Bread

Lemon Cheese Braid Bread

1:00 PM

I received a request to repost this recipe, so here it is! This is an easy delicious bread.  The amount of filling was perfect.  It tastes better then a cream cheese Danish!  To make it even easier, you can use a loaf of frozen bread dough, thawed.



Lemon Cheese Braid Bread

1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
3 tablespoons warm water (110° to 115°)
1/3 cup 2% milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 to 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour 

Filling:
2 packages (one 8 ounces, one 3 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

Icing:
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 to 3 teaspoons 2% milk

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the milk, sugar, butter, eggs, salt and 2 cups flour; beat on low speed for 3 minutes. Stir in enough of remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, beat all the filling ingredients until fluffy; set aside.  Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; roll into a 14-in. x 12-in. rectangle. Place on a greased baking sheet. Spread filling down center third of rectangle. On each long side, cut 1-in.-wide strips, 3-in. into center. Starting at one end, fold alternating strips at an angle across filling. Seal end. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes. Bake at 375° for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Combine confectioners' sugar, vanilla and enough milk to achieve drizzling consistency; drizzle over warm bread.

Mari Sandoval

How to live in Victory! {Revelation 12}

10:30 PM



In today’s chapter, John describes in the first 6 verses: “And a great sign [warning of an ominous and frightening future event] appeared in heaven: …” (AMP), and he enlists the following symbols:

- The woman, representing Israel (Gen. 37), the source of Messiah.
- The dragon, representing Satan (Dan. 7), ready to devour God’s people.
- The man-child, referring to Jesus’ birth, life and ascension to Heaven (Psalm2:9, Matt. 2:13-14)

 In the scriptures, this woman clothed with the sun should be identified with Israel, according to Joseph's dream (Gen.37:9-11). In that dream, the sun represents Jacob, the moon represents Joseph's mother Rachel, and the eleven stars are the sons of Israel which bow down to Joseph. In this sign with twelve stars, Joseph is now "among" the other tribes of Israel.

Then the woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God, so that she would be nourished there for a thousand two hundred and sixty days (forty-two months; three and one-half years). (AMP)

God will provide a place of protection for the remnant of Israel who are saved during the Great Tribulation (during the last half of the Tribulation period).

Then a war in the heavens takes place: “Michael [the archangel] and his angels waging war with the dragon.” (Vs. 7) The dragon and his angels were defeated and thrown down to the earth! (Vs.7-9)

Satan has access to heaven to accuse us day and night (Job 1: 6-7, 2:1-7; Zech. 3:1-5), but this will be over!

Then, a joyful declaration in heaven is heard:

“Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom (dominion, reign) of our God, and the authority of His Christ have come; for the [e]accuser of our [believing] brothers and sisters has been thrown down [at last], he who accuses them and keeps bringing charges [of sinful behavior] against them before our God day and night. 11 And they overcame and conquered him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, for they did not love their life and renounce their faith even when faced with death. 12 Therefore rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them [in the presence of God].” (Vs. 10-12)

And, the word "overcame", means, to conquer, to prevail, to obtain the victory. It's used in to speak of being victorious. Of Christians that hold fast to their faith in Jesus even unto death against the power of their foes, and temptations and persecutions!

Here in verse 11, John is speaking of people who during the Great Tribulation have come to faith in God, and are being persecuted by the devil for it. And, it speaks of the fact that they were victorious and describes three things they did that brought them this victory (and we should live by):
1.      Accepting Jesus’ redemption through His blood (the blood of the lamb).
“In Him we have redemption [that is, our deliverance and salvation] through His blood, [which paid the penalty for our sin and resulted in] the forgiveness and complete pardon of our sin, in accordance with the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and understanding [with practical insight].” (Eph. 1:7-8)
2.      Testimony: Yet we have the same spirit of faith as he had, who wrote in Scripture, “I believed, therefore I spoke.” We also believe, therefore we also speak,” (2 Corinth. 4:13), 1 Tim. 6:12
3.      Willing to give your life for your faith = deny self/submit to God. Commit yourself to God regardless of the cost! “So submit to [the authority of] God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him] and he will flee from you.” James 4:7



