Farthest Horizons

Nehemiah 1:8, 9 – “If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.” (NIV 1978)

My Musing – Let’s not put a limit on God’s ability to rescue and restore us. The horizon is as far as we can “see.” And no matter how much we move it never gets any closer. The farthest horizon is even further than that. But it is not so far that God cannot gather us back to Him. He can reach the farthest horizon.

My Advice – Never allow yourself to think that any sin is too great or too habitual for God to forgive. If you confess and repent, no matter how far you may have fallen, He will gather you back to Him. His reach is greater than the distance you could ever possibly fall.

The Twenty-Four Elders

TWENTY-FOUR ELDERSSurrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. (Revelation 4:4, 5a)

Who They Are – The rainbow was around the throne vertically, while these Heavenly beings surround the throne horizontally. They appear to be the king’s court,(1) and are somewhat reminiscent of the Jewish Sanhedrin that sat in a semicircle with the high priest in the middle.(2) As a symbolic number, twenty-four occurs only in this book and only for these elders (Revelation 4:4, 10; 5:8; 11:16; 19:4). We do not really know why there are twenty-four. Perhaps it is two elders for each tribe? Or could it refer to the twelve tribes (law and Judaism) and the twelve apostles (grace and Christianity)? It might represent the twenty-four divisions of the priesthood (1 Chronicles 24:1–19), or some angelic rank (Colossians 1:16) of which we know nothing.(3) Of the various interpretations, the twenty-four elders are most commonly taken to represent the saints of the old and of the new Covenant, represented by the twelve tribes and the twelve apostles.(4)

How They Are Dressed – The white robes and golden crowns are expressive of perfect righteousness. The crowns likely represent their kingly authority(5) derived from Jesus Christ who is, after all, the King of kings.

Flashes, Rumblings & Peals – Variously interpreted as God’s might, His judgment, His power over nature, and His indignation against the wicked.(6) Modern culture does not like to think of God as a God of wrath and judgment. They prefer to look at the rainbow around the throne and ignore the lightning and thunder proceeding out of the throne. But these are indications of a coming storm and are a reminder of God’s awesome power. These storm signals will be repeated during the time of judgment, always proceeding from the throne and temple of God (Revelation 8:5; 11:19; 16:18). God is preparing His throne for the coming judgment.(7)

Up Next – Seven-Fold Spirit.

References

_____________________________________________

  1. Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 582). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  2. Keener, C. S. (1993). The IVP Bible background commentary: New Testament (Re 4:4). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  3. Robertson, A. T. (1933). Word Pictures in the New Testament (Re 4:4). Nashville, TN: Broadman Press.
  4. Vincent, M. R. (1887). Word studies in the New Testament (Vol. 2, p. 478). New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.
  5. Lange, J. P., Schaff, P., Moore, E., Craven, E. R., & Woods, J. H. (2008). A commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Revelation (p. 152). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
  6. Vincent, M. R. (1887). Word studies in the New Testament (Vol. 2, pp. 479–480). New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.
  7. Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 583). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

Some Assembly Required

Screenshot (120)

Matthew 18:2-3He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (NIV 1984)

1 Corinthians 13:11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. (NIV 1984)

Hebrews 5:12-14In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. (NIV 1984)

2 Peter 1:5-8Make every effort to add to your faith. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (NIV 1978)

Musings of Others – The Seven Stages Of Man

1. Milk
2. Milk, vegetables
3. Milk, ice cream sodas, candy
4. Steak, Coke, French fries, ham and eggs
5. Frogs’ legs, caviar, Crepe Suzettes, Champagne
6. Milk and crackers
7. Milk

Tan, P. L. (1996). Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times (p. 772). Garland, TX: Bible Communications, Inc.

My Musing – When we are born again, we come to Christ with child-like (unquestioning and unshakeable) faith.  That was the beginning of our life in Christ. But we were never meant to remain as infants in our walk with Christ.  We are intended to grow, mature, and to “put childish ways behind” us.  Unlike the tongue-in-cheek Seven Stages of Man depicted above, where man eventually comes full circle to where he once began, we are to continue to grow “in increasing measure.”  From playing on the swing set (that was my son Joel) to building (yes it took me a long time) the swing set for others.

My Advice – Be a swing set maker, but never forget the little boy or girl and what it felt like to play on the swing set.  Keep that childlike faith as you grow up in Christ.

 

 

When Faith Has Its Up And Downs

Screenshot (1804)

Screenshot (119)

FROM THE MIND OF WEBSTER

End – the part of an area [life] that lies at the boundary [death].
Exodus – a mass departure.
Instructions – statement(s) that describes how to do [what to do with] something.
Burial – the act or ceremony of burying a dead person in a grave.

BACKSTORY

UpNow Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made [an amazing technicolor dream coat] for him. (Genesis 37:3) Continue reading “When Faith Has Its Up And Downs”

Less Than Deserved

Ezra 9:13, 15 – “What has happened to us is a result of our evil deeds and our guilt is great, and yet, our God, You have punished us less than our sins have deserved. O Lord, God of Israel, You are righteous!” (NIV 1978)

My Musing – How can He be righteous if He punishes us less than our sins deserve? Because the price paid by Christ on Calvary made mercy and justice compatible.

My Advice – Never forget that the price Jesus paid on the cross made God’s mercy and grace possible. The price tag was high and our appreciation needs to reflect the cost.

Vision of God’s Throne

VISION OF GOD’S THRONEAnd the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne. (Revelation 4:3)

Jasper & Carnelian – In Bible times, the jasper was a clear stone, which contrasts to the opaque jasper stones known today. It may have resembled a diamond. The carnelian was also known as ruby, probably because of its ruby-red color. The jasper and the carnelian were the first and last (“the Alpha and Omega”) of the 12 gemstones worn on the high priest’s breastplate.(1) Who else is called Continue reading “Vision of God’s Throne”

Feeling Deserted?

Ezra 9:9 – “God has not deserted us in our bondage.” (NIV 1978)

My Musing – When we are in “bondage,” it is natural for us to conclude that God has deserted us. But He will not take us where He will not sustain us.

My Advice – Whenever you feel oppressed or in “bondage,” look diligently for the Lord. He is right there with you. He has not deserted you. If you cannot find Him, perhaps it is time to consider whether it is you that have abandoned Him. All the more reason to seek Him out.