Had to talk one more time of God’s care and protection coming from His character of unconditional love – read it on 66 Books.
Thank you so much for following and engaging with me on the topic of the Spirit of God throughout 2016. It has been quite an amazing year of discovery for me both in the Old Testament and in some of the letters of Paul, just how prevalent the Holy Spirit is in the Bible and as such, so is the expression of the Trinity.
So now on to 2017 and smack in my face, on more occasions than I cared for, God is challenge me to see how He expresses hope in His Word. I invite you to come and participate with me. I think I am going to see a power in hope that I have never seen before.
Let’s journey together — https://evanlaar2017.wordpress.com/
Abiding Hope is what I have titled this year’s journal
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” Let anyone who hears this say, “Come.” Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life. And I solemnly declare to everyone who hears the words of prophecy written in this book: If anyone adds anything to what is written here, God will add to that person the plagues described in this book. And if anyone removes any of the words from this book of prophecy, God will remove that person’s share in the tree of life and in the holy city that are described in this book. – Revelation 22:17-19
The cry of all creation is for its true Lord; the cry of the Spirit in prophecies and in the hearts of God’s people is for the coming Lord—the bride waiting for the bridegroom cries “Come.” The Apocalypse is the book of the coming One; it ends with the cry that the coming One would come; but let those who thirst for His coming come to Him. We may draw near to Him, who is drawing near to us – Ellicott
Hearing Christ say that he should come quickly, the Spirit and the bride express an earnest wish, and a most affectionate desire after his coming: by “the Spirit” may be meant the Spirit of God in the hearts of his people, who not only convinces them of, and acquaints with the coming of Christ to judgment, and gives them reason to expect it, but fills their souls with the love of his appearance, so that they look and long for it, and hasten in the breathings of their souls after it: and this in like manner he may be said to wish for, and desire it in them, as he is said to cry “Abba”, Father, in them, ( Galatians 4:6 ) and to make intercession for them, ( Romans 8:26 Romans 8:27 ) . Hence, some interpreters, by the spirit, understand such as have the Spirit, and are spiritual men; either have spiritual gifts, the gift of prophecy, as John, who in expresses an ardent desire that Christ would come quickly; or regenerate men in common, who are born of the Spirit, and bear his name, ( John 3:5 John 3:6 ) and so by an hendyadis, “the Spirit and the bride” signify one and the same; namely, the spiritual bride of Christ, who is sanctified by the Spirit of God; even all the elect of God, whom Christ loved from all eternity, and who are espoused to him as a chaste virgin; the new Jerusalem, who is as a bride adorned for her husband, and is the bride, the Lamb’s wife: these wait for the bridegroom’s coming, and most earnestly desire it, as there is good reason for them so to do, since his appearing in itself will be a glorious one, being in his own glory, and his Father’s, and the holy angels; and seeing then will be the solemnization of the marriage day between Christ and his church; it will be the saints’ redemption day; they will then possess full salvation in soul and body; complete grace will be given to them, and glory will be revealed in them, and they shall be for ever with the Lord.
Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and spoke with me, saying, “Come here, I will show you the judgment and doom of the great [j]prostitute who is seated [k]on many waters [influencing nations], she with whom the kings of the earth have[l]committed acts of immorality, and the inhabitants of the earth have become intoxicated with the wine of her immorality.” And the angel carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness; and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was [m]entirely covered with blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns. The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold, precious stones and pearls, [and she was] holding in her hand a gold cup full of the abominations and the filth of her [sexual] immorality. And on her forehead a name was written, a mystery: “BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES (false religions, heresies) AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of the saints (God’s people), and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus [who were martyred]. When I saw her, I wondered in amazement. But the angel said to me, “Why do you wonder? I will explain to you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and ten horns. – Revelation 17:1-7
John’s experience with the Spirit went beyond the normal daily Spirit-influenced life. However, it serves as an example of what God can do when he chooses. We must keep our lives open to the unusual as well as the usual. Let us live our lives in such a way that the Spirit can move upon us and within us in special ways! – George M. Flattery
John is continuing to receive divine revelation by the Spirit of God with angelic agency.
