Have you ever heard this? “I don’t interpret the Bible; I just take it for what it says.”
If there is any book in the Bible that needs to be interpreted, it is the Revelation.
The Revelation is a vision. The difference between a dream and a vision is that with a vision one is awake. What if we were to say we don’t interpret dreams? Joseph told his brothers about a dream he had about sheaves; his brothers rightly interpreted the upright sheaf as representing Joseph and the round about sheaves symbolized the brothers doing obeisance to Joseph. They did not argue about whether the sheaves were of wheat or rye or some other grain. Their focus was not on the symbols but what figures meant.
In another dream about the sun, moon and eleven stars, which Joseph told to his family. His father immediately understood that the sun was Jacob, the moon was Joseph’s mother and the stars his brothers, all of whom were bowing to Joseph. Jacob and the brothers did not speak of the brightness of the sun compared to the moon or starts. They did not speculate as to solar-centered universe as opposed to an earth-centered one.
So, should it be with the signs and symbols, which dominate John’s vision in the Revelation. We should not concentrate on the figures of speech more than on the meaning of the figures. For instance, our love is not so much for the American flag but for the independence and liberty for which the flag stands and flies.
In the Revelation, our interest is primarily on the number 666 as it is the degenerate character the mark of the beast represents. We should not spend much time on whether the mark is a microchip in the hand, or whatever other possibility, but the fact that manifesting the character of Satan dooms us to perdition.
Two wise men, Joseph and Daniel, came into prominence by their ability to interpret dreams. We need to be skilled in interpreting the Revelation of Jesus Christ to John, the Apostle, from preterist, historical, futuristic and most of all spiritual perspective. We ought to understand and apply the principles of this mysterious vision into the churches of our generation and to our individual Christian lives, that we might be prepared for the Final Judgment and Reconciliation.
Revelation is a contrast of the vision of the ideal heavenly realm (the New Jerusalem) with the worldly perspective and apparent reality of Babylon.
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In Chapter 16 of Revelation, the great voice out of the temple pronounces, “It is done.” What is done?
For the answer join us for our weekly study on Revelation at 7 AM Eastern Time on Tuesday, July 31, in the Smock living room either in person or via FaceBook live stream. To enjoy Sister Myrna’s famous cinnamon rolls, you will have to be here in person.
How do we reconcile the vials of God’s wrath with his love?
Please consider the main characters in these chapters, The Lamb, the Seven Angels, the Great Whore, the Beast, the Kings and the Faithful.
Keep in mind that numbers in the Bible are keys to understanding the spiritual interpretation of Revelation. The important numbers in this lesson are one (unity), seven (perfection), eight (new beginnings) 10 (completeness). How are these numbers relevant to our understanding of events in these chapters? Who is unified? Who and in what sense is perfected and complete? Who experiences a new beginning?
We are reaching the climax of our study on Revelation. I hope that you all are learning nearly as much as I am gaining from teaching on this mysterious, wondrous historical and prophetic book.
Our study needs to be promoted. I have been buying a $30 weekly ad on FB to promote this study. Two weeks ago, Sam attended in response to the FB ad.
One thing you can do is forward this to family or friends inviting them to attend with perhaps a brief word on how these studies are helpful to you.
Notes on Revelation 12&13:
The essential theme of Revelation is the war of the ages between good and evil. We learn through John’s vision that events of heaven correspond to actions on earth. In Chapters 12 & 13 we receive through terrible images a distinct conception of the powerful foes with whom the Christian has to contend.
Who are the three great enemies of the soul, which we encounter in these two chapters? Answer: the world, the flesh and the devil.
Ephesians 2:1-3 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air (the devil), the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh (mark of the beast on right hand representing selfish action) and of the mind (mark on forehead representing thought life); and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
1 John 2:15: Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
1 John 3:8:He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
Or the first beast could be the secular world (Babylon, the state) and the second beast the religious world (the Old Jerusalem), which does not keep the commandments of God, and does not have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
The second beast may denote the religious world in submission to the godless or idolatrous state.
Who is that woman? Answer: Israel/the Church; Mary/the Church.
What is the mark of the beast? Answer: It is not a literal number on the right hand and forehead of unbelievers and “Christian” compromisers with the world. The mark is the selfish character of fallen man. Men without God are brute beasts, virtual animals having lost the image of God. The number 6 is the number of man, who was created on the Sixth Day. So, 666 signifies fallen man.
There is a war from without (the world and the devil) and there is a battle from within (the flesh, our physical and natural appetites).
These interpretations are according to my humble opinion.
I have a sure-fire plan for building a great church. We will name it Trump Church, no, better yet, call it Trump Cathedral. The motto will be “Make the Church Great Again (MCGA).”
I will be senior pastor of the Trump Cathedral. President Trump will always be welcome to deliver the Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving Day message. He has demonstrated that he can speak on these religious issues as well as if not better than most pastors.
This will not be without precedent. There is the Washington National Cathedral. In Lexington, VA. There is R.E. Lee Memorial Chapel (There was recent talk about changing the name; I don’t know whether it was done or not).
