Saturday, November 30, 2013

The theme of overcoming and God's prophetic clock in Daniel & 1 John

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. 14 “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."

Introduction & review:
A couple of days ago we had been studying our way through the Book of Daniel in conjunction with the epistles of John.  As we prepare to enter back into the Book of Daniel today, I remind the reader of our last time in Daniel, which the reader can review at:

God's prophetic clock revealed in Daniel 7-8
Today we continue on in our study of Daniel and John's epistles once again.  May the Lord richly bless you as you read this series of blogs and glean from both Daniel's book and the Apostle John's books. 

Daniel 7-8 is a remarkable section in Daniel for a couple of reasons. For one thing Daniel 7-8 was composed some ten years before the events of Daniel 5-6, meaning that even with the Book of Daniel itself there is detailed fulfilled prophecy of near events. Undoubtedly when Daniel composed the Book of Daniel, the Holy Spirit had him arrange the visions in a certain topical arrangement. The crown jewel included in these visions of Daniel 7-8 is found in the above opening verse in today's post - Daniel 7:13-14.  Daniel sees in visions the Pre-incarnate Christ in heaven approaching the throne of the Father, sharing in equal glory and power.  

A second feature of these two chapters is that Daniel is switching to God's prophetic dealings with the Jewish nation. We know that the focus is shifting from the Gentiles to the Jewish people once again due to the fact that Daniel 1 was written in the language of the Jews (Hebrew), Daniel 2-7 was written in a Gentile language (Aramaic) with Daniel 8-12 switching back to the language of the Jews once again. 

So what? Why are the facts above important for you to know dear reader? Here is why: Daniel 7-8 is a unit that gives you God's prophetic clock for history through two sets of lenses: His dealings with the world system of the Gentiles (Daniel 7) and His dealings with the Jewish nation (Daniel 8) will regulate how He deals with the world from Daniel's day up until Christ's return. 

The theme of overcoming in Daniel & 1 John
Daniel 7-8 deals with details, visions and prophecies about two general eras: the time from Daniel's day up until the days of Christ's first coming and then the final seven year period (the Great Tribulation) that will lead up to Christ's Second coming. To go beyond those general descriptions would exceed the purposes of today's blog. However we can say this: that whether through the Gentile lens of Daniel 7 or through the Jewish Lens of Daniel 8, the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ will crush the regimes of men and rebellion of Satan's man - the Anti-Christ. The faith of the Christian is reinforced by and rooted in the Author and Finisher of faith - Jesus Christ. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

The truths we see in Daniel are the similar truths we see in the book of 1 John.  The Apostle John writes his final words of the book of 1 John. What will overcome the allure of this world - our faith. John lays out at the close of 1 John 5 the Christian's three confidences for overcoming this world: namely the confidence of scripture (1 John 5:13); the confidence of prayer (1 John 5:14-15) and our confidence in Christ's our salvation (1 John 5:16-21).

Friday, November 29, 2013

Give thanks like Jesus did

1 Corinthians 11:24
and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”

1 Thessalonians 5:18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

In today's post I wanted to consider the instances in which Jesus gave thanks throughout his ministry.  How He gave thanks sets the pattern for the Christian in their need to give thanks. Since giving thanks was common for Jesus throughout His earthly ministry, then it stands to reasons that giving thanks leads to Christ-like-ness. Below I will list all the references we find in the Gospel accounts concerning the times in which Jesus gave thanks.  My prayer is that they edify and encourage you and I in our faith walk. 

Matthew 15:36
and He took the seven loaves and the fish; and giving thanks, He broke them and started giving them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people.

Matthew 26:27
And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you;

Mark 8:6
And He *directed the people to sit down on the ground; and taking the seven loaves, He gave thanks and broke them, and started giving them to His disciples to serve to them, and they served them to the people.

Mark 14:23
And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, and they all drank from it.

Luke 22:17
And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves;

Luke 22:19
And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”

John 6:11
Jesus then took the loaves, and having given thanks, He distributed to those who were seated; likewise also of the fish as much as they wanted.

John 6:23
There came other small boats from Tiberias near to the place where they ate the bread after the Lord had given thanks.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Why Jesus was always thankful and never bored

Psalm 136:1 "O give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good: for His mercy endureth forever".

