Revelation the Book

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We’re supposed to be looking for visions of Heaven to understand what Heaven is, what it looks like, where God lives, and what we hope see to one day. The most important characteristic of Heaven the Book of Revelation gives us is an understanding of Heaven’s point of view we miss when attention is focused on this world. That leads us to the mistake a lot of philosophers make. They take a book like Revelation, then mold it into a view the world understands, and the majority of people agree with. They can’t grasp onto the fact, this book and message is from Heaven, thereby giving us a view from Heaven’s perspective.

This simple book takes the view of Heaven recorded by John and explains one vital detail no one should have ever missed. John was the only eyewitnesses to see the entire book of Revelation revealed in visions shown in Heaven. Whenever John saw one of those visions, he was confused. Each time an angel or other being came to John to explain what he just saw. In simple terms, those events showed us, every being in Heaven understood each and every one of those symbols. Angels in Heaven watched Satan grow from a serpent in Eden to a dragon in the last days. Where do we go to interpret those symbols? There is no other place other than Heaven. Interpretations based on this world have been wrong for centuries. One interpretation after another has failed. An interpretation from Heaven has never failed.

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This book shows how Revelation is arranged to teach every man, woman, and child how to study this book and every book in scripture. The first few chapters are laid out to show a simple Bible Study rule. To understand any subject, symbol, person, place, or thing, collect all the information recorded on the subject at hand. In other words, God recorded the Bible to explain itself. God didn’t leave out any of the information. Every detail we need to understand the subject at hand was recorded by John, or one of the earlier prophets. There are only two sources of information in this Universe, Heaven, and this world. Where do the popular philosophers gather their information from? News media. Is the news person the new prophet the world is waiting for? Where is the concrete proof new interpretations are based on the Bible and only God’s Word? This book shows how simple it is and always has been to stay within the Bible to find answers. John, the real prophet from God was taken to Heaven, shown visions, had those visions explained in Heaven, then recorded exactly what he was told to record. John explained every detail of where he was, who and what he saw, and who explained each detail. John told us the only reliable source to find the truth we have been searching for. The world takes that information, and like the first sin committed by Eve, tries to rely on a greater degree of understanding the devil promised to Eve. Not information or facts from Heaven, but ideas and concepts hatched by a snake in a tree. We face that same decision every time we open the Bible. Do we rely on the visions John witnessed in Heaven, or do we rely on this world to fill in supposedly missing pieces?

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A New Earth Revelation 21

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Revelation 21:1-4 NLTse (1) Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. (2) And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. (3) I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. (4) He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”

People like to speculate on what New Jerusalem will look like. Some think the city is one building. Other people think the city consists of many buildings. No one knows what the buildings or city will look like. Some artists have drawn up pictures showing a tall, pyramid shaped building with pointed tops. Others show tall, straight skyscraper type buildings. And there is the old favorite, a kingdom looking much like the legendary city, Camelot. What is probably more accurate is, God has designed a city like no other known to this planet.

When we look back at the previous chapter, we see how Satan and his forces surrounded God’s city, and tried to over throw it. That attempt was made after the rest of the dead were raised to face judgment. When we consider the fact the world laid desolate for a thousand years, we should be able to see, there weren’t a lot of modern weapons left in this world. Ancient armies wouldn’t have been raised with their weapons, so what did Satan’s last army have for weapons?

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John didn’t give us a time line. We have no idea how much time elapsed between when the dead were raised, and when Satan gathered his army. It’s doubtful they had enough time to develop and build the modern weapons we see today. They may not have enough time to manufacture ancient weapons. They may have to settle for primitive weapons. In either case, it doesn’t matter if they are armed, they are no match for Jesus.

John recorded a rather strange order. Satan and his forces surrounded the city. The entire army is destroyed in the lake of fire. Then John saw New Jerusalem coming down from Heaven to this world. It seems correct to think, the new city will not sit on the earth until all evil is purged. On the other hand, it seems rather strange for Satan to attempt to attack a city hovering in the sky.

Everything in this world had to be made new before the New Jerusalem set down on this earth. All the sky, seas, and land was washed from sin just like the Sanctuary was cleansed in Heaven. It seems rather strange to think, out of all the places in the Universe, God chose earth to live. Will God really live and rule from this world, or will this world be Jesus’ home because of His close connection with its people?

No other planet in the Universe went through what this world went through, the sin, Jesus being born, taking the life and form of a human, and dying on this planet. It was something no one ever saw before. Not in this world, or the universe. This world will exist as a sort of memorial to the Universe for an eternity.

It seems rather strange to see the United States undergoing a sort of change or transformation at this time. Some groups are demanding certain memorials be taken down, claiming they are offensive to their way of life. It is as if the devil is trying to prepare this world to think they can determine what is important to remember, and what can be purged from history. Does Satan know how close he is to the end?

It is Finished

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Revelation 16:17-21 NLTse (17) Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air. And a mighty shout came from the throne in the Temple, saying, “It is finished!” (18) Then the thunder crashed and rolled, and lightning flashed. And a great earthquake struck–the worst since people were placed on the earth. (19) The great city of Babylon split into three sections, and the cities of many nations fell into heaps of rubble. So God remembered all of Babylon’s sins, and he made her drink the cup that was filled with the wine of his fierce wrath. (20) And every island disappeared, and all the mountains were leveled. (21) There was a terrible hailstorm, and hailstones weighing seventy-five pounds fell from the sky onto the people below. They cursed God because of the terrible plague of the hailstorm.

But wait! As soon as the three frogs gather all the armies together, a great earthquake suddenly hits. There is no mention of any battle, just an earthquake. Ever try fighting a war during an earthquake? Lots of luck explaining that one. Prophets may just as well switch to predicting earthquake rather than trying to explain the battle of Armageddon.

There will be a battle, but not until Jesus says it is time. Then I saw the beast and the kings of the world and their armies gathered together to fight against the one sitting on the horse and his army. (Revelation 19:19 NLTse). The armies of this world will gather gain to face a final battle, the battle against Jesus.

Once again Babylon is mentioned. This time it is split into three parts. Strange as it may seem, Babylon was built on the Euphrates River. Where does that take us back to? The river drying up, allowing armies from the east to come in. Why would an army invade the capital of all that evil? These are all symbols we have to look at to understand.

Babylon was not the only city destroyed. Other cities fell. Babylon is used as a symbol for all that evil. The center of evil. Was it Satan’s seat? Does it matter where Satan’s seat is? What could we do if we knew the answer? The angels in Heaven know exactly where Satan is at all times. Shouldn’t that be enough for us?

