Monthly Archives: December 2013

December 31 Bible Reading: Revelation 21-22

The closing of the book of Revelation—and the entire Bible—does not disappoint.  The most enthralling, captivating, and exciting scenario unfolds as John describes the holy city coming down from God out of heaven for John to see. It is, quite frankly, beyond comparison.

Finally, we leave the pages of Scripture with the invitation of God for all who would to come drink freely of the river of life.

“The grace of the Lord Jesus with with all. Amen” (22:21).

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Unsealed

Devotional Text: Revelation 22:10

The book of Revelation begins with a perfectly sealed scroll (sealed with seven seals; Rev. 5:1) and it ends with John being told not to seal the words of the prophecy of this book (22:10).  Those “words of the prophecy” were primarily what was made known as the Lamb (Jesus) opened each of the seven seals.

God wants His people to know.  The book of Revelation, despite its heavy use of symbolism,  is a testament to God’s intention for His people to be informed.  For that matter the book of Revelation is but a sampling of this reality for the entire Bible.

God wants us to know; so He has made Himself and His will known.  Our ignorance, our not knowing, our confusion and our blindness is a result of our own failure to avail ourselves of what God has made known.

God has seen to it that His word is not sealed up.  It’s open, it’s available, it’s knowable.

It not being known, if such is the case, is our own responsibility and we turn God’s blessing of revelation into the curse of our own self-imposed ignorance.

–David Deffenbaugh

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December 30 Bible Reading: Revelation 19-20

December 30
Today’s Bible Reading: Revelation 19-20

The enemies of God’s people are defeated.  He avenges the blood of his servants.  Jesus reappears as the conquering victor riding a white horse leading the armies which are in heaven.  He defeats the nations who have followed the dragon and his allies.  The great prostitute/city, the two beasts, and Satan himself are all overthrown.

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Do You Know His Name?

Devotional Text: Revelation 19:11-13,16

And by “His” I mean Jesus’.  And it’s not just “Jesus.”

Do you know Jesus?  The two questions are quite related.  Can we say we know Jesus if we don’t know His names? and even know that there is a name we don’t know?

The scene in heaven seen by John is most impressive; conquering and victorious Jesus.  As impressive as Jesus’ appearance are the names by which He is called and known.

His name is called “Faithful and True” (v. 11). “He has a name written that non one knows but Himself” (v. 12).  “[T]he name by which he is called is The Word of God” (v. 13). “[H]e has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords” (v. 16).

To know Jesus better, I must spend some time in consideration of and seeking to know the names by which He is called.

–David Deffenbaugh

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December 29 Bible Reading: Revelation 17-18

Yet another ally of the great red dragon appears late in Revelation, a woman called “the great prostitute.”  Among other things, she is said to be “drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus” (17:5).  She is identified as “the great city, which reigns over the kings of the earth” (v. 18).   Her demise is announced by an angel proclaiming, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great!” (19:2).

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Who Are You?

Devotional Text: Revelation 17:14

Much fighting and warfare, violence, death and destruction fill the book of Revelation.  It’s all because of God’s opponent, Satan.  As Jesus previously said about “the thief,” he’s come only to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10).

Despite his power, wrath, and all the help of his allies (the two beasts, the great prostitute, etc.), he will be defeated; that is certain.  His victor is the Lamb (Rev. 17:14).  How’s that for irony?  A lamb overcomes the mighty, terrible, and ferocious great red dragon. Of course, the Lamb is not just a lamb.  He’s also “Lord of lords and King of kings.”

We know who Jesus is; high and exalted, given a name that is above every name (Php. 2:9).  He’s the mighty conqueror on a white horse who “judges and wages war” impressively described in Revelation 19:11-16.

We know who He is, but who are we?

Those “with” the victorious Lamb are “called and chosen and faithful.”  In short, they are everything every Christian is supposed to be (see 2 Peter 1:10; Romans 8:28; Rev. 2:10; Eph. 4:1; etc.).

I marvel and revel in who Jesus is.  By my choices and actions I am who I am.

–David Deffenbaugh

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December Week 5 Bible Reading Introduction

December Week 5: Supplemental Reading—Revelation 17-21
December 29-31

The final three days of December, also the final three days of the year, bring us to the final chapters of the book of Revelation, the close of the New Testament, and the end of the Bible.

As this book has sought to bring encouragement to God’s people in the face of opposition, persecution, and even death, it looks finally to the ultimate victory and reward for God’s people in our eternal home.

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God is in Control

Devotional Text: Revelation 5:1

There’s a difference between what the Bible says and means and what we want it to say and mean.  The book of Revelation is an excellent example of this truth.

God is in control.  This title is an assertion of truth.  What that truth means, practically speaking, is a point of contention; that is, contention between what the Bible actually says and what we think.

God is on His throne; still reigning.  That being true does not mean that everything always goes as God wants or that His people are always on the good end of things.  Life is not always blue skies and rainbows and sunbeams from heaven.  We wish that might be the case, but it is not.

Revelation shows us that God is on His throne and all the while the great red dragon—Satan (12:3,9)—is alive and well and effectively working.

God is on His throne and His efforts through His angels to bring about men’s repentance do not succeed (9:20-21).

God is on His throne and His own people have questions and wonder about His justice; why He has not acted on behalf of His own martyred saints (6:9-10).

It’s certainly not that there is any kind of uncertain power struggle going on or that the ultimate end is in question.  Far from it.

But when the Bible tells us God is in control, we should not make that mean what we want or think that it should.

–David Deffenbaugh

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December 28 Bible Reading: Catch Up Day

Today is the regularly scheduled “Catch Up” day for the fourth week of December.  Which also means it’s the last “Catch Up” day for the year.  Hopefully, these weekly days have been beneficial.  As usual, there is no Bible reading text for today, but below are some thoughts for your consideration for today from this week’s readings.

1. The book of Revelation has endured a multitude of interpretations through the years.  That has certainly contributed to the confusion surrounding the book.  But the overall message is one of the simplest and clearest in all of the Bible.  The enemies of God are real and formidable, but the ultimate victory of God and His people is certain.  The only question is on whose side will be be numbered?

2. Parts of Revelation have certainly gained much attention and interest.  Things like the 144,00 and the mark of the beast (“666”) and the battle of Armageddon.  So much of what has been said about these has been heavy on hype and conjecture with little regard for what the Bible actually says about them and how they fit into the extensive symbolism of the book.  Consequently, what many people think they know about these is most assuredly inaccurate.

3. Previous reference has been made to the important role the Old Testament plays in a proper understanding of Revelation.  One source, for instance, states that of the 404 verses that comprise this book, 348 of them contain quotations, allusions, and citations from the Old Testament (Merrill C. Tenney).

4.  The title of the book is Revelation, not Revelations.

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December 27 Bible Reading: Revelation 15-16

Another “sign in heaven” seen by John is that of seven angels with seven bowls containing the wrath of God.  These angels come out of the temple of God in heaven and a voice from the temple instructs them to begin to pour out the bowls of God’s wrath on the earth.  Great is the destruction and misery from God’s wrath on an unrighteous world.

When the seventh angel pours out his bowl, a voice from the temple proclaims, “It is done.”

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For December’s Bible reading introduction CLICK HERE