He is Sovereign and Victorious ~ Part 2

“As I watched, the Lamb broke the first of the seven seals on the scroll. Then I heard one of the four living beings say with a voice like thunder, “Come!” I looked up and saw a white horse standing there. Its rider carried a bow, and a crown was placed on his head. He rode out to win many battles and gain the victory.” Revelation 6:1-2

The first four seal judgments line up with the events Jesus described to his disciples in Matthew 24 (Mark 13:1-37, Luke 21:5-33). Can you take a moment and read the section in Matthew? The visions describing the first four seals are often referred to as the “four horsemen of the apocalypse.” The events do not seem to represent the horse and riders as much as they represent world conditions. The events in Matthew 24 fall into three periods: (1) the period of false Christs and false prophets, wars, famines, earthquakes, and death, called “the beginning of birth pains” (Matthew 24:8); (2) the period of the Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:21); and, (3) the period “immediately after the tribulation of those days,” when the sun, moon, and stars will be affected and Christ will return (Matthew 24:29-30). The seals correspond to the “beginning of birth pains.”

The first four seals describe four horses of different colors with four riders who are given different powers over the earth (see Zechariah 1:8, 6:1-8 for a fascinating similarity).

So, who is the rider seated on the white horse in Revelation 6:1-2? Most believe it is not Jesus but Satan because it fits with the theme of the other three horses, which are used as instruments of judgment. The Lamb is the one opening the seals. The emphatic “Come!” should not be viewed as addressed either to John or to Christ but to the horseman (it would not be proper to have an angelic being call forth Christ!). Further, the rider has been given a crown, but not the type a king would wear. This crown is a temporary one, like the winner of a race might be given ages ago. The crown indicates the sovereign permission to carry out the acts specified.

Whenever Jesus is described as crowned, His crowns are diadems, those worn specifically by kings. Further, at Jesus’ return it will be with drama and accompanied by a huge host of angels not like the description from Revelation 6. As you know, false christs will appear who will attempt to imitate Christ. This rider from verse 6 “appears” like him on a white horse and will represent a false peace or victory, and holding a bow without arrows. Some think the lack of arrows represents the Antichrist using political or satanic power. The Antichrist will come forward and act as peacemaker, offering protection to Israel on the basis of a signed covenant or peace treaty between them. Keep in mind the Antichrist is only a temporary king (emphasized by his temporary crown) but nevertheless will operate effectively for that limited time by using deceit and illusion to conquer others.

This first seal brings on a shifting of world power. The conquests taking place will most likely be through political negotiations focusing on uniting individual nations by appealing to their own sense of greed and need. This is always the sign of Satan’s work – he tempts people to first please themselves, thereby becoming his salves. Christ calls men to first deny themselves, and to serve Him.

Looking at Daniel 8:25, “And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.”

Some commentaries agree that each of the first four seals represents conflict directed at Christians to test them and to sift false disciples. Each of these events separate false beliefs from true. If this is correct, will you be prepared? Thank you Lord that you have allowed us a season to prepare our hearts for future choices. Let’s choose to stand in the name of Christ no matter how hard the worldly winds may blow. Let’s choose now to not bow under the pressure but to stand firmer than we have ever stood in our life.

I am writing this now as we are traveling in the direction of the area hit by the latest storms. A caravan just past by called Matthew 25 Ministries. I presume they are on their way to the area with full hearts ready to offer whatever assistance they can to those in desperate need. So what is Matthew 25? Well, verse 40 says, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.” In these times of heartache and hardship let’s purpose our hearts to reach those in need of an outstretched hand and represent Jesus to a world in need…one precious brother/sister at a time. Are you in?