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Some people refer to Babylon as the gateway of the gods, and other such terms. I have no idea where that concept came from, if it is true, or when someone coined the phrase. You know how science works. Dig up a vase or stone, find some carvings in a wall, and let the imagination run away with what it means, when it was made, and its purpose. If some future generation from an unknown land found traces of your life a thousand years from now, how accurately could they piece together all the details of your life? They would be lucky if they got 1% of our life correct. But today, people flock to science like they have all the right answers all the time. Where is the Spirit in science?

For some reason Babylon split into three sections. Is that meant to draw us back to the previous plague where the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet were exposed? Splitting apart or cracking open exposes the inside. Those three frogs came from inside the dragon, beast, and false prophet. We are being shown how the true intends of those demons or people are coming to the surface. Previous plagues brought their emotions past the boiling point, to the point they are about to explode, and they do. Satan and his followers bring all their greed and selfishness to the surface, and the Universe sees exactly what their real plans have always been. God answers with one more plague, hailstones, and their reaction is the same. They are just as stubborn as Pharaoh was in Egypt. We know how fake his gods were. It wasn’t a battle of gods after all. It was a battle of pride.

Locusts Revelation 9

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Revelation 9:1-12 NKJV Then the fifth angel sounded: And I saw a star fallen from heaven to the earth. To him was given the key to the bottomless pit. (2) And he opened the bottomless pit, and smoke arose out of the pit like the smoke of a great furnace. So the sun and the air were darkened because of the smoke of the pit. (3) Then out of the smoke locusts came upon the earth. And to them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. (4) They were commanded not to harm the grass of the earth, or any green thing, or any tree, but only those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. (5) And they were not given authority to kill them, but to torment them for five months. Their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it strikes a man. (6) In those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will desire to die, and death will flee from them. (7) The shape of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle. On their heads were crowns of something like gold, and their faces were like the faces of men. (8) They had hair like women’s hair, and their teeth were like lions’ teeth. (9) And they had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots with many horses running into battle. (10) They had tails like scorpions, and there were stings in their tails. Their power was to hurt men five months. (11) And they had as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, but in Greek he has the name Apollyon. (12) One woe is past. Behold, still two more woes are coming after these things.

I’ve read more interpretations to those locusts than I care to think about. I’ve seen those locusts placed at more time periods that I care to count. The fact of the matter is, we wouldn’t expect to see physical locusts fitting that description. Most people know those locusts are a symbol. The question is, after reading Revelation chapter 8, why would people take shortcuts interpreting those symbols, the time frame, and the entire prophecy and vision?

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We see an angel coming down to earth to open what was described as a bottomless pit. In Heaven, angels can see this world, and God sees everything that happens in this world. What would a bottomless pit represent? In simple terms, the pit tells us it contains an endless string of deceptions. Locusts came out and their leader was the devil.

The star is referred to as a person. Coming from the sky tells us, he was an angel. Previous chapters in Revelation told how a star is used to represent an angel. That particular angel needed a key. He also had to receive orders, and follow specific instructions and timing. All of those orders originated at God’s throne.

Revelation chapter 8 told us about the sun, moon, stars, day, and night loosing a third of their light. Chapter 9 tells us about smoke coming out of a bottomless pit turning sunlight dark. What do we get when we combine the two trumpets? We see how the light was darkened. Previous chapters in Revelation told us how deceptions would creep in. That pits tells us, the devil will have more deceptions than we can count. That tells us, the devil will try hard to hide the true identity of those locusts as well as the lessons in this chapter, and the entire book of Revelation.

Let’s take a quick look from Heaven to see what John saw. He looked in the pit that was opened and couldn’t see the bottom. How else would he describe that pit. The angel was described as a star. Compared to the darkness from that pit, the angel was nothing less than a contrast.

First smoke came out of the pit. In warfare, smoke is used as a screen, or type of camouflage. The devil doesn’t want this world to see what is happening. That is why it is important to stick with a vision from Heaven. The locusts came from the pit, then descended upon the earth. Are they trying to imitate angels from Heaven? They don’t look like angels? Who could mix them up?

Previous chapters in Revelation described beings in Heaven with different faces. Those locusts had human faces. What does that tell us? Look at those locusts from the aspect of how they would approach people. First you would see their faces and crowns. Then you’d see the similarities to a horse, than a locust, and lastly, you’d see the tail of a scorpion. It is plain to see they are designed to deceive. First they hide their identity until they were close enough to use that stinging tail. The smoke is used to conceal their real identity and intent.

The story formed its own link between grass, trees, and people. A symbol we’ve seen before in Revelation. We are in a building process. Since the vision reviews details we’ve learned, we can expect this part will add to that knowledge.

For some reason those locusts were told to only torture people, not kill them for five months. Why that time period, and what does it mean? It is a physical five months or a spiritual five months? How do we find out? Does context provide the answer? The vision uses symbolism, so the five months must also be a symbol. Pointing to what though? The only thing we are told is, people will seek death in those days. Was, or is there a time when a great number of people looked forward to dying?

As with real locusts, those symbols have wings. They can fly. They can cover great distances in a short amount of time. But why? For what? They follow orders from Satan. No matter what they do, it leads to no good.

What on earth could fit the description John recorded? Is that how Heaven views evil angels? Are those locusts evil angels? How would an evil angel look to you if you were and angle in paradise?

The end of the fifth trumpet ends with a warning. We have two more terrors to look at.

A Door Open in Heaven Revelation 4

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Revelation 4:1-5 NLTse Then as I looked, I saw a door standing open in heaven, and the same voice I had heard before spoke to me like a trumpet blast. The voice said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must happen after this.” (2) And instantly I was in the Spirit, and I saw a throne in heaven and someone sitting on it. (3) The one sitting on the throne was as brilliant as gemstones–like jasper and carnelian. And the glow of an emerald circled his throne like a rainbow. (4) Twenty-four thrones surrounded him, and twenty-four elders sat on them. They were all clothed in white and had gold crowns on their heads. (5) From the throne came flashes of lightning and the rumble of thunder. And in front of the throne were seven torches with burning flames. This is the sevenfold Spirit of God.

When we see a door open in Heaven, we know it must be important. What is happening in Heaven? In previous letters John told about doors opening. “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Philadelphia. This is the message from the one who is holy and true, the one who has the key of David. What he opens, no one can close; and what he closes, no one can open. “I know all the things you do, and I have opened a door for you that no one can close. You have little strength, yet you obeyed my word and did not deny me.” (Revelation 3:7-8 NLTse). Was John writing about this door that opened in Heaven?

The word, “then,” tells us something. After John recorded those letters to the churches, he saw this vision of Heaven. John recorded a sequence of events in Heaven. First those letters had to be written, given to angels, and delivered to the churches. Once that task was competed, John looked up and saw an open door. John tied this vision in with the previous story that had a voice. John heard the same voice he heard earlier.

