“There shall no longer exist there anything that is accursed (detestable, foul, offensive, impure, hateful, or horrible). But the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall worship Him [pay divine honors to Him and do Him holy service]. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads.” Revelation 22:3-4 ->me: As I sit here thinking about this year that has passed I am grateful for where the Lord has brought me. I see the road more clearly and know that I am being sanctified by Him as I seek Him. This year I spent time reading Ecclesiastes hearing about all the futility under the sun and then I found myself seeking shelter in the same futilities I learned about just months earlier. I have learned that I need God EVERY DAY – I need to ask Him, seek Him, and persevere (“For everyone who keeps on asking receives; and he who keeps on seeking finds; and to him who keeps on knocking, [the door] will be opened.” Matthew 7:8). I have learned that my circumstances cannot dictate my closeness with my King. I have learned that temptation never goes away but that you can continue to increase the wins over the losses with the power of God alone. I have learned that fellowship with Christian men is underrated and I wish I had learned to seek out these men earlier in life for accountability and support. I have learned that there is no greater gift on this earth than a Godly wife who prepares her husband to see God’s face (as verse 4 above says)…think about that, Moses was denied the ability to see God’s face but in Heaven we will all exist every day living out the consummation of bliss which is the vision of God. There will be nothing between Him and us.
“I saw no temple in the city, for the Lord God Omnipotent [Himself] and the Lamb [Himself] are its temple.” Revelation 21:22 ->me: Today I was not able to hear Pastor Koby’s message (Psalm 23) in person (Stayed home with a sick Prim), but I did listen to it when the Podcast was posted and was super convicted. Then I sat down to my quiet time tonight and this first verse combined with Koby’s message hit home. What I was convicted of -> Koby made this statement about ‘how we handle our spiritual living when we come into God’s blessing’. As most of you who have been following me know, I have been unhappy (unsatisfied – yep convicted here too) in my job and felt underused and misappropriated. Then about 5 weeks ago I was brought onto a special project at work that really taps into the strengths the Lord has given me and I grabbed on…but I sorta let go of the grounding rope that is my rest and anchor – the Lord. You have seen the effects…my Quiet Times not only get spotty but also less insightful. I took God’s blessing and let it become my satisfaction rather than holding fast to the Lord. I have learned that everything good in this life is from God but those ‘everythings’ are never intended to replace Him…in fact we can make them evil by allowing them to be our idols. Then this verse today made me think of one of my other favorite passages which is Bella’s life verse (Psalms 27:4-5) —-> what is the only thing I say I seek? To dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life —-> that is what I will be doing in my hope for eternity; dwelling in heaven where there is no temple, because I will be in constant communion with the Father and the Son as my temple. I am convicted that I should be living this now regardless of my life, job, health, family, money, or possessions. Every situation in this life under the sun should look exactly the same…The Lord is my Shepherd, I have no other ‘wants’.
“The city lies in a square, its length being the same as its width. And he measured the city with his reed—12,000 stadia (about 1,500 miles); its length and width and height are the same. He measured its wall also—144 cubits (about 72 yards) by a man’s measure [of a cubit from his elbow to his third fingertip], which is [the measure] of the angel.” Revelation 21:16-17 ->me: I found this passage really interesting today. I did some research and found that the New Jerusalem would cover roughly 80% of the United States and 96% of the city would be in space (since the atmosphere is only 62 miles from sea level). The city and the wall must be separate since the wall is only 72 yards tall. The wall is not a defensive measure since there are no adversaries of the Lord at this point; it is for keeping out those whose name are NOT written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. So, does that mean that there will people not in the lake of fire but also not in the New Jerusalem? If any of you have done research and have thoughts on this, I’d love to hear them. To be clear, this is not a stumbling block for me; I am simply curious. I feel confident in my Salvation and cannot wait to see the City of God for myself.
“It [The New Jerusalem that descended out of heaven] had a massive and high wall with twelve [large] gates, and at the gates [there were stationed] twelve angels, and [on the gates] the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were written: On the east side three gates, on the north side three gates, on the south side three gates, and on the west side three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundation [stones], and on them the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” Revelation 21:12-14 ->me: There is something about these verses that ties together so much theology for me. The entrance to God’s City is gated by names of His chosen people and fortified by the Christian church. How cool is that?? We are graphed into the vine and as believers in His Son have become His chosen people…right along with the biological tribesmen of Israel. Our Christian life has been outlined by the apostles through their books and letters and we now live by those teachings…the foundation of our faith. I would imagine that the gates are named and angels stationed because not just anyone can enter God’s city.
“But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” Revelation 21:8 ->me: Today was one of those days where Marianne and I shared the space of our office to do our quiet times and as usually happens we shared some of what God was revealing to us in the word. Marianne is in 2 Timothy right now and a verse out of one of the commentaries I read referenced 2 Timothy 1:7, “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” This was in reference to the first mentioned type of person who will reap the Second Death -> the coward. This is the person who in the last resort chooses self and safety rather than Christ and the power they could have through Him. So Paul tells us in 2 Timothy that we have His strength in POWER, LOVE, and SELF-CONTROL. When I come into those places in my life where I am distracted by the things of this world (career, busy-ness, illness, materialism, etc.), I don’t always turn to the One Who can give all that I need to be Victorious. My Victory in Christ is all that should matter…my life in eternity with Him is the only hope and safety I should have my eyes set on. Why do I get so down, why do I get so frustrated, why do I lose hope…because my eyes are not fixed on the Author and Perfecter of my faith. Today is a great day to remember 2 Timothy 1:7.
