Archive for August, 2012

Soul Sleep

There is a popular, although not a majority, teaching which says that when we die, we are not conscious of anything and are in a state of sleep until the resurrection. That’s not what I am writing about. What I am writing about is the two different ways that someone’s soul can be asleep in the here and now.

The first type of sleep is completely natural. The natural, carnal, unregenerate human is asleep to the things of God. In fact, he is probably oblivious to spiritual things. If not, he believes they are foolishness.

But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. (1 Corinthians 2:14 NASB)

For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18 NASB)

Because of this deep sleep, which is also spiritual death, it takes a supernatural force to awaken them from this sleep. God has provided such a force, and it is His Word. The only way to bring faith to life is for some one to hear the Word of God and believe it.

How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!” However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, “LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. (Romans 10:14-17 NASB)

And so the call goes forth to all who are willing to hear to wake up, in the same way turning on a bright light can wake someone from sleep. We shine the light of Jesus and ask them to choose to rise and live.

But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. For this reason it says,
“Awake, sleeper,
And arise from the dead,
And Christ will shine on you.” (Ephesians 5:13, 14 NASB)

But there is another type of soul sleep. It can affect Christians who become comfortable with their level of growth and decide to stay there. The enemy lulls them to sleep and they become unaware of their backsliding. For staying at one level is not possible. We are either moving forward or sliding backward.
One question we can reflect on is this: was there a time in the past when I was more on fire for God? When I had more zeal and was bearing more fruit? If you can say yes to any or all of those questions, you are in a backslidden condition and need to get back on the road to heaven.

Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts. (Romans 13:11-14 NASB)

I am convinced that this condition was what happened to the church at Ephesus in Revelation chapter 2. They didn’t hold an elders meeting one day and decide to leave their first love. It was a gradual, unintentional process. If we discover we are asleep, or starting to get drowsy, we née to do what Jesus commanded the Ephesians to do.

But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place-unless you repent. (Revelation 2:4, 5 NASB)

So let’s have a wake up call. We can’t wake up sinners in the darkness if we are asleep in the light! I love the way the late Keith Green put it. (edited for space)

Do you see, do you see
All the people sinking down?
Don’t you care? Don’t you care?
Are you going to let them drown?
How can you be so numb
Not to care if they come?
Don’t close your eyes and pretend the job’s done!

Open up, open up
And give yourself away.
You see the need
You hear the cries
So how can you delay?
God’s calling and you’re the one,
But like Jonah you run.
He’s told you to speak but you keep holding it in.
Oh, can’t you see it’s such sin?
The world is sleeping in the dark
That the church just can’t fight
’cause it’s asleep in the light!
How can you be so numb
Not to care if they come?
Don’t close your eyes and pretend the job’s done!

20120820-231953.jpg

God Listens To Abba

Many children have terms of endearment for their parents and grandparents. While these names may not make sense to an outsider, to those inside the relationship those names evoke the fondest of memories. One such term that is used in the New Testament is “Abba” and it means “daddy”.

The term Abba conveys a sense of utter trust and intimacy between a child and a father. So much so that it is even carried on into adulthood. It was in the Garden as Jesus prayed on the night he was betrayed, “Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.” (Mark 14:36 NASB) In His hour of deepest sorrow and emotional pain, Jesus cries out to the Father with the most intimate name he knows – Abba. While His Father is high and exalted above all the universe, He is also “Daddy”.

I read the story of a tourist in Israel years ago who was walking with his tour guide in a residential neighborhood. As the walked, they saw a man park his car in front of a house. Immediately two small children ran out the front door to welcome him home from work, crying out “Abba! Abba!” until he hugged and kissed them and carried them back into the house.

It is that same spirit that we have as Christians in our hearts, because God is now our Father and we are his children. Paul wrote about that relationship in letters to Rome and the churches in Galatia.

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery leading again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry, “Abba, Father.” (Romans 8:15 NET)

And because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, who calls “Abba! Father!” (Galatians 4:6 NET)

Think about that! We now have the privilege of using the intimate name that Jesus himself used when addressing is Father! And because of the love relationship we have with God, we can call Him Abba because we have been brought into the family as adopted children.

