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The center of the Traditional Anglican Communion; adhering to the Holy Bible (KJV) in all matters of Faith and Doctrine, a strict reliance on the Thirty Nine Articles of Religion, The two Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion, the Two Creeds, and the Homilies and formularies of the Reformation Church of England.

Verse of the Day

Friday, September 22, 2017

Revelations Part Three – 22 September 2017, Anno Domini

 
If you prefer, there is an easy to read and print READER version RIGHT HERE!
A
nd from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the AlmightyI John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ 10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, 11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea(Rev 1:5-11)

            At the outset of this passage, Saint John reveals our Lord is Author of the contents of Revelations. John ads the profound (to us) aspects of the Life of the Lord Jesus –  the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Of course, Christ is all of this, but He is far more than this as well. But for John’s purposes, he reveals Christ for the greater meaning He has in our understanding. First of all, He is a Faithful Witness whose Word is absolute Truth and unchanging. He is the First Begotten of the Dead, so that we who belong to Him may follow in that resurrection. And His Sovereignty is above every earthly kingdom as the King of Kings. He has ordained each of us with particular roles to play in His Kingdom – some as subordinate kings to God the Father, and others as priests under the High Priest of Faith – Jesus Christ! 
           
            John makes the powerful point Christ is coming again in the same manner in which He ascended – in the clouds. There have never been, nor ever will be, an eye that will not see Him returning in the clouds, even the blind eye. Those who nailed Him to the Cross at Cavalry will also see His return. How terrible may their sorrow and terror be to witness His return if they have not sought forgiveness for their terrible sin at the Throne of Grace.
           
            The beginning and end of all Creation is personified in our Lord Jesus Christ 8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.  Being the I AM in the scope of the time-space-matter continuum, He is ever existent in an eternal presence – The past and future is likewise the present in the economy of Heaven.
           
            John could take much pride in being the special recipient of the Words of this Book; but He is humble in his awesome role as transcriber for the Lord. He is our brother and companion in our sufferings and joys. He is One with us because we, too, are One with the Father. 9 I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. John was not present in some marbled temple, or Jewish synagogue when he received this Revelation. He was on the lonely island of Patmos to which he had been exiled for its desolation and barren terrain. God does not always choose the resplendent spheres and temples of man at which to begin His works – He sometimes chooses a stable or a lonely island at which to appear.
           
            I wish to focus for the remainder of this devotion today in the Alpha and Omega nature of the GREAT I AM. 
           
When was the beginning? I suppose it depends on your point of reference and perspective. Where does a straight line begin - we may truncate a straight line by superficially entering on it at a given point and call that the beginning, but it is not technically the beginning for a straight line 'begins at infinity in one direction and 'ends' at infinity in the opposite direction. Or, you may consider the beginning to be the moment of your first conscious thoughts, but that simply gets back to the principle of the straight line being artificially shortened by your sudden entry on the space-time-matter continuum, doesn't it? It is impossible for the human mind to grasp the fact of eternity and infinity. In the beginning, before there was you or me; or before there was an earth upon which to stand, there was simply a great void. And what was before the great void? When did time begin, and what was BEFORE its beginning?
           
            There is not truly a beginning or an ending. Christ used those terms because it is the only terms our finite minds can comprehend - and even those terms escape any broad understanding on our part. The Triune God existed in eternity past - before the creation of time and matter. Time, matter, and space are simply created means by which our mortal lives can exist for a space of time expressed in physical terms. Time was conceived in the Mind of God before there was time. That which is created by Divine power is no less a product of Mind than an airplane or automobile. Every functioning system must have a Designer and a Creator. The worlds did not come into being by happenstance. The perfect balance in space and time of the heavenly bodies are so completely balanced and precise as to completely eliminate the possibility of accidental occurrence. The earth is about 93 million miles from the sun. If it were 92, or 94, million miles from the sun, life could not exist here. Neither could life exist if the rotation of the earth on its axis were just a few minutes faster or slower than what it is now.  Life is fragile and demands precision balance for survival. 
           