Yes, the death of Jesus on the cross as our substitute purchases us as God's personal property, and this makes us want to live unto God. "If anything can make a man holy it is a firm faith in the atoning sacrifice. When a man knows that Jesus died for him, he feels that he is not his own, but bought with a price, and therefore he must live unto him that died for him and rose again." (Spurgeon)

Realizing his time is short, Satan tries everything in his power to destroy Israel, but God protects them (Vs. 14) just like He did in the past: God bore the Israelites “on eagles wings” when He enabled them to escape from Pharaoh (Exod 19:4Deut 32:11). God often uses this metaphor to refer to His protection of Israel (Ps 55:6-8Isa 40:31) (Bible.Org).

Since Satan has failed in his plans of destruction: “the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.” (Vs. 17)

These “children” are any true child of God, Jew or Gentile. Satan wars with those “who keep the commandments of God” (1 John 5:2-5) and “hold to the testimony of Jesus” (1 Cor 2:1-21 John 5:11-12).” As Paul said in 2 Timothy 3:12: “If you live a godly life in Christ Jesus, [you] will be persecuted.” The Christian life is not a playground; it’s a battleground and we must always be on guard! (Eph. 6:12, 1Pet. 5:8-9) Remember the 3 keys to live a Christian life in Victory! There will be afflictions in our Christian walk, but the rewards will be eternal!

Blessings my sisters!

Mari

Becky Austin

The Witnesses { Revelation 11}

12:30 AM


There are several references in the Bible to God or an angel measuring something.  (2 Kings 21:13, Ezekiel 40:3, Zechariah 2:1-5, Revelation21:15-17)
Chapter 11 begins with a similar event: “Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told, “Rise and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there, but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months.” (V1-2)
Spiritually, God is taking measure of those who truly belong to Him and worship Him. 
“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.”(‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭2:19-22‬)
God knows who belongs to Him.  These will always be His children and can be secure in their eternal salvation. But, he also knows those who reside outside of the temple in the court.  The court represents those who have rejected Christ as Messiah and Savior. These may also include those who are religious in behavior and profession but their heart remains far from God. 
God must judge those who reject Him, but In a world of deception He wants truth to be proclaimed.  
“And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.” These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth." (v4-5).  God empowers these witnesses and protects them.  Like olive oil, they represent God's spirit and healing and they represent light that shines in the spiritual darkness of the world.  
As planned, however the antichrist will seemingly triumph and strike down these witnesses.  Those who want evil and darkness to prevail will celebrate.  But, God is ultimately in control and He uses their death for His glory. “But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood up on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them.” (v11)
No matter how powerful evil may seem to be, God is more powerful.  Good ultimately will triumph over evil. 
Satan has been given rule over this world but not forever.  God will eventually oust Satan and then He will rule.   “Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.””(v15)  How glorious it will be to join the celebration in heaven on that day.   “saying, “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign. The nations raged, but your wrath came, and the time for the dead to be judged, and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints, and those who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying the destroyers of the earth."" (v17-18)
This chapter closes with John seeing the opening of the temple in heaven.  “Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.” (v19). The ark of the covenant always represented the presence of God.  So we see the glorious presence of  God and His sovereign power.  What a wonderful sight for those who believe and trust in Him!





God and His sovereign power.  What a wonderful sight for those who believe and trust in Him!

faithful

The Message of The Mighty Angel {Revelations 10}

8:00 PM

Revelation 9 left off with the sounding of the sixth of seven trumpets, which ushers in the end of all things, but now, instead of the seventh trumpet sounding, there is a pause until Revelation 11:15, which could demonstrate once more for us, God’s mercy in allowing more opportunity for repentance.

The theme of this chapter appears to declare God’s intention to take possession of the earth—both the land and sea—and to fulfill all the many prophetic promises found in the Scriptures which point to God establishing His kingdom on earth.

Before we begin however, I want to remind you once more that this Book of Revelations is one of the most mysterious books in the Bible! None of us will know the exact meaning of all that’s here,  but that’s not a reason for not reading it, for John wrote,Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near(Rev 1:3). John only asks us to read and keep what’s written in it. A day is coming when God will bring this all to life before our eyes, but for now, those who dig and act upon what we read will be blessed! So let’s pull out what we can in chapter 10 and get set to worship Him once more!

