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A Walk Through Revelation - Part 17

The Seventh Seal and the Golden Censer
Revelation 8:1-5
Shock & Awe!

When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.
And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them.
Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God’s people, on the golden altar in front of the throne. The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.
We've finally come to the opening of the seventh seal. In previous seals, Jesus opened them and all the inhabitants of Heaven, along with the Apostle John, who was just visiting saw what was contained in the seal. Something's different about this one. When it's opened, there is absolute silence for about a half an hour.

They were in shock & awe. Why? I read ahead in the chapter and the events that are about to unfold upon the earth next nearly took my breath away!

Seven angels are given seven trumpets. One might think that they're about to give a lovely concert, but one would be very wrong! Just before the angels step up to blow their trumpets, another angel comes forward and offers burning incense before the throne, which is mixed with the prayers of all God's people. We've seen this before - our prayers coming up before the Lord. Does that thrill you the way it does me?  Sometimes we wonder if our prayers are going anywhere. They just seem to bounce off the ceiling, but that's not how it is. Each whispered prayer, each cry of the heart, goes up before God. He hears them, He sees them, He is touched by them.  Keep praying, my friend. We have no idea what has been changed because we prayed.

Then the angel fills the censer with fire from the altar and hurls it to the earth, setting off peals of thunder, rumblings and flashes of lightning and an earthquake to end all earthquakes.  The first angel steps up and prepares to blow their trumpet. You won't believe what happens next.

Now, don't read ahead...ah, go ahead if you want, but come back here for the next post so we can walk through these seven trumpets together.


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A Walk Through Revelation - Part 16

Revelation 7:1-8
Salvation during the Tribulation

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After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree. Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea: “Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.” Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel.
From the tribe of Judah 12,000 were sealed,
from the tribe of Reuben 12,000,
from the tribe of Gad 12,000,
from the tribe of Asher 12,000,
from the tribe of Naphtali 12,000,
from the tribe of Manasseh 12,000,
from the tribe of Simeon 12,000,
from the tribe of Levi 12,000,
from the tribe of Issachar 12,000,
from the tribe of Zebulun 12,000,
from the tribe of Joseph 12,000,
from the tribe of Benjamin 12,000.

The Great Multitude in White Robes

After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice:
“Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.”
11 All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying:
“Amen!
Praise and glory
and wisdom and thanks and honor
and power and strength
be to our God for ever and ever.
Amen!”
13 Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?”
14 I answered, “Sir, you know.”
And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore,
“they are before the throne of God
    and serve him day and night in his temple;
and he who sits on the throne
    will shelter them with his presence.
16 ‘Never again will they hunger;
    never again will they thirst.
The sun will not beat down on them,’[a]
    nor any scorching heat.
17 For the Lamb at the center of the throne
    will be their shepherd;
‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’[b]
    ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’[c]
When I first started reading this chapter, I got hung up on trying to figure out who the 144,000 people are, and here's the answer - I don't know.

What I do know is that they are Jewish, they received a seal that marked them for God. Further on in Revelation 14, they are mentioned again...

Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they remained virgins. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among mankind and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb.  Revelation 14:1-4
 So, if these precious souls are the firstfruits, who follows after them?

After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. 
A great multitude follows them. Where did this multitude come from?

 “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
So, there's the answer to the question, "Can people be saved during the tribulation?"

Yes, they can, but...

If a person has a hard time believing in God because of the trouble and injustices in the world today, how much harder will it be to have faith in God during the tribulation?
If a believer struggles with temptation and sin now, how much harder will it be to live a holy life during the tribulation?
If you have a hard time standing up for your faith now, how will you remain faithful in the face of persecution to the point of death if you won't deny the name of Christ?
If you've "heard the old, old story," but thought you have plenty of time to start a relationship with Jesus Christ after you've had your fun, got married, had kids, raised those kids, reached your career goals...you might want to rethink your thinking.




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A Walk Through Revelation - Part 15


Revelation 6:12-17
The Day of Destruction
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12 I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, 13 and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. 14 The heavens receded like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.
15 Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and everyone else, both slave and free, hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. 16 They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can withstand it?”