It was the Lord’s Day, and I was worshiping in the Spirit. Suddenly, I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet blast. It said, “Write in a book everything you see, and send it to the seven churches in the cities of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.” When I turned to see who was speaking to me, I saw seven gold lampstands. And standing in the middle of the lampstands was someone like the Son of Man. He was wearing a long robe with a gold sash across his chest. His head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow. And his eyes were like flames of fire. His feet were like polished bronze refined in a furnace, and his voice thundered like mighty ocean waves. (Revelation 1:10-15 NLTse).

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We see how that voice was Jesus. We also see how John took us back to the description of Jesus in chapter one, tying chapter one and four together. The serious Bible student will see how all those chapters, stories, and letters in Revelation are tied together. John recorded Revelation to emphasize that point. The age old method of cutting Revelation apart to study it doesn’t agree with the way Revelation was recorded.

John used the voice he heard to send us back to a particular point in the Bible, a reference point we have to respect. We see how the voice is tied into all seven churches, and the sevenfold Spirit of God confirmed that message. The statement, “this message is written for this world,” is very specific, and provides its own, unique method of guiding readers.

The voice of Jesus, told John, “Come up here, and I will show you what must happen after this.” When Jesus sets an order of events, we have to respect the sequence. The question is, why did John, the man who loved Jesus, not mention Jesus by name in chapter 4? Why use the voice to identify Jesus? That is the unique writing style Jesus uses. That style of writing sends readers back to the proper spots in the Bible to find answers. This shows us exactly how Jesus and the Bible reveal answers. Men do not always use that style of study. Some times they use less than reliable man made styles. Methods of study that more or less rely on personalities, traditions, and preconceived ideas. None of which are close to the Spirit guided study method.

John saw someone sitting on a throne. Since John already gave a vivid description of Jesus in another location, who could the figure on the throne be? It seems we have two choices, God or the Holy Spirit. Since the Bible doesn’t contain a description of the Spirit in physical form, we have to think the figure on the throne is God. When we read more of the story, we see how John confirmed that Jesus was in a different location in that scene.

Then I saw a Lamb that looked as if it had been slaughtered, but it was now standing between the throne and the four living beings and among the twenty-four elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which represent the sevenfold Spirit of God that is sent out into every part of the earth. (Revelation 5:6 NLTse).

When we look ahead, we see how chapter 5 is tied in to chapter 4, as well as chapter 1, and all the information in between. Studying Revelation is not as easy as people want the world to think. It cannot be explained using a single sentence, series of sentences, or one story taken out and made to stand on its own. Jesus designed Revelation to show how stories are related and interwoven to give a specific message no one can alter. That is the scene inside the door Jesus can open and no one can shut. No matter how hard the world tries to cover up Revelation, the book is still here to show us how to gain the proper understanding.

John described God using the only words he could think of to tell about His brilliance, gemstones. Why John decided to use gems, which are usually rather small to describe the largest being he ever encountered is a mystery all its own. But what else did John have? The only other thing was a rainbow. We can see how John is trying to describe colors.

Have you ever tried to describe the colors of a sunset? Words cannot describe everything, but people do try. We can’t even be sure of the colors John saw, based on the fact, jasper and carnelian come in a variety of colors from yellow, to red, and shades of blue. Jasper has a wider range of colors, reds and greens being the most common. Carnelian usually comes in yellows, oranges, reds, and shades of brown. Most of those colors are found in a sunset, but John chose not to reference a sunset in his description of the scene he saw.

John used an emerald to describe the back of the throne. Emeralds are normally green, but John described it like a rainbow. Was that the shape of the glow, or was the glow primarily green?

You’ll notice John didn’t mention too many particular colors. People tend to drift off the subject when colors are mentioned, claiming this color represents this, that color represented that. Which may be true in one particular story, but that doesn’t hold true for every story in the Bible.

John also saw twenty-four elders on twenty-four thrones. The seats must have been elaborate for John to call them thrones. John saw a throne or two during his time. You have to wonder how they compared to those he saw in Heaven. Without a doubt, God’s throne surpassed the other twenty-four. Now we have a set of thrones to consider. “Those who are victorious will sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat with my Father on his throne. “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.” (Revelation 3:21-22 NLTse).

Those thrones established a link with the end of the previous chapter. The throne at the end of chapter 3 is a promise. The twenty-four thrones John saw in chapter 4 are a reality. Thrones in different time frames, but the same general location, Heaven.

The white the elders wore and their crowns set up more connections to previous chapters.

Don’t be afraid of what you are about to suffer. The devil will throw some of you into prison to test you. You will suffer for ten days. But if you remain faithful even when facing death, I will give you the crown of life.

(Revelation 2:10 NLTse)

All who are victorious will be clothed in white. I will never erase their names from the Book of Life, but I will announce before my Father and his angels that they are mine.

(Revelation 3:5 NLTse)

I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take away your crown. All who are victorious will become pillars in the Temple of my God, and they will never have to leave it. And I will write on them the name of my God, and they will be citizens in the city of my God–the new Jerusalem that comes down from heaven from my God. And I will also write on them my new name.

(Revelation 3:11-12 NLTse)

John is establishing a view of Heaven using words recorded in previous stories to fill in details. The churches were given a view of Heaven, then John was shown a vision of Heaven confirming the promises in those letters. John is showing how messages from Heaven are confirmed, another important feature in Bible Study. We have to be able to show how and where messages are confirmed. Without that confirmation, how do we prove the message is from Heaven? John is writing in a style that not only provides that confirmation, but teaches us how confirmation is established.

John used a series of light sources to complete his description of the vision he saw. One is lightening accompanied by thunder. Light and sound, visions and voices go together. Then John sees seven torches with flames in front of those thrones. John included the interpretation for those torches in his story. Those torches represent the seven Spirits of God. We are right back in chapter 1, and the seven letters given to those angels. There is a connection between those elders and the Spirit.

The vision John saw was in Heaven. A door had to be opened for John to see that scene. The doors and room were enormous, without measure, something no human hands could have ever made. Colors filled the room, along with light. Colors no person could describe. All the colors in the rainbow, but not the colors we have to strain to see, or obstructed by anything. The colors were real, like John could reach out and touch them.

John saw God’s throne, the center of the room, and center of attention. Those colors centered on God and radiated out from His throne. There were also flashes of lightening accompanied by the sound of thunder. Something was happening. Something new was being introduced. Something important was about a happen in Heaven, and it was John’s job to witness and try to describe the events that were about to unfold.


