Thru the Bible – Day 358

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Day 358 – Thru the Bible

Today we complete Revelation and the Bible! That deserves some real celebration!

Revelation 21The final two chapters of Revelation depict the consummation of the purposes of God in the Gospel. Picking up the whole-Bible motif of marriage, the people of God (represented in the new Jerusalem) are wedded to the Lamb (symbolizing our eternal reconciliation, union, and presence with Jesus).

We also see here the fulfillment of God’s creation agenda. The absence of sea reflects the absence of earthly disorder as was first accomplished by the Holy Spirit. It reminds us not only of the physical elements over which Jesus had power but also of the peace He brought (Mark 4:39). The defeat of death is the good news realized in its fullness, and those who conquer with Jesus are rewarded as Jesus has been rewarded in verse 7. Jesus is now the eternal dwelling place of saved humanity, as the Old Testament tabernacle/temple promises reach their fulfillment (Exodus 29:44–46; Leviticus 26:11–12; 2 Chronicles 6:18).

In these final two chapters of the Bible, then, we see the final restoration and advancement of the creation introduced in the first two chapters of the Bible—only this time without any possibility of sin or its effects entering in, for Satan has been destroyed once and for all!

There is no temple in the new Jerusalem because there is no more need for a building in which humans can meet with God. We will meet with God directly in the Person of the Lamb. When Adam and Eve fell into sin, the corruption of their hearts and our world created separation from our holy God. Throughout history, the tabernacle and then the temple provided microcosmic restorations of the fellowship enjoyed in Eden. In the new earth, we have unhindered access to the fellowship, goodness, and glory of our God (presented here in terms of a new and improved Paradise), for all that is unclean is now outside the new Jerusalem.

All this is because of the Gospel. Jesus was the one clean person to ever walk the face of the earth, but He went to a cross. There He became “unclean” so that we unclean sinners can be fully and finally cleansed, all by grace (2 Corinthians 5:21)!

How does this great news give you hope for you future?


Revelation 22We are moved with hope as we reflect on this final prayer for Jesus to come soon to make all things new and to bring His people home. This great gospel of redemption is the hope of the world, and yet in the Bible’s final words we are reminded one final time that it is free for the taking: “let the one who desires take the water of life without price” (Isaiah 55:1–2).

How can this be? The answer is not that God is lenient toward sin or that fallen human beings deserve such grace. The answer is that Jesus Christ, the Lamb, has paid the price on our behalf!

Our robes are made white and we have access to the tree of life eternally because of the provision of our Savior. Though He was the promised root and descendant of David, the bright morning star of an eternal kingdom, Jesus was punished so that we could be delivered. He was forsaken so that we could be befriended. He was cast out so that we could be brought in. All for free to us!

All God asks is that we lay down our insistence on contributing to God’s estimation of our merits and embrace Jesus’ record as our own. Nothing is to be added or subtracted from this message of salvation in Christ Jesus our Lord.

From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible is a message of God’s saving grace in Jesus, whose final glory is yet to come. Thus we pray for Him to come quickly because we love Him, trust Him, and long for the fulfillment of our hope and His glory. He is our great hope and eternal treasure!

Wow! You did it! We’ve gone through the entire Bible.

Now that you’ve seen the entire story, how does it lead you to worship Jesus and experience the fruit of the Gospel in your life?


What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?


Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.

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Thru the Bible – Day 357

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Day 357 – Thru the Bible

Today we continue Revelation.

Revelation 19The redeemed have praised God for His work of saving them (chapters 5; 7; 14; and 15). Now the redeemed join the inhabitants of heaven to celebrate the visitation of God’s justice through which the final deliverance has been brought about.

Marriage is ultimately about Jesus and the church (Ephesians 5). Now that the marriage of the Lamb has come, the people of God, figuratively called virgins in Revelation 14:4, are a pure bride clothed in fine linen, bright and pure. The fine linen symbolizes righteous deeds (7:9, 13–14). Such deeds in Revelation refer to faithfulness to “the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus” (1:2, 9; 6:9; 11:7; 12:11, 17; 14:12; 19:10; 20:4)—that is, the true gospel, and rejection of idolatry and sexual immorality.

At long last, Jesus comes to save His people through the judgment of their enemies. Unlike every antichrist or satanic beast, Jesus is Faithful and True.

Jesus is able to save because He knew no sin (2 Corinthians 5:21), and He will reign in a way that is worthy of trust: in righteousness He judges and makes war. He will slay His enemies with the sword that comes from His mouth (the power of the word of gospel truth represented in 1:16; 2:12, 16; 19:15). Because the battle has not yet begun, the description in verse 13 that He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood seems to refer to His own blood from His death on the cross rather than to the image of Isaiah 63:3, where the divine warrior wears a robe spattered with the blood of his enemies. People will either be saved by the blood of Jesus through faith in Him or they will be judged and will pay for their sins with their own blood. One way or another, all sin will be punished.

John is encouraging persecuted Believers to keep the faith, to reject the world-pleasing idolatry that would end their persecution, and to keep the commands of God and avoid sexual immorality. He has shown them how Satan, the beast, and the false prophet have used the wicked world as a prostitute to sell what could be had for free in covenant with God (Revelation 13 and 17). Now John shows the beast and false prophet captured and thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur in 19:20. Strengthening Believers in the conviction that the deceivers will one day be judged is a powerful argument to be vigilant against deception and to adhere to the truth.

How does this encourage you to persevere?