Honestly, the first two verses of this passage read like a Hollywood end-of-the-world script. I don't think even Indiana Jones could survive these catastrophes; an earthquake that's off the Richter scale, the sun turning black, the moon looking like blood, stars falling from the sky enmasse, the heavens receding, mountains and islands moving from their places - who could live through that? What would you do?

I'll tell you what you would do. You'd do the same thing I'd do, the same thing that the Bible says the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty and everyone else - the poor, the man, the woman, the child would do if they were able. You would run for cover, but since the whole earth had been shaken, there would be very little cover. You'd find a cave somewhere and cower in fear for your life.

You'd wonder what was happening. What was behind it all. You couldn't explain it away as an evening newscasters might - terrorism, aliens, natural disaster. No, when this day comes - and it will come - anyone left huddling in those caves will know without a doubt that this is the judgement of God for all the evil that has been done on the earth. 

They will beg to be hidden from the face of God. There won't be any debate about whether or not there is a God. No one will be arguing theology at that point. They will be on their knees, their head in their hands, wishing they has listened to their Mama's teaching about God. Wishing they hadn't slept through most of the Sunday sermons they'd heard. Realizing that skipping church to play golf or go fishing might not have been the wisest thing to do. Scripture will come to mind, regret will gnaw at their souls. They'll pray, they'll plead, they'll cry out to the God they've been ignoring all their lives, but will it be too late?

I don't know - I'm not God. I don't know whether there will be one last chance for them to surrender their lives to the One who loved them enough to send His Son, Jesus Christ to pay for their sins by dying on the cross. What I do know is that it's just foolish to wait until that day to wake up and realize that God loves us, that He wants to spare us from these coming events. He made a way if only we will reach out to Him and receive the gift of forgiveness. If only we will begin that amazing relationship with our Creator that not only gives us abundant life here and now, but promises that we will not see these catastrophes, because we will already be with Him in Paradise.

 Please don't wait. Open your heart to God, now. 


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A Walk Through Revelation - Part 14

Revelation 6:9-11
The Fifth Seal
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When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. 10 They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” 11 Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters,[a] were killed just as they had been.
a11 - The Greek word for brothers and sisters (adelphoi) refers here to believers, both men and women, as part of God’s family.
Every day our brothers and sisters around the world are being imprisoned, beaten and killed for their faith in Jesus Christ. Below are some accounts of this persecution - warning, it's hard to read, but we need to be aware of what's happening to our brothers and sisters so that we can pray earnestly.

  • Kim Jong Un, leader of North Korea, is guilty of the imprisonment and torture of 30,000 of your brothers and sisters in Christ. (Read More)
  • A Ugandan Pastor was the victim of an acid attack by people unhappy that he left the Muslim faith. (Read More)
  • The wife of a U.S. citizen is to be hanged for apostasy. The birth of a healthy baby is usually a joyous occasion. But when Meriam Ibrahim gave birth it triggered a two-year countdown to her execution.  The 27-year-old Sudanese doctor was sentenced to death for apostasy by a Sudanese court. In addition, she is to endure 100 lashes for the crime of committing adultery—with her Christian husband. (Read More)
I found these stories and many more on a website called The Voice of the Martyrs, a site that keeps us informed of persecution around the world, invites us to get involved and to pray for these tortured Believers.

It's easy to turn our head an not want to know or see what's happening, because it's so awful to imagine that people can be so cruel or that God doesn't seem to be protecting His people from these attacks.  We want to believe that as children of God, He puts up a shield that nothing can bad can penetrate, but that's not what Jesus said would happen. Here's what the Bible has to say about this...

  • In this world you will have trouble. (from John 16:33)
  • “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.  (John 15:18-20) 
  • But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God...In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted (2 Timothy 3:1-12)
Brothers and Sisters, this world is not our home. We don't fit in. We are called apart for God's purposes, which puts us in direct conflict with Satan and those he influences for evil.

2 Corinthians 4:4 calls Satan the god of this world (KJV) or the god of this age (NIV). What does that mean?
The phrase “god of this world” (or “god of this age”) indicates that Satan is the major influence on the ideals, opinions, goals, hopes and views of the majority of people. His influence also encompasses the world’s philosophies, education, and commerce. The thoughts, ideas, speculations and false religions of the world are under his control and have sprung from his lies and deceptions. (Read more)
Could God stop all this violence? Could He put an end to Satan and his evil influence on mankind? Of course He can...and He will, but for now, He has chosen to allow mankind the privilege of free will. We are free to chose our own behavior - for good or for bad.