1 Thessalonians 5:18 "In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."

Introduction: Why Jesus never got bored and how He was always thankful
As we think about today being "Thanksgiving", I marvel at how our culture as been infected with ingratitude. The more we get, the more we want to get.  In this special thanksgiving post I want you and I to think on how we can be the most thankful people possible not only today, but everyday.  The one thing you never see in Jesus' life while here on earth are instances of boredom.  Without question Jesus' sinless humanity chiefly explains why He never got bored and was always thankful. Yet we must also remember that Jesus came to give us as Christians both the example and empowerment to be like Him. (Hebrews 2:14-15; 1 Peter 2:21; 2 Peter 1:3-4). Jesus' ability to not be bored and to be always thankful stemmed from the fact that He cultivated a constant attitude of thankfulness.  Even though we as Christians will not reach a state of sinless perfection until we are in the presence of the Lord following death or rapture, we can right now begin cultivating and practicing thanksgiving that does not have to be reserved to one day a year.  

At least eight verses in the Gospels record Jesus giving thanks to God. (Matthew 15:36, 26:27; Mark 8:6 ,14:23; Luke 22:17,19; John 6:11,23) If you and I as Christian people are to be more like our Master, we need to cultivate an attitude of thanksgiving and declare war on boredom in our lives.  Below are some thoughts that I hope will guide our thinking today and in the days, weeks and months to come.

1. God's goodness - the source of Christian thanksgiving
There is a disease that is circulating in every home that is detrimental to the Christian walk -boredom. In the above passages, as well as in Jesus' example, we see the motivation for thanksgiving is an invitation and a command to come and behold the goodness of God. Every event, every circumstance, is a window through which I can discover the goodness of God in all things.

2. The link between thanksgiving and God's goodness
It is only by God's grace that we can see His goodness in all things. The above two passages at the opening of today's post are commands. Clearly whenever God commands us to do anything, the command itself will lie outside our ability unaided by grace. For every command there is always a provision of grace. Lamentations 3:22-23 and Philippians 4:13 reminds us of God's daily provisions, and those provisions being accessed through "do all things through Christ who gives us strength".

3. Why true worship and boredom cannot co-exist in the same heart
Even when people are prone to become apathetic and disconnected, there is still ample reason to see God's goodness, however difficult it may be. (please compare Romans 8:28)  There is one human expression that is never justified in any circumstance for the Christian, no matter how seemingly uninteresting certain things may be - boredom. When we get "bored", we are assuming that there is no good or benefit to be gleaned from the event or situation. Boredom is the first step, however passive, in refusing to see the goodness of God. It not only is the enemy of thanksgiving, it is the enemy of worship. Boredom's origin is nothing short of idolatry.

4. How to declare war on boredom
Whenever I get bored, that indicates that there is an area in my heart where I have set up an idol. Boredom comes as a result of unmet expectations. That toy, that television, the thanksgiving meal, lose their perceived goodness because I forget and ultimately refuse to acknowledge that all things come from the Lord. Boredom is what occurs when I expect a created object to bring the same fulfillment as only God can bring. This is why boredom is the seed of idolatry and why it does not belong in the heart, on the lips or through the day-to-day life of any Christian. We should pray like the Psalmist prayed in Psalm 73:25-26 "
Whom have I in heaven but You?
And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

5. Let us be thankful to God and refuse to be bored
As we enter into this season of Thanksgiving, lets declare war on boredom. Lets not lose sight of the goodness of God. Lets not forget that in all things, give thanks to Him, for this is His will in Christ Jesus concerning you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)  Jesus Christ gave us the supreme example on how not to be bored and His indwelling Holy Spirit gives every Christian the empowerment to wage war against boredom. (Romans 5:1-5; 1 Corinthians 2:10-13, 3:16; Galatians 5:16; 2 Timothy 1:14)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

God's hand and spiritual discernment in Daniel & 1 John

Daniel 6:22 "My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths and they have not harmed me, inasmuch as I was found innocent before Him; and also toward you, O king, I have committed no crime.”

1 John 4:1-2  "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses thatJesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God."

