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The Vision of the Glorified Son Reigning Over the Church

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Revelation 1:9-18 The Vision of the Glorified Son Reigning over the Church
9. I, John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and the kingdom and perseverance which are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.
10. I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like the sound of a trumpet,
11. Saying, “Write in a book what you see, and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.”
12. Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands;
13. And in the middle of the lampstands I saw one like a Son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash.
14. His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire.
15. His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters.
16. In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength.
17. When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man, and He placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last,
18. And the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys to death and to Hades.”
19. “Therefore write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after these things.”
20. “As for the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands; the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches; and the seven lampstands are the churches.

This section of the Revelation brings the first great vision of John concerning the glory of the Christ, but it does not concern the future. It concerns the headship and role of Christ Jesus over His church. Just looking back we have learned that He is to receive from the Father full reward for the work that He did at the cross. He will return to judge and to receive a kingdom and that His coming is certain for God the Almighty has proclaimed it. This is the great theme of the book Christ coming in His full second coming glory to bring an end to the reign of the evil one and of his workers, it will happen for God Himself has decreed it and many things concerning scripture all demand it happen. In this book, Christ comes to receive His reward, elsewhere in scripture, it is Christ in His humiliation.

The book itself, is written during a time when to be a Christian, was not a happy experience for a life choice. The Christians under the reign of Dometian (The Romans) were receiving great persecution, many had been martyred for their faith, all the apostles were now gone, except one who had been exiled to Patmos (John). It was written to give hope to Christians to tell them to endure for the victory is certain and that Christians have this sure and certain foundation and great hope in the future.

Our passage, opens with this setting, and it is really opening like one would a letter, starting in verse 9:
‘I John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance which are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.’

John in this passage introduces himself and then sets out the circumstances clearly for us:
1. The Writer:
The opening address to his audience starts with the words ‘I John’, it is because he is amazed and surprised that he is receiving this stuff. To him it is unbelievable, for he considers himself unworthy of such great honour.
He reduces his elevation and status to that of a fellow partaker, no different from others going through the persecutions and more importantly to that of only a witness of what he sees and writes down.

We find John, who could of quite frankly elevated his position over that of others, as a mere humble servant.

There are certain characteristics that John shares in with his fellow believers, which he makes mention of:
• Persecution for their faith
• Kingdom: (spiritual kingdom awaiting the physical arrival) membership in a redeemed community of believers, over which, Christ is Lord and king.
• Eager anticipation: Like others, he too, eagerly awaits the second coming of the Lord and the physical kingdom.
• Endurance and perseverance in spite of difficult times.

These experiences, John shares in with his readership, it is the unique experience of the Christian believer, see the phrase ‘which are in Jesus.’
It means they were suffering because of their faithful witness of the one who is their Lord and saviour, not normal life twists and turns that everybody in life goes through – it means they were ‘in service of the king’ despite of it all, that they would suffer (even death) to serve the Lord, they chose to serve him.
2. The Circumstances
Where is John and why is he there?

John states that he is on the island of Patmos. Patmos is a small rocky island shaped like a crescent, no bigger than about 10 miles in length and six miles in width in a group of about 50 small islands in the Aegean sea off the coast of Asia Minor (modern day Turkey).

This island served as a Roman penal colony, it would probably have been used for the hard labour of prisoners possibly working in a quarry; chained with other prisoners, with a guard ensuring that you work hard by using a whip to beat you. This was a common form of banishment and punishment for criminals throughout the Roman empire.

However, John is not there because of being a criminal, he makes that plain and simple for us to understand. He is there because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.

He preached and witnessed in nearby Ephesus, headed up a church there, but had been exiled because of his faithful witness to his Lord and saviour.

It is worthy to note the two-fold emphasis of this statement: Many preach today from the word of God, but fail to preach what the bible is all about. It must be about the testimony of the Christ.

It must be about, His life, ministry, death, resurrection, ascension and return – it must be about His first and second comings. All scripture points to and proclaims the Christ in either His first or His second coming and the impact it has on mankind’s future relationship with God and of their eternal outcome.

Paul summed up his ministry of the word for us quite nicely, by stating that he preached Christ crucified in 1 Cor. 2:1-2.
He considered that preaching Christ crucified is to the Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness in 1 Cor. 1:23. However, it does go on to read that there is hope in preaching this way for those who are called it is the power of God to save them, it is by God and a work of God, not a work of man.

How often it is that those who hold fast the word of God and the testimony of Jesus undergo persecution for it, even in our day and even from those grouped into the term ‘Christian’ but are not and have surrendered huge amounts of their bibles to appease the world, when they should be warning them of judgement and wrath for sin to come and proclaiming mercy and grace through Christ.

In this world, it is so easy to surrender the truth of the word of God, but those who do hold it fast are rewarded for their faithfulness to it.

John had been the one who was faithful to the word of God and the testimony of Jesus, that our Lord chose him to deliver the testimony of his message unto the churches that he knew and loved, but also to ensure that all churches in every age since, have this word and message of great hope going into the future.
How often it is that we find through the suffering of a servant that they become closer to their Lord and saviour and get to know more of Him. Through the deepest suffering this servant John was brought nearer to God than any other has or probably will. For John was brought into the very throne room of God to experience the most majestic experience of the glory of Christ and the glimpse of the future concerning God’s plan for the consummation.

3. John’s Commissioning
Verse 10:
‘I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day’….
This was not like some would like you to think a dream. John was supernaturally transported out of the material world awake – not sleeping – to an experience beyond the normal senses.
The Holy Spirit empowered his senses to perceive the revelation from God. See Acts 10:11

‘The Lord’s day’ simply refers to a Sunday, the day of rest, the day that Christians worship the Lord on as it symbolises the day of the Lord’s resurrection.
Some suggest that it may refer to the day of the Lord (1 Thess. 5:2), however the suggestion does not fit the context for the revelation he receives is not considering this future time event but the present time and is a revelation of the glorified Son, since His ascension, as head of His church and of His priestly office over it.