Revelation 20The argument for vigilance against deception continues in verses 1–3, where Satan is seized and bound for a thousand years, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer (as he was doing in 12:9 and 13:14). During the thousand years in which Satan is bound, those slain while he was deceiving the nations (11:7; 13:7, 15) are raised from the dead to reign with Jesus (20:4–6). These who truly believed the gospel which persevere them through the persecution (described in 11:1–14; 12:1–13:18; and 17:1–18) are now raised from the dead to receive their reward. The rewards received (chapters 20–22) correspond to the promises made to those who conquer (chapters 2–3), encouraging the churches to overcome and receive what has been promised.

After the final rebellion (verses 7–10), the dead are judged according to what they have done. This judgment is in keeping with the moral order of God’s universe, and is not in conflict with the gospel of grace. Indeed, the very same verse speaks of the book of life, which contains the names of those who are saved. God, then, who has written their names there, is ultimately responsible (rather than the Believer’s’ works) for their salvation. We are saved by grace through faith in “the word of God and the testimony of Jesus” (1:2, 9).

Those who are saved have “overcome” sin by faith in Jesus (1 John 5:4–5). They have made white their heavenly robes by washing them in the blood of the Lamb (Revelation 7:14), so that the crowns of the best of these are cast at the feet of Jesus, who alone is to receive glory (4:10–11). At the same time, those who have been truly saved have clearly demonstrated their salvation by grace through a faithful and transformed life, even through tribulation.

How does it encourage you to know that evil and Satan will not win?

What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?


Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.

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Thru the Bible – Day 356

If you use Facebook, we are posting these each day on our page there, and we will also post these here each day. We welcome your thoughts here or on Facebook.

Day 356 – Thru the Bible

Today we continue Revelation.

Revelation 17As in Revelation 13, chapter 17 presents a satanic parody of God. In 1:4 God was described as “Him who is and who was and who is to come”; the beast is described in 17:8 as the one who was, and is not, and is about to rise from the bottomless pit. The beast tries to be God, but unlike God the beast goes to destruction.

Only the true gospel of the true God saves. As in 13:8, in 17:8 the dwellers on earth whose names have not been written in the book of life will worship the beast. Yet God is able to preserve His own from all satanic deception. This is what we see when the Lamb conquers (17:14), and those with Him are called and chosen and faithful. Jesus has saved His own, enabling them to be faithful to Him.

How does this truth give you assurance about your future?


Revelation 18When Old Testament Israel was in its captivity, the prophets often spoke of a new exodus that would result in the return of the people from their exile to Babylon. The words of verse 4, “Come out of her, my people,” pick up the words of Isaiah 48:20, “Go out from Babylon, flee from Chaldea.” This is because the fulfillment of the exodus initiated in the bowls of wrath is resulting in the fulfillment of the return from exile as the fall of Babylon is celebrated. God’s people come out of Babylon (the representation of earth’s evil; examples, Revelation 18:5, 20, 24) to journey toward the new Jerusalem (Revelation 21–22), and also so that they will neither take part in her sins nor share in her plagues.

God delivers those who believe the gospel from His wrath and from the sins that incur that wrath. Verses 9–24 show the obliteration of everything people choose over the gospel and holy living, and the visitation of God’s justice gives way to the call in verse 20 for those who belong to God to rejoice in the triumph of God which entails their vindication. In verses 22–23 all joy is gone from the wicked world: the rejoicing will be done by God’s people, not the world. Reflecting on this stable assurance, our hearts are moved with fresh confidence and trust in the Lord of heaven.

As you face struggles and evil in this world, how does this encourage you to press on and trust God with the outcome?

What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?


Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.

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All links you need to be a part of this are here – Thru the Bible in 2018.

Thru the Bible – Day 355

If you use Facebook, we are posting these each day on our page there, and we will also post these here each day. We welcome your thoughts here or on Facebook.

Day 355 – Thru the Bible

Today we continue Revelation.

Revelation 14Revelation 13:16–18 spoke of those with the mark of the beast on the right hand or the forehead, and Revelation 14:1 develops 7:1–4 by showing the 144,000 with the name of the Lamb and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. As in chapters 5 and 7, those who experience the gospel respond to it by praising God for it.

The statements in verses 4–5 that these are virgins and that in their mouth no lie was found do not mean these people were celibates or that they were perfectly sinless in what their lips uttered. Rather, these people lived the Gospel by avoiding spiritual adultery with the world, and they told the truth about God. They did not engage in idolatry and the sexual immorality that accompanies it. The redeemed follow the Lamb and do not lie. They worship God and they tell the truth about how to be made right with Him by grace through faith in Jesus. Redemption results in purity of action and speech.

The call in verses 6–7 to fear (revere), give glory to, and worship God is based on the certainty that He will establish justice in His creation, which is the blessed end result of the eternal Gospel. Because of Jesus’ cross, God can show mercy, but those who refuse the mercy offered there will face His judgment they have chosen. The declaration in verse 8 that Babylon is fallen is not explicitly called “gospel,” but Nahum 1:15 calls the downfall of Assyria “good news.”

It is good news that God acts in perfect justice, because otherwise evil would never be punished. The call of the third angel in verses 9–11 explains that not worshiping the beast equals not committing idolatry, and not receiving his mark equals not making peace with the world. John again applies the message in verse 12, explaining that the endurance of the saints means keeping the commandments of God not to commit idolatry or make friends with the world, and keeping faith in Jesus.

John recounts in verse 13 that he heard a voice from out of heaven declaring “rest” to those who “die in the Lord” (those who are Believers). Those who oppose Jesus, on the other hand, “have no rest, day or night.” This is where the gospel finally takes us: rest. Jesus said that He came to give rest (Matthew 11:28–30), picking up a theme from the prophets (Isaiah 30:15; Jeremiah 6:16).