Why would God do that? Why would he give man the right to choose?  I believe that it goes back to His desire to have a voluntary (on our part) loving relationship with His creation. He didn't want a bunch of robots that had no choice about whether to enter into a relationship with Him. He wants us to want Him...and so, He gave us free will. If He then decided to stop us every time we were about to do something wrong, we wouldn't have free choice, would we?

So, as the fifth seal is opened, we see the voices of the martyrs, those who have already been tortured and killed for their faith in Jesus Christ, those who refused to recant their Christianity. They are crying out for justice. They are wondering how long it will be until God judges the inhabitants of the earth (those living and dead, evil and good). We will all be judged, however, those who have received Christ as our Savior will be judged in light of Christ's sacrifice and His blood that paid for our sins.

These martyrs were given white robes (signifying holiness) and were told to...
...wait a little longer until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been. (verse 11)
I have to admit, that bugs me. Why doesn't God end things now. Why wait for more of his children to be tortured and murdered?

Here's the bottom line - God has a plan, a specified time frame for the things he is doing. His time frame and mine are not the same. He knows who is yet to be saved. Everything will happen just as he knew it would and when the time is right, we will see the rest of the events in the book of Revelation take place. Until then, I will trust him and pray that I will be strong if I should ever face real persecution...and I will pray for my brothers and sister who are facing the horrors of it today.

Read more about God's timing.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this passage or the topic of persecution. Please feel free to leave a comment to this post. (First time posts are moderated, then posted due to a large amount of spam posts I've gotten recently.)

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A Walk Through Revelation - Part 13


The Scroll and the Lamb
Revelation 5
The Opening of the First Four Seals

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

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I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.
When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make people kill each other. To him was given a large sword.
When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “Two pounds of wheat for a day’s wages, and six pounds of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!”
When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth. Revelation 6:1-8
 Oh boy - I think I'm in way over my head!  I have no idea how to explain the imagery here, except to say that the opening of the seals and the dispatch of the four horsemen (often referred to as the four horsemen of The Apocalypse) signals teh beginning of terror and chaos on Earth

What does the word apocalypse mean?  One modern definition is: an event involving destruction or damage on an awesome or catastrophic scale, such as the utter collapse of the stock market - a stock market apocalypse.  Well, that's scarey, but we've seen and lived through a stock market crash, so we've come to believe we can survive that catastrophe.  However, we're not referring to just any old apocalypse here, we're talking about THE apocalypse: the complete final destruction of the world, described in the book of Revelation.

God created the world, he sustains the world and a day is coming when he will destroy the world and create a new heaven and a new earth. (Revelation 21:1)

The four horsemen are agents of destruction, sent to earth to carry out God's plan.

Does this fly in the face of your concept of God? Do you have a hard time reconciling a loving God with a fierce God who would destroy earth and its inhabitants?

We must remember two things...
  1. God is Holy and as such, he can not tolerate sin. Romans 6:23 says that "the wages of sin is death."  All who are alive at the time of this event will face this judgement, for they have chosen to reject Christ and live a sinful life.
  2. We (Christians who have received Christ as their Savior and surrendered their lives to Him) don't have to fear the apocalypse, because we will have already been taken up in what we call The Rapture ( 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)
So, let's take a look at those four horses and their riders.

  1. A White Horse -  Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.
  2.  A Fiery Red horse - Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make people kill each other. To him was given a large sword.
  3.  A Black Horse - Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “Two pounds of wheat for a day’s wages, and six pounds of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!”
  4.  A Pale Horse - Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.
I know I'm not a learned bible scholar. I have no doctorate in theology, so I'll just tell you what I see here.
  • Rulers on earth, bent on conquest
  • The complete absence of peace on earth and people bent on killing others (the mass slaughter of people groups - Hitler style)
  • Total economic collapse, people starving to death because they can not afford food..
  • The annihilation of at least 1/4 of the people on earth by murder, famine, plagues and even the wild beasts of the earth are unleashed to get in on the slaughter
What a terrifying picture of the future! All I know is that I don't want to be here when this happens and I don't want anyone else to be here either. Not friend, not family...not foe!