In His grace,
Amanda

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He Alone is Worthy ~ Part 1

Greetings fellow sojourners! I just LOVE the Word, don’t you? I am particularly thrilled when I see instances of the Old and New Testament working together. I was reading a book lately by someone I greatly admire because of his considerable love of the Lord. In my opinion, you can not speak with this man without knowing this fact immediately! Thank you Lord for such a rich blessing. In his book he illustrates a most intriguing point regarding Jesus opening the 7th seal and stepping on the Mount of Olives. Let’s first look at Jeremiah 32:6-10 as it speaks of Jeremiah’s land purchase. The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah saying, “Hanamel is coming to you to say, ‘Buy my field in Anathoth for yourself, for you own the right of redemption to buy it.'” “In Bible times, when one purchased land, one was given a seven-sealed scroll, which was a legal document giving title to the land in question. Even though you had paid for the land, it only became yours when you actually went to it, placed your feet on it, and broke the last, or seventh, seal.” (Malcolm Hedding, Understanding Revelation) When Jeremiah bought the piece of land, he left Jerusalem (when the Chaldean army withdrew) in order to go to the land of Benjamin to claim his portion (Jeremiah 37:11-16) by breaking the seventh seal while his feet were planted on the property. (Unfortunately he was unable to complete this task because he was apprehended along the way, suspected of deserting to the Chaldeans.)

Revelation 6-8 speaks of the seven seals opened by the Lamb of God (Jesus Christ). As each seal is broken an event unfolds that will effect the entire world. When the Lamb opens the seventh seal He will put His feel on the Mount of Olives to signify His taking possession, similar to the above example in Jeremiah. During the next several weeks we will take some time to prayerfully consider these seven seals.

“Then I saw in the right hand of the One seated on the throne a scroll with writing on the inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals. I also saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or even to look in it. And I cried and cried because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or even to look in it. Then one of the elders said to me, “Stop crying. Look! The Lion from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has been victorious so that He may open the scroll and its seven seals.” Then I saw One like a slaughtered lamb standing between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent into all the earth. He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of the One seated on the throne.”

“When He took the scroll, the four living creatures and the 24 elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song:

You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
because You were slaughtered, and You redeemed people
for God by Your blood
from every tribe and language
and people and nation.
You made them a kingdom
and priests to our God,
and they will reign on the earth.

Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels around the throne, and also of the living creatures and of the elders. Their number was countless thousands, plus thousands of thousands.  They said with a loud voice:

The Lamb who was slaughtered is worthy
to receive power and riches and wisdom and
strength and honor and glory and blessing!

I heard every creature in heaven, on earth, under the earth, on the sea, and everything in them say:  Blessing and honor and glory and dominion to the One seated on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!

The four living creatures said, “ Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped.”

Revelation 5:1-14

Let’s take note of some interesting points. The One seated on the throne was holding a scroll with writing on the inside and the back, and sealed with seven seals. There are several places in the bible that speak of instances of writing on the inside and back of a document. Jeremiah signed and sealed shut one copy of the scroll deed of purchase and had witnesses sign it, apparently on the outside (Jer. 32:10, Jer. 32:12). Concerning this practice, “For the manner of writing the contract, he who was to buy the ground wrote two instruments; the one to be sealed with his own signet, the other he showed unclosed to the witnesses, that they might subscribe and bear witness of that which was written. This, the witnesses did subscribe upon the back of the enclosed instrument . . . Gaston Maspero gave an example of an enclosed document being used as evidence. Contracts stamped upon clay tablets have been found in Babylonia, enclosed in an envelope of clay, on the outside of which an exact duplicate of the contract is impressed: if in the course of time any disagreement arose and it was suspected that the outside text had been tampered with, the envelope was broken in the presence of witnesses to see if the inside text agreed with it or not. The fact that the sealed scroll of Revelation had writing on both the inside and the outside, in the same manner as Jeremiah’s and other deeds of purchase in Israel’s land redemption system, indicates that it is a deed of purchase.” (Renald Showers, Maranatha, Our Lord Come)

A purchase was made at the cross, and now the deed of that purchase is being claimed by its rightful owner. “But what is this remarkable scroll? It is nothing less than the title deed to the earth itself. . . . it is clearly the antitype of all the rich typological teaching associated with the divinely specified procedures for land redemption in the Old Testament.” (Henry Morris, The Revelation Record) While Babylon had besieged Jerusalem, God told Jeremiah to purchase a plot of ground in Israel. Even though Babylon had taken the land, Jeremiah’s purchase demonstrated God’s promise to restore Israel back to the land (Jer. 32:14-15, Jer. 32:43-44). In both of these cases, the purchases were made in advance and a period of time elapses before possession takes place. What is also interesting is that in both cases, the purchase price has been paid (silver in one case and shed blood in another) but it remained in the hands of tyrants. This brings about consecutive judgments by which the purchaser takes back what He rightfully owns.