There are many Trump people, who would like to attend Trump Cathedral, who likely don’t go to church regularly, because the churches tend to have a negative view on the future. Too many churches have a loser instead of a winner mentality.
Trump Cathedral will represent the Second Triumph of Christianity accomplished by Constantine the Great at the Battle of Milvian Bridge in the issuance of the Edict of Milan in 313 A.D.
“The gates of Hell will not prevail against the Trump Cathedral. We build a beautiful stone church with no expense spared for the glory of God and his Son Jesus Christ. Trump cathedral will win, win, win souls.”
My satirical post a few days ago concerning establishing a Trump Church or Trump Cathedral received a lot of attention, mostly likes, but some friends accused me of blaspheme. Satire is humor, not simply for a laugh, but for the purpose of illustrating truth or making a point in an entertaining way.
Now some of you pastors, who work so hard to encourage folks to visit your church might try putting up a sign, maybe temporary, which reads the Church of Trump or maybe something less daring like advertising a sermon on, “The Faith of Trump.” I would even be glad to come and deliver the message. I am convinced that such a sign or advertising such a message would draw visitors. Give it a try pastor. As Trump told African Americans, “Vote for me, what do you have to lose?”
Friends have been accusing me of making an idol out of Trump. Not so, Trump is my hero. We all need heroes. Hebrews Chapter 11 is often called the “Hall of Faith” or the “Faith Hall of Fame.” In this renowned chapter, Paul celebrates an inspiring list of heroic figures from the Old Testament –remarkable men and women, whose stories stand out to encourage and challenge our faith. Some of these heroes are famous personalities, while others remain anonymous. Some of these champions were saintly, others were flawed.
In the early days of my ministry, I was invited to preach at a black church in Indianapolis. Jimmy Carter had recently been elected president. The pastor counseled me for an hour concerning the black community, especially the black church. I remember him saying, “The fact that Jimmy Carter is noted as Sunday School teacher and claims to be born-again helps me.” I learned a lot from the pastor in that hour.
Pastor, promoting Trump can help your church. I know some see Trump not as a man of faith but simply a man with extreme self-confidence. The skeptic and or envious perceive him as prideful and a braggart. I respect him as an example of heroic faith, which should motivate all of us to think big and build a great church which will impact the community and the world.
I have always believed that Christian music is one of the greatest evidences to the skeptics for the truth of Christianity. No other religion has produced the quality and beauty of the music that God has inspired!
I thought of this because our United Methodist Church had a “hymn sing” today. The song leader quoted John Wesley, our church founder, “Sing lustily and with good courage. Beware of singing as if you were half dead, or half asleep; but lift up your voice with strength. Be no more afraid of your voice now, nor more ashamed of its being heard, then when you sung the songs of Satan.”
Part of the reason that I am Christian is that this disco queen heard my husband singing the songs of faith “lustily and with courage” in Gainesville Florida in 1978. Still today one of my favorite things to do is hear his voice singing out in the church beside me.
Today at the hymn sing, I also thought of the majesty of the Almighty who created this wonderful art called music; it can transport and guide us us through the broad range of human emotions and bring us inspiration and strength, joy and peace, hope and love, wisdom and truth, beauty and wonder!
I am thankful for the privilege of knowing this God and the hope of making melodies with Him for eternity!!
Constantine the Great (272-337 A.D.) was responsible for two momentous transformations of history and civilization: moving the capital of the Empire from Rome to Constantinople (the City of Constantine) and making possible the conversion of the Roman Empire to Christianity.
Constantine is regarded as a saint by the Eastern Church, but is not so highly regarded in the West. All of us, East and West, should be thankful that Constantine, God’s Champion, delivered our Christian forefathers from three centuries of terrible persecutions by “executive order,” the Edict of Milan in 313.
The great church historian and Constantine biographer, Eusebius, once heard the Emperor say, when he was entertaining a company of bishops, “You are bishops whose jurisdiction is within the Church: I also am a bishop, ordained by God to overlook whatever is external to the Church.”
Eusebius added, “And truly his measures corresponded with his words; for he watched over his subjects with an episcopal care and exhorted them as far as in him lay to follow a godly life.”
To Eusebius Constantine was the “the blessed Emperor.”
Will “BishopTrump” one day be known as “Trump the Great?” Last year, Trump signed the “Presidential Executive Order Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty.” Since then he has moved the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Hopefully, he has made peace with North Korea, which will likely open up the country to evangelism.
So far these and other accomplishments are not as momentous as Constantine’s, but Trump is only 500 days into his likely eight years of governing. Bishop Constantine ruled the Empire for almost a quarter of a century.
Our blessed President!
By Sis. Cindy
In our United Methodist church a lay member is always designated to read the scripture and other liturgy. Today it was a distinguished looking man in his 80’s whom I did not know. He had poise and grace and a “voice soft as thunder.” I thought, this man is “somebody” and must have come from a really good family like my husband.
Before he read the story of David and Goliath which was the Scripture selection, the attractive gentlemen told a story that shocked me!!
