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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In the fight of his lfe

Job Sees The Light - Twenty-eighth in a series

Hover over the Scripture references to read the verses under discussion

To defend oneself against false accusations takes more strength, courage and determination than to walk again after months of lying flat as an invalid.

To stand and to walk, Job must push against the sneers and insults of trusted friends who have become Satan’s allies in the war on Job’s faith. It would be easier if he were defending himself against men who had never cared for him. He could lift up his head knowing their motives were selfish. But for friends to accuse him of wrongdoing and call him an hypocrite is crushing.

Job 27:1-5 ASV Job makes a vow in Chapter 27 that he will never speak lies, nor concede that he is an evil, dishonest man.

As with the term, “son of man,” (see no. 26 of this series) we have here the first mention of the word parable. (Many Bible versions use parable, though in the NIV the word is discourse.) Though used by Balak in the book of Numbers which precedes Job in the Bible, Balak probably lived hundreds of years after Job, so Job’s use of the term would precede his. In both cases, the words of the men are to teach and to recite proverbial –well-known– truth. In the meaning of the term, two things may be compared. Here, Job is drawing comparisons between himself and evil men.

Job 27:6-7 NIV Holding fast to our integrity in an argument may compel us to rebuke those who falsely accuse us, even though they be members of our family or close friends. Job has determined that if these friends insist on defaming his character, then they must bear the mark of their misjudgment. It is evil to slander a righteous person, therefore they will become known as unrighteous, wicked men.

Job 27:8-10 NIV Job must defend his life and his good witness against these slanderers. If he actually was unrighteous, what would his expectation be? How could he live? How could he hold his head up, so that he might wait upon the Lord for his deliverance? He could not! No, a hypocrite is not a believer. He cannot stand when the storms of life come for he has built his house on sand (Mat 7:26).

Job 27:1-12 NIV Job will now instruct his friends; this will not make him popular. Talking down to those who consider themselves your equals or “betters” is provocative. Why do it? Why not simply wait on the Lord for deliverance? Everyone knows that evil people face a future of judgment, terror, loss and emptiness.

Job 27:13-23 NIV Funny, this seems to describe what has occurred in Job’s life, at least some of it does. This is what makes it difficult for Job to defend himself. His defense is not convincing because appearances loudly proclaim he is out of God’s favor.

What can an innocent person can say or do in the face of such apparent condemnation? Wait on the Lord.

How did Job define himself?

Job Sees The Light - Fourth in a series

Hover over the Scripture references to read the verses under discussion

Job 3:1-3 Although we do not know how long it took his friends to hear of his plight and travel to his home, an adequate time has passed for despair to take up residence in Job’s heart. A crushed spirit dries up the bones. (Prov 17:22) Spiritual desiccation affects ones entire outlook and health.

Job 3:4-10 A time of testing is marked by two distinct phases: Phase one initiates the test, and is usually brief. It encompasses the event of the disaster, sudden death, or news of an illness or other setback. Phase two is a lengthier time of adjustment to the news or event and living through the time that follows. During this phase one may tumble downward into bitterness and illness or grope upward to seek God's help and to discover why he has caused or allowed the trial. Most Christians probably go in both directions.

Job 3:11-12 Why was I born? What is the point of my life? Everything seems a waste. It’s meaningless, pointless!

Is Job searching for answers or only bemoaning his lack of control over events. Both?

Job 3:13-16 The prospect of resting among others who lived pointless lives seems good to Job.

Job 3:17-19 No man can trouble another in that place.

Job had previously seen black and white—white being himself with material blessings, and black, the have-nots for whom he cared we later will learn, but now he sees gray. The lines of demarcation between the well off and the poor have blurred.

He formerly had a clear understanding of his identity, but now he is confused. Without his possessions, he feels vanquished and empty. He had felt defined by and in them, and now he struggles to evaluate the meaning of his life.

Intellectually, we know that what we own, oversee or are responsible for does not amount to who we are. Yet, it is a common experience of unemployed people to feel hollow— as though others can see straight through them— and for poor people to feel unimportant or disconnected. Likewise, those with seemingly secure rank and wealth often identify with them and feel buttressed.

There is great temptation and tendency to define ourselves by a career, job or bank account. But we are not the sum total of our achievements, much less our possessions or wealth. No, whatever self esteem we have must be based on our oneness with the Lord: Our core identity is that we are his sons and daughters, made in his image, made to love and be loved by him.

Had Job not been stripped of all in which he defined himself— his wealth and servants, his children, his position— could he have had his spiritual eyes opened? Could he have seen God through so many layers of human identity?

Job 3:20-23 Job was a man of God who showed wonderful character and reserve in the first phase of his tremendous test. But in the second, the greatest man of the east (Job 1:3) is revealed to be a saint in need of learning greater perseverance.

Job 3:24-26 Perhaps Satan had been attacking Job’s mind long before he attacked his belongings. Though Job appeared to be completely blessed, underneath —in his heart— the greatest man of the east was troubled with fear and dread. Intellectually he understood he owed everything to God, but he lived as though it all rested on him. The Lord saw he was unhappy under the crushing weight.

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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