The Seven Beatitudes of Revelation

Here are the Seven Beatitudes of Revelation:

Revelation 1:3:  “Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.”

Revelation 14:13:  “Then I heard a voice form heaven say, ‘Write:  Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’  ‘Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘They will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.'”

Revelation 16:15:  “Behold, I come like a thief!  Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed.”

Revelation 19:9:  “Then the angel said to me, ‘Write:  Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’  And he added, ‘These are the true words of God.'”

Revelation 20:6:  “Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection.  The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.”

Revelation 22:7:  “Behold, I am coming soon!  Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book.”

Revelation 22:14:  “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.”

I didn’t even know these existed until this study!  It’s so cool how Jesus gave us the Beatitudes on the Sermon on the Mount as well as these through the angel.  Awesome!

As we go through out study, be aware of these final words of wisdom from Jesus.  A great website HERE explains them thoroughly.

Overview of Revelation: What all Scholars Agree On

Over the last few weeks, I’ve presented many eschatological views concerning the return of Christ.  We’ve discussed the rapture, the tribulation, and the millennium.  However, there are three things all eschatologists can agree on:

1)  There will be a Great Tribulation

2)  After the Tribulation, Christ will establish his kingdom on earth

3)  There will be a rapture (where all believers will become immortal and dwell with Christ forever).

The time frame is what is in question here, which leads to what will Christ’s Second Coming look like.

Why is this important for us?  Because Christ can come at any time.  We should be familiar with the signs so we are not fooled by any of Satan’s trickery.  Most importantly, the Second Coming gives us hope and faith.  Hope when things are bad.  Faith that God has not forsaken us.  Through this study of Revelation we should see both our hope and faith grow in leaps and bounds.

Overview of Revelation: Where did the “Church” Go?

The word “church” is used 19 times in the first 3 chapters of the book of Revelation.  Then it’s not used again until Revelation 22.  So what happened in Revelation 4-21?

We are not sure.  Scholars use this fact to support the pretribulationist view that Christians are indeed exempt from any tribulation because the word is not used.  In fact, the word “church” is never used in Revelation when discussing the Tribulation.  Romans 8:1 says Christians will not experience any wrath from God.  This is the strongest evidence for this view in the Bible.

Those who disagree say the word “saints” used throughout Revelation 4-21 means the church.  However, this is a different Greek word and why would John, the author of Revelation, use a different word here unless they were different?

However, scholars will point out that the Greek word “saints” is used 59 times in the New Testament to refer to a true believer in Christ.  So perhaps the writer of Revelation merely switched terms.  Furthermore, the word “church” is also missing from the books of Mark, Luke, John, and others.  Does this mean the church didn’t exist?

No.  As most of us know, the idea of the church meaning the body of Christ developed after the apostles were dead and has evolved over time to mean believers.

Hence, in my opinion, we can’t conclusively draw any conclusions as to why the word “church” is missing here but used elsewhere as well as the word “saints”.  As a writer, word choice is subjective and a prerogative by the writer.  John could have simply been bored and wanted a change!

My reason for this post is two-fold:  1)  Don’t read too much into word choice and translation choices. The Word is God-breathed but man-written and man-translated.  2)  I just wanted you all to notice this in Revelation.  I’m unsure if BSF will even mention this as the debate is intense in the eschatological community.  But I find it interesting and good to know.  If you read much on the End Times, you will see this mentioned over and over again.  With so many out there with an opinion, it’s good to form your own opinion.  But you can’t without the knowledge.

Overview of Revelation: What is the Rapture and What Does that Have to do with the Tribulation?

The rapture is the belief that either before or after Christ returns the Christians still alive on earth will be transformed, receive their resurrected bodies, and be taken in the clouds with Jesus.  This is based entirely on Paul’s words in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18.

Again, there is debate amongst eschatologists about the timing of the rapture.  They are divided into three camps:  Pretribulation, Midtribulation, and Posttribulation.

Pretribulationists believe the rapture will occur at the beginning of the 7 year tribulation period.  This means no believers will experience any tribulation period.  This belief holds all believers on earth will be members of the restored Jewish nation.

Midtribulationists believe the rapture will occur at the halfway point, 3 1/2 years before the return of Christ at the very beginning of the Great Tribulation period.

Posttribulationists believe the rapture will happen when Christ returns at the very end of the Great Tribulation or 7 year time frame before Christ returns.  The church will continue throughout the tribulation.