How are you experiencing God’s rest even now?


Revelation 15The judgments that accompany the bowls of wrath are called plagues in verse 1 because the deliverance that will come through them fulfills the deliverance of Israel from Egypt. Then in verse 3 the song of Moses has become the song of the Lamb because Jesus died as the Passover Lamb in the new exodus, fulfilling the exodus from Egypt.

This new exodus frees not just one nation but all, and verse 4 sings that all nations will come to worship the creating and redeeming God (5:9–10; 7:9–10). The reference in verse 5 to the tent of witness recalls the one in which Moses met with God, but this is the one in heaven of which the Mosaic was only a shadow. What was depicted in shadow at the completion of the tabernacle and the temple, when each was filled with the glory of God (Exodus 40:34; 1 Kings 8:10–11), is fulfilled in Revelation 15:8 as God prepares to fill the world with His glory.

How does seeing all of these Old Testament shadows being fulfilled in Jesus lead you to worship Him?


Revelation 16The bowls match the trumpets in the literary structure of Revelation, and both are fulfillments of the plagues on Egypt. The sores of the first bowl (verse 2) match the sores of the sixth plague (Exodus 9:10). As with the first plague on Egypt (Exodus 7:17–21), the second and third bowls (verses 3–7) see waters turned to blood. The fifth brings darkness (verses 10–11) like the ninth plague (Exodus 10:21–29), and the unclean spirits gathering for battle after the sixth (verses 12–15) may correspond to the death angel (Exodus 11:1–10; 12:29–32). The hail that accompanies the seventh bowl (verses 17–21) matches the hail of the seventh plague (Exodus 9:13–35).

Through the outpouring of these bowls, God is bringing the final fulfillment of the exodus pattern to completion. This pattern points forward to the final salvation of God’s people through the judgment of their enemies in the everlasting glory of God. In this final salvation and judgment we take strong hope despite the trials and tribulations we face until that time.

How does this help you trust God with your future?


What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?


Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.

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All links you need to be a part of this are here – Thru the Bible in 2018.

Thru the Bible – Day 354

If you use Facebook, we are posting these each day on our page there, and we will also post these here each day. We welcome your thoughts here or on Facebook.

Day 354 – Thru the Bible

Today we continue Revelation. Here’s the overview video for Revelation 12-22.

Video – Read Scripture: Revelation 12-22

Watch here in Vimeo.


How does this video help you understand Revelation 12-22 better?


Revelation 12Revelation 11:1–14 depicted witnesses proclaiming the Gospel for the whole of church history. Another symbolic depiction of the same thing is presented in 12:1–13:10, this time with the focus on the outworking of Genesis 3:15 as the Serpent makes war on the offspring of the woman, both individually and collectively (in this reference the “offspring” indicates all who are identified with Jesus, i.e., His church; Galatians 3:26, 29).

The woman seems to be a sign of (1) the mother of Jesus in particular, with her descriptions echoing aspects of Jesus’ nativity and of her child’s being destined to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and (2) of the people of God in general. The earthly life of Jesus’ first coming is collapsed into one line in verse 5; only His birth and ascension are directly mentioned, with everything else, including His death and resurrection, being assumed. The flight into the wilderness seems to echo both the holy family’s flight to Egypt for protection from Herod and also Israel’s wilderness experience prior to entering the Promised Land—both periods of spiritual preparation prior to blessing with which a persecuted church would want to identify (Hosea 2:14).

The designation of 1,260 days echoes the three and a half years of the divided seventieth week of Daniel (Daniel 9:27), whose direct reference scholars debate (i.e., was this the period of Jewish persecution under Antiochus Epiphanes; or is it a period of future tribulation; or, on the analogy of previous persecutions, does it symbolize the persecution the church faces in all ages until Jesus’ return?). What is clear is that the days designated are symbolic of a time of trouble from which the woman and her child are sheltered in preparation for the great war described in following verses.

On the basis of what Jesus accomplished in His death and resurrection, Michael is enabled to drive Satan and his angels from the heavenly field of battle. The account echoes the description of heavenly warfare mentioned in Daniel 12:7, reminding us that we are not alone in the spiritual battles we fight on earth. They are paralleled in the heavenly realms with heavenly hosts as our advocates and champions.

We see what this means when Revelation 12:10 states that the “accuser of our brothers” has been thrown down. Formerly, Satan had been standing in heaven to accuse God’s people (Job 1–2; Zechariah 3:1–2). Now that Jesus has died and risen, however, Satan no longer has any standing before God to accuse us. His charges are thrown out, and he is thrown down to the earth (verse 9). On the basis of the blood of the Lamb, the people of Jesus can conquer the dragon by testifying to the Gospel and being faithful unto death.

To lay down one’s life to benefit others with the message of the Gospel is to conquer in the same way that Jesus did. For Jesus and for us, real life comes through death.

Just as the two witnesses prophesy for 1,260 days (11:3), the woman will be nourished in the wilderness for 1,260 days (12:6), which is also “a time, and times, and half a time.” These references to three and a half years interpret the halving of Daniel’s seventieth week (Daniel 9:27). Satan has failed to devour the male child, and God delivered the woman from him as well, so Satan sets out to make war on the rest of her offspring.

We are reminded that our battle is not against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:10–20). Our lives are part of a great cosmic battle that has been raging since Genesis 3—but the outcome is certain!

How does it feel to know that as a Believer you’re on the winning team?


