The curse of sin is finally removed, but the thing that will make heaven such a beautiful place will be the face of the Lord Jesus Christ. Moses was not allowed to see the face of God, but in heaven, it will be the glorious privilege of the redeemed to look directly into the face of Jesus. Jesus' face in glory will be a human face because he has forever taken a body to himself since he added our humanity to his deity in the incarnation. Nothing will stand between the king and his servants. Those who belong to Jesus will bear his name and worship him.
The holy city, the new Jerusalem descends as a bride made ready and adorned for her husband. Heaven comes down because God's plan from the beginning was to be with his people. However, sin had prevented that reality but in the new Jerusalem he will dwell with his people and this new place will be different from everything that we have experienced. Jesus shared our life so that we might share his life in heaven. God will comfort his people and death will be no more.
John sees an angel from heaven appears with a key and a chain. The key is to the bottomless pit, and the chain is for binding Satan and casting him into the pit. Satan is not seized by God; it is this unnamed angel who has authority over the pit and sufficient power to bind the ancient serpent. The enemy will not deceive the nations for a thousand years. Imagine the scene as one angel binds the fallen angel, casts him into the pit and seals it. Satan is dominated, and although he may be at work, he is restrained from doing his worst, and he cannot destroy the church.
This chapter begins with the voice of a great multitude responding to God’s judgment on Babylon. They are praising God for his judgment which is irrevocable. John describes hearing the loud voice of a great multitude singing a song which begins with Hallelujah which appears only here in the New Testament. It is a transliteration of a Hebrew expression that means praise God. Salvation, glory, and power all belong to God.
Jesus introduces these seven letters with titles demonstrating his right and authority to correct these churches. He is the one who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. He is the holy one, the true one, and has the key of David. Jesus is the Amen, the faithful witness, the true witness, and the beginning of God's creation. His call to these churches has application for us today. May we wake up, be strengthened, remember, endure, obey, and repent. If you have an ear, listen to what the Spirit says.
According to some traditions, John was the overseer in Ephesus which if true, means that John must have received this word with great interest. The message to be delivered was from Christ who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands. These are not notes for consideration; these are directives, warnings, and promises from the King.
Revelation sets forth of what God has made known by Jesus Christ who sent his angel. John is not using his imagination to explain the circumstances of his day; he is receiving what was given to him Jesus from the Father to show his servants the things that would soon take place.
Scripture always benefits those who receive it as God's word and John assures the reader that those who read and keep this revelation will receive great benefit.
Everyone lives by faith, the question is,"What is the object of that faith?" The object of faith is not fixed on some vague spiritual reality, but the object of faith is found in the truth of Scripture. Scripture explains origin, meaning, and purpose. Faith comes from hearing the word of Christ (Romans 10:17).
The Israelites could not approach God directly; they had to come through the priests, and only one could enter annually into the Most Holy Place. Certain preparations were necessary before the priests were allowed to enter, preparations which served to remind the priests of their personal need and God’s provision. As the Day of Atonement approached, the soberness of the occasion was made clear as the priest prepared a blood sacrifice for himself before providing it for his people.
The writer explains that the point of the previous assertions is that Jesus is a high priest who operates from heaven in holy places that are not earthly or temporary, but eternal. Jesus does not function as a high priest in a temporary and symbolic fashion within a tent or a building constructed by man, Christ's ministry is real and everlasting.
The author urges the reader to pay close attention to the message of the gospel to avoid drifting away. Failure to pay attention leads to the possibility of drifting away from Christ's gospel. If the message declared by angels is true and transgression of the Law results in retribution, then how grave are the consequences neglecting the gospel of Jesus Christ resulting in a great salvation.
Christians who are born again by the word are to grow up into salvation. The word of God is the bread from heaven, the water that washes, and the milk that nourishes. There is no such thing as a Christian who grows apart from the word. The Christian should long for the word the way a newborn longs for milk.
This letter is not written to one specific church to address specific issues. Instead, it is written to the church in Asia Minor for encouragement when facing various trials. Peter writes to these sojourners who were God's chosen people that he knew before the world began. Salvation comes from God. The Father decrees, the Son accomplishes, and the Spirit applies. The Christian pattern is a growing obedience and an increasing freedom from sin through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit.
Titus was a Gentile believer who served alongside Paul and Barnabas. In this letter, Paul counsels Titus on matters of ministry and church leadership. He instructs Titus to remind the people of the teaching and instruction they had received concerning Christian relationships with others in the world. Christians are to obey and submit to the rulers and authorities as a good citizen. Christian liberty is not an excuse for unchecked civil unrest and disobedience. The Christian cannot give unconditional allegiance to the state, and if there is a collision of faith and conscience between God and the state, the Christian is obligated to God first.
The Christian is alive in Christ and has not only been freed from the penalty of sin, but they have also been freed from its power. The Colossians are exhorted to seek the things that are above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Sin is vanquished when Christ is seen as most glorious and beautiful. Sin is mortified when our love for Christ flourishes. The Christian lives for Christ and not the things of the world. The believer is alive in Christ, and their life is hidden with Christ in God.
In Christ, the whole fullness of deity dwells because Jesus is God in human flesh. All that God is, in his divine essence, so too is Christ. There must be no doubt that Jesus Christ is God and nothing can be added to him for he is the whole fullness of God. In light of this, Paul declares that the believer is brought to fullness in Christ who has dominion over all things including the church. Christians have been delivered from the flesh by the regeneration of the Spirit who applies salvation through the finished work of Christ.
Jesus is the greatest, supreme, foremost, best, finest, and most excellent over all things. Jesus is fully God and fully man possessing the fullness of God, and it is through the person and work of Jesus Christ that reconciliation his made possible by the peace that comes through his cross. The glorious news of the gospel is that Jesus reconciles those who are alienated, hostile, and capable of nothing but evil. His death is our life. His perfection is our righteousness. Our faith has a sure object in Jesus.
Christ left the glory he had before the foundation of the world (John 17:5). The King of all creation became a servant (Philippians 2:7). Jesus was born into a poor family (Luke 2:7). The lawgiver submitted himself to the law (Galatians 4:4). The one with authority was obedient (Philippians 2:8). Jesus' people rejected him (John 1:11). The Holy One became sin for our sake (2 Corinthians 5:21). Instead of grasping what was rightfully his, Jesus laid aside his glory and took our humanity.
Paul opens this letter to the Philippians by including Timothy in the salutation. Timothy was with Paul on his initial visit to Philippi (Acts 16), and he is very much like a son to Paul. Paul refers to both he and Timothy as slaves of Christ Jesus. This statement was not false humility or empty words, Paul considered this a great privilege and will later show that it is the same position taken by Jesus himself.
Paul follows this catastrophic explanation that includes the necessary judgment and wrath of holy God with the beauty and wonder of amazing grace. God is rich in mercy, and the wonder of the gospel is that he sets his affection on creatures who are his enemies and loves them. While dead in sin with nothing to offer, God brings the dead to life with Christ. The curse is reversed, and the believer's union with Christ imputes his righteousness and shares his resurrected life.