If the arrows fell and pointed toward Jerusalem, why? What was the cause or source? Sometimes much prayer, wisdom, and counsel is needed to understand the actual cause of something in the physical world.
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Below are some examples from Scripture of the three possible sources when something occurs in the physical world. Divination includes things such as reading tarot cards, crystal balls, palms, and tea leaves. Using a Ouija Board is divination, as is examining animal innards Ezek. All divination is an abomination to God because it is getting information from His archenemy, the Devil Deut.
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Astrology is another form of divination. God set the stars in place to tell us about Him and His plan, but astrology perverts that, turns it completely around, and says the stars tell us about ourselves. Not everything that happens is caused by a spiritual source. God designed the physical universe to run by physical laws, and most of the time those laws operate without the intervention of a spiritual source. Although godly or demonic spirits can influence our physical world, much of the time they do not.
For example, if your family is playing Monopoly, it is likely that neither God nor demons are influencing the role of the dice; instead, the laws of physics are at work. Why did the dice come up a nine instead of a three? Why did the toast fall jelly side down on the floor and not jelly side up? These things happen as a result of physical laws, but who can ferret through all the laws and variables? Solomon told the king of Tyre that he was so blessed by God that his kingdom had rest.
The Philistines had been struck by plagues after capturing the ark of God. At the time of the New Birth salvation , the man of body and soul becomes a three-part man of body, soul, and holy spirit 1 Thess. The holy spirit created inside the person fills him completely, and is in touch with every fiber of his being, both physical and mental. Once a person has holy spirit, God or the Lord Jesus Christ can speak to him via that holy spirit inside him. The principle of how revelation works might be charted as follows:.
Once we understand that revelation usually comes as a thought or feeling we can understand why practice is so essential if we are going to reliably discern revelation from the Lord from our own thoughts and feelings. The Seven Distinct Ways Revelation Comes to an Individual The two categories of revelation—a message of knowledge and a message of wisdom are given in seven distinctive ways. An individual gets information from the Lord the same way he gathers information from the world around him. When the Lord gives a person a vision, sound, smell, etc.
Other people around him are not experiencing what he is. It was as real to him as his natural sight. Nevertheless, it was a revelation vision via the gift of holy spirit, and the others who were with Stephen did not see it.
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When the Lord gives revelation smell, the one receiving the revelation will smell something because the olfactory center of the brain is receiving communication from the Lord via holy spirit, but other people, even if nearby, will not smell anything. Once we understand that revelation i. Receiving revelation works the same basic way in all seven of the ways God gives it. Because revelation information comes via the brain like the information of other thoughts and experiences, most revelation requires developing a sensitivity to it to recognize it consistently.
Revelation given via holy spirit is usually a very quick experience. It is for that reason we must become practiced in receiving revelation from the Lord. A person usually has to be quiet, peaceful, and focused to hear the voice of the Lord. Neither God nor Jesus are interested in competing with the static produced by our lack of desire and discipline.
God tells us to seek Him first in our lives, and He means what He says. The Bible has many examples of revelation via seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, or knowing. We will give an example in each category:. Only the one receiving the revelation will smell it. There must have been other revelation for Jesus to know exactly what kind of demon, and that he should cast it out. One of the ingredients of the stew was an unknown gourd v.
Furthermore, there is nothing in the verse that indicates the food even tasted bad. Occasionally people eat poisonous mushrooms and get sick or die because deadly food does not always taste bad. Now that we've compared the role of biblical prophets to ancient covenant ambassadors and looked at the potential results of their work, let's turn our attention to how the apostle John fulfilled the role of a prophet in the book of Revelation. It's easy to see that when John wrote the book of Revelation, he was acting as God's covenant ambassador, and that his goal was to motivate the early church to unfailing faithfulness.
John constantly reminded the churches of Asia Minor about the principal dynamics that all biblical covenants share. He reminded them of God's benevolence. He stressed the requirement of loyalty. And he emphasized the consequences of blessings for faithfulness and curses for unfaithfulness. These features appear in many ways throughout the book. But they are most clearly presented in the letters to the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3. Each letter begins with an affirmation of the greatness and benevolence of Jesus Christ. Then it draws attention to the requirement of loyalty, and offers blessings or threatens curses.