Revelation 13Satan pursues his war on the collective offspring of the woman (12:17) by conjuring an imitation of the Christian gospel. This deceptive imitation intends to establish Satan himself in the place of God the Father (12:17; 16:13), the beast in the place of Jesus (verse 3), the false prophet in the place of the Holy Spirit (verse 12), and those with the mark of the beast in the place of those sealed by the Spirit (verses 16–18).

John equips those who believe the Gospel to maintain their testimony to it in spite of Satan’s war on them by pulling back the curtain on the satanic scheme. Those who view the descriptions of 12:6 as entirely future will primarily look for future world events to be represented by the descriptions in this passage; those who view the earlier descriptions as representing the church’s battles in all ages see this passage as analogous to the spiritual battles that Believers will always face until Jesus’ final victory.

In this spiritual war, God has a Lamb (5:6), while Satan has a beast (13:1). The Lamb is the image of God. The beast is the image of the dragon, both having seven heads and ten horns (12:3; 13:1). The Lamb in 5:6 was “standing, as though it had been slain,” and now Satan deceives the nations (12:9; 13:14) with a fake christ, this beast who “was wounded by the sword and yet lived.” All the heavenly host and every creature in heaven and on earth worshiped the Lamb standing as though slain in 5:5–14, and in 13:3–8 the whole earth marveled at and worshiped the beast whose head “seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed.”

Words that should be spoken only of the living God are blasphemously spoken of Satan’s beast, and verse 7 is a close parallel with 11:7, both verses speaking of those who die for their fidelity to the gospel. God is able to keep those whom He has recorded for Himself from Satan’s deception (13:8), and one of the means for their preservation is John making Satan’s ways known in this passage. John himself applies the message to his readers when he warns them that even their suffering is foreordained, and as he announces that his making it known is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.What John put in verbal form elsewhere (1 John 2:18) he puts in picture form here. The beast in verse 11 looks like a lamb, that is, like Jesus (cf. 5:6), but it speaks like a dragon, that is, like Satan (12:9).

This warns Believers not to be deceived by those who dress “in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (Matthew 7:15). John is warning the churches against those who come claiming to present the Christian gospel but who in fact proclaim Satan’s message. John warns that Satan’s counterfeit might even do powerful signs that look like what the two prophets did in Revelation 11:5, making fire come down from heaven (13:13). Christians must be vigilant against false gospels and the imposters who peddle them, and this calls for wisdom. Christians must see that they are not deceived. Satan and his false trinity deceive those who dwell on earth (12:9; 13:7), but one day Jesus will come and put an end to their ability to deceive the nations (20:1–3).

True Believers endure until then, even if it means they cannot buy or sell or must be slain. For whatever happens, we have Jesus , and He is everything.

These descriptions are not meant to scare the true Believer, but to inform and encourage.

How do you look to Jesus in all things?


What other thoughts or questions does today’s video and reading bring up?


Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.

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All links you need to be a part of this are here – Thru the Bible in 2018.

Thru the Bible – Day 353

If you use Facebook, we are posting these each day on our page there, and we will also post these here each day. We welcome your thoughts here or on Facebook.

Day 353 – Thru the Bible

Today we continue Revelation.

Revelation 10The appearance of the angel invokes not only the Lord leading the people by the pillar of cloud and flame after the exodus, but also the salvation of Noah: the angel has a rainbow over his head. These past acts of salvation have led to and have been more fully fulfilled in Jesus’ death and resurrection. Jesus provides the final, climactic act of deliverance, the deliverance of which every other deliverance is an anticipation.

The angel now comes to provide guidance for the redeemed. Revelation 1:1 said “God gave” the “revelation” to Jesus who “made it known by sending His angel to His servant John,” who was to “show to [the Lord’s] servants the things that must soon take place.” That chain of revelatory disclosure is being enacted: Jesus took the scroll from the Father in chapter 5 and opened it in chapters 6–8; the angel brings it down in 10:2, and John will eat the scroll and prophesy in verses 8–11. The universal significance of the message of what Jesus has done and will do is shown by the angel putting his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land.

John is authenticated as a true prophet as he reenacts a scene from Ezekiel 2:9–3:4. As John eats the scroll just as Ezekiel did, the people of God are given proof that he is a true prophet, like the Old Testament prophets, whom they can trust. The churches are confronted with false teachers (Revelation 2:14, 20), and a false prophet will soon enter the picture (13:11–18; 16:13). Those redeemed by the work of Jesus are to trust the prophet (John), who makes known the contents of the scroll that Jesus has opened. In 10:11 the message is sent to all peoples and nations and languages and kings, reminding us of the universal significance of what is unfolding throughout Revelation.

How does it encourage you to know all that Jesus is doing includes you?


Revelation 11There is disagreement among faithful Believers over the best interpretation of the temple, the two witnesses, and the three-and-a-half-year period in these verse. Some see the events described as reflecting past and present realities leading to Jesus’ return; many see these as primarily future. Yet those who see them as future events are also divided over the sequence of events indicated.

Perhaps all can agree, however, on how John intended this passage to function for his audience. John sees the temple protected for 42 months (three and a half years) in 11:1–2 and the two witnesses prophesying for the whole of their appointed time (1,260 days, another way to describe three and a half years) in verses 2–6. The two witnesses are killed in verse 7, but God vindicates them, and their resurrection is reminiscent of the valley of the dry bones in Ezekiel 37.

On any interpretation of the temple, the witnesses, and the time period, John’s description tells the churches that God is able to protect His people for the whole of the time He has appointed for them to preach the Gospel. And even if their enemies kill them, God can raise the dead. This would encourage persecuted churches to continue to proclaim the Gospel.

