The Lord’s Judgment of the Whole Earth ~ Part 6 ~ Yesha’yahu 27:1-13

In my last post, we continued exploring The Lord’s Judgment of the Whole Earth ~ Part 5 in Yesha’yahu 26:11-21. In this post, we conclude our series on The Lord’s Judgment of the Whole Earth ~ Part 6 in Yesha’yahu 27:1-13.

1 On that day, Adonai, with his great, strong, relentless sword, will punish Livyatan the fleeing serpent, the twisting serpent Livyatan; he will slay the sea monster.

Several other passages in the Tanakh mention Livyatan, but most of them, like Psalm 74:14 and Job 41:1-34, speak in terms of God’s creative act that established control over watery chaos (personified by the sea serpent). Livyatan was a sea monster, representing chaos and evil in this verse. According to Revelation 13:1, this is a reference to the antichrist.

In verses 2-6, pleasant vineyard is a metaphor for God’s people. The poem has many contrasts with the vineyard song of 5:1-7. There the vineyard image is used to emphasize God’s judgment on sin; here, the vineyard image describes the restoration of His people after judgment.

2 On that day, a pleasant vineyard – sing about it! 3 “I, Adonai, guard it. Moment by moment, I water it. So that no harm will come to it, I guard it night and day. 4 I have no anger in me. If it gives me briars and thorns, then, as in war, I will trample it down and burn it up at once; 5 unless it takes hold of my strength, in order to make peace with me, yes, to make peace with me.”

In these verses, the briars and thorns seem to represent rebellion against God – the type of behavior that led to a judgment in the first place. The briars and thorns have two possible courses of action: they can experience the devastating punishment of God, or they can make peace with Him.

Many of us have the mistaken idea that God is really, really angry. All of the anger He rightly feels toward humanity, however, was poured out on Yeshua at Calvary. If we will just embrace and receive that, we can be at peace with God.

6 The time is coming when Ya‘akov will take root; Isra’el will bud and flower, and fill the whole world with a harvest.

Yesha’yahu saw a prosperous future for God’s people, one that would bring prosperity to the whole world (Genesis 12:1-3). We’re seeing this prophecy fulfilled even today, for Isra’el is the world’s third largest exporter of fruit and the fourth largest exporter of flowers. [1]

7 [Adonai] will not strike Isra’el, as He did others who struck Isra’el; He will not kill them, as He did the others.

Adonai indeed will judge all His people, but He will not annihilate them as He will do with those whom He uses to punish them.

8 Your controversy with her is fully resolved by sending her [into exile]. He removes her with a rough gust of wind on a day when it’s blowing from the east.

Rather than annihilating His people, God will scatter them. The image of a rough gust of wind evokes the picture of chaff being blown away.

Verses 9-12 speak of the future restoration of Isra’el – when God gathers His people from their dispersion throughout the world.

9 So the iniquity of Ya‘akov is atoned for by this, and removing his sin produces this result: He chops up all the altar stones like chalk – sacred poles and sun-pillars stand no more.

Limestone is crushed to produce stones like chalk that can be used for mortar, as a liming agent in cesspools and to seal stone walls with a type of “whitewash.”Sacred poles refer to Asherah poles.

10 For the fortified city is alone, abandoned and deserted, like the desert. Calves graze and lie down there, stripping its branches bare. 11 When its harvest dries up, it is broken off; women come and set it on fire. For this is a people without understanding. Therefore, he who made them will not pity them, he who formed them will show them no mercy.

The fortified city, like the city of chaos and the lofty city, represents arrogant human evil. In the aftermath of God’s judgment, this city will become grazing land.

12 On that day, Adonai will beat out the grain between the Euphrates River and the Vadi of Egypt; and you will be gathered, one by one, people of Isra’el!

The Euphrates River and the Vadi of Egypt were the far northern and southern boundaries of the promised land. It appears that modern Isra’el has more territory to settle. The image of threshing grain is an image of refining judgment since the process separated the wheat from the chaff. But the aftermath of the punishment will bring a regathering of God’s dispersed people.

13 On that day a great shofar will sound. Those lost in the land of Ashur will come, also those scattered through the land of Egypt; and they will worship Adonai on the holy mountain in Yerushalayim. ~ Isaiah 27:1-13 (CJB)

Perhaps because of their use for signaling in battle, the blast of a great shofar became a familiar image used in eschatological and apocalyptic literature as a signal for the end time (see Zechariah 9:14 and Revelation 8:6-12). Here it awakens the exiles to the moment when they will return from Ashurim exile and from the places in Egypt where they have fled for refuge.

In my next post, we will begin another series of Woes in Yesha’hayu 28.

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[1] Jon Courson’s Application Commentary Old Testament Volume 2.

The Lord’s Judgment of the Whole Earth ~ Part 2 ~ Yesha’yahu 24:13-23

In my last post, we began to learn about The Lord’s Judgment of the Whole Earth ~ Part 1 in Yesha’yahu 24:1-12. In this post, we continue exploring The Lord’s Judgment of the Whole Earth ~ Part 2 in Yesha’yahu 24:13-23.

13 Around the earth, among the peoples, it will be as when beating an olive tree, as when gleaning the grapes at the end of the harvest.

A harvested olive tree or a grapevine after the harvest had only a few olives or grapes. So, the cities of the nations will have just a few people left when God’s judgment falls.

