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Do We Give Our Lives For Him?

SIH HALTAL ICONRev 2:13 KJV   I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.

 

 

For the SIH devotional on this subject:

http://wp.me/pU88A-3On

The Revelation Of Jesus Christ: “Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you “

SIH TOTT ICONRev 2:13 KJV   I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.

 

Antipas, a faithful member of the church at Pergamos, was faithful to His Lord….even unto death.  What an awesome display of faithfulness and self-sacrificial love for our Lord and Savior.  What a great honor to give back to Him, in a very small, insignificant way, for the great sacrifice He made for us on the cross.  To be called upon to give our lives for the cause of Christ is truly a privilege.  However, the opportunity to give our physical lives for Christ may never be opened to us.

Is there any other way that we can sacrifice our lives to Him for all He has done for us?  Hebrews 13:13-16 gives us the answer to our question…

“Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.  For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.  By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.  But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”

By continually praising Him with our lips, pleasing Him with our actions, and being charitable to those in need we can be living sacrifices for the Lord’s honor and glory.  Think about it, instead of giving our physical lives through the act of death, we can give our physical lives through words of praise, pleasing the Lord with our actions and meeting the needs of others around us.

 

This is what Paul is speaking of when he describes our need to be “living sacrifices” to the Lord…

Rom 12:1 KJV –  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

Note that Paul tells us that offering our lives as a living sacrifice is simply our “reasonable service”.  Why is this?  It is because, when we consider the great sacrifice He made on our behalf … i.e. coming to this fallen world, giving up the exercise of His divine attributes, suffering great temptation, persecution and false accusations, being put to public shame, giving His life on the cross, being separated from His Father as He bore our sins etc… it is only logical and rational that we would be willing to give our lives for Him.

Whether through martyrdom, or acts of praise and service to Christ and others, may we all be ever willing to give of ourselves as the opportunity arises.  By doing this, we will be bringing honor and glory to the One who has given so much for us…

1Pe 1:18-21 KJV –  “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;  
But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:   Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, 
Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.”

 

May the Lord bless us as we seek to serve Him, the One that is so clearly revealed to us in the book of   the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

For an in depth look at this section of the Revelation:

http://wp.me/pU88A-3MO

Do We Cling To His Name Or Just Brush It Off?

SIHs HALTAL ICON RevChristRev 2:13 KJV   I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.

 

For the SIH devotional on this subject:

http://wp.me/pU88A-3Of

The Revelation Of Jesus Christ: “Thou holdest fast thy name, and hast not denied my faith”

SIH TOTT ICONRev 2:13 KJV   I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.

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What a wonderful commendation to hear from the lips of our Lord!  To know that we have faithfully grabbed and held tight to His name and did not disowned the doctrinal truths we have learned!

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This should be our ultimate goal in this life, to remain faithful to our Lord through a consistent Christian testimony based upon the truths of His Word.  How do we hold fast to these things when we live in the midst of a sin-sick fallen world?   2 Timothy 1:12-14 gives us the three keys to retaining a Christian testimony in the eyes of others…

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2Ti 1:12-14 KJV – For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.   Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.   That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.

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Keys to consistent testimony in eyes of others:

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1.  I know whom I  have believed – Possession of an unwavering reliance upon Christ.  None of us will remain faithful to the Lord of our own abilities, but we know that as we rely upon Christ we can do all things for Him.

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2.  am persuaded that He is able…that day – Absolute confidence He will keep His present and future promises .  His current promises of protection and enablement, along with His promises of future blessings and rewards throughout eternity, we will be motivated to remain faithful to Him.

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3.  keep by the Holy Ghost   –  Indwelling Spirit’s enabling.  Recognition of the existence of the Lord’s presence and empowerment through the indwelling Spirit, we can find peace and security knowing He is ever with us and enabling us.

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Folks, these are the keys that will enable us to be like the church members of Pergamos… holding fast to the name of Christ while affirming the truths of His Word.   May we all keep in the forefront of our mind the need to rely upon Christ, knowing He will fulfill His many promises to us, through the Holy Spirit who is constantly indwelling us.

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May the Lord bless us as we seek to serve Him, the One that is so clearly revealed to us in the book of   the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

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For an in depth look at this section of the Revelation:

http://wp.me/pU88A-3MO

The Lord Uses His Word To Accomplish His Purposes In The Hearts Of Men…

SIH HALTAL ICONRev 2:12 KJV  And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;

 

For the SIH devotional on this subject:

http://wp.me/pU88A-3O8

The Revelation Of Jesus Christ: “he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;”

SIH TOTT ICON

Rev 2:12 KJV  And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;

 

In the letter to the church at Pergamos, the Lord describes Himself as “he which hath the sharp sword with two edges. “  As we have seen in a prior devotion, this sharp two-edged sword is a symbolic representation of the Word of God.  This is not the only place where the Word is described as a sword…

Heb 4:12-13 KJV – “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.   Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.”

