Archive for December, 2010

Paradise Regained

December 30, 2010

In  17th century English poet, John Milton wrote the classical texts, Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained.  While certainly not accepted as canon scripture, the title is truly apropos for the conclusion of the book of Revelation.  Regarding God’s Word, Psalm 119:60 tell us that ” All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal.”  That being said, we can take the restoration of perfection presented in Revelation 22 to the bank and as another reason to celebrate, honor and praise the Almighty God and the Lamb. 

What is restored in Revelation 22?  What is paradisiacal about Revelation 22?  Let’s take the latter first.  Revelation 22 is paradisiacal in that it describes the final abode of man along with the Almighty God and the Lamb.  It is a perfect place with perfect relationships between God and man as well as among men.  It is a place of extreme and unparalleled beauty and delight.  In responding to the latter, the former is resolved.  All that is restored is what God designed in the first place.  God designed man to live with Him and to enjoy Him.  Sin entered the world and marred that experience for man.  Our entire existence in time is intermingled with sin.  We have not know the perfect relationship with God nor perfect community among people.  While the description of what our new dwelling will look like is amazing and down right difficult for us to understand.  In 1 Corinthians 2, God attests to this in the statement “’What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceive’— 
the things God has prepared for those who love him.”

Again, it is the Almighty God and the Lamb that make our eternal dwelling paradisiacal.  In Revelation 22, we are given a glimpse of a few things that contributes to the place that ‘no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has concieved’.  We are given the river of the water of life, the tree of life, and the throne of God and of the Lamb.  The perfect cycle that emanates from the Father and the Son are seen her.  The water of life, clear as crystal,  that flows down the river from the throne of God and of the Lamb feeds the tree of life which produces 12 crops of fruit monthly as well as leaves of that tree that heals the nation.  Clear water connotes no sin, purity and perfection.  Tree of life connotes life comes from the tree which comes from God and the Lamb.  We could get into why it’s 12 crops, but the most important thing is that fruit is being born.  Best believe that this fruit will not create a separation between God and man nor among men.  In fact a portion of verse three says “No longer will there be any curse”.  The tree is so antithetical to the tree in the first Eden that this tree’s leaves are noted to bring healing to the nations.  This conveys that among the nations, of which every tongue and tribe exist, there is peace and harmony.  The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him.  This service is of pure blessedness of service rather than arduous, curse-stained toil.

David Guzik presents the regain of paradise in the chart below. 

No more curse Perfect Restoration
Throne in their midst Perfect Administration
Servants shall serve Perfect Subordination
Shall see His face Perfect Transformation
Name on foreheads Perfect Identification
God is the light Perfect Illumination
Reigning forever Perfect Exultation

Regardless of our ability to comprehend it, we know what is it like to have something made new.  We are left to long to desire and understand what perfection will be like, but that’s the object of the quest to regain what was lost.  God offers what was lost only as a gift.  We can’t achieve it on our own for it is imperceptible to us.   The Father is calling us to a new life in Him that will culminate in completeness for eternity.  Now, that’s paradise.


A New Heaven and A New Earth

December 29, 2010

As we just finished celebrating Christmas, it is without doubt that someone some where got something “new“.  Maybe someone received new clothes, new shoes, a new iPod, a new computer, a new car, a new home, a new 3D television, a new video game, a new cell phone or the like.  Regardless, we know what it means to receive something new.  It replaces something that was old and in some way imperfect.   John receives a message that goes beyond our understanding of receiving something new in Revelation 21.

For some time, I have wondered about this new heave and the new earth.  Let’s be clear that the new gift is only for a select group.  Who will experience the new heaven and new earth? Verse three tells us that it is for God’s people.  Who are God’s people?  Those who trust in Christ, the Son of God, as Lord and Savior.

Before we proceed any further, it is important that we understand what the word “new” means and specifically refers. 