14 They lift their voices, singing for joy, shouting from the west to honor Adonai. 15 So in the east, honor Adonai; in the coastlands, honor the name of Adonai, the God of Isra’el. 16 From the farthest part of the earth, we have heard them sing, “Glory to the Righteous One!” But, I say, I’m wasting away, I am wasting away! Woe to me! Traitors betray! Oh, how the traitors betray and betray!

As seen throughout Scripture, even in judgment, God shows mercy, for here, a remnant is saved who will praise Him both for His mercy and His majesty. The remnant celebrated the downfall of the wicked described in the previous verses.

Yesha’yahu (the first-person speaker in verse 16b) does not join the chorus of celebration. Perhaps he was horrified by the destruction or, more likely, by the depth of the transgression of the nations.

17 Terror, pit, and trap are upon you, you who are living on earth. 18 He who flees at the sound of terror will fall into the pit. He who climbs up out of the pit will be caught in the trap. For the windows above have been opened, and the earth’s foundations shake.

The words terror, pit, and trap play on the similarity of sound of three words in Hebrew. They stand for the judgment that God has prepared for the sinful inhabitants of the earth. The open windows of the sky imply rain and suggest a devastating flood. The shaking foundations would be experienced as earthquakes.

So all-encompassing is this judgment that there is nowhere to hide.

19 The earth cracks and breaks open, the earth crumbles to pieces, the earth trembles and totters. 20 The earth staggers to and fro like a drunk, sways back and forth like a watchman’s shelter; its transgression weighs heavy upon it; it will fall and not rise again.

As you may have observed, a drunk cannot think or stand straight. This judgment is connected to rebellion against God by virtually all people on earth. Revelation 8 says even mountains will be cast into the sea.

21 When that day comes, Adonai will punish the armies of the high heaven on high and the kings of the earth here on earth.

The phrase when that day comes points to a future but unspecified time. God’s judgment is extensive. It covers not only the earth but also the host of heaven, a phrase that either indicates the stars or fallen angels.

22 They will be assembled like prisoners in a dungeon and shut up in prison to be punished many years.

Verses 21 and 22 refer to the rulers in high places – demonic spirits. As the Tribulation comes to an end, HaSatan and his demons will be cast into a pit for a thousand years. Then, following the thousand-year period of peace and prosperity when Yeshua reigns from Yerushalayim, God will loose HaSatan and his demons — giving them one last chance to deceive the people.

23 Then the moon will be confused and the sun ashamed, for Adonai-Tzva’ot will rule on Mount Tziyon and in Yerushalayim, with his glory manifest to the rulers of his people. ~ Isaiah 24:13-23 (CJB)

Even the moon and sun will pale in comparison with the brilliant light emanating from God as He exercises His sovereign rule from the temple.

In my next post, we will continue to explore The Lord’s Judgment of the Whole Earth ~ Pat 3 in Yesha’yahu 25:1-12.

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The Coming Day of the Lord ~ Part 2 ~ Yesha’yahu 2:9-17

In my last post, we began to look at The Coming Day of the Lord in Yesha’yahu 2:6-22. I decided to switch gears for my blog for this series as I will be taking more of a verse-by-verse format. We only covered verses 6-8. In this post, we continue to look at The Coming Day of the Lord beginning in Yesha’yahu 2:9-17.

Why will God judge His people? We learned in Part 1 it was (and still is) because of their idolatry, covetousness, pride, and exploiting of the poor. Instead of holding to the truth of God’s Word, they were full of sorcerers, not unlike many “religious seekers” today. The growth of Eastern religions in the modern Western world is a phenomenon that is both frightening and challenging. Even nonreligious people are practicing Eastern forms of meditation and relaxation, following techniques that are being taught in university classes and business seminars.

9 A person bows down, a man lowers himself — don’t forgive them! 10 Come into the rock, hide in the dust to escape the terror of Adonai and the glory of his majesty.

In the ancient world, a bright or flaming aura surrounding deity is the norm in depicting the glory of his majesty. It is especially evident in the divine warrior motif where the deity unveils his glory as he fights for his people.

11 The proud looks of man will be humiliated; the arrogance of men will be bowed down; and when that day comes, Adonai alone will be exalted. 12 Yes, Adonai-Tzva’ot has a day in store for all who are proud and lofty, for all who are lifted high to be humiliated; 13 for all cedars of the L’vanon that are high and lifted up, for all the oaks of the Bashan; 14 for all the high mountains, for all the hills that are lifted up; 15 for every high tower, for every fortified wall; 16 for every “Tarshish” ship, for every luxurious vessel. 17 The pride of man will be bowed down, the arrogance of men will be humiliated, and when that day comes, Adonai alone will be exalted.

With the words proud looks of man will be humiliated, Yesha’yahu expressed one of the major themes of his book. Through judgment, God cuts down the sinful pretensions of His people.

The prophets of the Tanakh often spoke of a Coming Day of the Lord (Joel 1:15; Amos 2:1,11,31; 5:18,20; Zephaniah 1:7,14; Zechariah 14:1). This day is the judgment of sinners, which means the redemption of God’s people. However, God’s people in this verse were the object of His anger since they were rebelling against Him. While the Day of the Lord ultimately points to the final judgment, God’s temporal punishments of His people are often understood to be anticipatory fulfillment of the final judgment. L’vanon and Bashan were well known for their fertile lands and their impressive trees. Thus, they are representative of arrogance built on abundance. God’s judgment is against all kinds of pride.

The cedars of the L’vanon and the oaks of the Bashan were valued for their size, beauty, strength, and durability. They would be used in the building projects (such as gates and palaces) that were the sources of pride for nations and in which they would put their trust. The cedars of L’vanon and oaks of Bashan speak of men that are proud of their abilities. Who or what do we put our trust in? For my wife and I, it is the Lord and ADT Security.