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Revelation 2:18-29 NLTse (18) “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Thyatira. This is the message from the Son of God, whose eyes are like flames of fire, whose feet are like polished bronze: (19) “I know all the things you do. I have seen your love, your faith, your service, and your patient endurance. And I can see your constant improvement in all these things. (20) “But I have this complaint against you. You are permitting that woman–that Jezebel who calls herself a prophet–to lead my servants astray. She teaches them to commit sexual sin and to eat food offered to idols. (21) I gave her time to repent, but she does not want to turn away from her immorality. (22) “Therefore, I will throw her on a bed of suffering, and those who commit adultery with her will suffer greatly unless they repent and turn away from her evil deeds. (23) I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am the one who searches out the thoughts and intentions of every person. And I will give to each of you whatever you deserve. (24) “But I also have a message for the rest of you in Thyatira who have not followed this false teaching (‘deeper truths,’ as they call them–depths of Satan, actually). I will ask nothing more of you (25) except that you hold tightly to what you have until I come. (26) To all who are victorious, who obey me to the very end, To them I will give authority over all the nations. (27) They will rule the nations with an iron rod and smash them like clay pots. (28) They will have the same authority I received from my Father, and I will also give them the morning star! (29) “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.


By the time Jesus gets to the letter to Thyatira, things take on a more serious note. Thyatira received two descriptions of Jesus, His eyes of fire, and feet like polished bronze. Jesus tells them, He has seen the love they had for Him, as well as their faith and patients. Jesus also sees how they have been improving. Jesus’ sight is not a once a week, or once a month ordeal, but a constant process.

But Thyatira has a problem. They were watching a false prophet compared to Jezebel leading people away. As usual, Jesus compares that departure to adultery, which is having an affair with another partner while married. What are some of the details we’re supposed to notice about Jezebel?

Jezebel was the daughter of a pagan king. She married Ahab, one of Israel’s kings and led him into the worship of Baal. She appointed her own prophets and ran her own worship services. Her prophets were eventually defeated and killed by Elijah. Eventually Jezebel lost her life, was killed and eaten by dogs. A short overview of Jezebel doesn’t begin to explain the problems Christians faced while living among some of the world’s worst pagans in a lawless age. Against all those odds, their faith and love for Christ kept growing. They had an idea of how to choose between a productive and destructive road.

That was the beginning of the Christian era. Paul referred to it as the last days. No one will deny, Jesus sent them prophets, teachers, leaders, signs, angels, and occasionally, a personal appearance. Today it seems we are left on our own, with the exception of leaders and people claiming to be teachers. When did all of that change, and who changed it? There is no record of any change in the Bible. There was an absence of communication for about four hundred years after the temple was rebuilt, and Jesus’ birth. There were a number of books written by prophets when Israel was exiled and needed an increased number of visions. But what about today? Have we reached such an advanced age, we no longer require contact with Jesus, or the protection He offers?

The devil didn’t go away. Entire countries are still controlled by Satan. Leaders are still influenced by Satan into making poor decisions. Some governments look at the people they tax as a never ending source of income for themselves, friends, families, and business associates. Today people look at that as business as usual, an expected byproduct of life. In Jesus’ life time, they looked at those taxes as oppression. Today we are happy to chose which people tax us, and write up new tax laws. Israel split up over taxes right after Solomon’s reign. That led them down a slippery path when Israel’s new king introduced a few ideas he learned in Egypt. Israel went straight back into bondage without crossing the wilderness. That trip across the wilderness was only necessary to reach the promised land, not to loose it.

Jesus was going to allow the Jezebel style of church and state union to continue. Jesus didn’t condemn that union, or government control over religion. It was to stand as a contrast to the New Testament form of religion a handful of people were introducing to this world. We know that’s still true today. Except today, we have a new set of contrasts. They don’t call the worship of money, and self reliance a religion anymore. Today they call it, “freedom from religion.” It still disgraces God, ignores Jesus, discards every message from Heaven, and in some cases, involves spending large sums of money to disprove any claim there is a God. Most of the world is influenced by the very threats Jesus warned about in the letter to Thyatira. People chose to go their own way. People chose to mix the true faith early Christians had with the idolatry Jezebel spread throughout Israel. Today we just give it different names, and say, “those warnings were for other people in a different time.” Today we fall for the same deceptions Jesus warned the early churches about. We lack the cooperation those letters stressed. Most people have a dimmer view of Heaven than any of those single churches were given. But today a lack of Heavenly guidance is referred to as success and growth, a higher degree of understanding that cannot be clearly defined or explained. We’ve traded the manna from Heaven for a mixture of spiritual food offered to demons and idols.

Jesus asked them to hold onto what they had until He returned. All those early Christians died, and Jesus hasn’t returned. What were they supposed to hold onto, and doesn’t that statement show, this letter, and the others are for our benefit?

Thyatira was also given two visions of Heaven that included the Morning Star, and authority. How did they interpret that authority and leadership Jesus promised them? Did they look at it on a physical or spiritual level? Was that authority a symbol? If so, what did it point to? Later John identified Jesus as the Morning Star. “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this message for the churches. I am both the source of David and the heir to his throne. I am the bright morning star.” (Revelation 22:16 NLTse). If the Morning Star was a symbol, what about the rest of the promise?

Lord’s Day


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Revelation 1:10-20 NLTse (10) It was the Lord’s Day, and I was worshiping in the Spirit. Suddenly, I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet blast. (11) It said, “Write in a book everything you see, and send it to the seven churches in the cities of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.” (12) When I turned to see who was speaking to me, I saw seven gold lampstands. (13) And standing in the middle of the lampstands was someone like the Son of Man. He was wearing a long robe with a gold sash across his chest. (14) His head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow. And his eyes were like flames of fire. (15) His feet were like polished bronze refined in a furnace, and his voice thundered like mighty ocean waves. (16) He held seven stars in his right hand, and a sharp two-edged sword came from his mouth. And his face was like the sun in all its brilliance. (17) When I saw him, I fell at his feet as if I were dead. But he laid his right hand on me and said, “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last. (18) I am the living one. I died, but look–I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave. (19) “Write down what you have seen–both the things that are now happening and the things that will happen. (20) This is the meaning of the mystery of the seven stars you saw in my right hand and the seven gold lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.


The beginning of Revelation tells us exactly where the information in this book came from, directly from Jesus in Heaven. That is one of the most important details at the beginning of every chapter in Revelation, as well as the beginning of every prophecy in the Bible. Every prophet identified where and how they received the message. That is one of the many safety features God installed in the Bible. At times authors tell us messages are from false prophets, kings made decisions without praying, asked counselors, or received advice from other sources. As we proceed through those stories, we are given the opportunity to see how each event turned out. This created a series of contracts to learn from. We can put together a series of events when people followed God’s orders, and see how it turned out. Then we can compare those results to see how decisions without praying turned out. We can also see how reliable those counselors and false prophets were.