Discerning God's hand at work in the life of Daniel 
One way in which we can outline the Book of Daniel is to consider chapters 1-6 as the historical account of Daniel's life from his arrival in Daniel 1 as a 15 year old lad until the 85th year of his life in chapters 5,6. According to Bible scholar Dr. John Walvoord, we can then insert chapters 7-8 in between chapters 4-5 as being the particular prophetic visions Daniel received in among those chapters. With the remainder of Daniel 9-12 we can see a clear chronological, predictive prophecy of the remainder of history from Daniel's day until the time of Christ's second coming.  The whole book of course would had been written by Daniel, under Divine inspiration, over the course of the 70 or so years he spent in Babylon. 

As we come into Daniel 5-6, we witness the end of the Babylonian Empire and the overtaking of them by the Persians. Just as God had predicted back in Daniel 2 in the famous vision of Nebuchadnezzar's colossus' , the empire of the Medes and Persia did indeed take over. 

Comparing Daniel's life to Joseph's life in the book of Genesis
Whenever you read about Daniel in these chapters, one thing that is instructive is to compare his life to Joseph's life back in Genesis 37-50. Joseph had been forgotten and basically abandoned, first by his brothers and then later on as an innocent man in a dungeon in Egypt. Daniel was "forgotten" for nearly 70 years, for that is how much time passed between his dealings with Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 1-4 until the events of Daniel 5-6. 

Joseph suddenly was brought before Pharaoh to interpret a dream, likewise Daniel was brought before Belshazzar to interpret the hand writing on the wall. Daniel was thrown into a lion's den in Daniel 6 and Joseph had spent time in a pit (thanks to his brothers) and then again later on in a dungeon in Egypt. Joseph was a man of integrity and uprightness, with scripture recording no failure of faith on his part, so the same with Daniel. Then finally, God elevated Joseph to second in command in Egypt and gave him success and Daniel too was elevated to a high position (third position) and also had success. God proved himself faithful. 

How John instructs the believer on the nature of discernment in 1 John
Whenever you turn to 1 John, you are first given instructions on how to discern between the "spirit of error" and "the spirit of truth". Thankfully, through the scriptures we can be like Daniels and Josephs, knowing how to discern good from evil. 1 John 4:7-21 highlights for us God's love. God's love can be defined as: living through the cross (1 John 4:9,10,19); overcoming anything (4:12); validated by the Holy Spirit (4:13) with its expression being in sound doctrine (4:14-21). Only the love of God will sustain us and only His love can enable us to be a passionate and faithful people living as strangers in a strange world, just like such love sustain men like Joseph and Daniel.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Persevering faith in Daniel & 1 John

Daniel 3:18 "But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up."

1 John 3:1 "See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him."

Persevering faith in Daniel 3-4
In today's post we turn again to the Book of Daniel to discover more important truths about persevering faith. Daniel was just a young man of 15 years of age when he and his friends were taken into exile in Babylon. As he by God's favor began to gain respect and favor in the eyes of Nebuchadnezzar's court, God began giving dreams to the King and giving Daniel the ability to interpret. 
The famous account of the fiery furnace focuses on Daniel's three friends, and their refusal to give into compromise. They persevered under pressure. The question is: what marks persevering faith? 

1. We note first of all that persevering faith rejects unbelief. (Daniel 3) Rejecting unbelief entails knowing who I am, Whose I am and the Great I am. 

2. A second trait of persevering faith is the fact that such faith rests in God's Sovereignty. (Daniel 4) Nebuchadnezzar was humbled by God for His persistent refusal to acknowledge God in His Sovereignty. Daniel rested in such truth, as well as Daniel's three friends. However despite Nebuchadnezzar's decree that contained words about God's power, the king's idolatrous heart was still was present.  It is one thing to endorse God in the front of men and yet only true, persevering faith will in the heart gladly rest in the Sovereignty of God affirmed by the lips.  Only when we rest in God's Sovereignty will we then have a faith that perseveres. 

1 John 3 and the marks of true, genuine, persevering faith
1 John 3 also deals with the subject of one's faith. The whole book of 1 John is concerned with establishing the assurances of salvation that are afforded to the Christian. So the question is: how can we know that we are truly born-again, converted people in Jesus? 

True Christians will first of all hope in Christ's coming (1 John 3:1-3); hate sin (3:4-10); love the saints (3:11-17) and heed the scriptures (3:18-24). Does that mean that all Christians will do this equally or in the same fervor? No. At bare minimum these traits should be marked by increasing frequency and intensity over the course of the Christian's life. 

