The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Category Archives: Revelation

Applying Revelation: Its Warning for Modern Day Believers

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This is the final lesson in the Applying Revelation series. 

By the time you get through a study on the whole book of Revelation, it’s easy to feel confused, frustrated, and overwhelmed. There is so much strange imagery and so many culture and time specific references that it’s hard to walk away from this book with a clear understanding. As modern day believers who aren’t running from Roman soldiers and ducking out on some psychotic emperor’s idol worship ceremonies, what are we supposed to be getting out of this mess? If Revelation was a message for ancient believers, is there really anything useful for us to learn from it? Absolutely.

What’s exciting about the prophetic books of the Bible is how many quotations from God they contain. As we read through Revelation, we were basically eavesdropping on Yahweh and Jesus speaking to seven communities of Christian believers who lived through the change in Yahweh’s Covenant. Remember that the book was specifically addressed to seven churches in Asia. In His letters to those churches, Jesus let us know that His target audience was a mix of legitimate Christians and posers. There were committed Christians, carnal slackers, and stubborn rebels. Read more of this post

Applying Revelation 22: The Last Chapter

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This is a continuation of Applying Revelation 21: A Disturbing Paradise.

We’ve finally reached the last chapter of Revelation, and it’s a continuation of the vision that began in Chapter 21. An angel is still giving John a visual tour of an eternal paradise with many features that are specifically designed to appeal to ancient Jews living under Roman persecution.

Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. It flowed down the center of the main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations. (Rev. 22:1-2)

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Applying Revelation 21: A Disturbing Paradise

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This is a continuation of Applying Revelation 20: Millennial Madness.

We’ve reached the second to last chapter of Revelation, and as we near the end of this long series of visions, God focuses on giving ancient Jewish Christians a close up tour of what eternity will really be like. Well, to be more accurate, He completely snows John with images of a paradise that could only be considered wonderful to ancient Jews with a raging superiority complex. You see, in this vision, Heaven is a spruced up version of the real life city of Jerusalem—not the Jerusalem that we know today, but the ancient city which was sacked by the Romans in 70 AD after a long siege that began as a response to the Jews violently rebelling against Roman authority in 66 AD. Read more of this post

Applying Revelation 20: Millennial Madness

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This is a continuation of Applying Revelation 19: Warrior Jesus.

As we dive into this next chapter of Revelation, we’re going to be getting into that famous “Millennial Reign of Christ”. Today many Christians are taught to believe that when Christ returns, He’s going to reign on earth for a thousand years of peace before the final judgment. Well, no, He’s not. The theology put forth in this passage is so absurd and so contrary to God’s actual values that we ought to immediately realize this is yet another round of empty promises which God has cooked up to pacify an audience of souls who have decided that they are better than the rest of the planet. Well, to be more accurate, these Jewish Christians who are being chopped down by Romans actually think they are far superior to any believer who has ever come before them—including guys like Moses, Abraham, David, and Job. Don’t believe it? That’s because you have glossed over this passage too quickly in the past. In this lesson, we’ll slow things down and help you see just how full of human arrogance this whole notion of a millennial reign is. Read more of this post

Applying Revelation 19: Warrior Jesus

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This is a continuation of Applying Revelation 18: Seven Songs About Rome.

Here’s a fun bit of Bible trivia. There is no “J” sound in Hebrew. Jesus’ earthly parents didn’t call Him Jesus, instead they called Him Yeshua–a very common Hebrew name which often gets changed to Joshua in English Bibles today.

Now let’s think about the Name Yahweh. Yahweh was the special Name which God the Father picked for Himself when He established His first Covenant with the Jews. What’s a nickname for Yahweh? Yah. We find both Yah and Yahweh in use throughout the Old Testament. For example, Isaiah 26:4 actually says:

Trust Yahweh always, because Yah, Yahweh alone, is an everlasting rock.

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Applying Revelation 18: Seven Songs About Rome

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This is a continuation of Applying Revelation 17: Rome Gets It…Again.