I think that is what the Hebrew writer had in mind when he said this:

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16 NKJV)

We don’t have the boldness of a trusted advisor or even a daily servant. We have the same boldness to enter into His presence as the King’s children have. It is not based on talent, experience, or status. We can come to our Abba Father at any time simply because He is our Daddy and we know how much He loves us!

The Apostle John summed it up best:

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:1, 2 NIV)

20120820-004026.jpg

Being Like Andrew

I like to do biographical studies in the Bible. It keeps things fresh and sometimes it helps when I get an overview of someone’s life instead of looking just at single instances. One person I find fascinating, even though little is said about him, is the Apostle Andrew.
Andrew was Peter’s brother, and actually became a disciple before him. While he is usually mentioned fourth in the lists of Apostles, it becomes apparent that his brother Peter was part of Jesus’ inner circle. Yet there is never any mention of envy or jealousy on Andrew’s part. Rather than let pride rule him and become resentful of Peter, he remains where Jesus has placed him, confident that God knows what is best.
Other than in lists, Andrew is only mentioned three times, all in the Gospel of John. And that is not surprising, since John and James were also fishermen and appear to have known Peter and Andrew. Let’s take a look at those three passages, and then draw some lessons from Andrew’s life.

One of the two who heard John speak and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He *found first his own brother Simon and *said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which translated means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter). (John 1:40-42 NASB)

One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, *said to Him, “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are these for so many people?” (John 6:8, 9 NASB)

these then came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and began to ask him, saying, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip *came and *told Andrew; Andrew and Philip *came and *told Jesus. (John 12:21, 22 NASB)

So, what reason is there that these accounts are in Scripture? What do these stories have in common. After pondering and meditating on this for awhile, it became clear what they have in common.

Every time we see Andrew, he is bringing someone to Jesus!

First, he brings his brother, Peter. He is so excited about finding the Messiah, that he goes and gets the me closest to him and brings him to Jesus. How often all of us have seen someone newly converted, who in their zeal goes out and tells everyone they know about how wonderful our Savior is! As we mature in Christ, that wonder and enthusiasm needs to be stoked and kept hot.

Then he brings a little boy to Jesus at the feeding of the 5,000. There is nothing to indicate that he knew this boy. And yet the account doesn’t say Andrew grabbed him, took him kicking and screaming up to Jesus, and stole his lunch. Andrew had searched and found someone willing to bring all they had to the Master. We also should continue to seek out those who are inclined and willing to offer themselves to Christ and guide them to his feet.

And finally, a men came seeking after Jesus, who apparently knows who He is already. Andrew and Phillip simply assure them that Jesus is in fact there and do not hinder them. But these were not their kinsmen. The men were Greek proselytes who had come to the feast in Jerusalem. Yet there is no hesitation on Andrew or Phillips part. No sign of prejudice and thought that any man was less worthy to find Jesus. It is also worth pointing out that there was something about Andrew and Phillip that made it unnecessary for the men to ask them if they knew Jesus. He simply approached them and said, “sir, we wish to see Jesus. In our preaching and teaching, the only way we will be of any benefit to our hearers is for us to remember that what our audience really needs is to see Jesus. They don’t need to see our intellect or wit on display. They don’t need to be entertained. They just need to see Jesus!

We should all want to be remembered someday as an Andrew. Whenever people think of us, what a wonderful tribute it would be for them to say, “he was always bringing people to Jesus”.

20120819-010609.jpg

Smooth Talkers Not Needed

Smooth Talkers Need Not Apply
There are some smooth talkers that it seems could sell people anything. There are also some who can give a speech so moving that people run to join their cause. But when preaching, is that what God is looking for? Is He looking for the most gifted speakers or the most persuasive salesmen? Let’s see what the Apostle Paul said about his own preaching strategy.

And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God. (1 Corinthians 2:1-5 NASB)

Paul first says he did not come as a gifted speaker or philosopher. Paul was not an uneducated man, either. He was a scholar in his own right, and could have overwhelmed his audiences with the depth of his knowledge. But rather than give into the temptation to do so, he purposely avoided it. His message was simply about Jesus Christ and his crucifixion for our sins. He would rather be seen as weak and foolish than as a gifted orator.
Why? The focus had to be kept on Christ. How many sermon series being preached around the American church today are on things other than Jesus? Oh, He may get a cursory mention but Jesus is not the central focus of the teaching. The message is on how we can be happy, or prosperous, or successful. The message is a WIIFM statement (what’s in it for me) rather than centering our thoughts and actions on Jesus and what HE wants.