The hand of the Lord was upon me, and He brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones. – Ezekiel 37:1
And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints,…. To see a woman drunk is a shameful sight; but to see one drunk, not with wine, but with blood, is monstrous, cruel, and shocking; the sword, when it devours, and is satiate, is said to be drunk with blood, Jer 46:10 but for a woman to be so is unexampled; and not with her own blood, as she will be, Isa 49:26 but with the blood of others; and not with the blood of wicked men, but with the blood of saints; such as God the Father has set apart from everlasting, and chosen to be holy; whom Christ has sanctified by his blood, or whose sins he has expiated, and to whom he is made sanctification; and who have principles of grace and holiness wrought in them by the Spirit of God, and live holy lives and conversations. – John Gill
Then there was given to me a [a]measuring rod like a staff; and someone said, “[b]Rise and measure the temple of God and the altar [of incense], and [count] those who worship in it. But leave out the court [of the Gentiles] which is outside the temple and do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles (the nations); and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months (three and one-half years). And I will grant authority to My two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days (forty-two months; three and one-half years), dressed in [c]sackcloth.” These [witnesses] are the two olive trees and the two lampstands which stand before the Lord of the earth. And if anyone wants to harm them, fire comes out of their mouth and devours their enemies; so if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this way. These [two witnesses] have the power [from God] to shut up the sky, so that no rain will fall during the days of their prophesying [regarding judgment and salvation]; and they have power over the waters (seas, rivers) to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with every [kind of] plague, as often as they wish. – Revelation 11:1-6
In the time of treading down, God kept his faithful witnesses to attest the truth of his word and worship, and the excellence of his ways, The number of these witnesses is small, yet enough. They prophesy in sackcloth. It shows their afflicted, persecuted state, and deep sorrow for the abominations against which they protested. They are supported during their great and hard work, till it is done. When they had prophesied in sackcloth the greatest part of 1260 years, antichrist, the great instrument of the devil, would war against them, with force and violence for a time. Determined rebels against the light rejoice, as on some happy event, when they can silence, drive to a distance, or destroy the faithful servants of Christ, whose doctrine and conduct torment them. It does not appear that the term is yet expired, and the witnesses are not a present exposed to endure such terrible outward sufferings as in former times; but such things may again happen, and there is abundant cause to prophesy in sackcloth, on account of the state of religion. The depressed state of real Christianity may relate only to the western church. The Spirit of life from God, quickens dead souls, and shall quicken the dead bodies of his people, and his dying interest in the world. The revival of God’s work and witnesses, will strike terror into the souls of his enemies. Where there is guilt, there is fear; and a persecuting spirit, though cruel, is a cowardly spirit. It will be no small part of the punishment of persecutors, both in this world, and at the great day, that they see the faithful servants of God honoured and advanced. The Lord’s witnesses must not be weary of suffering and service, nor hastily grasp at the reward; but must stay till their Master calls them. The consequence of their being thus exalted was a mighty shock and convulsion in the antichristian empire. Events alone can show the meaning of this. But whenever God’s work and witnesses revive, the devil’s work and witnesses fall before him. – Matthew Henry
Then one of the elders responded, saying to me, “These who are dressed in the long white robes—who are they, and from where did they come?” I said to him, “My lord, you know [the answer].” And he said to me, “These are the people who come out of the great tribulation (persecution), and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb [because of His atoning sacrifice]. For this reason, they are [standing] before the throne of God; and they serve Him [in worship] day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will [e]spread His tabernacle over them and shelter and protect them [with His presence]. They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun [f]beat down on them, nor any [scorching] heat; for the Lamb who is in the center of the throne will be their Shepherd, and He will guide them to springs of the waters of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes [giving them eternal comfort].” – Revelation 7:13-17
For years I thought that heaven was all about worshipping and playing harps and spending time with God – and it will be – just not all the time.
Here is such a description and by the sounds of it – these individuals are doing just that – worshipping God and being in His presence all the time – and today I had to ask myself – why them?
Most of us do not know what persecution is – at least for those who live in a more democratic environment of government. As part of the Partners International ministry, I know exactly what this portion of Scripture is saying. Our national workers have shelter some of the time, no protection most of the time, hunger because of the poverty of their mission field, and thirst because of the lack of clean water and the lack of it’s abundance. The elements of their world make the enjoyment of life not a priority. So when they hear David declaring that the Lord is their Shepherd, they take that literally – counting on and trusting in His guiding hand. So for heaven to be a place of divine care and attention, life-giving water and eternal comfort – well no wonder that because they have given so much, given their lives, they are given eternal rest from responsibilities and are tasked for only the primary purpose of us all – to glorify God before His throne and worship Him.
Therein lies our hope – not that life would be gracious and kind to us – to know that whatever God has tasked us to do here, He is with us and has a promise that He will be with us, forever.
May the Lord sustain you and keep you and may you find your strength today not in the things that you know but in the hope that the God who holds you in the palm of His hand will keep you and bless you and give you His favour.
“These are the words of Him who has [b]the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: ‘I know your deeds; you have a name (reputation) that you are alive, but [in reality] you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen and reaffirm what remains [of your faithful commitment to Me], which is about to die; for I have not found [any of] your deeds completed in the sight of My God or meeting His requirements. So remember and take to heart the lessons you have received and heard. Keep and obey them, and repent [change your sinful way of thinking, and demonstrate your repentance with new behavior that proves a conscious decision to turn away from sin]. So then, if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you. But you [still] have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes [that is, contaminated their character and personal integrity with sin]; and they will walk with Me [dressed] in white, because they are worthy (righteous). He who overcomes [the world through believing that Jesus is the Son of God] will accordingly be dressed in white clothing; and I will never blot out his name from the Book of Life, and I will confess and openly acknowledge his name before My Father and before His angels [saying that he is one of Mine]. He who has an ear, let him hear and heed what the Spirit says to the churches.’ – Revelation 3:1-6
John closes each letter with this exhortation, and it is a wonderful and great privilege to be able to have an ear to hear what the Spirit saith. It is sad to say, but too many people do not have a spiritual ear. Because of this, we have many problems existing in many ways.
The Spirit speaks through the holy Scriptures. Are we listening? Are we heeding the prophetic word? Are we hearing what the Spirit says to the churches?
So we have the prophetic word made more certain. You do well to pay [close] attention to it as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and light breaks through the gloom and the [a]morning star arises in your hearts. [b]But understand this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of or comes from one’s own [personal or special] interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. – 2 Peter 1:19-21
The type of hearing that Jesus is talking about finds its roots in the Old Testament (Isa. 6:9-10; Ezek. 12:2) and the Gospels (Mt. 13:9-17, 43; Mk. 4:9; Lk. 8:8). Both salvation and judgment is represented in this call to hear. Those who have ears to hear press on towards Christ and salvation by heeding his word, whereas those who do not have ears to hear are hardened towards Christ and experience judgment.