Another mighty angel:
The description of this angel has significant similarities to that of deity, so much so, that some commentators believe this is a picture of Christ Jesus, but not all believe it’s Him.

Coming down from heaven:
This phrase probably means that some angels normally reside in heaven only. Perhaps this angel is one of the seven “presence angels” which stand before God ( Rev. 8:2) and which were given the seven trumpets. Later, another angel, not called mighty, but having great authority, will come down from heaven to announce the impending fall of Babylon in Rev. 18:1-2. And the angel who binds Satan also is said to come down from heaven in Rev. 20:1ff.

Clothed with a cloud:
Clouds generally depict deity and authority; the divine presence of God. In Exodus a cloud filled the Tabernacle which depicted God’s presence within it. And we also know Jesus will be coming back on the clouds (Mt.26:64)

A rainbow was on his head:
This is the only angel to be described as having a rainbow on his head. This passage is probably where artist got the idea to use halos to depict holiness in religious artworks, but here, the rainbow is a reminder of God’s covenant with Noah (Gen. 9:11-17)

His face was like the sun:
This angel has a radiant countenance like the angel which Daniel saw in Dan. 10:6. This also could be another reason some theologian may believe this is Christ Jesus.

His feet like pillars of fire:
His burning feet speak of judgment. And the placement of his feet; one on the land and one on the sea, speaks of the power to conquers both land and sea. This angel has come to pass judgement on the earth and the nations (Isa. 63:3-6; Rev. 14:19-20).

So much of what’s depicted here in this section of Revelation reminded me of the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. And I wonder, though I can’t prove it, if the angel’s legs were to remind Israel of the pillar of fire and cloud that gave both guidance and  protection as they journeyed to the promise land. ( Ex.13:21-22; 14:19,24)

A.R.Farrer in his book, The Revelation of St. John the Divine  believes the rainbow is to remind us of God’s promise through Noah, the pillar of fire is God’s presence in the wilderness, and the scroll reminds us of the tablets of stone! All of these point back to Israel’s journey to the promise land. I loved that idea!

When he cried out, seven thunders uttered their voices:
This relates to the same idea of the thunderous voice of God in Psalm 29. John begins to write down what he has heard, but is not permitted to, therefore we know that there are still things hidden from us at this time.

The angel raised up his hand to heaven and swore by Him who lives forever and ever: The mighty angel gives a solemn oath declaring that the end is irrevocably set in motion and there is absolutely no turning back.

John then writes, Then the voice which I heard from heaven spoke to me again and said, "Go, take the little scroll which is open in the hand of the angel who stands on the sea and on the earth. So I went to the angel and said to him, "Give me the little book." And he said to me, "Take and eat it; and it will make your stomach bitter, but it will be as sweet as honey in your mouth." - Rev 10:8-9

John is then commanded to prophesy to the whole world; not just believers; to some (believers) it will be sweet, but to those perishing it will be bitter. I believe John’s orders here are also for us as well.
I was reminded of the verse in 2 Peter when we see a pause between the sixth and seventh trumpets! The mighty angel has told us the end is set, but there is still a pause, and John is commanded to share all He has learned with all men!  Notice 2Peter 3:9 seems to fit here, “The Lord does not delay [as though He were unable to act] and is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is [extraordinarily] patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

The angel has declared that the end of time has been set in motion and nothing can keep it from all coming about just as God has planned! Though, while there is still time we need to be about our Father’s business in telling others of the things we’re sure of! To some it will be bitter, but to others it will be sweet! May we each be found faithful to His Word when this prophecy become reality!

Lisa Thayer

To Those Who Refuse to Believe {Revelation 9}

12:30 AM

December 12, 2017

Revelation 9

I do not want to misrepresent any explanation or interpretation of these verses, so I am once again using the explanation of Revelation 9 from my life application study bible.  I am also including a link to a long explanation of chapter 9 at the end of my post that is well worth your time to read.