But what about the demonstration of the Spirit and power of God?

God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will. (Hebrews 2:4 NASB)

But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. (2 Peter 1:20, 21 NASB)

While the signs and wonders of the Apostles were necessary for Showing that the message was from God, that message is now here for us. The power of the Spirit is demonstrated by the ability of the Bible to convict sinners and draw them to Jesus.

When we preach with the mission of drawing people to the person of Jesus Christ, and we use the Word of God to do so, the message has inherent power. That power will so draw people to Jesus that they will not be dissuaded by a worldly philosophy. A man with an experience is never at the mercy of a man with an argument. And their faith will be based on the Word of God, and not the preacher.

What is needed is a generation of preachers who are so in love with Jesus Christ that they can’t stop talking about him. Preachers who will draw their messages from the pure spring of living water found in the Bible, unadulterated by human philosophy and the wisdom of men. They will be men of power that can be mightily used of God to win their generation for Christ. The world can keep its smooth talkers and silver tongued orators. We want men to know nothing and long for nothing more, than the person of Jesus.

20120818-000040.jpg

Start Collecting

First of all, what I am writing is not some new revelation from God. This is a non-prophet blog. 🙂 But I have had this nagging feeling. It’s something that I started doing awhile ago and thought I would share it. No, you are not disobeying God by not doing it, too!
I am not certain of what lies ahead for American Christians. Whether persecution will be our lot or we continue to worship and spread the Good News (Gospel) freely. But here is what I am doing because of that uneasy gut feeling, and you might want to do it, too. Or you might not.

Start collecting Bibles. By that I don’t mean get a stack of printed Bibles, although it is always nice to have them to give away. I mean every format you can get. Save CDs, DVD, flash drives, and any electronic medium that can be used to transmit over the internet. We do not know when the Bible may be labelled as “hate speech” and banned or restricted.
Gather up good, solid, biblical teaching on any of the above mediums. If we are forced to be in hiding and/or in small house fellowships, good teaching may be hard to find. Its best to already have it so that your spiritual diet can be well rounded.
Find and keep song books. They can be the old hymns, choruses, or whatever. PDF files may be best. But be prepared to sing them acapella. You won’t want to be using music that will be loud enough to get you discovered if you must worship in secret. Even musical CDs and mp3 files are good, but make sure you have headphones for them.

And I would have a few blank books around for keeping a record of what happened to and through God’s people when times get tough. You never know who, generations from now, will be encouraged by them.
Again, this is not some dire prophecy, but rather emergency preparedness. If nothing happens, you will still have a valuable library of sound teaching that you can transmit to brothers and sisters in Christ around the world. So it’s a win-win proposition!

No Chainsaws For Toddlers!

There is nothing wrong with a chainsaw. In and of itself it is a benign thing, and in the hands of a skilled laborer, they can be a very useful tool! But we don’t give them to toddlers. To do so would be grounds for arrest. Why? Because a chainsaw is a powerful tool that can also be destructive and even lethal in the hands of one who cannot handle its force and does not know how to properly use it!

With that in mind, I want to briefly discuss some things that God does not permit for humans, but has kept as a prerogative for Himself.

1. Vengeance– We do not have the authority from God to take vengeance out on someone else. If for no other reason, the vengeance and wrath that was our just punishment was placed upon Jesus at the cross. How dare we turn and take vengeance on another because we think they deserve it!
“Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19 NASB)

2. Jealousy – jealousy is a powerful emotion that can instantly turn a loving companion into a murderer. We become jealous when we believe that someone is about to take someone from us that we love, or are betrayed by someone dear to us who rejects us for someone else. God, on the other hand, is jealous for us, not of us. His jealousy is kindled against those that would steal us away from Him because He knows that it will be for our destruction. He will not tolerate those who try to lure away His beloved children with false promises and lies about the character of God.
“for thou shalt worship no other god: for Jehovah, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:” (Exodus 34:14 ASV)

3. Judgment – While there are certain things we are commanded to judge, such as false teaching or our hearts, we are not authorized to take upon ourselves the role of judge of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12). God alone has the authority to judge anyone’s final and eternal condition. The farthest He has delegated that authority is to the Son. (John 5:22, 27)

There may be others that I have missed, but my point is this: we must be careful not to take upon ourselves that with is the sole prerogative of the Almighty God. It is enough to judge ourselves by the Word of Christ and to jealously guard our heart. And leave wrath in the hands of the only One who is equipped to handle it!

