Monday, September 24, 2012

Unveiled: Week 2

And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. - 2 Peter 19-21

Who has done this and carried it through, calling forth the generations from the beginning? I, the Lord am with the first and the last of them - I am He! Isaiah 41:4

Last week, we learned that the word Revelation comes from the Greek word, Apocalypse, which means to uncover. It would apply to anything which had once been covered up so as to be hidden from view, as by a veil of darkness or ignorance. It may also be applied to the disclosing or manifesting of anything which before was obscure or unknown. Revelation is the revealing of Jesus Christ as He is coming again in great glory and triumph as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. 

Today we are going to be looking at Revelation chapter 1. 

Read Revelation 1:1-5
  • Who gave the revelation and to whom was it given? Who are his servants mentioned in verse 1? When are these events taking place? 
  • Who is the blessed one? Why are they blessed? 
  • To Him who is, who was and who is to come? Read Isaiah 41:4 and record what you learn about God from these verses.(This verse is one of my favorite verses in the Bible because it reminds me of God's supremacy. He is the One who calls forth the generations, from the first generation to the last generation.)  
Since the Book of Revelation is an unveiling of Jesus Christ. Let's take a moment to see how the book of Revelation describes Him and the titles given to Him throughout the book. Take some time reading the passages below and record what you learn about Jesus from these verses. Mark the verses in a special way in your Bible.  
  • Revelation 1:4-5, Revelation 1:8, Revelation 1:13-15, Revelation 1:17-18, Revelation 2:18, Revelation 3:7, Revelation 3:14, Revelation 5:5, Revelation 5:6, Revelation 6:1, Revelation 7:17, Revelation 11:15, Revelation 14:1-2, Revelation 15:3, Revelation 19:11,13,15,16, Revelation 21:6, Revelation 22:16
  • Why is it important to look at how Jesus is described in the Book of Revelation? How has looking at who He is and how He's described encouraged you today? How have these descriptions of His character and supremacy challenged your current theology? 
Read Daniel 2:20-23. 
  • What do you learn about God from studying these verses? 
  • Take a moment to pray for God to direct your time and reveal to you the deep and hidden things found in the Book of Revelation. 
Read Revelation 1:6-7
  • What have we been freed from and how have we been freed? What have we been made into and for what purpose?
    • We have been purchased by His blood and for His glory and purposes. We now belong to a new Kingdom and our purpose for living is to serve Him and bring Him glory, honor and praise. We have been brought with a price, His precious blood.
  • According to verse 1:7 How is Christ's coming described? How are people going to respond to His coming? Who specifically is going mourn? Read Zechariah 12:10-13? What do you learn about the mourners? Who are they? We are going to learn so much about the tribes of Israel and the people of every tribe, nation and tongue. Two groups of people referenced throughout the book of Revelation. 
Read Revelation 1:8-19
  • Why was John on the island of Patmos? What did the voice speaking to him sound like and what was John told to write and to whom was he to send it?
  • I know I had you write the descriptions of Jesus earlier in the lesson but again how is He described in Revelation 1:12-17? According to verse 17, how did John respond to his vision of Him? Remember, this is the same John who reclined on Jesus during the Passover feast before His death.
  • How does Jesus respond to John in verses 17-18
  • What is John to write? There are three things he is told to write. This is really important to understand. 
    • 1 - What you have seen: Chapter 1, the visions John had just seen. This reminds me of other verses John's penned in the Bible. Specifically, 1 John 1:1-4. 
      • 1 John 1:1-4 That which was from the beginning, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched - this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared ; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete. 
    • 2 - "What is now" or the "things which are": Which refers to the Church Age or the times of the Gentiles referred to in Romans 11:25-26 (The 7 churches of Revelation are found in chapters 2-3)
    • 3 - What will take place after these things: The revelation of future history (Revelation 4-22)
  • According to verse 20, What do the seven stars represent? What do the golden lamp stands represent?
  • In verse 20 the angels could be literally translated "messengers".
Next week we will discuss the Church Age and look briefly at the 7 churches of Revelation. End your time in prayer thanking Jesus for His revelation. Ask Him to give you a love for His Word and to grow you up in wisdom and understanding of who He is and why He came. Ask Him to open your eyes to see and ears to hear what the Spirit says to the churches....