In this Hebrews passage we can learn much more about the Word and why it is symbolized as a two-edged sword.  Please notice the main points of this passage…

The Word of God is pictured as a sword because it’s work involves:

  1. piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, - can clearly separate between physical and spiritual natures of a man
  2. piercing even to the dividing asunder of the joints and marrow – can clearly separate between the joints and marrow of which they are made
  3. a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart – can clearly reveal the calculations and motives taking place in the mind

In all the above the basic idea is that the Word can clearly divide, expose and bring to recognition the most intimate, secret and personal aspects of the human being.    It is much like a scalpel being used by a doctor to open the patient and reveal the innermost body parts and their condition.

 

No one can fool the Word of God.  When an individual uses the Word for self-examination, he will be able to clearly see his innermost condition.   When brought into the light of the Word all sinfulness and depravity are brought into clear view.  This is why we are told that the lost “will not come to the light”…

Joh 3:19-21 KJV – And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.   For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.    But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

 

Folks, may we always be willing to open up ourselves using God’s Word to expose and bring to our mind the sin that we harbor in our lives.  Once the see our sin in the light of the Word may we confess it and turn from it, relying on the Lord to cleanse us and give us victory over it.

It is only through this process that we may keep ourselves “unto honour, sanctified, meet for the Master’s work , and prepared unto every good work”…

2Ti 2:19-21 KJV  – Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.   But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.    If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.

 

May the Lord bless us as we seek to serve Him, the One that is so clearly revealed to us in the book of   the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

For an in depth look at this section of the Revelation:

http://wp.me/pU88A-3MO

The People Of God Have Overcome The Second Death

SIH HALTAL ICON

Rev 2:11 KJV  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.

For the SIH devotional on this subject:

http://wp.me/pU88A-3O1

 

Revelation 2:12-17:“Christ’s Letter To The Church At Pergamos”

SIH STSTA ICONTHE TEXT:  The Letter To Pergamos…

Rev 2:12-17 KJV (12)  And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; (13)  I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth. (14)  But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. (15)  So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. (16)  Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. (17)  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

 

THE INTRODUCTION:

From our previous lesson, we saw a very basic summary of the contents of these letters include:

Church Location Name Meaning Areas of Faithfulness Areas of Unfaithfulness Possible Punishment Reward To Overcomers (proof of genuine salvation)
Ephesus Desired or Allowed Many areas of faithful outward service.  Hate doctrine of Nicolaitanes. Left first love (Christ)Service not motivated by love for Christ. Removal of candlestick (church no longer enjoying fellowship w God) Eat of Tree of Life in Paradise
Smyrna Myrrh Spiritually rich N/A N/A Not hurt by second death
Pergamos Fortified Tower Faithfulness in face of persecution Allowing doctrine of Balaam and Nicolaitans(physical and spiritual fornication) Will war against those who hold false teaching Be given hidden manna and white stone with new name
Thyatira Sacrifice, Offering, Corpse Works of love, service, faith, patience False Prophetess in midst. (sexual immorality and idol worship) Sickness, tribulation and death upon her and her followers. Be given power over the nations
Sardis Depart, Escape, Exit A few faithful areas of service remain. A few faithful members remain. Testimony that they are spiritually alive but really dead.  Their works not “perfect” before God. Will come upon them as a thief (implied removing anything of value leaving spiritually destitute) White garments.  Name not blotted out of book, confess his name before the Father
Philadelphia Love Of The Brethren Kept Word not denied name of Christ. Persevered in trials N/A N/A Permanent pillar in temple of God.  Name of God and New Jerusalem upon them. New name given to them
Laodicea Judgment Of The People N/A Lukewarm service.  Blinded to their spiritual destitution. Spew out of Lord’s mouth. Rebuking and chastening from Lord. Sit with Christ in throne.

Beginning in chapter 2 through chapter 3, John writes personalized messages to the 7 churches.  Each message contains four basic parts:

  1. Description of Christ
  2. Commendation for faithfulness and consequences
  3. Exposing unfaithfulness and consequences
  4. Promise to Overcomers

The first of these personalized messages is written to the church at Pergamos.