The high mountains could speak of government. Walls and towers speak of military might. Walls of this period were solid and could be made of mud brick, fieldstone or ashlar [large square-cut] stone. While towers and walls were features of fortified cities, there were also many garrison fortresses built along trade routes and borders. In Isra’el both the fortresses and towers were rectangular. Since city walls have not been preserved to their original height, it is difficult to say how high they were. A width of fifteen to twenty feet was common and judging from their massive foundations and the length of ladders used for scaling the walls, a height of thirty to forty feet would not be unusual.

Trade using seagoing vessels was already taking place in the first half of the third millennium BCE. Excavations of a sunken merchant ship (off the coast of Turkey) from the period gives a good idea of the variety of items being shipped. Trading ships of the first millennium were single-masted with a crow’s nest and could feature either one or two banks of oars. A typical length would be about fifty feet, though larger ones are known. [1]

It is not idols, but only Yeshua who will ultimately be exalted. When He comes back to this planet, before He rules and reigns in the Temple, there will be a time of chastening and judging. As a result, people will take all that they once worshiped to the dump to be left to the rats because, at last, all idols will be seen to be meaningless.

In my next post, I will finish with this topic for now as we explore The Coming Day of the Lord ~ Part 3 in Yesha’yahu 2:18-22.

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[1] The IVP Bible Background Commentary – Old Testament

The End Times Revisited

Mark 13:1-37
The End Times

Okay, I LIED, again!!  Forgive me??? Somehow, I just can’t leave this topic alone.

I know that we are in a series on the Letter to the Messianic Jews, but God said I should briefly interrupt my schedule to post this. This year, my daily devotion plan includes re-reading the Brit Hadahah one chapter at a time during the week and re-reading one chapter at a time from the historical books in the Tanakh on the weekends.

This morning’s reading was Mark 13:1-37. That, coupled with the fact that I have been thinking a lot about Billy Graham the last several days and listening to snippets of his old sermons on SiriusXM channel 145 as I drive on my errands, prompted me to write this post.

I’m sure most of us know the Rev. Graham preached Christ and the Cross in every sermon he delivered.  His goal was to reach non-believers with the message of salvation.  He didn’t want anyone to be left behind.

Mark 13 is his version of the Olivet Discourse we saw earlier in this and other series I have posted.  Of the thirty-seven verses, only three are not “red letter” verses.  Yeshua is explaining to Kefa, James, Yochanan, and Andrew when and what signs will precede the destruction of the Temple as He said would occur in verse 2.

I would commend you to review this chapter for yourselves. The themes of the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple by the Romans in 70 CE seem to be interwoven with the Final Tribulation and Yeshua’s return.

In my study this morning, I found the following Study Note to be very enlightening:

Some interpreters assign all of Mark 13 to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. Most believe Jesus used the earlier destruction to foreshadow the end times. Some who hold this latter view assign verses 1-13 to the first-century events and verses 14-37 to earth’s last days [This had been my view as expressed in this series]. Others assign verses 1-31 to the first century and verses 32-37 to the end times. However, still, others find an A1-B1-A2-B2 pattern and assign verses 1-13 and 28-31 to the first century and verses 14-27 and 32-37 to the end times. [1]

This last view of the A1-B1-A2-B2 pattern makes much more sense to me.

What saith thou?

[1] HCSB Study Notes.

Reflections On The Revelation of Yeshua HaMassiach to Yochanan

The End Times

Okay, I LIED!!  Forgive me???

I did intend to start a new series on the Letter to the Messianic Jews (Hebrews), but it seemed more appropriate that I wrap up the series on The End Times with my reflections on what I learned from studying this unique Book of Scripture.

For those that have been with me from the beginning of this series, we have been studying one hundred-seven posts on  Revelation since Christmas Day, 2016. Recall that before the exploration of The Revelation of Yeshua HaMassiach to Yochanan we had examined  “What Does Yeshua Say About the End Times.” That series comprised thirteen posts on Matthew 24 & 25 ~ The Olivet Discourse, which concluded an eighty-part series on the Christain Torah from Matthew’s Gospel.

I introduced our study of Revelation by stating:

Shortly after committing myself to the Lord, I read Hal Lindsey’s “Late Great Planet Earth” and was convinced a pre-tribulation rapture of the church would occur soon.  Then going through the entire Bible, I became a mid-triber hoping the pre-tribers were correct.  I devoured Tim LaHaye’s “Left Behind” series.  I thought it was an excellent fictionalization of The End Times and didn’t have too many concerns from a scriptural standpoint.  But, once again the idea of studying eschatology didn’t trip my trigger.

It now appears that God has cocked that trigger.  As I think I’ve shared before, my personal study in God’s Word this year has been through the Brit Hadashah (New Covenant), Tehillim (Psalms) and Mishlei (Proverbs) using the English Standard Version Study Bible.  In addition to the Olivet Discourse which I blogged on earlier this year, I kept running into passages in the Brit Hadashah by Sha’ul and Kefa that mention The End Times.  My Tuesday Skype group has also been studying the End Times and the Pastor at our church who leads the Senior Adult Ministry (Prime Time) has just finished a study on Revelation.  Ok, Lord, you got my attention.