New (Strong’s G2537 –kainos: ki nahs) meaning
a) as respects form
         1) recently made, fresh, recent, unused, unworn
b) as respects substance
         1) of a new kind, unprecedented, novel, uncommon, unheard of

The new heaven is not the place of God’s dwelling.  This is referring to the part of the sky we see.  The blue part which is the atmosphere and the stars which is deeper space.  We are told in this same passage that a new Jerusalem is coming down.  There is no conflict over which earth.  There is only one earth.  While that is true, som debate over whether the earth will be destroyed.  The Word clarifies that for us.  Luke 21:33 states “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away”.  Isaiah 65:17 states “See, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.”  (Psalms 102:25-27 & 2 Peter 3:12-13) As consequence, God will create a new sky and a new earth.  This isn’t just the next heaven and the next earth; this is the better heaven and better earth replacing the old ones which are imperfect just as the new gifts that some of you may have received this past Christmas replaced worn items. 

It will not be like the current sky and earth.  It will be better; it will be perfect.  The newness refers to its physical composition as well as the spiritual and moral identities.  First, look at how Jerusalem is described.  It is new and holy.  If holy, God must be there.  In fact, the passage tells us that God will dwell with His people.  God will be in the midst of them indicating the absence of sin.  In conjunction with that notion is the absence of the sea which carries the Jewish mindset that the sea was a place of separation and evil. We have seen this earlier in the Book of Revelation where it is shown to be the source of the Satanic beast (Revelation 13:1) and the place of the dead (Revelation 20:13).

The city also connotes that there will be a different type of cohabitation among people.  A new type of community will arise on the new earth and the new city. Listen to what is told to John, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”  The old order of sin has passed away.  Just as the old is passed away when Christ inhabits the new believer as stated in 2 Corinthians 5:17 ( Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!)   Since God will inhabit the earth, it is new and the old has gone.  Christ says again, “To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life.”

There will not be a need for the sun or the moon for God and Christ will illuminate the earth all the time.  There will not be night.   

There is so much here.  We just need to know that it will be new.  As a little boy, the only way for me to receive a new gift for Christmas as a child was to be obedient.  Likewise, the only way to experience the new heaven and the new earth is to be obedient and surrender my life to Christ.   If you want the newness of God, surrender.

The Judgment

December 28, 2010

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Read: Revelation 20:7-15

Another book was opened, which is the book of life. – Revelation 20:12

from the folks at TODAY IN THE WORD

In 1936, Toni Kurz, a German mountain climber, attempted to scale the imposing north face of the Eiger mountain in Switzerland. The expedition turned disastrous, with all three of his fellow climbers dying during their attempted descent. A storm made a rescue attempt for Kurz even more harrowing. After spending an entire night hanging on the side of the mountain exposed to the elements, and now with one arm frozen, Kurz received rope from his rescuers—but it was too short to reach them. He attempted to separate the rope and retie it, but as he worked his way to safety, the knot caught on his carabiner. Without the strength to lift himself up to free the knot, he died—just a few meters above the waiting rescue team.
Some people try to rescue themselves spiritually in a similarly tragic way. They trust their own works, or the advice of others, or a good reputation. Their hope of salvation lies in a patchwork of good deeds and intentions. Like Kurz’s rope, none of these things will be sufficient to bring salvation and spiritual safety. In our passage today, we see the final outcome of those who have trusted anything other than Jesus Christ.

The long-awaited final judgment of Satan is completed in our passage. After being loosed from hell, Satan remained consistent with his character of deception and rebellion against God (vv. 7-8). His resistance was futile; God cast him into eternal torment in the “lake of burning sulfur,” where he joined the Beast and False Prophet (v. 10).

Next, the scene shifts to the Great White Throne Judgment, where all the dead stood before the throne of God, subject to His judgment. The books were opened, and their deeds were evaluated. Ultimately, no sum of the deeds can equal salvation. The only hope of eternal life lies in having your name found in the Lamb’s Book of Life (v. 15). And only by trusting in Jesus and holding fast to Him can we have the eternal safety of life with God, escaping the judgment of the lake of fire (see Rev. 3:5; 13:8; 17:8).