Who has done this and carried it through, calling forth the generations from the beginning? I, the Lord am with the first and the last of them - I am He! Isaiah 41:4

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Unveiled: Week 1 Introduction

He is Not Here-1
For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. Revelation 19:10
As I mentioned in the last post, The Spirit of Prophecy, I feel led by the Lord to start posting the notes from a Bible Study I've been leading on the book of Revelation and the Old Testament prophets. These notes are NOT an exhaustive study on the End Times and Revelation. The purpose of the Bible Study is to learn and discuss what the Bible says and to discover the Truth for ourselves. I understand there are many ways to interpret the Book of Revelation and there are many scholars I respect that completely disagree with one another regarding this powerful book. Some scholars, believe this book is symbolic and others literal in their interpretations. As I mentioned in the post, The Spirit of Prophecy, I believe these prophecies will be literally fulfilled just as the prophecies concerning Christ's first coming were literally fulfilled. As I say this, I want to also acknowledge that many of the scholars during Jesus' day missed Him because they had their own interpretations of what His coming would look like and when He didn't look like how they interpreted the scriptures they rejected Him and His teachings. You see, the Holy Prophets, saw one vision but this vision contained two comings. To learn more read, One Vision, Two Comings. The nature of Old Testament prophecy is often a near fulfillment that foreshadows a far off future fulfillment.  Because they were prophets to Israel, they didn't see the church age. The people of Jesus' day anticipated a reigning King coming to establish His Kingdom not a Suffering Servant. Although, Isaiah and David prophesied about a Suffering Servant coming to be pierced through for our transgressions, many miss interpreted these passages in scripture because they seemed to contradict the verses of a reigning King coming to establish His Kingdom. I think we also need to keep this in mind when studying future prophesy that have yet to be fulfilled. Many verses regarding the last days also seem to be speaking of two different events that usher in His Eternal Kingdom. 
  • Read Isaiah 61:1-3 and compare these verses to Luke 4:16-21. What did Jesus proclaim to the people in His hometown? What verse did He leave out? Why do you think He did this? Notice the words He closed the book, and sat down.  What had been fulfilled? What time had not yet come?
  • Now read Isaiah 11:1-9 
    • Who was Jesse? How is the root or stem of Jesse described? 
    • Has Isaiah 11 been fulfilled? 
    • What does verse 9 tell us about that day? Why will there be no hurt or destruction on God's holy mountain? Who will rule the earth during this time? How is He described? 
  • Read Isaiah 53
    • How does this chapter open in verse 1? 
    • How is Jesus described in verse 2. Compare this to how Isaiah 11 opens up (root of Jesse). Same person. Different descriptions of the same person. A Reigning King and a Suffering Servant.
    • Has Isaiah 53 been fulfilled? When was it fulfilled?
  • Read Jeremiah 33:15-17
    • In what days and at what time? Who is going to spring up? How is this ruler described and what line does He come from? How long will He rule? Has this been fulfilled yet?
  • Application: How can reading the Bible just for answers to our questions cause us to miss what Jesus is doing here and now? How does study our future with Christ encourage us to live our lives with an eternal perspective with our eyes fixed on Him, the author and perfecter of our faith. He Reigns in Heaven but One day He will reign on Earth. He is completely sovereign now and in complete control of all things accomplishing His eternal promises. 
Jesus is too big for our box. If our finite minds could comprehend His infinite glory and nature, He would be too small. Also, for the record, I've never been to seminary nor did I go to Bible college. I'm just an ordinary housewife with four littles who loves to study the Word of God and encourage women to grow in their love and knowledge of Jesus. I also want to mention, this Bible study is not a study of charts and timelines. Our time will be spent looking for and anticipating Jesus, growing in our knowledge and love for Him. Not just having all our questions answered. He is the Word of God, who is creator and sustainer of all things. When He comes again on a White Horse, He is called the Word of God.
  • Again, what is the purpose of this Bible Study? Why do we gather together to study God's Word? Discuss among your group why they desire to study God's Word. Spend time asking God to reveal Himself to you and your group in fresh new ways. Invite the Holy Spirit to move among your group using every individual to bring to light His amazing truths. 
The Bible study I lead is set up without homework. We read aloud the scripture verses and completely rely on the Holy Spirit to guide us in our discussion and reveal to us His powerful Truths straight from the scripture readings. I strongly encourage you to always begin your time in prayer, turning your time over to Him and surrendering the study to His leadership. It is His time, His Word, His revelation. He desires for you to know Him, grow in your love for Him as He further reveals Himself to you through His Word. These notes can be used in a small group setting or just for personal Bible Study. Our group time usually runs about 2 hours. These notes will be weekly postings. Today's posting is set up a little different as this is the introduction to the Bible Study.