When we get to timing in Revelation chapter one, John kept the lesson rather simple. Jesus is the First and Last. He has been around a lot longer than any of us, has seen a lot more, has generations of experience, and will be around a lot longer than many of us. In other words, Jesus should be our only reliable source of information.

John also tells us, this book contains information on events from the past and the future. Some events were happening, or some prophecies were being fulfilled in John’s time. How do we tell which prophecies have been fulfilled, which were being fulfilled in John’s day, which were fulfilled after John, and which prophecies are we waiting to be fulfilled? This can get very confusing if we didn’t have a timeline. A timeline needs a base point, or point to begin. A type of foundation to build on. From there we have to look at key words in the Bible God placed there to indicate a series of events following a particular order. This happens, then that happens, this follows, and finally we see this event. That sequence is achieved using simple words. The KJV generally used the word, “and,” to show a sequence of events.

Rev 5:1 And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.

Rev 5:2 And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?

Rev 5:3 And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.

Rev 5:4 And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.

Rev 5:5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.

Rev 5:6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.

Rev 5:7 And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.

Each verse begins with the word, “And,” showing a simple sequence of events. John saw a book. John had to notice that book before the next event could take place. After John noticed the book, an angel asked who could open it. The question had to be asked before moving onto the next event. No one in Heaven or earth was able to open that book. That fact had to be established before moving onto the next event. One of the elders told John about a Lion from the Root of David. Jesus was first introduced as a Lion, before appearing as a Lamb. Each event had to follow that particular order. Each event is identified by the word, “And,” which is commonly known as a linking word, tying all those events together.

People tend to disagree with the timing in Revelation. They want to ignore those linking words that tie events together in the order Jesus said they have to occur. That is one of the most important details in the Bible, and one of the most ignored details in scripture. Why? I’m not sure. I look at those linking words and find it easy to follow prophetic timing. There is no excuse to be confused. Each event is recorded in perfect order, just the way Jesus said they will occur, key words link them all together, and anyone can follow the simple order. But people insist Revelation is a book of mystery, and they have to put prophecies in the right order. What order? People tend to look at the world for guidance on the sequence of events recorded in Revelation. People prefer to have earth’s history dictate prophetic timing. That is the way of the world. Where does that come from? The world – not from Heaven. Which source are you going to trust?

Modern Bible translators saw how Revelation told about one event, the next event, so on, and so forth. Many of them took the word, “and,” used in the KJV, and changed it to the word, “then.” The original Greek word can be translated either way.

John tells us, he was praying when the message began. This is an important point to consider. Will God approach us with a message, do we have to first approach God, or does it work both ways? Communicating with God is another subject we have to be aware of in scripture, and we should be studying.

John was told to write a book. Not just deliver a message, but write a book. Notice how Jesus told John how to deliver the message. That is another feature we need to pay attention to. Whenever we receive messages from Heaven, we are told who to share it with, and how to share it. This is another safety feature God uses. Often people create their own message, determine who to deliver it to, how, and when to deliver it. Where is the Spirit in their message? Taking a few words out of scripture does not make it a message from Heaven. Priests and Pharisees took a few lines out of scripture. Did that make every one of their messages a message from Heaven? The devil took out a few sentences from scripture and used them to try and trick Jesus. Did the devil’s message come from Heaven, or his own imagination? Just because someone takes a few sentences out of scripture does not make it an inspired message.

People often want to focus on symbols, especially in books like Revelation. The Bible has a general rule about symbols. Typically symbols are identified and explained in the story they are found in, more often than not in the same chapter like here. The seven candlesticks represent the seven churches, and the seven stars are seven angels. This rule of interpretation was recorded in the first chapter to teach us how symbols are defined, and this rule applies not only to the entire book of Revelation, but the entire Bible.

Jesus is seen standing among those candlesticks, which shows His relationship with those churches. Jesus has to travel from one church to the next, hence the need for an angel to go to each church, which shows Jesus’ concern and the protection He offers. When Jesus was arrested, He reminded everyone, all He had to do is say one word and legions of angels would be sent to protect Him.

Jesus is wearing a long robe. Is this His robe of righteous or another rode. The only clue we are given is, the robe is covered by a golden sash across His chest. Is the gold significant or the chest it covered? We could look at what gold represents, but would gold represent the same thing here as it does in other stories? The fact is, John is seeing a vision of Jesus in Heaven. If we take an interpretation for what gold represented in a story taking place on earth, would it be the same?

Jesus’ head is white like wool. What does white hair normally represent? Old age here on earth. White hair may also represent age, experience, and wisdom. Let’s put ourselves in John’s shoes for a moment. John saw Jesus a few years ago. Could Jesus have aged that quickly in Heaven, or did Jesus take on a form He exhibited before He came to this world to be born, live, grow, and die?

What did John think when He saw the one he lived with white hair? Did John think, things happening here on earth gave Jesus white hair? Did that white hair instill a spot of concern in John? We have to admit, John wrote words he was inspired to write, and left out his personal ideas about the views he witnessed.

Jesus’ eyes were like flames of fire. What did John think? Eyes normally are a key to identify people. When their eye color changes, that is something people are sure to notice. It was one of the details John noticed and recorded.

Eyes of fire may make people think, Jesus has something to get excited about. Something wasn’t right. But at that time, Jesus had a number of people doing the best they could with what they had, and what they understood. Or were they? How was the world accepting the message, and how was the enemy trying to rewrite the message? Was anyone getting the message right?

Jesus feet were like polished bronze. Bronze usually represents bondage, like when Nebuchadnezzar put Jehoiakim in bronze chains and led him away to Babylon. But is that story about an event on earth the same as an event in Heaven? This is why we have to allow the story to interpret symbols. Are all details within a scene a symbol? When you dress, are your cloths a symbol? Are they always a symbol? Sometimes they may be, and at times they may not be. We have to follow the story, looking for more information, and at times changes in the details.

Jesus’ voice was another detail that stood out. It wasn’t like the voice John knew, but a distinct voice that could carry all the way from the halls of Heaven to earth.

Stars in His right hand is a place people like to linger, but the stars are identified as symbols within the story. Jesus told John what those stars and candlesticks represented. Having angels in His right hand was a scene Jesus wanted John to see. The angels protect the church, and were seen in Jesus’ right hand. We don’t need scholars to explain the details. Jesus established the scene, controlled the scene, told John what items were used as symbols and what they meant. What more do we need?

Can you imagine John’s reaction to the scene? There John was, standing in Heaven’s court. A second ago John was on a desolate Island with some of Rome’s most notorious prisoners. John was lucky to be alive. John had to rely on prayer everyday so he wouldn’t become one of the island’s many victims. Food was scarce. People killed for a meal. Nothing grew on the Island. Fresh water was also limited. Each day seemed like a challenge. Then one day, the Heavens open up. John saw the light, then thought for a moment, this is it. This is the day I get to leave this world. But it was only a vision.