The NASB translates it correctly and the Greek word for it close the gap further still to support it as written ‘in the Spirit on the Lord’s day’…

It was while he was in worship on this day that the Holy Spirit empowered him to be transported out of normal senses and out of the material world to receive revelation. At this point:
‘I heard a loud voice like the sound of a trumpet’….
Throughout the book of Revelation a loud sound or voice indicate the solemnity of what God is about to reveal. Christ in the judging, chastising and purging role over the church

Trumpets in olden times were used to proclaim that a great announcement or a proclamation is about to be heard from the king to his subjects.

This one is from the Lord of heaven to His subjects on earth concerning His headship reign over the church. If you look back over scripture the last thing to happen with Jesus on earth was His ascension into heaven with the promise of a return sometime in the future, in Acts 1.
“Write in a book what you see, and send it to the seven churches”….
The Greek word for book refers to a scroll made of parchment formed from papyrus that comes from a reed that grows plentifully along the river Nile. John was to be a witness of what he was about to see, by writing it down and then he was to send it to the seven churches in Asia Minor.

The churches mentioned were actual churches serving in actual cities in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey). These cities were prominent cities in the region, which you could refer to as postal centre cities for that region of the Roman world. Turkey is where east meets the west, if you lived somewhere near these cities and you wanted to contact someone by means of letter, you would send your message to one of these cities for posting out. The places stated are in the order that a postal courier would go through collecting and delivering mail.

It is clear that God is doing the same thing here with His message for the church. The fact that there are seven churches means that they represent the completeness of the church age. They are representative churches of the church age since the formation of the church in Acts through to the current day. They are also significant in type – the typical churches (leading characteristics) that you will find at any time throughout the church age.

As we go through the book we will find that the Lord will have a specific message to give to each one of these churches and to all the churches of that type of church. It is important also to note at this stage that the church is also made up of individual believers coming together and that the message for the churches can be taken both as the whole assembly, but equally to the individual within that assembly.

4. John Receives the Vision of the Glorified Son
When John hears the loud voice: verse 12
‘Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands’….
John hears the voice and turns to see who it is who is speaking with him. As he turns the revelatory vision, he is to see, begins.
It begins with a symbolic image of seven golden lampstands; what are they and what do they mean? Well if we go to our passage and turn to verse 20 we are given the answer: They are the seven churches mentioned and types of churches like them throughout the church age.
Lampstands were portable gold lampstands that held small oil lamps, used in the temple, by the Levitical priesthood. Each lampstand represented a church from which the light of life should shine out into the darkness, as a beacon to those lost in the dark – to help them find their way to salvation from sin. This is the responsibility of any church, in any time, throughout the church age.

‘and in the middle of the lampstands I saw one like a son of man’…
In the gospels, Christ Jesus used this title most often to describe Himself during His earthly ministry (81 times). It is taken from the heavenly vision of Daniel 7:13 and the implied intention is full claim of Christ to Deity. Jesus claimed He was not only equal with God, but was God.

What is He doing, there in heaven?
1. He is Empowering His Church: Verse 13
‘He is in the middle of the churches’….
He moves in and around the churches, He indwells believers in His churches through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit works to empower the church. Jesus promised that He would not leave us as orphans on earth, nor would He forsake us. At Pentecost the Helper came to empower the church in its ministry in the world: to convict the world of sin, righteousness and the judgement to come and to glorify the Son.

2. He is Interceding for His Church: Verse 13
‘Clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash’…
The word ‘garment’ (ASV and other older translations)
Most occurrences in the Septuagint, Greek OT. Refer to the garment worn by the levitical high priest. Long robes were also worn by kings.
The golden sash across the chest completes the picture of Christ Jesus serving the church in His priestly Kingship role (Lev 16:1-4; Heb 2:17; 1 John 2:1).
We have a High Priest who was tempted in every way and is able to sympathise with us, and was without sin. He made the atonement required for the sins of the people (past, present and future) and makes intercession for us.

3. He purifies His Church: Verse14
The vision then turns away from what He wears to His personal appearance, what He is likened to:
It states:
‘His head and His hair were white like wool, like snow’…..
White refers to the holiness of God. This is not a dull flat colour white, but brilliant/dazzling brightness. Have you tried to look at snow when the sunlight hits its surface? People get snow blindness from it.
That’s kind of like how John describes it.

See Daniel 7:9, like the glory cloud (Shekinah glory) no one could see this with some sort of veil. Christ was veiled in human flesh but gave a glimpse of this at the transfiguration to the disciples which left them terrified.
‘and His eyes were like a flame of fire’….

The Lord is all knowing and all seeing about His church and the members it contains. None can hide His penetrating gaze (see: 2:18; 19:12; Hebrews 4:13) We are all but an open book before Him.

‘His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace’…. (verse 15)
The alter of burnt offering was covered with brass and its utensils were made of the same material (Ex.38:1-7). Glowing hot bronze feet are a clear reference to divine judgement.

When a king was in His throne room to make judgement over subjects. The throne was often higher than the ground and the subject were before the throne of the king at his feet. Feet therefore were very often symbolic of this kingship judgement role.
Christ sits in judgement over the church and is able to move through His church in judgement and chastisement over it.

An early example of this, is in the case of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5) who lied to the church and to God about the selling of their property and the money they gave in. Nothing escapes the gaze of the One who sits over the church.

4. He Speaks authoritatively to the Church: Verse 15
‘and His voice was like the sound of many waters’….
No longer the ‘loud voice like a sound of a trumpet’, but like many waters.
John likens it to the sound of the rolling surf hitting the rocks of an island (see Ezekiel 43:2). It is the voice of authority. The message the Lord gives to the churches is in this authoritative voice.

