Revealing the Son of Man of Revelation

Revelation 1

Wednesday, November 16th, 2022

Today we will be delving into the most unorthodox and arguably most interesting book of the Bible: Revelation. Here, John is on the island called Patmos, and is tasked to write to the seven churches in Asia. What he must write is the prophecy that is about to be unveiled to him over the course of the book by the Son of Man himself. 

Here, the Son of Man is described in verses Revelations 1:13-16 in a new form. That which describes his hair being white as snow, his eyes like a “flame of fire,” his feet like burnished bronze, and his face shining like the sun. Furthermore, he has a sharp double-edged sword protruding from his mouth, his voice is like the “sound of many waters,” and seven stars are being held in his right hand. Aside from setting the premise of the book, the key points come from this portion, as well as describing both God and the Son of Man as the “Alpha and Omega.” The point of the devotion today then will be to further understand our Lord as he is described in this chapter.

The hair being described as being white as wool and snow can simply represent the purity that is reserved for the lamb that was and is Jesus Christ. Further reading, we read that “his eyes were like a flame of fire.” In the original Greek text, this phrase reads as: “οἱ ὀφθαλμοὶ αὐτοῦ ὡς φλὸξ πυρός, or “hoi opthalmoi autou hōs phlox pyros” (The eyes of Him [are] like a flame of fire). Breaking this down, the first four words are very common, essentially describing that the subject written about is His eyes. However, the fifth word is a bit interesting, as it is translated as “a flame,” and makes an appearance only twice in the Bible. Those two appearances are this verse (Revelation 1:14) and Revelation 19:12. Both times are used to describe the eyes of the Son of Man. The word is commonly used in Greek to describe swirling, flickering, or a whirling motion; often used when describing fire. However, we don’t necessarily need to have the notion that His eyes are literally ablaze with fire, rather, John may be commenting on the uniqueness of his eyes, as in they have an appearance of intensity and power.

In Revelation 1:15, the Son of Man is described as having feet like burnished bronze, and a voice like the “sound of many waters.”  The feet having the appearance of burnished bronze may be an analogy for His glory. And furthermore, the sound of his voice being like the “sound of many waters” gives two traits to his voice. First, the voice is loud and intense, as the word “many” invokes imagery of rushing and sudden waters flooding an area. Second, the voice being described as water also gives a sensation of smoothness that John may feel by hearing the voice. All of these traits match identically with the traits described by Daniel in Daniel 10 when he writes about the revealer. These parallels show that the revealer and the Son of Man are one in the same. This exact appearance being recorded may have been paralleled by Jesus in order to make no mistake as to who he was. If there is one thing we can take away from this appearance, it is that our Lord does not have any intention of being mysterious, and does not shy away from making himself known to us. 

The last portion to be analyzed is Revelation 1:16. Out of His mouth protrudes a sharp double-edged sword, his face shone like the sun, and in his right hand seven stars were held. The double edged sword makes another appearance in Revelation later on (Revelation 19:15), and has multiple meanings attached to it. First, it represents the unmatched power that is attributed to God and has been given to the Son to rule. Furthermore, Jesus is representative of his word, and it is fitting that he will conquer by his word. If you’ve ever heard the phrase “the pen is mightier than the sword,” don’t even bother with the ink, as words truly have power, especially those that are uttered from the mouth of our Lord. His face shining like the sun represents the glory that is attributed to him, and parallels with Moses’ face similarly shining after having a personal encounter with God. The seven stars held in his hand are later revealed in this chapter (Revelation 1:20) to represent the seven angels that are associated with the seven churches being written to. “Angels” can be translated too as “messengers,” and essentially shows the connection between Him and the churches. The seven stars  being held in his hand also have significant meaning as this essentially makes the point that the churches are upheld by Him and are in His protection. Likewise, we should have the idea that we as a conglomerate group are sanctioned and protected by Him. That is something I hope that all of you can dwell on, as that is an incredible concept. 

Relationships are often not one way roads, and understanding must go both ways in order for us to have a significant connection with the Lord. He already understands and empathizes with our hearts, but studying and learning more about Him allows for us to truly understand His objectives and what He stands for. I hope that you have all learned something new, and if not, some interesting points about the Son of Man that you can dwell on. 