John saw the one he loved, Jesus. But it wasn’t the same Jesus John knew on earth. Jesus was different in some ways, and the same in others. His hair was different, much longer and now it was white. It wasn’t that long ago he saw Jesus. His clothing was different. That was to be expected. But Jesus didn’t choose to dress like the kings of this world. Jesus didn’t need jewels and gold to show His title. A gold sash was all He needed.

John looked down at Jesus’ feet. They were a little darker than before. John remembered the last thing Jesus did before he was arrested. No one cleaned Jesus’ feet, but look at them now. Heaven is so different than this world.

Hearing from Jesus was something else. His voice seemed to carry on forever. The tone in His voice told John, the message was important, one that would carry to the ends of the world. It began with seven letters to a collection of seven groups of followers in seven locations.

The High Priest Hebrews Chapter 5

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Every high priest is a man chosen to represent other people in their dealings with God. He presents their gifts to God and offers sacrifices for their sins. And he is able to deal gently with ignorant and wayward people because he himself is subject to the same weaknesses. That is why he must offer sacrifices for his own sins as well as theirs. And no one can become a high priest simply because he wants such an honor. He must be called by God for this work, just as Aaron was. (Hebrews 5:1-4 NLTse).

After the author introduced Jesus as High Priest, he has no choice but to provide some sort of evidence. Who is on trial here, sinners or Jesus? On earth, the world placed Jesus on trial. Not everyone agreed with the death sentence Jesus received, but in one form or another, people placed Jesus on trial. The Gospels proved that point. Everyone had doubts to one degree or another. Peter, who thought he was without doubt, proved he fell short when he denied Jesus three times. We all fall short in our own ways.

A new symbol is introduced, Aaron as the high priest. To deal with that symbol, what do we need to do? We could look back at Aaron’s life. We could look at how he was dressed, the services he conducted, and the most important factor, how God trained Aaron. Having studied this extensively, the scriptures showed me how the plagues in Egypt were also lessons designed to teach Israel about the priesthood God would later offer the entire nation. God first battled the magicians, gods, and Pharaoh in Egypt. Notice how Jesus had a series of battles against religion and government powers. To take the role of King and High Priest, Jesus had to battle human leaders in both areas at the same time. Jesus also faced the priests and Roman governor during His trial.

When we look at Aaron’s life, we can use what is referred to as the rule of first mention, which brings us to a lesson creating an important impact on related stories recorded later in scripture. That is another type of signature God used in His Word. When the Tabernacle was dedicated, we can refer to it as its grand opening, what did Aaron sacrifice?

“Bring the young bull to the entrance of the Tabernacle, where Aaron and his sons will lay their hands on its head. Then slaughter the bull in the LORD’s presence at the entrance of the Tabernacle. Put some of its blood on the horns of the altar with your finger, and pour out the rest at the base of the altar. (Exodus 29:10-12 NLTse).

Aaron and his sons were supposed to lay their hands on the bull’s head and confess their sins. Why do you think God used a bull? What was that supposed to remind Aaron about?

When Jesus was up on His mountain giving all those instructions to Moses, his brother Aaron was building an idol for Israel to follow, a golden calf. Right under Jesus’ nose, Aaron used what he learned in Egypt to create a new religion. What does that tell us about today? For one thing, Israel couldn’t help but notice God’s presence on that mountain. Lightening flashed, thunder crashed, and smoke rose from the mountain top. Jesus even spoke to Israel from that mountain top, and everyone heard His voice. That didn’t stop Aaron and Israel from going their own way, inventing their own religion, and relying on what they learned from this world. As Moses stood on that mountain meeting with, and receiving instructions directly from God’s throne, Aaron and Israel went about doing what they thought was best.

When we look at the Book of Hebrews, we should understand how it was arranged to send us back to particular stories that help explain what was presented. When Hebrews introduced Jesus as High Priest, Aaron’s life was given as a piece of evidence. Do we investigate that piece of evidence like our lives depend on it, or do we choose to go the way of the world, depending on what the world teaches on the subject? Israel needed a god and religion to follow. Aaron relied on what he learned in Egypt to create a new religion at the very moment his brother Moses received direct instructions from God, including the construction of the Tabernacle, how Aaron was to be dressed, and of course, extreme details on what Aaron was to sacrifice. That bull that reminded Aaron about the golden calf he made a god. Evidence like this is what the world needs to not only believe there is a living God, but that He sees everything. It is the sort of evidence the author of Hebrews presented when he introduced Jesus as High Priest. This is the type of evidence we need to deliver to the world, then let them choose between worldly religion, and approaching God’s throne.

Hebrews gave us two chapters to study. The first is a quote from David. Do we follow the ways of the world, convincing ourselves, we already know what the Spirit is trying to show us, or do we roll up our sleeves, sharpen our pencils, put on our thinking caps, and follow the path the Spirit carved out for us at this moment? We look at the chapter the Spirit directed us to.

Why are the nations so angry? Why do they waste their time with futile plans? The kings of the earth prepare for battle; the rulers plot together against the LORD and against his anointed one. “Let us break their chains,” they cry, “and free ourselves from slavery to God.” But the one who rules in heaven laughs. The Lord scoffs at them. Then in anger he rebukes them, terrifying them with his fierce fury. For the Lord declares, “I have placed my chosen king on the throne in Jerusalem, on my holy mountain.” The king proclaims the LORD’s decree: “The LORD said to me, ‘You are my son. Today I have become your Father. Only ask, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance, the whole earth as your possession. You will break them with an iron rod and smash them like clay pots.'” Now then, you kings, act wisely! Be warned, you rulers of the earth! Serve the LORD with reverent fear, and rejoice with trembling. Submit to God’s royal son, or he will become angry, and you will be destroyed in the midst of all your activities– for his anger flares up in an instant. But what joy for all who take refuge in him! (Psalms 2:1-12 NLTse).

By Godly design, the author pointed us to another chapter that pretty much gives us an overview of the world on Bible Study. Man made preparation and plans are nothing compared to God’s. We can plan all we want, follow leaders, and mark out our own courses. All of those are contrary to God.

We can’t help but notice how Psalms 2 is related to Aaron’s story, and the stories about Israel leaving Egypt mentioned earlier in Hebrews. We should be able to see how the Book of Hebrews was written by divine inspiration.

