The journey ahead

The Little Book of the Revelation - Sixth in a series

In the previous post, we met two groups of people: the 144,000 Jews, symbolic of the remnant, and the children of the Lord, at eternal rest after enduring great tribulation.

Before John receives the Little Book, the first group is on the earth during the last days, but later on in Revelation 14 they have arrived in heaven. The second group is seen by John in heaven, but we do not know when they arrive there.

This brings up an uncomfortable question. Often as we read or reflect on the Revelation and other Bible passages, we may wonder, When will the Lord return? But there is another question— a more difficult one: How much will Christians endure before the Lord’s return? What is the path ahead?

There are passages that provoke us to anxiety, such as in Revelation 13:

  • And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and there was given to him authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation.
  • And all that dwell on the earth shall worship him, every one whose name hath not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that hath been slain.
  • If any man hath an ear, let him hear.
  • If any man is for captivity, into captivity he goeth: if any man shall kill with the sword, with the sword must he be killed. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints. (Rev 13:7-10 ASV)

These verses seem to portend that in the end, Christians will have two options: assault and be assaulted (killed), or become captives, for they will refuse to worship the beast.

The following verses also foreshadow that all will be commanded to worship the beast, and that we must be discerning, for the command will be issued by a charismatic false prophet, an antichrist:

  • And I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like unto a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.
  • And he exerciseth all the authority of the first beast in his sight.
  • And he maketh the earth and them that dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose death-stroke was healed.
  • And he doeth great signs, that he should even make fire to come down out of heaven upon the earth in the sight of men.
  • And he deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by reason of the signs which it was given him to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast who hath the stroke of the sword and lived.
  • And it was given unto him to give breath to it, even to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as should not worship the image of the beast should be killed. (Rev 13:11-15 ASV)

Worship of the image of the beast is a prerequisite to taking the mark of the beast in order to buy or sell:

  • And he causeth all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free and the bond, that there be given them a mark on their right hand, or upon their forehead;
  • and that no man should be able to buy or to sell, save he that hath the mark, even the name of the beast or the number of his name. (Rev 13:16-17 ASV)

We learn by repetition

The warning to Christians and all people is repeated in Rev 14:

  • And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a great voice, If any man worshippeth the beast and his image, and receiveth a mark on his forehead, or upon his hand,
  • he also shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is prepared unmixed in the cup of his anger; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
  • and the smoke of their torment goeth up for ever and ever; and they have no rest day and night, they that worship the beast and his image, and whoso receiveth the mark of his name. (Rev 14:9-11 ASV)

And the encouragement to have patience in the face of the terrors, which was stated in Revelation 13:10, is confirmed in Revelation 14:

  • Here is the patience of the saints, they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
  • And I heard a voice from heaven saying, Write, Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth: yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; for their works follow with them. (Rev 14:12-13 ASV)

In a linear view, the warnings and encouragements of Revelation 13 and 14 would not seem pertinent to the message of the Little Book which is in Chapter 11. However, a new series of visions that are relevant to the contents of the seals begins in Chapter 12, following the sounding of the seventh trumpet at the end of Chapter 11 when “the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ”. (Rev 11:15 ASV)

Therefore, the passages above have been included or inserted, actually, in the course of our lead up to Chapter 11. In the next post we will look at one more verse that follows Chapter 11 and evaluate in what way it illuminates the contents of the Little Book.

As we stand against the world today and in harsher days to come, we remember the Lord was with Joseph in prison and with Moses in his great trials. He was with David in his battles and with Daniel in the Lion’s Den. These are uplifting Scriptures, but so is this one: Precious in the sight of Jehovah Is the death of his saints. (Ps 116:15)

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You have an adversary

Job Sees The Light - Second in a series

Job 1:2-3 Hover over this Bible passage to read how blessed Job was.

Job 1:4-5 Job saw himself as righteous— He stood before the Lord in the place of his children to make atonement for them.