Will you trust in Jesus, the secure rock of salvation? Or will you trust in the too-short rope of your own deeds? The answer is a question of eternal life and death. If you aren’t sure whether your name is in the Book of Life, surrender your life to God today, trusting that Jesus—the worthy Lamb—has died on the cross as the payment for your sin and been raised from the dead, defeating the power of sin and death. If you need to talk to someone, call 1-800-NEED HIM.

1,000 Years

December 27, 2010

I am finally getting the best of this germ that has created a lot of coughing and goo.  My daughter is the latest to succumb. Today, again, I will defer to folks at Today In The Word
They will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him. – Revelation 20:6


Worship is important because we begin to resemble what we worship. Psalm 115 exposes the folly of idols, for they are helpless, mute, blind, deaf, and lame. Not only are idols impotent, unable to communicate or meet any of our needs, but “those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them” (vv. 5-8). If what you worship is empty, you will be empty.

In contrast, when we worship the one, true God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—we become conformed to His image (Rom. 12:1-2). As we worship the One who is Faithful and True, we become faithful and true followers. As we adore the God who is loving and holy, we are able to be loving and holy. And as we see in our passage today, if we worship the Lord who is King of kings and Lord of lords, we are also given the power and authority to reign with Him.

As we have proceeded through the chapters describing God’s righteous judgment against evil, we have seen the bowls of His wrath poured out on unbelievers, thejudgment of the woman, and Jesus’ victory over the Beast and False Prophet. Next, Satan himself was about to reap the reward for his evil deceptions and rebellion against God. In our passage today, he was bound for 1,000 years, demonstrating that he was subject to the will of God. This binding was a foretaste of his ultimate doom, which we’ll read about tomorrow.

A God powerful enough to bind Satan is also powerful enough to resurrect from death those who were faithful to His name (v. 4). Those who suffered the degradation of death for the sake of Jesus received the right to rule with Him. Not only would faithful believers reign with Christ for the thousand years of Satan’s bondage, but death could never again assert any claim over them.

Finally, note the words of blessing bestowed on believers: “Blessed and holy . . . priests of God and of Christ . . . reign with him” (v. 6). Worshipers of God become like Him!

One commentator observed: “[Believers] should draw instant conclusions for their actions and conduct: the magnitude of the promise rewards the effort, but at stake is nothing less than complete, indestructible fellowship with Christ.” This prophecy should motivate our present actions—the whole of our worship—in light of future promises. Is the character of Christ increasingly defining your existence? We will receive the consequences of our worship in eternity—will you be destroyed or redeemed?

As You Open Your Home, Make Room For Christ.

December 25, 2010

In yesterday’s post, I wrote about making sure that we open our homes.  That meant for us to invite Christ into our hearts and minds.  Today, as you hopefully celebrate the coming of Christ, I want us to make sure that we never recreate the situation listed in Luke 2. 

6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. NIV
6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. NKJV

After Mary had given birth to Jesus, “She … laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”  Is there room in your inn?  Do you have room for Jesus in your life?  Is there room for you to forgive in that relationship where you were done so wrong?  Is there room for you to be patient with your spouse, child, roommate, co-worker?  Is there room for Jesus as you think about the goals for this upcoming year?  Do you have room for Jesus in your life?  I hope we do.  We can see from the text today that Christ will use what is available for Him, and it will serve Him well.  We have the honor of being desired by God Almighty through the Son as we are inhabited by the Spirit when we make room for Christ in our lives. 

As you open your home to make room for Christ, He does not expect to be treated as a border.  He does not want some tiny room in the back of the house.  He does not want those stipulations that you are not to come to this room or to open that door.  Likewise, Christ wants us to unlock all of the doors.  He demands the free reign to enter every room and rearrange them to His liking.  Mary wrapped the very first Christmas gift.  The Father expects us to wrap ourselves, through His Word and Spirit, in Him.  Make room for Jesus today in your inn.