I am forever grateful to Anthony Baker over at Recovering Legalist for introducing me to Steve Gregg’s “Revelation: Four Views, Revised & Updated.”  Mr. Gregg introduced me to a whole new way of understanding the four main views of scholars in interpreting this apocalyptic literature: Historicists, Preterists, Futurist, and Idealist.

Although I could occasionally understand how Historicists and Preterists came to their interpretations and agreed with some, I found myself to be more aligned with the Futurists and the Premillennialists.  I never did understand the Idealists point of view.  It was just too squishy to sink my teeth into it.

Futurists hold that Chapters 4 and 5 seem to detail the events that occur in heaven after the Rapture, and chapters 6-18 the events that occur on the earth after the Rapture.  It is the same event told from two different vantage points.  They also believe that at the end of chapter 3, the Rapture of Believers takes place: Come up here. (4:1). The period that follows, beginning with chapter 4 and ending with the Battle of Armageddon (19:19) and the 1000-year reign of Yeshua on earth (the Millennium; chap. 20), covers a terrible seven-year period at the time of the end referred to as the Great Tribulation (see 7:14 and Matthew 24:21). These seven years are the same as the 70th set of seven years the prophet Daniel spoke about (see Daniel 9:27).

Throughout my study, I tried to place myself in Yochanan’s sandals without much success.  His visitation by angels and being caught up to heaven in Chapter 4 and elsewhere were beyond my personal experience.  If I saw what he saw, could I describe it any differently to a modern audience?  Perhaps because of advanced technology and the threat of nuclear holocaust.

Are we in the last days?  Is the Lord going to call the faithful home soon?  Is the Roman Catholic Church the Anti-Messiah?  I don’t know, and no one else does except God Himself.  All I know for sure from the study can be boiled down into two simple statements:

  • We may see signs and wonders that are predicted to proceed The End Times, but we do not know the day or the hour it will begin; even so, come Lord quickly.
  • God is on the throne, and He is still in control.  All we need to do is trust and obey, and it will all pan out for our good.  All we must do is Be Prepared.

I hope you have enjoyed coming along with me on this journey.

In my next post, we will begin a new series based on the Letter to the Messianic Jews (Hebrews).

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Final Blessing & Curse and Conclusion

Revelation 22:16-21
The End Times

In my last post, we examined Revelation 22:11-15 ~ God’s Completed Work. In this post, we conclude our study of Revelation by investigating Revelation 22:16-21 ~ Final Blessing & Curse and Conclusion.

16 “I, Yeshua, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the Messianic communities. I am the Root and Offspring of David, the bright Morning Star. 17 The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come!’ Let anyone who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let anyone who is thirsty come  –  let anyone who wishes, take the water of life free of charge.” 18 I warn everyone hearing the words of the prophecy in this book that if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues written in this book. 19 And if anyone takes anything away from the words in the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the Tree of Life and the holy city, as described in this book. 20 “The one who is testifying to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon!’” Amen! Come, Lord Yeshua! 21 May the grace of the Lord Yeshua be with all!” ~ Revelation 22:16-21 (CJB)

I, Yeshua, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the Messianic communities harkens back to Revelation 1:1-2.  It’s as if He has put a bow on the whole scroll as a gift to His followers.

I am the Root and Offspring of David. King David sprang from this Root, because Yeshua pre-existed David (Micah 5:1(2), Yochanan 8:58), and through Yeshua, everything, including David’s ancestor Adam, was made (Yochanan 1:1-2, 14). But Yeshua is also David’s offspring; in particular, He is the promised Son of David who would be the Messiah (see Matthew 1:1). Yeshua’s Davidic ancestry is referred to in the rest of the Brit Hadashah also at Mattew 1:6, 9:27, 15:22, 21:9; Luke 1:32, 2:4, 3:31; Romans 1:3; 2 Timothy 2:8. In Revelation, the term Root of David is also found at 5:5. As for the bright Morning Star see Revelation 2:28 and 2 Kefa 1:19.

The Final Invitation

The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come!’ Let anyone who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let anyone who is thirsty come  –  let anyone who wishes, take the water of life free of charge. This final invitation consists of three comes. Moved by what we have read in this book and looking around at what is happening in our world today, we join our voice and say to the lost, “Come!”

As in verses 14-15, either Yeshua or Yochanan may be speaking here. No matter which, both the Spirit and the Bride, the Messianic Community, also identified with the New Jerusalem (21:2), agree with Yeshua in reiterating his call to the thirsty to take the water of life free of charge (see 21:6).

Yeshua had just said, I am coming soon! (v. 12). The Spirit, the bride, and whoever hears, join in the chorus and prayer, Come. Yeshua answers, Yes, I am coming soon (v. 20). It is His last recorded word, the parting message to His waiting bride as He passes out of sight. The passage contains an invitation to sinners to come to Him, that they may be ready when He comes. As a result, some will ask Yeshua to save them, and others will harden their hearts further. It is for each to decide – choose life or choose death. This decision has eternal consequences. If you have not accepted Yeshua as your Lord and Savior yet – don’t delay. Ask Yeshua to be your Lord and Savior and receive His free gift of eternal life! ( see 2 Corinthians 5:17; 6:2; John 14:6; Romans 5:8; Mark 1:15).

A Final Warning Against the Mutilation of God’s Word

I warn everyone hearing the words of the prophecy in this book that if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues written in this book. 19 And if anyone takes anything away from the words in the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the Tree of Life and the holy city, as described in this book. The final warning follows the form of Deuteronomy 4:2, which reads: In order to obey the mitzvot of Adonai your God which I am giving you, do not add to what I am saying, and do not subtract from it. Yochanan’s warning refers to the Book of Revelation, not to the whole Bible.