1. Description of Christ (v 12)

2. Commendation for faithfulness and consequences (v 13)

3. Exposing unfaithfulness and consequences (v 14-16)

4. Promise to Overcomers (v 17)

 

THE EXPOSITORY STUDY:  

Revelation 2: –    

(12)  And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write;

This letter is addressed to the members of the local church at Pergamos. Pergamos was filled with citizens that worshipped the sun God Zeus (which had begun with Egypt with the worship of RA and then in Babylon with the worship of Baal).  The altar dedicated to Zeus was located in the city.

It is believed by many that the pagans of Pergamos choose to gradually assimilate themselves (and their beliefs) into the church at Pergamos instead of opposing the church and seeking to overcome it with violence.  Based upon the contents of this letter, it seems that they were successful in joining with the church, but unsuccessful in persuading the church to join them in their idolatrous beliefs and practices.   

 

These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;

Christ describes himself as “he which hath a sharp sword with two edges”.  This points us to Christ’s Word and its ability to destroy the enemies of Christ.  We find Christ using this sword in Revelation to judge and devour His enemies in Rev 19:11-21.

Many times we think of the Word as being an instrument used by the Lord to deliver salvation to His people.  However, we need to also realize that, the very same Word that saves us from our sins is also a tool of judgment that is used by our Lord to destroy His enemies (Isaiah 11:4, 2 Thessalonians 2:8).  This is the symbolism of the sword found in this letter (v 16).

The very same powerful Word that spoke all of creation into existence, is the same powerful Word that can work salvation into the hardest of man’s hearts and is the same Word that can defeat the most wicked of those who oppose Christ.  This is the basic principle behind the Lord’s Word being pictured as a two-edged sword.  

(13)  I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.

The Lord now lists for the church several areas of faithfulness that they are exhibiting in their service to Him:

1. works, – their acts of service to Christ

2. where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: – they were located at the seat the sun worship of Babylon and Egypt

3. thou holdest fast my name, –  they retained the name of Christ and continued to associate themselves with Him even though efforts were being made to persuade them to worship Zeus.

4. hast not denied my faith,…who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth. – They not only kept the name of Christ but also continued to keep the Bible truths and practices.

Antipas (“against all”) was a man who was willing to stand fast against all of the false worship taking place in the city.  Because of that, he gave his life for the cause of Christ and the furtherance of the truths of God’s Word.    

 

(14)  But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. Christ now exposes the sin that existed in their midst.  They were allowing those who had never repented of their worship of Zeus to join and then continue in their membership.  Instead of exercising church discipline to remove them from their membership, they allowed them to stay and continue in their heathen beliefs and practices.

Please note: the pagan worshippers are described as: 1. them that hold the doctrine of Balaam (“destroyer of the people”) – Balaam deceived the Israelite men (through use of Moabite women) to worship idols at Baal-Peor, leading them astray from the true God. (Numbers 25:1-18 and Numbers 31:16) 2. who taught Balac – Balac was the king who had been counseled by Balaam in the idolatry of Baal-Peor (Nums

  1. to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, – the teachings of these pagans was intended to “trip up” the Christians at Pergamos
  2. to eat things sacrificed unto idols, – the church at Pergamos was to abstain from eating meats sacrificed to idols due to their location among idol worshippers. By eating the meat, it would APPEAR as if they were approving of idol-worship and actually partaking of idol worship.  This would serve to confuse those around them and trip up weaker Christians in their midst. (1 Corinthians 8:4-13)  This is why the pagans were trying to persuade them to eat of the meat.
  3. to commit fornication. – to commit fornication with the temple prostitutes as a part of the idolatry. Also, by worshipping false Gods, the pagans would be enticing the Christians to commit acts of spiritual uncleanness.

 

(15)  So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.

Nicolaitan (“conqueror of the people”), was the NT version of the OT Baalam.  In both cases, the promotion of the idolatrous worship and teachings is in view.  Those who believed in this sinful doctrine were included in the membership of the church.  Instead of dealing with them, by removing them from the membership, they put up with them in their membership.    

 

(16)  Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

The Lord’s instructions to them was to “repent”, this includes changing their minds about those idolatrous members, then forsaking their sin by disciplining them in a Scriptural fashion, and finally determining in their hearts to properly guard their membership from this point forward. The Lord further explained that, if they ignore repentance for this grave sin, the Lord would take matters in His own hands. By doing this, He is saying He would deal with both the believing and unbelieving members of the assembly.

He describes His dealings with the believing members as “coming unto” the church, in other words, He would send His chastening hand upon them in discipline to bring them back to obedience. He describes His dealings with the idolatrous unbelievers as “I will fight against them”, in other words, He would actively oppose and judge them using the power of His Word.  (Perhaps, this is speaking of the Lord raising up Godly teachers who would reveal their heresies which would eventually drive them out of the assembly.)

