Graceful Perseverance: The Bible, New Testament; Part 2 – 9/15
Welcome to this week’s blog. For the past several weeks, I have focused on my favorite book, the Bible.
Last week I focused on the last book of the New Testament, Revelation, Chapter 22. I have identified the purpose of each book, the author of each book, the date written, key verses and key people involved to help give you a better understanding of the Bible before you dive into it on your own.
When you open your Bible, you will find the New Testament has 27 books, starting with Matthew (28 chapters) and ending with Revelation (22 chapters). To date, I’ve completed the overview of the Old Testament (39 books), and the New Testament (22 books), the final chapter of Revelation last week, Chapter 22.
If you wish to revisit any of the Old Testament or New Testament blogs, you can find them on my website: https://www.thewitnesstoday.com/blog-archives.
The author and compiler of the final book of the New Testament is John, from the Island of Patmos. For hundreds of centuries there have been many approaches to interpreting the book of Revelation. Many of these approaches have supporters, but none of which have proved to be the only way to interpret or read this last book of the Bible.
The book of Revelation is written in “apocalyptic” form – a type of Jewish literature that uses symbolic imagery to communicate hope (in the ultimate triumph of God) for all of us who will be in the midst of persecution. The events in Revelation are ordered according to literary, rather than a traditional, chronological timeline. Revelation provides a powerful message of warning and instruction for end times or otherwise known as judgment day.
Blessed is the one who reads aloud 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 1:3 (NIV).
The purpose of the book of Revelation is to reveal the full identity of Christ, and to give warning and hope to believers. The author, Apostle John wrote the book of Revelation approximately 95 A.D. (From the Latin word annō Dominī – stands for “In the year of the Lord”), from the Island of Patmos.
Below is a topic critical to the final chapter of Revelation, the final days. I encourage you to study and jot down your questions as you go through the final chapters of Revelation and the supporting scripture.
Revelation, the Final Days – Are You Ready?
We don’t know the day or the hour, but Jesus is coming soon, and unexpected. Soon is defined as “any moment,” and we must be ready for Him. Are you ready for His return?
He who testifies to these things says,
“Yes, I am coming soon!”
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.
– Revelation 22:20-21 (NIV).
History has already shown us that there are many in the world who believe they have solved the mystery – “the end of the world.” By some man-made mathematical formula, they have derived a day, hour and time to only be horribly incorrect.
No man sees the mind of God, nor can any of us out smart God. Jesus’ purpose for only telling us the biblical truth that He is returning, is simply to warn us to be ready.
We are to keep doing His work, and be patient until He returns. We are to continue to live our lives for Him, and repent of our own selfish, worldly gains. This is what He means when He says, “You must be ready.”
Scripture also prepares us, letting us know that there will be no opportunity for last-minute repenting or negotiating terms with Christ. Our spiritual preparation cannot be bought or borrowed at the last minute. Our relationship with God must be our own. The choice to follow Jesus throughout our life is a decision we’ve already made or rejected. Our free choice in the matter has already determined our eternal destiny.
If you are of the mind of a skeptic, a cynic, an unbeliever, an atheist, or agnostic, we would just caution you, just like playing with fire, you will get burned. Your fate is not in your hands, but in the one who created you. There is no denying, God is the maker of heaven and earth, and all that lives on the land and in the sea. God created each of us for His glory, not our own. Each one of us were uniquely designed for God’s plan, not our own. If you lived a life that fell away from Christ, a life not in line with God’s will for your life, this will determine your fate.
God isn’t a wishy-washy God. In the last moments of our life here on earth, Christ isn’t going to take some of us, and leave some us based off our begging and pleading in those last moments. God already knows the minds and hearts of mankind. He knows if we serve Him or not. He knows if our trust and faith in Him is alive in our daily actions and works. He already knows who His saints are in the world, and those who refuse to turn away from sin, worship other gods, false gods and false prophets.
If Jesus suddenly appeared, descending from the heavens, would He catch you off guard? The great day of the Lord is near, near and hastening fast; the sound of the day of the Lord is bitter; the mighty man cries aloud there. – Zephaniah 1:14 (ESV).
For the body of believers, we have accepted the Lord’s invitation, and His warning that He is truly returning to earth to take His children home with Him to an eternal heaven.
Therefore, we know by scripture, the day and the hour are unknown. Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. ‘Do you see all these things?’ he asked. ‘Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; everyone will be thrown down.’ – Matthew 24:1-2 (NIV).
But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. – Matthew 24:36-37 (NIV).
As in the days of Noah, in their end times, many in our end times will also be eating and drinking as drunkards. Millions and millions around the world will not be ready, just as the people in Noah’s day were not ready. As a result, in the time of Noah, the foolish and oblivious people were taken away, and swallowed up by the great flood.
Noah was not only building an ark by the command of God, but he was also warning others to prepare for what was to come, the great flood. Noah prophesized and preached the gospel to the people in those times, warning them God’s wrath was coming upon the earth, and to get ready. Noah preached and warned the people to get ready for the great flood, otherwise all will perish.
For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.
Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. – Matthew 24:38-40 (NIV). There are two men in the field; one is of faith, and the other is not. The one taken is a man of God, and remembered God’s Holy Sabbath Day, and did not work in his field on this day. The one who is left is not a man of God, but a man after his personal gains. His god was money; therefore, he insisted in staying in the field so as too not lose money. Therefore, he worked on the Sabbath and disobeyed God’s command to not work on the Sabbath, nor buy or sell on the Sabbath.
Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. Therefore, keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. – Matthew 24:41-42 (NIV). As we’ve mentioned in earlier chapters, women in the Bible are symbolic references for a church. In the previous scripture, one church is a body of believers of the Word of God. They are the true prophets of the Word of God, and true doctrines or gospels. This is the church or woman who will be taken. The other church or the other woman is a church of false prophets and false doctrines, therefore this woman or this church will be left.
But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. – Matthew 24:43-44 (NIV).
Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. – Matthew 24:45-47 (NIV).
So, who then will be the wise and faithful servants? The faithful servant is the body of believers who will spend their time taking care of God’s people, and doing His work here on earth, both inside the church and outside of the church. By these daily actions, the body of believers are with hope and certainty that while they wait, they are also prayful and planning for Christ’s return.
But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. – Matthew 24:48-49 (NIV).
What about the servants who are wicked? These are the unbelievers or hypocrites who will weep, and gnash their teeth as a result of despair. God’s judgment is as certain as Jesus’ return. It is the wicked who say his master isn’t coming for a long time, or even coming at all, as he continues eating and drinking with his drunken friends? God will return when the evil servant least expects. The wicked servant will be caught off guard, and have no awareness of his surroundings.
The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. – Matthew 24:50-51 (NIV).
We clearly can read in the Bible that what has been prophesized, and what is yet to come in the end times must be taken as trustworthy and true. God tells us throughout the Bible to keep watch because we will not know on what day our Lord will come.
Biblical prophecy has certainly provided mankind the signs and warnings of the end ages. There will be no acceptable excuses that we did not know. The Bible, God’s word has been available to us for thousands of centuries. Just depends on who is seeking knowledge.
Even so, when you see all these things, you know that itis near, right at the door. Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. – Matthew 24:33-35 (NIV).
Knowledge is increasing. In this last generation, we have the ability to share information, with not only our next-door neighbors, but with our neighboring nations around the world. Our technology has advanced at the speed of light today so that every nation, language and tribe can be informed of what is coming, and within milliseconds information is at our door.
Just the other day we saw on the Internet a very cute metaphor referencing technology. It read, ‘Technically, Moses was the first person with a tablet, downloading data from the cloud.’ We couldn’t resist sharing it in this conversation of technology.
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. – Matthew 24:14 (NIV).
Around the globe we have seen the scale of natural disasters; earthquakes, psunamis, volcanoes, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and fires increase in frequency and magnitude far more than ever before. These natural disasters are recorded signs of the time that have been prophesized in the Bible, and are now being fulfilled in the ‘last generation.’
The Word of God is unlimited in the details of God’s agenda. He desires all of mankind be saved, and not one should perish. We know this through His invitation to all the world to come to Jesus, and experience the joys of salvation in Christ. Throughout scripture, the Bible clearly teaches us that salvation is not a way to earn our way into heaven, but God has given salvation to us freely by His invitation.
In order to be ready, we must not make excuses to refuse to do what God has called us to do. When God is truly your God, you will joyfully and willfully follow His direction. When you ignore your divine gifts, or waste and abuse what you have been given, you are then rebellious towards God, and He promises consequences. There are consequences to Christ’s return. And the haughtiness of man shall be humbled, and the lofty pride of men shall be brought low, and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day. – Isaiah 2:17 (ESV).
The person who diligently prepares for the “Day of the Lord,” will invest their time, and talent to serving God. These are the righteous, and they will be rewarded with an eternal life. They will not perish. On the other hand, the unbeliever, who has no heart for the work of the Lord’s Kingdom, will be judged and punished on the “Day of the Lord.” They will be put to shame and have experience everlasting contempt. God rewards faithfulness, not unfaithfulness. Those who bear no fruit for the Kingdom of God had better not assume to be treated the same as those who are faithful.
God will separate His body of believers, His followers from the hypocrites and unbelievers. The real sign of our belief is seen through our actions and our tongue. God commands we treat all people as if they are Jesus in our company. What we do for others demonstrates what we really emulate concerning God’s Law.
We are to remain in daily prayer, stay in the Word of God, and honor only God and His Law. We are to pursue a deep relationship with Christ, and lead other to Christ. We are to care for the lost and the needy. We are to be compassionate and empathetic, and feed the hungry. We are to give to the homeless, and care for those who are sick.
At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered.
Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. – Daniel 12:1-3 (NIV).
The wise will gain divine knowledge; therefore, they will experience an everlasting life at the throne of Jesus. For on that great day, their name will be found written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, and will be delivered.
The foolish will refuse to gain divine knowledge, and therefore experience shame and everlasting contempt. For on that great day, their name will not be found written in the Lamb’s Book of Life and will not be delivered, but perish.
Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those of the wise who lead many to righteousness, will shine like the stars for ever and ever.
For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can withstand it? – Revelation 6:17 (NIV).
Let’s recap. This week’s blog was a warning and invitation for all of us. Are you ready?
I hope that you have found the last several weeks of blogs, the study of the Old Testament and the New Testament and the book of Revelation, helpful, enlightening and educational.
Blessings until next week,
Debra Pauli Unstoppable Believer
Scripture Quoted From: New International Version Bible (NIV) Archived Blogs: https://www.thewitnesstoday.com/blog-archives