Adds to them is not about those who amplify to have a better understanding, nor is it addressed to those who in their zeal to understand fail to interpret the actual meaning correctly. The warning seems to fit those who claim additional revelations or who write other volumes and claim them to be an inspired part of the Bible. Since it is recognized by all of Orthodoxy that claimed another revelation from God is the sign of a cult, it is those who would take away that might well be those closer to home! It is not unusual for many Believers even pastors and teachers to ignore the Biblical prophecies, even entire books of prophecy – Daniel, Ezekiel, Isaiah, Revelation, and all the rest, which are essential parts of the Bible which the Lord has given. Many of these same people go a step further and deny the miracles as recorded in the prophecies of the Scriptures, saying that future events will not be nearly so horrific or apocalyptical. It would not be wise to be among those who are always picking the Bible apart rather than just trying to live by its teachings.

The Final Prayer

“The one who is testifying to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon!’” Amen! Come, Lord Yeshua! 21 May the grace of the Lord Yeshua be with all!” M. R. DeHaan frames these final words: [1]

Revelation began with Him, and ends with Him, and is about Him. We have written this book that you who are unsaved might come to Him and that those of you who have come might love Him more and look with new eagerness for His return… The night is dark, and the world seems to be in the throes of death. Humanity is engulfed by turmoil and confusion. The dark clouds of coming judgment and distress are upon the horizon, and the rumblings of coming judgment may be heard. Men everywhere are wondering about the future, and some are despairing. One of those days or nights, however, while the world is occupied with its frivolities and empty pleasures and scoffing at the Word of God, a form will rise above the lashing waves, as on Galilee, to vindicate forever the devotion and the patient watching of that remnant in all ages who have not abandoned the hope of His coming again, and take them home to the realms of bliss where sorrow and sighing, loneliness and heartache will never be known and where, with loved ones gone before, we shall rest forever in the perfect service of our perfect Lord. “Even so, Come. Lord Yeshua.”

With this concluding thought by Dr. DeHaan, we have now analyzed and evaluated each of the 404 verses of the Book of Revelation, from Chapter One, verse one to Chapter Twenty-two and verse twenty-one.

Remember the opening verses of Chapter One introduced us to the purpose of the book. This is the revelation which God gave to Yeshua the Messiah so that he could show his servants what must happen very soon. He communicated it by sending his angel to his servant Yochanan, who bore witness to the Word of God and to the testimony of Yeshua the Messiah, as much as he saw. ~ Revelation 1:1-2 (CJB)

The Kehilah is instructed to say Amen at the close of the public reading of the book. The two final sentences, one for heaven and one for the earth, set the tone for those inspired to do the Lord’s will. So I echo the words of Yochanan: Come, Lord Yeshua and May the grace of the Lord Yeshua be with all.

In my next post, we’ll begin a new series based on the Letter to the Messianic Jews (Hebrews).

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[1] A Layman’s Commentary on Revelation by Don Jones.

God’s Completed Work

Revelation 22:11-15
The End Times

In my last post, we examined Revelation 22:6-10 ~ Affirmation of God’s Word. In this post, we explore Revelation 22:11-15 ~ God’s Completed Work.

11 “Whoever keeps acting wickedly, let him go on acting wickedly; whoever is filthy, let him go on being made filthy. “Also, whoever is righteous, let him go on doing what is righteous; and whoever is holy, let him go on being made holy.” 12 “Pay attention!” [says Yeshua,] “I am coming soon, and my rewards are with me to give to each person according to what he has done. 13 I am the ‘A’ and the ‘Z,’ the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” 14 How blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they have the right to eat from the Tree of Life and go through the gates into the city! 15 Outside are the homosexuals, those involved with the occult and with drugs, the sexually immoral, murderers, idol-worshippers, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.” ~ Revelation 22:11-15 (CJB)

Whoever keeps acting wickedly, let him go on acting wickedly; whoever is filthy, let him go on being made filthy. “Also, whoever is righteous, let him go on doing what is righteous; and whoever is holy, let him go on being made holy.” 12 “Pay attention!” [says Yeshua,] “I am coming soon, and my rewards are with me to give to each person according to what he has done. 13 I am the ‘A’ and the ‘Z,’ the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. The phrase I am coming soon found in Revelation 22:7, 12, 20, does not mean immediately! It says that once the process begins, he will come quickly; in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. The coming of Yeshua will be so sudden that humanity will not have a chance to change any part of his lifestyle! Whoever keeps acting wickedly, let him go on acting wickedly; whoever is filthy, let him go on being made filthy…whoever is holy, let him go on being made holy.”  When Yeshua appears, it will be too late to repent; too late to accept Him as your Lord and Savior; too late for heaven.

I am the “A” and the “Z” (the Alpha and the Omega), the Beginning and the End is a repeat from Revelation 21:6. The First and the Last is a paraphrase from Isaiah 44:6, where Adonai says: Thus says Adonai, the King of Israel, and its redeemer Adonai of Hosts [heavenly armies]: I am the first, and I am the last, and beside me there is no God.” By applying this text to Himself, Yeshua once again identifies Himself as Adonai.

How blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they have the right to eat from the Tree of Life and go through the gates into the city! 15 Outside are the homosexuals, those involved with the occult and with drugs, the sexually immoral, murderers, idol-worshippers, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. These verses may be the words of Yeshua (as this version has it), or of Yochanan. Those who wash their robes, who obtain forgiveness for their sins. How? “With the blood of the lamb” (7:14), that is, through the atoning work of Yeshua the Messiah, so that their robes are “white” (7:14; see also 3:4, 19:7-8, Isaiah 1:18). To eat from the Tree of Life and go through the gates into the city is to enjoy eternal life in fellowship with God. Yochanan continues to draw a contrast between those who live in obedience and those who live in disobedience. The distinction is between those who live their lives for Yeshua and those who live for themselves. God wants humanity to understand if they choose to live a self-serving, self-seeking, selfish lifestyle, he can only hope to reap hell for all eternity.

Outside in the lake of fire (20:12b, 21:8, 21:27) are unrepentant sinners. They are out not only in the future but out even now, to the extent that the Kingdom of God has broken through into this world in the hearts and lives of the saved.

Homosexuals, Greek kunes (“dogs”). One can imagine real wild dogs slavering over the wicked excluded from the city (compare Mattew 15:26, Luke 16:21). But Deuteronomy 23:18-19 illustrates the figurative use of the word “dog” in the Bible to mean “male (homosexual) prostitute”:  “No daughter of Israel is to be a female prostitute (k’deshah), nor is a son of Israel to be a male prostitute (kadesh). You are to bring neither the wages of a female prostitute (zonah) nor the wages of a dog (kelev) into the house of Adonai your God in payment of any vow; both of them are an abomination to Adonai your God.”

In my next post, we’ll examine Revelation 22:16-21 ~ Final Blessing & Curse and Conclusion.

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Affirmation of God’s Word

Revelation 22:6-10
The End Times

In my last post, we examined Revelation 22:1-5 ~ Renewal of the World. In this post, we explore Revelation 22:6-10 ~ Affirmation of God’s Word.

6 Then he [the angel] said to me, ‘These words are true and trustworthy: Adonai, God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show His servants the things that must happen soon. 7 Look! I am coming very soon. Blessed is the person who obeys the words of the prophecy written in this book!’8 Then I, Yochanan, the one hearing and seeing these things, when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel showing them to me. 9 But he said to me, ‘Don’t do that! I am only a fellow-servant with you and your brothers, the prophets and the people who obey the words in this book. Worship God!'” Then he said to me, ‘Don’t seal up the words of the prophecy in this book because the time of their fulfillment is near.'” ~ Revelation 22:6-10 (C3B)

The Certainty of Yeshua’s Return

Then he [the angel] said to me, ‘These words are true and trustworthy: Adonai, God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show His servants the things that must happen soon. 7 Look! I am coming very soon. Blessed is the person who obeys the words of the prophecy written in this book!Once again, Yochanan is assured of the honesty and integrity of this report. Note the words: These words are true and trustworthy. This revelation, which Yochanan has been given for the Kehilah, is to be taken seriously to heart. In Revelation 19:11 Yeshua is shown coming from heaven on a white horse, and in the same verse, He’s given a name: Faithful and True. This is the same phrase found here in verse six! It would seem that these words are being backed by the very person and character of the Son of God Himself. In verse seven is an exciting promise in the words of Yeshua: Look! I am coming very soon.

There is no doubt about our Lord’s coming. He is coming! Therefore, the question is not will He come, but are we prepared for His arrival? Some might ask if He is coming, why the delay? We find that answer in 2 Kefa: “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some people think of slowness; on the contrary, he is patient with you; for it is not his purpose that anyone should be destroyed, but that everyone should turn from his sins.”  ~2 Kefa 3:9 (CJB) Have you repented of your sins and placed your faith and trust in the Lord Yeshua HaMashiach? If Yeshua were to appear today, would you go to be with Him?

The Worship of Angels Forbidden

“I, Yochanan, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God. It would seem that this revelation so overcame Yochanan that he does what might seem to be a natural reaction, to worship the angels, whom the Lord created, rather than the Creator Himself. This is the second time (Revelation 19:9-10) Yochanan has been guilty of such a response. William Newell adds these words: [1]

The fidelity and humility of the angel abase and shame us. Though higher than man, he is a fellow-servant (sundoulos) – a word that wholly excludes independence, in which man glories. Note also how the angel remembers “the prophets,” those faithful servants of God, and also that the angels themselves are “keepers of the words” of this book of The Revelation. Doubtless, Michael and his angels derive their very courage for the terrific conflict of chapter 12 from the revelation of certain victory given through Yochanan the beloved. How wonderful are the ways of God! Let us lay dose to our hearts the angel’s words: Worship God. These words will search us out. Unless we are walking with God, other gods are ho/ding our affections. The very glory of divine revelations may tend to turn our weak hearts away from adoration of the divine, Person, Himself.

Then he said to me, ‘Don’t seal up the words of the prophecy in this book because the time of their fulfillment is near. Dani’el who lived over two thousand five hundred years ago was given a number of prophecies concerning the End Times.  After receiving the prophecies he was then told to seal up the book. “But you, Dani’el, keep these words secret and seal up the book until the time of the end. Many will rush here and there as knowledge increases.”~ Daniel 12:4 (CJB)

The question arises, how long will it be sealed? The answer is, even to the time of the end. How will we know when the end is near at hand? Again, the explanation is, many will rush here and there as knowledge increases. In light of these two signs involving travel and knowledge, it is easy to conclude that the time for Yeshua to appear is drawing near. Dani’el was commanded to seal his book, but now Yochanan is being given an opposite command as he is told not to sea/the prophecy of this book because the time of their, fulfillment is near. Jerry Falwell adds these thoughts: [2]

In verse 10 Yochanan is commanded not to seal the words of the prophecy of this book. The reason is dear. There is a blessing for anyone who keeps the sayings of the prophecies given in Revelation (22:7). Besides, the time is near when the Lord will come quickly, and people will need to understand what God is doing for them (cf. Dan. 12:4). The period which will usher in the eternal state is very near, and in Yochanan ‘s day, as in ours, the end is always impending, because Christ may return at any moment and the time piece of Revelation will start ticking away. Therefore, this book is to be opened, read, and heeded as a source of blessing.