1 John 3 reminds us of the truth we find in 2 Corinthians 13:5 "Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you-unless indeed you fail the test?" May you and I today persevere and lean upon Jesus Christ and His finished work - in faith and by His word.

Monday, November 25, 2013

The themes of assurance & security in Daniel and 1 John

Daniel 1:8-9 But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food or with the wine which he drank; so he sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself. 9 Now God granted Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the commander of the officials

The theme of assurance and security in the book of Daniel
As you begin to read the Book of Daniel, you read a book that is partly historical, partly prophetic and also devotional. Like a three braided rope are these three themes weaving their way through Daniel book. In Daniel 1:1-2:18 we see Daniel as a 15 year-old lad, along with his friends, taken away into Exile in Babylon, some 800 miles from their Jewish homeland. 

We could say that is these verses, we see the devotional theme of Daniel persevering in the faith in how he and his friends: reject the world (1:1-21) and rely upon the word of God (2:1-20). Intermingled in this devotional theme is the prophetic dream of Nebuchadnezzar. God gives Daniel wisdom as he and his friends seek God in prayer over the dream's interpretation. We see in Daniel 2:19-23 the following comforts of God's Sovereignty: God reigns (2:19-21); God reveals (2:22) and God relates (2:23). 

As Daniel then stands before the King to give the interpretation of the grand colossus or statue of Nebuchadnezzar's dream.

 We discover the prophetic history and destiny of history from Daniel's day to the end: the enormous Kingdom of Babylon is the head of gold(2:36-38); empire kingdoms of Persia, Greece and Rome, represented by the colossus' chest, belly and legs (2:39-40); an evil kingdom, the kingdom of the future anti-Christ, represented by the feet and toes (2:41-43) with a stone smashing the statue as representing the Kingdom of Jesus Christ conquering at His return in Daniel 2:44-45. 
Nebuchadnezzar's statue or colossus represents the system of unbelief and Satanically inspired, man-made rebellion called "the world".  Daniel's faith perseveres because he finds assurance in God's Sovereignty and retains the understanding of who he is in the Lord despite being in a foreign land. 

The theme of assurance and security in 1 John
Such assurance is not only found in Daniel, but is also focused upon in the book of 1 John. The book of 1 John is written to give assurance of salvation to those who have believed on Jesus Christ unto eternal life. (1 John 5:13) In 1 John 1, we see that God is the fountain of assurance (1:1-4); closeness to God clarifies assurance (1:5-7) and confession of sin restored assurance (1:8-10). What must be kept in view is that in the doctrine of perseverance, eternal security is based upon what Christ has done, whereas assurance is the believer's experience and internal awareness of their eternal security in Jesus. 

A Christian can never finally fall away from salvation, however their assurance can vary, depending on the trials, or level of fellowship they have with God. The Baptist Faith & Message 2000 notes: "All true believers endure to the end. Those whom God has accepted in Christ, and sanctified by His Spirit, will never fall away from the state of grace, but shall persevere to the end. Believers may fall into sin through neglect and temptation, whereby they grieve the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts, and bring reproach on the cause of Christ and temporal judgments on themselves; yet they shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation." 1

To illustrate, my wife and I for instance are married till death do us part and our relationship is a lifetime commitment. However if she and I have a disagreement, I may feel or she may feel a lack of peace and experience a lack of close fellowship for a short time. However that does not mean the marriage relationship is over, only that the marriage fellowship is being affected, and that we want to get the fellowship back. Thus it is with John's point in 1 John. 

When we come to 1 John 2, we are reminded of the confidence believers have before God through their Advocate, their King - the Lord Jesus Christ. In the latter part of that chapter, Christians are told not to love the world which is composed of the lust of the eyes, the flesh and pride of life. Just like Daniel interpreted, this world system will be "smashed" and is passing away due to the soon coming of Jesus Christ, the "Rock" of salvation Whose Kingdom has no end. It is incumbent upon us as Christians to tell others of Him and that they by grace through faith can escape the wrath of God that is coming on this world. 

Make fellowship with God and His Son the priority, while leaning on the salvation of relationship He has secured eternally for you in His choice of you and in the giving of His Son. (John 15:16; 1 John 4:19) Like "Daniels" in a foreign land, Christians living in this 21st century world need to find their security of identity in God's Sovereignty operating in their lives and in His word.

