Read Is 1:1–28
Isa 1:10 Hear the word of the LORD, you rulers of Sodom! Give ear to the teaching of our God, you people of Gomorrah! (11) “What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the LORD; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of well-fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats…16 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, (17) learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause. (18) “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool…25 I will turn my hand against you and will smelt away your dross as with lye and remove all your alloy… 27 Zion shall be redeemed by justice, and those in her who repent, by righteousness.
What damning things the Lord speaks to Israel. Yes the Lord is speaking to Israel here. He is calling her the wicked cities he had once destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah! Here our Lord compares their sacrifices that he had once commanded to those of the surrounding pagan countries. He is not pleased with them. Jesus would at the beginning of his ministry make a similar comparison: Mat 11:23-24 And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. (24) But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you.”
The people of Israel and Judea were not pleasing to God because they ceased to have unfeigned faith in the Lord their God. As the author of Hebrews writes, Heb 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” Instead they worshiped gods of their own understanding. They worshiped in a way that was pleasing to themselves. Because of this God would send the Assyrians, the Babylonians and the Romans to conquer his people and hopefully through these trials bring them to repentance.
The repentance that the Lord is looking for is ceasing to continue to do evil and the commencement of doing good. But such repentance is only possible if there is a promise from God to receive it. It is only possible by trusting what the Lord promises. What does the Lord promise? He promises to turn our sins which are like scarlet and crimson into being white as snow and wool. The bloodshed which our sins bring about, the Lord our God will wipe out. How will he accomplish this? Jesus brings this about through justice and righteousness. Not that he brings justice upon us or having his righteousness wipe us out but instead Jesus receives justice upon his own flesh and by the righteousness of God, the Lord punishes our iniquity by placing it on Jesus. No sin is left unpunished. No unrighteousness is left unatoned for. You have been declared innocent and not guilty. You have been declared righteous for Christ’s sake. Repent therefore and believe the good news.
Heavenly Father, though you condemn our wickedness it is not your desire to annihilate us but to bring us to repentance and restore us to yourself. Grant us a repentance unto salvation through the merits and works of your son Jesus and make us, sinful as we are, white as snow and wool that we may enter that good land you have prepared for us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Read Rev. 22:1-21
Rev 22:11-17 Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.” (12) “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. (13) I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” (14) Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. (15) Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. (16) “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” (17) The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.
Wow, kind of harsh there Jesus. But perhaps we should practice this a little bit more as Christians. If people want to be reprobates, let them. Does that mean we never give them a warning of the punishment to come? Well if we listen to the whole of scripture then no. But that doesn’t mean should spend an inordinate amount of time trying to convert them. Warn them, give them the gospel and if they want to continue in darkness let them.
We who are Christians should shun the deeds of darkness and live in the righteousness and holiness we were called to as we await the day of judgment. Christ is coming and his recompense is with him. If you have washed your robes in the blood of the Lamb through holy baptism you will get to eat from the tree of life and live in the presence of God. If you have chosen to not believe the good news, well you’re outside the party. You’ll be in what is called the lake of fire which was prepared to punish the angels who rebelled against God.
Jesus has the right to do this because he is God. He is the Eternal One. That is what Alpha and Omega the Beginning and End mean: The big circle representing eternity. He is David’s source as God and he is David’s descendant concerning the flesh. Jesus is the promised Messiah, the Christ, God incarnate. He’s that guy in all the stories who is the lost son of the king who is sent on a mission, gets rag tag team, goes to the point of death and comes back to defeat the enemy and win the girl (the Church).
And the good news is that you’re invited to partake of the water of life freely that you too may enjoy eternal life in and with God at the wedding feast of the Lamb. So, are you coming or not? The Spirit says, “Come.”
Lord Jesus Christ, we thank you for obtaining salvation for us and procuring for us the water of life in Holy Baptism. Give us your Holy Spirit that we may forever partake of this gift and live in your righteousness and holiness. Amen.
Read Rev 21:9–27
Rev 21:14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb… (22) And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. (23) And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. (24) By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, (25) and its gates will never be shut by day–and there will be no night there. (26) They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. (27) But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
In the creeds we confess we believe in one catholic and apostolic Church. The church is apostolic because its foundations are the teaching of the apostles. Jesus never wrote anything down. But He gave His apostles the Holy Spirit who reminded them of all things He had taught and they taught the Church. These apostles and their representatives wrote down all that the Spirit of God had given them for the Church to know and believe. So in Acts it is written, Act 2:42 “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”
Now in the new creation, on the new earth, God the Father Almighty and the Jesus the Lamb of God will directly communicate with each of us. No longer will we need anyone to teach us. Even as now God dwells in each believer’s heart we shall see then that we also dwell in God. Paul says, 1Co 13:12 “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” On that day John tells us, 1Jn 3:2 “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.”