5. He Controls His Church: Verse 16
‘In His right hand He held seven stars’….
What are these? Go to verse 20 for an answer: they are the angels of the churches
It does not mean angelic beings from heaven, but the messengers to the churches and represent the church to the world. They are those who lead the church and are responsible for ensuring the message is in line with the two-fold emphasis of witness: the whole cannon of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. They are also responsible for the care of the flock. It is that they are accountable to the Lord for good stewardship of the church.

He mediates His role through the leadership of the church.

6. He is there to Protect His Church: Verse 16
‘and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword’….
Through His word and sovereign power, Christ is there to protect His church.
A large, broad sword that signifies judgement on those who attack God’s people and the church in an attempt to destroy the church (cf. 2:16; 19:15) external or internal in nature.

The word of God and His sovereign power is able to:
• For those who hear the word of God and respond positively – it is the power to save them from their sins
• For those who hear, but do not respond, or reject – it has the power to judge and condemn
• The Holy Spirit convicts of sin, righteousness and judgement – our consciences bear witness either judging or approving us before God.

To those who attack to destroy the church, it is as though the Lord here is saying to them –“I will build my church and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it!!!!”

7. His Glory Shines through His Church: Verse 16
‘and His face was like the sun shining in its strength’…
His glory and light shines through His church unto the world of darkness, so that those lost in darkness can find their way unto salvation and feel the full strength of the warmth of the Christ’s glory, like the sun full heat or in the heat of the day with the sun at its highest point in the sky radiating the glory of the risen saviour. (See: Psalm 104:1-4)

5. The Effects
What is John’s response to seeing the Glorified Christ? Verse 17 tells us:
‘When I saw Him, I fell at His feet, like a dead man’…
It is an experience of great fear and shock:
John’s response to seeing the Christ unveiled, full glory. Is to fall dead at His feet. ‘I am undone!’ ‘I am ruined!’ was a response of Isaiah to seeing unveiled glory in Isaiah 6.

This is one who knew the Lord in the flesh, but he falls as though dead before Him, now.

It is a common response to seeing the awesome glory of the Lord: Gen.17:3; Num.16:22; Ezek.1:28; 9:8; 43;3 and 44:4; The transfiguration spoken of above in Matthew 17; Acts 9:3-4.
Daniel had a visitor in 10:7:
I Daniel, was the only one who saw the vision; those who were with me did not see it, but such terror overwhelmed them that they fled and hid themselves. So I was left alone, gazing at this great vision; I had no strength left, my face turned deathly pale and I was helpless….

It is a matter of the conscience of humanity:
‘I am dead before the holiness of the Lord’, the fact is no mortal who is sinful can stand before the awesome glory of the Lord. Isaiah said of it ‘I am undone or ruined’ Simon Peter had a similar experience with the Lord in person in Luke 5:8.
The self realisation that I am a sinner before Him and cannot save myself from the judgement of the Holy One.

It is the normal and right response:
Fear and shock and self realisation of sin before him should be the normal and correct reaction to have.
Non-believers, later in the accounts of revelation, will cry out for the rocks to fall on them in order to hide them from Him and for them to die, they will just want an end of the divine judgements being unleashed upon the earth.
all know of their sin, but most do not repent of them, for men love darkness rather than light.
Others though, realise they are sinners before Him, repent of their sin and cry out to Him for mercy and forgiveness and will find their Lord is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and longs for the sinner to come to Him so that He can give them a new heart and clean clothes and a new home with Him forever. It is the reason He came the first time.

Assurance from the Saviour: Verse 17
‘And He placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and Hades.”’
For Christians, this is amazing:

It is a touch from the Lord that restores John and removes all fear from him. He is restored by the Lord and has nothing to fear anymore. The fact that the Lord speaks of His death and resurrection and that He is forevermore alive in that resurrection body means that for the believer there is no more fear, even if death comes to you. The Lord says to Him to stop being afraid, you have been redeemed from the grasp of the evil one and death has no hold on you, because I died for you and rose again so you will rise again because of me. You are safe because I have the authority and control of who lives and who dies and to where they go. You now do not need to fear My judgement and My wrath for sin, for you have chosen Me and have walked with Me.

‘Because He lives, I can face my tomorrow and because He lives all my fears are gone.’ It has been paid

For the Non Christian, waken for the time is near:
If you have not come to the Lord Jesus for cleansing then the fear remains and so does His judgement and wrath upon you, the just penalty for sin.
‘Do not be afraid’ God used this phrase throughout scripture to those He chose: To Abraham; To Israel; To Joel and many more times. Christian you have been chosen too!
It is a quite common reassurance for those who believed in Him.

‘I Am’ behold I Am is here, it is the name of God used not only to describe His eternal nature ‘before Abraham was I Am’ but also His redemptive nature ‘I Am the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father except through Me.’
He uses the title ‘I Am the first and the last’, which is the Old Testament name for ‘Yahweh’ (22:13; Isa.41:4; 44:6; 48:12) and applies it to Himself, clearly claiming full Deity and full authority and full control over who lives, who dies, and to where they go forever.

Another Title is used, ‘The Living One’ Simon Peter used it in Matt. 16:16 to describe who Jesus was ‘You are the Messiah, The Son of the Living God’ 1 Thess. 1:9 serving the living and true God.

It is a title used to describe that God is the true and living God who acts. The Thessalonians and others turned aside from their idols and false gods to serve this living God.

The lord uses three titles to describe the assurance we should have in Him to not be afraid, even of death itself.

Is this not blessed Assurance?

‘I was dead’ John I died for you, believer I died for you. I took your sins with Me when I died. Non-believer I can take your sins too.

‘And behold I am alive forevermore’ Behold is a startling announcement stating the main emphasis ‘I Am alive forevermore’ because of me being alive you too will live if you believe in Me. I conquered the grave, so death has no hold of those who believed in Me.

‘I have the keys’ I have the authority and control of death and of Hades’ Christian you have nothing to fear here.

This should lead to Duty:
John is called to the task to “Therefore write down the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after these things.”
John’s duty is to write down the things which he has just seen (Christ glorified over the church) and the things which are (the present things – the church age) and the things which take place after these things (the future things – after the church age).