            The Lord our God transcends time and space. He is not bound by consideration of matter or mass. But He is comprehended by all matter, space, and time. He is greater than these, but also superintends them. His dimensions are measured in infinite terms - terms that, like light itself, we can describe but not define! The great scientists of the past (all of the major sciences were begun by Christian believers) accepted the fact that the Hand of God was at work at the foundation of all science; however, the modern so-called scientists of our day pooh-pooh the Hand of God in any science. They deny a Creator and appropriate to themselves the mysteries of life and physical science. Yet, for all modern science knows of life, and the constant counsel they give us of the meaninglessness of life, they are yet unable to create a single flea - AMAZING, is it not? O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:  Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. (1 Tim 6:20-2)
           
            There did exist a great 'Something' before there was the world and expanse of universe. Before there was Time, there was Being. That Being was the Triune God - Creator of all things and even of angelic beings. That Triune God was the First Cause! Forget the Big Bang theory and the explosion of intensely compressed atoms into a tine particle in the remote dawn of time. Before an explosion could occur, there had to be, even if compressed to the size of a grain of sand, matter. And if there was matter, it had to be created. So the circular argument always comes back to God. 
           
            1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.  (John 1:1-4) Our Lord Jesus Christ did not have a beginning, but He was IN the Beginning of all things. He was the executive agent of all Creation! He existed from Eternity Past in the heavenlies with His Father and the Holy GhoSaint These comprised the Great Council of Heaven. All things were first conceived by God, then created by Him. Though you knew it not, even YOU were in the Mind of God at the moment of Creation. He knew you, and made account of you. He is omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, and, we might add, omnibenevolent. He is the ALMIGHTY ONE. In the Council of Heaven, before we needed a Savior, God made provision for a Savior. The only Begotten Son (begotten not made or adopted) assumed the responsibility to be that Savior. Though Adam had not yet sinned, God knew that Adam would, indeed, sin. The skins with which God covered the naked sin of Adam and Eve typified the blood of His Son which must come to cover the sins of those whom He knew. "Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them." (Gen 3:21 KJV) Because Christ kept His promise and did, indeed, come as the only sinless One who could be our substitute on the cross, we have the privilege of approaching the Mercy Seat of God and find redemption for our sins. 
           
            Christ is not simply 'a' benefit to us; He is our All in All. Christ is all, and in all." (Col 3:11b) We have our beginning and our ending in Christ; and that ending is eternity. Jesus Christ is, in mystery, associated with Melchisedec who was a priest to Abraham and called a king of peace (which Christ is). 5 So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee (not spiritually, but in the flesh)6 As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. (Heb 5:4-6) and 1 For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; 2 To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; 3 Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually. (Heb 7:1-3)
           
            Christ is the Ancient of Days, and the Ancient Landmark (Logos or WORD). Christ was before the first light of day. He is the executive Creator of all things in consort with the Father and Holy Ghost All three were present at the early dawn of Creation and all three are comprehended in the first verse of Genesis - In the beginning, GOD! The Hebrew word for God here is 'Elohim' which is a singular/plural. (a noun-meaning we lack in English). It means more than one, in One. The Spirit was there as a part of 'Elohim' as well.  And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. (Gen 1:2) Do not forget Christ is strongly mentioned in John 1:1-4 as being present at Creation and the very agent of Creation as well. He labored six days at the dawn of Creation, and rested on the Seventh Day (Sabbath). That was the physical Creation, but what of the spiritual Creation of His Church? Did Christ not labor all of His ministry on earth, and the six days prior to the Sabbath. Did He not die on the cross on the sixth day (Friday) at the very time of sacrificing of the Passover lamb - which Lamb He was - and did He not rest in the Garden Tomb over the Sabbath Day?
           