Now who is it that will part of that city, which is the Church but those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life? If you are not connected with Christ’s body the Church in this life, you most certainly will not be connected with it in the world to come. For those connected to the Church are found in Church. Peter says, 1Pe 1:1-2 “To those who are elect exiles of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, (2) according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood” these sprinkled are those baptized. And Paul says, 1Co 1:2 “To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints…” It is God’s choosing who is written the Book. You cannot earn it. It is by grace, a free gift of God. He collects those who are His through the Church and calls them out, separates them from the world through baptism. In this Church, Jesus gives us the things we need to persevere in the faith until his second coming. He teaches us is Word through his pastors. He gives us is body and blood for the strengthening of our faith. In as much as it is in you, join yourselves with the saints of God.
Lord Jesus Christ, ever grant us your Word that we may be called out from the world through the message of the apostolic Church and find ourselves written in your Book of Life. Amen.
Read Rev 21:1–8
Rev 21:1-5 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. (2) And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (3) And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. (4) He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (5) And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
Revelation really doesn’t teach us anything that hasn’t already been taught to us in the rest of Scriptures. It is like a summary of all of what Scripture has taught us elsewhere. Chapter twenty-one is no different. Isaiah has spoken of this day. Isa 65:17-19 “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind. (18) But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy, and her people to be a gladness. (19) I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in my people; no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping and the cry of distress.” And again, Isa 66:22-24 “For as the new heavens and the new earth that I make shall remain before me, says the LORD, so shall your offspring and your name remain. (23) From new moon to new moon, and from Sabbath to Sabbath, all flesh shall come to worship before me, declares the LORD. (24) “And they shall go out and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me. For their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.”
This present world is corrupted by sin. When Adam rebelled against God in whose image he was created, it sent out a ripple effect throughout created. Creation sought its redemption just as mankind did. Paul writes, Rom 8:20-21 “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope (21) that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.”
St. Peter also writes of this, 2Pe 3:10-13 “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. (11)…what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, (12) waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! (13) But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” When Jesus returns and raises us up from the dead, he raises us and creation incorruptible and perfect, that is, all those who trust in his name. The rest shall suffer everlasting torment and shame with the angels that rebelled against him in eternal death in the last of everlasting fire. So, where are you going to be on that day? Trust in Jesus.
Heavenly Father, you have made exceedingly great and wonderful promises in your Son Jesus Christ. Grant us faith that we will be raised to everlasting life in the new heavens and new earth of the day of his second advent. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Read Rev 20:1–15
Rev 20:4-6 Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. (5) The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. (6) Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.
Chapter 20 of Revelation is another depiction of the end of the word. It’s timeline begins with the ministry of Jesus. The first few verses are a repeat of what we saw in chapter twelve. It is also recorded in the gospels: Luk 10:18 And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.
Now this thousand year reign of Christ is not a literal thousand years. It is symbolic of the fullness of time. A thousand is made of up of the number ten cubed. Ten is the number of completion. A cube is a perfect object. 10x10x10, completeness and perfection together is shown here. St. Paul tells us, Eph 1:7-10 “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,… (9) making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ (10) as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.”
This first resurrection is our baptism. Rom 6:4 “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” 1Pe 1:3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,…”
The reign of Christ is his ascension to the right hand of the Father (Acts 2:33, Rom. 8:34, Col. 3:1) and our rule is currently with Christ having Eph 2:6 “seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,…”
Rev 20:11-12 “Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. (12) And I saw the dead, … before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.” The dead are simply those who are raised on the last day who do not have faith in Christ. (Eph. 2:1) They reject the grace of God and seek to be judged according to what they have done. They will get their wish. The living are those who have faith in Christ and their names are written in the book of life. (John 11:25, 26). Believe in Jesus and you have eternal life.
Lord Jesus Christ, we thank you for the gift of eternal life and seating us with you in the heavenly places. Do not blot our names from the book of life but ever keep us faithful to the end. Amen
Read Rev 19:1–21
Rev 19:11-18 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war… (13) He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. (14) And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. (15) From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. (16) On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. (17) Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, “Come, gather for the great supper of God, (18) to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.”
In the book of Revelation, the end of the world is described seven times. Here in chapter 19 is one of them. Here Jesus is depicted coming in power and glory on the last day just as he has been described elsewhere in Scripture. David says, Psa 2:9 “You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” This occurs on the Last Day when Jesus returns in judgment. Not so great a day for those who did not trust in him but a blessed day for those who do as David says, Psa 2:12 “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.”
Daniel saw this day and wrote, Dan 7:13-14 “… behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. (14) And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.” Jesus tells us he is this son of man. Mat 26:64 Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
Jesus also speaks to this day in Revelation 19 when speaks to those who are taken (raptured), Luk 17:34-37 “I tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed. One will be taken and the other left. (35) There will be two women grinding together. One will be taken and the other left.” (36) Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. (37) And they said to him, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.”
