Revelation 20: The Binding, Releasing, and Final Judgment of Satan

Reposted from Rev. Stout:

(15 verses, 2:25 to read)

READ & LISTEN

What I am about to READ 

  • The Binding, Releasing, and Final Judgment of Satan.

MARK & LEARN & MEDITATE.

  • 1-3: Satan is bound for 1,000 years –  Jesus does this binding because He is the stronger man who bound the strong man (Matt. 12:29).  When the strong man is bound, his prisoners are released to the stronger man.  Jesus has released you.  You belong to Him.  Satan was bound through His death and resurrection.  The thousand years, as interpreted through other Scripture passages, is symbolic for God’s perfect length of time (Ps. 90:4; 2 Pet. 3:8) or complete amount (Ps. 50:10).  It is not literal.  This has traditionally been interpreted as the age of the church.  Satan is bound and his chain is short.  Yet, he will be released near the end of world.  Jesus is the One releasing.  He is the One who holds the key. The Church’s confidence is in Him even if they don’t understand all the “why’s.”  Jesus still holds the time of the resurrection in His hand and will bring to completion in the perfect time. “And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short (Matt. 24:22).”
  • 4-6: Christ’s reign with the saints for the same period of time – Both saints in heaven and saints on earth share in Christ’s rule and judgment.  Some of this is very mysterious.  However, we have confidence that Christ’s judgment is exercised through His pastors and Church when sins are forgiven from those who repent and forgiveness is withheld from those who refuse (Matt. 16:16-19; Matt. 18:18; John 20:22-23).  The verdict you hear through your pastor on Sunday is God’s verdict in heaven.  The absolution to give you a clean conscience is comforting judgment, not condemning judgment.  Christ’s gifts through His Word produce the first resurrection when we who were spiritually dead are made alive by His grace.  This is the comfort we cling as we wait for the bodily resurrection where we will be protected by Christ from eternal condemnation, or second death.
  • 7-10: Satan is released and the Church conflicts with Gog and Magog –  Like many Old Testament battles, you can imagine how unlikely it is that Christ’s Church will have victory when surrounded by such enemies.  But that is only if they were fighting the battle themselves.  It is then that Satan and his demons are cast by Christ, not into the pit, but into the eternal lake of fire.
  • 11-15: The Day of Judgment.  Christ’s saints are judged by His righteousness.  You are written in the Lamb’s book of life by His blood and the faith that was given to you.  Covered in Christ and by grace, we also receive credit for good works we have accomplished through and in Him.  We somehow get credit for producing fruit that was produced often without knowledge.  For many of the good works, we will ask, “When did we do these things (Matthew 25:37)?”  The answer will be found in loving, forgiving, having mercy, and providing for those through whom our vocations touch.  They do seem small and menial now, but they are precious in God’s sight, and sometimes also in the sight of those who are served.

Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Post below, or join the conversation in our Facebook group:  (https://www.facebook.com/groups/dailybiblemeditation/

Pastor Christopher Stout

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Revelation 19: The Victory and the Victor

(21 verses, 1:55 to read)

LISTEN & READ

What I am about to READ

At the destruction of the harlot and the beasts, all of Heaven rejoice. Christ, the friend of sinners, reveals Himself as the faithful, true, and victorious champion.

MARK & LEARN

– At the declaration of the fall of Babylon in the previous chapter, the responding joyous celebration of 19 begins. The judgements of the Lord, that is, His Word, remain and prove in the end to be just and true. This brings us back to the beginning of the Revelation wherein Christ comforts the persecuted churches of John’s day and ours with the reality that regardless of what our eyes see, Christ the victor through His Blood and Word still remains in the midst of us. Because this truth never fails, the church still sings the song of Revelation 19 when her Bridegroom gathers her today! So we are the ones who are blessed because the Lord has declared us righteous by faith and thus given us free access to the marriage feast of the Lamb in His kingdom, which has no end.