He said that at age 5 he went to live with his aunt because his mother had no money to feed him! He said that his aunt who raised him for the next four years was “extremely religious!” She had told him the story of David and Goliath and assured him that he could overcome any obstacles!
Later I approached the gentleman and inquired more about the “extremely religious” Aunt. He assured me that she was good to him but very firm. He said that he was always in trouble and had to “get saved” almost every week while attending the small Methodist church with altar calls!!
I told him that we would have three of our grandchildren for two weeks this summer and that we fall into the “extremely religious” category. We will teach them at least one Bible story a day!!
After reading about President Trump’s “extremely religious” aunts, I told my husband that these two weeks with THE THREE, ages 2,3 and 4 may be the most powerful of our life ministry!
Popular images reveal Heaven to be a final destination of tranquility and peace, almost a boring place, to where we go when we die, a glorious retirement home far, far away.
John the Revelator had a much different vision of Heaven; he “looked, and, behold, a door was open in Heaven.”—Rev 4:1
John walks us through Heaven’s door by writing of fantastic images, which are far from serene and placid.
The Throne Room of God is a war room, from where the Lamb that was Slain strategizes against the Dragon (the Devil). The City of God, the New Jerusalem, is engaged in a great struggle with the City of Man, Babylon. Angels are battling with demons. Twenty-four elders of the faith are teaming with strange beasts and mighty angels.
The ages old struggle between good and evil is vividly portrayed by John as he reveals from a heavenly perspective the warfare between the Church and the World. Sometimes the Church has the upper hand and other times the World is reigning. John describes the grand struggle from Jesus Death and Resurrection to his glorious and triumphant return–and beyond.
Three times in The Revelation we hear this phrase applied to the Almighty – “Who was, and is, and is to come.” As God is the God of the past, the present and the future, so John describes with vivid symbols mysterious and frightening events that have happened, that are happening and that will happen in Heaven and on Earth over a span of millenniums.
Join us in our study from the Smock living room at 7 AM, June 19, for an unveiling of Heaven. Why wait until death, when John offers us a tour de force of the heavenly kingdom now!
The spiritual realm is all around us. We are encompassed by a great cloud of witness; they are not afar off. This study is an opportunity to have the eyes of your understanding opened.
Paul gives us the key to entering into this open door in Heaven, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”—Col 3:1-2.
“For I know him (Abraham), that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring on Abraham that which he has spoken of him.”—Genesis 18:19
Abraham set the standard for all fathers to put God first. God rewarded Abraham for his obedience and Abraham became a great and powerful nation, and through him all the nations of the earth are blessed.”—Gen 18:18
Abraham through the sacrifice of his son, Isaac, blessed the nations. Since Jesus sacrifice, all the nations of the earth, which believe, are blessed through the apple of his eye, which is the church.
Children are you keeping the way of the LORD and doing justice and judgment? That is how you may bless and make happy all God-fearing fathers.
To Make America Great Again we need strong fathers, obedient children, and a church without spot or wrinkle. A nation is only as strong as its families and its churches.
Atheists do not make a distinction between Jews who could become indentured servants for six years then freed the seventh year, and pagans who could be enslaved for a life time.
This skeptic claimed that a man could sell his daughter as a sex slave according to the Book of Exodus. Exodus 21:7-8 does speak of a father who might sell his daughter as a “maid servant” to a prosperous man to be his wife or to be his son’s wife. If she was to be the son’s wife, the master was to treat her as a daughter. These laws protected the girl from sexual exploitation, and gave her the opportunity to improve her station in life.
The atheist also objected to the passage in Exodus 21 where if a man beats his servant to death, the master is to be punished with death; however, if the servant survives a day or two the master shall not be punished because the servant is his property. I suppose that the assumption is that if the servant survives for a few days it was not the master’s intent to murder but to discipline. So it is enough punishment to the master that he has lost valuable property.
Slavery was not part of God’s original plan for man; but when man sold himself to the slavery of sin and idolatry, God used chattel slavery as a form of judgment. Men can forfeit their right to freedom through sin. God’s man, Moses, was the greatest slave emancipator of history. Slavery is only a sin if it goes beyond God’s regulations of the institution. The Bible is not written primarily to promote outward social change. It promotes change from within by motivating men to love their fellows, even their enemies.
Critics of the Bible’s position on slavery are usually statists, who would make us all slaves of the socialist state. They sell out their own freedom; because they do not want to take on the responsibility of providing their own food, clothing, shelter, and health care. Slaves living under Biblical regulations, compared to the slaves of pagans like the Egyptians and Romans, were treated relatively well. They may well have had better provisions than many freemen.
Statists prefer the promises of the security under socialism over the high risks involved in freedom. Many Americans are forfeiting their freedom by their refusal to govern themselves in the light of “the laws of Nature and Nature’s God.” Such people are not truly American; they tend to be internationalists, like Master Obama.
Most of college students have no appreciation of freedom. They have freedom confused with license. They would make us all slaves of Master Obama. Personally, I do not care to become a part of Obama’s Plantation with it social planners (overseers) from the Democratic Party.