Monday Night Bible Study



17) And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to

me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last.

18) I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the

keys of Hades and of Death.

19) Write the things you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take

place after this.

20) The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in my right hand and the seven golden lamp

stands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lamp stands

which you saw are the seven churches.”

John in the last verse has just finished describing the resurrected and ascended Jesus. John says that he fell at Jesus’ feet as if he was dead. This was not the first time John had seen Jesus in His glory. While Jesus was still in His earthly ministry, John was one of the three disciples Jesus took to the Mount of Transfiguration. While there Jesus was seen in His eternal Spiritual body; and there was such a cloud of glory around everything that the particulars of the preceding 4 verses were not visible. So when John sees Jesus in His eternal resurrected and ascended glory, he falls on his face at Jesus’ feet. This is an act of worship. Remember the difference between Martha and Mary when Jesus finally arrived to raise Lazarus from the dead? Their words were exactly the same, but their approach and actions were different. Martha wanted to argue and blame Jesus. Mary fell at His feet in worship.

John says he fell at Jesus’ feet as if he was dead. One of my favorite Christian songs, by Mercy Me, is “I Can Only Imagine.” In the song, the singer wonders what he will do when he actually sees Jesus face to face. Well, we know what John does – he falls flat on his face and prostrates himself before the Lord. He lies so motionless he appears to be dead.

John says that Jesus lays His right hand on him, the hand in which he holds seven stars. The right hand is the hand of position. Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus sent Peter and John to prepare for the Passover feast, and at that last supper, John sat or reclined at the right hand of Jesus. The Leonardo Da Vinci painting of The Last Supper is really not an accurate depiction of how Passover meals were celebrated. In reality the table was shaped like a backwards c in our language (really like the Hebrew Letter kaph). At the top of the table sat 3 people and at the bottom of the table sat 3 people. The other six sat down the long side. At the top of the table sat one of the preparers (John, on the outside), the master of the feast (Jesus, in the middle), and another disciple (Judas Iscariot, next to Jesus). At the bottom of the table on the very end sat the other person who helped to prepare the feast – Peter. This seating plan was the tradition by which all Jews celebrated Passover (preparers at either end, master of the feast, invited guests or family in between).

John tells us here in Revelation that Jesus just touched him. Jesus did not help to pick him up. Jesus tells John not to be afraid. This was a typical statement of Jesus throughout His earthly ministry. He often said, “Do not be afraid” or “Fear Not!” The Greek here is phobeo (pronounced, fob-eh’-o). It means being fearful enough to run away. Jesus is saying to John, “Be still. Don’t go anywhere.” Then Jesus repeats Himself from verse 11. He says He is protos, the foremost One, the One who was before the beginning, and the eschatos, the One who is as far from the beginning as you can get. Again, creation has a beginning and an end – but the Son of Man does not!

Jesus says in verse 18 that He is the One who lives. The Greek here is the word zao (pronounced dzah’- olt), meaning to live in the absolute sense, a life which has no end. He was dead, nekros, (pronounced nek-ros’), which literally means dead/corpse, whether laid out for viewing or in a tomb.

He was without life. But that was then, right after the crucifixion, and this is now. Now, He is alive forevermore. The English term “forevermore” is made up of two Greek words: 1) aion (pronounced ahee-ohn’) and 2) eis pronounced ice). Together they mean “without end”, to which Jesus says “Amen” or “so be it.” Jesus goes on to say that He has the keys to Hell and Death. Having the keys means Jesus has all authority and power over Hell and Death. Jesus is now the final judge for Heaven and Hell. The Greek for Hell or Hades is haides (pronounced hah’-dace). It is the place of eternal punishment, the final place of the wicked, the abyss or bottomless pit. Notice both Hades and Death are capitalized. This denotes not the importance of the place but of Jesus’ power and authority! The Greek for Death is thanatos (pronounced than’-at-os). Does this sound familiar? If you saw the last two Avengers movies, the villain in both was named a derivative of this, Thanos. It means the extinction of life, naturally or by violence. It carries with it the sense of destruction, perdition, and misery – implying both physical death and total separation from God as a consequence to sin and disobedience. Jesus is saying He has the authority and power over death and the eternal punishment that goes with it. This is good news for the Christian! Jesus is saying that those who have placed their faith in Him, in His position as the Son of God, in Him as the Lamb of God who has come to take away the sins of the world, in His precious name, in His Redeeming blood, in His finished work on the cross, in His resurrection and in His position at the right hand of the Father – NO LONGER HAVE TO FEAR DEATH. Paul said in his first letter to the Corinthians that the last enemy to be put under Jesus’ feet would be death. Jesus is telling John here that this has now been accomplished. Death and the judgment of death have not only been placed under His feet but now are also totally under His power and control.

In verse 19 John is commanded again not to just write but to engrave. The Greek means to engrave in stone, to keep forever, to make permanent – not to be antiquated, done away with, or repealed. Engraving in stone makes permanent and eternal all that he has seen, all that he is seeing, all that he will see. Jesus wants the church for eternity to know this revelation (to use our common phrase, it is written in stone!)

Jesus reveals to John in verse 20 a mystery. This is an unusual term because the Greek word is musterion (pronounced moos-tay’-ree-on). It literally means something into which one must be initiated and instructed. One would think that by using this term Jesus will make John work for it. But no. He explains it simply. The seven stars are the angels of the before-mentioned seven churches. The angels are very important, for here the Greek translates angels as messengers. Each church has a messenger. Thus, the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been given to the churches. There is no excuse for unfaithfulness! The seven lamp stands are the seven churches themselves.

Remember, these seven churches are representative of all churches. There are seven churches because in Hebrew numerology seven represents completeness and is the holiest of numbers.

Let’s review:

1) After John saw the Jesus he described in the previous verses, he fell in worship at Jesus’ feet.

a) He did not move till Jesus touched him.

b) Jesus touched him with His right hand, reinforcing John’s position as a disciple.

c) Jesus tells John to not be afraid.

2) Jesus restates that He is the one who has no beginning and no end.

3) Jesus proclaims that the life He now lives has no end.

a) Yes, He had died – was totally dead, a corpse.

b) He now lives a never-ending life unto all eternity.

4) He has been given the authority of final judgment and ultimate power over death.

5) Everything that John sees from this point on must be engraved in stone and kept for all eternity.

6) Jesus reveals the mystery of the angels and the lamp stands. The angels are the messengers to the

seven churches. The lamp stands are the seven churches themselves.

In Christ –

The Dap

Remember to pray the 91st psalm daily in the first person.

Monday Night Bible Study


Revelation 1:12-16

12) Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lamp


13) and in the midst of the seven lamp stands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down

to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band.

14) His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire;

15) His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many


16) He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two edged sword, and His

countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.

John has heard the loud voice that in verse 10 he says sounded like the trumpet which blew from the temple to call everyone to prayer. John turns in the direction of the voice to see who or what it is. We must remember that this voice was very loud. The first thing he sees is not the speaker but seven golden lamp stands. No one is quite sure what kind of lamps these were. Some people think it was a menorah, the lamp that was in the holy place (not in the Holy of Holys, where the ark was located, but in the outer room where the table for the show bread and the bronze incense altar were). One conflict with this thought is that John said he was in the Spirit, not that he had been transported to the temple. Conflict number two is that the temple had been destroyed for about 20 years. A third discrepancy is that the person he saw was in the midst of the lamp stands. The menorah is a single piece, and John says that there are seven lamp stands. The menorah is a single stand with eight lamps spreading out like limbs, four on each side of a center lamp. The four lamps on each side are shifted toward the center lamp to acknowledge their dependence upon the central lamp as the source of their light. As you may, guess the center lamp represents God. Some have said that this vision was of a menorah, and Jesus was the central light. The problem is that the menorah has eight lamps not seven. Could it have been seven menorahs? Most definitely, because when we read the description of Jesus in the next verse, they had to have been very bright to have been noticed before the Lord.