John seems to indicate that the temple that will be protected throughout the 42 months is the church. This appears to be why John refers to those who worship there in verse 1 and identifies the dwelling of God with those who dwell in heaven in 13:6. In keeping with Paul’s assertion that God’s people are His temple and that the Holy Spirit dwells in them (1 Corinthians 3:16), in the New Testament age the people of God, corporately represented in the church, are the temple.

Similarly, the two witnesses apparently symbolize the church proclaiming the Gospel throughout the duration of church history. They are identified as two lampstands; the olive oil symbolizes the Holy Spirit’s presence; and, in the imagery of Revelation, Jesus stands among the lampstands (1:12–13). We see in 11:5–6 a correspondence to Elijah (fire consumes their foes, and they shut the sky; see 1 Kings 17:1; 2 Kings 1:10–12) and Moses (they turn waters to blood and strike the earth with plagues; see Exodus 7:14–25). We should remember that elsewhere in the Bible, Moses and Elijah represent the Law and the Prophets, which combine to give witness to and preparation for the ministry of Jesus (Matthew 11:13; 17:1–5; Luke 24:27; John 1:45; Acts 28:23; Romans 3:21–22).

Thus, Revelation’s descriptions signify these two witnesses’ ability to demonstrate that there is only one living and true God (recall Elijah’s defeat of the prophets of Baal) and that God has fulfilled the pattern of the exodus in the salvation accomplished by Jesus, which is referenced in the symbolic identification of Jerusalem, where their Lord was crucified, with Sodom and Egypt.

The 42-month period is likely a symbolic way of referring to the whole period of time between the two comings of Jesus. The slaying of the two witnesses (11:7) and their resurrection a short time later (verses 9–11), followed by their being called up to God in heaven (verse 12), appears to portend an almost total stamping out of Christianity right before the return of Jesus and the resurrection described in 20:4–6.

This would make sense of the placement of the seventh trumpet blast immediately after this narrative: the church will proclaim the Gospel to all nations (Matthew 24:14), the full number of the Gentiles will come in (Romans 11:25), the witnesses will finish their testimony, and then the end will come. All of human history is being guided along under the wise and sovereign hand of God. We can trust Him even through the great trials that must be endured by Believers.

Leviticus 25:9 calls for the trumpet to be blown on the Day of Atonement in the Year of Jubilee. In language drawn from that passage, Isaiah prophesied that the new exodus would be marked by “a great trumpet” blast (Isaiah 27:13). Now John shows the fulfillment of the pattern of the Year of Jubilee and the prophecy of Isaiah as the seventh angel blows his trumpet (verse 15). The “kingdom of the world” becomes “the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ”; both “the Lord” and “Christ” are mentioned here, followed by the singular phrase “and he shall reign forever” (Matthew 28:19).

Recalling Psalm 2:1–3, Revelation 11:18 says the nations raged—and the church was persecuted as a result—but God’s wrath came, and His servants were rewarded and the wicked destroyed. There was an outpouring of wrath when the temple was destroyed, and the prophets described that day of the Lord with imagery similar to what we find in verse 19. There was also darkness and an earthquake when Jesus died on the cross (Matthew 27:32–54), and the veil was torn when Christ died (Matthew 27:51). The wrath that should have fallen on us fell instead on God’s Son, in our place. This is the message of the gospel, culminating in Revelation with trumpet blasts, but only after the crescendo has consistently built throughout the rest of the Bible.

With all the “scary” details depicted, how does the Gospel truth reassure you of God’s faithfulness through it all?


What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?


Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.

Videos produced by

All links you need to be a part of this are here – Thru the Bible in 2018.

Thru the Bible – Day 352

If you use Facebook, we are posting these each day on our page there, and we will also post these here each day. We welcome your thoughts here or on Facebook.

Day 352 – Thru the Bible

Today we continue Revelation.

Revelation 7In verse 3 God “seals” His servants; that is, He marks them with a sign that they are His, as an ancient king would seal a document with his signet ring on wax. This seal preserves them from the visitation of His wrath (see 9:4), developing what Jesus said in 3:10, where He promised to keep those faithful to Him through the hour of trial coming on the whole world.

In 13:16–18 Satan also “seals” his servants, the mark of the beast being a cheap imitation of what God does for His people. The “number” of the beast protects Satan’s servants from his wrath but not from God’s. In that context Satan also kills those who are faithful to God, but Revelation depicts God raising them from the dead (20:4–6). When John shows the sealing of God’s servants and the mark of the beast, he is again preparing his audience for the persecution they will face. John assures them that it is not God’s wrath that results in their death. Indeed, though Satan conquers them by killing them, they will conquer him by the blood of the Lamb (12:11) and will finally be raised from the dead.

The listing of the tribes as 144,000 seems to give a whole, round number that depicts the same group as the innumerable multitude in verse 9. God will save all who believe in Jesus. Not one will be lost. And it will be a vast number of souls. John signals that the tribes are to be interpreted as a figurative depiction of the whole people of God by leaving out Dan and Ephraim and including Levi along with both Joseph and Manasseh. Joseph’s sons Ephraim and Manasseh were usually listed instead of Joseph, so John seems to have replaced Ephraim with Joseph.

In any case, the message of this passage comes through clearly: God will bring all His people into His heavenly kingdom. His purposes of grace will prevail. The ancient promises to His people of old cannot fail. Jesus, the Lamb, has secured their fulfillment.

As we saw in 5:9–14, in verses 9-17 the redeemed respond with praise to the Father and to Jesus for their work in accomplishing salvation. We are struck once more by the global scope of the Gospel as those from every people group give praise to God for his salvation in Jesus.

