Pressing On

with THE WORD

A study of the Scriptures to discover who God is, what He is like, and how to partner with Him now.

Filtering by Tag: Bible study

Imagination, Bible reading, and seeing our new home

It’s easy to fall into the habit of just reading through our Bibles, looking for information or some direct word of encouragement.  If we take that approach, we’ll end up missing out on what God has in store for us. 

Imagination isn’t typically a skill that’s promoted when we are taught (if we are taught) how to study our Bibles.  Most preaching looks at the text for nuggets of truth that church-goers can somehow immediately apply to their lives.  However, God gave us powerful minds that can daydream up all sorts of ideas and thoughts.  So why shouldn’t we try and use that skill when we read our Bibles?

Let’s use our sanctified imaginations as John describes our future home in the New Jerusalem:

Revelation 21:15-16
The
[angel] who spoke with me had a golden measuring rod to measure the city, its gates, and its wall.  The city is laid out in a square; its length and width are the same.  He measured the city with the rod at 12,000 stadia.  Its length, width, and height are equal.

Verses like these are fairly simple to read over and keep moving.  Our first impression is probably something like:

Yeah, I’m sure it’s pretty big and impressive.  Jesus said something about there being many rooms in His Father’s house, right?  So, I’m sure New Jerusalem is a decent-sized city.

Let’s put this into a comparison we can relate to – the New York metro area is the largest urban area on the planet, covering about 3,350 square miles.  In comparison, New Jerusalem will cover over 1.9 million square miles…which is over 560 times the size of NYC!

If the boarders of New Jerusalem were placed over a map of the USA, the perimeter would extend from Buffalo, NY to the southern tip of Florida…with the opposite side extending from the Wyoming/Montana border down into Mexico. 

If that’s not amazing enough, New Jerusalem is laid out like a square, so it also extends nearly 1,400 miles up!  It truly boggles the mind to try and imagine how many people could fit in a place that large…and this is also the city that John just described as being prepared like a bride adorned for her husband.

A city that size…decked out and beautiful beyond anything we can even imagine.  This is our future home, prepared by Christ for you, just as He promised:

John 14:1-3
“Don’t let your heart be troubled.  Believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many rooms; if not, I would have told you.  I am going away to prepare a place for you.  If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also.”

Just try and wrap your head around the sheer magnitude of what God is going to do…and the absolutely amazing fact that we believers are going to be a part of it.  Go ahead…imagine…and then marvel at the future God has planned…let these ideas simmer in your mind. 

Thoughts of a future home like this will certainly change our present perspective.

Keep Pressing,
Ken

Contrast of Eternal Rewards

The goal of Bible study is to think God’s thoughts after Him and to better understand the one who loves us…both of these aims have the ultimate goal of deepening our relationship with God.  Whenever our reading of the Scriptures needs some focused studying to fully understand what God is communicating (as we have been doing with Revelation 21:7), the best next step is to zoom out and add our new understanding to the surrounding context of verses.

Revelation 21:6-8
Then He said to me, “It is done!  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.  I will freely give to the thirsty from the spring of the water of life.  The one who conquers will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.  But the cowards, faithless, detestable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars – their share will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

The focus of the paragraph turns on one simple word – but.

“But” is a critical term when studying Scripture.  It lets you know that a contrast is taking place in the text, and these contrasts are important to our understanding.

On the one hand, we have those who did freely drink from the water of life, and from within them, those who conquer.  On the other hand are those who have rejected God and lived life counter to His plan for humanity.  In contrast to the conquerors who inherit in the new Jerusalem, those who have rejected God have their share (other translations – their place, their portion, or their part) eternally separated from God in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur…which the previous context of Revelation 20:10-15 indicates is the eternal destiny of Satan and those who follow him.

This is a serious contrast of eternal consequences. 

Thinking about the original recipients of Revelation, the terms God uses – the cowards, the faithless, etc – would have been descriptive of those who were persecuting the first century believers.  While this contrast does give comfort that God will make everything right in the end, there is another application, one for the here and now:

Remember, we are called to be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the world by holding firm to the word of life (Philippians 2:15-16).  After all, we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making His appeal through us.  We plead on Christ’s behalf: “Be reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:20).

For those around us, eternal destiny hangs in the balance.

Keep Pressing,
Ken