-Colby Leggitt

Reflection Questions:

  1. Did any of these qualities of Jesus stand out to you? If so, why?
  2. The seven stars were made clear to represent the seven churches that John was writing to. Would that mean that the churches in his name are also held there to this day? What are the implications of that?
  3. What feelings do you have about this representation of Christ versus the representation of Christ in the Gospel? 

Do You Get It?

Malachi 3

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Have you ever tried reasoning with someone who just doesn’t get it? After reading Malachi that’s exactly how I felt. At this point the temple is built and the Israelites are settled back into their traditions and way of life. They are now waiting for the prophecies of their Messiah to be fulfilled. But with this wait and settling in came the return of sin, doubt and once again a disconnection and separation from God.

The Israelites began to sacrifice improper animals, they were withholding tithes, they were marrying outsiders, they weren’t obeying and honoring the covenant they had with God. With all this corruption going on they refused to see themselves as the problem. Instead they put the blame on God questioning his very love for them (Malachi 1:2) . Almost desperately God points the finger back at them, reminding them of his great love and his promise of a Messiah. He urges them to take responsibility for their actions and remember to obey the covenant they have with Him.

I found it interesting that the last book of the Old Testament left me with a feeling of desperation. You felt the need for the Messiah and I almost couldn’t wait for him to come, then I realized: wait, Jesus did come! Today we have a new covenant with God, one that is fulfilled by grace through Jesus Christ.

I hope you get it.

-Elleigh Dylewski

(originally posted for SeekGrowLove -then named Grow16 – on April 26, 2017)

Reflection Questions

  1. Verse 13 of Malachi 3 says: “’Your words have been arrogant against Me,’ says the Lord. ‘Yet you say, “What have we spoken against You?’” Have you heard others (or yourself) speaking arrogantly against God? Are there still some who don’t recognize this as an offense to God?
  2. What other offenses are being done against God – in Malachi 3 and today?
  3. How do we return to God? When? Why?

Allow Me to Introduce You to Luke…

Luke 1_4

 

 “I too decided, after investigating everything carefully from the very first, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus,  so that you may know the truth concerning the things about which you have been instructed.”    Luke 1:3-4

If you have grown up in the church like myself, you were probably taught basic theology at a young age. I sang the songs, made the crafts, remembered my memory verses, and before I realized it, I had formed beliefs. Everything seemed so simple.

As we grow older, everything becomes complicated. We look at all the denominations around us, with many differing perspectives, and that child-like belief starts to become muddled by all of the confusion. This is the point where we ask ourselves, “What do I really believe?”

This is why I love Luke. His in-depth account of the Lord Jesus Christ from his birth through his resurrection not only gives us insight into the Son of God in an intimate way, it gives us backing to the beliefs that we hold dear.

Regardless of any creed, doctrine, or ideal, I know, without a doubt, that I can sit down and read Luke’s account of the story of Jesus and know that it is true. That validity is such a faith builder and invigorates me to dive deeper into the gospel.

This week, we are going back to our roots. Let’s start from the beginning together shall we? Because, sometimes, in order to jump forward, we have to get back to the basics.

 

-Leslie Jones

Say Yes

Revelation 20-22Revelation_22-12

Saturday, July 22

The Bible begins in the book of Genesis with God and his children named Adam and Eve living in a perfect garden where his children have immediate access to the presence of God and can interact with God face to face.  The act of rebellion against God caused them to be separated from God.  They initiated this process by hiding from God and by their failed attempts to cover over their guilt and shame.  The consequence of their rebellion against God was that they were cut off from immediate fellowship with God, they were cut off from the garden which, along with all of the earth and the inhabitants of the earth including animals and humans fell under the curse of death.

Within God’s ruling of the consequences of sin and the resulting curse came a kernel of good news in Genesis 3:15.  One would come who was a “seed of the woman” meaning a child, a human child, who would ultimately defeat the serpent, which represents evil.  In the process of destroying the evil serpent, that human would also suffer a wound (a bruised heel).

The rest of the Bible is the story of how God’s plan to rescue the earth from the curse and restore  and redeem humanity that was cut off from God is fulfilled ultimately by Jesus Christ, the human being, he was a seed of the woman, who was also the perfect and sinless son of God.  In going to the cross and dying for the sins of all humanity, and being raised up by God to everlasting life, Jesus defeated the serpent.