“Watch over your heart with all diligence,
For from it flow the springs of life.” (Proverbs 4:23 NASB)

“He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.” (John 12:48 NASB)

“For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.” (2 Thessalonians 1:6-8 NASB)

20120816-002701.jpg

Turn Upside Down

Have you ever wondered why people in Australia don’t realize that they are upside down?

Seriously though, our society has been exposed and desensitized to upside down thinking that it is now perceived as “normal” instead of wrong. In Acts, Paul and Silas encountered a crowd at Thessalonica that was upside down in its thinking.

5 But the Jews who were not persuaded, becoming envious,took some of the evil men from the marketplace, and gathering a mob, set all the city in an uproar and attacked the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. 6 But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some brethren to the rulers of the city, crying out, “These who have turned the world upside down have come here too. 7 Jason has harbored them, and these are all acting contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying there is another king—Jesus.” 8 And they troubled the crowd and the rulers of the city when they heard these things (Acts 17:5-8 NKJV)

They were accused of turning the world upside down because they advocated worship of a power higher than the human government. But in reality, the only way to keep human governments from becoming tyrannical is for there to be a higher power for them to answer to, and to have individual rights endowed by our Creator instead of the state. But the question that arises is this. Is there a point at which national pride becomes idolatry?

I submit to you that this happens when we substitute being salt and light for “my country, right or wrong.” When the first question out of our mouths is “is it legal” instead of “is it right” then we are on the slippery slope from being a nation whose God is the Lord to moral relativism and idolatry. We must not allow societal norms to dictate what is right and wrong.

God said it this way through the prophet Isaiah:

20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness;
Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
And prudent in their own sight!

22 Woe to men mighty at drinking wine,
Woe to men valiant for mixing intoxicating drink,
23 Who justify the wicked for a bribe,
And take away justice from the righteous man!

(Isaiah 5:20-23)

Does this sound like a description of our nation? If we cease to proclaim God’s standard of righteousness so that we won’t offend anyone, we betray our nation and their blood will be on our hands at the judgment! Are we any less idolatrous when we chant “USA, USA, USA” when our country is guilty of so many national sins that the Philippians in Acts 16 who were shouting for two hours “great is Artemis of the Ephesians”? It is okay to love your country, but it is not okay to make that country an object of worship. For those who shout “USA, USA, USA”; would you be as publicly vocal in shouting “Jesus is Lord”, “Christ is Risen” or “repent and obey the Gospel”?

While we are happy to support our society and our government when they do that which is right, we are obligated by our Master and Lord to withhold that support when those same institutions do what is evil in His sight!

13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because[a] narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. (Matthew 7:13)

We cannot follow the east road to destruction, but must follow the narrow way (the high way) to life. Love dictates that we also point others to that way as well. It’s time to get off of broad way and onto the highway! It’s time to shout “Hey USA, Jesus is Lord. Hey USA, Christ is Risen. Hey USA, repent and obey the Gospel!”

20120815-182649.jpg

Wanted: Dead & Alive!

Wanted: Dead & Alive!

No, that is what I meant to say. God is calling us to be in Christ, and to get there we have to be dead AND alive. What do I mean by that statement? Glad you asked. But what I would like to do is let the scriptures speak for themselves, with just a paragraph title.