John says that in the midst of the seven lamp stands is one like the Son of Man. This is a term Jesus uses to speak about Himself in the Gospels. Jesus refers to Himself as the Son of Man 34 times in the Gospels – 19 times in the Gospel of Matthew, 2 times in the Gospel of Mark, 5 times in the Gospel of Luke, and 8 times in the Gospel of John. It takes on Messianic significance in the Old Testament in Daniel 7:13&14, where Daniel says: “I was watching in the night visions, And behold, ‘One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven!’ He came to the Ancient of Days (God), and they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away. And His Kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed.”

‘Son’ in the Greek, is the word uihos, pronounced hwee-os’. It means a true son, not adopted or illegitimate. The Greek word for man is anthropos, pronounced anth’-ro-pos. It means a true human being, an individual of the human race. We have heard it said that Jesus was totally human and totally divine. This may be hard to perceive, but both parts are necessary for the plan of salvation. As Paul tells us that Jesus is the second Adam, He came to put right and reclaim what Adam lost to Satan in the Garden of Eden. Since Adam was 100% human, Jesus had to be 100% human to accomplish the task: when He was tempted in the wilderness, when He was tempted and tested by the scribes and pharisees,

when He was tested by the Sadducees, when He was tested by His disciples’ little faith and in the Garden of Gethsemane., when he was beaten and being scourged, and with His death, resurrection and ascension. If Jesus wasn’t 100% human it would have all been for naught.

You may think – okay, so what about the 100% God part? It is really not important to the understanding of this part of scripture. Jesus has paid the price, He has been resurrected and ascended

to the right hand of the Father. The 100% God part is significance for salvation. Throughout both the Old and New Testament, from the Garden of Eden where Adam and Eve sinned to the Cross of Christ, THERE IS NO FORGIVENESS WITHOUT BLOOD. What was the first thing God did after He found Adam and Eve in the garden after their sin? They had covered themselves with leaves. That represents humanity’s attempt to cover their own sinfulness. God killed an animal and covered them with its skin. I am sure that God did not cure and tan the hide before giving it to them. Thus, the skin was covered in what? The animals blood!

Link this idea this with the offerings of Cain and Able, and you can understand why Cain’s offering was not pleasing in the eyes of God.

But you say Mary was the mother. Yes, but God was the Father. It shouldn’t be too hard to understand. Today there is a medical process where a doctor can take a healthy egg from a woman who cannot successfully carry a child, impregnate it with the sperm of the father, and place it in a healthy woman who can carry a child. After the surrogate has carried the baby full tern, it is born. When it is born, it carries the blood and the DNA of the egg and sperm donor, not the surrogate mother. Also, did you know that oftentimes a natural mother and her baby can have different blood types, and that the blood type can be that of the father? This could cause problems if through the umbilical cord the baby and the mother share blood. But it has been scientifically proven that the baby and mother do not share blood through the umbilical cord. The mother shares nutrients with the baby and the baby shares its waste with the mother. So what does all of this mean? God the Father created in Mary’s womb Jesus Christ, the Son. The most important part is that the blood of Jesus was not the blood of bulls or goats or human, but God’s blood! Blood that is able to completely cleanse and take away sin. If a doctor today can take the egg from one woman and impregnate it with the sperm of her male counterpart, place it into the womb of a surrogate mother, and successfully deliver a baby 9 months later, why can’t the Creator of the universe create a baby in the womb of a woman that has His blood? (This rabbit hole was not necessary for this portion of scripture, but I felt it was necessary for us to move beyond Son of Man.)

Through Daniel and Ezekiel, the title “Son of Man” became the proper title for the Messiah. God, Who comes from heaven in human form. Thus you can see why the religious leaders would get upset when Jesus referred to Himself in this way. John is telling us that in the midst of the lamps is the Messiah, Jesus Christ, the risen resurrected and enthroned Lord.

John begins to describe how Jesus looks. John tells us that he is clothed in a single-piece garment from His neck to the top of His feet. Remember Jesus on the cross? His garment was a single piece, woven without a seam, such work that the soldiers didn’t want to rip it apart, but instead they cast lots for it. Do you see the similarities? He has a gold band around His chest. Gold represented truth, honor, integrity, faithfulness. It is wrapped around His chest. What is in our chest? Our heart! This signifies that Jesus had proven Himself to be faithful and true to God’s calling, to God’s will, by paying the price for salvation. His skin and hair is white as snow. There is not much in this world that is as bright and clean white as new-fallen snow. This represents His purity, His victory over sin, the blameless unblemished Lamb of God.

John tells us His eyes were like a flame of fire. When Jesus was walking the earth during His earthly ministry, can you conceive of His eyes as being like a flame of fire? Remember the Jesus who told the woman caught in adultery, “Neither do I condemn you – go and sin no more.” Think of the Jesus who met the leper after the sermon on the mount and hugged him and healed him. Recall the Jesus who wept when Mary met Him before He raised Lazarus from the grave, or the Jesus who looked down from the cross and prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they know what they do.” See the Jesus looking into the eyes of Peter by the sea of Galilee and saying. “Feed my sheep” I don’t think any of us see

Jesus with eyes like a flame of fire.… But this Revelation is not that Jesus. This is the second-coming Jesus, the time-of-judgment Jesus, the end-times Jesus. That is what the “eyes of fire” description tells us.

His feet were like fine brass refined in the furnace. The imagery of the bronzed feet comes from two Old Testament scriptures. The first is Ezekiel I:7, here Ezekiel is sharing his vision from God about the four-headed creatures that God has sent to survey the world at the end time. The creatures had the appearance of a man, even though they had four heads, and legs of burnished or refined bronze. The second reference comes from Daniel 10:6. Here, Daniel gives His description of the Messiah and says, “His body was like beryl, His face like the appearance of lightning, His eyes like torches of fire,(there are the eyes again!), His arms and feet like burnished bronze.” The feet and legs are what? Our foundation. Burnished and refined mean that they are purified and strengthened. This is direct contradiction of the image in Daniel 2:33-34, where he says, “Its legs of iron and partly of clay. You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them into pieces.” Unlike that image, the Son of Man is the solid foundation.

Again John talks about the voice, saying it was as the sound of many waters. John has already told us how loud it was before he turned around to see. But here John returns to the imagery of Daniel and Ezekiel. Daniel 10:7c, “And the sound of His words were like the voice of the multitude.” Then in Ezekiel 1:24, “When they went, I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of many waters, like the voice of the Almighty, a tumult like the noise of an army.” The voice is not only very loud but also powerful.

He had in His right hand seven stars. I won’t go into the seven stars at this time, but if you want to read ahead to verse 20, John tells what they are. Then John tells us that in His mouth was a sharp two-edged sword. This represents the word and judgment of God. The two edges means that it cuts in all directions – sharp enough to cut away all falsehood, able to cleanly separate muscle from cartilage and cartilage from bone. Nothing that is false, untrue, unholy, or unrighteous can escape the power of God’s word or God’s judgment.

