cccdailybiblereading

A daily encouragement to read the Bible with others from Christ Community Church, Conway.

Bible Reading Day 356

Day 356: December 22 (Revelation 12)

Good morning!

Happy Sunday!

Just ten more days to go! (the plan has 366 days so we will have a reading on Jan 1st).

In chapter 12 we are in the time of the seventh trumpet judgment, but this chapter is another parenthesis, referring to the Woman and the War in heaven.

We have seen much imagery and symbolism in Revelation, and this chapter is no exception. The Woman represents Eve, humanity, and the Church. The dragon represents satan. Learned interpreters and scholars have also added other layers of interpretation – particularly regarding the history at the time John saw this vision, with Roman persecution of the Church increasing.

In the midst of the war in heaven, we see that our accuser is defeated by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. What is your testimony today? Share it with someone and see the devil defeated!

Have a great day!
Mark.

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Bible Reading Day 355

Day 355: December 21 (Revelation 11)

Good morning!

We continue with the sixth and seventh trumpet judgments, and within those judgements, three terrors. Yesterday’s account of the little scroll was a parenthesis in the sixth judgment. Today the parenthesis continues with the two witnesses.

Much of the description of these two is figurative or symbolic. It would be a mistake to look through history or among current events for the exact details described. What John is seeing is teaching him (and us) about principles of God’s holiness, the necessity and justice of His judgment, and the victory of the Lamb and His followers.

The terrors show us that God’s judgment will strike at the hearts of all who do not follow Jesus, but there is no indication that His people are terrified. Rather they are worshiping along with the hosts of heaven, and God is vindicating their faith and endurance.

The seventh trumpet brings the reign of God, and the final judgment. Up to this point the terrible things that happen are preparatory, now God will complete what He has started!

Today we can follow heaven’s example and thank God for His rule, His activity, His judgment, and His victory. We are all included, from the least to the greatest, and we will be witnesses of the finality of God’s justice as He cleans away all sin and evil, bringing a new heaven and a new earth.

Have a great day!
Mark.

Bible Reading Day 354

Day 354: December 20 (Revelation 10)

Good morning!

Twelve more days!

The seventh angel is about to blow his trumpet, signifying the end of this phase of the judgments. First he shouts, and is answered by seven thunders, but John is not permitted to write down what those voices said.

This angel is holding a scroll, again signifying God’s word. John is commanded to take the scroll from the angel, and the angel adds the instruction to eat the scroll (i.e. to feed on God’s Word). The promise is that it will taste pleasant to start with and then turn sour.

The implication is that God’s word is sweet to us, but when digested, harder to share with others; John is told he will continue to prophesy – worse is yet to come!

For us, the sweetness of God’s Word is a joy, even if the application of His Word sets our stomachs on edge!

Have a great day!
Mark.

Bible Reading Day 353

Day 353: December 19 (Revelation 9)

Good morning!

After the first four trumpet judgments, the fifth judgment includes the “first terror” – tormenting creatures that come up from the pit and cause great pain to all who do not have God’s seal on them.

Then the sixth trumpet brings the second terror – God releases four angels to come with their armies and kill a third of the people on earth with fire and smoke and burning sulfur.

Yet, still those who survive refuse to turn away from their sins: idolatry, murder, witchcraft, sexual immorality, and theft.

God shows Himself powerful, yet merciful; the purpose of His judgment is two-fold. First He is cleansing His creation of sin, and second He hopes to shake those who oppose Him out of their blindness so that they can turn to Him. John tells us that many will not do this, but today we can also celebrate that we have turned to Jesus, and ask Him to draw many others to Himself.

Have a great day!
Mark.

Bible Reading Day 352

Day 352: December 18 (Revelation 8)

Good morning!

In Chapter 8 we come to the seventh seal of judgment. After Jesus opens this final seal, there is silence in heaven for a time; an indication of importance and finality.

This leads on to a second series of seven judgments, heralded by angels with trumpets. These judgments reflect the judgments on Egypt under Moses, and we have four of them in ths chapter. None of them is universal, but each is more drastic than those we saw with the seals. The sense is of judgment increasing, in anticipation of final judgment to follow (with the bowls, which we shall see later).

Notice that these judgments are preceded by an angel offering the prayers of the saints at the altar of God. The saints have nothing to fear with these judgments, not because they are not affected, but because their eternal destiny is settled, and nothing can separate them from God’s love.

Let’s be people of prayer today, and remember the overarching theme of this great revelation: God is holy and has redeemed us for Himself.

Have a great day!
Mark.

Bible Reading Day 351

Day 351: December 17 (Revelation 7)

Good morning!

Revelation 7 is a parenthesis in the accounts of the seven judgments. After judgment 6, John tells us that God’s people will be preserved. The numbers are figurative rather than literal (as is much of the revelation), but the message is clear – God will preserve His people.

