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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

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."

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Trusting Heart – 19 September 2017, Anno Domini

If you prefer, there is an easy to read and print READER version RIGHT HERE!
Then sang Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam on that day, saying, 2 Praise ye the Lord for the avenging of Israel, when the people willingly offered themselves. 3 Hear, O ye kings; give ear, O ye princes; I, even I, will sing unto the Lord; I will sing praise to the Lord God of Israel. 4 Lord, when thou wentest out of Seir, when thou marchedst out of the field of Edom, the earth trembled, and the heavens dropped, the clouds also dropped water. 5 The mountains melted from before the Lord, even that Sinai from before the Lord God of Israel. (Judges 5:1-5)

            This lovely old hymn is another favorite of the Korean Church, and it is one which, sung in the Korean language, moved me to respond to the call to the ministry many years ago. The lyrics are the work of Eliza E. Hewitt (1898), and the music is the composition of William J, Kirkpatrick. It is a joyful hymn that will lift the most depressed of Christian hearts. It reminds us of our absolute reliance upon our Lord Jesus Christ under every circumstance of life. Not only must we rely upon Him as our Fortress, Mainstay, and Rock of Salvation; but that reliance must be supported by an absolute trusting faith. It has been omitted from the 1940 Hymnal.

The Trusting Heart

The trusting heart to Jesus clings,
Nor any ill forebodes,
But at the cross of Calv’ry, sings,
Praise God for lifted loads!
Refrain
Singing I go along life’s road,
Praising the Lord, praising the Lord,
Singing I go along life’s road,
For Jesus has lifted my load.

The passing days bring many cares,
Fear not,  I hear Him say,
And when my fears are turned to prayers,
The burdens slip away.
Refrain

He tells me of my Father’s love,
And never slumb’ring eye,
My everlasting King above
Will all my needs supply.
Refrain

When to the throne of grace I flee,
I find the promise true,
The mighty arms upholding me
Will bear my burdens too.
Refrain

            The trusting heart to Jesus clings, Nor any ill forebodes, But at the cross of Calv’ry, sings, Praise God for lifted loads! If the heart does not trust and cling to our Lord, then it stands alone; and apart from our Lord Jesus Christ, there is only darkness and death. There is great sorrow depicted in the suffering of our Lord on Calvary Mount; but please consider the joy engendered at the Garden Tomb three days later! These worn and tired bodies will likewise lie in a borrowed tomb at the time of the Lord’s own choosing; but what joy comes on the morning of resurrection. Mary sought, while it was yet dark, to find a dead body of her Lord at the Garden Tomb; but her tears were turned from tears of deep morning into tears of inexpressible joy when she recognized the Voice of her Lord through her profuse tears – a LIVE BODY! The suffering of Christ bore the marks of many burdens which we have laid upon His able shoulders. The cross was also illustrative of that fact.

            The passing days bring many cares, Fear not, I hear Him say, And when my fears are turned to prayers, The burdens slip away. The key to the beginning words of this verse is ‘passing days’. Every day has an end – including the day of sadness and sorrow. The sun always rises again in splendor. Our days under the sun are always mixed with goodness and wickedness. We can only make effort to allay the wickedness of the day, and foster the goodness thereof. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. (Matt 6:34)

            He tells me of my Father’s love, And never slumb’ring eye, My everlasting King above Will all my needs supply. Our Lord has spoken His Father’s Love to us by His very life and Being. He is the personification of love. And He never slumbers or sleeps. For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. (2 Chron 16:9) 1 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. 2 My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. 3 He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. 4 Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand. 6 The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. 7 The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. 8 The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore. (Psalm 121:1-8) Yea, God will supply all of the needs of His Elect people, but not all of their foolish desires which can lead to ruin.

When to the throne of grace I flee, I find the promise true, The mighty arms upholding me Will bear my burdens too.  The Mercy Seat is no longer behind the Curtain of the Holiest of Holies – that curtain was ripped from top to bottom at the final breath of Christ on the cross. Man could not remove it by ripping it from bottom to top; so God ripped it from TOP to BOTTOM! So now we need no high priest to make intercession for us. We may approach the Throne of Grace by way of our Eternal High Priest which is Christ! Christ can, and will, bear our burdens if we place our full trust in Him. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matt 11:28-30) He gives us complete rest since He is not only our Passover, but our Sabbath (rest) as well. If we do the Lord’s will, it is He who is working in us and not our own works of righteousness. 

Refrain

            Singing I go along life’s road, Praising the Lord, praising the Lord, Singing I go along life’s road, For Jesus has lifted my load. Bob Hope tells the story about driving down Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood one sunny afternoon. He had his top down on his convertible and felt very happy. He began to sing a popular song of the time and, when stopped at a traffic light, noticed some burly fellows in a truck next to him staring at him curiously. It was then he realized he was singing, I enjoy being a girl! The same is true when we travel life’s rocky road with a song on our lips. The world will believe we have lost our wits; but, in actuality, the world has never had its wits to lose. When we are very joyous under desperate circumstances, the world will consider us a peculiar people. Hopefully, we are just that. Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. (Titus 2:13-14) We are able to walk life’s road with a glad heart and a light foot, for Jesus has lifted our load.