Paul also discusses the rapture in 1 Corinthians 15:20-23, 51-52.

Some scholars even profess a partial rapture where only the pious Christians will be taken with Christ while the rest must suffer first and then be taken.

The rapture and Christ’s Second Coming are different events although both involve the End Times. The rapture is where Christ gathers the believers in clouds.  The Second Coming is where Christ returns to earth to establish his kingdom, defeat the AntiChrist, and judge non-believers and end the tribulation.

Keep in mind all of these are theories.  We know the rapture will occur.  We don’t know when.  God does not tell us.  We know Christ will return.  God does not tell us when.  Furthermore, Scripture doesn’t expressly teach one view over the other.  Thus, what we have is man trying to determine God’s ways given what little we are told in the Word.  There is nothing wrong with this; in fact it is our job as Christians to try to divine what God is telling us.

We just have to remember our knowledge is limited and in the end only one thing matters:  we will be with God.  In the meantime, we live like He tells us to live.  God will take care of the rest.

Overview of Revelation: What is the Great Tribulation? And What’s So “Great” about It?

Definition of tribulation according to Webster’s:  “distress or suffering resulting from oppression or persecution; a trying experience.”

The Tribulation and the Great Tribulation are all part of the study of eschatology (the End Times).  In terms of the Bible, the tribulation is the seven-year time frame (note the number 7) when God will finish gathering his disciples from His chosen people (Israel) and judge all of the unbelievers.  Believers will be exempt from this judgment (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53; 1 Thessalonians 5:9), commonly known as the rapture.

The Great Tribulation refers to the last 3 1/2 years of the tribulation.  Revelation 13:5 designates the time the Beast will be in power as 42 months.  Why the separation?  In the Great Tribulation, the Beast or Antichrist will be revealed and God intensifies His wrath.  Revelation 13-19 details God’s wrath on earth.

In the Tribulation there will be unparalleled suffering sent from God to earth for His purposes. This includes persecution of Christians by non-christians and in the Great Tribulation (the last 3 1/2 years) God will pour out his wrath on the ungodly.

Daniel is the first to reveal the tribulation in Chapter 9.  “Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people (the Jews) and your holy city (Jerusalem) to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy” (Daniel 9:24).  Seventy sevens is 490 years (note the number 7 again).

Now here’s where it gets confusing.  Most scholars agree that 69 of the 70 ‘sevens’ have passed (Daniel 9:25-26).  This is 483 years, the exact time since the decree to build the Temple at Jerusalem until Jesus’s crucifixion.  This leaves one 7 year period to come (the Tribulation).  When is the question that is debated amongst scholars.

This leads us back to the differing views of eschatology:  preterists, futurists, historicists, and idealists who all hold differing views of when the 7 years will occur and what exactly will happen during those 7 years.

The preterists believe the 7 year period has already happened around the time of the destruction of the temple in 70 AD and it affected only the Jews.

The historicists like the preterists believe the tribulation has already happened as well; however, they believe it occurred when Rome fell from power in the Middle Ages.  They use the term “the persecution of the Saints” instead of the term tribulation which was used in Daniel 7 and Revelation 13.

Amongst the futurists, there is debate but in general they hold the 7 year period will begin when mankind is at its worst in terms of wars, poverty, and overall chaos and it will occur before Jesus’s Second Coming.

The idealists who generally believe Revelation is spiritual and not literal believe we are in tribulation now and dismiss the 7 year time period all together.  We wage war spiritually every day against the devil.

In sum, the tribulation is the 7 year period when God will judge humanity, which has reached its peak of evil.  Whether or not believers will face the tribulation is much debated and will be discussed in my next post along with the rapture.

Overview of Revelation: What is Premillennialism? Debate over Revelation 20

Within the study of eschatology is the debate about when will Jesus come again.  There are three main interpretations of the Bible here known as amillennialism, postmillennialism, and premillennialism.  These beliefs all stem from Revelation 20 where Jesus’ Second Coming and the Millennium is discussed in some detail.

What is premillennialism?  This is the belief that Jesus will physically come again (the Second Coming) before (“pre” means before in Latin) the ushering in of the Millennium spoken about in the book of Revelation (Revelation 20:1-6).  Jesus comes, the Millennium begins, giving unbelievers a chance to turn to God, Satan in bound and then he’ll lead a final revolt, then the judgment occurs.