Finally, His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. In the Greek, the word shining is phaino, pronounced fah’ee-no. It means to be surrounded physically by the illumination of the Spirit, the Almighty energy, the power and strength of God. The word for strength in the Greek is hedraioma, pronounced hed-rah’-yo-mah. It is derived from the Greek word hedraios, pronounced hed-eah’-yos. It means a support that is immovable and steadfast. To sum up the last four verses, the might, power, strength, and authority of God, His word and His will, are so exemplified in the person of Jesus that it cannot be held just inside but pours out to envelope His entire being. In his vision, John sees the One who is faithful. The One to whom every knee shall bow and to which every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. In this vision, John sees the truth of Jesus’ words in Matthew 28:18, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.”

Let’s review:

1. The voice which spoke was very loud, very powerful, the sound of many waters.

2. He was seen among seven lamp stands whose brightness hides Him at first.

3. All the features by which He is described speak to His power, strength, authority and position.

Until next time.

In Christ

The Dap

Remember to pray Psalm 91 in the first person.


IGNORANT, STUPID or Just Plain Idiot

Monday Night Bible Study

Revelation 1:9-11


The Need for Fellowship


Since I retired, my wife and I have been visiting different churches of different denominations and very different orders of worship. We have encountered both contemporary and traditional orders of worship in these various denominations. One Sunday we visited a Pentecostal church – and believe me, there is a difference between their style and other contemporary forms! Most recently, we attended a Christian church, and as at every other time, we again tried to learn a little about their history. While talking with one of the pastors, we discovered that there are three denominations which carry the title of “Christian Church” – The Christian Church(Disciples of Christ), The Church of Christ, and the Christian Church.

As we depart following the worship services, we usually ask the pastor what we specifically can pray for them in the coming week. At this most recent visit, we found that minister had been the senior pastor for about 30 years, and following his official retirement, the Church made him their pastor for shepherding (congregational care). When we asked if he had a specific personal prayer need, his first reaction was surprise. I imagine he is not asked that very often, but after regaining composure, he smiled and answered honestly and simply. During the service it was mentioned that there had been several deaths in the church. Being the longest-term pastor, he has the relationships with many of these families. Thus, more often than not, he is the one who ministers to them at their time of need and loss. He noted that it was becoming harder to do during the pandemic. Having to wear masks, standing six feet apart, not being able to shake hands or even hug, and groups cut to a minimum were contributing to a sense of loss of support from friends that would normally be there. Basically, it made it much more difficult to be a comfort – and he felt so responsible to provide that….

Here in Georgia, there is no real total ban of Christian fellowship. We’ve had bishops and denominational leaders who have pushed the political correctness of not meeting live and in person. We’ve tried to convince ourselves that YouTube, Facebook Live, and Zoom are just as good as live and in-person worship. And even with the passage of months and gradual return to normal in other sectors, some churches in Georgia have still not opened up. In Idaho, Nevada, and California, believers are being arrested for daring to worship together. What is amazing that one can take a seat on an airplane in California and not be seated 6 feet apart, but you can’t go to church and sit next to someone in a pew. And God forbid one dares to sing praises! We begin to get a real idea of the importance of the church in Nevada when we learn that churches are dangerous but casinos are deemed necessary. Even in Georgia at the beginning of this mess, while churches were not banned but encouraged to close, liquor stores were not on any list of expected closure. The Bishop of the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church recommended that churches close down for regular services, but it was OK to march in a large group protest as long as you wore a mask. The hypocrisy of this whole situation is astounding. The fear-mongering throughout this process has been controlling and intentionally so. The politicizing of science has been ludicrous.

In undergraduate school, I worked on a double major in biology and chemistry. I can remember reading in one of my genetic text books about the reason for the food shortage in the Soviet Union. Because of this, even in the middle of the Cold War, the Soviets depended on the U.S. farmers of that day for much of their food supply. During that time in history, wheat was one of our major exports, and the major country our wheat was exported to was the Soviet Union. At that point, there were three separate genetic theories on how to grow and increase wheat production. In the U.S., the farmers were free to try out methods and discover what worked the best. In the Soviet Union, only one theory gained government acceptance. It wasn’t successful – and many people starved.

We are now experiencing in our own country what took place in the Soviet Union in the 60’s and 70’s. There has been banning of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine as possible treatments for the current viral illness. Real doctors on the front line who are actually treating patients have been eliminated from all media. All media – mainstream and streaming social media. Because someone who hasn’t been in a lab coat much less a research lab or medical clinic in the last 30 years, with the backing of Big Pharma and their billionaire investors, doesn’t want to lose the billions about to be scammed from this country and the rest of the world. I am not going to bore you with the science, but the fact is hydroxychloroquine does work as a preventive and as a treatment if used in the early stages of infection. The truth is there is nothing at this time that works well as a treatment when it develops into the advanced stages if the immune system does not successfully combat the disease. A friend of mine who has worked with the CDC and is familiar with SARS and other epidemics in our recent history (12-14 years) has said that when this great vaccine comes out, look at the ingredients and expect to see that the main one will be hydroxychoroquine. The difference will be that Big Pharma will be able to charge $200+ per dose instead of our using a medication that can be bought over the counter in two thirds of the world. And we hear the same thing that the citizens of the Soviet Union heard in the 60’s and 70’s – “It’s for your own good!”

Oh, WOW. That was a rabbit hole I didn’t intend to go that far down, but I guess I needed to say it. What I started out to say is that this pandemic has been used to eliminate something that is important to all humans. It is doubly important to Christians. Last couple of weekends I have been watching college football. I’m glad we have college football, I enjoy college football. I also enjoyed what is now missing, the crowds, the fans. I miss the bands, the before-game walks. These rituals are important for many people. When the camera zooms in on the stands and you see cardboard cur outs and you hear piped in crowd noise, there is something different and lessening. Well, people say, it’s the new normal…..No! It is the old lie! There are dark spiritual elements at work in our society. There are people within our government and as well as outside who want to control every aspect of our lives.

I haven’t heard anyone within the church community say anything yet, but did you know that there are new guidelines for what constitutes hate speech? Did you also know that these new guidelines which can define the Holy Scriptures as hate speech? There has been for the last several years the Anti-Christ movement to remove Jesus from everyday life. For several Christmases, there was pressure to just say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas. Now in some places you are not being a good citizen if you want to go to church, but you are if you go to a liquor store or a casino. Home Depot and Walmart are essential, but not corporate worship in a sanctuary. Christians have family members and friends getting extremely ill and even dying, and not just from COVID. Non- Christians have Christian family members and friends getting extremely ill and even dying. But family members are not allowed to visit, their pastor is not allowed to visit, and if there is a death only, a certain number can attend the funeral. Most funerals are not being held in chapels or sanctuaries, and many are being conducted only as grave-side services. For an old country boy like myself, it’s a return to the old normal of my youth, just the graveside service, but with the lack of physical support. The neighbors and church family bringing in enough food to feed the grieving family for a month. The physical presence of a friend, not saying words of wisdom but just being present, and not thinking that they are breaking some presidential mandate if they stay a little longer. The comfort of a firm handshake and a strong meaningful hug. The touch of a pastor as he or she prays for the sick or the family of the departed.