Anticipating His Coming
We do not know the day or the hour of the Lord's return but we are to understand the times in which we live and eagerly anticipate His coming, as a mother eagerly awaits the impending birth of her child, with joyful expectation. Joyful expectation is how I would describe the last few months of pregnancy with Jocelyn. Every kick and contraction brought with it a sense of eager expectation as I anticipated her arrival. I spent my days dreaming of holding her and the moment I would finally meet my little mystery in the making, wondering about her personality and who she would look like. I was in one sense, mourning, as she would never again be so close to my heart but anticipating my life with her and wanting desperately for her  to be in my arms. As the impending arrival approached, so did the reminders of her arrival, as my body prepared for her delivery. The pain brought with it joyful expectation and excitement. I would soon behold my precious daughter and for the first time see her as she is, perfectly made. The frame which was once hidden from me will be made known. The moment of her revelation was at hand. It brought to mind, Jesus' words in Matthew 24, all these are the beginning of birth pains. 24:8 And later on in the chapter, No one knows about that day or hour. 24:36 Therefore, keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 24:42.
This thought came to me during the last few weeks of pregnancy, "As I've eagerly awaited the impending birth of my precious Jocelyn, I should also be joyfully expecting and anticipating the Lord's return."

The Word Revelation comes from the Greek word, Apocalypse, which means to uncover, it would apply to anything which had been covered up so as to be hidden from view, as by a veil of darkness or ignorance. It may also be applied to the disclosing or manifesting of anything which before was obscure or unknown. Barnes Biblical Commentary.
As the birth pains of Christ's arrival draws near my excitement and anticipation should increase. Just as it did with the pain of labor which brought forth joy and completion. The Book of Revelation is the revelation of Jesus Christ, who is coming again in great glory and triumph, as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. It's in essence, His revelation at His second coming, the culmination of events that usher in His eternal Kingdom and fulfill His eternal promises to all the called, chosen and faithful. 

End your time together reading aloud Revelation chapters 1 and  4, and 2 Thessalonians chapter 3. Will will be discussing these chapters in detail next week. These truths bring so much comfort in the midst of chaos.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Spirit of Prophecy

My intention today was to start posting notes from a Bible Study I've been putting together for a group of younger girls that wanted to learn about the end times and Old Testament prophecy. I've titled the Bible Study,The Spirit of Prophecy, I have a love for Old Testament prophecy and the Prophets and when they asked me to teach them I was overjoyed at the prospect of sitting and discussing these amazing truths with them. These truths bring so much comfort in the midst of chaos. We've been meeting since August and I have been contemplating for some time now sharing my notes. My only hesitation is the blog format didn't seem to be the appropriate avenue to post a Bible Study. I've decided to go ahead and post the Bible Study on the blog. I'm not much of a rule follower and the Bible tells us we can benefit greatly from the wisdom of the prophets. Scripture tells us to pay attention to the Prophets and the things written down for our instruction. As I mentioned above my intention was to start posting my notes. But first, I want to remind you that the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy and I believe future prophecy will be literally fulfilled just as prophecies concerning Jesus' first coming were literally fulfilled. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. Revelation 19:10
My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? They open wide their mouth at me, as a ravening and a roaring lion. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; it is melted within me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue cleaves to my jaws; and You lay me in the dust of death. For dogs have surrounded me; a band of evildoers has encompassed me; they pierced my hands and my feet I can count all my bones. They look, they stare at me; they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots. PSALM 22:1,13-18
The Psalm above was written by David moved by the Spirit of God. It applied to David immediately but ultimately to the Suffering Servant, Jesus. This Psalm is quoted or alluded to in the New Testament 15 times. Psalm 22 was written a thousand years before it's fulfillment. When pondering this fact, I am reminded, For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. 1 Peter 1:16,19-21
When Jesus approached Jerusalem on the donkey, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, "If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side, and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation. Luke 41-44. The literal fulfillment of this prophecy happened in AD 70, 37 years after this prophesy was spoken. Could the Lord be asking us, why is there no peace in your land? Why is there this restlessness that prevails in your heart? If only you had known this day, what would bring you peace but now it has been hidden from you eyes. Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your heart as when they provoked me. Hebrews 3:8
Are we failing to recognize the time of our visitation? We have the prophetic word made sure and yet are we still rebelling against His glorious presence? While we are in the favorable year of the Lord, we have the opportunity to surrender to the Lord Jesus and ask Him to be the Lord of our life. For more on the favorable year of the Lord, see One Vision Two Comings. He is calling us to turn from our self to Himself and to live a life that is pleasing to Him. He is calling us to trust in His sacrifice on our behalf and stop trying to reach Him through hollow and deceptive philosophies. He wants us to surrender to His will rather than our own. As we see the day of reckoning approaching, we will do well to pay attention to the prophesies proclaimed in the Bible and walk in the way of obedience. The prophesies will light the way and prepare us for the things which are coming and strengthen us until the day dawns and the Morning Star arises in our hearts. We are to work the works while it is still day because night is approaching when no man can work.
Jesus' spent His last hours of life in fellowship with His disciples and in prayer. He spent His last days speaking about the things to come and what would be the signs of His second coming. May we reflect on His words, "they did not recognize the time of their visitation," and respond to His call to repentance and faith in Him, trusting in His perfect provisions and His final atoning sacrifice for our sin. He is the only one who can save us from our sins. He who knew no sin became sin for us. He is our Passover Lamb who is worthy to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing. Revelation 5:12
Starting this Tuesday, I will be weekly posting The Eleventh Hour Bible Study on this blog. The best way to use the study is to meet weekly in a small group and read the Scriptures together out loud and discuss. This is a no homework format to discuss the End Times and Old Testament prophesy. It is my hope that as you gather together that the Holy Spirit will encourage and strengthen you as He prepares you for the things which are to come. This study is NOT about charts and timelines trying to predict the day and the hour. It is looking directly into the Word of God and allowing Scripture to interpret Scripture. 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