Have a Mary and Martha Christmas.

As You Open Your Home

December 24, 2010

Still trying to beat this cold; therefore, I am up a bit later than I normally post.  That’s not the only thing that’s changing today.  While I am breaking from Revelation, I am not taking a break about His judgments and His coming.  As the Lord spoke to me this morning, I believe that He wanted me to talk about another coming.   Don’t worry, this is not some new dispensation on Christ.  It’s the same Word but different perspective.

We all know that Christmas is about the birth of Christ, Luke 2.  The coming of the Savior as the Redeemer.  God wanted me to remind us that as you open your home to receive people, don’t get caught up in the preparations nor the personal relations.  This brings me to the text for today, Luke 10:38-42.

At the Home of Martha and Mary

 38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

   41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one (but only one thing is needed). Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

You see, Martha had invited Jesus but Jesus was not the focus.  Martha’s focus was the preparation.  Even last night, I got a little testy with my wife as we discussed things about the preparation for our family’s gathering at our home tomorrow.  God told me then to back down.  He is reminding me again this morning and probably you too.  The home that God wants to be invited to is our heart along with our mind.  This is something that Jesus elicited from an expert in the Law of God who wanted to know how to attain eternal life.  In verse 27, the expert stated, ““‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’” Jesus stated inverse 28 “You have answered correctly; Do this and you will live.”

Literally and figuratively, let’s emulate Mary.  Let us sit at the feet of Jesus to hear His Words.  Then after hearing, let us make every effort to apply them to our lives.  Verse 27 above tells us exactly what Jesus Christ wants from us.  Let’s focus all our faculties on Christ as we open our homes to Him during this holiday season that is supposed to celebrate, honor and worship Christ. 

At the death of her brother Lazarus, Martha demonstrated that she took to heart what Jesus told her.  Look at how she responded when she faced a daunting challenge.  In Luke 11:19-21,”When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.   Martha heeded Jesus’ call to not be worried and upset about many things, but focus on the one thing needed, that is Jesus Christ to be Lord of our lives.   As you open your home, let’s respond like Martha after she learned the truth about how to respond to Christ.

Babylon’s Fall

December 23, 2010

Morning everyone. I feel bad with this cold/flu junk that’s on me. I will lean on the folks from Today in the Word for this post. Before that though, God shows in Revelation 17 that He is faithful and victorious. One of the seven angels is telling John more about the fall of the beast, Satan. The fall of the beast is testimony in itself that God’s reign is true and certain.  Likewise, we should be true and certain in our following and worship of God and Christ.  Here Are thoughts from TITW.

Thursday, December 23, 2010
Read: Revelation 17

The Lamb will overcome them . . . and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers. – Revelation 17:14

The apostle John once desired to rule the world with Jesus. He and his brother James asked Christ, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.” When Jesus responded by questioning their willingness and ability to withstand the suffering and death required of Him, the two brothers eagerly assured Him, “We can!” Their readiness to rule blinded them to the truth of God’s kingdom: “Whoever wants to be first must be slave of all” (Mark 10:35-45).

We might be tempted to read today’s passage and think: Finally! Enough of our suffering and calling out for justice—we get to be victorious with Jesus! Like James and John, we look forward to the ruling without accounting for the prerequisites. We think of power and authority in earthly terms instead of heavenly ones. Our text today helps to correct our perspective.

We’ve already seen God’s wrath poured out on the unbelievers who worshiped the Beast. Now for two days we’ll see God’s judgment on the Beasts introduced in Revelation 13. First, notice that hatred of God and persecution of His people go hand-in-hand. The Beast is covered with blasphemous names; the woman on the Beast “was drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus” (vv. 3, 6). Because we identify with God, we will also suffer opposition from the enemies of God, even to the point of death.