He is to send his witness testimony to the churches mentioned.

Christian you were given a witness testimony of when Jesus touched your life with His redemption, this you must witness to every person you meet, it is the great commission in Matt 28; you shall be my witnesses in Acts 1 and many other places which state we are to shine forth the light of gospel testimony of Jesus Christ. We are to be His ambassadors to the world with the word of reconciliation 2 Cor. Chapter 5. Finally read 2 Cor. 3:18.


The Certainty of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ

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Revelation 1:7-8 The Certainty of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ

Based largely on the work of John MacArthur.

7. Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him, so it is to be. Amen
8. “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

In our introduction we saw that this book reveals or unveils Jesus Christ to us, not His hiding, but His uncovering in full glory about to receive His reward from God the Father. It is God the Father’s intention to reward His Son for what He did at His first coming at the cross in humiliation, suffering and death.

We also saw, that this book is meant to be read by Christians, we are to know and understand the bigger picture of how it all ends. Rev 22:10 says seal not the prophecy of this book. Seal it not! It is the only book which comes with a specific blessing to the one who reads, hears and heeds the words written within it, because the time is near or at hand meaning that this is God’s next set of events to happen, which are coming soon, they are imminent and that we should live in the expectancy that it could happen now, today, tonight. This should affect what we see as being priorities in the way we live, are we being a witness in our world? Do we seek opportunities to preach biblical truth in to the lives of those we meet? Have we prepared ourselves for this day of the Lord and are we ready for it?

We can also note: that up till now it is largely an unfinished history awaiting to fulfilled. There are things which are still out of place:
• The church should be the bride with its Lord and saviour.
• The Lord Jesus should be king of a physical kingdom.
• Israel is awaiting its unveiling and restoration.
• Satan the usurper is still yet to be dethroned and thrown into the lake of fire along with all the unregenerate and ungodly.

If this, is the finished account, in the fact that Christ Jesus died and ascended, then the victory is not a full victory until these things have taken place. No! Christ Jesus is still yet to be fully glorified and reigning in the physical realms as well as in the individual hearts of believers. Also there would be no hope for the redeemed until these things come to pass, but here, in this book is a glimpse into our redeemed future in eternal glory and everything that is out of place now will then be righted:
• Satan and the ungodly will be dealt with.
• The king of glory will have a physical kingdom.
• The church will be with its Lord and saviour.
• All Israel will be restored.

In our book, the usurper is about to be dethroned by the victor, the unregenerate will be condemned to eternal fate for their rejection of God and His chosen messiah and the order is about to be restored and all in the world will be judged. Those who did not reject God’s Son and held fast His testimony before mankind will receive their glorification and be with their king forever in a newly created order.

This account, is quite literally how the whole story ends. If you love action books then this book is better than any paperback that you have ever read, for in this book unfolds a story of great drama and suspense, betrayal by an apostate church, mystery, disaster upon disaster, conflict and war, political intrigue and global change, economic downfall, great fear, terror and horrors as judgements are unleashed upon the created universe and mankind.

It is also a book that has great joy and fulfilment and even ends in a happy ending, for those who call on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation.

In verses 7-8, we now come to the major theme or thesis of the book which then takes John the rest of the book to reveal to us how it is all going to pan out.

Verse 7 starts with the great theme announcement ‘Behold, He is coming…’
It is about His Coming!
The One who is being revealed to us is going to come. Jesus Christ is coming! it is certain! It is written in a present tense verb, it means that it has already been set in motion and we should be expectant of His soon return. This is on the theme of Daniel 7:13-14:
“I kept Looking in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of man was coming, and He came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. And to Him was given dominion, glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations and men of every language might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed.”

The coming One is a messianic title, see Matthew’s account of John the Baptist’s questions about Christ Jesus, whilst John is in prison he asks, are you the One who is coming?
Jesus is The coming One, who is coming again, all history is awaiting this event to fulfil all things and left as it is now it is quite literally unfinished business.

In all Scripture, it is said that about one fifth relates to prophecy, of which one third relates to His second coming. There are about 1500 Old Testament passages that relate directly or indirectly to this second coming.

Today, many deny or see the doctrine of the second coming as non-significant, maybe because the issue is a moral one and they are not ready or prepared to face this ending. Despite what the scoffers say, those that deny His coming, the scriptures say otherwise and God is the one who says what He wants to happen, and it will happen, you can be certain of it because God has said it.

In fact, there are a number of things concerning scripture that demand that He comes again:

1. The Promises of God demands that He comes again
Genesis 49:10 gives us a promise concerning that he must come and relates to His rule.

Psalm 2 gives promises that He will rule when He comes with a rod of iron and as a judge, it is His inheritance to have the nations bow down. Has not happened yet, did not happen at His first coming, must happen at His second coming.

Isaiah gives promises concerning that He will have the government upon His shoulders when He comes and speaks of a glorious kingdom to come. Yet to be fulfilled, meaning that it demands that it happens at His second coming.

Zechariah, promises that the mount of Olives will be split and He will be judge the nations there. Again not happened yet, must happen at His second coming.

2. The words of Jesus Christ Himself demand that He comes again
John 14 Jesus states that He goes to prepare a place for us in His kingdom and return.

Luke 19 Jesus preaches a story showing a truth about a noble leaving for a distant country to receive a kingdom for Himself and then return. Jesus by telling this story is really saying to us I am that king I have gone to heaven to receive a kingdom and I will return and I will judge what you have done.

This story also shows us where our priorities should lie. When we consider that we were chosen and called out from the world (not by anything we have done) we should be able to note that we have been given a greater currency than all the wealth of this passing world, too much to keep to ourselves! It leads us to the question: What have I done with the mina I have been given? If I did not evangelise myself have I invested my resources into the kingdom so that others could go, where I did not or could not? Is that reason genuine?

