C2C Dec. 25-31

December 25 — Happy Incarnation Day! — 2 Peter 1-3.  Just as 2 Timothy was Paul’s farewell letter, so this is Peter’s farewell message to churches in Asia Minor.  He anticipated the soon “putting off of my body” (1:14) and wrote this letter “so that after my departure you may … recall these things” (1:15).  I noticed several things in today’s reading about the importance of the knowledge of God.  Peter said that grace and peace would result from knowing God (1:2) and so would receiving “all things that pertain to life and godliness” (1:2).  We also “have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of … Christ” (2:20).  Having the Christian character qualities listed in 1:5-7 will keep us “from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of … Christ” (1:8).  Finally, he closed his letter with this final command: “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (3:18).  May your growing knowledge of Jesus, whose birth we celebrate today, provide all that God wants to give you.

December 26 — Why Write? — 1 John 1-5.  Although 1 John is a letter, it begins like John’s Gospel, focusing on the Word that became flesh.  It is very much a message of faith, using verb forms for the word “believe” 100 times.  John mentions his “writing” 13 times and gave three reasons why he wrote.  First, he said that he wrote, “so that our joy may be complete” (1:4).  John also got something out of his writing.  When I began writing these comments, my attention was toward your benefit.  After a while, however, I began to realize that I was benefiting greatly in writing about what God was teaching me.  Secondly, John said that he wrote, “so that you may not sin” (2:1).  What we learn from God’s Word reorients our way of thinking into seeing the greater value of obedience to His will.  Finally, John wrote so “that you may know that you have eternal life” (5:13).  He filled his letter with ways to be sure of one’s salvation.

December 27 — Answer to Prayer — 2 & 3 John, Jude.  Today we read three short letters before tackling the final book of Revelation.  In his third letter, John exclaimed with gladness: “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth” (3 Jn. 4).  Whether this speaks of spiritual children or physical children, it gives us great joy to see them grasp and run with what we have discovered to be of greatest value.  Some of you have physical children who are not following the path of Christ and it grieves your heart.  Don’t give up praying for them, however, because God is not finished with them yet.  My mother prayed for me through my wayward teenage years and was rewarded with the joy of seeing me surrender my life to Jesus two years before she passed away.

December 28 — Apocalypse — Revelation 1-5.  The book of Revelation is sometimes referred to as the Apocalypse, Greek for “revelation.”  It consists mostly of revelations (revealing things previously hidden) and prophecies (revealing things that are to come).  Its contents were revealed to the aged Apostle John through messages and visions while he was exiled on the island of Patmos (1:9), probably around 95 AD.  It is a very complex book filled with much symbolism.  Those symbols have been interpreted very differently throughout the history of the Church, which I will share more about later.  The book can be divided into four major categories with seven subdivisions in each category.  The first category of sevens is in our reading for today: the letters to the seven churches of Asia Minor.  The first church, Ephesus, had abandoned its first love.  Jesus’ solution for them was three-fold: 1) Remember your “glory days,” 2) Repent from your sins, and 3) Return to what you used to do (2:5).  Those steps would be good also for us to do whenever we sense that our love has grown cold. 

December 29 — Accountability — Revelation 6-10.  Today we read about the judgments of the second and third major categories in Revelation: the seven seals and the seven trumpets (the 7th trumpet isn’t blown until 11:15).  The “great tribulation” is mentioned in 7:14, before the seventh seal but some interpreters don’t see this event happening until the “1,260 days” in 11:3.  Confused?  The ESV Study Bible has an excellent graphical summary of four major schools of interpretation.  Please be aware that a great many Bible-believing Christians fit into each of these four ways to interpret Revelation, so it would behoove us to humbly refrain from insisting that “our” way must be the only legitimate way to view these complex visions.

FOUR INTERPRETATION SYSTEMS FOR REVELATION IS SHOWN BELOW:

December 30 — Maranatha! — Rev. 11-16.  Today we read about the fourth and last section of sevens, the pouring out of the bowls of God’s wrath on the earth.  Before that, there was an interlude with visions about the woman and her son, the dragon and beasts, and the conflict between Christ and Satan.  Before that interlude was the blowing of the seventh trumpet, which seems to be the trumpet signaling Christ’s Second Coming (Mt. 24:31; 1 Cor. 15:52).  The voices from heaven will cry out, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever” (11:15).  That is what we are waiting for, “our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Tit. 2:13).  “Amen.  Come Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:20).

December 31 — The End — Rev. 17-22.  Chapter 20 gives information about the Millennium, the 1000-year reign of Christ on earth.  Just as there are four main interpretations of all the visions of Revelation, so are there regarding the Millennium.  They range from a more literal to a more symbolic view.  I learned something new today: The four times the word “Hallelujah!” is used in Rev. 19, are the only times it appears in the NT.  In most English translations, it doesn’t appear in the OT either; but where it does (in the CSB), it translates two close-sounding Hebrew words meaning “Praise the LORD!”  A fitting close to our study would be to quote two of these four statements in Rev. 19: “Hallelujah!  Salvation and glory and power belong to our God” (19:1) and “Hallelujah!  For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns” (19:6).

Published by abibleread

This website honors the Bible as the inspired Word of God through which God speaks to us as we read and study it.

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