We’re faced with a lot of decisions to make every time we open the Bible. Do we let the Spirit guide us? How do we allow the Spirit to guide us? How close will we follow the Spirit’s directions? How do we find those directions in scripture in ways we can explain them to others? Will we allow the Spirit to make us the teachers He wants to make us, or do we shun the responsibility? Do we rely on ourselves, and what the world taught us to teach about the divine word, or do we learn at Jesus’ feet? The Book of Hebrews used plans from kings and leaders as a contrast to teach a lesson. Influences from this world can be contrary to God’s teaching methods.

Some people like to use and teach simple Bible Study methods. Where did they learn those methods? Just pray, open up a page in the Bible, and run with the first thing that pops into your mind. Hebrews tells us to approach God’s throne when we have a question. Hebrews showed us how God decided to insert evidence into His Word long before we decided to open that Bible. Hebrews showed us how God’s Word, and His Spirit actually direct us to additional information, as well as the evidence we need. In short, Hebrews showed us some rather reliable methods we can use to study scripture in every book of the Bible.

The author sent us to another story to look at. We owe it to ourselves to look at that story in the context presented in Hebrews chapter 5.

When Abram heard that his nephew Lot had been captured, he mobilized the 318 trained men who had been born into his household. Then he pursued Kedorlaomer’s army until he caught up with them at Dan. There he divided his men and attacked during the night. Kedorlaomer’s army fled, but Abram chased them as far as Hobah, north of Damascus. Abram recovered all the goods that had been taken, and he brought back his nephew Lot with his possessions and all the women and other captives. After Abram returned from his victory over Kedorlaomer and all his allies, the king of Sodom went out to meet him in the valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). And Melchizedek, the king of Salem and a priest of God Most High, brought Abram some bread and wine. Melchizedek blessed Abram with this blessing: “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And blessed be God Most High, who has defeated your enemies for you.” Then Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of all the goods he had recovered. The king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give back my people who were captured. But you may keep for yourself all the goods you have recovered.” Abram replied to the king of Sodom, “I solemnly swear to the LORD, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, that I will not take so much as a single thread or sandal thong from what belongs to you. Otherwise you might say, ‘I am the one who made Abram rich.’ I will accept only what my young warriors have already eaten, and I request that you give a fair share of the goods to my allies–Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre.” (Genesis 14:14-24 NLTse).

Here we are faced with the choice to place ourselves in the scene described, or examine this shred of evidence from what we’ve been taught. I prefer to place myself in the middle of the scene.

Abram lead 318 of his closest friends into battle against the largest army ever assembled on earth at that time. That army wiped out a number of nations without any problems. Vastly out numbered, Abram approached the enemy camp spread out over a large valley. Do the math. What would it take for you to follow Abram into that battle? What does that tell us about Abram and the people who followed him? To gather the amount of courage required to join that battle, each and every soldier had to receive personal assurance from God, they would live to see victory. If we could see Satan’s angels around us, we’d see the same odds stacked against us when we decide to turn to God and break the chains that bind us to this world.

Something told Melchizedek to go out and meet Abram. Something told Melchizedek, God was on Abram’s side, and he would return with all the people, cattle, and goods. Melchizedek also had to listen to God to be in the position described in the story.

Abram was so thankful for the victory, the goods meant nothing compared to that experience with God. Abram’s adrenaline was at an all time high when they advanced to battle the enemy. Abram was on an all time spiritual high when he marched home from that battle. And who does he meet, a man the scriptures compared to Jesus, Melchizedek, the high priest with no beginning or end, a fitting symbol of Jesus placed in scripture long before Jesus was born.

Melchizedek blessed Abram in a way, it appeared as if he saw the battle, or knew about its end long before it began. Melchizedek knew more about the circumstances than what was on the surface. Abram gave a tenth of what he captured. Not from his own funds, but from what the Lord handed Abram that day.

The author compared the battle Abram fought to the one Jesus faced. While Jesus was here on earth, he offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the one who could rescue him from death. And God heard his prayers because of his deep reverence for God. Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered. In this way, God qualified him as a perfect High Priest, and he became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey him. (Hebrews 5:7-9 NLTse). This served another purpose. We face the same battles. Now we know how Jesus can relate to the temptations and trials we face.

There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen. You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong. (Hebrews 5:11-14 NLTse).

Why would the author say this when his main focus is on introducing Jesus as High Priest? It stands to reason, Jews had a difficult time judging between God’s plan of salvation and tales created to cover up that plan. Today people, like the Jews, people like to think they know that plan, and see little reason to study it any further. Like those so called, “simplified methods of Bible Study,” people have used those man made methods of study to create simple explanations for a very important subject. A subject the author of Hebrews says, we should know well enough to teach. So far, the author here has written five chapters to explain Jesus’ role as High Priest, and continues to explain that role in a number of other chapters. Men have taken this book and condensed it down to a twenty minute sermon, five minute explanation, one paragraph definition, and a series of other simple, man made explanations. The Book of Hebrews shows how the information presented in this book expands. Some people have chosen to ignore that expansion in exchange for a condensed version. When we follow the tide of that expansion, we see evidence presented in such a way, we know God saw that was going to happen, and placed warnings inside this message. Warnings that are not at all hidden, but take your time and dedicate yourself to study. Like a road map, the Spirit highlighted the road to travel through this book. That stands for all the books and stories in the Bible.

When a group was gathered to form what we know as the King James Bible, they collected every piece of writing that stood a chance of being added to the Bible. Those men were smart enough, prayed enough, and listened to God’s Spirit enough to see patterns God used to write every piece of the Bible. The books in the Bible were written by a number of men spanning generations. Each used God’s unique style of writing, which reveals itself in links established between one book and others.

Some books were not included in the King James Bible, and some people disagree with those decisions. Those books can be examined to see if they contain the same patterns God used in the sixty six books included in the Bible. Learning those links and patterns is moving from milk to meat. Seeing those patterns is seeing and experiencing a part of God’s personality.

Hezekiah Received Threats

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2 Chronicles 32:9-16 NLTse (9) While King Sennacherib of Assyria was still besieging the town of Lachish, he sent his officers to Jerusalem with this message for Hezekiah and all the people in the city: (10) “This is what King Sennacherib of Assyria says: What are you trusting in that makes you think you can survive my siege of Jerusalem? (11) Hezekiah has said, ‘The LORD our God will rescue us from the king of Assyria.’ Surely Hezekiah is misleading you, sentencing you to death by famine and thirst! (12) Don’t you realize that Hezekiah is the very person who destroyed all the LORD’s shrines and altars? He commanded Judah and Jerusalem to worship only at the altar at the Temple and to offer sacrifices on it alone. (13) “Surely you must realize what I and the other kings of Assyria before me have done to all the people of the earth! Were any of the gods of those nations able to rescue their people from my power? (14) Which of their gods was able to rescue its people from the destructive power of my predecessors? What makes you think your God can rescue you from me? (15) Don’t let Hezekiah deceive you! Don’t let him fool you like this! I say it again–no god of any nation or kingdom has ever yet been able to rescue his people from me or my ancestors. How much less will your God rescue you from my power!” (16) And Sennacherib’s officers further mocked the LORD God and his servant Hezekiah, heaping insult upon insult.