It also carries a warning that the king will judge if we have acted with our gospel privilege in faith or not. It is a call that this message that we carry is not meant to be kept for ourselves, too important to keep to ourselves, lives are at stake! – we should be shouting out the message from the roof tops!!! Oh church arise and put your armour on! wake up from our sleepy slumber and stand for the gospel truth. How can they hear unless someone is sent out and how can can they respond unless someone goes to preach to them? (Romans)

In this book, the angel sent to John is told by Jesus six times to announce ‘I am coming.’

3. The Guarantee of the Holy Spirit demands that He comes again
John 15:26; 16:13: He will testify about me and disclose to you what is to come. Guide you into truth and inspire the writers to write of His coming, that is the work of the Holy Spirit see John 16:8-11

1 Cor. 1:4-8: You will not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly await the Lord’s Jesus Christ’s revealing at His coming and He will keep you firm to the end so that you will be blameless on the day of the Lord.

Col. 3:4; 1 Pet. 1:13; and Philippians 3:20-21

Finally James 5:8 says that we are to be patient and stand firm, because His coming is near!
In a day that many have surrendered ground on the truth of the gospel to appease the world, it is a big challenge to stand firm, when we may be put in harm’s way for doing so, do you consider this message worth dying for? The early Christians did!

4. The program of the Church demands that He comes again
Acts 15:14-16: What is happening here is the assembly has gathered to hear reports from Paul and Barnabas and they were reporting that Gentiles (non Jewish peoples) were being saved from their sins and some Jewish believers were wanting them to undergo circumcision which is really an outward sign of the old Mosaic covenant and of law following as a means of salvation.

This issue needed to be sorted out so Paul and Barnabas went to Jerusalem to report and let the council decide things concerning non-Jewish believers.

Some who were originally Pharisees were saying they must be circumcised and keep the law of Moses. Paul addresses them and says why do you try to put a yoke on them that even the Jews could not keep? He was realising that we have one who has and died in our place who was without sin – so we are saved by grace through faith in Christ alone and that this is a new and better covenant.

From verse 14 Simon is able to realise that God is doing something new that for a time the Gospel is to go to the Gentiles, but that after this gospel age that the prophecies of particularly referring to Amos 9:11-12 but all of the OT prophets are in agreement that after this age the king would return and rebuild the house of David (Israel) and they would be restored.
We must note that there is a sequence happening: Church, kingdom then return.

In 1 Thessalonians the Church is awaiting His return to meet with the Lord in the air. To go to be with Him.

Psalm 2 again to rule the nations.

Joel 3:12: again awaiting the judge to bring judgement to the nations at the valley of Jehoshaphat.

5. The program for Israel demands His coming
Isaiah 59:20 I am going to come and bring you to an eternal salvation.

In fact, in most of the OT God promises them a kingdom which they are still waiting for.

Look at Jeremiah 23:5-8.

6. The humiliation of Christ Jesus demands His coming
Israel rejected their king and turned their backs on Him, in Matt. 26:63 Jesus stated to them that from now on they will see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of the Father in heaven Him in power and coming on the clouds of heaven.

The last thing that people see is that He was beaten and wounded and crucified and left to die in the Palestinian sun. Mutilated and murdered is not the last thing to happen, His death demands that He did rise, ascend and comes again.

7. The exaltation of Satan demands His coming
Temporary power has been given to the usurper described as the ruler of this age, prince of the air, prince of the world and given the power of death – Jesus at His resurrection ended that power for those whom believed and holds the keys to death and Hades. If things stay as they are Satan still reigns in this world, Jesus must come again to put his reign to an end.

8. The expectation of the saints demand His coming
Our hope does demand it, we know He is coming to put things in their rightful place and restore things so that the struggles brought by the curse of sin are replaced once more with blessing. We are all awaiting our full salvation where sin will be no more in our lives. We are awaiting our glorification, fully sanctified and with our Lord see Titus 2:11-14.

Now we can see that central to the faith of Christianity is the truth of the doctrine of the second coming. We are to believe that He is coming.
We can now look to the 4 major points we need to see from these verses:

1. The Glory of it (verse 7)
‘Coming with clouds’….

This is referring to God’s Shekinah glory often visible as a cloud or indescribable blazing light. It relates to God’s presence.

In Israel’s dessert wanderings they were led by a cloud – cloud by day, fire by night, when the cloud was over the tabernacle they would stay put, when the cloud moved they were to follow. See Exodus 40: The glory of the Lord filled the temple. See also 1 Kings 8:10.

When Jesus ascended into heaven in Acts 1 He was received into heaven with this cloud of glory and there again is the promise that He would return in the same way.

The point is that no man can look upon His glory face to face and live – it is veiled from man because God is holy, man cannot see His glory because of their sin.

2. The scope of it (verse 7)
‘Every eye will see Him’….
Moses had a glimpse of the back of His glory hidden in the cleft of the rock. Jesus at His transfiguration revealed in part His glory to His disciples who were terrified by it. See also, Hebrews 1:3

At His return His glory will be unveiled and will be made visible to all, for all to see. Men will cry out for the rocks to fall on them and hide from Him but none shall be hidden, they will cry out for death and death will flee.

The passage then divides them into two groups:

‘Those who pierced Him’….
Who pierced Him?
This is not relating to the Roman soldiers who carried out the crucifixion of Jesus or their leaders nor is it the sense that all through their human nature are sinners and need a saviour to take their place, but to the ones who brought Him before the Romans to be crucified. The Jews, Israel!

In fact it is a direct ‘kesher’ or link to Zechariah 12 from verse 10 – a prophecy relating to a day when they will see the one whom they crucified and mourn the tears of repentance as never has been seen since the days when king Josiah died see 2 Chronicles 34/35. The cloak from their eyes will be removed.

