This vision of John?s is very symbolic. It is symbolic in the general sense of the word in terms of it indicating a time of glory when the Lord will reign over all creation. It does not get any more specific than this! The vision is basically an assurance to John that all the trials that he and Christians may undergo will be worth the place of glory in the end. It is designed to give hope and encouragement to those undergoing persecution. It is not meant to hold any hidden predictions about the future, after all, the ultimate future is already determined in that we will all stand before God and have to give an account of our lives when we die. What more do we need to know than this?
1 After this I had a vision of an open door to heaven, and I heard the trumpetlike voice that had spoken to me before, saying, ?Come up here and I will show you what must happen afterwards.? 2 At once I was caught up in spirit. A throne was there in heaven, and on the throne sat 3 one whose appearance sparkled like jasper and carnelian. Around the throne was a halo as brilliant as an emerald. 4 Surrounding the throne I saw twenty-four other thrones on which twenty-four elders sat, dressed in white garments and with gold crowns on their heads. 5 From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings, and peals of thunder. Seven flaming torches burned in front of the throne, which are the seven spirits of God. 6 In front of the throne was something that resembled a sea of glass like crystal. In the center and around the throne, there were four living creatures covered with eyes in front and in back. 7 The first creature resembled a lion, the second was like a calf, the third had a face like that of a human being, and the fourth looked like an eagle in flight. 8 The four living creatures, each of them with six wings, were covered with eyes inside and out. Day and night they do not stop exclaiming: ?Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty, who was, and who is, and who is to come.? 9 Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to the one who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before the one who sits on the throne and worship him, who lives forever and ever. They throw down their crowns before the throne, exclaiming: 11 ?Worthy are you, Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things; because of your will they came to be and were created.?
P S A L M
Psalm 150:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
R: Holy, holy, holy Lord, mighty God!
1 Praise the LORD in his sanctuary, praise him in the firmament of his strength. 2 Praise him for his mighty deeds, praise him for his sovereign majesty. (R) 3 Praise him with the blast of the trumpet, praise him with lyre and harp, 4 praise him with timbrel and dance, praise him with strings and pipe. (R) 5 Praise him with sounding cymbals, praise him with clanging cymbals. 6 Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Alleluia. (R)
G O S P E L
The third servant is found wanting because he has allowed fear to govern what he does with the money. As far as the Kingdom of God is concerned, we never have to be afraid of anything except our own tendency towards sin. Perfect love and true faith drive away all fear and thus we should never stand in fear of God. Yes, He is a just God but His justice is always full of mercy and understanding. Let us not make the mistake of the third man and live in fear of what the Lord might do if we fail Him. Instead. let?s trust that whatever we do for Him, He will give us the necessary grace to complete it.
11 While they were listening to him speak, he proceeded to tell a parable because he was near Jerusalem and they thought that the kingdom of God would appear there immediately. 12 So he said, ?A nobleman went off to a distant country to obtain the kingship for himself and then to return. 13 He called ten of his servants and gave them ten gold coins and told them, ?Engage in trade with these until I return.? 14 His fellow citizens, however, despised him and sent a delegation after him to announce, ?We do not want this man to be our king.? 15 But when he returned after obtaining the kingship, he had the servants called, to whom he had given the money, to learn what they had gained by trading. 16 The first came forward and said, ?Sir, your gold coin has earned ten additional ones.? 17 He replied, ?Well done, good servant! You have been faithful in this very small matter; take charge of ten cities.? 18 Then the second came and reported, ?Your gold coin, sir, has earned five more.? 19 And to this servant too he said, ?You, take charge of five cities.? 20 Then the other servant came and said, ?Sir, here is your gold coin; I kept it stored away in a handkerchief, 21 for I was afraid of you, because you are a demanding person; you take up what you did not lay down and you harvest what you did not plant.? 22 He said to him, ?With your own words I shall condemn you, you wicked servant. You knew I was a demanding person, taking up what I did not lay down and harvesting what I did not plant; 23 why did you not put my money in a bank? Then on my return I would have collected it with interest.? 24 And to those standing by he said, ?Take the gold coin from him and give it to the servant who has ten.? 25 But they said to him, ?Sir, he has ten gold coins.? 26 ?I tell you, to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 27 Now as for those enemies of mine who did not want me as their king, bring them here and slay them before me.? ? 28 After he had said this, he proceeded on his journey up to Jerusalem.
think: Perfect love and true faith drive away all fear and thus we should never stand in fear of God.
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READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Acts 13-15