“The fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth.  The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss.”  (v.1)   It is not known whether this “star” that fell from heaven is Satan, a fallen angel, Christ, or a good angel.  Most likely it is a good angel, because the key to the shaft of the Abyss (bottomless pit) is normally held by Christ (1:17, 18), and it was temporary given to this other being from heaven (see also 20:1).  This being, whoever he may be, is still under God’s control and authority.  The Abyss represents the place of demons and of Satan, the king of demons (9:11).  See also Luke 8:31 for another reference to the Abyss.

And out of the smoke locusts came down on the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth.”  (v. 3)  The prophet Joel described a locust plague as a foreshadowing of the “day of the LORD”, meaning God’s coming judgment (Joel 2:1-10). In the Old Testament, locusts were symbols of destruction because they destroyed vegetation.  Here, however, they symbolize an invasion of demons called to torture people who do not believe God.  The limitations placed on the demons (they could only torture people for five months) show that they are under God’s authority. 

Most likely these locusts are evil spirits ruled by Satan who tempt people to sin.  They were not created by Satan, because God is the Creator of all; rather, they are fallen angels who joined Satan in his rebellion.  God limits what they can do; they can do nothing without His permission.  Their main purpose on earth is to prevent, distort, or destroy people’s relationship with God.  Because they are corrupt and degenerate, their appearance reflects the distortion of their spirits.  While it is important to recognize their evil activity so we can stay away from them, we must avoid any curiosity about or involvement with demonic forces or with the occult. 

“They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon and in the Greek is Apollyon (that is, Destroyer)”.  (v. 11)  The locust-demons have a leader whose name in Hebrew and in Greek mean Destroyer.  It may be a play on words by John to show that those who worshipped the great god Apollo worshipped only a demon.

“The sixth angel sounded his trumpet, and I heard a voice coming from the four horns of the golden alter that is before God.”  (v. 13)  The alter in the temple had four projections, one at each corner, and these were called the horns of the alter (see Exodus 27:2)

“It said to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.”  (v. 14)  The word “angels” here means fallen angels or demons.  These four unidentified demons will be exceedingly evil and destructive.  But note that they do not have the power to release themselves and do their evil work on earth.  Instead, they are held back by God and will be released at a specific time, doing only what He allows them to do.

“And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind.”  (v. 15)  Here one-third of all people are killed.  In 6:7-8, one-fourth of mankind was killed.  Thus, over one-half of the people of the world will have been killed by God’s great judgments.  Even more would have been killed if God had not set limits on the destruction. 

“The number of the mounted troops was twice ten thousand times ten thousand.  I heard their number.”  (v. 16)  In John’s day, this number of mounted troops in an army was inconceivable, but today there are countries and alliances that could easily amass this many soldiers.  This huge army, led by the four demons, will be sent out to destroy one-third of the earth’s population.  But the judgement is still not complete. 


“The rest of mankind who were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshipping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood – idols that cannot see or hear or walk.  Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality of their thefts. (vs. 20-21)  These people were so hardhearted that even plagues did not drive them to God.  People don’t usually fall into immorality and evil suddenly – they slip into it a little bit at a time until, hardly realizing what has happened, they are irrevocably mired in their wicked ways.  Any person who allows sin to take root in his or her life can find himself or herself in this predicament.  Temptation entertained today becomes sin tomorrow, then a habit the next day, then death and separation from God forever (see James 1:15).  To think you could never become this evil is the first step toward a hard heart.  Acknowledge your need to confess your sin before God.

Image result for Revelation 9:20-21

Here is the link I mentioned earlier:




God's Judgements

The Seventh Seal-the Trumpets {Revelation 8}

12:00 AM


Monday Dec. 11 

The Seventh Seal-the Trumpets {Revelation 8}


Here in Revelation 8 we learn of the seventh seal of judgement. Seven angels who stand before God are given seven trumpets. Trumpets that unleash fury upon the earth with every blare. But before Christ breaks the final seal and the devastation begins, a hush falls throughout heaven.