– The later 1/3 of chapter 19 reveals Christ as already victorious because His word has been declared from ages past and His blood has already been shed. This is why the angel calls the carrion birds to feast on the enemies of God before the “battle” begins. This section clearly reaffirms the most powerful weapon the Lord has and, indeed, has even given to His Bride, the Church: His Word. This is what is used to defeat all of the enemies of Truth.

MEDITATE

Dear Father in heaven, we thank you that your love for us sinner is steadfast, and that you continually call us to repentance and are quick to forgive. In these last days, constantly remind us of your love for us in your Son, our victorious Savior, Jesus Christ. Remind us that in Him, you have given us your best and greatest and have even already won the victory over sin, death, the Devil, and our sinful flesh so that we might lead godly lives here in time and with you there in eternity. Amen.

Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Post below, or join the conversation in our Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/dailybiblemeditation/

-Pastor Weslie Odom

Revelation 17: The Mystery of the Great Harlot

(18 verses, 3:24 to read)

READ & LISTEN

What I am about to READ

  • John sees, in this chapter, the image of the great harlot, which is a picture of the world that attacks Jesus and His church.

MARK & LEARN

  • Just as John is given visions of heaven where Jesus sits on the throne, so he is also give visions of the earthly reality, all the ugliness of the world that is anti-Christ. The harlot in this chapter is the world and its lust, power, and greed, that attacks the church.
  • Rome is the city built on seven hills (see 17:9), and when John received this revelation the world power fighting against the church was the Roman empire. Today we can understand the harlot as any and all world powers that fight against God and His institutions.
  • This is a fearful enemy, but this chapter delivers us the comfort of the Revelation in verse 14, “the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.”

MEDITATE

  • The church of Jesus is set in the midsts of great trouble and danger. We are attacked, assaulted, and tempted away from the true worship of God, but the One who sits on the throne is the same One who hung on the cross. Jesus, who is seated at the right hand of the Father, rules and reigns all things for us, His people. We live and die, then, without fear, knowing that all things are in His hands, knows that we are in His hands.

Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Join the conversation on our Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/dailybiblemeditation/

Lord’s Blessings,
Pr. Bryan Wolfmueller

Revelation 16: Seven Bowls of God’s Wrath Poured Out

Reposted from Pr. Wolfmueller:

(21 verses, 3:20 to read)

READ & LISTEN

What I am about to READ

  • The seven bowls of God’s wrath are poured out on the earth.

MARK & LEARN

Here is the detailed outline of the chapter

  • 1, God calls the angels to pour out the bowls of His wrath
  • 2, Bowl 1 poured on the earth, and sores come on animals and people with the mark of the beast
  • 3, Bowl 2 poured on the sea, which turns to blood
  • 4, Bowl 3 poured on the rivers, which turn to blood
  • 5-7, Interlude of praise to the Lord who is avenging the blood of the saints
  • 8-9, Bowl 4 poured on the sun, and fire scorches men
  • 10-11, Bowl 5 poured on the throne of the beast, which afflicts his kingdom
  • 12-16, Bowl 6 poured on the Euphrates River, which dries up as a prelude to the last battle
    • 15, Interlude, Jesus reminds us that He is coming
  • 17-21, Bowl 7 poured into the air, and all the signs of the last day are accomplished

MEDITATE

  • This chapter gives us an exploded view of God’s wrath and anger, which will be poured out on the unbelieving world. The wicked will not rule forever, and the goats will eventually be culled from the sheep. This chapter reminds us of the Lord’s wrath, and we who are marked with the Lord’s name, rejoice that this wrath is not for us. We are hidden in Christ, and have escaped the trouble that is to come. God be praised!

Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Post below, or join the conversation in our Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/dailybiblemeditation/
-Pastor Bryan Wolfmueller

Revelation 13: The Two Beasts

(18 verses, 1:45 to read)

LISTEN & READ

What I am about to READ

John receives a vision of two beast, perhaps best understood as political and religious tyranny and strife respectively.

MARK

1-10: The beast from the sea is described and revealed.