As an example, consider the letter to the church in Ephesus in Revelation It begins in Revelation with a statement of God's benevolence, saying:.
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These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands Revelation God's benevolence is seen in Revelation in the fact that Jesus walked among the lampstands, which represent the churches addressed in the letter. He hadn't abandoned them, but was always with them. As the letter to the church of Ephesus continues, we find the requirement of human loyalty. For instance, in verses , Jesus praised the Ephesian church for its hard work and endurance, but criticized it for losing its first love. He also approved of the Ephesians hatred for the practices of the Nicolaitans.
After this, the letter to the church at Ephesus turns toward the consequences of the covenant. The consequence of curses for disobedience can be seen in verse 5, where Jesus threatened to remove the church's lampstand if its people failed to repent and to regain their first love. And the consequence of blessing for obedience can be seen in verse 7, where Jesus offered to bless his obedient followers with access to the tree of life.
The question sometimes comes up, if God's blessing is contingent on us doing something, does this sort of imply that our salvation in any way is contingent on our good works? Do we in fact have some contribution to make to the positive outcome of salvation?
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It's interesting that those who are in the traditional Arminian and Calvinist sides of what was once a great debate, are actually in agreement that God has made us as human beings with volition, and that even the damaging effects of the Fall on us have not robbed us of our capacity for volition and our responsibility for exercising it according to God's will and ways.
Well, that means that God is constantly challenging us through commands and invitations to exercise this God-given ability. So, yes we must in many cases respond to God in the way that he has promised will bring blessing. But where we come back then and affirm that it is really ultimately all of grace is that the capacity to respond in the appropriate way ultimately does not derive from our unaided abilities but from God's higher superintending and sovereign grace so that, yes, we do and must participate in the plan whereby blessing comes to us, but we do so in absolute dependence on God's good enabling.
Glen Scorgie]. When the apostle John wrote the book of Revelation, many churches in Asia Minor were wavering in their commitment to God's covenant. Some people within the church had even begun to doubt that Jesus would return. Others wondered how Jesus' kingdom could possibly be growing when all they personally experienced was suffering and opposition. So, throughout the book of Revelation, the apostle John served as God's prophet to these churches. He warned his readers of the dangers of unfaithfulness. And he gave them hope for the future to encourage them to remain faithful until the Lord returned.
So far in our lesson, we've discussed the historical and theological background of the book of Revelation. So at this point, we're ready to look at its literary background. How did the book of Revelation compare to other writings of the period? We'll explore the literary background of Revelation in two steps.
First, we'll compare the book of Revelation to the genre of Old Testament prophecy. And second, we'll compare it to the specific type of biblical prophecy known as "apocalyptic literature. The Bible contains many different types or genres of literature: historical narrative, law, poetry, wisdom literature, epistle, prophecy, and others.
Each genre has its own literary conventions and ways of communicating. Historical narrative communicates in a more straightforward fashion than poetry. Epistles or letters are even more direct, and often tell their readers how to apply biblical teachings to specific circumstances. Differences like these are important to keep in mind as we read the Bible. After all, it's much easier to understand what a passage teaches if we first understand how it teaches. So, in order for us to make sense of the book of Revelation, one of the important things for us to do is properly identify its genre.
It's important to identify the genre of biblical books because each literary genre has its own conventions and styles that lay claim to how it communicates its message.
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For instance, if I were to read a receipt from my grocer, I would read it very differently with very different expectations than I would say a letter from my daughter. Likewise, when we go into the Bible and we read biblical texts, we find that biblical texts are written in particular genres.
So if I read a legal text, for instance from the book of Moses, I'll read it with certain expectations and giving a mind to the certain conventions and the rules that are placed on that genre. These would be very different from reading for instance Proverbs, which tend to be pithy wisdom sayings drawn from experiences in life or even from God's Word. I'll also read these very differently than I'll read for instance a psalm of lament in which God's people lament the suffering that they're undergoing.
So when we consider a text in the Bible, we have to consider a genre so that we can understand what sort of conventions, what structures, what devices the author had in its toolbox as he was communicating his message to God's people. When we rightly understand how the text is put together, we can more clearly understand what the text is communicating to us. Scott Redd]. There are different genres or different kinds of writings in Scripture.