When the Lamb broke the seventh seal, there was silence for about a half an hour.” (v. 1) Imagine every creature in heaven watching God’s plan unfold. They are in such awe about what is happening, there is complete silence. No one speaks. No song is sung. And this silence is not only in honor of God, but also for the prayers of Christians who continually cry out to God for justice. In verses 3-5, we’re told an angel with a golden censer, (a vessel in which incense was carried), makes a “brew”of sorts. He takes the censer, adds to it incense and the prayers of the saints; resulting in a smoke that becomes a fragrance pleasing to God. He then  takes the censer, fills it with fire from the golden alter, and hurls it to the earth resulting in thunder, lightening, and a earthquake. This signals the seven angels to prepare to sound their trumpets and usher in the judgements of God. 

The first sounded and there came hail and fire, mixed with blood, and they were thrown to the earth; and a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.” (v. 7)  Really think about that for a minute. Imagine the devastation to the ecology of the planet. A huge reduction of grass for wildlife to graze on, of fertile soil to grow crops, and not to mention a major reduction of oxygen being produced from trees. And that’s just the beginning!

The second angel sounded, and something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood, and a third of the creatures which were in the sea and had life, died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.” (vs. 8-9) In this judgement, the seas of the world become poisonous. This poisoned water kills sea life, which in turn kills the fishing trade. There goes yet another crucial source of food for humans and other animals alike.  And when this burning mountain lands, it also destroys a third of all ships. So much for transportation across the oceans not only for people, but for life sustaining food, water, building materials, oil, and medical supplies. And the hits keep on coming.

The third angel sounded, and a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water.” (v. 10) When this star called “Wormwood” hits the earth, it affects the drinking water of the world. Wormwood means bitter, and a third of all fresh water in rivers, lakes, and springs is impacted. First the salt water is poisoned, and now the freshwater is poisoned as well. Already there are countries in which people die due to the lack of access to clean water, and verse 11 us that probably out of desperation due to extreme thirst, many more will perish from drinking this bitter water. 

The fourth angel sounded, and a third of the sun and a third of the moon, and a third of the stars were struck, so  that a third of them would be darkened and the day would not shine for a third of it, and the night in the same way.” (v. 12) This does not describe a one-third lessening of light like when storm clouds overtake the sky, but one-third of the day and night are plunged into absolute darkness. As Jesus said, “the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light.” (Matt. 24:29) Not only will there not be enough natural sunlight for the growing of crops and natural vegetation, the seas and their tides which are regulated by the moon will be thrown out of whack. 


Chapter 8 ends with John saying, “Then I looked, and I heard an eagle flying in midheaven, saying with a loud voice, ‘Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, because of the three remaining blasts of the three angels who are about to sound!” (v. 13) The cries of the eagle are well founded, for one third of the earth’s population will die with the sound of the next three judgements. But even though these first trumpets deliver God’s judgements in devastating ways, they also reveal God’s never ending mercy. His judgements are only partial, striking one third of the earth. Even in His anger against the wicked, He spares more than He smites. By eliminating everything that people depend on, He does so in the hope that they will repent, declare Christ as their Savior, and  receive His gift of eternal life. For as we are reminded in 2 Peter 3:9, we serve a God who, “..is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” And I find great hope in a loving Creator who is not willing to give up on a single person...not even one.

Christmas

Contest Winning Sugar ‘n Spice Nuts

2:00 PM

When I saw this recipe for these mixed nuts, I knew they were a must try. I’m glad I did! Absolutely delicious. They didn’t stick around long, and due to an insistent family I’m already on batch number two!

Contest Winning Sugar ‘n Spice Nuts



1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 egg white
1 cup salted cashews
1 cup pecan halves
1 cup dry roasted peanuts
1/2 cup dried cranberries

In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and cayenne; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk egg white; add nuts and cranberries. Sprinkle with sugar mixture and toss to coat. Spread in a single layer on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 300° for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown, stirring once. Cool. Store in an airtight container. Yield: 3-1/2 cups

Angie Benjamin

Among the great multitude {Revelation 7}

2:13 AM



I believe one of the rewards of reading the Bible in its entirety is to see that our walk with Christ ends in joy and victory!

Here in chapter 7 of the book of Revelation we see through the eyes of the apostle John, a God given picture of the joyful culmination of our journeys here on earth!


“People from every nation, tribe and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb" - Revelation 7:9

How wonderful is that day going to be! being among the great multitude that no one can count, worshiping and praising God! What a joyful day that will be! What a glorious triumphant future for every believer!



