Revelation 4

Vs. 1, “After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.”  We now move into a section of Revelation that will speak to the things that will happen in the future.  It’s a pretty humbling and awesome glimpse into the events that will happen in heaven.  Reminiscent of the prophets before (Isaiah, Ezekiel and Daniel) John language and vision is similar.  John is transported immediately to the throne in heaven (vs. 2).  Contrary to great detail of other prophetic pictures of a God in His throne room, John actually doesn’t elaborate too much.  This actually adds to the mystery and reminder that God is not impressed by earthly grandeur.  Question: Who are the twenty-four elders?  We are not given specific detail, but their purpose is clear; worshipping God.  Some say angels, some say a mixture of Old & New Testament believers, others think it could be the twenty-four priests over the course of time (I Chronicles 24:4).  These elders represent us, much like congress represents their people in their state.  Question: What about the four living creatures?  Ezekiel (Ezekiel 1) also gives us his version of what these creatures looked like.  They are beyond human description, yet John does his best to explain them.  The fact they have eyes all over their body denotes that nothing is hidden from them.  Their purpose we see here is to proclaim the holiness of God.  The twenty-four elders response of falling down before the Lord reminds all of us that He alone is worthy of praise (vs. 10-11).

Regarding application…How Great is Our GodVs. 8, “Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings. Day and night they never stop saying: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,’ who was, and is, and is to come.”  God deserves our worship and praise.  Notice, how the twenty-four elders lay their crowns at His feet.  All that we have and all that we are must be laid down before the Lord.  God isn’t just great because He is the creator of the universe.  God is worthy of our worship because of the lamb that was slain for us.  God created us in His image with mind, will and emotion.  We have the ability to grasp the great love and sacrifice He Himself gave for us.  Now the onus is upon each of us to respond to our great God.  How will you respond?  Will you lay down your crowns?

Daniel 2

Vs. 1,In the second year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; his mind was troubled and he could not sleep.”  Don’t forget that the book of Daniel is a book of prophecy.  If you understand Daniel then you are well on your way to understanding a bit more the book of Revelation.  Like any ruler of a nation, Nebuchadnezzar was a man who worried about his kingdom and how long he would rule.  Our God would bring quite a dream and image to the king of Babylon (vs. 31-35).  The storyline gets very compelling as Nebuchadnezzar is savvy enough to know that if he tells the interpreter’s his dream, they could fabricate their own views (vs. 5-11).  Nebuchadnezzar with all his riches is a lesson to us that nothing in this life can satisfy except God.  Fortunately, Daniel is wise enough to lobby for a little time and goes to Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah (vs. 17).  Question: What do they do?  They pray (vs. 18).  God would honor their prayers and help Daniel indeed interpret Nebuchadnezzar’s dream.  This large statue would represent nations.  The head of the statue which was gold represented Nebuchadnezzar’s empire the Babylonians.  The chest and arms of the statue would represent the Medo-Persian Empire that would dethrone Babylon.  The belly and thighs that were made of bronze represented Greece (Alexander the Great).  And lastly, the legs and feet of iron represented the Roman Empire.  Many scholars believe we are still living in this period, for the Roman empire never was really taken over by another great nation.  The clay (vs. 41-43) is believed to be a mixture of nations that exist during the End Times.  The rock represents none other than Jesus!  So powerful and convincing was Daniel’s interpretation that all Nebuchadnezzar could do was to fall prostate before him (vs. 46).

Regarding application…Future Hope.  Vs. 45b, “The great God has shown the king what will take place in the future. The dream is true and the interpretation is trustworthy.”  Put yourself in Daniel’s spot for a moment.  Here we have a teenager deported and taken away from his family.  All that he had known was taken from him.  And now he and his only friends were now ordered to die!  Needless to say, there didn’t seem to be much hope.  But God miraculously gives Daniel the ability to accurately  tell Nebuchadnezzar the exact dream he had and the meaning behind it!  Can you imagine the hope that Daniel must have felt?  God spoke to Him and gave him a vision of Jesus conquering over all nations!  In a time of desperate hope, we must remember that God will ultimately triumph in the end!  Question: What sort of fears do you have?  Are you depending on things of this world like Nebuchadnezzar?  Open your heart to the Lord today and trust in Him as you journey down this road called life.

Ezekiel 48

Vs. 35 “The distance all around will be 18,000 cubits. “And the name of the city from that time on will be: the Lord is there”  YHWH (Yahweh) Shammah =  the Lord is there.   There was importance to the allotment of the land to each tribe, but more importantly, we are reminded that God is present.  There must have been much comfort to those who heard this message of hope back in Ezekiel’s time.  Unlike the allocation of land in Joshua’s time, Ezekiel outlines a very fair distribution this time around.