 

(17)  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

The wonderful promise given to the believing members of the church… For those who are victorious over the dark forces of the world, the Lord will give to them “hidden manna”.   This is speaking of the Lord giving to His people a type of nourishment that cannot be seen in this temporal world…. a more intimate relationship with Him.  In other words, in eternity the Lord will give to His people a much greater knowledge of Himself and a much greater communion with Himself (1 Cor 13:12).

He will also give to the overcomers a “white stone” with a “new name” written upon it.   White and black stones were used to vote or choose.  (Note In Acts 26:10 – “voice” is word for pebble). The white stone was a sign of acceptance, selection, or acquittal… the black stone rejection, to cast off, or guilty. In this case, the white stone given to the overcomer is an outward declaration he has been chosen by God to salvation and is given admission to eternal glory.

The “new name” is probably speaking of a new name for Christ, the One who selected and invited us into glory.  It is displaying who “owned” or cast this vote.  The name represents new titles for (truths about) Christ being revealed to His people in eternity. (Rev 19:12-13).  He is given a new name in eternity as the veil is taken off our eyes and we see Him as He truly is (1 John 3:2).

Another popular view is that the “new name” is the name of the recipient of the stone.  It would be the name of the one who has overcome.  If this is the case, then it would be described as a “new name” that only the recipient knew because a person’s true spiritual standing before God can only be known by that person and God Himself.  A person’s salvation can NEVER be known with CERTAINTY by another individual.    

CHRIST REVEALED: In this section of Scripture, we can see Christ, as the ultimate Judge and Warrior who promises to come back to the earth someday judging the evil that is committed. We can also see Christ as the Holy One who cannot overlook evil, but deals with wickedness in the lives of the lost through His hand of wrath and in the lives of the saved by His hand of chastening.    

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION (SUMMARY)

Our Lord hates wickedness, we can see that through His promised dealings among the lost and saved in the church at Pergamos.  Because of His hatred of sin, it is very important that His people are on constant guard to not allow it in our lives.   But sadly, because we are fallen creatures, sin will slip into our lives.  When it does, the Lord has given us repentance as the means with which to deal with that sin. May we all hate sin, reject it, and when it slips into our lives, repent of it.  By doing these things, we can have confidence that the Lord’s hand of chastening will not come upon us.   

May the Lord bless us as we seek to see Jesus in the pages of the book of Revelation.  

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The Revelation Of Jesus Christ: “He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death”

SIH TOTT ICONRev 2:11 KJV  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.

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Keep in mind, one of the great blessings of a genuine salvation experience is receiving the ultimate victory of the powers of darkness of this world (i.e. Satan and demons, temptations, the dominance of the sin nature, and the influence of the lost mankind etc etc).   Because of this promise of victory, the believer is described as an “overcomer”…

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1Jn 5:4-5 KJV – For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.  Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

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A part of the Lord’s letter to the church at Smyrna includes a very special promise to overcomers.  It is promised that they “shall not be hurt of the second death”.  What is the second death?  The “second death” involves the resurrection, judgment, and eternal consignment to the Lake of Fire for all lost mankind…

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Rev 20:13-15 KJV – And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.  And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

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Rev 21:8 KJV – But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

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Folks, when the Lord promises to overcomers they will not “be hurt of the second death”, He is promising that they will never be found guilty for the sins they have committed and will never face eternal judgment in the Lake of Fire for those sins.

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How can this be?  How can fallen, sinful mankind be proclaimed innocent of the sins they have committed?  This all takes place based upon Christ’s shed blood which can cover the most heinous of sins and pay the price for the most wicked of deeds.  The blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin…

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1Jn 1:7 KJV –  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

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As Christians, may we never forget this truth.  It is only through the sacrificial shed blood of Christ that we were cleansed from our sins and delivered from the wrath to come.   Through His death we were given eternal life.  As Christians, we owe Him our all.

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Lost mankind is in desperate need of Christ’s shed blood as well.  May we always remember, the first priority in our relationship with others who are lost is to share Christ with them.   We can do this in many ways, we can tell them of Christ through our words, we can show them Christ through our actions, we can recount  our personal experience of Christ, we can invite them to our church, we can recommend Bible teaching radio and tv ministries to them,  the list is seemingly endless.

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For those who have never experienced God’s saving grace in their lives, may they see their sinful condition, become sorrowful for their sins and recognize their need to turn from them, recognize the truth about Christ’s person and work and turn to Him, and by faith accept Him as their Lord and Savior.

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May the Lord bless us as we seek to serve Him, the One that is so clearly revealed to us in the book of   the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

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For an in depth look at this section of the Revelation:

http://wp.me/pU88A-3LW

Are We Prepared For Persecution In Our Life?