Revelation 7, also mentions something very important. It tells us that we will be rewarded by serving and loving the Lord. Which makes me stop and reflect (hope it causes you do to the same too)... 

There are so many opportunities to serve, here in the land where you're living at the moment or in a far far away country where people are hungry, thirsty, homeless or where no one really cares about them...others may be well cared for physically and financially but still carrying many burdens day in and day out...am I really serving from my heart? am I really being useful for His kingdom? am I using my time and resources wisely for His glory?

Or perhaps, let me talk to you today, if you're included among those carrying many burdens... are you numbered in the throng of believers? what will the final chapter of your life look like? will it close in defeat or in victory? If you haven't asked Jesus to take your burden of sin, ask him to "wipe away every tear" (Revelation 7:17) from your eyes, to cleanse you in His blood, then one day you'll be a member of that great multitude!



Have a lovely weekend sisters,

love,
Angie



Becky Austin

The Judgements of Christ {Revelation 6}

12:59 AM



This is a fallen world that is marred by evil and defiled by the destruction and corruption of sin and selfish ambition. God has allowed this evil to continue for thousands of years and he has given mankind ample opportunity to accept the saving blood shed by Jesus and to choose righteousness.  Sadly, many choose to continue in the pursuits of sin and corruption.  But, God has promised that the time will come when his wrath against the forces of evil will be held back no more.  As Jesus opens the seals, we are given a glimpse into future events known as the judgements. 

The 4 Horsemen:
Seal 1: “And I looked, and behold, a white horse! And its rider had a bow, and a crown was given to him, and he came out conquering, and to conquer.” (v2)

Many commentaries believe that the rider on the white horse represents the antichrist. The bow represents rapid and far reaching conquests. White symbolizes righteousness and this rider on a white horse will come in the false guise of promising peace and righteous deeds. Many will be deceived by this imposter as he claims a powerful position of leadership. 

Seal 2: “And out came another horse, bright red. Its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people should slay one another, and he was given a great sword.” (v4)


Red represents blood and in this case depicts the blood of war.  History has shown us through WW1 and WW2 that war can take place on a huge scale as nations compete for dominance and world power. 

Seal 3: “When he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” And I looked, and behold, a black horse! And its rider had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard what seemed to be a voice in the midst of the four living creatures, saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius, and do not harm the oil and wine!"' (v5-6)

Black represents oppression and mourning.  The byproducts of war will cause major financial and economic changes.  The example of buying the wheat and barley equated in Bible times to paying a days' wages or about 16 times the usual amount for commonly needed supplies. 

Seal 4: “And I looked, and behold, a pale horse! And its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed him. And they were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth.” (v8)
The pale horse represents death, sickness, devastation.  Think of 1/4 of the Earth being destroyed by varying epidemic tragedies and catastrophic circumstances.


Seal 5: “When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne.” ( V9)


We now have a different focus - a time of persecution for those who profess Christ. Those special martyrs who were killed because of their testified allegiance to Christ are crying out for vengeance but have to wait because even more martyrs will be killed before the final victory scene.

Seal 6: “When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.” (v 12-14). 



These final events will affect society on a grand scale and will be so extreme that even those who have held positions of power and prosperity will realize that God is ultimately in power and they will fear having to face the fury of his righteous judgement. They will be "‭calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb,”
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These judgements seem terrible and perhaps fear provoking.  Remember that God is ultimately in control and his wrath is against evil.  These events will be a necessary purging and conquest over evil so that we can know the full joy and peace of God's reign and all that He has promised to those who love him and put their trust in Him. 
"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Rev 21:4

Lamb

Worthy is The Lamb That was Slain! {Revelations 5}

9:00 PM


I cannot remember just how long ago I started this tradition of reading through the book of Revelations during the month of December, but it’s one of my favorite things to do during Christmas! In fact, it’s as familiar as stringing Christmas lights and hanging stockings! I love worshiping Jesus as the King of kings and Lord of lords while we celebrate Him coming to earth as a baby in a lowly manger, and it’s my prayer you’ll want to adopt this little tradition as well!

