Things that are

The Little Book of the Revelation - Third in a series

Rollover the Scripture links to read the referenced Bible verses.

In Chapter 4 we see the ‘one on the throne’ (Rev 4:2) who appears as a jasper and a sardine stone, that is, brownish and blood red. This scene shows ‘things that are’ as did Chapters 2 and 3.

God’s throne, encircled by an emerald rainbow, rests on the banks of a crystal sea where he basks in the praises of his 24 elders and attending beasts. These lovely beasts or creatures have eyes all over and within!

Perhaps the number of elders combines the 12 Old Testament tribal heads of Israel and the 12 New Testament disciples of the Lord, all with crowns of gold (Rev 4:4). In heaven there is unity and reward.

The four beasts seem to be a lion, calf, man, and an eagle (Rev 4:7). There are many points of view about these beasts. See here.

Thunders and lightnings show God in complete control, in glory with his companions, conversing and ruling from his throne (Rev 4:5), and before it are seven lamps of fire. These are identified as his seven spirits, viewed by numerous theologians as the Holy Spirit. We see these again in Chapter 5—the slain lamb has seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. (Rev 5:6b)

The book sealed with seven seals is presented in Chapter 5 (Rev 5:1) and a strong angel proclaims, not asks, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? (Rev 5:2)

No one is found who can, not in heaven or earth or under the earth; in fact no one could even look at it. This made John weep profusely but an elder tells him not to, because the Son of Man has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals. (Rev 5:5)

Some commentators believe the sealed scroll is a title deed to the earth (ref Jer 32), which Christ alone may open, proving his right of ownership. Others say that John’s Revelation continues the prophecies given to Daniel, and describes the consummation of those which he was told to seal up till the time of the end. (Dan 12:9) Whichever view one takes, the sealed scroll and the Little Book are integral to God’s providential work in salvation and judgment. Each person will form his or her understanding. The author is a layperson, not a pastor or professor.

The Son is seen “in the midst of the throne” (KJV) or next to it (ESV) as a lamb slain (Rev 5:6), where he also takes the book from his Father and is worshipped by the unusual beasts and by the elders who hold golden bowls filled with believers’ prayers that manifest as scents. (Rev 5:8)

Things that are?

John next sees hundreds of thousands of angels around the group, also worshipping Christ, and hears every creature in heaven, on earth, under the earth, and in the sea saying, Unto him that sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb, be the blessing, and the honor, and the glory, and the dominion, for ever and ever. (Rev 5:11-13; refs: Isa 45:22-25; Rom 14:11; Phil 2:10)

This may be a ‘vision within a vision’, for the worship of God by all his creatures has not yet occurred.

Will the opening of the seals also begin a ‘vision within a vision’? Are we about to see events yet to unfold? Or, isn't the procession of the four horses of the Apocalypse— deceit by antichrists, wars, famines and death, characteristic all of history?

Do the seven seals of the Revelation only relate to the final days on the earth when God moves to shake all nations, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain? (Heb 12:26-27; refs: Is 13:13; Joel 3:16) Or do the four horsemen not revisit mankind each century?

Bible commentators differ on this question, yet it does not seem reasonable for the Lord to show John a vision of how things have always been if this final book of Scripture pertains to the last days.

The current world of lockdowns, lies, food shortages, fiscal ruin, sexual mayhem, and the erosion of the rule of law, bring to mind David’s question: “If the foundations be destroyed, What can the righteous do?” (Ps 11:3) Vaccine passports have begun to facilitate buying and selling. Yes, we do sense that lines are being drawn and a different day is dawning. But of course, “of that day and hour knoweth no one, not even the angels of heaven, neither the Son, but the Father only.” (Mat 24:36 ASV)

In the course of the wonders

The Little Book of the Revelation - First in a series

In the Book of the Revelation, in the course of the wonders, warnings, blood-spattered events, glittering visions, trumpets, cries of angels and spectacular catastrophes— we come upon a Little Book.

John is presented this unsealed scroll by an angel, and told to take it and eat it.