SIH HALTAL ICONRev 2:10 KJV  Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

 

 

For the SIH devotional on this subject:

http://wp.me/pU88A-3NC

The Revelation Of Jesus Christ: “be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life”

SIH TOTT ICONRev 2:10 KJV  Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

A continuing theme throughout the letters to the churches, and the entire book of Revelation, is the Christians’ willingness to give their life for their Lord.  In this case, the church at Smyrna is given encouragement as they faced imprisonment, trials, tribulations and the possibility of martyrdom in His service.

Christ, during His earthly ministry, warned His followers of these types of persecutions when He said…
And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and [some] of you shall they cause to be put to death.  And ye shall be hated of all [men] for my name’s sake.  But there shall not an hair of your head perish.  In your patience possess ye your souls.”  (Luke 21:16-19)

 

Please notice in this passage several truths concerning the persecution and martyrdom of God’s people:

And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends;

Some of the most difficult of persecutions is when family, friends and other loved ones oppose us in our service for Christ.  Any persecution for our faith is difficult to bear, but when it comes from those we love and hold dear to us it can be seemingly overwhelming for us.

 

 and [some] of you shall they cause to be put to death. 

Here, Christ clearly warns that some of His followers would be called upon to lose their life to remain faithful to their Lord.  In the context of this passage, “they” (the ones who would cause the Christian to be put to death) refer to the ones who are the very closest to the Christian.  How hurtful and difficult that is for anyone to face.

 

And ye shall be hated of all [men] for my name’s sake. 

These differing forms of persecution would take place due to hatred in the heart of fallen mankind.

 

But there shall not an hair of your head perish. 

How can the Lord say this… He has just warned us that we will face various types of persecution, including death?

The key is to understand the word “perish”.  To “perish” means to utterly destroy or to lose permanently.  Folks whatever we may lose on this earth in the name of Christ will be restored to us in eternity…
And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.   (Matthew 19:29)

There is nothing that is sacrificed for the Lord in this world that will not be recognized and rewarded throughout eternity.

 

In your patience possess ye your souls.

It is through the Christian’s patience endurance during times of great affliction that gives public proof for all to see of a genuine salvation experience and dedication to Jesus as Lord and Savior of their life…
Mar 13:13 KJV   And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

 

“Possess your souls” or “gain your physical life”… by using our physical lives to patiently serve our Lord, will result in eternal gain on our behalf.   This gain is described as “the crown of life” or eternal rewards (treasure) in heaven.    This stands in stark contrast to the lost man who wastes his physical life and, therefore, loses it throughout eternity by forsaking the wondrous inheritance of God, and suffering forever in the Lake of Fire.

May we all see the need to be “living sacrifices” for Christ.  In doing so, we become wonderful testimonies of His grace on earth and we gain eternal rewards for our glorified life on the New Earth.

May the Lord bless us as we seek to serve Him, the One that is so clearly revealed to us in the book of   the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

 

For an in depth look at this section of the Revelation:

http://wp.me/pU88A-3LW

Be still my soul… the Lord is on our side…

SIH HALTAL ICONRev 2:10 KJV  Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

 

For the SIH devotional on this subject:

http://wp.me/pU88A-3Nv

 

The Revelation Of Jesus Christ: “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer:…”

SIH TOTT ICONRev 2:10 KJV  Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

 

 

 

The church at Smyrna suffered greatly at the hands of those who opposed Christ.  They were pressured on every side, poverty stricken, and faced those who proclaimed a false gospel message of salvation through the law and physical lineage.   They had much to fear.  What a blessing it was for them to hear the words of Christ… “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer”!  What a blessing for us as well.

We all, to varying degrees, face fearful times in our lives.  This fear can be the greatest opposition we face in our service for Christ.   But even in the midst of our greatest fears, if we have trusted in Him as our Lord and Savior, He whisperers into our ears… “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee”.    With this great promise in our hearts, we can face anything that may come upon us, as we cry out “The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Hebrews 13:5-6).

This is the peace and security that a Christian possesses.  We have the Almighty Creator of the Universe watching over us, accompanying us, and bringing to pass what is for our good and His glory.  Out of appreciative hearts may we all submit to His will for our lives (including the fearful times) and seek to do His will, knowing He cares…

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:  Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”   (1 Peter 5:6-7)

 

May the Lord bless us as we seek to serve Him, the One that is so clearly revealed to us in the book of   the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

For an in depth look at this section of the Revelation:

http://wp.me/pU88A-3LW

Are We Relying On “Who We Are” or “What He Has Done” To Save Us From Our Sins?

