Monthly Archives: August 2011

Is Jesus Christ the Strong Angel in Revelation 10?

1I 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; 2and he had in his hand a little book which was open. He placed his right foot on the sea and his left on the land; 3and he cried out with a loud voice, as when a lion roars; and when he had cried out, the seven peals of thunder uttered their voices. 4When the seven peals of thunder had spoken, I was about to write; and I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Seal up the things which the seven peals of thunder have spoken and do not write them.” 5Then the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land lifted up his right hand to heaven, 6and swore by Him who lives forever and ever, WHO CREATED HEAVEN AND THE THINGS IN IT, AND THE EARTH AND THE THINGS IN IT, AND THE SEA AND THE THINGS IN IT, that there will be delay no longer, 7but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, then the mystery of God is finished, as He preached to His servants the prophets. (Revelation 10:1-7 NASB)

While listening to Witness Lee’s Life Study of Revelation, he mentioned that Christ would come secretly in a cloud before His coming in glory on a cloud. Rather than wait until Witness Lee got to the full explanation of these verses, I thought that I would take a look at this strong angel who comes in a cloud. While examining what Scripture says about this angel, I do have to admit it seems likes it is Christ.

Coming down out of heaven

We know that Christ will come down from heaven when He returns, since we know that He has ascended there for a time.

Clothed with a cloud

When I read this, the image that flashed into my mind, was that of God leading the Israelites through the wilderness. In Scripture, no one else is ever clothed in a cloud, but God.

The rainbow was upon his head

The rainbow was given by God as a covenant to all flesh on the earth, that there would never again be a flood to destroy the earth. The rainbow seems to indicate that the angel is here for judgment, but will not forget the covenant that was given. Interestingly, the rainbow is God’s bow, another indication that this angel is God.

13I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth. (Genesis 9:13 NASB)

His face was like the sun

This reminds me of the shining of Moses’ face after he had been in the presence of God. Also, we know that in the New Jerusalem there will be no need for the sun, because God will be our light. Next, Christ is our Morning Star, but once the Morning Star has fully risen it is the Sun.

His feet like pillars of fire

As I move through the appearance of this angel it seems more and more like it is the One, who Ezekiel saw sitting on the throne.

26Now above the expanse that was over their heads there was something resembling a throne, like lapis lazuli in appearance; and on that which resembled a throne, high up, was a figure with the appearance of a man. 27Then I noticed from the appearance of His loins and upward something like glowing metal that looked like fire all around within it, and from the appearance of His loins and downward I saw something like fire; and there was a radiance around Him. 28As the appearance of the rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the surrounding radiance. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. (Ezekiel 1:26-28 NASB)

He had in his hand a little book which was open

This may be the book from Revelation 5 that could only be opened by the Lamb. At this point the Lamb has already opened all of the seals, and thus the book is open.

He cried out with a loud voice, as when a lion roars

How wonderful this is: The Lamb who opened the book is also a Lion!

5and one of the elders said to me, “Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals.” 6And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth. 7And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. (Revelation 5:5-7)

Swore by Him who lives forever and ever

Who has the authority to swear by God, but God Himself?

34“But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is THE CITY OF THE GREAT KING. (Matthew 5:34-35 NASB)

There will be delay no longer…then the mystery of God is finished

The oath of the angel is about the mystery of God. This is a reference to the fulfillment of God’s eternal purpose. The mystery of God is Christ (Colossians 2:2) and the mystery of God is also Christ in us (Colossians 1:26-27). God’s eternal purpose to have an expression of Himself in Christ, through His Body. Christ is all and in all.

After examining all of these symbols attributed to this angel, I have to agree with Witness Lee that it is, indeed, Jesus Christ. If the use of the term “angel”, is difficult for you to attribute to Christ, then it may be helpful for you to understand that the word angel means a messenger. It does not have to be an angelic being, as we know that Christ is much higher than all angelic beings. All of this fits well with the main point of Revelation: The revelation of Jesus Christ. 

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Why Read Books Other Than the Bible?

Standing upon the shoulders of giants

Image by mushon via Flickr

And Jesus said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old.” (Mat. 13:52 NASB)

 

Every once in a while I hear people saying things like: “I only read the Bible”. I went through a phase like this for a short time in my walk with Christ and now I realize how silly it was.

 

Scripture is the revelation of Jesus Christ and there is nothing to add to it. Likewise, it is clear that the Spirit is able to teach us all things, so we don’t need a teacher. We have Scripture and we have the Spirit, so why read anything else? This is actually similar to those who believe there is more importance to the words of Jesus of Nazareth, in the gospels, than in the writings of Paul and the apostles. This belief lacks the understanding that the same Jesus who spoke those words, became the life-giving Spirit, who spoke through Paul, the apostles, believers throughout the ages, and now us.

 

There are many Christians who have spent their lives studying Scripture and when we learn from them we are standing upon their shoulders. For example, Witness Lee who stood on the shoulders of Watchman Nee, was a Christian for seven decades. When we read his writing we stand on his shoulders, rather than going back and starting where he began. Someday people will stand on your shoulders, as you stand on the shoulders of others. Don’t go back to the beginning of the revelation of Christ, but stand upon the shoulders of the ever-increasing revelation of our Great Lord until He returns.

