We have walked through the Tribulation and seen the horrors that only the evil enemy could devise, and yet in the midst of these chapters, we have found the glory of the Lord and have stopped to praise Him for His mercy, His lovingkindness, and His grace. Now with all of heaven, we can shout “Hallelujah.”
The word hallelujah is only found in the book of the Revelation in the NT but is often found in the Psalms (see examples below) as Hallelujah or Praise the Lord. “Hallelujah is an English transliteration of hallalouia, which is a Greek transliteration (not translation) of a Hebrew term, which means, “Praise Jehovah.” [sola scriptura]
Psa 113:1 Praise the Lord! Praise, you servants of the Lord, praises the name of the Lord!
Psa 146:1 Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul!
Psa 149:1 Praise the Lord! Sing to the Lord a new song! Praise Him in the assembly of the godly!
Take time today to meditate upon that word. Give the Lord Praise! Hallelujah! Then compose a prayer to Him, for He alone is glorious, righteous, and deserving of praise.
John wrote: “Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy aloud, and blessed are those who hear and obey the things written in it because the time is near!” [Rev 1:3]These words remind the first-century church as well as us today that God is still on the throne; he is omnipotent, omniscient, and sovereign. Men continue to disregard the words of scripture, but God will reign supreme for He is: “just – the one who is and who was, the Holy One – because you have passed these judgments,” Then I heard, “Yes, Lord God, the All-Powerful, your judgments are true and just!” From the OT to the NT, the same theme is ever-present: “As for the Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are just. He is a reliable God who is never unjust; he is fair and upright.” [Deu 32:4]
Oh, the patience and longsuffering of our God to bring to pass His righteous judgments. And that is why at this season we pray as David prayed: “You are just, O Lord, and your judgments are fair” [Ps 119:13] and why the wise still seek Him before it is too late to know His promise: “I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.” [Prov 8:17]
May we know Him and give Him the honor due His Name.
John offers the epitome of evil to the blessed reader and the glory of truth through the image of the Lamb. Both have followers who are obedient to their words, yet the outcome is vastly different. As always, the beast is a master counterfeiter. His follower’s loyalty is noted by the visible mark on their hand or forehead, mimicking the OT custom of the Jews and wearing of their phylacteries. The acceptance of the Beast’s mark seals them for all eternity because they have denied God. They obey for today but not for eternity. True Believers need to pray for discernment when that time comes. Contrast this to the Lamb’s followers who are not defiled. They too are marked, but with the Father’s name on their forehead. They follow the Lamb wherever He goes because they are redeemed, and they are blameless. John shares this glorious truth through the song of Moses:
God’s works: Great and marvelous are Your works.
God’s ways: Just and true are Your ways.
God’s worthiness: Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy.
God’s worship: All nations shall come and worship before you. [thoughts by David Guzik]
May we join them as they share in this hymn the wonder of our marvelous God.
Revelation 8 “Do you wonder if God has heard your prayers?
The Apostle John reveals what he saw as he stood in heaven before God’s throne and the incense altar. Just like the elderly Zacharias stood before the altar of incense, this specially chosen angel did the same step by step. He filled the censer with fire from the brazen altar, and then, reaching down, he took two handfuls of incense to sprinkle on the burning coals. Zacharias did it in the earthly temple, but this angel did the steps in the holy temple in heaven. Zacharias had prayed often and fervently for a son but wondered if his prayer had reached heaven’s door. The Angel Gabriel assured him that his prayer for a son had been heard.
Do you wonder if your prayers reach heaven? “The utterly astonishing thing about this text is that it portrays the prayers of the saints as the instrument God uses to usher in the end of the world with great divine judgments. It pictures the prayers of the saints accumulating on the altar before the throne of God until the appointed time when they are taken up like fire from the altar and thrown upon the earth to bring about the consummation of God’s kingdom.” [J. Piper]
God in heaven stored the prayers of the saints from 2000 years ago, and now the time has come for them to be used to consummate the avenging power upon those who have denied God and His Son. And the smoke ascended to the nostrils of God there to find their fulfillment.
Do you know and believe that your prayers have been heard and not forgotten? Revelation 8 is your answer.
The words of the Apostle John remind us that we look forward to the time when we can all rejoice at the feet of our Savior. Until then we rejoice on Christmas in the babe in the manger and we look forward to His resurrection day on Easter. These are a reminder of God’s promises:
Now the Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We saw his glory – the glory of the one and only, full of grace and truth, who came from the Father. [Jn 1:14]
Now to the one who is able to keep you from falling, and to cause you to stand, rejoicing, without blemish before his glorious presence, to the only God our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority, before all time, and now, and for all eternity.