Revelation 20-22 provides a vision of the ultimate victory of how this is ultimately realized.  The serpent/dragon/devil/satan(adversary) is permitted to influence the world only so long, and then it will finally meet it’s end.   Evil will be defeated by Jesus Christ.  Christ will return, the dead will be raised, there will be a final judgment based upon what we have done.  Some will be resurrected to everlasting life with God on a renewed earth in the city of New Jerusalem.  Some will be judged and condemned by God and cast into the lake of fire, which the Bible calls the second death.  (Note that it does not teach that they will be tortured for eternity, but that they will die a second and final time in a type of mass cremation).  Death has to be destroyed.  Those who reject God’s love and gracious gift of salvation will not have it forced upon.  God allows us the freedom to accept his love and the offer of salvation, but he also gives us the freedom to reject it.  Just as a bride must consent to marrying the groom in order for a marriage to be valid, we, God’s people must consent to God’s love before our covenant relationship will be valid.

For those who reject God’s love, they will finally and mercifully be brought to everlasting destruction.  Those who accept God’s love through Christ, will be granted everlasting life.  The Bible ends with the reversals of Genesis 2-3.  God will again make his presence here upon the earth.  The image John gives in Revelation is of a New Jerusalem coming down from God to take up occupancy on the earth.  This new Jerusalem, interesting, is built on the same scale as the Temple in Jerusalem was… only so much larger.  The new temple occupies a territory that rivals the ancient Roman empire.

For Christians living in the first century suffering under Roman oppression, this must have given them hope.  Rome/ or Babylon or whatever earthly power that was anti-God would be brought to an end, and God’s Kingdom, God’s government would cover all the earth, with Jerusalem acting as a giant temple where God and his people would dwell for all eternity.  Within the temple, emanating from the throne of God is a river of life surrounded by the tree of life.  The tree of life was the very reason why Adam and Eve were banished from Eden, so that they would not partake of the tree of life/immortality in their sinful and broken condition.  Sin had to be defeated once and for all before immortality could be enjoyed.  But now, in Revelation, we are free to partake of the tree of life, we are free to embrace immortality, and we will live forever with God in His Kingdom on this renewed earth.  We have, in a sense, come full circle, we are back home with God’s presence in the new Eden, and we are forever blessed.  Even those who have suffered martyrdom for their faith, will enjoy the benefits and blessings of the New Jerusalem the New Eden and the New Earth.

If you’ve never said yes to God’s love, I don’t want you to miss out on this greatest of all blessings.  Say yes to God, you can do it right now.  And then solidify that “Yes” by entering into a covenant relationship with God through Baptism.  And then live as a child of God and share this good news with as many as you can, until the day all is fulfilled and Christ returns, or the day that you draw your last breath.

-Jeff Fletcher

(https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Revelation-22-12_Inspirational_Image/)

 

Graphic Material

Ezekiel 5-9

ezekiel 5 14

Monday, March 20

This portion of Ezekiel is, admittedly, difficult to read.  It’s a pretty graphic account of God impending judgment against the city of Jerusalem and his people, Israel.  God tells Ezekiel to shave his head and beard.  This would have been an act of mourning for most people, but it was double disturbing for Ezekiel, since he was a priest and normally forbidden from shaving his head or beard.  Ezekiel was told to burn, take a sword to, and scatter his cut hair.  This was to symbolize what was to happen to Israel.  A few hairs were kept back, symbolic of the remnant who would not be destroyed.

God accuses his people, Israel, the chosen nation, of being worse than the other nations.  They broke the law more than the nations that did not have the law.  God was bringing his judgment against His own people.  The description of the siege almost defies comprehension, including cannibalism of both parents and children.  This was to serve as a warning to the other nations: if this is how God treats his own people for their idolatry, beware of what he will do to you.

In Ezekiel six God makes it clear that their judgement is upon them because of their idolatry. However, there is a remnant that will be spared and live in captivity and will come to repentance.

In Ezekiel seven, a special emphasis is made regarding their idolatrous attachment to gold and silver.  This wealth that they turned to and fashioned into idols will be unable to save them from the coming judgment.  All the money in the world can’t save you from judgment.