Regarding application…Our Future.  Question: Wouldn’t it be nice to know our future?  In some sense, we already do!  God is intentionally showing us a future hope, that despite our current struggle, we may not get too discouraged.  From the beginning, God has desired to be with His people.  Adam & Eve in Eden was a setback, but God would send Jesus, Immanuel (God with us) to reconcile the broken relationship we had.  Our future is told in the Old Testament as well as the Apostle John reminding us in Revelations.  It’s always nice to end a book on a good note!  So when life gets rough and there seems to be no hope, remember our prophet Ezekiel and the hope that God gave us!

Ezekiel 41

Vs. 1, Then the man brought me to the outer sanctuary and measured the jambs; the width of the jambs was six cubits on each side.”  Now the angel gives Ezekiel the specific measurements of the Sanctuary within the Temple.  Being a detailed oriented person, it’s pretty comforting that God is in the details!  The Temple is a little bit longer than half of a football field.  It’s also interesting to note that there is no mention of the veil that would only allow high priest once a year to enter through it.  Of course, this is because when Jesus died the veil was torn in two.

Regarding application…Hope in the Future.  When I was young, my family used to have a tradition where we would go once a year on a vacation.  I would be so excited to find out where we would go as summer was approaching each year.  My wife and I have continued that tradition and love going on vacations to new places!  There is a sense of hope from rest and excitement in experiencing a new place.  For example, we have enjoyed going on cruises.  The other day we saw a documentary on one of the largest cruise ships called the Oasis of the Seas from the Royal Caribbean company.  It can hold 6000 plus guests, has all sorts of grand features (surfing simulation, mountain climbing, zip lines, indoor mall, a central park indoor garden, ice skating rink, etc…)  As grand as that ship is…the details of the new Temple should illicit an incredible hope for our future destination!  Take time to thank the Lord for a future hope in this crazy world we live in!

Jeremiah 48

Vs. 42, “Moab will be destroyed as a nation because she defied the Lord.”  Question: Who were the people from Moab?  They were the descandants of Lot (Abraham’s nephew) and would eventually become enemies of the Jews.  When the Babylonians attacked Israel, Moab stopped their dispute with Israel.  However, because of their pride…The Babylnonians also attacked them.  They thought that their pagan god would rescue them.  It’s notable that Jeremiah felt sorrow for the Moabites as well (vs. 31).

 

Regarding application…Future Hope.  Vs. 47, “Yet I will restore the fortunes of Moab in days to come,” declares the Lord. Here ends the judgment on Moab.”  Question: How will this happen?  Remember that Jeremiah is a prophet and here he was prophecying of a time when they not only would return to their land in 538 B.C.  One day Jesus would reign and bring the Moabites and all Gentiles a hope through the cross!  The storyline is familiar: Once in God’s favor, sinned, became prideful, judged others, experience hopelessness, but one day restored!  That’s God’s redemptive work illustrated once again!  Of course, God does this for all of us!  So if you are feeling hopeless…don’t give up!

Jeremiah 29

Vs. 7, “Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”  Even though God’s people were now in a foreign land, Jeremiah would send them words of encouragement and instruction.  Life was to continue, even in the midst of God’s discipline.  I’m encouraged by this because they could have been depressed and want to give up, but God tells them to continue on!  They lost all their possessions and even relationships due to the deportation, so it was important that Jeremiah send them this message.  The false prophets and teachers would also be in Babylon, so they were to be careful not to be swayed by their ways of bringing false hope.  The displaced Jews would have much to give up on, so they might be more apt to believe in lies.  The latter half of this letter is Jeremiah responding to the false teacher Shemaiah (vs. 24-32).  There are times when it is appropriate to defend yourself.

 

Regarding application…Hopeful Future.  Vs. 11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Haenee Lee gave me a chain with a dog tag that states this very verse!  It’s one of the most well known verses in the Bible and rightly so.  Even the good figs (Jeremiah 24), were being disciplined and had lost much hope.  To be told 70 years would go by before they could return home would bring much despair.  But God would remind them that His ways are designed to give us a better life!  This is not the false teachings of the “Health & Wealth” gospels as it is a reminder that God is infinitely good even in giving us consequences.  As I venture into a new stage of life and go to Seminary, I’m reminded of the hopeful future that awaits for the ministry God has in store for Hyojin and I.  Praise God that there is always the light at the end of the tunnel in this life we live!