Sabbatical 2017

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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Chronological Reading Plan for Dec 29, Rev 12-18

Today's readings are Rev 12-18. Tomorrow’s are Rev 19-22.

Rev 12 depicts war in the heavenlies between "the woman" and "the dragon," both of which are signs. The woman is a sign of God's goodness and sovereign authority and the dragon a sign of pure evil. The dragon loses and is ejected from heaven. These signs, whatever earthly counterparts they may or may not represent, are also representative of all spiritual warfare. The battle may be fierce but will be dominated and controlled by the power and presence of God.

Notice that God preserves and protects His people throughout (Rev 12:6, 14). Also, notice that the woman's baby, who is Christ, actually defeats the dragon once He is seated on the throne. This is a depiction of Christ's ascension into heaven shortly after the resurrection, where He was "seated on the right hand of God." (Eph 1:20). This is not to say that all spiritual battle ceased at that point. But, it certainly guarantees that the outcome has already been determined.

The last half of Rev 12 & 13 speak of the time period between Christ being seated on the throne and His return. Satan (the dragon) wages war on the woman (Israel and the church), during this time.

Rev 14 encourages believers, who are blameless in not aligning themselves with the beast (Rev 14:5). They will eventually be taken up into heaven.

Rev 15 & 16 describe the seven cups of wrath, which are similar to the seven trumpets and the seven seals, but far more severe. While the trumpets and seals were used by God to call people to repentance, the cups are the unbridled wrath of God being poured out on those who have rejected Him and embraced the beast.

"The mark of the beast" is mentioned in Rev 16:2. This is another warning that has perhaps been widely misunderstood. Whatever physical form it may take, it is a mark that is consciously received in commitment and surrender to the beast. Many fear that using a credit card, a microchip or even things like the Euro can inadvertently bring eternal damnation upon a believer. This just isn't true. The mark John describes is not just a monetary system. It is the willful, conscious rejection of God while embracing Satan. The mark cannot be inadvertently received. It comes as a decision to follow Satan.

Rev 17 & 18 retell and lament the fall of Babylon. Babylon represents the world system, which has been in place since the fall in the garden. That world system will come to a violent end when Christ returns.

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