But we who are Christian need not fear that day. We have been promised, 1Th 4:16-18 “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. (17) Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. (18) Therefore encourage one another with these words.”
Lord Jesus Christ, may we be found faithful on the day of your return that we may be caught up with those who preceded us into your eternal glory and live with you forever. Amen.
Read Rev. 18:1-24
Rev 18:7 As she glorified herself and lived in luxury, so give her a like measure of torment and mourning, since in her heart she says, ‘I sit as a queen, I am no widow, and mourning I shall never see.’Rev 18:20-21 Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, for God has given judgment for you against her!” (21) Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, “So will Babylon the great city be thrown down with violence, and will be found no more;
Isa 47:8-11 Now therefore hear this, you lover of pleasures, who sit securely, who say in your heart, “I am, and there is no one besides me; I shall not sit as a widow or know the loss of children”: (9) These two things shall come to you in a moment, in one day; the loss of children and widowhood shall come upon you in full measure, in spite of your many sorceries and the great power of your enchantments. (10) You felt secure in your wickedness, you said, “No one sees me”; your wisdom and your knowledge led you astray, and you said in your heart, “I am, and there is no one besides me.” (11) But evil shall come upon you, which you will not know how to charm away; disaster shall fall upon you, for which you will not be able to atone; and ruin shall come upon you suddenly, of which you know nothing.
Babylon the great! We see her first in Ninevah in Zephaniah and then of course in Babylonia. The center of world power and world commerce. And she changes from one place to another. Wherever power and commerce are centralized there her spirit is. She was once in Greece and then in Rome and wherever power is centralized.
The spirit of Babylon is that of a queen who thinks she is all there is. She is represented as mammon, worldly wealth. Whatever it takes to make wealth is all that matters to her and those who worship her. Though she has been brought down in the past yet she moves and regains a stronghold where she will find those who will serve her for a price. She never believes her day will ever end.
But God has warned us her day does come to an end, in a moment, very suddenly she will be brought down and the world commerce along with it. We as Christians are called to come out of her. You can love God or you can love mammon but you can’t love both. The world and its governments, its businesses trust in her. And you don’t have to go to some grove and burn an owl to worship her. You simply have to make her your everything or mostly everything.
God has called us to trust in him through Jesus Christ for our every need. We pray Our Father… give us this day our daily bread. We call God Father because having been baptized into the Son that is who he is for us. Look to him alone and put your trust in no one and nothing else and He promises to take care of you, even to fill the desires of your heart.
Lord God, Heavenly Father, give us such faith in you through your Son Jesus Christ, that we may trust no one and nothing but you alone. Amen.
Read Matt 28:1–20
Mat 28:5-10 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. (6) He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. (7) Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” (8) So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. (9) And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. (10) Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”
At least twice in the Gospel of Matthew Jesus had told his disciples that he was going to rise on the third day. Apparently the Jewish leaders thought his disciples might try to make this appear to come true so they placed guards at the tomb to prevent this. The disciples and the women didn’t quite get it as much as the Jewish leaders did. So the women came to the tomb on the third day to finish preparing his body for burial. But Good News! Jesus wasn’t there.
Instead the women were greeting by an angel and an empty opened tomb. The angel’s greeting is indeed good news for us today. Don’t be afraid. We no longer have to fear the devil. He has been defeated by Jesus’ death on the cross. His power to accuse us night and day before the throne of God has been taken away. Jesus’ atoning sacrifice was accepted by the Father and his blood has taken away the charges that were laid against us by Satan.
The angel’s message is Good News! Jesus is risen from the dead even as he had foretold. Because Jesus is risen our sins have been atoned for. His blood through baptism into the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit washes away our sin. God will no longer hold us accountable for them any more through faith in the blood of Jesus. Because sin can no longer accuse us Death itself is defeated. The penalty for sin is death. Jesus is risen from the dead. Death has lost its power over us and no longer can cause us fear. We know if our bodies die, we still possess eternal life and on the last day, just as Jesus is risen from the dead, we too will be raised to eternal life.
And now Jesus has sent the Church into the world to spread this good news. The Church sets apart men even as her Bridegroom has at the end of the chapter to preach the good news of the free gift of salvation. They teach us everything that Christ has taught us while he dwelt visibly among us. They baptize us into the name of God being the agents of adoption by the Father, making us children of the Living God. They wash us clean of sin, guilt and shame through the power of the water and the Word, the Name of God. They make us one with Jesus in his life, death and resurrection.
Lord Jesus Christ, ever send to us men with your Word and Name upon their lips, that we may receive the adoption as sons and receive the gift of eternal life and the resurrection of the righteous on the day of your return. Amen.