SIH HALTAL ICONRev 2:9 KJV  I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

 

For the SIH devotional on this subject:

http://wp.me/pU88A-3No

The Revelation Of Jesus Christ: “… them which say they are Jews, and are not,…”

SIH TOTT ICON

Rev 2:9 KJV  I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

 

The people being described in this section of Scripture were physical Jews that did not accept Christ as their Messiah.  They were making a claim that they were members of Jehovah’s nation of Israel and, therefore, had found favor with Him.

 

They were being truthful when they claimed they were a part of the physical nation of Israel, however they were wrong in assuming because of their physical lineage they were accepted by God.   This is where the “blasphemy” came in.  By making a claim that “God accepts people based upon their physical lineage” is a blasphemous statement that demeans the great Lord that we serve.  They were picturing the Lord as a respecter of persons and One that forgave sins based upon the keeping of the OT laws.  No wonder they are charged with blasphemy!

 

Although they were physical Israelites, these unbelievers due to their unbelief were not accepted by God, nor counted as a members of His spiritual nation.  Their sinful condition separated them from their God and their lack of faith in Christ exempted them from the redemptive work of Christ.   In that sense, they were not a part of the people of God and, therefore, they  “say they are Jews, and ARE NOT”.

 

The Lord goes on and describes them as being “of the synagogue of Satan”.  In other words, their religious acts of worship and service were actually furthering the cause of Satan.  Through their proclamation of a false means of acceptance by God (their physical lineage) they were leading men astray and condemning their followers to an eternity in the Lake of Fire.

 

To this day, the unbelieving members of the physical Jewish nation believe their hearts are right with God.   But apart from Jesus Christ’s gracious granting of repentance and belief, they will not be found acceptable in God’s sight.  Apart from them turning to the Lord Jesus Christ through faith in His name, they will be eternally condemned with all others members of fallen mankind.  God is no respecter of persons and, as such, does not save based upon our good works, physical lineage, social status, amount of wealth possessed, level of intelligence, or position of authority we may hold.

 

Folks, we need to always keep in our minds that the only way that any of us can be found acceptable in the sight of God is through faith in Christ and His work on the cross…

 

Eph 2:7-9 KJV

That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.   For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:   Not of works, lest any man should boast.

 

If we have been truly saved, it is ONLY because of the Lord’s gracious intervention in our lives.  We deserve absolutely ZERO “credit” for our salvation… everything that led up to our salvation and that secured our salvation were acts of intervention in our lives by a gracious, Sovereign Lord.

 

May we all serve Him with renewed hearts of thanksgiving, knowing He loves us, died for us,  lead us to repentance and belief in His name, all of which resulted in the eternal deliverance from our debt of sin and the receipt of His eternal inheritance on the New Earth in the New Jerusalem, the home of His spiritual nation… “The Israel of God”…

 

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.  And as many as walk according to this rule, peace [be] on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.

(Galatians 6:15-16)

 

May the Lord bless us as we seek to serve Him, the One that is so clearly revealed to us in the book of   the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

 

For an in depth look at this section of the Revelation:

http://wp.me/pU88A-3LW

Beware The Winepress Of The Wrath Of God…

SIH HALTAL ICONHeb 10:13 KJV  From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.

Christ as Sovereign King of Kings and Lord of Lords will, someday, trample down all His enemies.

 

 

Rev 19:11-16 KJV   And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.    His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.   And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.   And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.   And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.  And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

 

http://settledinheaven.wordpress.com

http://www.settledinheaven.org

 

 

 

Are We Spiritually Rich Or Poverty Stricken?

SIH HALTAL ICONRev 2:9 KJV  I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

 

For the SIH devotional on this subject:

http://wp.me/pU88A-3Nf

The Revelation Of Jesus Christ: I know thy poverty, (but thou art rich)…

SIH TOTT ICONRev 2:9 KJV  I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

 

How can it be that the members of the church at Smyrna can be said to be in “poverty”, and yet be “rich”?   For us to understand this statement, it is important to remember its context.  Please keep in mind that this statement is part of a list of good qualities that the church possesses.   Understanding the context of this statement begs us to ask the question …

How can being in poverty be pleasing to the Lord?  The reason for their physical destitution holds the key to the answer.  Smyrna remained faithful to the Lord in the face of great persecution.  One of the many ways the lost world persecuted them was by shunning them economically.   This brought upon the church great poverty while the lost enjoyed worldly prosperity.   This is what made their poverty commendable in God’s sight.    They willingly chose to forsake material wealth for the sake of their testimony of Christ.