1John 5 Do you have any doubts? Do you worry? Take heart dear reader, for John shares the secret to quiet assurance. It is the belief that Jesus is the Son of God. The Greek word for believe is [pist-yoo’-o], meaning to be persuaded of, to credit, to place confidence in. Did you grasp that last word? Confidence is the foundation of assurance.
Further, John says it is because we are assured we have the confidence to come boldly before the throne of God. We can ask anything according to his will, and God hears what we have longed to share with Him trusting Him who hears and answers. He may not answer how we think it should be answered because our motives may be selfish or improper, but He will answer. We must always remember these wise words from Isaiah: Indeed, my plans are not like your plans. Thus God will answer according to His plan, which is superior to ours.
Will we trust Him? Will we have confidence in Him who knows the end from the beginning?
E.M. Bounds noted: Only God can move mountains but faith and prayer move God
1John 1&2 In time past, you chose to accept Jesus as your Savior when the gospel was presented. You moved from a life of darkness into the illuminated life of the believer. One of the blessings of that new relationship is that you have the indwelling Holy Spirit to assist you in abiding. Abiding is our intimate relationship with Jesus, our Advocate, and Blessed Redeemer/Savior. It has the essence of how we respond to Jesus and His commandments. We allow Him to fill our minds, direct our wills, and transform our affections. Jesus takes up residence within us through the Holy Spirit as He promised. As our indwelling teacher, the Holy Spirit (John 14:26, 16:13) will bring thoughts to our mind, direct our steps if we are yielding, and will give us understanding to the “all things” of the scriptures.
Blessed Beloved Ones, remain steadfast, immovable, always abounding lest you be led astray. Test the spirits to know if they are of God or not. Check and see if you are abiding, loving, anointed.
Abide anointed ones, for you are blessed beyond measure.
2Peter 1-3 Who is on the chopping block is the question asked by the TV host of a show by that name. Different chefs are given unusual food items to craft a meal and then their meals are critiqued. One will be chopped from the lineup and sent packing until only one is left.
In some ways, Peter’s second letter is a reminder of a “chopping block.” It is into that scenario that Peter writes a letter to those who will be alive in a time when the days are getting shorter, both seasonally and also biblically. Peter recognizes his earthly existence is also growing shorter. Nero is on the warpath and Peter, being in Rome, knows that his “head is on the chopping block.” False teachers are abounding and leading others astray. Like a wise and caring pastor, Peter reminds them that the false teacher’s doom is sure, their depravity is celebrated, and they are deceived by the evil one.
Therefore, they must be diligent to pay attention and do not lose heart. Believers must “make every effort to make sure of [their] calling and election” [2Pet 1:10] lest they are led astray by these unprincipled men and are “chopped.” Instead, believers must use this time to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ until that day arrives. [2Pet 3:18]
1Peter 3 to 5 This pandemic has stretched and challenged family life. Remember, Jesus “called us through the new birth into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading.” [1Peter 1:4] We are blessed; don’t forget that. Keep that in the forefront of your minds as you are stretched, and relationships are facing challenges.
As part of the marriage vows, men and women vow to love until death. The pandemic does not change that! Solomon reminds his reader that “when you make a vow to God, do not delay paying it. God takes no pleasure in fools.” [Eccl 5:4] Peter is advising first century men and women and men and women of today to set the tone in the home as they build their family unit. His advice: wives: be submissive, even to a husband who is an unbeliever. Husbands, treat your wife with consideration or understanding. Practically they are to follow this counsel: “all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, affectionate, compassionate, and humble.” [1Peter 3:8]
Set the tone in your home so you can have a peaceful family unit.
Do you live in a place where you and your faith are secure? Since most do not, James and Peter address the pilgrims who have left Jerusalem and need reassurance. Both authors remind the believers that they are chosen, elect, and set apart by the Holy Spirit. They have been ransomed, sprinkled and born again with the blood of Christ. They recognize it was He that offered His body to be sacrificed that they may take part in the resurrection to come. They also recognize that this life is a temporary transition to the eternal, just as Jesus promised. Thus, the persecution they are facing is temporary, and their lives transitory. All NT authors point to this fact: you are to be holy because God is holy.
Peter likens believers to stones chiseled by the trials and tribulations in this life. They were in the quarry but were taken and placed side by side to build the house of God. The cornerstone is Christ, chosen, and precious. The world stumbles over His message and His person, but the believer sees himself as part of the temple of God, part of a holy nation, a people of his own for one reason: to proclaim Jesus Christ to a darkened world.
We may not have seen Christ or heard His audible voice, yet we can know that we are building the house of God that will outlast this earthly existence.