At a time when we need the presence of Jesus the most, we are being told, “No, you need science more.” At a time when we need to stand on the Authority and Power of God’s Word, we are cautioned by our church leaders that not all the Bible is authoritative, and some of it may be hateful. At a time when we need fellowship with other believers so that we know we are not alone, so that we don’t have the Elijah syndrome – where we can look one another in the eye and say, “I believe” and hear someone else say, “I believe, also” – we are told, “Hey, there is YouTube, Facebook live, TBN, and other websites. Go there”, all the while knowing that the powers controlling YouTube and Facebook generate their authority in woke media and the cancel culture. And once we become accustomed to their new normal, the powers that be can then gain control or cancel TBN and even our own websites. There is a big reason that Apostle Paul tells us in Hebrews 10:23-25, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, NOT FORSAKING THE ASSEMBLING OF OURSELVES TOGETHER, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much more as you see the Day approaching.”

Paul is expounding a great truth here. TV and computer screens do not and will not cut it in the long haul. To stir up agape love, there has to be fellowship. To actually bring forth good works, there has to be fellowship. Because it is only in fellowship that we are able to strengthen and be strengthened. It is only in fellowship that we are able to edify and be edified. It is only in fellowship that we are able to exhort and lift up while also being exhorted and lifted up. “The Day approaching” to which Paul refers is exactly like the times we are living in now.

WAKE UP, CHURCH! The woke media and the cancel culture has us in the cross hairs at this very moment. But we do have a choice: fear or power The world is bombarding us with fear, but we have access to POWER. There is POWER in the NAME OF JESUS! There is POWER in the AUTHORITY OF THE WORD. There is POWER when we choose to ASSEMBLE TOGETHER in FELLOWSHIP! It’s OUR choice.


The Dap

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If you are having trouble with fear pray PSALM 91 in the first person and claim it for yourself.

Monday Night Bible Study Uncategorized


Revelation 1:5-8

5) and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings

of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His blood,

6) and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and

ever. Amen

7) Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And

all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.

8) I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End says the Lord, “who is and who was and

who is to come, the Almighty.”

John continues his blessing in verse 5. restating that it is from Jesus Christ, with three more statements about His position in the throne room. First, He is the faithful witness. The Greek word for “faithful” is pistos (pronounced Pis-toes) and is rendered as someone who is worthy to be trusted. It means that Jesus, through His life and passion, His obedience to the work and will of the Father, has earned the right to be trusted. The Greek for “witness” is martus, (pronounced mar’-toos). It is defined as one who bears witness for God and testifies to the world what God is revealing through him. Thus, John is telling us that this blessing and this revelation is to be received because the One Who is revealing it has proven He can be trusted due to His obedience to the Father throughout His life, even unto death. As His life was a witness to the love and power of the Father, and as the Father trusted Jesus to reveal His true nature to the world, Jesus is also trusted by the Father to reveal this final word and work for His creation!

The second position statement is “the firstborn from the dead.” The Greek for “firstborn” is prototokos (pronounced pro-tot-ok’-os). It defines as the firstborn from a mother and father, a preeminent one who is highly distinguished from all others. Here, John is designating the promise of the resurrection of all believers exemplified through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Because God resurrected Jesus from the dead – which then means that Jesus is the one WHO IS – all who are His disciples have secure claim to that same promise. The Greek for “dead” is nekros (pronounced nek-ros’) and literally means dead, a corpse. John again is reiterating that Jesus’s passion and death was real – literal – and that His resurrection was just as real and literal.

The third position statement is “the ruler over the kings of the earth.” John is proclaiming that Jesus is the true ruler over the earth. The Greek for “earth” is ghay, and Strong’s commentary tells us that in this case it is defined as that which is opposite to Heaven. Jesus Christ is ruler, the archon (pronounced ar’-k’home), which means first in power, authority, and dominion. He is over the kings, the basileus (bas-il-yooce’) meaning one who exercises royal sovereignty and authority. Therefore, Jesus is the real power, the true sovereignty. Notice the difference: Jesus IS first in power, authority and dominion. The kings only exercise royal sovereignty and authority. The word exercise tells us plainly that the authority is not theirs, it does not begin with them nor spring from them; rather, it is given to them by someone higher than they. They can only exercise what has been given to them. That Jesus has total authority and dominion over the entire earth, even over those who think they are the ones in control. These kings may believe they are the ones in control, but their position is upon the earth. Christ’s position is at the right hand of the Father. His obedience unto death, His faithfulness in His ministry and witness for the Father, His presence in the very beginning of creation with the Father and His position as the firstborn of the Father’s recreation or new creation – all give Jesus dominion over all earthly kings.

John continues to lift up Jesus by referring to Him as the One who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, the Greek for love here being agapao (pronounced ag-ap-ah’-o). We all are familiar with the Greek word agape, we understand it to mean a sacrificial type of love, the love that God the Father has for us and that Jesus exemplified for us through the cross. Many times in the New Testament, agape will be mentioned but the word actually used is agapao. Agape is of course derived from agapao. In the Greek translation of the Old Testament, you will not find the word agape, but in a few places you will find agapao. John wants us to keep clearly in our minds Christ’s sacrificial love for us, that He loved even unto the cross where He cleansed us from our sins by His redeeming blood. John is proclaiming that through the precious atoning blood of Jesus Christ, the price for our salvation has been fully paid, that we have been washed clean from all our sins: past present, and future. The word translated sin here is not used very much in the New Testament. The word normally translated sin is an archers term, which means missing the mark. But here John uses hamartia (pronounced ham-ar-tee’-ah), meaning the guilt, punishment, and consequences of our sinful actions. In other words, Christ, through the shedding of His precious blood on the cross, has delivered us from the imputation and consequences of our sins and from the guilt and punishment of those sins!

Next, we read, “and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father.” John carries this thought further into verse 6 by explaining what this means to us. Because of Christ’s love, His faithfulness to the Father’s plan for salvation, the shedding of His blood, and His death on the cross (redeeming and atoning us from all our sins), we now have a position in the kingdom of God. Through Jesus’ finished work on the cross, we have been made basileus (kings) and hiereus (priests), pronounced hee-er-yooce’. We have been given the authority to exercise royal sovereignty and authority and the privilege to serve before God, the privilege to live, work, and stand in His presence.

Brothers and sisters, do you understand the depth of the meaning of this? Through the precious blood and atoning action of Christ’s death upon the cross, we have gone from sinners condemned to eternal death and punishment, sentenced to eternal separation from a holy and righteous God, to being kings living under and exercising His authority and to being priests able to come into the Fathers very presence and serve Him. So for this, we are to give Jesus all the glory and recognize His dominion for all of eternity. The Greek for “glory” is doxa (pronounced dox’-ah). It means to ascribe admonition and honor. The Greek for dominion is kratos (pronounced krat’-os), meaning power, dominion, absolute ruling control. John finishes verse 6 by telling us that because of Jesus’ finished work on the cross, we are to eternally ascribe glory and honor to Jesus. We are to also understand that because of His finished work on the cross, Jesus has dominion over the earth and His church. Our positions as kings and priests has nothing to do with anything we have accomplished. Our positions as kings and priests is all about what Jesus has done. John ends the verse with Amen, which literally stamps it as being trustworthy. You can “take it to the bank”, or totally depend upon it.