There is yet another question we need to answer… If they are poor and destitute, how can the Lord describe them as “rich”? Although this church was materially poor and needy,  they were spiritually wealthy in Christ, both now and in the ages to come. As they faithfully served the Lord, their faithfulness in putting Christ first was displaying that they possessed the Godly riches of:  the Word, spiritual discernment, a heart of dedication to Christ, and unity within the church.  All of these were of great, current value for the church members who were pursuing Godliness.

But they were also spiritually rich for the eternity that awaited them.  Because of their commitment to Christ, they were “laying up in store” rewards that will be of great spiritual wealth throughout eternity.

 

Folks, may we all remember this  very important principle:  By being willing to give up all this world has to offer to follow our Lord, we will receive overflowing blessings of spiritual wealth in this world and in the world to come….

Mark 10:28-30 – Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee.   And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s,   But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.

 

May the Lord bless us as we seek to serve Him, the One that is so clearly revealed to us in the book of   the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

For an in depth look at this section of the Revelation:

http://wp.me/pU88A-3LW

Does Our Life Tell Others We Are Victorious Over This World?

SIH HALTAL ICONRev 2:7 KJV  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

For the SIH devotional on this subject:

http://wp.me/pU88A-3N7

Revelation 2:8-11:“Christ’s Letter To The Church At Smyrna”

SIH STSTA ICON

THE TEXT:

 

The Letter To Smyrna…

 

 

Rev 2:8-11 KJV

(8)  And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;

(9)  I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

(10)  Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

(11)  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.

 

 

 

THE INTRODUCTION:

 

From our previous lesson, we saw a very basic summary of the contents of these letters include:

 

Church Location Name Meaning Areas of Faithfulness Areas of Unfaithfulness Possible Punishment Reward To Overcomers (proof of genuine salvation)
Ephesus Desired or Allowed Many areas of faithful outward service.  Hate doctrine of Nicolaitanes. Left first love (Christ)Service not motivated by love for Christ. Removal of candlestick (church no longer enjoying fellowship w God) Eat of Tree of Life in Paradise
Smyrna Myrrh Spiritually rich N/A N/A Not hurt by second death
Pergamos Fortified Tower Faithfulness in face of persecution Allowing doctrine of Balaam and Nicolaitans(physical and spiritual fornication) Will war against those who hold false teaching Be given hidden manna and white stone with new name
Thyatira Sacrifice, Offering, Corpse Works of love, service, faith, patience False Prophetess in midst. (sexual immorality and idol worship) Sickness, tribulation and death upon her and her followers. Be given power over the nations
Sardis Depart, Escape, Exit A few faithful areas of service remain. A few faithful members remain. Testimony that they are spiritually alive but really dead.  Their works not “perfect” before God. Will come upon them as a thief (implied removing anything of value leaving spiritually destitute) White garments.  Name not blotted out of book, confess his name before the Father
Philadelphia Love Of The Brethren Kept Word not denied name of Christ. Persevered in trials N/A N/A Permanent pillar in temple of God.  Name of God and New Jerusalem upon them. New name given to them
Laodicea Judgment Of The People N/A Lukewarm service.  Blinded to their spiritual destitution. Spew out of Lord’s mouth. Rebuking and chastening from Lord. Sit with Christ in throne.

 

 

 

Beginning in chapter 2 through chapter 3, John writes personalized messages to the 7 churches.  Each message contains four basic parts:

  1. Description of Christ
  2. Commendation for faithfulness and consequences
  3. Exposing unfaithfulness and consequences
  4. Promise to Overcomers

 

The first of these personalized messages is written to the church at Smyrna.

  1. Description of Christ (v 8)
  2. Commendation for faithfulness and consequences (v 9-10)
  3. Exposing unfaithfulness and consequences (NA)
  4. Promise to Overcomers (v 11)

 

 

 

THE EXPOSITORY STUDY:

 

Revelation 2: –

(8)  And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; 

John now writes this personalized letter to the church at Smyrna.  Smyrna was a port city that contained both Jewish and Gentile citizens.  It is believed that the church at Smyrna first faced opposition at the hands of Jewish unbelievers who disagreed with their acceptance of Christ as the promised Messiah and, later, at the hands of the Roman government who imprisoned and martyred many of its members.

 

These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;

Once again, John points back to his previous vision of Christ (1:17-18).  This portion of the description of Christ teaches us that He was the beginning and ending of all things and that He was also the One who was crucified and rose again. Christ, our Creator, was willing to suffer and die for us.  What better example could be set for those who would be called upon to suffer for Him.

