Zechariah 6:1-7:14, Revelation 15:1-8, Psalms 143:1-12, Proverbs 30:24-28
Today is the 24th day of the December welcome to the Daily Audio Bible I am Brian and it is wonderful to be here around the Global Campfire with you today on this Christmas eve. Ahh, it’s like…it seemed so far in the distance that we would arrive here when we began this journey at the beginning of the year. It felt like we…we just move through Christmas that’s a long long long way off, but day by day step by step around the Global Campfire we have navigated here again to Christmas eve another time and we are grateful Lord that you have brought us here to this point in the year and to this point in the Scriptures. And our next step forward in the Scriptures leads us back into the book of Zechariah. Today, Zechariah chapters 6 and 7.
Father, we thank you for your word and we thank you for Christmas. And here we are. This evening may bring candlelight services or staying up till past midnight to bring in Christmas or any…any number of traditions that we have. We thank you for bringing us together, close together with family again, with friends again. And hopefully much of the labor is complete, we don’t have to stay up all night wrapping presents. But whether we do or whether we don’t Lord, may it be beautiful to you. May our hearts be open to you. May the gifts that we give represent the gift that you are and may we give the gift of our presence to one another, just being together without agendas. Help us learn to obey what we read of in Zechariah today. Help us to make just and faithful decisions, to show kindness and compassion to each other. We need this reminder, and we need to heed it. May the beauty of this season descend upon us and fill us with joy all over the world. Joy to the world the Lord has come. Thank you for that. Thank you for coming. We love you. We rejoice in you. We are lost without you, but we’re not without you. You have not withheld yourself from us. You have heaped gifts upon us every day of our lives and we reach to you with gratitude and return the only gift that we have, our hearts. We love you and we celebrate you and we pray this in your name, the name above all names, the name of Jesus. Amen.
Deep dive into the book of Revelation:
Okay. So, we read from Revelation chapter 15 today and what we read is actually a transition into what’s coming next. And at this point I’m gonna try to start zooming us out toward the major themes that arise in the rest of this book because we’ve spent substantial time together, you know, kind of diving into some of the minutia, which is so interesting because what we’ve talked about in the book of Revelation since we started this year is probably less than 5% about what scholars and interpreters and theologians and translators and anthropologists have to say. And we’ve been doing that in part to just simply acknowledge the complexities of interpretation of the book of Revelation. It’s easy enough to say, well in the end, Jesus wins that’s all I need to know about the book of Revelation. And yes, God having the final say in bringing His kingdom to the world is certainly good news. But this book wasn’t written just to give that assurance. This book was to remind believers to endure and stay true until the very end and that’s something that the book of Revelation will not allow us to forget and it’s very important that we do not forget it. But along with that comes a lot of symbolism and statements that have been interpreted in very diverse ways. And these diverse theological understandings have been so influential that entire denominations of Christian believers have formed around them. And at the Daily Audio Bible we’re all over the map, like literally all over the map geographically, but we’re also all over the map in the kind of church that we go to, the kind of understandings that we have. So, I’m trying to get behind all of that and look at some of the main ways that this book has been looked at. But I think we’ve gone into it sufficiently enough to know, okay, this has actually been looked at a number of ways and here are some of the main ways so that we can zoom out a little bit because it can certainly get a bit tedious. So, we began our reading today with something spectacular and amazing, another sign in heaven, and seven plagues that are the final expression of God’s anger. So, were told what’s going to happen and then John sees what looks to be a sea of glass mixed with fire and everyone who was victorious, everyone who stayed true, kept their witness, kept their light burning standing on this sea. What…what an amazing sight to see. And they’re standing on the glassy sea, which, you know, so they’re…they’re walking on water as it were, which may be an allusion to Jesus doing the same thing. And these people are holding God’s harps and singing something interesting. They’re singing the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb. So, we begin to see clearly Exodus imagery, the imagery when the children of Israel left Egypt and went into the wilderness in order to attain the promised land. And that imagery snaps a bunch of things into place by paralleling God’s judgment by sending plagues upon Egypt in order to force them to relent, acknowledge God, and set His people free. And in like fashion we begin to see that this is kind of the pattern God is using in the book of Revelation with these final judgments. So, when God is bringing plagues down upon Egypt what that does is make life harder for the children of Israel who have been enslaved. So, it gets harder for them before it gets better and they’re even complaining to Moses about the whole thing, that he’s come in and said he’s carrying the words of God and he’s going up against Pharaoh, but it’s only making things worse for them, which would parallel God beginning to bring his kingdom and all of the unrest that that brings and the conflict that brings simply makes it harder for God’s people temporarily, but in the end they find their freedom and eternal rest. And when the victory is complete, when the children of Israel are truly free Moses has a song to sing. And, so, we’re seeing this kind of addendum to that song sung by all God’s people, but they’re doing this while standing on a sea that is like glass and fire. And this has been paralleled with the Red Sea experience that the children of Israel faced when they had to go over on dry land and Pharaoh’s army was then washed away. So, after they sing their song then the temple opens in heaven, seven angels with seven plagues come out of the temple. One of the four living creatures gives the seven gold bowls full of God’s anger to the Angels and the temple was filled with the glory of God. And that’s where we end today with a set up. But we see the clear parallel imagery of the Exodus story. And these plagues, just as they descended upon Pharaoh are about to be poured out upon the earth, but we’ll have to wait for that until tomorrow.
Father, we thank you for your word and we ask your Holy Spirit to continue the work of planting the word in our lives and in our hearts. We ask you to continue to bring up things in us that need to be healed and restored or let go of. It is our desire that we be among those who can sing this song. So, come Holy Spirit and continue to do the work of sanctification within us. And we also acknowledge that this is the eve of the day that we celebrate your birth, your arrival, your invasion of this planet on our behalf. And, so, even as we celebrate the joy of your arrival, the joy of Christmas, we also acknowledge that we long for your second arrival for your return. And we thank you for the glimpse that you have provided us with as we move to the book of Revelation. Come Holy Spirit we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.