“And He Who is seated on the throne said, See! I make all things new. Also He said, Record this, for these sayings are faithful (accurate, incorruptible, and trustworthy) and true (genuine). And He [further] said to me, It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I [Myself] will give water without price from the fountain (springs) of the water of Life. He who is victorious shall inherit all these things, and I will be God to him and he shall be My son.” Revelation 21:5-7 ->me: Wrapped up in these 3 verses is the hope and rest we can find in our God. First, He emphatically says “See! I make all things new!” – Our God is never wrong or hopeful, He knows exactly what will happen and His work is direct push to complete all that He said He will do. Second, He is the Beginning and the End – There is nothing else that comes in between, nothing else that will steal away from His plan. Third, He promises here that He WILL give abundantly and without grudge all the living water a person needs when they thirst for Him. Unless a person feels the need, they will not feel the satisfaction. Lastly, He says that the victorious will get all of these things…how am I victorious?…I am victorious through the Lord Jesus Christ Who has already conquered Death and Sin. If Jesus is in me and I in Him then I am already victorious…I am already His son. This verse also spoke to me today – 2 Corinthians 4:16.
“Then I heard a mighty voice from the throne and I perceived its distinct words, saying, See! The abode of God is with men, and He will live (encamp, tent) among them; and they shall be His people, and God shall personally be with them and be their God. God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more, neither shall there be anguish (sorrow and mourning) nor grief nor pain any more, for the old conditions and the former order of things have passed away.” Revelation 21:3-4 ->me: John uses the same words here as the prophets used in Lev. 26:11-12 and Ezek. 37:27. Both God’s presence and His glory will live with His people. His people will be from all nations – Gal. 3:28. One of the coolest prophesies I found that I had not heard before was from Ezek. 48:35 – The City will be called “THE LORD IS THERE”. In this place everything in Solomon’s “under the sun” is gone (passed away). Nothing less than God will be the consoler of His people. His concern for us is infinite. Here is what I am still working on – Living in a way that has this paradise in mind.
“Then I saw a great white throne and the One Who was seated upon it, from Whose presence and from the sight of Whose face earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. I [also] saw the dead, great and small; they stood before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is [the Book] of Life. And the dead were judged (sentenced) by what they had done in accordance with what was recorded in the books.” Revelation 20:11-12 ->me: This vision of the throne is awesome and scary at the same time. My mind goes to the Lincoln Memorial in DC, that really big marble chair with Lincoln sitting in it. The countenance and demeanor of God’s face cause the sky and earth to fly away. Every person who had ever lived now stand before the throne with their life run through and played back (recorded in books) for evidence in sentencing. Then there is this beautiful book, The Book of Life. Every name in that book has sentence that has already been carried out…by Jesus. I believe the sequence of events here is what will happen -> first, everything (actions, thoughts, things done in secret, everything) will be played out and reviewed. Then after that the Book of Life is opened and if your name is found, there will be a voice that says “Redeemed!”. Redeemed has become the tag I put after my name on Twitter (@benbobenbo) because it signifies the hope and rest I lay at the feet of Jesus; the one who wrote my name in that book in His own blood.
“And they swarmed up over the broad plain of the earth and encircled the fortress (camp) of God’s people (the saints) and the beloved city; but fire descended from heaven and consumed them.” Revelation 20:9 ->me: Here we see the final act of God to extinguish evil. As the hordes of godless nations surrounded God’s people and they city they are in God sends fire from heaven to consume the followers of the great deceiver in a quick moment…no battle, no war, just a quick judgement executed by a holy and pure God. What keeps going through my mind is not the swiftness in which God doles out justice in this passage but all the opportunities He provided leading up this moment; the many instances of grace to allow a people turned from Him to acknowledge His Son as the One True solution to their problems. Some might look at this and see a wrathful God anxious to pour out a consuming fire, but what I see is the final stoke of a loving God after so many years, opportunities, and signs that point to Him as the only Hope. Directly succeeding this is the hurling of the dragon (satan) into the lake of fire where he will stay with the beast and the false prophet forever and ever. Knowing what comes ahead I am again reminded of how much work there is to be done.
“Then I saw thrones, and sitting on them were those to whom authority to act as judges and to pass sentence was entrusted. Also I saw the souls of those who had been slain with axes [beheaded] for their witnessing to Jesus and [for preaching and testifying] for the Word of God, and who had refused to pay homage to the beast or his statue and had not accepted his mark or permitted it to be stamped on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived again and ruled with Christ (the Messiah) a thousand years.” Revelation 20:4 ->me: Well I am nearing the end of Revelation and this chapter (20) is one of the most contested. Denominations have been split over pre-millennial, post-millennial, and Amillennial stands. One thing is clear though -> that God is in control and that satan has no power that he is not given. Another thing that I read was that John uses the word ‘throne’ 47 times and in all of them except satan’s throne and the beasts throne, all of the instances are in heaven. So, that begs the question, is the 1000 reign in heaven? Regardless, this whole verse talks about those reigning who were executed for their faith and stance with Jesus when faced with death. There is a special place in God’s heart and Kingdom for those who gave all they could (their life) in His name. What do I give up every day for the Lord? Do I make the sacrifices I need to in recognition of His almighty power and love?