This seems like a rather basic story most Christians are familiar with. Sennacherib wrote a letter to Hezekiah and the people inside Jerusalem. In that letter, Sennacherib claimed his god was stronger than all the other gods in the world.

Sennacherib tried to perform a degree of hocus pocus with words by accusing Hezekiah of destroying all the idols and temples in Judah, and forcing people to worship one God. That was supposed to make people think they were left with only one god to protect them, while Sennacherib carried around and worshiped a number of gods.

There’s no doubt Sennacherib wanted to wage a war of words before he showed up with the bulk of his army. At least he showed some concern for his soldiers.

Imagine for a moment a modern world leader with the same attitude as Sennacherib. Someone who spends the majority of his money on his army. And a leader who for the most part, doesn’t believe in any other god, but those that seem to serve him. The world today has a number of such leaders. North Korea is one of them. They don’t believe in any god outside of their own strength and power. North Korea wants to conquer the world, but not as much as other leaders or nations. Other nations or leaders wage holy wars claiming they are fighting at the direction of their gods. In most cases, they do not tolerate any religion beyond their own beliefs.

When we look at the timing of this story, we know this is the beginning of Jerusalem’s fall. First it was Assyria, followed by Egypt, then Babylon. Talk about a series of symbols Jerusalem had to face. If Jerusalem’s fall is in fact a timeline, or prophetic vision of the last days on earth, this is what we could term, the beginning of the end. When we look at how the first threat Jerusalem faced was self funded, or in a sense, self induced, this gives us something to dwell on.

Ahaz thought he could buy his way out of trouble. Ahaz thought he could buy protection. It worked for a time, but failed in the end. Funding Assyria actually brought the first of a series of threats to Jerusalem’s gates. In basic terms, an over indulgence of self reliance was the first step in Jerusalem’s fall. Of course there were those pagan shrines and idols. Those were one detail to be aware of, but not the end of the story.

If we only concentrate on the physical idols, we miss the entire spiritual message, as well as a number of emotional, and personal lessons. Hezekiah was successful to a degree. His success was enough to grab God’s attention and provide protection. But this event should have been an eye opener. Hezekiah and his consultants should have examined the steps they took, and instead of patting themselves on the back, asked God, or at least themselves, what they missed. You can take only so much out of a person’s life before they rebel. Sennacherib thought Jerusalem reached that point. Once people rebel, you loose control. When something is taken out of their lives, you’d better have something much better to replace it.

People like Hezekiah think they offered something better. Sure they did. They offered Judah the One Living God to worship. But how do you worship Him? Where is He? What does He look like? What are His likes and dislike? That goes way beyond the law. If all you can say is, “keep the law and have faith,” those type of answers get old really fast. It takes a long, lasting relationship with God to teach about it. If all you have is the law and a so called, “faith,” you can’t explain a thing. You’re not serving God, nor do you know Him.

God had to send a message, an easy message by showing how He is capable of saving people against insurmountable odds. That is supposed to kick in what we refer to as the brain. God has to make physical contact before He can establish spirit contact. People have to learn to use their eyes, ears, and mind before their heart will kick in and follow. Jerusalem had to see a physical manifestation of God before they were ready to take their worship to the next level. The first lesson was to know beyond any shadow of doubt, God was there, He was watching, and listening.

The Levites Cleansed the Temple

TTS Book 11 2Chronicles

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2 Chronicles 29:12-17 NLTse (12) Then these Levites got right to work: From the clan of Kohath: Mahath son of Amasai and Joel son of Azariah. From the clan of Merari: Kish son of Abdi and Azariah son of Jehallelel. From the clan of Gershon: Joah son of Zimmah and Eden son of Joah. (13) From the family of Elizaphan: Shimri and Jeiel. From the family of Asaph: Zechariah and Mattaniah. (14) From the family of Heman: Jehiel and Shimei. From the family of Jeduthun: Shemaiah and Uzziel. (15) These men called together their fellow Levites, and they all purified themselves. Then they began to cleanse the Temple of the LORD, just as the king had commanded. They were careful to follow all the LORD’s instructions in their work. (16) The priests went into the sanctuary of the Temple of the LORD to cleanse it, and they took out to the Temple courtyard all the defiled things they found. From there the Levites carted it all out to the Kidron Valley. (17) They began the work in early spring, on the first day of the new year, and in eight days they had reached the entry room of the LORD’s Temple. Then they purified the Temple of the LORD itself, which took another eight days. So the entire task was completed in sixteen days.

Two questions here. What does it mean to purify yourself? What did they do to purify the temple? People may think purifying the temple consisted of clearing out the pagan elements, scrubbing the walls and floors from top to bottom, and offering up a few burnt offerings. What did Jesus say about cleaning the outside of the bowl, and not the inside. It may seem like they concentrated on the inside of the temple. But is that what Jesus meant by cleaning the inside? Where do we find that spiritual inside?

Now we can look at how Levites purified themselves. I wish we had details telling us exactly how they accomplished that task. We are left with nothing to do but speculate. Did they begin by bathing the outside? When we look at the physical picture those few words painted, we can see a group of Levites cleaning out Pagan articles from the temple. Think of what kind of attitude that could create.

Cleaning up someone’s mess can create a certain attitude. You can quickly find yourself looking at how low other people have fallen to sort of make it appear like your on a higher, more holy level. That is a dangerous game to play, but people play it all the time.

What does comparing yourself to other people do to clean up your own life? Those Levites cleaning out the temple could have looked at all that useless garbage the Pagans dragged in there, and walked away thinking they are where they needed to be on a spiritual level. They could have convinced themselves, they really accomplished something. But did that physical cleansing get them to where God wanted them to be? Where did God want them to be?

After a few generations, God sent someone to explain what He wanted all along. One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question: “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:35-40 NLTse).

Each of the Gospels explains what God wants us to learn in a few different ways. Some of those stories will reach some people, other stories were designed to reach other classes of people. And some people just don’t want to pay attention long enough to learn anything.

What does it mean to love God and your neighbor? Can you love one without the other? Doesn’t it take more than a physical effort? Is helping someone across the street, opening a door for them, giving them money, or helping them move, enough to display the type of love Jesus referred to? What was the type of love towards God Jesus was looking for? Is that the type of cleansing God was looking for from those Levites? Was God looking for more than cleaning out the temple and a few burnt offerings?