Now some will already have been saved during the first half of the tribulation known as the 144,000 from the tribes of Israel and many will be saved through this time. Some believe it to be all of Israel, but it all depends on the meaning of ‘ALL Israel’. If you read Romans 9/10/11 I believe that ‘all Israel’ means both Jew and gentile that have called on the Lord to be saved and they make up the term ‘All Israel’ not of natural Israel but I do not know enough on it to be certain one way or another, I certainly do not believe that the church replaces Israel but that certain things will happen to natural Israel during this time which would provoke many of them unto jealousy, repentance and faith in our Lord – see the story of the prodigal son, what happened to the older brother in the field, whilst the younger brother was at the party?

I certainly believe that the best and most safest view is the one in the middle that those who call upon the name of the Lord in the day of trouble shall be saved, that includes Jew or Gentile and these will be the ones to inherit a physical kingdom under their king.
‘And all peoples on earth will mourn because of Him’….

This second group do not mourn in repentance of what they did to their messiah, but because He has come.

In Matt. 24:30 the word to ‘mourn’ is ‘kopto’ meaning ‘to cut’ different to the group above.
Oriental imagery, people still do this today cutting themselves in despair, see 1 Kings 18:28. It becomes an outward expression, they mourn the coming of judgement and fear, not repenting for their wrong-doing and rejection, in fact later on in the book, we find that they do not turn from their wickedness, but instead end up cursing God.

3. The Response (verse 7)
‘So it is to be, Amen’….
Even so Lord come, let it be so….

John is thrilled, because it means the end of the curse and a new beginning without curse, only blessing.
What is your response? Is it the same as John’s response?

4. The Certainty of it (verse 8)
“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “Who is and Who was and Who is to come, the Almighty.”
God affirms that it is to be as verse seven states, He is coming.
The divine autograph to confirm that this is a true statement and will happen. God does this by announcing three of His attributes:

His omniscience: “I am the Alpha and Omega” This is the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet.
An alphabet is an ingenious means to store and communicate knowledge. God is stating that He is the beginning and end of all knowledge. If anyone should know what the end will be, its God. If He says it will happen it will happen. We can see historical evidence throughout the bible account that things stated centuries earlier came to pass with superior accuracy than just general statements concerning the judgements given to certain nations (pre-written history). God is the One to know what is to be and has the knowledge of how that will take place when it comes to pass. In Revelation we get a glimpse of what will happen.

His omni-presence: “Who is and Who was and Who is to come.”

God states that He is, was and is to come. He is always eternally present (past, present and future) His presence is not limited to time and space like mankind is.

His kingdom is eternally founded and will not be shaken like mankind’s world is to be and will outlast our world which is set to be consumed.

His Omnipotence: ‘The Almighty’

I am the One who has all power and is in control of all things, in control of it all. If I say it will happen, it will happen.

The One who spoke the universe into existence ‘out of nothing’ is He not able to do it? Is He not able to create a new heaven and a new earth, if He chooses?

When God says He is coming, you better believe it!! He is coming!

Once He came to seek and save, next He is the One to seek and destroy
Once He came to offer Grace and mercy, next He will come to administer final justice.
Once He came to serve, next He will be served.

When dealing with Revelation we need to look into our hearts and lives and ask questions:

Am I ready for this time set to come soon?

Have I prepared myself for this day?

Will I be able to meet Him with a confidence not of myself, but through Christ Jesus?

If you cannot answer these questions then I ask you, what will you do in that day? For there is no guarantee that you will be saved in that day, if He does not return before you die, and everyone dies, then there are no more chances for you, you will stand before Him for judgement.

If this day comes during your lifetime then you may die in the events that take place during this time that fall upon the earth, before you repent and turn. Then again judgement at the white throne is next for you.

When it comes to a certain point in the great tribulation then there are no people turning to repentance, only a wish for it all to end, men will cry out for death. End it, I just want an end!!!

The sad thing is an end will not come, only judgement and the certainty of being forever lost to a place where there is no God to protect man made in His image against those demons who hate God in hell to torment you. Because you reject the creator and had time to repent and did not then there is no hope for you.
He is coming, will you make haste to ready yourself?

For those whom believe can I ask you what you are doing to help prepare others for this day?

Back to the Future

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Revelation Chapter 1: 1-6: ‘Back To The Future
Largely based on the work of John MacArthur
1. The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show unto His servants, the things which must shortly come to pass; and He sent and signified (it) by His angel unto His servant John;
2. Who bare witness of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, of the things that he saw.
3. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep the things that are written therein; for the time is at hand.
4. John to the seven churches that 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 that are before His throne;
5. And from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loveth us, and loosed us from our sins by his blood;
6. And he made us a kingdom, priests unto his God and Father; to him the glory and the dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

The Teaching: 10 points from Revelation 1:1-6 are as follows:

1. The Essential Nature of the Revelation (Vs 1)
What is it? “The revelation of….”
Revelation comes from the Greek word ‘apokalupsis’ which means to uncover or unveil or a disclosure.
• Note that is the revealing of (not the hiding of)
• The book introduces its essential nature in the unveiling of or uncovering of
• It unmasks or makes visible the truth about

The book of Revelation is by most largely: miss-interpreted; miss-understood; and shrouded in mystery and confusion. It has led to many seeing it as a closed book left to only experts or sealed, hidden and locked up. However in Revelation 22:10 we are instructed to seal not the prophecy of this book – Seal it not! It seems God does not want us to seal it, but to know what it teaches, to be informed and blessed by His revealing it to us through the Holy Spirit’s work.

It is for this reason that this book is the only book which opens and closes with a blessing to the readers of this prophecy. It carries a blessing to the reader who hears and heads the words of this book and keeps them close to their hearts; live in light of it; for the time of the end is near or next.
It is also the last book of the divine library of books in God’s bible and is therefore the last word of God for mankind, It is how God ends the world history and begins a new chapter for those made righteous in the blood of the Lamb that was slain:

• In Genesis, we have the beginning of the created heavens and the earth. In Revelation, we have the heavens and the earth ended at the consummation.
• In Genesis, we have the beginning of sin and the curse at the Corruption. In Revelation, we see the end of sin and the curse and the re-instatement of blessing.
• In Genesis, we have the dawn of the activities of Satan and the demonic realm. In Revelation, we see the doom of Satan and the demonic realm.
• In Genesis, the tree of life is lost. In Revelation the tree of life is regained.
• In Genesis, death enters the world. In Revelation, death exits the world.
• In Genesis, sorrows begin. In Revelation, sorrows are banished.
• In Genesis, paradise is lost. In Revelation, paradise is restored.
• Most central to the theme of this book and the bible as a whole; in Genesis, a saviour is promised. In Revelation, the saviour is preeminent and glorified.