Jesus came that we might not have to face this terrible judgement - please accept him if you haven't already. Here's more information on Salvation through Jesus Christ.

As I said, I'm no expert in explaining these all these things. In fact, no one can explain the book of Revelation entirely, but there are learned Bible scholars out there that have studies and written great commentaries on this portion of scripture. I've been reading a really good one at Biblegateway.com that was put out by InterVarsity Press. Check it out if you want more information of understanding the four horsemen.  Revelation 6 Commentary.


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A Walk Through Revelation - Part 12


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The Scroll and the Lamb

Revelation 5

1 Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”
Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. He went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. And they sang a new song, saying:
“You are worthy to take the scroll
    and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
    and with your blood you purchased for God
    persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.
10 
You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,

    and they will reign on the earth.”
11 Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. 12 In a loud voice they were saying:
“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
    to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
    and honor and glory and praise!”
13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
    be praise and honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever!”
14 The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped.
Revelation 5:1-14

 For me, this is when the book of Revelation starts to boggle my mind. From here on out, it's hard for me to detect what is a literal translation of what John saw and what is symbolism. I could try from here to eternity to figure it all out and I'd probably still get it all wrong, and I'm not the only one.

In studying this chapter, I read many different commentaries by learned Bible scholars, each giving differing opinions on whether the seven spirits were seven actual spirits or whether the Greek translation of a seven-fold spirit of God was more accurate. Some said the seven-fold spirit referred back to Isaiah 11:2 and some argued that Isaiah wasn't describing seven spirits, but three and then defining attributes of  those three with four descriptions.

Holy Moly!  I'll tell you what - I'm going to focus on what I do understand from the passage, because while we debate what could have been meant by the strange things described here, we could overlook the main point of the chapter and that is this...

There was a very important scroll to be opened.
Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. 
Only someone WORTHY (virtuous, righteous, good, moral, ethical, upright, upstanding, high-minded, principled, exemplary) could open the scroll and it seemed line no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth measured up to those standards, which made John profusely sad.
And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside.
And then One was found!
Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”
It's Jesus - of course, it's Jesus.

Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. He went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne.
Ok, this is not the Jesus I recognize. I never pictured him having seven horns and seven eyes and I don't think this is a literal translation, but symbolism. Here's were we could get stuck, but rather than try to figure out why Jesus was described this way, let's get to the main point. What happened when Jesus took the scroll from the right hand of God?
And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of  incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. And they sang a new song, saying:

“You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals,
because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God
persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God
and they will reign on the earth.”
Rejoicing - that's what happened! Falling-down-on-your-face rejoicing, joyful singing and though the text doesn't say it, I'll just bet those harps were being played, too. Notice the golden bowls filled with incense? See what the are?

they were holding golden bowls full of  incense,
which are the prayers of God’s people
I love this! Our prayers don't just go up to God and evaporate into thin air. They are held in a bowl as sweet smelling incense burning before our Lord.  David prayed for this in Psalm 141:2
May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.
Doesn't that make your prayer life richer? Doesn't it make you want to pray more, knowing that your prayers are a fragrant offering to God?

So, what happened after the four living creatures and 24 elders began rejoicing that Jesus was found to be worthy to open the scroll? The angels got in on the worship...
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11 Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. 12 In a loud voice they were saying:
“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
    to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
 and honor and glory and praise!”
How many angels? Circling the throne along with the living creatures and the elders and softly praising Jesus...NO, it says they were crying in a LOUD VOICE. Worship can be soft and reverent, but it can also be loud and raucous. It's okay to let yourself go and really praise. It would be weird to see a stadium full of baseball fans sitting quietly, whispering, "Go team. Go." We have something much more amazing to celebrate than a ball and a bat, two teams and nine innings. Don't be afraid to worship out loud.

What happens after the living creatures, the 24 elders and thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand angels began praising and sing around the throne?

13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
    be praise and honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever!”
The book of Philippians (2:9-11) says...
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.
and the book of Romans says...
11 It is written:“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bow before me;
    every tongue will acknowledge God.’”
Though many may not acknowledge Jesus as the King, the Savior, the Holy Son of God, a day is coming when every created being will bow down give him the praise and honor and glory He deserves. I choose to start now!

