Tuesday, December 13, 2011

December 13- Under the Microscope and Out Of This World

December 13, 2011

Scripture Reading:
Obadiah 1-21; Revelation 4:1-11;
Psalm 132:1-18; Proverbs 29:24-25

Where the telescope ends, the microscope begins. Which of the two has the grander view? 
 ~Victor Hugo

Obadiah 1-21

When the children were in elementary school, we purchased a microscope to look at things more closely.  I found pre-prepared slides of bee's wings, leaves, a piece of wood, etc.  Living things look so different when studied closely under a microscope.  Today in our Old and New Testament readings, we see God coming to two different positions on people groups based on a close study of their faith.  One group is stuck under the microscope of God's judgment because of their pride. The other group is out of this world and ruling in heaven because of their humility.

Why Does God Hate Esau?

Obadiah is one of the minor prophets and he writes the shortest book in the Old Testament.  It may be short, but God uses this man to explain a concept that is first introduced in the book of Genesis.  You may remember in Genesis chapter 25 that Isaac became a father at the age of sixty to two twin boys named Esau and Jacob.  Esau was red and hairy. Jacob was quiet and smooth. As the story goes, Esau eventually loses both his birthright and the blessing of his father because of his rash behavior.  Later in Scripture we learn in Malachi 1:2-3 and in Romans 9:10-13 that God loved Jacob, but He hated Esau.  In the Genesis story, it appears to be a done deal when the Lord warns a pregnant Rebekah that two nations are in her womb and the older will serve the younger.  God's sovereignty is involved in the lives of these two boys and the boys are designed by God to represent something larger than themselves.

The little book of Obadiah helps us to realize what Esau or Edom, as it is called in the book of Obadiah, represents.  What God hated in Esau and the nation of Edom, which came forth from this man, was his pride.  God hates the unrepentant proud.  Esau's life and his ability to give up his birthright for a pot of stew represents not loving and cherishing God. The nation of Edom, which comes from Esau, does not follow God and does not support their relatives in the nation of Israel, which are Jacob's descendants.  Instead of helping their cousins and loving their God, the Edomites are indifferent to the suffering of the Israelites and indifferent to God.

The book of Obadiah shows us that God is putting the Edomites under the microscope of judgment.  All people who reject Christ because of the pride and refusal to turn to God will be subject to the microscope of judgment.  Do you want your life examined for all that you have done wrong?  This is a fearful position in which to be! We learn in Proverbs 6:16 that God hates pride.  It is number one on His hate list.  Pride is the sin that caused Satan's fall.  Pride caused Eve to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  It is pride that has led Edom to reject God and His chosen people Israel. 

We see that Edom will be punished for the sin of pride. You and I must remember that Edom represents the flesh and the world.  All people on earth who rely on the things of this world and their own strength to justify themselves will be subjected to God's microscope of judgment and will be found wanting. God's punishment for their pride will be just.

Lesson: Jesus will reign in Jerusalem and the godless nations will be judged.  That is what the tiny book of Obadiah teaches us.

Revelation 4:1-11

Today is a glorious day as we begin to read the 4th chapter of Revelation.  Yesterday we completed the letters to the seven churches, which represented the Church of Christ throughout the ages on earth during the "day of grace" and the Church age.  After this point, we will not see the word "church" in the book of Revelation anymore.  Why not? Today's reading helps us to see that the Church is not on earth anymore starting with chapter 4 of Revelation.  This chapter shows us the Church in heaven reigning with Christ. 

As we begin, John sees an open door in heaven.  Please remember that in yesterday's reading, the church in Philadelphia is told that Christ controls the opening and shutting of doors and that they have an open door that no one can shut (Rev. 3:8).  Christ promises in the letter to the Philadelphian church that they will not go through the testing that is going to come upon the earth (Rev. 3:10).  He also says that this true Church is going to be pillars in God's Temple, which is heaven (Rev. 3:11).  Today, John sees the fulfillment of these promises in his vision.

First, John sees the open door of which Christ spoke.  It is in heaven. The same voice that had been speaking to him (the Lord's voice) spoke to him like a mighty trumpet blast.  This is how Jesus' voice is described by the Apostle Paul when he explains to the Thessalonian church what the Rapture will be like. Please note what the Apostle Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 4:16,
"For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.  And so, we will be with the Lord forever."
The Thessalonians were worried that they had missed the Rapture.  Paul explains this event to comfort and encourage them.  Now Jesus shows the Apostle John the view from heaven of this event.  Please note that the voice that sounds like a trumpet tells John to "Come up here."  Do you think it is just a coincidence that Jesus says "Come up."  This is the Greek word Harpazo. This is the word used by both Paul and John to describe being caught up in the air or raptured. Rapture means to be caught up.  Jesus is confirming this concept to John.  He is showing John the future of the True Church.  John is instantly caught up to God's throne in heaven.  We are no longer on earth with the Church in John's vision.  John has taken us up to heaven where the Church has gone through Christ's open door and been caught up to heaven.  God's throne is brilliant to behold. Twenty-four elders are surrounding God's throne and are sitting on twenty-four thrones around God.  What does this picture? It pictures a fulfillment of what Christ promised to the Philadelphian church, which is the true Church of believers.  He promised that they would rule with Him in heaven. Elders are overseers. This shows us that Jesus has placed the True Church as overseers with authority in heaven.  Think back to the promises given to the seven churches in the letters to the churches in Revelation 2-3.  Jesus is showing those promises fulfilled here.

In this vision the throne is before a shiny sea.  Four living creatures that are covered in eyes are before this throne.  Each  looks different- one like a lion, one like an ox, one like a human and one like an eagle.  Commentators say that these represent Christ in the gospels.  In Matthew, he is the king.  In Mark, he is the servant. In Luke, he is a man.  In John, he is God. These gospels declare God's holiness and that He has always existed and will always exist. That is why the creatures fly about and declare this. Notice that the Church, represented by the elders, falls down and worships the One who lives forever. They declare that He is worthy to receive glory and honor and power.  This is because He has created everything for His own pleasure.

What a glorious picture of the Church's humility. It is this attitude that has secured God's favor for those who love Him and acknowledge Him as Creator of all things. 

Lesson: Why were we created?  What is our purpose?  God has given us the answer right here. We were created to worship the God, who is and was and will always be.  This great and awesome Being made us and all things.  He, alone, is worthy of honor and praise. He made us so that we could be an expression of Himself.  Our existence is a praise to our Creator.

Do you look forward to reigning with Christ in heaven and worshiping God forever?  I do. What a privilege!  Do you believe in the Rapture of the Church?  I do.

Psalm 132:1-18

God has chosen to give the world a king through David.  God has chosen Jerusalem (the city of peace) to be His dwelling place.  This psalm claims those promises.

Proverbs 29:24-25

Trusting the Lord means safety.

What did you learn today?  Please share.


Jubilee Gal
Kathy Fullerton

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