In 7:9, the redeemed wear white robes, and verse 14 says the robes have been washed white in the blood of the Lamb. This is a figurative description of the way that faith in Jesus—believing that God put Him forward as a sacrifice of propitiation (substitution) (Romans 3:25) and raised him from the dead (Romans  10:9)—cleanses the conscience (Hebrews 9:14) and gives assurance of forgiveness and cleansing from sin (1 John 1:9).

The white-robed redeemed have palm branches in their hands, which recalls the Feast of Booths Leviticus 23:40). The Feast of Booths celebrated God’s provision for and protection of Israel during the sojourn through the wilderness to the Promised Land. Wilderness/Booths imagery is invoked in verses 15–17, with language reminiscent of Isaiah 4:5–6. The booths built at the feast were reminders of the tents/tabernacles Israel used through the wilderness, and when verse 15 says He who sits on the throne will shelter them with His presence, the verb rendered “shelter” could be translated “tabernacle” (John 1:14). As water was provided from the rock along with manna from heaven in the wilderness, so in verse 16 those who experience the fulfillment of God’s protection and provision, which is the fulfillment of the booths (symbolically represented in the Feast of Booths), will neither hunger nor thirst, nor will the sun and its heat harm them.

Moses shepherded Israel through the wilderness; and when the Lamb fulfills this in verse 17 He will be their Shepherd who, like the good shepherd in Psalm 23, will guide them to springs of living water (John 4:10; 7:38). We saw the fulfillment of the exodus and Feast of Passover in the praise of Revelation 5:9–14. The praise of 7:9–17 presents the fulfillment of the wilderness sojourn and the Feast of Booths.

Just as the celebration of Booths was impossible without Passover, so here the fulfillment of the Feast of Booths is based on the fulfillment of Passover. Rightly, then, the declaration of verse 10 ascribes all glory in salvation to God and to the Lamb. The triune God alone works salvation, and Jesus is the one Mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5).

The hosts of heaven worship God in response to the salvation He has achieved, and then the redeemed are identified. These redeemed come out of the great tribulation, in which John is their brother. This great tribulation seems to refer to the whole of church history, a period characterized by the messianic woes (Daniel 7:25–27; 11:31–12:3; Matthew 24:8–13; John 16:33; Acts 14:22; Rom. 8:18; 2 Corinthians 4:17; Colossians 1:24; Revelation 2:10). Those redeemed by the death and resurrection of Jesus (in fulfillment of Passover) will be protected and provided for by the Good Shepherd through the wilderness sojourn (in fulfillment of the Feast of Booths) to the new heaven and earth (in fulfillment of the Feast of Weeks, which celebrated God’s goodness in the Land of Promise).

How does this tiers the Old Testament help you see how the Old Testament points to Jesus?


Revelation 8 & 9This section of Revelation seems to present the future deliverance of the people of God at the end of history as the final fulfillment of the exodus pattern. The Lord heard the people’s “cry for rescue” in Exodus 2:23–25 and delivered His people through the plague judgments at the exodus (Exodus 3–14). Similarly, the prayers of all the saints are presented before the Lord in verse 3, and the Lord will deliver His people from their bondage to corruption through the trumpet (chapters 8–9) and bowl (chapter 16) judgments—which John describes in ways that recall the plagues on Egypt.

The judgment of the first trumpet, hail and fire (8:7) matches the seventh plague on Egypt (Exodus 9:23–25). The second and third trumpets result in the sea turning to blood and the rivers and springs being made bitter, recalling the first plague on Egypt (Exodus 7:19–21). The fourth trumpet results in darkness (8:12), like the ninth plague (Exodus 10:21–29). The fifth trumpet is followed by locust-like scorpions (9:1–11), just as the eighth plague on Egypt was of locusts (Exodus 10:12–20). The sixth trumpet results in mounted troops who kill a third of humanity (9:13–21), perhaps recalling the death angel who killed the Egyptian firstborn (Exodus 11:1–10; 12:29–32).

That John means for the trumpet judgments to echo the plagues on Egypt would seem to be supported by the mighty angel, who is wrapped in a cloud and has legs like pillars of fire (Revelation 10:1). Just as God led Israel out of Egypt through the wilderness with a pillar of fire and cloud (Exodus 13:21), so now that the plagues have been fulfilled in the trumpet judgments, God sends an angel of cloud and flame to give guidance to the people of God through His servant John.

We marvel, amid all this, at what God has accomplished in Jesus on our behalf. We sinners, enslaved by sin and death, require nothing less than a new exodus out of slavery and into the Promised Land of restored fellowship with God. This is precisely what Jesus has accomplished—by being the sacrificial Passover Lamb. God passes over us in mercy because He did not pass over His own Son.

How does this lead you to worship Jesus?

What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?


Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.

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Thru the Bible – Day 351

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Day 351 – Thru the Bible

Today we continue Revelation.

Revelation 4John writes to harassed churches facing persecution and tribulation (2:9–10; 3:9–10). He identifies with them, having been exiled to Patmos for the Gospel, “the word of God,” and “the testimony of Jesus” (1:9; 1:2). In the midst of these difficult circumstances, John is invited into the heavenly throne room and sees the Lord God Almighty on the throne, reigning and being worshiped by the dignitaries of the heavenly court for the exercise of His will in all things.

The knowledge that God is seated on His heavenly throne, being worshiped as He rightly deserves, is given to encourage persecuted Believers who seem like a small, insignificant minority in the face of the wicked world. God in heaven rules. One day this rule will cover the earth and bring all evil and darkness to a final end. Jesus’ death and resurrection secure this.

