Raptured

Rev.7:16 – They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat;

This verse comes from one of the most thrilling scenes in all the Bible. John has just witnessed the opening of the seals of God’s mighty scroll and the beginning of God’s judgement being poured out on the earth. Out of the midst of the Great Tribulation comes a palm waving, innumerable multitude. The joy is far beyond anything John had ever witnessed in his days. These worshippers were the vast multitude of God’s final harvest before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. One minute these folks were facing hostility and darkness, the next moment they are standing in unspeakable joy, dressed in white, washed in the blood, celebrating before the throne of God. Here is how J.A. Seiss describes this scene.

“O the blessedness, the peace, the comfort, the everlasting satisfaction, which is the portion of these Palm-bearers! Our souls thrill with the mere contemplation of it! What must it then be to possess it—to feel it to be our own—to enjoy it without let or hindrance forever….We feel ourselves overshadowed with the cloud of brightness. We cannot open even our drowsy eyes to the scene, but our lips mutter: “Lord, it is good for us to be here.” Fain would we set up our tabernacles where we might ever contemplate the blaze of living glory. Here we would sit forever viewing bliss so great, so true, so high. This glorious Lamb! This glorious throne! These glorious ones with their glorious crowns! This effulgence of gracious Godhead! These sinless splendors! These “eternal consolations! These holy services! These smiles of favor beaming from the King! These never-withering palms! These ever-shining robes! These ever-thrilling songs! These ever-flowing springs of never-failing life! These joy-speaking eyes which never weep, and singing lips which never thirst, and uplifted hands which never tire, and comforts from God as a mother would comfort the child she loves, and sorrow and sighing forever fled away! O blessed, blessed, blessed contemplation!”

Jesus has just wiped away their final tears and led them to the fountain of living waters! They can hardly believe what had just happened to them. They had come out of a world of suffering, sorrow, and anger; now they were swallowed up in unspeakable love flowing from Jesus Himself. We can see the signs of these days on the horizon of our world, I think its time to look up, our redemption is coming near.

LOVE

Rev. 7:17 for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

Man is more goofed up than many of us realize. We may think, especially in our youth, how together our life really is. For many of us our arrogance quickly brings us to our end, thank God! It is in that place of brokenness that we often hear the first whispers of His love calling us near. I remember hearing Him calling me often but I would shrink back not really feeling good enough to approach this holy God. Thankfully the Lord is relentless, His love keeps pursuing and calling and wooing us into His care. It was finally His greatest display of love that captured my heart. In a moment I saw His love portrayed at the crucifixion. Christ died to save sinners, not the righteous. Jesus died to offer His love to me. My resistance weakened as the voice of love called again, He captured my heart and called me into His care. Today His love still calls me near. I not only needed Him to start this journey, I need Him everyday to continue. Recently I was introduced to the poetry of George Herbert. I hope you enjoy this poem called LOVE III.

LOVE (III)

“Love bade me welcome: yet my soul drew back,

Guiltie of dust and sinne.

But quick-ey’d Love, observing me grow slack

From my first entrance in,

Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning

If I lack’d any thing.

A guest, I answer’d, worthy to be here:

Love said, you shall be he.

I the unkinde, ungratefull? Ah my deare,

I cannot look on thee.

Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,

Who made the eyes but I?

Truth Lord, but I have marr’d them: let my shame

Go where it doth deserve.

And know you not, sayes Love, who bore the blame?

My deare, then I will serve.

You must sit down, sayes Love, and taste my meat:

So I did sit and eat.”

What a beautiful picture of total dependency throughout our spiritual life. Love calls us to Himself. Love gives us eyes to see His work for us, especially the work of the cross. Love also calls us to sit at His table. Even after redemption from our sins He wants us to sit down and let Him serve us. WE are totally dependent on His love. Finally seeing this can drive pride and self confidence far from us. Go ahead, sit down at LOVE’S table and enjoy the feast.

WHY ALL THE WORSHIP

WHY ALL THE WORSHIP?