Finally, we come to the end of this chapter...
14 The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped.
They said "Amen" which means, it is so; so be it; truly; an expression that means I wholeheartedly agree! And that is the point of this whole chapter. Jesus is the only One worthy to be worshiped, the only One we bow down to, the only One we look to for our hope and our future. 

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Take a few minutes (or a lot of minutes) and praise Him. Put on some music, praise Him on bended knee, standing up, sitting down, dancing, softly and loudly. Let yourself be caught up in adoration. Have a wonderful time in the Spirit of Worship, for...


HE IS WORTHY!

 
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A Walk Through Revelation - Part 11


photo courtesy COBRAsoft, rgbstock.com
An Open Door in Heaven
 After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne. Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. In front of the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. Also in front of the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal.
In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings. Day and night they never stop saying:
“‘Holy, holy, holy
is the Lord God Almighty,’
who was, and is, and is to come.”
Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:
11 “You are worthy, our Lord and God,
    to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
    and by your will they were created
    and have their being.”
I have to tell you - I read this several times and still can't completely wrap my mind around it. I can't imagine how John must have felt when he experienced this and then again as he wrote it down for us to read? I know that all scripture is given by the Holy Spirit, but as a writer, I can't imagine what John must have been thinking as he recorded what he had seen.

A door standing open in Heaven, a booming voice calling him to "come up here" - I'd have been terrified, but oh so curious to see what was beyond that open door. Interesting that there was an open door, because there is an open door in Heaven today.

John 10:7 says...
Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. (NIV)
The King James version reads like this...
Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. (KJV)
Many times throughout the New Testament, believers are referred to as sheep and Jesus as the Good Shepherd. When sheep are led into the corral (a place of complete safety) by their shepherd, they enter through the gate. In the verse above He refers to himself as the "gate" - the "door" for the sheep to enter in. (I found a really interesting answer to the question-What did Jesus mean when he said, "I am the door?" You can read it here - really, click on the link and read it- then come back here - it's amazing!)


In John 14:1-6, Jesus has an interesting conversation with his disciples...
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
It's very clear, here that Jesus is saying again that He is the way to Heaven, that He is the truth that leads to life (everlasting life in Heaven with Him).  That's what we believe, because that's what He said.

Many times Christians are labeled as narrow-minded because we believe that there is only one way to Heaven and that way is belief in Jesus Christ and his sacrificial death on a cross to pay for our sins. No other person, no other works, no other way, but Jesus.

Here's my stand on that - God is the Creator of Heaven, Mankind, Earth and all that is in it. He is GOD. He makes the rules. If He says Jesus is the only way, then Jesus is the ONLY way. Who are we to make up other ways or modify his Word??? How arrogant! How foolish!  Do we suppose that when we get to Heaven and say we should be let in because we believed in another way, that we did a lot of good works, that we were a good person, that we sincerely thought that another "god" was the way, that He will say, "Oh, okay, then come on in. I was wrong. There was another way. My bad."  Seriously?

Moving right along...

I won't even try to explain all the incredible things that John saw around the throne of God...because I can't, but I will say that if you are interested in seeing all that John saw for yourself, then Jesus is the only way through that open door in Heaven. 

Have you stepped through that door into a relationship with Him?
Do you want to do that?

If so-if you want to experience a life transforming relationship with the Savior-if you believe that Jesus came to pay the penalty for your sins, that He died that you might be forgiven and receive new life in Him-eternal life with Him in Heaven after you've left this life-if you're sincere about it, then take a minute to pray and ask Him to forgive you for your sins. Let Him know that you are stepping into a new relationship with Him. Ask him to lead you and guide you every day in this new journey. Allow Him to transform you from your old self into your new self.

It's not hard, there are no specific set of words you must say, just speak to Him from your heart. He hears you. He loves you and He is looking forward to a relationship with you.

Did you do it?
Did you just receive Jesus Christ as your Savior? As your open door into a new life here and eternity in Heaven with Him?

If so, then congratulation, you have just made the most important decision of your life. I rejoice that I have a new brother or sister in Christ. Please let me know through a comment that you just prayed and entered into a new relationship with Christ, for the Word says...

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

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