 

You should choose wisely whose shoulders you will stand on.

 

Here are some shoulders that I think you would be wise to stand on:

Brother Lawrence

Frank Viola

T. Austin-Sparks

Watchman Nee

Witness Lee

Disciples, Ministers, and the Stewardship

Jesus in the Word

Image via Wikipedia

 

And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. (Eph. 4:11-13 NASB)


What does it mean to make disciples? What does it mean to be a minister? What is the stewardship of the mystery?

In order to understand these things, we must understand God’s desire and how He is fulfilling that desire. God’s desire is to have an expression of Himself and to fill all things with that expression. Thus, all things will be filled with Christ, through His Spirit. This Christ, that is to fill all things, is the mystery of God and the Church is the mystery of Christ.

The Church is the beginning of this filling of all things with Christ. Through the Church, the entire creation will be an expression of God. God is filling the Church with Christ, by dispensing His Wealth and His Life into the Church. As the receivers of the Life of God, in Christ, we are stewards of Christ. As Christ has been dispensed in us, we also, dispense Christ into each other.

As containers of God, we must be emptied of self and clear. Without being emptied of ourselves, we cannot be filled with God. Thus, our old self was objectively placed on the cross with Christ and we subjectively experience that by faith. Next, we are clear containers because nothing of ourselves should be seen. When we are seen, only our contents should be seen. This is why New Jerusalem, in Revelation, is clear gold. The gold is that which is made of God and it is clear because our selves have died. With ourselves dead, God who is the contents of the Great City, is displayed for all to see.

The dispensing of Christ is what it means to be a minister. In order to minister to someone we must be living in Christ, learning Him, and experiencing Him. Ministering is not merely done with words and teaching, it is done by imparting something of Christ to someone. You cannot impart something of Christ to someone, if Christ is not being dispensed into you. Thus, as Christ is dispensed into us, we dispense Christ into each other.

Lastly, this is also what it means to make disciples. We are not making disciples of ourselves, but of Christ. If you are ministering to someone you are making a disciple. As you impart your portion of Christ into a person by the Spirit, that person is being filled Christ. Since, that person has received something of Christ from you, he or she will share it with someone else. So, making disciples is done by the dispensing of Christ, from your spirit to another person’s spirit, through the Holy Spirit.

 

May we all work so that the desire of God is obtained: The fullness of Christ displayed for all to see.

 

God’s Eternal Purpose by Witness Lee

SUBJECT: ULTIMATE MANIFESTATION-GOD’S ETERNAL PURPOSE
METER: 6.5.6.5.D.
AUTHOR: Witness Lee
COMPOSER: M. Koch, from Geistliche Lieder

Audio

 

1   God’s eternal purpose
      Is to join with man,
    Causing man, His vessel,
      To be born again,
    His own life imparting,
      Filling to the brim;
    Man may thus express Him,
      And be one with Him.
2   God in His own image
      Hath created man,
    That he may be able
      To fulfill His plan;
    That he may receive Him
      As the tree of life
    To become His fulness
      As to man the wife.
3   In His life’s rich flowing
      Man will be transformed
    Into precious substance
      And to Him conformed.
    Thus will man be builded
      As His counterpart,
    Thus to be His dwelling,
      Satisfy His heart.
4   Tis the holy city,
      New Jerusalem;
    With His saints God mingles,
      Makes His home with them.
    He becomes their content,
      His expression they;
    They shall share His glory,
      One with Him for aye.
5   He’s the very center,
      Ruling on the throne;
    By His life the power,
      Saints are kept in one.
    By His light of glory,
      They are kept in light,
    Harmony enjoying
      In divine delight.
6   He’s their living water,
      And their food supply;
    All their thirst and hunger
      He doth satisfy.
    He’s for them the temple,
      In Himself they live,
    In His constant presence
      Worship ever give.

 

Ephesians 1

1. This letter is from Paul, one sent by Christ Jesus, by the desire of God, to the ones in Ephesus, set apart and faithful in Christ Jesus. 2. Favor to you and rest from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

3. Worthy of praise is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us in Christ with every kind of spiritual gift in the heavenly places, 4. inasmuch as He chose us in Himself before the foundation of the universe to be set apart and without blemish before His face. In love, 5. He marked us out beforehand to sonship for Himself, on account of Jesus Christ, according to His desire. 6. He did this for the praise of the glory of His favor, which He bestowed freely on us by the Loved One. 7. In Him, we have redemption because of His blood and complete forgiveness of sins, according to the wealth of His favor. 8. He superabounded this favor to us in all wisdom and understanding, 9. having made known to us the mystery of His desire, according to His good pleasure. He purposed this in Himself 10. for the stewardship of the fullness of the times to sum up all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on earth 11. in Himself.