In Chapter eight Ezekiel has a vision of the temple in Jerusalem.  This includes the “Idol of jealousy” which we discover is the pagan god Tammuz.  Tammuz was the Sumerian god of food and vegetation.  At the summer solstice there was a period of mourning as the people saw the shortening of days and the approaching drought.  Sacrifices were made to Tammuz at the door of the Jerusalem Temple.  This was an absolute abomination to Israel’s God, YHWH as He made it clear that He alone was to be worshipped as God (see Deuteronomy 6:4-5).

In Chapter Nine an angel is sent out to put a mark on all of the people of the city who did not commit idolatry and worship Tammuz.  They would be spared.  But then all those who did not receive a mark would be destroyed.  This is reminiscent of the story of Exodus, when the doorposts of the Israelites were to be marked with the blood of the sacrificial lamb, and those with the mark were spared their firstborn sons dying when the Angel of Death passed over their houses.  It also points to the future (See Revelation 13) when the beast will cause people to have a mark on their forehead or they would not be able to buy or sell.  This is contrasted with those in Revelation 14 who have the name of God and of the lamb on their foreheads.

God is a God of love and mercy.  God has provided a means for us to be rescued from the consequences of sin.  There is a way for each of us to be spared the final judgment of God that is coming.  Jesus Christ, the lamb of God is the only means by which we can escape judgment.  Along with God’s mercy is His holiness.  God will not allow sin and rebellion to continue on earth forever.  A day of judgment is coming for all the earth just as it did for the nation of Israel.  God tolerated their sin for only so long, and then came the time for judgment.  Mercifully, God spared those who repented by placing His mark upon them.  God has been tolerating sinful rebellion on earth, but a day is coming when He will destroy sin and sinners who have not repented and turned away from their sins and turned to him through Jesus Christ.  Ezekiel’s harsh imagery should remind us that we must not forget that God’s wrath is coming from which we all need to escape, and we need to warn others.  This won’t make us popular, but doing God’s will is seldom popular among the rebellious.

-Pastor Jeff Fletcher

 

(Photo Credit: http://w3ace.com/stardust/)

Some Hope for Your Hopelessness

Lamentations 2-3

lamentations 3

Friday, March 17

 

Lamentations 2 is recounting God’s anger, and in chapter 3 Jeremiah seems to be complaining that God is not listening to him. However, in spite of complaining, he does acknowledge that God gave the people grace in not dishing out as harsh a punishment as they deserved.

 

Despite the melancholy nature of the book, this portion of Jeremiah contains one of my favorite passages in all of scripture (ch. 3, v. 21-24):

 

“Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.”

This verse is displayed in our living room, scripted on a photo that we captured of a radiant sunset over Alaska’s Kenai Fjord during our honeymoon. I appreciate the daily visual reminder that God is always faithful, and that each day is a new start complete with His fresh mercies!

 

With all that Jeremiah was facing, I am encouraged that he still dared to hope. Have you ever dared to hope? Right now I am facing a difficult situation with an ailing loved one. For many months, I’ve experienced an exhausting cycle – hopelessness followed by a rush of hope (that has instead usually turned out to be a false alarm), followed by hopelessness, and then another chance to hope. And just when I tell myself that I am not going to hope again, I am presented with another opportunity to hope that I just cannot deny because life without hope, is, well, hopeless. Sometimes hope is all that keeps us going. Hope helps us cope with the difficulties in life. So will you “dare to hope”?

 

Ultimately, our hope as believers is in Jesus Christ and our future in the Kingdom with God. The meaning of my daughter’s name inspires my soul every time I think of it. Her first name is Maranatha, which means, “Come, Lord Jesus” (but most people know her as Mara), and her middle name is “Hope”, which we chose because the coming of Jesus our Lord is our hope as believers. Jesus knows that we will have trouble in this world, but he reminds us to “take heart! I have overcome the world!” Now THAT is something worth our hope!

 

Pray about what it is that God may be calling you to “hope” for. (Think about the injustices that came to your mind during yesterday’s devotion and how you hope the situation could be different). What actions do you need to take to allow yourself to hope? How can hope drive you to make a difference?

 

-Rachel Cain

 

(Photo Credit: https://dailyverses.net/lamentations/3/22-23)

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