In verse 7 John moves from his greeting and talks about the “who is to come.” He’s saying that Jesus is coming back, and when He does, it will not be a secret. His second coming will not be hidden. Everybody will see it, even those who pierced Him. In today’s world, that means those whose are against Christ and enemies or non-believers today. John says Jesus will be coming on a cloud, indicating He will be coming from on high – from His position of power, from His position at the right hand of the Father. Jesus will come from the place of His ascension, not the place of His death. The place of glory, not the place of His passion. John says Jesus will be descending on a cloud. Here, John is repeating what Jesus Himself said about His second coming (reference John 19:37, Matthew 24:30, Zechariah 12:10-14). The literal Greek for the earth mourning is that they will beat their breasts, for the world will then realize that they have blown it, that the time for reconciliation has ended. Their failure to believe has come back to condemn them, because Christ’s second coming means judgment, not forgiveness. Their response in the rest of this book will be that of a condemned people desperate to stave off the judgment and punishment to come. John again ends this verse with Amen. And it means the same thing that it meant at the end of verse 6: this verse is also trustworthy. You can take this judgment to the bank as well. Depend on it.

In verse 8 John shares a direct quote from Jesus,”I am the Alpha and the Omega.” Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet. Omega is the last letter of the Greek alphabet. Jesus is literally saying, “I am the first and the last.” We may think He repeats Himself with the next statement, “the Beginning and the End,” but actually this is carrying it a little bit deeper. The Greek for “beginning” is arche (pronounced ar-khay’) and is defined as “from the commencement of creation”. This confirms what John says in the beginning of his gospel, “In the beginning was the word…..” The Greek for end is telos (pronounced tel’-os), for “final purpose.” Through these specific words, Jesus is saying, “I was there before this whole thing began. and I am the finality of this creation.” Jesus is not just proclaiming that He is the Beginning and the End but that He was the purpose of all creation. The purpose of creation was for the Father to have a relationship and fellowship with His creation. Because of sin, beginning with Adam’s disobedience, this relationship and fellowship was severely altered. Jesus’ life, ministry, and finished work on the cross enabled the restoration of that fellowship and relationship. But when the appropriate time arrives, the time of judgment, that is Jesus’ final purpose. The savior of the world becomes the judge of the world. Then, Jesus repeats what John calls Him in verse 4, “who is and who was and who is to come.” (If you need to, go back to verse 4 and reread what what written about this trinity. Jesus just repeats it here.) Jesus ends verse 8 with a proclamation of Himself as Almighty. The Greek here is pantokrator (pronounced pan-tok-rat’-ore). It is defined as “absolute, universal sovereign”. I think this is a good place to end our study today – Jesus restating that He is the Who Is, the Who Was and the Who Is To Come. And He will fulfill His purpose, because He is the absolute, universal sovereign. As Jesus said in Matthew 28:18b, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.”


The Dap

Let’s recap:

1) The second of three titles or trinity in reference to Jesus. The faithful witness, the firstborn from

the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth.

2) Because Christ loved us, through His atoning and redeeming blood, He cleansed us from all

imputation, consequence, guilt, and punishment of our sins.

3) Christ’s finished work on the cross has raised us to the positions of kings and priests and has

opened up our access to the very presence of God the Father.

4) Because of the finished work of Christ on the cross, He is worthy of all glory and dominion


5) Christ is coming again, and the whole world will see it and dread it. His second coming will mean

the time of reconciliation has ended, and the time of Judgment is at hand.

6) Jesus is the all in all, from the beginning of beginnings to the very end of endings.

7) Jesus has all dominion, power, purpose, and sovereignty.

Monday Night Bible Study



4) John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne. (NKJV)

John sort of does a reverse in his Revelation. Most writer first greet their readers and then explain the intent of their writing. This is what John does in his own letters. Yet in Revelation, John gives us the intent first, and now in verse four is his greeting. He says he is writing this to the seven churches in Asia. Well, first, there were more than seven churches in Asia, and second, not all of these churches are Pauline churches.

If there were more than seven churches in Asia, then why did John choose these particular seven? First, John did not choose them – Jesus did. (Remember from verse #1, Jesus is revealing to us through John what the Father has revealed to Him.) Secondly, seven (7) is the number of completeness. Third, the virtues and sins of each congregation will correspond with the seven sins and virtues inherent in the Church. Not the seven deadly sins, but failures of missing the mark within the Church. We do not know the founding fathers of all these churches. We do know Paul started the congregations at Ephesus and that John was heavily involved with them there. We do know from Acts that John was involved with Paul and Barnabas very early in their first missionary journey. He did not complete the journey, but other than these, we do not know very much about John’s evangelism. That said, whoever the founding fathers of these congregations were, Jesus has chosen them for His Reveal.

The word “church” in the Greek is ekklesia (pronounced ek-klay-see’-ah). While it can be translated church, it really means a group of people or congregation that has been called out or set apart. If we pay attention to the writers of the epistles – whether Paul, Peter, John, or Jude – that is how they wanted it to be understood. There is one church under one Lord, Jesus the Christ. In all the New Testament Scriptures, ekklesia is translated church; but it should be understood as the group of persons or congregation of persons set apart who are meeting in a particular location. This may be hard for us to wrap our heads around today with a so-called church around every bend, with not only different denominations but also those claiming to be non-denominational; but in reality there is only one Church under one Lord. If you are reading this and you attend or belong to what we today term a “church”, you are actually a member or part of a congregation. From this point on, I will use congregation where it refers to a single congregation, such as the congregation in Ephesus. I will use the English word church for the collective bride of Christ.

In the Bible study I attend, one of the gentlemen shared with us that it is hard to understand sometimes what Christians believe. He pointed out that you could go to two or three different congregations of the same denomination, and hear two or three different belief systems. This mindset of each congregation thinking of itself as a church and in some cases as THE CHURCH, creates the rationale of being self redeeming. This is what we believe, or this is where we stand, or this is what we think….. This makes it easy to forget that we are a group of people, set apart, called to DENY OURSELVES, TAKE UP OUR CROSS, and FOLLOW HIM, Jesus Christ THE ONE LORD. Read the last chapter of Paul’s letter to the Romans. How many times did he say to greet a certain person and the congregation that met in their house? To the congregations that will be named beginning in Revelation, chapter 2, just remember there was more than just one congregation in each of those cities. Not because there was a worship center on every corner but because there were no worship centers at all, and the people met in each other’s houses.

Continuing in verse 4, we see the beginning of what looks like a typical greeting. Grace to you and peace. But instead of grace and peace, John says,”Grace to you and peace from Him.” In the other letters, the authors of the epistles greeted the congregations with the blessings of grace and peace of Jesus and the Father. In other words they (the apostles) were coming to them or writing to them in the grace and peace of Christ and pronouncing upon them a blessing of Christ’s grace and peace. Here, John is pronouncing Christ’s grace and peace directly to them from Christ! Important difference. It is not the grace and peace of Christ but the grace and peace from Christ. In this case, John is the conduit not for just the blessing of but the direct reception by the readers (which include you and me) of Christ’s grace and peace.

To grasp the power of what is being said here, let us look more closely at the words translated “grace” and “peace”. Grace in the Greek is charis, a word that most of us who have been in church a while have heard from time to time. It is pronounced khar’-ece. It is defined as every kind of unearned and unmerited favor, blessing, and good, that proceeds from the Father and the Son. Receive from Christ all that His finished work on the cross has purchased for them. Reminding them and us that through the death of Jesus on the cross, the debt for redemption was paid in total, in full. That the punishment for total and complete forgiveness has been served by Christ’s death on the cross. That justification, meaning being made righteous in the Father’s eyes, has been completed by Christ’s resurrection. That the work is done, complete, finished through Christ’s ascension, where He now SITS at the right hand of the Father. Hebrews tells us that Jesus is our High Priest in the order of Melchizedek – a priest forever and that He is sitting at the right hand of the Father. None of the Old Testament priests sat, because their work was never done. Jesus is sitting, signifying that His and the Father’s work, the work of salvation for the world, is completely done. That is the grace that comes to us from the Father and from our Lord Jesus!