How does this encourage you?


Revelation 5Verses 1–4 dramatically depict the world’s desperate need for Jesus. God is seated on a throne, holding a scroll sealed with seven seals. No member of the heavenly entourage is worthy to open it; nor can anyone on or under the earth do so. John’s response of weeping loudly indicates that the resolution of history—the defeat of evil, sin, and death—all depends on the opening of this scroll.

The elder’s announcement in verse 5 identifies the Lion of the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:8–12) with the Root of David (Isaiah 11) as he proclaims that Jesus has conquered and is thus able to open the scroll. The nature of Jesus’ conquest is illustrated in Revelation 5:6, when John sees a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain. It is striking that the Lamb was slain and yet stands. This depicts the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross and His triumphant resurrection from the dead. Ironically, the sacrificial Lamb has seven horns, a symbol of absolute military power. Jesus, who has all power, allowed Himself to be slain for sinners.

Because of the way that He has brought the Gospel to pass, in fulfillment of the scene in Daniel 7 when the son of man is presented before the Ancient of Days, Jesus can now be presented before the Father, take the sealed scroll, and open it. His conquest through His death and resurrection guarantees history’s resolution. He has seized control of the world’s destiny.

Once again John depicts an appropriate response to the Gospel—appropriate and shocking at the same time. All heaven was worshiping God in Revelation 4, yet now Jesus comes into the scene, takes the scroll from the Lord God Almighty, and the eyes of heaven turn from Him who sits on the throne to the Son, as all creation joins the heavenly host in celebration of the Son! Perhaps nothing more clearly declares the deity of Jesus Christ than the fact that the focus of heaven’s worship shifts to Him in this way.

The content of the praise of Jesus in these verses is instructive: none but Jesus was found worthy, so the living creatures and the elders declare to him in verse 9, “Worthy are you.” The praise also specifically states that He is worthy because by His death on the cross—communicated in the words “by your blood”—He ransomed people for God. This was not a ransom paid to Satan but a ransom from the wrath of God and His just punishment of sin. This is the true wonder of the Gospel: we sinners, dead in our sin, could do nothing to extricate ourselves from our earthly dilemma. Our situation was hopeless. But God Himself undertook to save us—the same God who had every right instead to punish us. And He did this through the provision of His own Son. God the Father sent God the Son to bear the wrath we deserved. What a wonder of mercy!

Again the fulfillment of the pattern of the exodus from Egypt is in view as Jesus recapitulates and improves upon what happened there. At the exodus, Israel was redeemed from physical slavery, but Jesus has redeemed and ransomed us from the power of sin and death and the just punishment of hell. At the exodus, Israel was redeemed and made a nation, but Jesus has redeemed those “from every tribe and language and people and nation” and, as in 1:6, He has made them “a kingdom and priests to our God.” Jesus is a King and a Priest, and He makes His people, those united to Him, who will conquer as He has conquered (12:11).

The book of Revelation consistently portrays those who enjoy the benefits of the Gospel praising the One who made those benefits possible. Because of the way that Jesus has laid down His life for others, He is worthy to receive everything from everyone. We delight to praise Him.

How does seeing Jesus this way affirm your faith in Him?


Revelation 6As Jesus opens the seals on the scroll He took from God’s hand (chapter 5), the events that unfold broadly correspond to the events predicted by Jesus in Mark 13. Thus it seems that the rider on the white horse in Revelation 6:2 pretends to be what only Jesus is (see 19:11), just as Jesus said, “Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’” (Mark 13:6). Jesus said there would be “wars and rumors of wars” (Mark 13:7), and this is exactly what results from the rider on the white horse who comes out to conquer and the rider on the red horse who is permitted to take peace from the earth. Wars in the ancient world had devastating effects on crops and food supplies, so the wars caused by the first two riders are followed by the famines and plagues the second two bring.

Thus what John shows here reaffirms the teaching of Jesus and prepares his readers to hold fast the word of God and to follow the martyrs in the witness they had borne to complete the number of those to be killed for the Gospel. John is preparing his audience not merely to reject the false gospels of the false messiahs but also to be faithful to the true Gospel, even unto death.

The terrifying depiction in 6:12–17 of the great day of the wrath of the Lamb also encourages Believers to hold fast the word of God and the testimony of Jesus, as it shows the wrath of the Lamb to be infinitely more terrible than the martyrs’ deaths.

How does knowing that you are secured by the Gospel help you not fear what’s coming to those who have rejected Jesus?


What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?


Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.

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All links you need to be a part of this are here – Thru the Bible in 2018.

Thru the Bible – Day 350

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Day 350 – Thru the Bible

Today we start Revelation. Here’s the overview video for Revelation 1-11.

Video – Read Scripture: Revelation


How does this video help you understand Revelation 1-11 better?


Revelation 1John presents his book as the revelation of Jesus Christ; that is, the book comes from and is about Jesus. God gave the message to Jesus, who sent His angel to John with it, so that the servants of Jesus would be motivated to bear witness to the word of God and to Jesus. John pronounces the first of seven beatitudes in the book on the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, on those who hear, and on those who keep what is written in it. Because He died and rose again, Jesus now reigns and blesses those who are faithful to Him.In Revelation, John is not so much teaching the Gospel as he is building on it, encouraging Believers to endure because of it, and to be faithful to it even unto death. Consequently, he does not always refer to the gospel of Jesus’ atoning work to defeat the guilt and power of our sin explicitly. In verse 5, however, John refers to Jesus as “the firstborn of the dead” because His resurrection guarantees the general resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:20–22). John also identifies Jesus as the One “who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood.” Jesus loves sinners and has freed us from our sins. This is the wonder of the Gospel.

