Saturday, November 26, 2016

"MY REWARD IS WITH ME"

Jesus said this: “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.” (Revelation 22:12 NAS).

When Jesus speaks of bringing his reward, what is it that he means? Other Bible translations use the word recompense instead of reward. The two words in some ways may be synonymous, but in my way of understanding, the word reward has a meaning that makes it seem more like winning a prize. Recompense, on the other hand, seems more to me to carry the meaning of compensation for work done or for service. It is the second of these that is closer to the meaning that Jesus intended.

“I am bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done” (ESV).

At another time, when Jesus was with his disciples, he told them this: 

If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds. (Matthew 16:24-27 NAS italics mine). 

It is clear that at least here, Jesus is talking about payment, as we would normally think of when we think of earning a wage. Indeed, this is very close to the meaning of the word that Jesus spoke in our verse in Revelation 22:12. The very literal meaning of the word (misthos) actually is “wages.” James uses the very same word when he speaks of the pay or the wages for the laborers (James 5:4). 

The Ol’ 9 to 5

When I was going to the university, I also worked part time in a factory. There, every two weeks  on a Friday, my foreman would walk around the factory floor with a handful of envelopes. One by one he would stop at each work station and hand the man or woman working there one of the envelopes that he carried with him. My own work station was near the end of the long building, and I could see him stop at each place as he made his way down the building. Each worker would brighten a little when he handed them the envelope, and very soon rip it open to look inside.

What was in there? It was their wages, of course. It was payday! We had worked for two weeks and now we were to be rewarded for that work. 

The Day that Jesus Comes Around
(to continue reading, press the READ MORE BUTTON below)

Friday, November 18, 2016

BLOOD WHITE IN COLOR

Even as children we all have a sense of justice. “Jimmy’s piece of cake is bigger than mine! It’s not fair!”

Things ought to be fair. What is more, we feel that someone who does wrong must in some way “pay” for his wrongdoing. If someone causes harm or damage, they are responsible to make things right.

This sense of justice is universal. The standards about right and wrong may vary from culture to culture, and the specifics of the transgressions and the reparations may change over time, but everyone has some sort of sense what is or what is not fair. We all have our own view about how a just society should conduct itself. We all have an opinion about what is right.

Inherited from God

There are two separate words in English for justice and righteousness, but in the Bible there is a single word for both of these.[1] The Bible treats the two as the same. To be just is to be righteous. Each of us may have our own interpretation of the specifics of what is just and right, but all agree that that there are standards.

Where does this universal sense of justice come from? Why is it that we all have some sort of idea about what is right and what is wrong? It seems to be hardwired into our DNA.(to continue reading, please press the READ MORE button below)

Saturday, November 12, 2016

DECISIONS IN THE FINAL DAYS

These are words from the Apostle John in the book of Revelation, chapter 22 and verse 10: “And he said to me, ‘Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.’”

On the isle of Patmos, John had seen and heard many things pertaining to the end of the first things. The first things are what we know now – the first heaven and the first earth. John, in his vision, saw also the ushering in of the new things, that is, the New Heaven and New Earth. In this last of his visions given in the book, that is, when he saw the throne room of God, the first heaven and earth had already passed away. We also saw earlier how he also witnessed the holy city, the New Jerusalem, descending from heaven.

I am sure that it was to the best of his ability that John described all these things to us. But as I mentioned at various times earlier, he was working with some substantial disadvantages. First of all, he saw creatures that defied description and witnessed events that surpassed any human understanding. He was shown buildings and formations unlike any that that he had ever before seen. Several times in the book of Revelation, John himself had to be given an explanation for what he was witnessing, since he had no understanding about it whatsoever.

These were only the first of his problems... (to continue reading press READ MORE button below)

Saturday, November 5, 2016

“DO NOT WORSHIP ME”

(I am currently writing a series on the last two chapters of the Bible. These chapters are the only two in the entire Bible that are dedicated exclusively to telling us what eternity will be like for the believers in Christ)*****************

Here are some words of John that he wrote near the end of the book of Revelation: 

I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed me these things. But he said to me, “Do not do that. I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren the prophets and of those who heed the words of this book. Worship God!” (Revelation 22:8-9 NAS).

Throughout the entire book of Revelation, John had seen very many things that were actually quite impossible for him to understand. He had been given the task to write down and describe what he saw, which was also for him an almost impossible task since what he witnessed was in many ways beyond description. With all that he had been shown and with the job that he had been given to do, I am sure that John must have been in a constant state of wonderment and awe.

In the two verses that I have just quoted above, I think that when John is referring to the things that he had heard and had seen, he is speaking specifically about his vision of heaven and of the throne room of God. The glory of God that he had seen in that place must have filled him to overflowing with praise – so much so that he fell down to worship at the feet of the angel that had shown all of the things to him.

“Don’t do that!” The angel told him. “I am only a fellow servant just like you. Worship God!” 

Correction Number One

John, being in such a state of astonishment by what he had seen and heard, and with the angel, who himself had a rather other-worldly appearance, it was almost a natural response for John to bow down before him. The angel needed to help John direct his worship correctly.

This actually was not the first time that John had to be corrected in this manner. (To continue, please press the READ MORE button below)