The word translated “peace” is eirene (pronounced i-rah’-nay) and carries with it the same definition as the Hebrew word shalom. They both mean peace, but not just peace as opposed to violence or war, not just peace or nonviolence between two people. It means a completeness of harmony, wholeness, prosperity, welfare and tranquility. When a Greek-speaking person or a Hebrew came up to someone and greeted them with eirene or shalom, they were wishing them peace in their relationships, prosperity in their businesses or work, wellness and wholeness in their health and life, and peace or tranquility of mind. In our reading this, Jesus through John’s writing is giving us both His grace and His peace….

Still in verse four, we have one of the first statements of a trinity. Not the Trinity that we normally think of; Father, Son and Holy Spirit, but,”Him who is and who was and who is to come,”. These three statements are very important statements. They are also very Johannian – Jesus is the one who IS. This means that He is alive today, in the here and now. This is proof of both the resurrection and the promise of eternal life. This is also important from the standpoint of this vision that John is revealing is from Christ now, at this point in history. It doesn’t matter if it is 1935 years ago when this was revealed directly to John for believers of that day, or if it is today. The Holy Spirit re-reveals John’s vision to us. It means that Jesus is the great I AM. He is always with us in our present.

Who was. John begins his Gospel with, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” Jesus is the eternal second person of the Godhead. Remember as we shared last week that God is not limited by time. He is outside time, and so is Christ. But this statement, who was, also speaks to Christ’s human life on the earth. We need to keep in mind that though the gnostics are not as prevalent at this time as they would be in another 50 years, there were the beginning stages of a non-belief in the actual physical existence of Jesus, a belief that it was all spiritual and that there was no cross at all. John is saying He was, He was with God in the beginning, and He was here on earth as a human man. Christ’s life was real, Christ’s teachings were real, Christ’s acts of healing were real, Christ’s miracles were real, Christ’s passion was real, Christ’s resurrection was real, and Christ’s position at the right hand of the Father is real!

Who is to come. This is the promise of our place with Him, of the second coming of Christ, the promise that we will not always be separated physically from Him. This is a promise I think should be more important to all believers than it is. Unfortunately, fire insurance (being saved from eternal damnation) is more important to most believers than eternal life in the presence of Christ and the Father. Most people are brought to Christ by being saved from something than by being saved to something. The fear of hell and all the dastardly events forecasted for its occupants tend to lead more people to seek salvation through Christ than the thought of sitting around playing their harp in Heaven. The issue is that most people see Christianity as a religion and not a relationship. A religion based on a guy who lived a good life and tried to tell everyone else how to live a good life. Yes, he died an undeserved death and because He lived a good life, if you believe the right things about Him, He promises you eternal life somewhere besides hell. But there are still rules and regulation one must follow!! And you perform these rules and regulations to the best of your ability, then you can avoid being skewered over hell’s flames for eternity. What a train of thought…..Unfortunately, not only does the secular world see Christianity in this way, but also many professing Christians view it this way as well.

The thing is, Christianity is not a religion. It is a relationship with the risen and resurrected Lord, Jesus Christ. It is also, through one’s faith in Christ, a relationship with God the Father. This is the difference between a believer and a disciple. For the disciple, the second greatest promise of Jesus besides that of salvation was the promise of His second coming, the promise of His return. The disciples lived the whole three years of Jesus’ ministry with Him. They heard every sermon and every teaching. They witnessed every healing, every miracle, and every resurrection. They saw His every moment, even when there was no one else around. They witnessed His relationship with the Father. They walked with Him, they talked with Him, they ate what and where He ate, they slept where He slept. (However, they didn’t understand the difference between the carnal world view of the Messiah and what was Jesus’ and the Father’s view.) They were lost when the passion occurred. Their greatest excitement was when He appeared to them after His resurrection, and Promise 1a for them was the promise that He would return and take them to where He was. I believe that after His resurrection, one of their favorite promises of His came from John 14:1-3, “Let not your heart be troubled, you believe in God, believe also in Me. In my Father’s house are many mansions, if it were not so, I would have told you, I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”

You see, the promise of the second coming was not to escape the trials and persecutions of this world. No. It was because the disciples wanted to be back in His very physical presence again. Why? Because they had a relationship!! They had been raised in a religion and they knew the difference…. It’s the same today: the disciple has a relationship. Unlike those living 2000 years ago, we haven’t experienced Jesus in the physical, for ours is purely spiritual; but we long for that time when we will see Him face to face. The second coming is so important that the Church has a whole season dedicated to it. It is called Advent. Unfortunately, we tend to spend most of that season preparing for Christmas than focusing on Christ’s return…..I guess it is easier to focus on what we believe has happened than to focus on something we are not as sure of. For the early church, the second coming of Christ was of the greatest focus, promise, and teaching.

Still in verse 4: “and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne.” Again the number seven (7). which signifies completeness. John is very clear here. The word is “Spirit” – not “angel” – and it is capitalized. The Greek here is another word familiar to people who have been around the faith for a little while. It is pneuma (pronounced nyoo’-mah). Its literal meaning is the vital breath of life. But Strong’s Concordance says that here it means,”the spiritual presence of God that comes to and acts upon Christians, illuminating and empowering them, and remaining with them, imparting to them spiritual knowledge, aid, consolation, sanctification, and making intercession with and for them.” What a mouth full!! Strong says that this is the gift that each every believer has from Jesus – the presence and power of the Holy Spirit that is given to us to illuminate, to help us to understand the Father’s will and word. The presence of the Holy Spirit that is given to us to empower us, give us strength to move ahead, strength in our faith. Power to have victory not only over the obstacles of everyday life, but also over the principalities and powers of darkness not of this world. The promise that the Holy Spirit is always with us and never leaves us. The presence of God’s Holy Spirit which helps us to understand the deep mysteries of God, whose presence is there to aid us in times of trouble, to console us in times of loss. To possess the Holy Spirit of God which consecrates us and sets us apart form the world. His gift is that we possess the Holy Spirit of God who intercedes with us for God and intercedes for us with God.

Here in Revelation, John tells us that each the congregations has their own very same gift of the Holy Spirit, which when listened to will do the same for their congregations. Yet when we get into chapters two and three, Jesus will end each statement to each congregation with, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Apparently, congregations have the very same struggle we as individual Christians have. We are not always open to listening, following, abiding, relying on, or living under the direction of the Holy Spirit. It seems to be something we do only in times of extreme need or when we want to impress others with our spirituality. It looks like congregation have much the same struggle.

John ends verse 4 with,”who (Spirits) are before His throne.” The question is, whose throne? This is the Revelation of John from Jesus, so this identifies as Jesus’ throne. Now Jesus is sitting at the right hand of the Father, so yes the Spirits are before the Fathers throne also, but the important thing to remember is that in this verse, Jesus is the Him who is, and that the Him who is present in the world is manifested through the work of the Holy Spirit. Thus, it is through the Holy Spirit that Jesus is present with us, comes to us, acts upon us, illuminates and empowers us, lives with us, imparts spiritual knowledge to us, aids/consoles/sanctifies us, and makes intercession with and for us. It is the same with the seven Spirits that represent the seven congregations. How often do we neglect the gift and power that John says has been given to us and our congregations??

I can’t believe I have to end this week’s study here. Can you believe how much information was in this one verse?