At many points, such as here, John presents the salvation Jesus has accomplished as the ultimate fulfillment of a rescue of God’s covenant people analogous to Israel’s exodus from Egypt. Jesus dies as the new and better Passover Lamb. Moreover, just as God made Israel a kingdom of priests (Exodus 19:6), so here, having redeemed us from sin and death, Jesus makes us “a kingdom, priests to his God and Father.”

We receive John’s worshipful response to this Gospel message as he ascribes to Jesus glory and dominion forever and ever. Because of the salvation Jesus has accomplished, He is worthy of praise. John refers to the death of Jesus as he describes Jesus coming with the clouds (in fulfillment of Daniel 7:13) when at His second coming “every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him.” This piercing took place at the cross in fulfillment of Zechariah 12:10, which is itself reflecting the piercing of the Davidic servant in Isaiah 53. By citing Zechariah 12:10 and Daniel 7:13, John brings together the Old Testament themes of the suffering and conquering Messiah, identifying the former with Jesus’ first coming and the latter with His second.

John identifies with his audience as their brother and partner in both the tribulation and the kingdom, requiring patient endurance on the part of those who live between the two comings of Jesus. One consistent New Testament theme related to the Gospel is that those who embrace it will face tribulation (Matthew 5:11–12; Mark 10:29–30; Acts 14:22; 1 Thessalonians 2:4; 2 Timothy 3:12; 1 Peter 2:21). The pattern of suffering-to-glory undergone by the Savior is the pattern for His disciples.

John himself has been exiled to Patmos because of “the word of God and the testimony of Jesus,” likely a reference to the way that he has borne witness to the Gospel. In the midst of his affliction, the risen Christ appears to him in glory, and the way that Jesus presents Himself to John in His resurrection glory is applied to the churches in Revelation 2–3.

John is not to fear, because Jesus is eternal, and also because of the victorious Gospel: Jesus tells him in verse 18 that He died and yet is alive forever. This assertion means that even if those united to Jesus are put to death, He can guarantee that death will not hold His followers just as death could not hold Him, as the firstborn from the dead. This is stated even more explicitly when Jesus declares that He has “the keys of Death and Hades.” Death and hell cannot bind the followers of Jesus.

In Jesus, death itself has been undone. Those who are in Him have nothing to fear on earth. Our eternal future could not be more secure.

How does this encourage you?


Revelation 2 & 3Jesus applies the results of His death and resurrection to the churches in threats of discipline and promises of reward. Because of what He accomplished and His consequent status as our heavenly enthroned Lord, He can guarantee both.

Jesus announces that He walks among the lampstands as He threatens to remove the lampstand of the church in Ephesus. Jesus again asserts that He died and came to life, then He calls the church in Smyrna to be faithful unto death. Threatening to war against them with “the sword of my mouth” (i.e., his Word, 2:16; Ephesians 6:17; Revelation 19:15, 21; and for John, Jesus is also the representation of that Word; John 1:1), Jesus warns the church in Pergamum that He has the sharp two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12). Jesus tells the church in Thyatira that He has eyes like a flame of fire and then warns that He searches mind and heart.

The church in Sardis is dead and needs the One who has the seven spirits of God (3:1) to enable them to wake up, strengthen, remember, keep what they received, and repent. Because Jesus has the key of David, He can set before the church in Philadelphia an open door to God’s eternal purposes, and because He is the faithful and true witness, the church in Laodicea should heed His counsel.

Because of the truth of the Gospel, Ephesus should maintain its first love (2:4) and Laodicea should not be lukewarm (3:16); Smyrna and Philadelphia should stand fast against the persecution from the synagogue of Satan (2:9; 3:9), and Pergamum, Thyatira, and Sardis should avoid the kinds of compromises with false teaching (2:14, 20) that result in eating food sacrificed to idols and sexual immorality (2:14, 20). Perhaps hiding their compromise resulted in their false reputation of being alive, but those who do such things are dead (3:1). Those who are enduring patiently (2:3), being faithful unto death (2:10), are heeding what the Spirit says to the churches and obeying the call to repent (2:5, 16, 21; 3:3, 19) as they hold fast to the Gospel (2:25; 3:11). They will eat from the tree of life (2:7), will not be hurt by the second death (2:11), will receive a new name (2:17), and will have authority over the nations (2:26).

Jesus promises the one who overcomes that He will never blot his name out of the book of life, and will make him a pillar in the temple. Overcomers will have clothing for their nakedness and salve for their eyes, and they will sit with Jesus on His throne, having conquered as He did. They endure, Jesus says, “for my name’s sake”; as they do so, they hold fast Jesus’ name and have not denied that name. The identification of “overcomers” with those who are united to Jesus is important for correct interpretation. Overcoming, for the apostle John, is not a consequence of human effort but a result of faith in the work of Christ Jesus (see 1 John 5:4–5).

Jesus identifies Himself as the one who has brought Good News, and on the basis of the way He has accomplished salvation, He (1) offers the rewards of the Gospel to those who are faithful to His provision for them, (2) threatens judgment against those who stray from the Gospel, and (3) asserts that those who maintain the Gospel do so for the glory of His name.

Keeping in mind, that John is setting up the rest of the book in these opening chapters, we can still see the choice each church is given – compromise or remain faithful.

When you’re tempted to compromise, how does the Gospel keep or restore you?

What other thoughts or questions does today’s video and reading bring up?


Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.

Videos produced by

All links you need to be a part of this are here – Thru the Bible in 2018.