Note that the resurrection of Jesus proves to us that:

1. He is the promised Messiah (the One sent to be the Savior of the world)

2. His work was accepted by His Father in heaven (He successfully completed the work necessary for the salvation of His people)

3. He was Victor/Lord of sin and death (He is exalted to the position of King of Kings and Lord of Lords resulting from His faithfulness to His Father’s will)

Here, Christ is centering on the descriptions that reveal Himself as Lord/Victor over all the powers of darkness after suffering and dying for the ones He loved.  This is a very important point to stress to the Smyrna church that was faced with persecution on every side from both Jews and Romans.

 

(9)  I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

The Lord now begins to list for the members of the Smyrna church the many areas of faithfulness that exhibited in their service to Him:

1. works – their acts of service to Him

2. tribulation – the trials they faced from every side

3. poverty (but thou art rich) – the financial hardships they faced due to their stand for Christ, but they were spiritually rich in Christ.

4. blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are of the synagogue of Satan – The Jewish unbelievers at Smyrna were blaspheming (speaking ill) of God, by denying Christ as the Messiah.  They claimed to be members of God’s spiritual nation (the Israel of God) but were in actuality worshipping and serving Satan by opposing the truths of God held forth by this Smyrna church.

 

Please note that the Lord had faced a similar type of unbelieving Jew during His earthly ministry, Joh 8:30-47 KJV…

As he spake these words, many believed on him.  Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;  And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?

Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.  And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.  If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.  I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you.  I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.

They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father.

Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.  But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.  Ye do the deeds of your father.

Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.

Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.  Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.

Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.  And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.

Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?  He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.

Based upon this teaching by Christ, we can clearly see that those who are of Jewish descent are not considered to be a part of the spiritual Jewish nation if they deny the truths of God.   They are however, considered the servants and worshippers of Satan.  This is the exact type of Jew that was being spoken of in this message to the Smyrna church.

 

(10)  Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

The Lord now looks ahead in time and some events that will be taking place soon after the writing of this message to the Smyrna church.  He warns them of upcoming persecution at the hands of the Roman empire.  This persecution was believed to have taken place over the next few hundred years ending in about 300 AD.

Please note: the phrase “ten days” is referring to “ten periods” of Roman persecutions that took place after this letter was written.  The ten major persecutions of Christians following the writing of Revelation. These include persecutions under the authority of:

 

  1. Domitian
  2. Trojan
  3. Marcus Antoninus
  4. Verus and Lucius
  5. Septimus Severus
  6. Maximinus
  7. Decius
  8. Valerianus
  9. Aurelianus
  10. Dioclesianus

 

 

(Keep in mind, there were many “lesser” persecutions that took place in addition to the above ten major persecutions of Christians in the days of the church of Smyrna.)

 

However, it is important to notice that the number 10 throughout the book of Revelation denotes “many and varied”.  If “10 days” is used symbolically in this verse, the Lord is simply warning the church that there would be many, various periods of persecutions that they would be facing. I believe this is a more likely meaning of the “10 days” of persecutions.

 

One thing is for certain, the “10 days” phrase cannot be talking about a literal ten days.  The church at Smyrna faced multiple persecutions that lasted for years during its existence.

 

The Lord promises them that if they are faithful, even to the point of giving their lives for Him, they would receive a reward of eternal life.   This is another great mark of a truly saved individual.  They are willing to sacrifice their physical life for the sake of furthering the cause of Christ by sharing His Word to those who so desperately need it.

 

(11)  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.

The Lord gives a promise to those who are victors (continuing in faithful service) over the periods of opposition that the church would be facing.  He promises that they would “not be hurt of the second death”.  The second death is speaking of eternal consignment of both body and soul into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:6, 14).  In other words, those who are victorious in times of temptation and opposition are proven to be genuinely saved.  It is those who will experience salvation (deliverance) from an eternity in the Lake of Fire.

 

 

CHRIST REVEALED:

In this section of Scripture, we can see Christ, the Eternal Creator, as the One who gains the ultimate victory over Satan, sin, the sinful powers of this world, and death itself.  It is because of this, we can look forward to being graced with the ability to be overcomers over tribulation and opposition in this world and kept eternally secure from eternal punishment in the world to come.

 

 

 

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION (SUMMARY)

Our Lord is the Victor over the powers of darkness of this world.  As His children, through His empowerment, we can look forward to enjoying a wonderful eternity with Him.  We should never look at ourselves as a defeated one, but always recognize that we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us…

 

He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? [It is] God that justifieth.   Who [is] he that condemneth? [It is] Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.   Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? [shall] tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

 (Romans 8:32-37)

 

 May the Lord bless us as we seek to see Jesus in the pages of the book of Revelation.

 

 

 

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