This surprising command and some related discourse are found in the 11 verses of Chapter 10.

  1. And I saw another strong angel coming down out of heaven, arrayed with a cloud; and the rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire;
  2. and he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left upon the earth;
  3. and he cried with a great voice, as a lion roareth: and when he cried, the seven thunders uttered their voices.
  4. And when the seven thunders uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying, Seal up the things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not.
  5. And the angel that I saw standing upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his right hand to heaven,
  6. and sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created the heaven and the things that are therein, and the earth and the things that are therein, and the sea and the things that are therein, that there shall be delay no longer:
  7. but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, then is finished the mystery of God, according to the good tidings which he declared to his servants the prophets.
  8. And the voice which I heard from heaven, I heard it again speaking with me, and saying, Go, take the book which is open in the hand of the angel that standeth upon the sea and upon the earth.
  9. And I went unto the angel, saying unto him that he should give me the little book. And he saith unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but in thy mouth it shall be sweet as honey.
  10. And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and when I had eaten it, my belly was made bitter.
  11. And they say unto me, Thou must prophesy again over many peoples and nations and tongues and kings.

What was in the Little Book? We must be content to set aside the Seven Thunders, but for the Little Book, we will pry for discoveries that will help to establish the true religion, as Sir Isaac Newton urged that studies in the Revelation ought to do.*

For context, we will begin by summarizing the contents of chapters 1 through 9, beginning in the next post.

*Sir Isaac Newton Commentary on the Revelation

Job’s wish is God’s command

Job Sees The Light - Twentieth in a series

Hover over the Scripture references to read the verses under discussion

Job 19:1-6 NIV His friends have reproached him in five speeches, but it feels like ten. All are agreed that the debacle is God's doing, but why is the topic of contention.

Job 19:7-8 NIV Behold, I cry out, ‘Violence!’ but I am not answered; I call for help, but there is no justice. Job's cries for help and answers have been —ignored?

Nearly every trial brings a time of waiting. We need to continue to live and to hope based only on faith and not sight. Some cannot do this and take many wrong turns, even suicide.

The truth is that God is at work performing wonders in our lives and hearts even when it seems as though nothing at all is being done. He is quietly rearranging our perceptions and expectations during the long, silent moments and days of our tribulations so that we begin to see things from his perspective.

The truth is that Satan will do his worst to impede our progress and delay our deliverance.

Job 19:9 NIV Is this verse to be understood figuratively or literally? Was Job simply a great man or was ‘the greatest man of the East’ (Job 1:3) a king?

Job 19:10-11 NIV It is very hard to pull up a tree, even a dead one. Why, God?

Job 19:12-17 NIV We may not realize what a strength our family and others are to us until they are removed. Even to lose one good friend is traumatic, or if a brother or sister turns their back, ones grief is overwhelming. Job has lost the love and support not only of friends and servants but also of his family members not to mention the complete loss of this ten children. What man ever experienced a greater trial?

Job 19:18-19 NIV Job grieves over the lack of respect accorded him by youth and the outright disgust felt by his former friends.

Job 19:20 NIV The reduction Job endured was thorough.

Job 19:21-24 NIV Some scholars believe that the mention of the iron tool on lead indicates that Job lived in the days of the Judges because iron did not come into common use in the ancient near East until the 12 century BC. Yet in Genesis 4 we read that Zillah also had a son, Tubal-Cain, who forged all kinds of tools out of bronze and iron. (Gen 4:22) So evidently, iron was in use from the earliest times.

Job will get his wish that his words be written, engraved in the rock forever. The Bible is the rock-solid Word of God that will stand forever, even after iron tools and rocks have been removed.

Job 19:25-27 NIV Every Christian treasures this vision and assurance of resurrection life in Christ.

Job 19:28-29 NIV Again, in the midst of despair and rumination over his ugly mistreatment by God and man, Job is given an empowering prophecy that overshadows his need for pity. He is emboldened once again to push back against his tormentors.

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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