Who or what does the book reveal?
• Jesus Christ is to be revealed to us in this book.
• But also an insight into the future events that are soon to take place surrounding His second coming.

We will see, as we take this epic journey, back into the future, things, which will be:

• Shocking
• Thrilling
• Troubling
• Joyful
• Painful
• Encouraging
• Disturbing
• Blessed

2. The Central Theme of the Revelation (Vs 1)
‘Of Jesus Christ’…
• The central character of the revelation is Jesus Christ
• It is He that is being revealed to us; He is being unveiled in His full future glory.
• The Old Testament promises His first coming
• The New Testament reveals the One promised is Jesus Christ; The gospels reveal Him in His humiliation at the cross and then victorious in His resurrection and ascension to heaven.
• This Revelation reveals Him in His exaltation:
(1) In His Full Blazing Glory in verses 7-20.
(2) Over the church, as its Lord in chapters 2 and 3.
(3) In His second coming, as He takes back the universe from the usurper, Satan, and establishes His kingdom in chapters 4 to 20.
(4) As He lights up the eternal state in chapters 21 and 22.
• Note NT writers eagerly anticipate this unveiling in 1 Cor. 1:7; 2 Thess. 1:7; 1 Pet. 1:7.
• He is unveiled to us in Seven Chief Images:
(1) The Risen glorified Son of God amongst the churches
(2) The Lamb in heaven with given authority to judge mankind
(3) Comes to the earth as the King of kings and Lord of lords
(4) He is the Christ
(5) He is the judge upon the great white throne
(6) He is the Lamb upon the throne of God
(7) He is the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.

He is also described as:
The faithful and true witness, first-born of the dead, the Alpha and Omega and a whole lot more

• It not only reveals Jesus Christ but unveils the future events that are to place; it relates to the full reclaiming of the earth and cosmos – Jesus is about to become, in this book, king of the new heavens and the new earth – the king of the kingdom of God.
• In the Revelation the record of Philippians 2:6-11 are being played out in full.
• It is His reward for His service; God the Father’s inheritance for the glorification of His Son.

There are evident tokens of this:
(1) Jesus Christ resurrection: He was raised to life.
(2) He is seated at the right hand of the Father, after He ascended into heaven.
(3) The sending of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and from then on to dwell in all believers.
(4) This book, which reveals the details of what will come to pass in the future.

3. The Divine Source of the Revelation (Vs 1)
‘God gave Him’…
• The divine author is God the Father, the revelation is given to Jesus Christ.
• Because Jesus Christ submitted Himself to the will of the Father, the Father is disclosing His will for His Son to be glorified.
• It is Jesus who is about to get His reward for His service – the atonement He made on behalf of mankind.
• It is God’s record for the glorification of His Son
• It has been given to Jesus to show to His bond-servants in every age

4. Specific Recipients of the Revelation (Vs 1)
‘To show to His bond-servants’….
• His believers throughout the ages of the church age and beyond to give them a glimpse into the future; how it will all end, the glory of His kingdom, that He is sovereign and in control of all world history, and help them to hold on in perseverance and faith of His coming, despite persecutions and death for His name’s sake.

5. The Prophetic Character of the Revelation (Vs 1)
‘Things which must soon take place’
• This book looks forward or ahead to the future, which starts from chapter 4 onwards.
• Verse 19 shows us that the book considers things past, present and future.
• The book is laid out very carefully and in a specific chronological order, through the visions which John is given and instructed to write down.
• There is always a two-fold emphasis in this prophetic writing
(1) There is hope and joy for believers: Those who have put their hope and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and hold on to the promises God has made concerning His son, enough to go through all the difficulty and suffering that believing on Him may bring in their lives.
(2) There is also the final doom of Non-believers: Those who rejected Him and are unregenerate in life or death this book holds the finality and fury of God’s vengeance and wrath. The fate of those unforgiven of their sins will be judged and sentence will be passed on them, this final judgement will seal their eternal future without the divine protection and presence of God their creator. They will be eternally in torment.
• In John’s own words the experience of this is bitter sweet for the believer, who much more for God? Jesus wept going into Jerusalem the first time over the Israel.
• In this book it shows the fate of where mankind and this world/cosmos is heading without Christ Jesus.

• When is all this to take place? Our answer comes in verse : soon! ‘Tacos’, where we get our word taco meter from it can mean the speed and velocity of the events that unfold in their times of being released, as events unfold in this book. But the main emphasis is rather on the soon-ness or nearness of His coming:
• His imminent return
• Next on God’s timetable of events to come to pass
• The ASV uses the phrase the time is at hand, and could come at any moment in the future. Luke 12 says we should live our lives in the expectancy of His coming and be ready keeping our lamps burning.
• We are also told that we know not the day or hour of His coming and that it will be similar to a thief’s coming in the last watches of the night.
• We need to be ready for His soon return and live in light of it, doing and being what we were told in scripture to do – being a witness of Him who called us out, reaching the lost and sinners to repentance and faith in Christ Jesus and that the kingdom of God is near.
• Are you living as though He is coming today, tonight, who have you reached to today with the good news message?
• If you have not given your heart to Jesus yet, how are you going to face that fateful day when He does. This day is coming, you need to prepare for it and be ready for it also.

6. Supernatural Delivery of the Revelation (Vs 1)
‘He sent and communicated it by His angel’
• This message is being brought to us by means of angels
• In the gospels, major announcements or messages concerning Jesus Christ were given to men by means of angels and this book is making major announcements concerning Him.
• This angel was commissioned by God to give the message.