Amillennialism (“a” means no in Greek) is the belief that the book of Revelation is figurative and the time frame is indeterminate. Revelation 20 refers to the church age during which Satan’s power over the nations is restrained so the gospel can reach more people.  This belief holds that we are already in the church age, waiting for Christ to come and judge, and therefore Christ’s reign is in heaven and not here on earth.

Postmillennialists (“post” means after in Latin) see the millennium as a future period when truth will be revealed and accepted by the majority of people.  They believe in the literal 1000 year period or Golden Age but unlike the premillennialists, they believe the church, man, and nations will all eventually turn to Christ first and only when the majority of the world is ready for Christ will he return physically to earth and judge mankind and usher in the New World Order.  They believe the 1000 years has not begun yet.

Did you catch the key difference between the postmillennialists and the premillennialists? Postmillennialists believe man will convert people and reference Matthew 28:19-20 (the Great Commission).  Premillennialists believe Jesus himself will come and convert the majority of mankind to him.

In sum, amillennialists don’t believe in a physical coming of Jesus.  Postmillennialists and premillennialists believe Jesus will physically come to usher in his kingdom–the debate is in the details of when as well as the actual 1000 year period itself.

All agree that this world will end and Jesus will establish an eternal kingdom here on earth. The debate is over how and when.  Again, does it matter?  We can hold onto the hope and the truth that there will be a time when Jesus will reign.  For now, he reigns in our hearts.

This is at the end of our study but it’s good to have this idea in your head now and be thinking on it as we go along.  Perhaps there will be clues elsewhere.

To me, this is just plain interesting.  I love how God doesn’t make it clear because I believe the details don’t matter to Him.  He wants us.  Always has.  Always will.  As long as we’re secure in Him, the rest is merely fodder for the soul.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 30

Hey all,

As all of these are personal questions, I won’t be posting my answers here.  I’ll just give you all a summary of what I learned for the year.  This will be my Sharing Day so to speak.

I learned that God only desires our faith in Him and obedience.  That’s it.  Later, it’s changed to faith in His son, Jesus Christ.  It’s so simple that most people are tripped up by it.

I learned how truly amazing Moses was.  Everyone knows about Moses but most people just know him as the guy who parted the Red Sea and turned some water into wine (this was my impression at least).  But Moses was so much more.  He was the closest to God a person can be.  He did amazing things for 40 years for millions of people.  He had a heart for God.  He stumbled and paid the price like we all do.  But his life was extraordinary.  It gives courage to those of us who live ordinary lives.

I learned how incredibly stubborn God’s people were and how this explains much of how we are today.  Man’s nature never changes.  Neither does God’s.  Repeatedly, the Israelites fell. Repeatedly, they rebelled.  Repeatedly, they turned away.  Always God picked them up.  Always God forgave them.  Always grace prevailed.  God is amazing and loving and awesome. Compassionate, forgiving, and omnipotent.  Protector.  Provider.  Comforter.  The story of the Israelites journey out of Egypt is a story of grace and God’s goodness.  His will in all.

I learned about the importance of helpers.  How we all need them.  Asking for help is okay. Humbly receiving it is even better.

I learned how God’s grace and judgment are not to be questioned.  We all know His ways are not our ways.  We all deserve death.  Anything we receive in our walk on earth is all by Him.  Every breath is by His grace alone.  One day we will all take our last when He deems it so.  What would happen if we all lived out that truth?

The Study of Moses was a struggle for my kids, especially the giving of the laws.  The first half of Moses they loved.  Full of heroic stories and deeds.  The second half was a drag.  Archaic laws that went over their heads.  But they came and they had fun and I know they got something out of it. Even if they don’t realize it until later on down the road.

Anytime I read God’s word my faith is strengthened.  Moses is a man after God’s own heart. Knowing more about him helps me to know more about what God wants for me.  Moses’s walk was an extraordinary one.  I only hope I can lead one half as well!

Final Link:  Just a little summary in a nutshell of Moses’s life and some important lessons to glean:

http://www.gotquestions.org/life-Moses.html

Thank you all for studying with me, for sharing your thoughts, for being my “group”.  It was amazing.  I can’t wait for Revelation!  Bring it on!  Have a great summer break and God bless!