The book of Revelations is like peeking through heaven’s keyhole on the greatest events coming, and I pray we’re able to convey the significance of all that we see on display before us!
I’m especially excited to have the chance to write about one of my favorite chapters! In both chapters 4 and 5, we’re given a glimpse of a scene that will take place in heaven before God pours out His judgments on the earth (Rev 6-18). In chapter 4 we were able to experience the worship of God the Father, and now in chapter 5, we’ll experience the worship of Jesus Christ.

First: John reminds us that God is in control:

I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a book written inside and on the back, sealed up with seven seals.  And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the book and to break its seals?” -Rev 5:1-2

Chapter 4 began by drawing our attention to the throne; chapter 5 begins by drawing our attention to a scroll in God’s right hand. Can you think of a better way to illustrate God’s sovereignty over all than by this picture of the scroll resting in His RIGHT hand? For His right hand has always been a symbol of His authority. Someone, probably God Himself, has sealed it with seven seals, which conveys the perfect number of seals (“seven”) and also hints at the absolute sacredness of this scroll. But there’s a problem;

“And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the book or to look into it.  Then I began to weep greatly because no one was found worthy to open the book or to look into it;” - Rev 5:3-4

There’s been a search of all heaven and earth and no one was found worthy to open the scroll, which crushes John’s resolve, for he becomes overwhelmed to the point of weeping uncontrollably. Does John believe that the wrongs of earth would not be dealt with? Did he fear that the righteous will never be vindicated and that the wicked will go unpunished? John seems to understand at this moment that if God’s purposes fail, then all of life is meaningless.

Which is the sad truth for all of us, for without Christ there will be only weeping. But;
“...one of the elders said to me, “Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals.”

Second: All's NOT lost! There’s hope! Jesus will carry out God’s final purposes!

John turns to look expecting to see the, “Lion that is from the tribe of Judah” (the king of all the beasts; strong and powerful), But he sees something completely opposite: John looks and sees,between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth ” (Rev 5:6). There are  four things we need to understand in 5:6. 
John sees;

  1. A Lamb (the meekest of animals) which is the symbol of Jesus Christ at His first coming, meek and submissive, the sacrificial substitute for us (Isa 53:7; John 1:36; 21:15). The Lion is a symbol of Jesus at His second coming, powerfully judging the world in righteousness. John sees the Lamb, now in the center of all the creatures and elders gathered around the throne, as the central character.
  2. A Lamb that had been slain. The word slain means “to cut up and mutilate as in animal sacrifices”. It describes for us the brutal crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ and all He suffered on our behalf.
  3. A Lamb that is standing. The slain Lamb, Who was violently slaughtered and put to death that is now actually standing! Symbolizing that He has overcome the power of sin and death! Once killed, He is now standing in the innermost circle next to the throne of God.
  4. A Lamb Who is awesome in power with His seven horns and seven eyes. The number seven represents the fullness of Christ’s power in defeating His foes. The horns are a biblical symbol for power and authority.

Third: Jesus Christ is worthy of overwhelming praise!

And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.’ Here we see Jesus Christ, the Lion-Lamb, boldly approaching the throne of God. (5:7). We see  His sovereignty on display as He and only He is able to take the scroll out of the Father’s right hand! He is the only One who is worthy! This very act symbolizes the transfer of authority from the Father to the Son. And once He does all present break out in a new song... “ When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying,
“Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.
“You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.” - Rev 5:7-10 (Selah- pause & meditate on this)

May I also add a personal thought here?... If Jesus Christ is the only One found worthy to take the scroll out of the right hand of The Father, surely He is powerful enough to take care of anything your still clinging on to; any fears, doubts, discouragements, etc. Is there anything you still have not given over to Jesus' care? Perhaps loved ones, your job, finances...? Why not release these to Him today? There's not a better time or chapter in all the Bible!

 There is much more I could share, but I think it’s significant to close like the, “four living creatures saying, “Amen.” And the elders falling down and worshiping.” He alone is worthy! He is the “Lamb that was slain” for us, now standing before the Father. The only one worthy to take the scroll from The Father’s hand! O come let us adore Him, let us bow down before Him...