Next, we see that the victory of Christ includes the victory of His people. Though all the powers of the world were arrayed against the Lord, “the Lamb will overcome them” (v. 14). Every king was subject to His throne; every idolatrous religious ruler was subject to His Lordship. After the fulfillment of this prophecy, we will share in His triumph at His good pleasure, not because of our own might and strength. He has called us and chosen us. We are to remain faithful. The way to spiritual victory begins with our faithful witness for Christ even during persecution by the world.

With two days before Christmas, ask the Holy Spirit to examine your heart for any pride or self-satisfaction. Are you willing to follow the example of Jesus, who humbled Himself first as a helpless baby and then sacrificed His life for others? Do you want to be a Christian for any prestige or advantage you might get? Are you impatient for God to elevate you without understanding that you must renounce yourself to follow Christ? If the Spirit convicts your heart, repent and seek to be a servant for the Lord.

Naked, Exposed and Uncovered!

December 22, 2010

Okay, the post today rises from our text today, Revelation 16.  This chapter gives a more insightful explanation of the 7 plagues in the 7 bowls that were carried by the 7 angels.  That was from the post, Seven Angels With Seven Plagues in Seven Bowls

The bowls were poured out on the whole group of people who chose to worship idols rather than God.  Not only was it on them, but on every thing appertaining to it.  There are deeper meanings behind each one with connections to other passage of scripture especially in the Old Testament.  They are simply listed below.
1. Upon the earth (v. 2).
2. Upon the sea (v. 3).
3. Upon the rivers and fountains of water (v. 4).
4. The fourth bowl was poured out on the sun (v. 8).
5. The fifth on the seat of the beast.
6. The sixth on the river Euphrates.
7. The seventh in the air, and the proclamation that “It is done!” which is reminiscent of Christ’s stating it is finished.

While the plagues and contents of each of the plagues are vitally important, I feel led to go in a totally different focus today.  I reread the text several times in efforts to be lucid about the direction.  I still walked away with the same impression. 

The impression is that God is and will continue to offer us the opportunity to repent even up to the day of Christ’s return.  Listen to what John writes in verses 9 and 11.  “They cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him.”    “The people…cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done.”  Despite God’s efforts to extend repentance to man, man does not comply.  God’s patience runs out and He pronounced “It is done!”

What’s done?  Done are God’s attempts to allow His Son’s blood cover our sins.  Without the covering of Christ’s blood, man must deal with his shame and guilt before God.  This is the essence of the judgment of God.  God judging man for being naked, exposed and uncovered.  Listen to what God says verse 15, “15 “Look, I come like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake and remains clothed, so as not to go naked and be shamefully exposed.”

David Guzik says it succinctly “garment (clothes) are pictures of spiritual and practical righteousness. We are given the righteousness of Jesus as a garment (Galatians 3:27), but we are also called to “put on” the nature of Jesus in terms of practical holiness (Ephesians 4:20-24). Above all, we must not be “naked” – that is, without a covering, or trying to provide our own covering like Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:7), which is like filthy rags in the sight of God (Isaiah 64:6).  

Like Adam and Eve, we have an opportunity to have our sins atoned and covered through Jesus Christ.  If we fail to trust in Him for our righteousness and thus forgiveness, we will stand before God naked, exposed and uncovered.  That is a shame in which can’t be recovered.  The text tells us so.  GET COVERED

17The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, “It is done!” 18 Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since mankind has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake. 19 The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath. 20 Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found. 21 From the sky huge hailstones, each weighing about a hundred pounds, fell on people. And they cursed God on account of the plague of hail, because the plague was so terrible.

Seven Angels With Seven Plagues in Seven Bowls

December 21, 2010

As a smaller boy, I loved to watch the Beverly Hillbillies.  Jethro was the larger-than-life goofball.  One of the mockeries of the show’s writers was to have Jethro eat cereal out of an extra-large bowl.  It was over the top. While that was the size of the bowl for Jethro, the reference to the word bowl in our text today does not connote the same size or even shape.  The Greek word for bowl or vial is found in the Strongs concordance – 5357 phialē (fē-ä’-lā or fē-ah-lay).  This type of bowl was commonly used in the temple by priest.  It was a broad shallow bowl, deep saucer that was flat not hollowed, curving in or rounded inward like the inside of a bowl.  Why is the shape important? Because Jethro’s bowl had a lot of cereal and it took some time to be consumed; however with the phialē the consumption time for those contents were short.