Even those who die in the great tribulation are seen here rejoicing, because they are made clean by the blood of the Lamb. In other words, our trust in Jesus’ death and resurrection will carry us through any future troubles, and all coming judgments, into the presence of God. There we will rejoice for ever and experience God’s comfort.

What a wonderful promise to reflect on today.

Have a great day!
Mark.

Bible Reading Day 350

Day 350: December 16 (Revelation 6)

Good morning!

Yesterday we read about Jesus (the Lamb) having an eternal heart for fulfilling God’s purpose (represented by the scroll sealed up). The eternal nature of God is redemptive and loving.

Today we see aother side to that nature: since there is evil in creation, judgment is necessary. Just as a child who has been playing outside needs cleaning up to come into the house, so God’s creation has been defiled by satan and sin. Today we read about the beginning of the “cleanup” process with the first records of judgment in the Revelation.

The seven seals represent seven judgments, and today we read about the first six. Four are pictured as horses with riders, the fifth is pictured as the souls of righteous men and women throughout history calling out to God for justice, and the sixth is figurative of the end of the world.

Although there is clearly chronology in these events, there is no sign of timing in them. It would be a mistake to try to create a timescale or historical positioning for these visions. They are intended to show us Jesus victorious, and teach us principles that will guide our lives as we look forward expectantly to these future events.

Since we know this world will come to an end, and evil will be judged, let’s seek today to live as citizens of another kingdom: focused on higher values than those of the world around us.

Have a great day!
Mark.

Bible Reading Day 348

Day 349: December 15 (Revelation 5)

Good morning!

Yesterday we considered how we can join in with heaven’s worship. Today we see that worship continuing, and also get a glimpse into one of the reasons why there is worship in heaven.

We start with God on the throne, holding a scroll (representing revelation and wisdom from God). It appears there is no-one worthy to open the scroll, so the revelation of God will not be unsealed. But then the Lamb (Jesus) who is described as the one slain from before the foundation of the world is found worthy to open the scroll. How wonderful! Not only do we have a Savior who is worthy to open God’s revelation to us, but He is also the one who was willing to lay down His life from BEFORE the world was ever created.

The Incarnation that we celebrate in less than two weeks, and the crucifixion, were not God’s rescue plan for a creation that went wrong, as much as they are an eternal commitment to humanity in God’s heart before He ever created us.

And the rest of the chapter shows us more worship in heaven in response to this wonderful love. God’s eternally redemptive character, and His settled embrace of self-sacrifice on behalf of His creation, are the foundation and cause of eternal worship and joy.

Let’s allow that joy to overflow in our lives today: Happy Sunday!

Have a great day!
Mark.

Bible Reading Day 348

Day 348: December 14 (Revelation 4)

Good morning!

We now move from the letters to the churches to the rest of the revelation. Verse 1 tells us that this concerns the future; commentators and theologians have long disagreed over whether all that is recorded is still to come, or whether some has already taken place.

As we read, let’s remember that the stated purpose of this whole book is to reveal Jesus, and specifically to reveal Him as the ultimate authority in heaven and earth – the victor over evil and sin. Beyond that we would do well to limit ourselves to learning principles from Revelation and not using it as a lens through which to interpret current events or to judge other Christians. Both those errors have led to a great deal of discord in the Church throughout history!

Chapter 4 gives us a glimpse into heaven – the worship, the power, the glory and honor, the authority of God and the willing submission and adoration of everyone present. These examples give us the lead – let’s prioritize worshiping God for who He is, and submit to Him whatever our circumstances in this world, knowing that in heaven everything will be totally different!

How can you join in with heaven’s worship today?

Have a great day!
Mark.

Bible Reading Day 347

Day 347: December 13 (Revelation 3)

Good morning!

Yesterday’s email missed one of the four churches addressed in Chapter 2: Thyatira, the church that tolerated deception.

Today, in chapter 3, Jesus speaks to three more churches through John’s letters, completing the messages to the seven churches.

Sardis is the church that had fallen asleep – that was dead although it appeared alive.

Philadelphia is the church that endured patiently; the persevering church.

Finally Laodicea is the church which is lukewarm, neither hot nor cold.

Repeatedly Jesus tells us to listen to what the Spirit says to the churches, and repeatedly He tells us that we will be victorious if we endure, persevere, repent, and return to our first love.

There can be no room in our hearts for complacency, or selfishness, or double-mindedness. Instead, our Lord is powerful and will faithfully redeem us when He returns.

I pray for all of us that we will be more aware of Jesus today than ever, and allow that awareness to give us steadfast courage and expectant hope, looking more at what God is doing than at the fallen world around us.

Have a great day!
Mark.