What's In a Name?

Stream of Water 2-1
I have marked and dated in the front of my Bible, " I study the Bible for more of Jesus, who splits rocks in the wilderness. He is the reason for my worship. I don't just study the Bible for more wisdom or knowledge or even to have the right the answers. I study the Bible to know Him and to see Him working in me and through me.  In Him, is hidden all wisdom and knowledge. He is before all things and in Him all things are held together. Jesus, The Word of God." Dated 3/11/12 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.  John 1:1-3

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and his name is called, The Word of God.  From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, "King of Kings and Lord of Lords." Revelation 19:11-16

In the beginning was the Word and the Word was Jesus, He created all things and in Him all things hold together. When He returns He will be called the Word of God. Jesus is and was the Word in the flesh. He came to earth to dwell among us to reveal to us the truth. What is the Truth? It is the infallible Word of God. The Word that was with God in the beginning. The Word that will be the defeat of the nations when He comes again in great glory. The Word that is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12
The Word, no creature is hidden but exposed to His sight, all things laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. Hebrews 4:13 We don’t read the Word of God, it reads us. It exposes our need for a Savior and rescuer outside of ourselves because it reveals the sin stained areas within us. It crushes us daily so that Christ can daily resurrect us and reassure us of His unfailing love for sinners and His victory over the power of death and the devil. 
We never grow out of our need for Christ. We never move beyond His finished work. We will forever and always stand before the Father ONLY by His merit. We have been qualified, strengthened with power and rescued from the dominion of darkness and transferred to the kingdom of His beloved Son. We are to continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast and NOT MOVED away from the hope found in the Gospel, that Christ came to do for us what we could never do for ourselves. We proclaim Him, warning every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete IN Christ. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free; therefore standing firm and not submitting to a yoke of slavery.

The Word is referred to by Jesus and Isaiah as our Comforter, Helper, the Living Water that dwells within us and the Bread of Life that sustains us.
It is no wonder Satan does his best to distract me from God's Word. He tempts me to doubt it and compromise it by not proclaiming all of it. It's no wonder that in some churches today Truth is stumbling for we have turned aside the truth of God's Word and have attempted to slayed it with the carnal swords of unbelief, indifference, popularity and principles. It's no wonder that when I read His Word my flesh wages war with the Spirit- for no other word has the power to divide my innermost being and wage a war within myself.
Sanctification is not getting better and better and better and therefore needing Jesus less and less. It's growing deeper into Christ and His finished work. It's a daily submitting my flesh on the alter of His grace and reminding myself once again, I'm dead and no longer live but Christ IN me. I've already been given everything I need in Him so I don't need to secure for myself anything because in Him I already have everything I need. I'm free to serve, to die, to give and to love because now I'm truly free. Everything I do, I do for the praise and glory of another. Therefore, I'm to be an imitator of God, as a beloved child; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved me and gave Himself up for me, as an offering and sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. Ephesians 5:2. I'm not to overlook the first part of this verse and jump to the second part. I'm God's BELOVED in Christ. I'm a fragrance of the knowledge of Him.  I'm a pleasing aroma of Christ to God, to those who are being saved and to those who are perishing.  2 Corinthians 2:14,15.
For He who is called Faithful and True is coming again and it is with the Word that He will slay the nations. Jesus is the Word of God. He is the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. He is the One who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood- and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father - to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen Revelation 1:2-6
Lord, you are coming again in great glory. Sustain us with your mighty right hand as we eagerly wait for you. Give us eyes to see and ears to hear what the Spirit of the Lord would reveal to us. Revive our hearts with the cooling waters of your Word.
Who is like you, O Lord, for you have called forth the generations from the beginning - You were with the first of them and you will be with the last of them - You are the Great I AM Isaiah 41:4

He is the image of the invisible God the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created both in the heavens and on the earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities - all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. Colossians 1:15-17
Hannah Santeetlah-1

This post was written July 2009