7. The Message is given to a Human Agent (verses 1 and 2)
‘To His bond-servant John, who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ even to all that He saw.’

To whom is the message of Revelation given and why?
• It was given to John, who had now been imprisoned on Patmos because of His testimony. John has been given huge honour in receiving the message from heaven because of His faithfulness in testifying to the word and more importantly the testimony of Jesus Christ – the gospel message of His atoning work. Important to note many preach from the word of God but do not preach Christ crucified and of His resurrection. This is the acid test of good testimony, the unity of the Old and New testaments of God’s word are concerning Christ Jesus work concerning His first and second comings.
• John is described as being a bond-servant here. In those days a slave could choose after a period of time to go free or continue to serve his master out of love in that way they bond themselves over to their master. The word servant means basically being a slave of someone else. In John’s case He was a slave to another master (Satan through sin) until He met with Jesus who set him free from that master. John, out of love for Jesus chose to only serve his new master as a bond to Him who had set him free. Whom do you serve?

• There is great challenge for believers at the end of verse two – even to all that he saw, that’s everything that he saw even the terrifying and shocking, he was not to hold back. Everyone he met he would give the good news of Christ Jesus, but he also warned them of judgement to come, are we doing the same in our witness with others? or is it mostly about us doing the Sunday social in church, with no effort to tell and warn others? This is not about us but about the kingdom of God! John was imprisoned for it, all other apostles were martyred also, as also were many Christians throughout the ages, they believed that their message was worth much more than life itself, how about you?

• Christ chose to give this revelation to John because of His faithful witness. In so doing, the human agent capable to deliver this message to believers everywhere and in every age was assured.
• For John’s part, look at his response in verse 9 and other places throughout the book, ‘I John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation’ that they were under. John is overwhelmed by it and can’t believe it that Jesus had chosen Him

8. Spiritual Blessedness of the Revelation (Vs 3)
‘Blessed is He who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it, for the time is near.’
• In verse 3 and in 22:7 there is an opening and closing which carries with it a blessing to its readers, hearers and those who act upon what is written within.
• This is the only book which give a promise of blessing to those who do read, hear and heed what is written.
• In fact, there are five more blessings throughout the book: 14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6 and 22:14. These are the seven Beatitudes of the Revelation.
• It is extremely important that we read and understand this book, for it is imminently urgent that we do, for the time is near/at hand/soon/next.
• The word time refers to epochs, eras or seasons and the Revelation is therefore the next great epoch of God’s redemptive history to take place and which is described as soon.
• Despite it being soon or next, these events may be so long in coming that people will begin to question and doubt whether He will ever come: see Matt. 24:36-39; 2 Pet. 3:3-4. They may begin to carry on with life as usual not preparing and getting ready for His soon return, as in the days of Noah before the catastrophe of the global flood.
• Remember that in God’s eyes a day = a thousand years and a thousand years is as one day in eternal times. He been gone two thousand years – that is only two days to God!
• It is imminent, that’s is assuming that He comes when you are still alive, what if you die before then? If you die in your sins then you will die held for the judgement to come at the great white throne before the one who has the power to throw you into hell, it is better to fear Him than what man can do to you in this life who have in their power to take life from the earth. Jesus’ own words.
• He is coming and it is next and it is soon.

9. Trinitarian Benediction (Verse 4 and 5)
‘From Him who was and who is to come and from the seven Spirits before the throne and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead and the ruler of the kings of the earth.’
God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are writing this letter of love to the Churches in Asia and to all believers everywhere in every age. Grace and peace to you all:
• Grace that you have been forgiven and released from sin; that you are now being made into a kingdom and you are priests to God; you have access to Him; He loves us and has died on our behalf; we will soon be with Him.
• Peace that you can go through the curse of this life in the hope of the resurrection of the dead, because you died to sin in Him and He has the power to raise again to life eternal in His new kingdom; you have been freed from the curse in Him unto life forever.
• God the Father: Who was and who is and who is to come
• God the Holy Spirit: The seven Spirits before the throne?
• Seven is a unique number in this book which relates to the completeness or fullness The are seven churches, seven Spirits, seven visions, seven lamp stands, seven seals, seven trumpets and so on. The seven Spirits before the throne could be referring to the fullness or completeness of the Holy Spirit or in Isa. 11:2 it could be speaking of the seven-fold ministry of the Holy Spirit or finally in Zach.4:1-10 speaking of lamps/eyes and a key verse Not by might or power, but by My Spirit.
• God the Son verse 5: described as the faithful and true witness; first-born of the dead meaning the preeminent one, the rightful heir of all who have or will be raised to life from the dead; Ruler or king of kings; and the one who is able to forgive and release from sins.

10. Exalted Doxology (Vs 6)
‘and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen!

John cannot contain his praise of God the Son who makes us to be a kingdom we through Him will receive the inheritance of the new heaven and earth, so we have nothing to fear by the events which will soon take place.

Because of Him alone who bled and died to make atonement for sin before Almighty God to make us a people made righteous through His blood.

Through Him we are priests before His God, the Father. It means we have access to the very presence of Almighty God and will live under His rule and shelter of protection – these event will not cause harm to us, who are being saved.

Is it any wonder that John who is getting this stuff breaks out into a doxology of praise of the One who makes this all possible and more importantly who does all this stuff make you feel does it make you break out into praise of Jesus Christ the one who sets free and forgives our sins, what a privilege it is to have such a blessing so undeserved bestowed upon us who have been called out from the world, what an awesome experience we will feel when we are with God Himself in the new kingdom to come.

Amen, let it be says John

What an awesome responsibility we have for we are to carry the message we have been given unto the uttermost parts of the world, so that others may freely receive this great gift given to all mankind – joy to the world for the saviour has come to save and for now we have work to do for the age whereby men can receive forgiveness for sins through repentance and faith in Him is still here, let us make haste, for the time is at hand!