            Is this Lord of Lords whom we call our Savior and Redeemer not every whit the Alpha and Omega? Is He not the Word, and the complete Word? He is the first Word (Alpha) and He is the last Word (Omega). And He is all words in between. It even works for us in the English as well as the Greek, and every other human language. Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. (Matt 23:34-35) The prophets were bearers of the Word to us, and they began with Abel and end with Zechariah (Abel/Zecharias being our 'A' to 'Z') or Alpha Omega! Is He your beginning and ending, as well, friends?
           
In PART FOUR, we will begin our study of the Seven Candlesticks and the Seven Churches of Asia. 

Revelations Part Two – 21 September 2017, Anno Domini

If you prefer, there is an easy to read and print READER version RIGHT HERE!
T
he Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: 2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.  (Rev 1:1-3)

           Here is a glorious opening to a Book that is, in itself, a Revelation of Jesus Christ as is every Word of Holy Writ. Yet, this is a particular revelation of His person expressed in a variety of revelations. It is often titled as the Apocalypse. I will not make any particular issues of the title other than to say that the King James Version translators made a technical error (not a translational error) in titling the Book ‘the Revelation of St. John the Divine.’ The Book offers its own title in the first line – the Revelation of Jesus Christ. It may additionally be noted that the Book is, in summary, a revelation of our Lord; but, in detail, a series of revelations shedding a broad spectrum light on His Person and Nature. This Book may be compared to a ‘rose unfolding’ whose petals open one-by-one revealing an increasingly profound beauty; and as the petals of the revelations unfold, they discharge a sweet smelling savor just as does that blossoming rose. 

            The opening sentences quoted above provide distinct properties of the nature of the Book:

  1. THE TITLE
Every book has a title for purposes of reference. The Title of this Book also stipulates its Author and Source – the Revelation of Jesus Christ. St. John was, in no sense, the author. He was merely the scribe who recorded all that the Lord showed and spoke to him.

  1. SOURCE AND REFERENCE
Every authoritative book offers references to the Source of the material contained therein. Who is the Source of the Words of this Book? God the Father to His Son, Jesus Christ.

  1. PURPOSE OF THE BOOK
to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass.

  1. MEANS OF TRANSMISSION AND CONFIRMATION
he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. Our good and loving Apostle, John, was honored with the role of transcribing to us this last Book of glorious finality. He was the Apostle for whom Christ harbored a special affection. He was the Apostle of Love who stood courageously, with the women, at the foot of the Cross as our Savior suffered. He received this Revelation while in exile on the Island of Patmos, and was living in the advanced years of his life. It may have seemed to John when he was sentenced to exile on that lonely island that his usefulness to our Lord as an Apostle had ended. But that was far from the truth as he was given the responsibility of recording one of the most important books of prophecy of the entire Bible.

  1. BENEDICTION
There is a wonderful benediction tucked away in this short introduction given by John to the Book. This is a benediction that comes early, and also appears at the end in other words. “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” Is it not a sweet reminder that all who are reading today, and hearing the teaching, of the words of this Book are blessed in a particular manner. Of course, all who read any portion of Holy Writ are blessed, but this Book is a Book that REVEALS to us the signs of the times, and reassures us of the Sovereignty of God in our lives and in the order of the world and Universe.

  1. ADDRESSEE
Every letter bears the name of the addressee. In this case, the intended addressee is the SEVEN CHURCHES. “4 John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne” Rev 1:4 (KJV) God chooses to use His Son to transmit His Word to another man like unto one of us. John speaks specifically to the SEVEN CHURCHES. Even those churches which are less fervent than others are addressed and greeted. In summary, the Book is addressed to each person of the Elect of God who comprise the church membership (either IN walls, or WITHOUT).

