Day 365

Today’s Reading – Revelation 19-22

2018

Who knows what the New Year will bring?

Are you ready?

There is global warming, rising gas and energy prices, shortages of food and water, disasters on land and sea. There are new diseases and economic uncertainty. Terrorist activity is increasing and banks are failing.

There are rumors of war, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, war, famine, poverty, and more. We are surrounded by the signs or so we think.

The conditions in the world have been getting progressively worse for many years.

Have things gotten so bad that the world is going to end?

That has been the story for years, for generations, for centuries.

The one who bears witness to these things says, “Yes, I’m coming soon.” Amen. 
Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all.  Revelation 22:20-21 CEB

I don’t know when soon is . . .

Until then . . . Remember what you have learned in our journey this year:

God loves you!

He sent Jesus to die for you.

How you live your faith matters – now and forever!

Grace to all you in the adventure of faith that lies ahead for us.

Day 364

Today’s Reading – Revelation 12-18

This calls for wisdom. Let the one who understands calculate the beast’s number, for it’s a human being’s number. Its number is six hundred sixty-six.   Revelation 13:18 CEB
We can not address the mark of the beast without acknowledging the Number of the Beast. The number is 666 in most manuscripts of the New Testament, and in modern translations and critical editions of the Greek text. Although Irenaeus (second century) reported several scribal errors of the number, there is still doubt by some theologians about the original writing, as some recently discovered third century early manuscripts of Revelation read 616. This topic is a source of contention for many church groups and theologians. Most scholars contend that the number 666 is a numerical coded entry that refers to the Roman Emperor Nero. 616 was a coded entry for Nero as well but while derived from using his Latin name.

What does the number mean?

Futurist contend that the number would be a number that all currency would be based upon (and you thought the metric system was hard?). Exact interpretations vary widely and many now refer to more current technologies:

•Some interpret the mark as a requirement for all commerce to mean that the mark might actually be an object with the function of a credit card (e.g. implanted RFID tags)
•Some propose that the mark of the beast may refer to a social security number or card
•Others suppose the mark to be a microchip or a tattooed barcode on the human body

Some who take a contextual view of the Book of Revelation identify the Mark of the Beast with the stamped image of the emperor’s head on every coin of the Roman Empire: the stamp on the hand or in the mind of all, without which no one could buy or sell. New Testament scholar Craig C. Hill, a Methodist, says, “It is far more probable that the mark symbolizes the all-embracing economic power of Rome, who’s very coinage bore the emperor’s image and conveyed his claims to divinity. It had become increasingly difficult for Christians to function in a world in which public life, including the economic life of the trade guilds, required participation in idolatry.”

The ‘mark’ is also seen as an ironic contrast with the Jewish institution of tefillin – bible texts worn bound to the arm and the forehead during daily prayer. Instead of binding their allegiance to God to their arm and head, these places are instead taken up with the people’s allegiance to the Beast.

Whatever the number and the beast represent it is important to understand that it is about choice – your choice – who will you choose to follow?

Who will have your allegiance?

Day 363

Today’s Reading – Revelation 6-11

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Then one of the elders said to me, “Who are these people wearing white robes, and where did they come from?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.”   Then he said to me, “These people have come out of great hardship. They have washed their robes and made them white in the Lamb’s blood . . . They won’t hunger or thirst anymore. No sun or scorching heat will beat down on them, because the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them. He will lead them to the springs of life-giving water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.  Revelation 7:13-14, 16-17  CEB

This series of chapters is very troubling to read – seven seals and seven trumpets calling for death, doom, and destruction.  The pages are filled with horror, death, and judgement.  The imagery makes for great cinema, but we skip over the judgment part because we prefer to believe the promises at the end of passages.

Revelation reveals a story yet to happen that tells of the events related to the second coming of Christ – the time when God will establish His Kingdom on earth.

We like the idea of a Righteous King on the throne.  A Kingdom of fairness and love for all.  But any kingdom is based on loyalty to the throne.  Do you think God’s kingdom will be different?

When the Son of Man cometh to set up His Kingdom, shall He find Christian faith upon the earth?  Yes, but I fear as little as He found of Jewish faith when He came in the flesh. 

~ John Fletcher (in a letter to Charles Wesley