Study the Bible in Two Years

Thursday – Revelation 12

1.  A whole new set of visions now begins.  Whose birth does John see in this vision?  Who is the “dragon” that opposes him?  In real life, how did the “dragon” try to devour the child at the time he was born?

2.  John sees a war taking place in heaven, between the good and bad angels.  Some have interpreted this have taken place when Satan first rebelled against God in the first days of the world.  The best interpretation:  this was the battle that took place when Jesus died on the cross and rose again.  Why?  Note the contents of the song. 12:10-12.  And then note what the devil tries to do in 12:13-17.

3.  The woman must represent more than just Mary, the mother of Jesus.  It would make sense she represents the whole nation from which Jesus came, especially the true believers in Jesus among the Jewish nation.  Does the devil succeed?  Who then does he pursue, 12:17?  How does the devil try to sweep us away today?

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Published in: on October 24, 2013 at 2:46 am  Leave a Comment  
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Study the Bible in Two Years

Wednesday – Revelation 11

1.  This chapter is difficult to interpret.  We know this:  ThetempleofGodis the sum of all the believers.   The two witnesses are to remind us of two Old Testament prophets, Elijah and Moses.  See 11:6 for that.  Fire coming from their mouths is the condemning word of God:

“I will make my words in your mouth a fire, and these people the wood it consumes” (Jeremiah  5:14).  These witnesses are killed and the people rejoice!  They are resurrected at the end of the world, which the seventh trumpet announces.

2.  Best interpretation:  The two witnesses stand for all those who testify to Jesus and have died for their faith.  Unbelievers may rejoice when they are dead, but they won’t rejoice anymore on the day of resurrection.  For us: the persecution may be severe, but what can we look forward to on the day of judgment?  See 11:10.

3.  Number symbolism: 42 months = 1260 days = 3 ½ years = time, times and half a time.

This is a symbolic way of depicting the whole Christian era until Christ returns. The number originates in Daniel’s prophecy of the time of Christ (half of the final seven, Dan. 9:27).  From the destruction of the temple to the end of the world is one-half of seven.  The number refers to the broken covenant, and is connected with the false teachers  in the church, led by Satan.  They always break God’s truth in half, give deceptive “half-truths.”  What are some of the half-truths that you need to deal with in our world today?

4. The seventh trumpet finally sounds and John sees what?  What is inside God’s temple in heaven, 11:19?   This had disappeared—it was last mentioned in the days of King Josiah, 625 BC.  It stands for God’s special presence with his people.  Our chapter ends with a description of the last day.

Published in: on October 23, 2013 at 2:45 am  Leave a Comment  
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Study the Bible in Two Years

Tuesday – Revelation 10

1.  Before we get to the seventh trumpet, the Lord wants us to see who is really in charge in the midst of all this trouble, and what is happening to his church on earth. The way this angel is described, who must this be?

2.  John receives some messages from him in the “seven thunders” but he is told not to write them down.  What kinds of things would we like God to tell us, but he hasn’t written them down for us, or doesn’t reveal them?  Why doesn’t he do that?

3.  John eats or digests the little scroll, which is the message that the Lord does want us to have.  It’s the Word of God.  It tastes sweet!!  What is the sweetness?   But later it upsets his stomach.  Why?    (Hint:  How does the messenger feel when the people won’t listen?)

Published in: on October 22, 2013 at 2:43 am  Leave a Comment  
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Study the Bible in Two Years

Monday – Revelation 8-9

1.   Chapters 8-11 are a series of visions centered on the Seven Trumpets.  In Biblical times, trumpets were used to sound a warning, or announce an attack in battle.  In John’s visions, a heavenly angel sounds the trumpet and something bad happens–except for the last one! With the first four trumpets, physical destruction comes on various parts of the earth.  What part of the world is affected by each of these trumpets?  It is interesting to note in 8:11 that the Russian word for “wormwood” isChernobyl.

2.  Trumpets 5-6 bring spiritual danger to people. The “star” that fell to the earth is Satan. When the Gospel was being preached, Jesus said: “I beheld Satan fall as lightning from heaven.” Luke 10:18.  Note that Satan and his forces (locusts) cannot harm whom?  See 9:4.  This is a reference to baptism!