The matter of the SEVEN CHURCHES will require further clarification. These represent the fullness of God’s Church in the New Testament era just as the Twelve Tribes constitute the fullness of the same Israel in the Old Testament. Just as one, or all, of the Twelve Tribes apostatized from the law and truth of God in times past, so have one, or all, of the Seven Churches in these latter days. In spite of the purifying fires of the Reformation, not many decades passed before ‘the dog had returned to its vomit, and the swine to rolling in the mud.’ But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.  (2 Peter 2:22)

There is a very important prophecy given in Isaiah I believe points to these latter day churches: 1 And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach. (Isaiah 4:1)

Most often when a prophecy is given involving womanhood, the woman represents a spiritual entity – good or bad. We have an example of this in the Parable of the Ten Virgins. We also find an elaborate reference to a Woman in the Book of Revelation: 1 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars. (Rev 12:1) In this case, a virtuous example of a Woman is given as an illustration of the fullness of Israel, including those grafted in.  

            An opposite example is also given: Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: 2 With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. 3 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. 4 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: 5 And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. 6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration. (Rev 17:1-6) This woman represents the anti-Christ system which we see flourishing in the One World, Globalist economy of today.

            Now back to the prophecy of Isaiah 4:1. What do these seven women represent? The Seven Churches have one Lord – the Lord Jesus Christ. They each will claim Him as their Husband, For thy Maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called. (Isaiah 54:5) And we should remember, above all, that THE Church – not a conglomeration of denominations – are referred to as the Bride of Christ: And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  (Rev 21:2) This last reference to the Bride of Christ as the Virtuous Woman to whom Christ is wed bears out the importance of defending biblical marriage against the perversions of homosexuality.

            These seven women referenced by Isaiah represent the churches of our day who have forgotten their first love and turned to compromise and easy-believism. Note they all wish to claim One Man (the Lord Jesus Christ) as their own, but why? It is not because they hold him in the bonds of love – no, not at all! It is because, in their own words, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach. They do not desire the Bread of Heaven (John 6:35 - the Word manifested in Christ), they desire to live according to their own desires of social bread. They do not desire to wear the Robe of Righteousness offered by Christ, but their own filthy rags of unrighteousness. 

            And, at last, they desire to be called by His name, not because they are truly devoted to Him; but to give them respectability in the social circles of the world. They wish to be merely called ‘CHRISTIAN” to take away their reproach (shame). May we never be such a church!


            In Part Three, we will study the nature of the Alpha and Omega as the Testator, and in succeeding studies we will focus on the Seven Churches individually.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Revelations Part One – 20 September 2017, Anno Domini



If you prefer, there is an easy to read and print READER version RIGHT HERE!


T
he Revelations of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: 2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. (Rev 1:1-2)

            With this introductory lesson today, we undertake to present a study on the Book of Revelations. As a fitting benediction to the entire books of the Holy Bible, it serves as a compendium of the prophetic utterances of the ancient prophets up to the time of Saint John the Revelator. To undertake such a daunting task is both humbling and a grave challenge. 

            There are two books of the Bible so very closely related it may seem difficult to understand one without an understanding of the other. That other book is the Book of Daniel; however, we will concentrate on the Book of Revelationss for this initial study, and resort later to a study of Daniel.

            There are many theologians who will say it is impossible to understand the Book of Revelationss given the knowledge of eschatology[1] to which the modern church is privy. This position is partially true and partially false. The Book of Revelations presents a panorama of visions, images, and metaphorical material that differentiates this book from all others; however, these are designed to inform the mind, eager for wisdom, of the events peculiar to the last days of the Church. Some of the prophetic material has already been fulfilled, and some awaits the Lord’s timing for fulfillment. All that we must understand will be revealed to the scholar who makes truth his primary goal – for truth is of God.

            At the outset, let us stipulate the nature of this Book – it is, first of all, a Revelations intended to be shared by Saint John with the servants of God – those servants constitute all of the True Church who love the Lord and hunger for truth. In the second place, a Revelations is not a Revelations unless it does reveal that truth for which the saint hungers and thirsts. This is not Saint John’s Revelation, but “The Revelations of Jesus Christ” God has always provided His prophets with sacred truths which He will share with the Elect of God. Saint John was such a prophet; so was Isaiah, Enoch, Jeremiah, Abel, Zechariah and many others. Unfortunately, the words of the prophets fell on, and were absorbed, by select ears, but were disregarded by the larger number of the people of Israel and Judah. Every generation of the Church, from antiquity until today, has had prophets who warn of apostasy from Godly truths and living. 