1.  Please note the above quote under Article # V: God's Purpose of Grace, second paragraph. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The How & Why you should study the scripture

Revelation 10:1 "I saw another strong angel coming down out of heaven, clothed with a cloud; and the rainbow was upon his head, and his face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire."

In Revelation 4-11 we see a visionary sequence that is concerned with answering the main question: "How will Jesus conquer the world?" The scene begins in heaven with scenes depicting the Father and the Spirit (Revelation 4) and the Father and the Lamb (Revelation 5). The Lamb takes from the Father's right hand the title deed to planet earth and demonstrates that He is worthy to break open its seals that will unleash the sequence of seal judgments (Revelation 6-7) and trumpet judgments (Revelation 8-11) that will run their course through the future tribulation period. In looking at this entire set of chapters, we can note three ways in which Jesus will conquer the world: the tribulation period (6-7), power of prayer (8:1-5) and the power of the Word (8:6-11:19). In today's post we want to focus particular on the Word of God, being that it will be through its fulfillment that Jesus will come back and conquer all the kingdoms of this world. (Revelation 11:15-19)

As I thought on this truth of Jesus' use of the power of the Word in the fulfillment of His second coming, the thought came that we as God's people ought to be as much in the Word as possible. We ought to know the Word by knowing how to use it and why, being that Jesus Christ will be using His word to bring about His conquering victory over the world at His return. In this post today we will focus our attention on two main thoughts as we work our way through Revelation 10-11:

1. How do you study the Bible? 
2. Why study the Bible? 

How do you study the Bible?
Whenever you approach a text like Revelation 10-11, it is important to have a few Bible study tools at hand so as to extract the right meaning and application to your life.  The following tools are useful in any part of the Bible you may find yourself reading and studying.

1. Cross Referencing
Perhaps out of all the Bible study tools, none is more important nor effective than cross referencing.  The older name for this practice is what Bible teachers call "the analogy of faith" or "comparing scripture with scripture".  Cross referencing can oftentimes unlock the mysteries of faith and the scripture.  Whenever  we come to Revelation 10, the immediate issue at hand concerns the identity of the "strong angel" in Revelation 10 and "the two witnesses" in Revelation 11. 

In Revelation 10:1 we read: "I saw another strong angel coming down out of heaven, clothed with a cloud; and the rainbow was upon his head, and his face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire".  In most reference Bibles you will see small cross references either printed in the margin or in the center column. In the one reference Bible I'm using, the following scriptures are given that correspond to Revelation 10:1 - Revelation 5:2; 18:1 & 20:1. In those passages we see reference to some sort of mighty strong angel that has a strong voice (5:2); illuminates the earth (18:1) and having the ability to bind satan himself with a chain, casting him into the Abyss for 1,000 years (20:1). Noting these references aids greatly in identifying the "great angel" in Revelation 10.  Some commentators have identified the "angel" of Revelation 10 as perhaps a reference to Jesus Himself.  However when you consider how Revelation 10:1 is explained by the other references in Revelation, the meaning of the passage is made plain and clear.

The second mystery to solve has to do with the identity of the two witnesses of Revelation 11:3. Though we are not told their names, their actions appear to tip the reader off to their possible identity.  In Revelation 11:5 we see both of them having the ability to call down fire from heaven. Only two men in the entire Bible were associated with such activity: Moses (Numbers 16:35) and Elijah (2 Kings 1:10-12). We also see in Revelation 11:6 reference to further activities associated with both these men: the power to prevent rain, associated with Elijah (1 Kings 17:1) and turning water into blood being connected to Moses (Exodus 7:14-25). Thirdly we know that Jesus in his first coming actually met with both of these men on the top of the Mount of Transfiguration.  Matthew 17:3 records - "And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him." Fourthly we know that both witnesses will be given the ability to prophesy in Revelation 11:3.  Moses and Elijah of course were prophets.  Such observations can only come as one compares scripture with scripture in cross referencing. Such activity enables the Christian to cultivate the ability to hear God's voice speaking in the scripture.  

