible, yet well worth the effort to study and comprehend.
Unlike all other New Testament books, Revelation is a prophetic book concerning the events of the last days, before Christ’s return to Earth.
The name recognition comes from the Greek term apokalypsis, meaning “unveiling” or “revelation.”
Unveiled in the book are the invisible forces and spiritual powers at work in the world and in the heavenly realms, including forces at war against the church.
Although unseen, these powers control future events and realities.
The unveiling comes to the Apostle John through a series of magnificent visions.
The visions unfold like a vivid science fiction novel.
The strange language, imagery, and symbolism in Revelation were not quite as foreign to first-century Christians as they are to us today.
The numbers, symbols, and word pictures John used held political and religious significance to believers in Asia Minor.
These followers were familiar with the Old Testament prophetic writings of Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and other Jewish texts.
Today, we often need help deciphering these images.
To further complicate the book of Revelation, John saw visions of both his present world and of events yet to take place in the future.
At times John witnessed multiple images and different perspectives of the same event.
These visions were active, evolving, and challenging to the imagination.
In the Bible we learn that angels are messengers from God…
Dorothy Sayers’ moving cycle of radio plays on the life of Jesus may be the most penetrating account of His words and deeds written in the twentieth century.
The following excerpt gives us a taste of her imaginative reenactment:
“Salome: The Master’s body stolen!—what will His mother say?—
And John! (in sudden alarm)
Oh, Mary! Those two men there, in white.
Mary Cleophas: They don’t seem like robbers.
Salome: They seem more like—I am afraid of them.
Gabriel: There is nothing to be afraid of.
Mary Cleophas: Sirs, whether you are angels or men—
Raphael: Why look for the living among the dead?
Salome: Alas, sir, we were looking—
Gabriel: I know. You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, whom they crucified.
He is risen; He is not here.
Behold the place where they laid Him.
Salome: He is risen?
Raphael: As He said. Go now and tell His disciples—and Peter—that He has gone before them, to lead them as of old into Galilee.
Gabriel: There shall you see Him . That is the message we were charged to deliver.”
— Dorothy Sayers,
In the above radio drama, we find angels of God doing what they were created to do — as their name means “messenger.”
In Revelation 10 we meet the most extraordinary “Angel,” often portrayed in the Old Testament as the Angel of the Lord.
His description leads many to believe that He is in fact the Lord Jesus, and His message is as pertinent to us today as it was to John and the first readers of Revelation.
The sounding of the seventh trumpet will bring about the full completion of God’s judgment plan, and His word is both sweet and bitter to those for whom He gives it.
After the first six seals were broken in Revelation 6, we were expecting immediately to move on to the seventh seal.
Instead, we were held up by the two-part interlude recorded in chapter 7.
“Interlude A” was about the 144,000 sealed on earth before the Great Tribulation;
“Interlude B” concerned the great multitude in heaven after the Tribulation.
This heightened our desire to learn what happened when the Lamb at last broke the seventh seal.
Now the pattern repeats.
We are held up by a two-part interlude.
“Interlude A” takes up all of chapter 10.
Attention is on the prophetic Word of God in the first century (as experienced by John the prophet).
“Interlude B” takes up Revelation 11:1-13.
There the focus is the prophetic Word of God during the final tribulation.
In the opening act of chapter 10, we see a mighty Angel appeared with an open book and announced that time would end.
The Angel announces the final universal judgment, and this glorious Angel descends and shouts, and “the thunders” replied with a judgment message that John was not allowed to record.
In chapter 11, we read that the mystery of God would be fulfilled during the time of the seventh trumpet.
The mystery of God has to do with God’s plan to punish all evildoers and to usher in the kingdom of His Son.
John was commanded to eat the little book, that is, he was to read and meditate on the judgments recorded in it.
The prophet Ezekiel also had a vision in which he was told to eat a scroll, this one filled with judgments against the nation of Israel (Ezekiel 3:1-27).
The taste was sweet in his mouth, but the scroll’s contents brought destruction—just like the small scroll John was told to eat.
God’s Word tastes sweet to us as believers because it brings encouragement, but it sours our stomach because we have to warn unbelievers of the coming judgment.
The reality of judgment and hell is foreign to our culture, but it is often talked about in the Bible.
One phrase summarizes the horror of hell. “God isn’t there.”
In hell, there’s no one to comfort you and no music to soothe you.
It’s a place where poets don’t write of love and minstrels don’t sing of hope, for love and hope were passengers on the last ship.
The final vessel has departed, and the anthem of hell has only two words:
According to Jesus hell knows only one sound, the “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 22:13).
From hell comes a woeful, unending moan as its inhabitants realize the opportunity they have missed.
What they would give for one more chance. But that chance is gone (Hebrews 9:27).
Hell is a place where you will spend eternity separated from God.
So what is hell like?
Well let me just start by saying it’s a place where you wouldn’t want to see your worst enemy go to.
Before I go on, I’d like you to listen to this man’s testimony.
Bill Wiese (a California real estate agent) on November 23, 1998 had an experience where God allowed him to experience hell for 23 minutes, as he was taken out of his body by God and found himself “traveling, journeying, and falling” (these are his words) 3700 miles to the near-center of the earth into a rock walled prison cell containing 13 foot reptilian like demons with human forms.
There are several voices like Bill, we’re God has allowed these people to have this experience in order that they may warn people of the reality of hell, so that they would not go there.
I’m going to include a condensed version of Bill’s testimony here, because I think it’s very important that we understand that EVERYTHING the Bible says is true, and that there is a heaven to gain and a hell to shun.
The Bible contains God’s instructions and road map, not only on how to live your life, but most importantly how to gain heaven.
And so the B.I.B.L.E. = Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth?
We are instructed, in the Bible, to meditate on God’s Word day and night, which means we are to internalize it and get it deep within our spirit.
New King James Version
20 My son, give attention to my words;
Incline your ear to my sayings.
21 Do not let them depart from your eyes;
Keep them in the midst of your heart;
22 For they are life to those who find them,
And health to all their flesh.
Selah (let us pause and calmly think about these things)
Tuesday, May 17
The Winning Walk
by Dr Ed Young
AN ACQUIRED TASTE
“And I went to the angel, telling him to give me the little book. And he said to me, ‘Take it, and eat it; and it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.’”
— Revelation 10:9
When the angel appeared to him, John got out his notebook and planned to record what the angel said.
But the angel told him to put down the pen, and to take the little book out of his hands.
Then the angel said, “Eat this book.” Salt? Pepper? A little catsup?
That’s not it, is it? He is saying that we are to take the Word of the Living God.
We are not just to study it for facts, or insight, or out of a sense of duty.
We are to take this book and consume it, and let it nourish us, let it refresh us, let it feed us, let it give us life.
If you really want to develop a Christian personality, that is what it takes.
You don’t have to eat a whole chapter at a time. Just take a verse and eat it. Then, let it feed you, and nourish you – and change your life.
Come join the Adventure!