3.  The sixth trumpet releases four evil angels from the region of the Euphrates, which flows through present dayIraq.  They lead 200 million horsemen who ride strange, fire-breathing beasts.  The BEST interpretation is this does not involve actual earthly war at all.  It is the spiritual attack of the Eastern religions, especially Islam with its teaching of “Jihad” or Holy War.  You would think that this attack would lead people back to God!  But what happens?  See 9:20-21.

Published in: on October 21, 2013 at 2:40 am  Leave a Comment  
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Study the Bible in Two Years

Saturday – Revelation 6-7

1.  As Jesus opens each seal on the scroll of the world, something happens.  With the first four, there appears the famous “four horsemen of the apocalypse.”  Apocalypse is the Greek word for “revelation.”   They ride out over all the earth.  The white horse stands for what? See Matthew 24:14.   The red horse?  Matt. 24:6.  The black horse? Matt. 24:7.  The pale (sickly green) horse?  24:8.   Why is it important to see that the good white horse comes first?

2.  Seal Five shows us saints in heaven, waiting for Judgment Day, and that day arrives with seal Six.  Note how this description follows so closely to what Jesus said in Matt. 24:29-30. It is important to understand that each series of visions ends with Judgment Day and is often followed by a vision of heaven.  That’s chapter 7.

3.  Many have misunderstood the 144,000 of Israel.  There is much number symbolism in this book.  12 x 12 x 10 x 10 = 144,000.  Since 10 and 1000 are numbers of completeness, this seems to represent either all the believers in heaven fromIsrael, or even better:  all the believers together.   12 tribes of OT  x 12 apostles of NT.   This is the whole church!  Even better, ponder what heaven is going to mean for you, in 7:15-17.  Savor each phrase!

Published in: on October 19, 2013 at 2:09 am  Leave a Comment  
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Study the Bible in Two Years

Friday – Revelation 4-5

1.  John receives a vision of heaven!  What encircles God’s throne?  4:3. That is a symbol of what?  If you’re not sure, see Genesis 8:12-15.  The “sevenfold” Spirit (see footnote) is a way of describing the complete work of the Holy Spirit in people, as 7 is a number for God and his covenant.  24 elders = 12 tribes of the Old Testament and 12 apostles of the New Testament. The four living creatures (NSEW) around the throne are cherubim, a type of angel. Ezekiel saw the same angels in chapters 1 & 10.  They all praise God for what?  See 4:11

 2.  Chapter 4 was about the Father on his throne, while chapter 5 is all about Jesus.  What names are given to him in 5:5,6?  The scroll is described in 5:1.  It stands for all that the Lord has written down about future events. The seals are wax imprints, which were used to seal a letter.  They keep the scroll closed.  Jesus alone is worthy to do what?  5:9.   Note what he has already done for us because he was “the Lamb who was slain.”

3.  What comfort is there for us in the fact that only Jesus is in charge of the future?

Published in: on October 18, 2013 at 2:08 am  Leave a Comment  
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Study the Bible in Two Years

Thursday – Revelation 3

1. Sardiswas once wealthy and powerful, the home of Aesop and the capital of theKingdomofLydia.  It was ruined in an earthquake in 17 A.D. and never really recovered.   Here was a dying church in a dying city.  Jesus gives it no commendation at all, although there are just a few true believers who are not yet dead spiritually.  What causes a church to be alive on the outside, but be dead inside?

2. Philadelphiawas a small mission congregation, with an open door to preach the Good News to the peoples around them.  It was difficult but they were faithful in what areas? 3:8.

3. Laodiceawas a wealthy trade and banking center.  Businesses included a mint for coins, cloth made from a special black wool, and a medical school which had developed an eye salve used throughout the empire.  It had the luxury of running hot and cold water piped in fromhot springsand the mountains.  Note how Jesus uses all of these facts in his letter!  The church there had many similarities to American churches:  outwardly impressive, growing, active, rich, but neutral on the things that count.  The key word:  LUKEWARM.   What made them lukewarm?  What do we need to be careful about so that don’t make Jesus sick to his stomach?