In Him we have received a share, having been marked out beforehand according to the predetermination of Him, who works everything according to His deliberate wisdom, 12. so that we who have first hoped in Christ are to the praise of His glory. 13. In Him, you also having heard the message of truth, the good news of your salvation, in whom also having put your faith, were sealed with the Holy Spirit of the promise. 14. The Holy Spirit is a guarantee of our inheritance, for the redemption of the full possession, for the praise of His glory.

15. On account of this, having heard of the faithfulness among you in the Christ, and to all the saints, 16. I don’t cease expressing thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers 17. so that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18. having the eyes of your heart enlightened. This is so that you perceive what is the expectation of His calling, what is the abundance of the glory of His inheritance with the saints, 19. and what is the surpassing greatness of His power among us who believe, according to the working of the power of His might. 20. He worked this in Christ, having raised Him up from the dead and seated Him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21. far above every ruler and authority and power and lordship and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the coming age. 22. He placed everything under His feet and appointed Him as head over all the 23. Church. The Church is His Body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.


Translating Scripture

Joshua 1:1 in the Aleppo Codex.

Image via Wikipedia

So I am making my own translation of the Bible. I enjoy translating. I do have experience translating, just not Greek or Hebrew. As I translate the Bible, I will post my translations chapter-by-chapter. I welcome your input and critique of my translation.

 

I am setting out to make my translation a mix of word-for-word and readable. Since Paul has some very large run-on sentences, I will try to cut them down into smaller sentences. I will do this so that they are more readable, but while maintaining the original meaning.

 

I am not a Greek scholar, nor do I have experience with Greek, so be patient with me. You may be wondering why I am doing this. A few reasons really. First, I want to get a better feel for what the writers of the Bible were saying and this is only possible by looking at the multiple meanings of the words that they used. Words in one language do not translate smoothly into another language. What takes one word to say in one language, may take multiple words to say in another language. Second, I want to give you, whoever is reading this, a different view of Scripture. Hopefully, my translation will be different enough to give you a richer reading of Scripture, without having to do the translation yourself (unless you want to). Third, I have found that I just enjoy translating it. It even seems kind of weird to me, but don’t we all have our own brand of weird?

Personal, Corporate, or Both?

Living Stones

Image by Andesine via Flickr

This blog post is a clarification of some tweets that I made. To be honest, these are some thoughts that I haven’t completely worked out in my mind, but I will do my best to explain them. Thus, you may take the word “clarification” lightly :). This isn’t an argument for my thoughts (I don’t like arguing), just a discussion.

I will begin with the definitions of the words, personal and corporate, that I have in my mind. I got these definitions from the Google Dictionary:

Personal – Of, affecting, or belonging to a particular person rather than to anyone else

Corporate – Of or shared by all the members of a group

1st Tweet

Jesus Christ is not a personal Savior, but a corporate Savior.

I say, “Not saved for themselves but for the glory of Christ the Son.” It’s not about us at all — it’s all about Him! – Whitney McKendree Moore (@WhitneyMcKMoore)

First, I am not saying that God is impersonal, nor am I denying that we are saved as individuals. So what am I saying? I am saying that Jesus Christ does not save anyone for their own sake, but for Himself and His Body. It is obvious that we come into the Body as individuals, considering that a corporate body is made up of individuals. Truly, we are stones, made alive by God, to be put together into one Temple. A Building has individual stones, but they do not have any personal experience that does not affect the Building.

My next point is that salvation does not occur simply between you and Christ. How would anyone hear of Christ unless someone has already been sent to share Him? You may even have learned the good news from a Christian who is long dead, but a member of the Body none the less. Indeed, the Body of Christ shared the Head to you, who was revealed to you through the invisible workings of the Holy Spirit.

Third, we always exist in some form of corporate body. We were born in Adam, and thus have received His sin nature. Through the death and resurrection, we are reborn, by the Spirit, in Christ. Thus, in order to be saved you had to be included corporately in the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus, our dear Lord. Also, Christ died once for all, not over and over again for each person. We don’t have a separate and distinct experience of His death and resurrection, but share in the same act that was performed once for all.

Another thought that I have is if we were chosen in Christ before the creation of the world, were we not already His Nation before we considered ourselves a part of it? We were already chosen in Christ, and when He was revealed to us we learned of our true identity. The identity that was hidden in Him. We no longer think that we are poor peasants, but we see that we are kings, destined to reign with Christ.

2nd Tweet

Is anything really personal? Or is personal a delusion?

We like things to be personal. We think that life is like a personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut. We want to think that stuff is ours and we have our own little bubbles to walk around. It is an awful thing if someone enters your bubble. Honestly, I can’t think of a single thing that does not affect others. Everything that we do affects others. Even if you are absent, hidden away in the wilderness, there are people who will never hear your knowledge, be encouraged by your advice, or hurt by your cruelty. All of your experiences have included someone or something else. The truth is that nothing is really personal, nothing really belongs to us. All is given to us by our God, for the good of all. If you keep what He has given to you, others are hurt and if you give what He has given to you, others benefit.

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