 In my next post, well examine Revelation 22:11-15 ~ God’s Completed Work.

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[1] A Layman’s Commentary on Revelation by Don Jones.

[2] Ibid.

Renewal of the World

Revelation 22:1-5
The End Times

In my last post, we examined Revelation 21:22-27 ~ The Habitation of God. In this post, we begin to explore the last chapter of The Revelation of Yeshua HaMassiach to Yochanan by examining Revelation 22:1-5 ~ Renewal of the World.

1 Next, the angel showed me the river of the water of life, sparkling like crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2 Between the main street and the river was the Tree of Life producing twelve kinds of fruit, a different kind every month; and the leaves of the tree were for healing the nations  –  3 no longer will there be any curses. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will worship Him; 4 they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. 5 Night will no longer exist, so they will need neither the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because Adonai, God, will shine upon them. And they will reign as kings forever and ever.” ~ Revelation 22:1-5 (CJB)


Graphic courtesy of Google

The Water of Life

Next, the angel showed me the river of the water of life, sparkling like crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb.  The first thing mentioned in this chapter is the river of the water of life. The Psalmist said: “There is a river, whose streams make glad the city of God, the holiest dwelling-place of the Most High. God is in the midst of her…” ~ Psalm 46:5-6.

How vital water is to human life. Settlers to new areas always search out water before beginning any building and putting down roots. This was especially so in Yochanan’s day, as most of the people were agriculturally centered. Water would be their first priority (see Joshua 15:19). Water not only represents that which is refreshing but also essential. Man cannot live long without water. In the New Jerusalem, the source of refreshment is the throne of God.

The Tree of Life

Between the main street and the river was the Tree of Life producing twelve kinds of fruit, a different kind every month; and the leaves of the tree were for healing the nations no longer will there be any curses.  The Tree of Life was initially in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:9), but after sinning, Adam and Eve had to barred from it (Genesis 3:22) and the way to it guarded by a keruv (cherub) (Genesis 3:24). Here in restored Eden, the Tree of Life is restored. Like the other phenomena of the New Creation (21:14-21), it is unlike anything we now know, producing twelve kinds of fruit, a different kind every month. Moreover, the leaves of the tree are for healing the nations – no longer will there be any curses. Here healing seems to mean “making whole.” Heaven has no illnesses; the point is that sickness cannot exist in that perfect environment. These leaves provide all the healing power necessary to sustain ideal health for God’s people. Even though there is no sickness in the eternal state, the fruit and the leaves from this Tree of Life provide physical well-being to those in heaven. The curses were evils that came upon the nations – both Israel and the Gentile nations – due to their continued and unrepented sins; most of the biblical prophets pronounced curses at one time or another.

The Throne of God

The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will worship Him; 4 they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. 5 Night will no longer exist, so they will need neither the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because Adonai, God, will shine upon them. And they will reign as kings forever and ever.”  The central theme of existence in the redeemed world will be worship of God and of the Lamb Yeshua the Messiah, who share the throne. His servants will be entirely focused and completely satisfied when they worship him (which is not always the case today!), because (1) having unimpeded fellowship with God, they will see His face, and (2) His name will be on their foreheads, meaning that God will have made them wholly His own (see also 7:2-3, 13:16-17a, 14:1, 17:5). Night, with its darkness symbolizing God’s absence (Yochanan 1:5-9, 3:19-21; 1 Yochanan 1:5-7, 2:7-11), will no longer exist,… because Adonai, God, will shine upon them. Moreover, the physical and the spiritual will be intimately interconnected, since God’s immediate presence will make them need neither the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun. And, as promised in Revelation 3:21 and 1Corinthians 6:2-3, they will reign over the universe with the Messiah and with God as kings forever and ever.

Ray Stedman summarizes these three verses: [1]

From this magnificent scene of the Holy City flow three ministries that the redeemed saints will perform: First, empowered service. The saints will joyfully serve God. There is no greater privilege, pleasure, or joy that you and I could ask than to spend eternity in service to the God of our salvation. Second, intimate fellowship. The Saints will see His face and bear His name, just as a bride bears her husband’s name and sees his face. Third, enlightened authority. The saints shall reign forever and ever. Remember George Bernard Shaw’s complaint about heaven as an “inane, dull, useless, miserable” place? Have you ever pictured heaven as a boring place? You couldn’t be more wrong! What is it that causes boredom? Selfishness! The feeling of, “I want to be gratified, I want to be pandered to, I want to be indulged, I want to be excited, I, I, I!” But in heaven, there will be no selfishness. There will be continual excitement, discovery, anticipation, gratitude, praise, and the joy of being a partner in an eternal adventure with God Himself!

Revelation 22:5 concludes the description of the new heaven and the new earth. Think about the difficulty Yochanan must have had in finding the vocabulary to describe this scene. Man in his most vivid imagination could not come close to visualizing how the actual new heaven and new earth will look! Remember the Apostle Paul’s words recorded in 1 Corinthians: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no one’s heart has imagined  all the things that God has prepared  for those who love him.” ~ 1 Corinthians 2:9 (CJB)

In my next post, we’ll examine Revelation 22:6-10 ~ Affirmation of God’s Word.