Published in: on October 17, 2013 at 2:07 am  Leave a Comment  
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Study the Bible in Two Years

Wednesday – Revelation 2

1.  Each of Jesus’ seven letters to the seven churches follow a similar format.  There is a description of Jesus, a word of commendation, a word of criticism, a word of admonition and a closing promise.  Each is addressed to the “angel” of each church, which means messenger. This is probably a reference to the pastor.  In the first letter, toEphesus, what was the first love that they had lost?  What warning is that for us?

2.  In what way was thechurchofSmyrnarich?   What wonderful promise does Jesus give in 2:10?

3.  The Nicolaitans are mentioned in the letters toEphesusandPergamum.  It is uncertain exactly who they are.  We are quite certain that their false teaching was this: As long as you believe, you are saved and you can do anything you want.  Jesus callsPergamumthe “throne of Satan.”  It was the center of emperor worship, the Greek mysteries, the temple of Zeus which was one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world, the center for healing and the god Aesculapius, whose symbol is a snake.  Parchment was invented here and the city had the second largest library in the world.  The believers inPergamumwithstood direct persecution faithfully, but with what were they being subtly infiltrated?

4. Thyatira was an important trade center, and also whereLydiagot started in the purple dye business (Acts 16:13-15).  The Jezebel mentioned here is probably not the real name of the prophetess here, but an illusion to the Jezebel of the Old Testament (II Kings 16-19), who imported and support the sexually immoral worship of Baal.  Her name is a synonym for idolatry and immorality.  Where do we see Jezebels today?

Published in: on October 16, 2013 at 2:05 am  Leave a Comment  
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Study the Bible in Two Years

Tuesday – Revelation 1

Introduction:    It is important to understand that we take the book of Revelation literally, just like the rest of the Bible.  It is literally a set of visions that the Lord gave the apostle John.  Visions have many symbolic elements and need interpretation, just like Jesus’ parables.  Another mistake that people make is to try to read the whole book chronologically. They might think that it starts with John and the churches of his time in Chapters 1-3, and ends with Judgment Day and our new heavenly home in Chapter 22.  In actuality, each set of visions ends with Judgment Day and often a vision of heaven.

1. In his opening praise, how does John describe Jesus in 1:5,6?  Ponder each phrase and think about what that characteristic of Jesus means for you.

2.  Chapter 1 gives us the background of what was happening to the author when the Lord gave him the series of visions.  John had been inEphesus, but was exiled because the Roman emperor Domitian had started a severe persecution of Christians, in the 90’s AD.  Now where is he?  To whom is John originally supposed to send this book?   You can find all these churches on a map of Asia Minor, which is present-dayTurkey.

3.  John receives a vision of Jesus, standing among seven lampstands.  The end of the chapter helps us interpret some of the things he sees.  What does it mean that the Lord has a sharp double-edged sword coming out of his mouth?  See Hebrews 4:12.

Published in: on October 15, 2013 at 2:02 am  Leave a Comment  
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Study the Bible in Two Years

Monday – Zechariah 13-14

1.  We see Jesus again in 13:1. How is this fulfilled?   Does this remind you of a Lenten hymn?

2.  13:7 is also about Jesus!   It’s fulfillment is quoted in Matthew 26:31 and Mark 14:27.

The second half of this prophecy refers to what will happen to those inJerusalem.   “Two-thirds” fall away and eventually perish. The faithful “one-third” is refined as in a fire, to purify their faith.   Agree/Disagree:  The church that preaches and follows God’s Word faithfully will always grow.

3.  Chapter 14 is Zechariah’s last mysterious message, which parallels Revelation in its imagery.  The People’s Bible explains: It is obvious that the Lord is speaking figuratively in this last chapter when he speaks of mountains splitting, of days without light, of time with no cold or frost, when the normal course of nature is reversed with light coming at evening, of living water, of bells on horses and cooking pots in God’s house. (p.117)  The imagery takes us to the last Great Day when Jesus returns!  Ponder the key verse – 14:9!   Every knee shall bow to Him!!

Published in: on October 14, 2013 at 2:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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