Job 1:6-7 The Lord knew that Satan, his son who turned from righteousness, had been surveying Job and his possessions, and begrudging him for his privileges. Perhaps Job reminded the Adversary of the riches and honor he had enjoyed before his fall.

Job 1:8 The Lord saw Job as perfect and upright, as one who feared God and turned from evil. But Job was blind to God’s immense glory and did not fathom the depth of his wisdom, mercy, power, love and sovereignty. We discover this in the book’s final chapter as Job confesses:

I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes. (Job 42:6)

Mission accomplished! As we will see in this blog series, the Lord, by taking his son, Job, through a severe and inscrutable trial, brought him to a new birth. And since the journey began when Job was self-deceived, it was an especially laborious and painful task. The self-assured man is practically unbendable.

We can only hope the Lord will do the same for us, realizing it is the nature of man to be foolish, self-absorbed, prideful, short-sighted, and never aware of the magnitude of distance between the creature and the Creator.

The Trial Begins

Job 1:9-11 The Accuser challenges the Lord of Hosts. He would like for Job to be tested. Much could be written about this passage and the prospect of Satan demanding to sift God’s children, but for now we will only point out that God is not the accuser. Though He sees all our shortcomings, he never accuses us about them, but only gently brings them to our minds.

Job 1:12 God grants permission to Satan to decimate Job.

Job 1:13 Satan chose the birthday of the oldest son to begin his rampage (Job 1:4). "That son is the first sign of his father's strength." (Deut 21:17) That day symbolized Job's blessedness and hope for the future. One of Satan's goals in attacking us as well, is to make us feel cut off from our future hope and doubtful about our claim to it.

Job 1:14-15 His destruction of Job’s possessions and family begins with the creatures that help to manage his ranch and their overseers. Satan uses neighboring tribes to do his work. This deflects the blame from himself and his minions.

Job 1:16-17 Next the sheep so needed for food and raiment and the camels for their services in travel and their overseers are killed. "Fire from heaven" is blamed. Satan wants man to blame the Lord for his losses.

Job 1:18-19 Finally, Job’s children are destroyed by a tornado or twister, on the day of the oldest son’s birthday. Satan can control the weather if the Lord allows.

Job 1:20-22 Despite everything, Job does not question nor blame the Lord.

Improve God's remembrance of you

Remembrance and its opposite - Fourth in a series

One of the thieves crucified at Calvary alongside Christ wanted to be remembered by him. He defended Jesus against the taunts of the other thief, and Christ promised him, "Today shalt thou be with me in paradise." (Luke 23:40-43)

However, both thieves mocked Christ as their punishments began. “[…the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders…] The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth." (Mat 27:41-44) And they that were crucified with him reviled him. (Mark 15:32)

But in the end, after hours of excruciating pain, the one had amended his views. At last he said, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. (Luke 23:40-42)

Thus did physical torture and delay in deliverance lead to eternal reward.

Have you wondered why you are experiencing torturous delays to answered prayers and painful, lengthy trials? Yet in waiting on God:

  • We learn patience, endurance and perseverance.
  • We gain insight to the suffering of others and become able to counsel and comfort them.
  • We are led to draw close to God for strength and peace.
  • As we strain to listen and he draws us nearer, we become more like him.
  • We may even be led to wonder if what we are waiting for is, after all, what we really need. We gain wisdom. Indeed, if we thought he did not know us fully, we were in great need of enlightenment. Will we now pray in new ways?

Thus, as we wait and suffer, often feeling that God has forgotten us, we are made better so that God's remembrance of us might be improved, in a manner of speaking.

Attention Readers

Have you visited the Biotech Blog on this website? Find information and resources to help you think about biotech as a Christian.

During the summer of 2017, I explored the topic of kidney donation. Is it right for a society to permit that? To encourage it? What do you think? Read the Live Kidney Donation Series!

Should you sign your driver’s license to be an organ donor? Is cremation OK with God? Do these practices undermine the Christian doctrine of the Resurrection?

Learn more. The conscience cannot function without facts.


Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. -Mat 5:14

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