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. Of course, some say we have been in the last days since the resurrection of the Lord.

The course of history goes from bad to worse, then back to better, but one day it will go from bad to much, much worse, and the pendulum will return to a place where there shall be no more death, sorrow, crying or pain. (Rev 21:4)

The current world of lockdowns, lies, food shortages, fiscal ruin, sexual mayhem, and the erosion of the rule of law, brings 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)

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God Preached Creation

Job Sees The Light - Fortieth in a series

Hover over the Scripture references to read the verses under discussion

A recap: The story of Job is about a morally pure, exemplary man whom God permits Satan to ruin, as —it would seem — a test of his faith. Satan believes Job will curse God once his gifts and blessings are removed, and that he only serves and obeys the Lord to gain his favors.

In the aftermath of the death of his children and servants and the loss of his herds and his health, three friends come to grieve with him. Following seven days and nights of silence, they begin to speak to comfort him and to sort out the mayhem. Each one believes Job has secret sins, and as he protests that he is innocent, contentious sparring is the result.

An onlooker, a younger man, offers to set all in order by his insights and wisdom. He presents many thoughts, but is silenced when God himself comes in a whirlwind to answer Job. What will he say? Why did God ruin Job, even permitting the death of his children? Was it only to win a bet with Satan?

Now, in the denouement, we see that Job needed to have his world turned upside down in order to understand the sovereignty of God as an article of faith, not in a superficial way, and that his standing with God could not depend on his own righteousness.

But could this not have been presented to his mind in a kinder manner? We could also ask: Was it absolutely necessary for Christ to be crucified? No, and Yes. Some accomplishments are very hard won.

Were Job alive today, he would need to hear the Gospel message, that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16) But he lived during the time of the law (See this post).

How could the gospel be clearly understood before the death of Christ? It could not, and that is why we today are exalted from the standpoint of history. Nevertheless, people who lived before Christ could belong to God as we today can or do.

There was an age of preparation before Christ came when he was known or perceived through prophecies, promises, sacrifices and ordinances, yet even then man could understand God's acceptance as a matter of his grace and that any boasting or resting in ones own works would not open any kingdom doors. There are commonalities of the saints across all the ages. Those in the prior age who grasped them would be prepared to receive the Christ when he came.

As God preached Creation, Job began to understand that he could not earn nor produce a relationship with God and to see he was presumptuous and prideful.

Creation is the best tutor to humble man. Let all the earth fear the Lord: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. For He spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast. (Psalm 33:6-9)

In Job 39 God continues to preach creation with a focus on the winged fowl and the beasts of the earth (Gen 1:21-24). He discourses on the wild goats and hinds (Job 39: 1-4), the wild ass (Job 39: 5-8), the unicorn (Job 39: 9-12), the peacock, (Job 39: 13), the ostrich, (Job 39: 13-18), the horse (Job 39: 19-25), and the hawk and the eagle (Job 39: 26-30).

Perhaps in considering the obstinacy, blindness, boldness and sheer wonder of these, Job will reflect upon how great God is and how insignificant is man.

Job 39:1-20 NIV Job is reminded that he is very young in years compared with God.

Enjoy reading all of Job 39. It is all true and wonderful.

The general remark may here be made, that all the notices in the Bible of the subjects of science — which are indeed mostly casual and incidental — are such as are confirmed by the investigations which science in the various departments makes. Of what other ancient book but the Bible can this remark be made? …Subsequent investigations have served to confirm the accuracy of these descriptions, and they may be taken now as a correct account even to the letter of the natural history of the different animals referred to. (ref)

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.