11-18: The beast from the earth is described and revealed.

LEARN

– The previous chapter concluded with the dragon ready to make war as he stood on the the sands of the sea. The scene here in chapter 13 continues this picture as the first beast arises from the sea with the dragon looking on. This beast from the sea is perhaps best understood as a representation of those things the dragon can use in the secular realms of governments, various sources of information, economics, and so forth to do war with the “woman” and “her seed”.

– As the beast from the earth comes into the picture, it is plainly seen that, together with the beast from the sea, the entire world is at risk.

– The beast from the earth is of a different stripe than the beast from the sea, but they are of like kind. Unlike the first beast, this beast is persuasive, not coercive. The beast from the earth can be seen as various types of religious tyranny, which would mean primarily false doctrine, that the dragon uses in his warfare.

MEDITATE

The number 666, mentioned in chapter 13 of Revelation, receives much attention and has become an unsettling number for some Christians. The committee that coordinated and compiled the Lutheran Service Book, perhaps with this in mind, intentionally selected the very comforting hymn, “O Little Flock, Fear Not the Foe” as the 666th hymn. The text follows:

1. O little flock, fear not the Foe
Who madly seeks your overthrow;
Dread not his rage and power.
What though your courage sometimes faints,
His seeming triumph o’er God’s saints
Lasts but a little hour.

2. Be of good cheer; your cause belongs
To Him who can avenge your wrongs;
Leave it to Him, our Lord.
Though hidden yet from mortal eyes,
His Gideon shall for you arise,
Uphold you and His Word.

3. As true as God’s own Word is true.
Not earth nor hell with all their crew
Against us shall prevail.
A jest and byword are they grown;
God is with us, we are His own;
Our victory cannot fail.

4. Amen, Lord Jesus, grant our prayer;
Great Captain, now Thine arm make bare,
Fight for us once again!
So shall Thy saints and martyrs raise
A mighty chorus to Thy praise,
World without end. Amen.

Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Post below, or join the conversation in our Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/dailybiblemeditation/

-Pastor Weslie Odom

Revelation 14: The Lamb’s Name, the Father’s Name, the Eternal Gospel, and the Time for Harvest

Reposted from Rev. Stout:

(20 verses, 2:47 to read)

READ & LISTEN

What I am about to READ 

  • The Lamb’s Name, the Father’s Name, the Eternal Gospel, and the Time for Harvest

MARK & LEARN & MEDITATE.

  • vs. 1-5: The first major section of this reading begins in heaven.  The saints there are marked with the Father’s name on their foreheads.  This is contradiction to the name written on others in this reading (vs. 9).  By nature, we have the mark of Satan, but the Lamb has redeemed us and made us His own and called us to follow Him.  He has placed His Name and the name of the Father on our forehead through His Word and through Baptism!  The gift that this Name brings is proclaimed in how the saints are viewed in God’s eyes.  The picture of the saints as blameless reminds us of Ephesians 5 where the Church is proclaimed as blameless in Christ’s eyes.   We in the Church on earth get small pictures and small sounds of the glorious sights and sounds of heaven when we are declared blameless and undefiled for the sake of the Lamb and give Him all glory and honor.  The Church hears it, but the world cannot understand it.  Church is heaven on earth!
  • vs. 6-13: The second major section of this reading will center around the message of the three angels.  The first angel has an eternal gospel.  That is fantastic!  It is a light that never goes out.  It is strength that never grows weary.  It has no end and had no beginning.  The good news of the Lamb of God is eternal.  The Gospel in this particular reading is that judgment has come!  The judgment for the Christian is “righteous in Christ,” and the final declaration of this judgment means no more persecution, no more struggle with sin, no more death of loved ones (and in fact, there is a full realization of this blessing: (“Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!” vs. 13).  The Christian receives God’s cup of kindness and peace which overfloweth rather than the cup of wrath that those who are marked by the beast receive.  The call for the Christian as they wait on this judgment is this:  (vs. 12) “Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.”
  • vs. 14-20: The final section of this reading focuses on the judgment as the time for harvest.  This is one of the most graphic parts of the judgment of unbelievers.  As grapes are pressed down in the wine press, so God’s wrath is received by those who do not take refuge in Christ.  The comfort the Christian can take in this section is twofold: 1.) As grapes are not harvested until they are ready, so God, in His patience, has decided to wait at least one more minute (the time it took you to read that part of sentence) because the earth is not fully ripe.  You don’t know the ripeness of the earth’s harvest.  He does and He loves the world and you.  2.) We have peace in knowing who holds in His hands the sickle and are called to have patience as we wait for Him to declare that the time is now – the earth is fully ripe.  The One who holds in His hand the sickle also has nail marks in those same hands.  This declares that He is God and man and has redeemed you with His blood.

Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Post below, or join the conversation in our Facebook group:  (https://www.facebook.com/groups/dailybiblemeditation/

Pastor Christopher Stout

Revelation 11: The Temple Measure, The Two Witnesses, and the Seventh Trumpet

(19 verses, 3:15 to read)

Read & Listen

What I am about to READ

  • The church will suffer greatly in this world. God will protect His church and yet Christians will suffer persecution and even death. But in the end they have victory because Christ is victorious.

MARK                                           

  • The measuring of the temple (11:1-2)
  • The two witnesses (11:3-14)
  • The seventh trumpet (11:15-19)

LEARN

  • There’s a lot going on in this chapter, but it helps if you understand that both the temple and the two witnesses are a picture of the church.
  • This temple is the church where God dwells with His people in Word and Sacrament. This is how the church is sustained even in the face of persecution, suffering, and even death.  The church will suffer and suffer greatly but it will not ultimately be defeated.
  • This is the same thing we see with the two witnesses. The two witnesses are representative of the church’s preaching and teaching ministry, that is it’s prophetic witness to the world.  The church calls the world to repentance and proclaims Christ crucified for them.
  • The two witnesses are even killed in this section. At times the witness of the church will be silenced in an area for a time (and the world will even celebrate this!), but then the church is raised up in that place again just as we see the two witnesses raised up.
  • The end of the chapter shows the end of all things and the great joy that God’s children will have on that day. The ark of the covenant makes an appearance at the close of the chapter because it is a symbol of God’s presence and shows that His presence and fellowship is possible because of the atonement of Christ.

MEDITATE

  • Luther has some helpful insights into what it means for the church to suffer under the cross. He calls this suffering the seventh mark of the church: Seventh, the holy Christian people are externally recognized by the holy possession of the sacred cross. They must endure every misfortune and persecution, all kinds of trials and evil from the devil, the world, and the flesh (as the Lord’s Prayer indicates) by inward sadness, timidity, fear, outward poverty, contempt, illness, and weakness, in order to become like their head, Christ. And the only reason they must suffer is that they steadfastly adhere to Christ and God’s word, enduring this for the sake of Christ, Matthew 5 [:11], “Blessed are you when men persecute you on my account.” They must be pious, quiet, obedient, and prepared to serve the government and everybody with life and goods, doing no one any harm. No people on earth have to endure such bitter hate; they must be accounted worse than Jews, heathen, and Turks. In summary, they must be called heretics, knaves, and devils, the most pernicious people on earth, to the point where those who hang, drown, murder, torture, banish, and plague them to death are rendering God a service. No one has compassion on them; they are given myrrh and gall to drink when they thirst. And all of this is done not because they are adulterers, murderers, thieves, or rogues, but because they want to have none but Christ, and no other God. Wherever you see or hear this, you may know that the holy Christian church is there, as Christ says in Matthew 5 [:11–12], “Blessed are you when men revile you and utter all kinds of evil against you on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.” This too is a holy possession whereby the Holy Spirit not only sanctifies his people, but also blesses them.

Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Post below, or join the conversation in our Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/dailybiblemeditation/

-Pastor Andrew Packer