“All seven seals are part of the same scroll; all seven have the same purpose or function with regard to that scroll; all seven will be part of the irrefutable evidence that Christ is the true Kinsman-Redeemer; all seven will be broken by Christ; and all seven will be part of the same program of Christ’s evicting Satan and his forces and taking permanent possession of the earth.” (Renald Showers, Maranatha, Our Lord Come)

Another interesting portion begins in verse two. A mighty angel “proclaimed” not “asked” the question of who would be worthy to open the scroll and break its seal (although it is phrased as a question the answer is already known). There must have been a time of waiting or silence because no one was found worthy. Then, the Lion from the tribe of Judah, the Victorious One came forward. It is said in this portion that He has seven horns and seven eyes. In the book of Daniel, horns represent power and authority.  The seven spirits may refer to the angels of the seven churches or the fullness of the Holy Spirit as described in Isaiah.

Looking to verse eight, “Each one (the living creatures and the 24 elders) had a harp and gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of the saints. The prayers held in the bowls of gold represent the immense value to God (indicated by the gold). Why are the prayers called incense? We see incense first mentioned in Exodus 30:1-3, “You are to make an altar for the burning of incense; make it of acacia wood. It must be square, 18 inches long and 18 inches wide; it must be 36 inches high. Its horns must be of one piece. (Notice the reference to horns in the above paragraph) Overlay its top, all around its sides, and its horns with pure gold; make a gold molding all around it.” We see our prayers related to incense in Psalm 141:2, “Our prayer is to be set before Him as incense.” The incense was to be like perfume and seasoned with salt, pure and holy (Exodus 30:35), our prayers should also be like this. Malachi 1:11 tells us, “incense and pure offerings (such as prayers) will be presented in His name because His name will be great.” One of the duties of the priest was to serve God by burning incense. When the appropriate hour came for burning incense, the whole assembly of people were outside the temple praying (Luke 1:10-11). Is it interesting to see how our prayers are associated with the incense?  I can’t help but take note that the burning of the incense was intended to be on an altar of power (horns) overlayed with gold (precious).  Do you see your prayers as powerful in this world and precious to God?

Verse thirteen closes with EVERY creature saying “Blessing and honor and glory and dominion to the One seated on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!” Shall we join the four living creatures who said, “Amen” and fall down and worship?

In His grace,

Amanda

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What Do You Fear?

 

2 Kings 35-39 The Lord made a covenant with them and commanded them, “Do not fear other gods; do not bow down to them; do not serve them; do not sacrifice to them. Instead fear the Lord, who brought you from the land of Egypt with great power and an outstretched arm. You are to bow down to Him, and you are to sacrifice to Him. You are to be careful always to observe the statutes, the ordinances, the law, and the commandments He wrote for you; do not fear other gods. Do not forget the covenant that I have made with you. Do not fear other gods, but fear the Lord your God, and He will deliver you from the hand of all your enemies.”