Like the time for the contents of the bowls to be consumed, Chapter 15 is brief.  It the shortest chapter in the book of Revelation. It serves as a backdrop for chapter 16.  Remember, the outline or the foundation for judgment to occur are shared with us in chapters 14 – 16 .  Chapter 15 looks backward to the Lord’s former judgments, but also  anticipates the glory of God seen in heaven that will come soon.  As such, this chapter the last 7 judgments of the Lord known as the “bowl judgments”.

Now that we have that taken care of, we can focus on the consistent use of 7.  Seven angels, seven plagues and seven bowls.  We all know that seven is attributed at the number of completeness.  This is what God is communicating about His judgment against those who refuse to surrender to Christ.  As the 7 bowls is the last of His judgments, God is declaring that His judgment is complete, like ah Final.  Listen to what John said in verse 1, “I saw in heaven another great and marvelous sign: seven angels with the seven last plagues—last, because with them God’s wrath is completed.”

God again is demonstrating His faithfulness.  In Leviticus 26:21 God says, “21 “‘If you remain hostile toward me and refuse to listen to me, I will multiply your afflictions seven times over, as your sins deserve.”  These seven last plagues are God’s judgment on a disobedient and contrary world. John says that the signs are great and marvelous.  They will cause people to marvel.  One more demonstration of God’s faithfulness is the statement “I saw … those who had been victorious over the beast and its image and over the number of its name.”  
What God has said, He has, through John, shown He will do.  For those who follow Christ, they will enter rest and be at peace with God.  For those who did not, they “will drink the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath.” Rev. 14:10
God has sent prophets, His written Word and the testimony of John, Peter, others and Christ, as well as His Living Word, Jesus.  He sent all to provide us the opportunity to follow and worship Him as opposed to idols.  We have a choice.  Again, what will you choose?  Will you follow Christ and become complete or will your completeness come as you experience the seven plagues.

Triumph and Judgment

December 20, 2010

We have journeyed now from closed seals, to open seals revealing what’s on the scrolls.  We have seen the beast and the power afforded to him from the Almighty.  In chapters 14 – 16, the outline or the foundation for judgment to occur are shared with us. 

Today, we see the Lamb standing on Mount Zion with the 144,000.  The 144,000 represents God’s faithfulness in keeping His promise to the Jews.  In verse 15, we see Christ reaping the harvest of those (Gentiles) who are faithful. Chapter 15 shows the Gentile; however today, this remnant’s presence shows that God again has been faithful.  We first learned of the 144,000 in Revelation 7:4-8.  We see now that they have survived some hardships remaining faithful to the Almighty God.  They stand triumphant with Christ.  Faithfulness to God is the measuring stick to God.  He will reward those who remain faithful to Him in the most severe trials. 

In verses 7-11, we see the announcement of judgments for those who have not surrendered to and followed Christ, that is he world.  For the believers who remained in the world, verse 12 tells us how to arrive at victory. “This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus.”  In order to be reward both now and then, we must endure our difficult circumstances with patience as we seek to remain faithful.

As another point of emphasis, you see the 144,000 identified by having the Lamb’s and the Father’s name written on their forehead.  Satan is a copy-cat.  We see the same thing for those who belong to him in chapter 13.  It is always the opposite though.  God’s name brings honor and glory while satan brings blasphemy. 

There is so much more that I can’t express it all here even if I truly understood it all.  What God has impressed upon me is that those who are faithful to Him are triumphant.  Those who are not faithful to Him are judged into the great winepress of God’s wrath.  While we have a choice, God is calling us to faithfulness as we worship Him.  Which will you choose, triumph or judgment?