The Roman Empire is so intensely hated by the ancient Jewish Christians that her downfall must be marked with an epic celebration. Rome was depicted as dying yet again in our last chapter when the saucy prostitute who personified her was mauled to death by the freaky Spotty Domitian beast. Now that her body has been ripped apart, eaten, and the leftovers have been burned up, it’s time to party. How do you party as an ancient Jew? You start singing songs of course–lots of them. In this chapter, we’ll go through seven songs that are sung about Rome, whose codename in this book is Babylon.  The purpose of these songs is to poetically reflect on Rome’s influence on the world.  Some of the songs are happy, some are mocking, and some are sad. We can find many more songs like these in the Old Testament, for God often wove songs into His prophetic messages about various nations. Read more of this post

Applying Revelation 17: Rome Gets It…Again

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This is a continuation of Applying Revelation 15-16: Invincible Rebels.

Revelation is classified as a prophetic book. When Christians think of Divine prophecy, they usually think of future knowledge. This leads them to assume that Revelation must be predicting future events, because prophecy always has to be about the future, right? Wrong.

When you think of Divine prophecy, picture yourself standing with God in a super dark room. You can’t see anything that’s in the room until God suddenly turns on a flashlight. That’s what prophecy is: it’s a type of illumination which only God can provide. It’s God turning on a light and enabling you to see spiritual truths that you couldn’t see before. Now God can point His flashlight in any direction on the human timeline: the past, the present, or the future. He can adjust His beam to have a narrow or broad point. When He shines a light on some specific event in the past, you suddenly see that event in a whole new way. When He shines it on the present, you suddenly see current circumstances in a whole new way. When He shines it on the future, you get a glimpse of something that’s coming and learn principles which change what you focus on today. Read more of this post

Applying Revelation 15-16: Invincible Rebels

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This is a continuation of Applying Revelation 14: Harvest Time.

In our discussion of Chapter 12, we talked about how reading through Revelation is like listening to a short song that is stuck on continuous replay. In Chapter 14, Yahweh swiftly obliterated all of mankind and chucked all of His enemies into Hell. Yet as we start this chapter, it’s like someone has set all the chess pieces back up on the board so God can knock them all off again. How many more ways and times is God going to show His Jewish audience scenes of mankind getting spanked and the Roman Empire falling? At least a few more. Our Gods do enjoy flaunting Their wrathful side. Read more of this post

Applying Revelation 14: Harvest Time

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This is a continuation of Applying Revelation 13: Two More Beasts & 666.

Way back in Chapter 7, John saw 144,000 Christians get their foreheads marked with Yahweh’s special seal. Naturally those Christians were all Jewish in ethnicity and naturally none of them were from the Israelite tribe of Dan, which Jewish Christians have rejected as evil at this time. In Chapter 7, we learned how ridiculous this whole ethnic favoring business is, but when talking to Jews in the Bible, Yahweh doesn’t even bother to try and talk about other ethnicities being just as welcomed by Him. These ancient Jews have a raging superiority complex and they simply must be the stars of both this world and the next, so this is how Yahweh portrays them.

Immaturity and rebellion abound among God’s audiences in both the Old and New Testaments. Because of this, we find Him simply not bothering to even try to explain certain realities to people—such as the fact that the real Heaven isn’t going to be a glamorous replica of the ancient city of Jerusalem. To the Jews, Heaven must look like their favorite city on earth, or it just won’t be heavenly. Never mind about all of those other ethnicities that wind up in Heaven—they’ll all just have to align with Jewish preferences because obviously the Jews are the stars of the universe. Don’t miss the extreme ethnic arrogance that is being accommodated in biblical prophecies. Read more of this post

Applying Revelation 13: Two More Beasts & 666

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This is a continuation of Applying Revelation 12: Miss Israel & Devil Dragon.

Imagine how the citizens of your country would react today if some great fire burned down half of your country’s capital. When disasters like this happen, everyone fears that it was some kind of terrorist attack. Today, who would the primary suspects be for such an act? In your country, who are the usual  scapegoats? In our introductory lesson to this series, we learned about how Emperor Nero officially blamed Christians for starting a fire which did great damage to the empire’s capital city of Rome. At the time, Romans had already developed a strong dislike of Christians. Nero simply took advantage of prejudices that already existed and fanned those hostile feelings into an all-out war. Suddenly it became totally acceptable to treat Christians like the scum of the earth. Once a government legalizes any kind of perverse behavior, humans quickly run amuck. It’s sick and twisted to assault, torture, and kill people just because of their religious beliefs. But the ugly truth is that we’re all bullies by nature, and it just isn’t hard to talk us into participating in the wide scale persecution of other humans. Soon Christians were being viciously targeted everywhere and it was all thanks to that creep Nero. Read more of this post