How many times here does the Lord say not to fear? Three times. When we fear others gods (something we elevate to the place reserved exclusively for Him) we (1) bow down to them (Bowing down means we yield to it and therebye acknowledge that power over us.), (2) serve them (constantly discuss our fears with others or rehearse it in our minds), (3) sacrifice to them (We give our fears what we should be giving God, for example: our time, energies, resources, attention…). God promises that if we fear Him, He will deliver us from ALL our enemies. That sounds to me like an amazing promise. Amen!…

~~~If you would like to read more of this devotional or others like it, they are located in my book A Devotional on Faith, Hope, and Love by Amanda Seipel. This book can be purchased on Amazon. I am blessed to serve you!~~~

o person, policy, or cave can save you. So what do we do with all this news? Pray without ceasing (Luke 18:1, 1 Thessalonians 5:17, Ephesians 6:18) Sisters, “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable – if there is any praise – dwell on these things” (Philippians 4:8) not fear.

 

In His grace,
Amanda

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An Encounter with The Word

Greetings fellow sojourners!  Shall we step into the story of the woman with the bleeding issue?  We know it so well.  Jesus was on his way to see Jairus’ dying daughter…

“While He was going, the crowds were nearly crushing Him. A woman suffering from bleeding for 12 years, who had spent all she had on doctors yet could not be healed by any, approached from behind and touched the tassel of His robe. Instantly her bleeding stopped. “Who touched Me?” Jesus asked. When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds are hemming You and pressing against You.” “Someone did touch Me,” said Jesus. “I know that power has gone out from Me.” When the woman saw that she was discovered, she came trembling and fell down before Him. In the presence of all the people, she declared the reason she had touched Him and how she was instantly cured. “Daughter,” He said to her, “your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”                                            Luke 8:42b-48

Are you suffering? Do you need healing from Jehovah Rapha? I think the place rapha was introduced in the bible is interesting. Exodus 15:22-27 speaks of the Israelites journeying for three days in the wilderness without finding water. When the Lord finally led them to water they could not drink because it was bitter. They “grumbled to Moses” because of the hardness of their heart. The word grumbled is fascinating. It means ‘to stop, to stay permanently, to be obstinate (especially in words to complain), abide (all night), continue, grudge, murmur, remain, tarry’. When I previously read this verse I thought it meant they just complained for a while about their suffering as we might do while stuck in traffic. As soon as the traffic clears, so does our grumbling. Here, however, grumbling implies a deeper complaint. A bitterness of soul that is unwilling to budge and move on. Do you see it?…

~~~If you would like to read more of this devotional or others like it, they are located in my book A Devotional on Faith, Hope, and Love by Amanda Seipel. This book can be purchased on Amazon. I am blessed to serve you!~~~

 

I have included a rendering of Luke 8:42-48. I pray the encounter ‘touches’ your day.

In His grace,
Amanda

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Forgive, Comfort, and Reaffirm Love

“If anyone has caused pain, he has caused pain not so much to me but to some degree – not to exaggerate – to all of you. The punishment inflicted by the majority is sufficient for that person. As a result, you should instead forgive and comfort him. Otherwise, this one may be overwhelmed by excessive grief. Therefore I urge you to reaffirm your love to him. I wrote for this purpose: to test your character to see if you are obedient in everything. If you forgive anyone, I do too. For what I have forgiven – if I have forgiven anything – it is for you in the presence of Christ. I have done this so that we may not be taken advantage of by Satan. For we are not ignorant of his schemes.” 2 Co 2:5-11

If you join me for bible study you will recognize we spoke recently about this verse. First, we will peruse the verse then look at how it applies in prayer. “If anyone has caused pain” (distress, grief, heaviness, sorrow) to one person how many people are ultimately affected? For example, a husband causes pain (distress, grief, heaviness, sorrow) to his wife and she is wounded. As a result, she affects (purposely or not) every other person she comes in contact with that day (kids, business employees, friends of kids, neighbors, …). Keep in mind the way she affects people may not necessarily be unpleasant, but she may not be able to edify others in the way she could have. When we cause pain, I surmise we have no idea of the far reaching effects it has…but God does. Do you feel differently when considering the pain you cause someone may be the source of their limited impact for God that day?…

~~~If you would like to read more of this devotional or others like it, they are located in my book A Devotional on Faith, Hope, and Love by Amanda Seipel. This book can be purchased on Amazon. I am blessed to serve you!~~~

 

In His grace,

Amanda

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