            You may ask, “Where are the prophets for our day?” This generation of the Church has a greater assemblage of prophets than any who came before – you might say, A Great Cloud of Witnesses in the Glory. This generation of the Church has ALL of the prophets upon which to rely, and the words of these prophets are recorded in a Book for their understanding and learning. Yet, this generation is no more keen to hear the prophets as were previous apostate people. The living, breathing prophets of our day are those who teach God’s Holy Word and reproach those who are disobedient to our God. They do so, not by any innate authority of their own, but by the Authority of God’s Holy Word. 

            Those things to which the Revelations refers to as “must shortly come to pass” are parts of the prophecies which have indeed been fulfilled in the Fall of Jerusalem and similar events; however, many prophecies remain to be observed in fulfillment until God’s discretion in bringing them to pass. 

            The Book of Revelations is full of awe and wonder. As an elementary school student, Revelations and the Book of Daniel were my favorites owing to the stark and imaginative imagery. In my youth, my knowledge was not sufficiently developed to understand those images as symbolizing things less arcane and more real in purpose to the Bible scholar who was well read and wise. 

In this Book, we have great Red Dragons, white Stones, the seven golden candlesticks, the Seven Churches (and their natures), a beautiful Woman clothed with the sun, Michael the Archangel, seas of glass, and Heavenly Jerusalem. These are the things to quench the thirst of that mind which hunts after fantasy – but these things in Revelations are not fantasies – they are real to those who have been given to understand through Godly study and righteous living.

            Revelations could almost be termed a 5th Gospel since it is the very Revelations of our Lord Jesus Christ from His Throne of Grace in Glory. The first four Gospels give an account of His life on earth; but this Book gives an account of His Sovereignty beyond the Gates of Splendor in Heaven.

            Throughout all of the seeming hyperbole of expression in Revelations, there is a glowing hint and promise of the glorious finality and fulfillment of all promises of God which is reserved for the final three chapters. In these final three chapters, we realize the meaning and beauty of God’s Word at a higher level than any previous prophetic utterances. We see all of the prophecies of old coming to light in those final chapters and, then, too, we see the grave warning against adding to, or taking away, any words of this Book – a practice we see being realized in the new and corrupt Bible versions that proliferate in our day.

            Part II of our study will begin a more systematic study of this work beginning at the opening verses of Chapter One. It would behoove the scholar to study ahead so the topsoil of his heart will be cultivated in preparation for receiving the seed of truth from God’s Word. This is true of every Bible study. It should be noted, further, that my devotions on Revelationss are based on my study of God’s Word and the understanding of it thereof; but no man is perfect in knowledge and truth except our Lord Jesus Christ If my understanding does not match the revealed Word of God in truth, it is man’s work and not God’s.

            One last remark of warning to the student of the Book of Revelations: there are many who make filthy lucre from their writings on Revelations. They write to over-dramatize and sensationalize every aspect of the prophecies of this great Book. Hear them not! If you love the Lord, are literate in reading and study, you will recognize truth, or even error, when it is presented. God does not need to add any meaning to His Word in order to make it more sensational or palatable to the reader. His Word stands alone! The wise in heart will be privileged to understand while the mundane student of worldly care will consider it to be foolishness.

            May the good Lord be our Guide in this Study, and His Holy Spirit be our Lamp of Understanding.



[1] Eschatology /ˌɛskəˈtɒlədʒi/ ( listen) is a part of theology concerned with the final events of history, or the ultimate destiny of humanity. This concept is commonly referred to as the "end of the world" or "end times."