Let’s sum it up:

1. The number seven (7) stands for completeness.

2. Seven congregations are chosen to represent the seven virtues and failing of the Christian Church.

3. The blessings of Grace and Peace are much more than the English words imply.

4. Jesus was in the beginning, Jesus became human, Jesus is always present, Jesus is returning.

5. Christianity is a relationship, not a religion

6. The promise and power of the Holy Spirit is for us as individual Christians and to our congregations.

7. Jesus manifests Himself to us as individuals and to our congregations through the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.


Next week we’ll pick up with Revelation 1:5. Until then.

The Dap

Monday Night Bible Study

Revelation 1:1-3

Revelation 1:1-3

Verse 1) The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants things which must

shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John,

Verse 2) Who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that

he saw.

Verse 3) Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those

things which are written in it; for the time is near. (NKJV)

We start off with the second word of the first verse, the word Revelation. I’m sorry, but at this time I do not have a program where I can give you the word in the Greek letters. The English spelling is apokalupsis (pronounced ap-ok-al’-oop-sis). It literally means the uncovering of something. Here in this verse it is used metaphorically to mean “the removal of the veil of ignorance and darkness by the communication of light and knowledge.” Right there in the second word, we learn the intention for the entire book: that is, to unveil the glory of Christ and His finished work on the cross beyond our salvation unto the future of His creation. This first verse also tells us these revelations are from Jesus, the Anointed One. (While the NKJV says “of Jesus”, the Greek actually infers “from Jesus”).

Yet it is not just from Jesus. It was given to Him by God the Father. This supports the Gospels where Jesus always said that only the Father knew the when of the end time and the final judgment. God the Father revealed this to Jesus so He could reveal this to us – the Scripture says, “to show His servants.” There are many words in the Greek which are translated “servant” in the English. Some are literally defined as slave. some as hired servant, and some as bond servant. These Greek words also differentiate between a house and a field servant. The Greek at these verses is doulos (pronounced doo’-los) and literally translates as slave. According to Strong (exhaustive concordance). the word is used metaphorically. It speaks of voluntary service. It defines as persons of voluntary obedience and devotion in the following of God’s Word and the worship of God and His Christ. Thus, the Father reveals to Christ so that Christ can reveal to us. Have you ever heard the statement, “You’ll hear as soon as I do”? Jesus could have said that to His disciples in the Gospels, and that is exactly what happens in this book called Revelation.

John tells us that what is about to happen will happen quickly, swiftly. Now we can say this book was written in 95 A.D., almost 1,935 years ago. I think it is safe to say that for most of us this does not sound very swift. We have to keep in mind that our view of time and God’s view of time is not the same. While we are trapped and limited by chronological time, the Father moves and exists outside of time. A day for God is not limited to 24 hours. Our day may be limited, but not God’s. In the Genesis story, people get all bent out of shape about God’s creating the world in seven days. That’s because they always interpret it as 24-hour days. The Scripture never says 24-hour days. The first chapter of Genesis, verses 3-5, says, “Then God said let there be light, and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.” If we follow the process of creation all the way through the 7 days, we see that each day separates the events of creation, but nowhere do they claim to be in only 24-hour increments.

God dwells outside of time. I love the example Pastor Joseph Prince uses, when he talks about standing on the side of the road watching a parade. What we see are the floats that are passing in front of us. We watch the parade in chronological time. After each float passes. we can no longer see it. And what is to come we must wait to see. God is watching the parade from a helicopter. He is high enough up where He can see the staging area and everything that is going on all the way to the finish. What the Father thinks is swift is usually not swift to us, but what John tells us is about to take place is coming very shortly for God.

John says that this message is certified by the one presenting it. As we read the scripture, we get the idea that Jesus himself did not send this message but instead sent it through His angel. About 99% of the time, the Greek for this word translates as “celestial messenger,” but 1% can be defined as the spiritual body of the one represented. John is telling us that Jesus in His spiritual self appeared to him and told him (John) these things!

In verse 2, John tells us that he bore witness to the Word of God. Again, the Greek and the English do not completely line up. The Greek is not an uncommon word for us. It is one that we as Christians are very acquainted with. It is the word logos (pronounced log’-os.) It means a word as uttered by the living voice, to witness both the act of speaking and the thing spoken. John is saying that he bore witness not only to the word spoken but also to the speaker. John wants us to know that his witness recorded in this writing is of the logos of God – Jesus Christ, and that this writing is the testimony (the truth given) of all things revealed by the Father to Jesus Christ.

Verse 3 is where today’s study really gets exciting! John opens with the word “blessing”. In the Greek, this word is makarios (pronounced mak-ar’-ee-os). It means freely receiving God’s favor in spite of circumstances. Now think about that definition….think about the book we are studying, a book that will reveal terrible times, persecution, destruction, death, punishment, and eternal damnation for some. Yet in the 3rd verse John pronounces a blessing. Not just any blessing, but a makarios blessing. A blessing for us to freely receive God’s favor in spite of the circumstances. To really understand the power of this word, it should really end the sentence rather than beginning it.

John goes on to tell us that those of us who hear and read the words of this prophecy, and live out our lives in faith, believing these things that he (John) is writing, will be markarios blessed. What does John mean by prophecy? The Greek here is propheteia (pronounced prof-ay-ti’-ah) and translates as the prediction and foretelling of future events under the influence of God.

How this verse might be constructed for better understanding is this: “He who reads and hears the words of God’s predictions and foretelling of future events – and keeps mindful of those things which are written – will freely receive God’s favor in spite of the circumstances.” Folks, this is a great promise to those who are faithful (truly seek to believe). God’s promises and blessings are not dependent on our circumstance or the circumstances of the world around us. They are only dependent on placing our faith, hope, and trust in His Word and the mighty truth of that Word. This should bring great comfort as we experience today’s world….. John also intended this to be a great comfort to those who at the time of his writing were undergoing trials, persecutions, and loss.

John ends the verse with “for the time is near.” The Greek for time is kairos (pronounced kahee-ros’) and defines as a set time, a time in the chronological order of things set for a specific purpose. In this case, the “set time” is for the second coming of Christ and the physical appearance of His Kingdom. All these things that Jesus is revealing to John happens so that John can reveal them to the Church, to help prepare for Christ’s second coming.

Let’s sum it up:

1) The purpose of this writing is to remove the veil from the Church for the second coming of Christ.

2) This unveiling is from Christ and about Christ.

3) This unveiling came to Christ from God the Father for the express purpose of being revealed to us.

4) In God’s time, it will happen quickly.

5) John’s witness is not only to the word uttered but also to the speaker of that word.

6) Hearing and keeping this word promises God’s favor on those who do in spite of the circumstances.

7) The set time of Jesus’ return is near.


The Dap

Monday Night Bible Study




I’m beginning a Bible study which I hope to post every Monday night starting next Monday, September 14th. I am being led to start with the book of Revelation. This is one of the more interesting books of the New Testament. As one of the last books to be added to the canon of Scripture, it was met with skepticism by many of the early Church fathers. One of the reasons for this skepticism was that they did not know how to classify it. It wasn’t really a letter. It definitely wasn’t a Gospel. Was it apostolic or was it prophetic? Actually, it was a combination of apocalyptic (prophecy of complete destruction of the world) and eschatological (concern with death, judgment, and final destiny of the soul and of humankind) thinking, along with what many of the early Church fathers felt was a sub- Christian Christology, which gave it too many “theological problems,” as they understood it.