2. Repeated Ideas/words
In this Bible study tool we are interested in noting the one or several main words/ideas running through the passage.  In combining what we've observed in our cross references, we can being to interpret the scripture.  Several details could be pointed out in these chapters, but the one main idea that threads its way through these verses is the subject of God's word.  Clearly John is concerned in showing how Jesus is going to conquer the world through His fulfillment of scripture. Note the following verses that either mention or feature the word of God: Revelation 10:2,4,8,9,10; 11:3,7. Whenever you see the Word of God repeated that many times, you are able to see the main point of the passage: Jesus is going to use the power of the Word of God in His overall program to conquer the kingdoms of this world.  Further cross-referencing reveals that Revelation 10:9-10 matches with passages such as Ezekiel 3:3 and Jeremiah 15:16, both of which depict prophets "eating" or "taking in" the scripture.  If anything, we need to be taking in the scripture and understanding it.  Revelation 1:3 reminds the reader: "Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near."

3. Six Questions
We can utilize this third tool that causes the reader to interact with the Bible like a real person.  The six questions are: who? what? why? where? when? & how?

-Who is the strong angel? An angelic emissary delegated by God to execute his judgments prior to Jesus' second coming.

-What are the angel and the witnesses doing in these chapters? They both are testifying to a watching world of the Sovereignty of the Father and preparing the way for the second coming of the Son.

-Why are these chapters important in John's overall argument in Revelation? To remind the reader that it is Jesus Christ, not the Anti-Christ nor the world-system that will determine the course of history. It is God's Word, not man's opinion that will have the final say in all matters of time and eternity. 

-Where is the action taking place? On earth
-When is the timing of all these events?
During the latter half of the seven year tribulation period.  We know this by virtue of the length of time given for the two witness (presumably Moses and Elijah) to do their ministry (1260 days = 3 1/2 years).  Such a time period corresponds to the 3 1/2 years of Daniel 9:26b-27 and Jesus' reference to the latter half being called "The Great Tribulation" in Matthew 24:21.

-How will it all end? 
Revelation 11:15 states - “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of HisChrist; and He will reign forever and ever.”

So knowing how to study the Bible gets you into the very tool Jesus will use and fulfill when He comes back to conquer this world.  Knowing His will and plan will enable you as a Christian to get involved in what he is doing and wanting to do.  However there is one more question to answer in this post today: Why study the Bible? 

Why Study the Bible?
We could certainly answer this question by gleaning from the above observation and Bible study tools.  However I want us to understand what Revelation 10-11 have to reveal to us about the nature of the Word of God itself.  The nature of something determines what value and effort we put into it.  What kind of book is the Bible and why should you study it? Let me give you six brief words and definitions about the Bible from Revelation 10:11, the Bible is....

1. Inspired = God's very words. Revelation 10:2-3

2. Inerrant = J.I Packer notes "what scripture says, God says - through human agents and without error."

3. Infallible = Incapable of failure. Revelation 10:7

4. Sufficient = Enough to comfort or convict to spiritual change. Revelation 10:9-10

5. Authority = to transmit the purpose and power of God among His people, in the world and over the conscience. 11:3

6. All about Jesus = The scriptures point to Jesus. 

Those six terms give you six reasons as to why you should study God's Word, as well as utilize the above Bible study tools in knowing how to study God's Word.  

As we close out today's post, I want to end with this insight from noted theologian J.I. Packer concerning the importance of God's Word and everything we have looked at today: "Only truth can be authoritative; only an inerrant Bible can be used in the way that God means scripture to be used. Its text is word for word God-given; its message is an organic unity. The infallible word of an infallible God, a web of revealed truths centered on Jesus Christ."2
1. Let the reader note that in the book of Revelation we often see John presenting the same general time period or sequence of events in a repetitive fashion.  This feature of Revelation is what scholars call "recapitualation", meaning that the same material is repeated again and again but in ever increasing detail and intensity. Revelation 4-11 covers the final half if not the entire seven year tribulation period.  The next visionary sequence, Revelation 12-14, covers the same time period except the emphasis shifts from history to the rising and defeat of Anti-Christ.  Revelation 15:1-19:10 covers the same time  period yet once more, with the focus switching to the religious, economic and political infrastructure of prophetic Babylon that will fall at the end of the tribulation period at Christ's return. In all we see the tribulation period surveyed three times in three layered cycles from Revelation 6:1-19:10. 

2. James Montgomery Boice and J.I. Packer. Does Inerrancy Matter. International Council on Biblical Inerrancy. 1977. Page 19.