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[1] A Layman’s Commentary on Revelation by Don Jones.

 

The Habitation of God

Revelation 21:22-27
The End Times

In my last post, we reviewed the Revelation 21:15-21 ~ The New Jerusalem ~ Part 2.  In this post, we continue to explore Revelation 21:22-27 ~ The Habitation of God.

22 I saw no Temple in the city, for Adonai, God of Heaven’s Armies, is its Temple, as is the Lamb.23 The city has no need for the sun or the moon to shine on it, because God’s Sh’khinah gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. 25 Its gates will never close, they stay open all day because night will not exist there, 26 and the honor and splendor of the nations will be brought into it. 27 Nothing impure may enter it, nor anyone who does shameful things or lies; the only ones who may enter are those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.”  ~ Revelation 21:22-27 (CJB)

This section draws on the imagery of Isaiah 60: “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of Adonai has risen upon you… Nations will walk at your light, and kings at the brightness of your rising… The wealth of the nations will come to you… Your gates will be open continually—day and night they will not be shut so that people can bring you the wealth of the nations, and their kings in procession… The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the moon give light to you for brightness, but Adonai will be for you an everlasting light, and your God your glory.” (Isaiah 60:1-5, 11, 16, 19-20)

I saw no Temple in the city, for Adonai, God of Heaven’s Armies, is its Temple, as is the Lamb. Adonai and the Lamb are the Temple of the new city. No longer is the structure necessary, for the saints are in the immediate presence of the Lord with no need for an earthly mediator or shadows of things eternal. The Temple is the same word used for the sanctuary, or God’s dwelling place, the Holy of Holies, in the Temple of Israel. Believers now have access to the most sacred, intimate fellowship with the Lord their God in fulfillment of the many promises given to the saints.

The city has no need for the sun or the moon to shine on it, because God’s Sh’khinah gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.  M. R. DeHaan explains further: [1]

Can you imagine what this glorious sight will be? Picture a new earth on which dwells the restored and redeemed nation of Israel, and around them are literal nations of redeemed people, consisting of the saved of the nations before the Cross and the nations which came through the Millennium. All dwell on the new earth. Hanging over that new earth, suspended in the sky, is this gigantic city, the New Jerusalem, the habitation of the bride of Christ. Christ is the light of it, and this light streams forth over all the earth, dispelling all darkness forever. Remember that the city is made of transparent gold, so that the light from the Person of Christ dwelling with His bride in the New Jerusalem streams forth from the lamp, fifteen hundred miles cube, lighting the entire earth.

The nations (or “Gentiles”) will walk by its light. There are not unregenerate nations living outside the city. Rather, as George E. Ladd says in his comment on this verse: [2]

“In the divine consummation, the redeemed will consist of peoples from every nation and tribe and people and tongue (7:9) who will not lose their national identity. John’s language means no more than the statements of the prophets: ‘and many peoples shall come and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob'” (Isaiah 2:3)… This is the affirmation of the universality of the knowledge of God, as promised in Jeremiah’s presentation of the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:30-33(31-34)).”

And the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. 25 Its gates will never close, they stay open all day because night will not exist there, 26 and the honor and splendor of the nations will be brought into it. 27 Nothing impure may enter it, nor anyone who does shameful things or lies; the only ones who may enter are those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.”

Oliver Greene states it right: [3]

Thank God for this verse! God will see to it that the episode recorded in Ezekiel 28 will never be repeated. God will see to it that the tragedy of Genesis 3 will never be repeated. God will see to it that in NO WISE—under no circumstances nor by any means—will anything enter into the Pearly White City to mar, scar, and defile. Nothing abominable shall enter there. Revelation 21:8 tells us that all evil ones are in the lake of fire, eternally imprisoned and sealed, never to be released, and the devil is there, too. Satan had access to God’s throne in the beginning when he was Lucifer, the shining one (Isaiah 14). But in the Pearly White City, there will be no devil—nor in the new earth or the heavenlies. Satan will be in the lake of fire the eternal prison of the damned. We need not worry about the sin—tragedy recurring. It will not because God Almighty will have put down evil once, for all, forever. Satan’s head will be crushed, his kingdom destroyed and his subjects in the lake of fire with him. Only those who have their names in the Lamb’s Book of Life will be in the Pearly White City.

I’m curious!  If the gates of the city are never shut, because in the city there is the eternal day, hence no night why are they built? Here again is a contrast to the Millennial situation in which day and night continue as the norm for the entire earth. The brilliant light of the city, however, dispels any possible darkness. Believers in their glorified bodies do not need rest, and their lives are full of continuous activity even like the holy angels.

Verse 27 indicates plainly that nothing will ever enter the city which is in any sense evil, as only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life are eligible for entrance. There does not seem to be any attempt made to keep them out. This fact is another reminder that all who are there have entered the city as the objects of God’s grace. Otherwise, they too would be excluded. This will be a perfect environment in contrast to the centuries of human sin, and the saints will enjoy this perfect situation through all eternity to come. The inhabitants of the city will be characterized by eternal life and absolute moral purity.

In my next post, we’ll examine Revelation 22:6-10 ~ Affirmation of God’s Word.

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[1] A Layman’s Commentary on Revelation by Don Jones.

[2] Jewish New Testament Commentary by David Stern

[3] Ibid.