Another problem was its authorship. Until around 150 A.D., most of the early Church fathers held that the author was the Apostle John, the brother of James and the son of Zebedee. After that, the authorship began to be disputed, especially in the Eastern Church, until around the mid 3rd century. After about 373 ad, Athanasius of Alexandra turned the tide for the claim of authorship by John. This held fairly well until the mid 1400’s, Martin Luther decided he didn’t like the book at all.

The biggest problem with John being the author is the Greek language in which the book is written. It is not the same or fluid Greek with which John wrote his Gospel and letters. As a matter of fact, the Greek of the first three chapters and the last part of the 21st chapter are different than the Greek in the rest of the book. This leads scholars such as Massyngberde Ford to hold that there are at least two if not three writers of the book.

The next biggest problem, according to Ford and others, is the Christology found or not found in the book. Ford (who is considered by most as the world’s foremost authority on the Book of Revelation) says that there is no Christology found from chapters 4 through 21a. He believes that this section of Revelation was written not by the Apostle John but by John the Baptist, and that Chapters 1 through 3 and 21b were written by a Christian apologist. He bases this on the difference in the Greek and Roman Catholic tradition that the Baptist was a prophet and by a slight allusion in the Scripture of his having possibly written a prophecy. A second point he makes is that the Gospel of John was written to a church in Ephesus. John the Baptist was known to have many followers still in Ephesus at the same time. This is true. Raymond Brown, a scholar considered as being the foremost expert on the Gospel of John, believes that the Gospel was written in part to explain the difference between the Christian church and the followers of the Baptist.

Revelation is believed to have been written around 95 A.D., when the Apostle John was a very old man.

I disagree with Father Ford and those in his camp. While I can’t dispute that the style of Greek is different in different sections, that is not uncommon in the longer books like the Gospels in the New Testament. Also, I see Christology throughout the whole book of Revelation, which I plan to point out as we work through our study. Finally, the earliest Church fathers held it to be written by the Apostle John, and these were the people living closest to the time of its writing. It never ceases to amaze me how Biblical scholars will amend translations and change even contexts when something closer to the time of an event becomes available. The rule is this: the closer date of the manuscript to the time of the occurrence of the event, the more authoritative it is. That is, unless you decide that you don’t want to accept that authority. The Church fathers closest to its writing (the 50 years following its writing) stated that it was written by the Apostle John. Therefore, I will be presenting the study of this book from that authority.

This is going to be exciting! We will see prophecy and events current to John’s day. We will see teachings of the end times. We will learn about punishments and the rewards. We will see how the sinfulness of man causes history to repeat itself. But greatest of all, we will see how the finished work of Christ on the cross over 2000 years ago will bring about our ultimate victory through Him at His second coming!

Join me on Monday evenings as we study together The Revelation of John. At first, our teachings will be in written form, but I do hope to go to video in the near future and maybe even live streaming shortly after that.

Our first section of study will be Revelation 1:1-3

The teaching will be found here and on my website,

The Dap

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What a Witness

A What a Witness

I was clicking through You Tube the other night, looking for something interesting to watch besides my favorite sporting programs (usually UGA Dawgs-related). There is a lot of diverse material to be had if you’re willing to go down certain rabbit holes, which most of the time I am not… I found myself clicking on a Christian testimony which popped up on my feed. I don’t know why it popped up, because that was not a rabbit hole I had intentionally gone down before. The presentation was about an hour long and was not rehearsed or well-scripted, but it was honest and sincere. Since then, other testimonies have occasionally shown up as well. Again, I don’t click on too many except a few whose titles are intriguing.

Anyway, the other night one came up called “Steve McQueen’s Christian Testimony.” I’ve always be a huge Steve McQueen fan – from his TV show, “Wanted Dead or Alive”, to driving Yul Brynner crazy with his antics in “The Magnificent Seven” or his role in “The Great Escape”, and of course that greatest of macho man movies, “Bullet”. I never knew Steve McQueen had ever professed to be a Christian. It was about an hour and a half long and it was put together by the Harvest Christian Fellowship out of California.

It started out as one of those typical biographies that you see about stars in Hollywood. As a matter of fact, for the first hour, nothing was said about Christianity at all. It documented the ups and downs of Steve’s career in chronological order. At about an hour into the story, when Steve (who had lost it all) was in the process of making it all back plus more, his Christian conversion began to be mentioned. Apparently, Steve had never been what we would call a “people person,” but after losing all his fortune and then being in the process of making it all back, he became more reclusive and untrusting of people. He also started looking around at the material prizes of his success, thinking that they should be bringing him fulfillment, but he wasn’t feeling fulfilled at all. When He wasn’t filming for a movie, he wore scrappy clothes, sporting long hair and a beard, trying to look as grungy as he could so as not to be recognized. He often took off on one of his motorcycles and just rode. During one of these rides, he discovered a small airport. Seeking solitude, he thought to himself – what could give him more solitude than riding his bike? Why, flying, of course! He would learn how to fly! While riding around the hangers seeking information as to who could teach him how to fly, he was given the name of Sam Mason.

Sam Mason had been a Navy fighter pilot, a stunt pilot for the movies, and one of the top test pilots for Lockheed Aircraft Corp. Steve got Sam’s number and called him. Now, Sam didn’t know who Steve was and actually asked his son if he “knew a guy named Steve McQueen who says he’s an actor.” Sam considered himself retired and tried to give the job to his son, who also was a highly qualified instructor; but Steve wouldn’t give up or select anyone else. Sam finally relented but told Steve that if he was going to train him, Sam would only do it with the same type of plane that he learned on in the Navy: an old bi-wing trainer. So Steve bought the specified plane, had it completely restored, and began his lessons.

Unknown to Steve at that time, Sam was not only an over-qualified flying instructor but also a qualified Sky Pilot as well. And Sam was a faithful, practicing Christian. No one will ever know exactly what the conversations during the training sessions were, but apparently Sam shared a lot about his relationship with Jesus Christ. He must have done it in a truly loving and caring way, because one day after they had finished their lesson, Steve asked Sam, “Would be alright if I went to church with you?”

Can you imagine that? Living your life in such a way, sharing the Gospel in such a way, that instead of your asking someone to come to church, they asked you if they can go to church with you. WHAT A WITNESS! I’ve never had anyone ask me if they could go to church with me. And I guess for fear of rejection, many times it has been hard for me to invite someone to attend church with me. I’ve done it many times and been blown off, ignored, and turned down. But Sam Mason’s witness so touched the heart of Steve McQueen that Steve asked him for permission….

As it turns out, Steve did go and spoke with the pastor – searching, seeking, and asking serious questions. After several weeks of this, Steve received Jesus as his Lord and Savior. He began turning his life around. He became very philanthropic, looking for different ways to share his wealth and his witness. He didn’t become an instant life-of-society guy, but he became far from a hermit.

It was shortly after this that Steve began losing weight and then was found to have pleural mesothelioma. The doctors in the U.S. told him there were no cures, so he traveled to a clinic in Mexico for experimental/alternative treatment. However, he died from complications during surgery to remove a tumor in his stomach where the cancer had metastasized.

The beautiful point is that Steve’s faith, while short-lived, was real. In his last interview, given the day before his final surgery and death, there was no pity party. His only regret was that he had wasted most of his life on the things that didn’t matter and were not important. He wanted to be healed so that he could have more time to serve the Lord and spend his life for His Kingdom and do more for the One who had given His all for him.

All because Steve insisted to take flying lessons from a believing, practicing Christian named Sam Mason – who was not afraid or ashamed to share his faith.


The Dap

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