The Revelation of Christ Jesus

John’s Apocalypse contains many graphic word pictures that are interpreted in many ways, often leadingpeople to see this books as a puzzle which must be put together by finite analysis. I believe John’s Apocalypse is a picture book that reveals the glory and majesty and power and authority of the Christ that our study of this book ought to be aimed at seeing Him more clearly.
 
To that end, I draw your attention to the seven letters in chapters 2 & 3, focusing on how Jesus describes Himself and the rewards He will give to His people. Read these passages carefully, and be at awe of the revelation of Jesus Christ presented in this small portion of John’s Apocalypse.
 
Revelation 2:1 (HCSB) “The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand and who walks among the seven gold lampstands”
Revelation 2:7 (HCSB) “I will give the victor the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in God’s paradise.”
 
Revelation 2:8 (HCSB) “The First and the Last, the One who was dead and came to life”
Revelation 2:11 (HCSB) “The victor will never be harmed by the second death.”
 
Revelation 2:12 (HCSB) “The One who has the sharp, double-edged sword”
Revelation 2:17 (HCSB) “I will give the victor some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name is inscribed that no one knows except the one who receives it.”
 
Revelation 2:18 (HCSB) “The Son of God, the One whose eyes are like a fiery flame and whose feet are like fine bronze”
Revelation 2:26 (HCSB) “The one who is victorious and keeps My works to the end: I will give him authority over the nations”
 
Revelation 3:1 (HCSB) “The One who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars says”
Revelation 3:5 (HCSB) “the victor will be dressed in white clothes, and I will never erase his name from the book of life but will acknowledge his name before My Father and before His angels.”
 
Revelation 3:7 (HCSB) “The Holy One, the True One, the One who has the key of David, who opens and no one will close, and closes and no one opens”
Revelation 3:12 (HCSB) “The victor: I will make him a pillar in the sanctuary of My God, and he will never go out again. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God—the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God—and My new name. “
 
Revelation 3:14 (HCSB) “The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Originator of God’s creation”
Revelation 3:21 (HCSB) “The victor: I will give him the right to sit with Me on My throne, just as I also won the victory and sat down with My Father on His throne.”
 
Saints – who is the victor mentioned here these seven times? Is it the man who pulls himself by his own bootstraps? Is it the man who sees Jesus and himself rightly and throws himself at the mercy of the Lamb? What do we read?
 
In describing the end of the age, when final victory over death is ours, Paul wrote, “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!” (1 Corinthians 15:57). God gives us victory through Christ. Same as our salvation – by grace through faith in Christ, which is a gift from God (Eph 2:7).
 
John agrees with Paul and I will end with this. “whatever has been born of God conquers the world. This is the victory that has conquered the world: our faith. And who is the one who conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:4-5). We have victory by faith in Christ.
 
When Jesus says, “to the victor …” He refers to those believers who continue to believe in the face of tribulation, sorrow, riches, and poverty; kept by the Spirit until the day of judgment. Jesus is the almighty creator, sustainer, savior, and judge.
 
If you are in Christ – you have victory! If you are not, while is it yet today, repent and believe on Him.

Danger Signs

Danger Signs

A book review by Stuart Brogden

One area in the life of the saints that gets too little attention in most fellowships is that of dating or courting; keeping the focus on finding a suitable mate, not merely entertaining ourselves. In his book Danger Signs of an Unhealthy Dating Relationship, Lou Priolo examines signs of unhealthy dating relationships. All in all, this book is well written and sure to provoke the reader to think about some needful things that have been overlooked or swept aside.

Danger Signs is not divided into chapters, but is made up of about 20 sections describing cautions and indicators that may reveal a sinful heart; including a contentious spirit, increased physical intimacy, anger, impatience, and selfishness. Of pride, the author observes there “are many manifestations of pride that break the communication circuit and thereby hinder the resolution of conflict. They include: defensiveness, blame-shifting, and justifying one’s behavior.” (page 39) This is an important function Priolo serves, putting “flesh” on these danger signs so the reader cannot blithely read “pride” and assume he is free from it.

One of the least expected (for me) danger signs is Fear of Terminating the Relationship. The author’s observations have application for current events, as he rightly contrasts biblical love with the Roman-Greco “love” that permeates the culture. “Love is giving others what they need, not necessarily what they want. It is doing what is right rather than what you feel like doing. It is doing what is best for the other person, in light of eternity, according to the Bible and doing it whether or not the person being loved understands what you are doing. (Of course, many people today wouldn’t understand or even recognize biblical love if it {were} staring them in the face!)” (page 24)

Intolerance is contrasted with the biblical warrant to “””put up with” certain things – namely, those things (like foibles, quirks, and idiosyncrasies) in the lives of others that the Scriptures do not identify as being sinful. To be forbearing is “to have patience in regard to the errors or weaknesses of anyone.” … The tendency to uncharitably judge the actions and motives of others is a sure sign of intolerance. Another element of 1 Corinthian 13 love is that it “believes all things.’ This means that it looks for and places the best interpretation on what others do, say, and might be thinking unless there is real reason to believe otherwise. … God has not given us the ability to know what is on the heart of another person apart from what he choose to disclose to us.” (pages 51-52)  Within a marriage, being biblically tolerant of one another is critical for long term success as husband and wife. Thinking the best of one another unless CLEARLY shown otherwise – is the way of humility, in recognition that we are creatures, not Creator.

I wanted to provide a fairly detailed look into a couple of these danger signs to give you an idea of how the author writes. Priolo is engaging and tends to be biblical. I also want to mention that is seems to me that Priolo has the reader put more focus on identifying his partner’s faults than examining himself as the first priority. This is a sure plan to derail a relationship without regard to whether it ought to be a relationship. I do not think this was the author’s intent; it is my impression.

The opening section of the book, titled Persistent Doubts About the Relationship, includes a lengthy discussion of what Jay Adams calls “the holding principle.” Priolo refers to Romans 14, where we find, the last part of verse 5: “Each one must be convinced in his own mind.” And he appears to make a universal statement: “The Bible teaches that, as a follower of Jesus Christ, you should not move forward until you are confident that what you are about to do is not sin.” (page 5) I agree that we ought to be diligent and proactive to avoid sin. I do not see Romans 14:5b as a universal doctrine – as if we must ponder and seek out biblical guidance on every decision. As we grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ, the Spirit will illuminate our understanding more and more; and we will know what honorable and what is not more and more. There will nothing we “feel” approval on that the Bible calls sin; but there are many things – like the topic of days and food in Romans 14 – that we need to carefully consider. Because it’s not sin to consider all days the same and it is not sin to eat pork. Yet some still want to observe days and some still want to try to eat according to the Mosaic Code. If they are in Christ, we should be very careful and not cause them to stumble because of our freedom. THIS is the context of the sentence Pirolo quoted. The larger point is good – work at being honorable in the sight of God in all your do! Especially in making plans to join with another person in marriage.

The book ends with very short section entitled, Now What? (pages 113-114) After 100 pages of danger signs, we get a page and half of encouraging, hopeful counsel to take a sober look at both sides of the relationship and consider whether or not you each have faith in Christ to make it work. I would have loved for this to be the longest section in the book.

Danger Signs is a needful book because so many professing Christians are asleep as they walk through life. It is engaging and, as long as you don’t forget the main focus is yourself – not the other person – you can benefit greatly from reading and applying it.