Rev. 7:15-16 “For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them. “They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat;”

There seems to be a desire in all humans to work in some capacity to accomplish spiritual goals. That is why so many people become ensnared in some system of works to accomplish the work of God on earth. On the other side of the coin are the super spiritual that do nothing, leaving everything up to the supposed sovereign plan of God. If you catch a glimpse of the activity of the saints in heaven, instantly you see two things. First of all the stress and the striving is over, they have come to a place of rest. At the same time, heaven appears to be a place of swirling activity. All of the inhabitants of heaven are caught up in heaven’s work, minus the drama. What is the main activity in heaven, actually it is the worship of our great God. Jonathan Edwards spoke often about heaven, here are some of his comments from his message, “Praise the Chief Employment of Heaven”.

“Perfection of happiness does not consist in idleness, but on the contrary, it very much consists in action. The angels are blessed spirits, and yet they are exceedingly active in serving God. They are as a flame of fire, which is the most active thing that we see in this world. God himself enjoys infinite happiness and perfect bliss, and yet he is not inactive, but is himself in his own nature a perfect act, and is continually at work in bringing to pass his own purposes and ends. That principle of holiness that is in its perfection in the saints in heaven, is a most active principle; so that though they enjoy perfect rest, yet they are a great deal more active than they were when in this world. In this world they were exceedingly dull, and heavy, and inactive, but now they are a flame of fire. The saints in heaven are not merely passive in their happiness. They do not merely enjoy God passively, but in an active manner. They are not only acted upon by God, but they mutually act towards him, and in this action and re-action consists the heavenly happiness.”

The book of Revelation gives us some interesting glimpses into the activity of heaven. In most of these pictures of heaven, worship is the main activity. Is it possible that we get a taste of the Christian life on earth by observing the activity in heaven? Absolutely. Actually, tue spirituality begins in our soul when the Holy Spirit makes His home in us. The Holy Spirit Himself is the very atmosphere of heaven. That is how we “live and move and have our being” in Him. When we pray “Let Your Kingdom come…” we are welcoming the very life of heaven into our “area”, what else can we do but worship? Finally we have some activity that we can perform. We can worship him like David, with our whole being. Our life can become like Mary’s alabaster box, broken and pouring the fragrance of worship on the feet of our Lord. When we enter into this lifestyle of worship, we are actually participating in all the action taking place in heaven today.

NEW CLOTHES

NEW CLOTHES

After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands,
Rev.7:9

Those beautiful creatures John saw in heaven were just human beings, they were humans who had been clothed with Jesus Christ. They are shining with a beauty that nothing in this world can rival, they are radiating Christ Himself. The amazing thing is that we who know Christ, are already clothed with these garments, we have put on Christ and are now different from the rest of the world. Jonathan Edwards speaks of these beautiful garments when speaking of the radiance of God’s glory seen in Christ. Here is what he had to say.

“Galatians 3:27 says, “For as many of you as are baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” Christ is a robe to them, not only to cover their nakedness but to adorn and beautify them. And if it be as we have heard in the doctrine that Christ is the brightness of the glory of God or the shining forth of his glory, then doubtless they who have put on Christ are thereby rendered most acceptable in the eyes (of God) for they don’t appear in their own worthiness.”

Let’s face it, we all like new clothes. They make us feel different, and sometimes, we even act a little differently. They somehow lead us to put on a new personality. All of us remember hearing the little child say “watch how fast I can run in these new shoes”. We have always wanted to put on a “costume” and be turned into superman. That is kind of what happens when we put on Christ. Not only do we become beautiful in the Father’s eyes, we take on the nature of Christ. Somehow, we begin to act like Him. There is a new joy, a greater peace, an unusual patience, and humility that is quite incredible. We don’t have to wait until we die to be clothed with these beautiful, heavenly garments, we can put on Christ today. What can we do? Heed the words of the Apostle Paul, “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the lusts of the flesh”.