We must be dead to sin and alive to righteousness.
“Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.” (Romans 6:3-8 NIV)

For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. (Colossians 3:3-5 NIV)

We must be dead to our will and alive to do His will.
“For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:19, 20 NIV)

We must die to our old life and be born again to a new life.
Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. (John 3:3-5 NIV)

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. (2 Corinthians 5:17 NASB)

having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. (Colossians 2:12-14 NASB)

20120814-010602.jpg

Spiritual Veal

Have you ever eaten milk-fed veal? I personally do not eat it because of how it is made. Once the calf is born, it is restrained on the floor so that it cannot move. It is then fed nothing but milk for its entire life. After all of this, it is butchered and sold. I am not writing this as a condemnation of veal (although I could), but instead to ask a question. Are you spiritual veal? Here is what that would look like.

After the new birth, they choose to remain inactive. Whether this is through fear or a lack of conviction, they never get busy with the obedience that their faith was designed to produce. By keeping themselves weighed down, the never develop their spiritual muscles.

“but refuse profane and old wives’ fables. And exercise thyself unto godliness: for bodily exercise is profitable for a little; but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life which now is, and of that which is to come.” (1 Timothy 4:7, 8 ASV)
We must exercise ourselves to godliness. The time to develop spiritual strength is before trials come. In the middle of a spiritual battle is not the time to begin getting ready.

We also need to have the proper diet. Veal calves are fed nothing but milk, which makes the meat very soft and light. But it means that the muscles never get what they need for further development. The Hebrew writer put it this way:

“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.” (Hebrews 5:12-14 NASB)

While it is important that when we are new Christians we “as newborn babes, long for the spiritual milk which is without guile, that ye may grow thereby unto salvation;” (1 Peter 2:2 ASV) we cannot stay that way! Just as it is necessary for a baby’s diet to change while growing, we must take in nourishment appropriate to our spiritual age.

So is being spiritual veal a big deal? I mean, does it really matter? YES!
The devil is prowling about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour, (1 Peter 5:8) and a weak veal Christian is likely to be exhausted and fall away. Do not be deceived. Satan wants you dead and being spiritual veal makes it easier for him.

And since we are engaged in a spiritual battle, your fellow soldiers need you to be strong. A weakened veal Christian makes those around him or her more vulnerable to attacks of the enemy.
“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:13 NIV)

20120813-002804.jpg

Which Must Shortly Come To Pass

It is with much humility that we approach the book of Revelation. There are a multitude of reasons not to take many dogmatic positions here, not the least of which is that I want to reserve the right to modify or change my conclusions later on! And of course, Acts 17:11 always applies, so do your own research, too!
With that being said, I do believe that there is an erroneous teaching concerning the implications of Revelation 1:1 and the word “shortly” as it regards the timeframe for the events to follow in the next 22 chapters. What is being asserted is that, since it deals with things that must “shortly take place” then everything in that follows, with the possible exception of chapters 21 & 22 where it describes the church’s final state in Heaven, was to happen in the lifetime of the original recipients. This would, according to such expositors, mean that everything has already taken place. I have some problems with that.
First problem: the Greek word for shortly is “ἐν τάχει” which also can mean quickly. That would imply that when the things in this book start to happen, they will happen swiftly. That is the direction I lean because Jesus, the author of the book, neatly uses this same word in chapter 22, where in context everything is wrapped up and we are in the eternal state.
And he said unto me, These words are faithful and true: and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent his angels to show unto his servants the things which must shortly come to pass…
And he saith unto me, Seal not up the words of the prophecy of this book; for the time is at hand…
Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to render to each man according as his work is. (Revelation 22:6, 10, 12 ASV)

While many of the events of the first three chapters certainly did happen in the first or early second centuries, the fact that John is given this same word to use when describing a state which is still in the future for the saved means we can’t use verse 1:1 to categorically say that everything in the book was fulfilled in that time period. It just means that events will transpire rapidly when they finally do happen.

What is implied for us is that when these events happen, it will be too late to get ready for them. So no matter what your view of End Times prophecy, one question needs to be answered NOW — are you ready? Is your soul prepared for the return of the Lord? Or have you put it off and are walking dangerously unprepared to meet your God? Now is the time to prepare for eternity, for you know not when you shall enter it. Do not delay! Now is the day of salvation! Listen to the Gospel message, believe it, repent of your sins, confess that Jesus is the Son of God who died for you and was resurrected, and appropriate that saving work in the waters of baptism. Behold, do it quickly!

20120811-075033.jpg

%d bloggers like this: