Day 175: The End and The Beginning

Jeremiah 38-39; Acts 3

Key Verses

Jeremiah 39:16-18
Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I will fulfill my words against this city for harm and not for good, and they shall be accomplished before you on that day. But I will deliver you on that day, declares the Lord, […] because you have put your trust in me, declares the Lord.

Acts 3:6-7
But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong.

The end. The fall of Jerusalem. The burning, the slaughter, the slavery – it could have all been avoided if the people had listened to the word of the Lord given through Jeremiah the prophet.

It did not please God to destroy his beloved city. He tried to spare his people from such extreme suffering…

Thus says the Lord: He who stays in this city shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence, but he who goes out to the Chaldeans shall live. He shall have his life as a prize of war, and live (Jeremiah 38:2).

But they didn’t listen. They chose to believe the flattering words of false prophets who promised peace and prosperity. In the end, the real truth was revealed. Even Zedekiah king of Judah came to see the truth as his eyes were gouged out and he was led away to Babylon.

Contrast Jerusalem’s bitter end to its new beginning at the onset of the new covenant age. In Acts 3, the Spirit’s mighty work continues…

We see Peter and John. The Peter and John – who just three years prior – were ordinary fisherman leading ordinary lives. The gospels revealed their babe-like-faith as they walked with Jesus – questioning, doubting, denying, loving and following. Now we find them, empowered by the Spirit, healing and preaching with authority. You know Jesus had to be looking down with a father-like pride as the Spirit worked to build His people… as the worldwide church began with the sermons of a few fisherman in the hands of a mighty God!

Day 141: The Temple of God

1 Kings 8-9; John 5:1-24

Key Verses

1 Kings 9:1-3
As soon as Solomon had finished building the house of the Lord and the king’s house and all that Solomon desired to build, the Lord appeared to Solomon a second time, as he had appeared to him at Gibeon. And the Lord said to him, “I have heard your prayer and your plea, which you have made before me. I have consecrated this house that you have built, by putting my name there forever. My eyes and my heart will be there for all time.”

In 1 Kings we read of God coming down and filling Solomon’s temple with His glory (8:11)! God promised that his eyes and heart would be there for all time, but because of Israel’s sin, God’s Holy presence left the temple. Did God break his promise? No! For in John, we see God’s permanent temple…Jesus, Immanuel, God with us. Jesus was the manifestation of God’s glory on earth. He became the temple of God. Jesus is the final fulfillment of all of God’s promises to Israel!

After Jesus ascended to the Father, and the Spirit came at Pentecost, God made a new temple. God chose to manifest His glory through His people, the church. It is there, among God’s people, that we experience God’s presence. We are also His temple…

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit (Ephesians 2:19-22).

I wonder what Solomon would think of God’s temple today?

Day 81: Signs Among Us

Joshua 3-5; Luke 2:1-21

Key Verses

Joshua 5:13-14
When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come.”

Luke 2:9-11
And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

Words are inadequate to describe the events in these chapters. The shepherds fall before angels, and Joshua bows before the Commander of the Lord’s army. The Israelites cross the Jordan on dry land and God squeezes his form into an infant’s shell.

God is the same… yesterday, today and forever. But have you ever wondered why God doesn’t show himself to us in such a dramatic fashion? I don’t know about you, but I’ve never seen the glory of an angel or crossed a river on dry ground. If God is the same, why does He seem so different?

First, miraculous signs don’t make it easier to believe. What did the people do after they saw God part the Red Sea, provide water and manna in the desert and descend on the temple in glory?? They failed to believe that God would help them defeat the Canaanites. They did not enter the land.

Second, I believe that He has chosen to display His power and work in the world through His church. It is a great responsibility – a work that requires humility and compassion – and can only be done as we are unified by the Spirit. Remember Jesus’ words in John 17…

 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (John 17:20-21 NIV).

The world notices when believers are unified and serve one another with humility and compassion. On the other hand, the world is quick to mock when we show division and hypocrisy.

And finally, we shouldn’t need signs because we have the privilege of having his Word. And even more importantly, we have Jesus.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14).

Day 50: Encamped Around the Presence of God

Numbers 1-2; Mark 3:1-21

Key Verses

Numbers 2:1-2
The
Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying,
“The people of Israel shall camp each by his own standard, with the banners of their fathers’ houses. They shall camp facing the tent of meeting on every side.”

Mark 3:9-10
And he told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, lest they crush him, for he had healed many, so that all who had diseases pressed around him to touch him.

We begin the book of Numbers today! Numbers chronicles Israel’s time in the desert and begins with the people making preparations to go to war. If they wanted to take the land, they had to prepare to fight…

From twenty years old and upward, all in Israel who are able to go to war, you and Aaron shall list them, company by company (Numbers 1:3).

Numbers 2 goes on to detail exactly how the people were to camp and march. The Tabernacle would be guarded by the Levites and remained in the center of the people when they camped and when they marched. Remember, the tabernacle was God’s house. God dwelled there. The people were to camp around the presence of God. Numbers vividly portrays God’s presence dwelling with the Israelite people!

Both of today’s passages contain imagery of great numbers surrounding the presence of God. The account in Numbers is ordered and precise. Everyone had a place – so much so that it would be very obvious if a family or clan went missing. There would be an empty spot around the tabernacle! This was a model of community. This is a model for the church*!

By contrast, the scenes in Mark seem frantic. The crowds pressing in on Jesus were desperate. This is also a picture of community. Our churches are made up of hurt and broken people, desperate for the healing touch of the Savior.

Both passages teach valuable lessons about community and church life. The church needs each of us. If we go missing, there will be a noticeable gap that goes unfilled. But we also need the church. For that’s where God’s presence is found!!! If you don’t believe me, read Ephesians…

…you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit (Ephesians 2:19-22).

The dwelling place of God is in the midst of a community of believers… being built together into a holy temple.

Are you desperate for the Savior?? Oh, I hope so. Now… go to church :) …And encamp together around the presence of God!

*I am indebted to author and teacher, Susan Hunt, for the application of Numbers 2 to church life.

Day 364: The Goal of Prophecy

Zechariah 12-14Revelation 21

As I have read (and read and read) in daily preparation for this blog, one statement about the purpose of prophecy resonated with me. It resonated so deeply that I copied and pasted it (in bold) in a place on my computer that I see everyday. So, each day I am reminded of this goal of prophecy… Unfortunately, I have no idea from where I copied it, and for fear of plagiarizing, I have never shared it. But I think I will today:

The goal of prophecy, more than simply telling the future, is the moral formation of God’s people (Source unknown).

Zechariah’s prophecies are astounding.

  • He predicts with precision Jesus’ regal entrance to Jerusalem on a donkey (9:9).
  • He predicts the piercing of the Messiah and the depth of the mourning after His death (12:10-14).
  • He predicts that from the blood of the cross, there would come forgiveness for sins (13:1).
  • He predicts the scattering of the disciples upon Jesus’ arrest and trial (13:7).
  • He predicts the refining of the church through the means of persecution (13:9).
  • He predicts the great number of Gentiles who would turn to Christ in repentance and faith (14:16).
  • And finally, he looks forward to the day when the restoration of Israel should be so complete that even common goods are deemed holy and nothing can be defiled (14:20-21).

Wow. Could the people of Zechariah’s day have predicted the future based on Zechariah’s prophecies? I don’t think so. It’s much easier for us to interpret his words with the luxury of hindsight! So what was the purpose of Zechariah’s prophecies for his contemporaries? Zechariah spoke for the “moral formation of God’s people.” The exiles would have been comforted that God was sovereign and would judge the nations, and they would be challenged to live their lives in a manner worthy of their coming King.

Similarly, the book of Revelation is written for our “moral formation.” John is instructed to record the vision in order to encourage the suffering church to “overcome.” We learn through visions that God is in complete control. He has “sealed” his people so we are protected from His judgment! We see the final defeat of evil and we are encouraged by the future that awaits!

Are we supposed to be able to predict the future with precise detail using the book of Revelation? Absolutely not! But we can read it with the anticipation of our future home and let it motivate us to overcome the trials and temptations of this world. Why? Because we can be sure of our GLORIOUS inheritance recorded in Revelation 21!

Savor the images of this chapter! Notice that the sea of separation has been removed! The Lord Jesus, himself, is the temple and the source of light! See the beauty of Jerusalem – which is symbolic of God’s people – perfectly measured and protected for that day. This is our inheritance! Don’t let the purpose of John’s visions fall on deaf ears.

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches! 

May John’s visions transform us and propel us toward Christ. May they motivate us to persevere, endure and overcome!!!

Disclaimer: I humbly and cautiously offer an interpretation of the book of Revelation based on my Reformed understanding of Scripture, an Amillennialist eschatology, and a heavy reliance on the book, Revelation, The Compassion and Protection of Christ by Dr. Paul Gardner.

Day 361: The beauty of Prophesy and The lure of Babylon

Zechariah 4-6Revelation 18

Prophesy…it’s complex and beautiful, multi-layered and mysterious – all of which reflect God’s character. Today’s reading is thick with the many horizons of prophesy…

Our reading opens with Zechariah’s 5th vision. We learn that Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, will complete the rebuilding of the temple, not by his own might, but by the power of the Spirit (just as the world-wide church is supported by the power of the Spirit!).

In the 6th vision, we see a flying, gigantic scroll. It is a covenant-document declaring judgment on those who sin against both man and God. This one scroll finds fulfillment in the seven scrolls of Revelation.

In the 7th vision, iniquity is removed from the land. All wickedness, personified in a woman, would be held in a basket, deported away from Jerusalem and taken to “Shinar” which is Babylon. This was meaningful to the exiles, but it also points forward to the end of time – when Babylon is destroyed (Rev. 17-18).

Zechariah’s visions end with a reprise of the four horsemen from his first vision. This time they are equipped for war.

All of these visions are consummated in the symbolic act of crowning the High Priest, Joshua, with a golden crown. Reference is made to the “Branch” from Jeremiah 33:15 – which points forward to Jesus. Zechariah says of the ‘Branch,’ “It is he who shall build the temple of the Lord and shall bear royal honor, and shall sit and rule on his throne” (Zechariah 6:13). When Jesus came to earth, he did not build a physical temple, but rather a spiritual temple, His church.

This is the beauty of prophesy!! All of these visions applied to the exiles of Zechariah’s day and encouraged them to press on to rebuild the temple. These prophesies also point forward to the church age – to our present-time – when Jesus is building His spiritual kingdom and temple on earth in His church. But these visions also point even further forward in time to the end of the age, when all iniquity will be wiped from the land (Zec. 5:6)!!

Even today’s reading in Revelation is a prophesy that finds its roots in Jeremiah’s prediction of the destruction of ancient Babylon (Jer. 51). The similarities between Jeremiah 51 and Revelation 18 are striking. In Revelation, the prophesy is expanded to include the whole of the world that is against God – its economic systems, luxuries and even its entertainment. All of it will be destroyed in the blink of an eye. The world is left with nothing, mourning the loss of everything upon which they have built their lives. In the end, the foundation of prosperity proves to be sinking sand. And the persecuted saints watch the great Babylon’s destruction from the comforts of heaven. The irony is thick.

In the middle of the vision, another angel proclaims a message which is meant for us

Come out of her, my people,
lest you take part in her sins,
lest you share in her plagues;
for her sins are heaped high as heaven (Revelation 18:4).

The lure of the harlot is strong. The temptress of prosperity is intoxicating. We must resist the devil and his schemes! We must come out of Babylon! We must fix our eyes on Jesus – daily reminding ourselves that we live not for today – but for eternity!! I pray for the grace to stand against the great Babylon – while leading others to the beauty and majesty of Christ!

Disclaimer: I humbly and cautiously offer an interpretation of the book of Revelation based on my Reformed understanding of Scripture, an Amillennialist eschatology, and a heavy reliance on the book, Revelation, The Compassion and Protection of Christ by Dr. Paul Gardner.

Day 360: God always wins.

Zechariah 1-3Revelation 17
The book of Haggai was read on Day 262.

Zechariah was a contemporary of Haggai who was a contemporary of Ezra. In other words, Zechariah prophesied after the Babylonian exile during the years that the exiles returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the city and the temple. It was a time of discouragement for many of the exiles because they wrongly assumed their lack of prosperity and power implied that the Lord’s favor had left them.

The first half of Zechariah is a series of eight visions – very similar in substance and style to those recorded in Revelation! In the first vision (Zech. 1:7-17), we see the same four riders that were released upon the earth in Revelation 6.

The 2nd vision (Zech. 1:18-21) describes four horns which are probably patterned after Daniel’s 4 beasts in Daniel 7:3-8. Today’s reading from Revelation 17 uses these same verses from Daniel as its backdrop.

The 3rd vision (Zech. 2:1-13) records the measuring of Israel – which is echoed in Revelation 11:1-2. From Revelation, we learn that the measuring symbolized the sealing and protection of God’s people. From Zechariah, we learn that God, Himself, is the protector, “And I will be to her a wall of fire all around, declares the Lord, and I will be the glory in her midst” (Zech. 2:5).

All three visions were a great encouragement to the exiles – but these visions transcend time and also point to God’s protection of His people in the church age!

Before we consider Zechariah’s 4th vision, let’s turn our attention to today’s reading from Revelation. Chapters 17, 18 and part of 19 all give a big-picture view of the final judgment of the 7 bowls. Today we see the prostitute and the beast – which encapsulate the horrors of Daniel’s four beasts in Daniel 7:3-8. We learn from Rev. 17:5, that the prostitute is in fact, Babylon, which represents all of the world’s powers, people and rulers that are against God and His people. We see her sitting on the beast in the desert – a sexually grotesque image contrasting the beauty and purity of the woman in Revelation 12:1-2 (who represents God’s people).

We learn from the angel’s descriptions of the beast that he slips in and out of history’s view. He is a master of deception. Paul Gardner writes, “His presence is always felt in this fallen world, but he is not always seen. Satan can appear as an angel of light. The inhabitants of the earth (those who are not Christ’s) will be astonished when they see him because they have not realized who stands behind their life of rebellion against God. They have not always seen who ‘pulls their strings'” (P. Gardner, Revelation, pg. 227).

The seduction of the harlot is strong. Even John marveled in her presence (17:6). Were it not for the protection of the angel, who knows if John would have been seduced by her wares. We must guard ourselves against the lure of this world, for beneath it all lies Satan, the horrible dragon who lives to devour.

Which leads us to Zechariah’s 4th vision (Zech. 3). It is a vision of Satan accusing the people. And we see the remarkable scene of God removing the filthy rags of the high priest (who represents His people) and re-clothing him with clean garments. But the vision gets better! For it ends with the promise of Jesus, the righteous Branch of David, removing the iniquity from the land (3:9)!

God always has the last word. We see at the end of Revelation 17, God’s ironic power-play as the beast and rulers of this world turn on themselves in a twisted civil war to destroy the harlot (Rev. 17:16-17).

Game over. God wins. He always does.

Disclaimer: I humbly and cautiously offer an interpretation of the book of Revelation based on my Reformed understanding of Scripture, an Amillennialist eschatology, and a heavy reliance on the book, Revelation, The Compassion and Protection of Christ by Dr. Paul Gardner.

Day 355: The Victorious Church

Micah 3-5; Revelation 12

The power of God’s word…

The prophetic words of Micah 5 combined with the vivid images of Revelation 12 swirl together to form a dramatic climax!

The Baby defeats the dragon.

Israel bears a Son ( Micah 5:3; Rev. 12:1-2). The dragon stands, waiting for the child to be born, so he can devour it (Rev. 12:4). But the child is more powerful than the dragon because the child is the child of God.

She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne (Rev. 12:5).

And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord,
in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great
to the ends of the earth (Micah 5:4).

And so the battle rages on… The dragon, who was not able to destroy the Child, turns his vengeance on God’s children (Rev 12:12-1317; Eph 6:10-12). But just as God rescued His people from the hands of the Egyptians and protected and provided for His people in the wilderness, so He protects His church in these last days.

For even though the battle still wages, the battle has been won.

And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death (Revelation 12:10-11).

The martyr’s cry is the call of victory against the devil and his schemes. For death is not the final defeat – but the beginning of life born anew to those who love the Lord, their God!

We are living in the last days – in the days when God’s message of salvation is going out to the nations! A time where we enjoy great joy and peace in the presence of our King – a time that is not yet fulfilled. We live in the church age – in the “now and not yet” which is prophesied in Micah and Isaiah!

It shall come to pass in the latter days
that the mountain of the house of the Lord
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
and it shall be lifted up above the hills;
and peoples shall flow to it,
and many nations shall come, and say:
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the house of the God of Jacob,
that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between many peoples,
and shall decide for strong nations far away;
and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war anymore (Micah 4:1-4; Isaiah 2:1-4)

…we will walk in the name of the Lord our God
forever and ever
(Micah 4:5).

Disclaimer: I humbly and cautiously offer an interpretation of the book of Revelation based on my Reformed understanding of Scripture, an Amillennialist eschatology, and a heavy reliance on the book, Revelation, The Compassion and Protection of Christ by Dr. Paul Gardner.

Day 354: The Suffering Church

Micah 1-2Revelation 11

We begin Micah today! Micah was a contemporary of Amos and Isaiah. He probably lived during the Assyrian invasion of Israel and their failed attempt to capture Jerusalem under Hezekiah’s reign. Micah brings God’s legal case against His people – outlining their many sins which justify the judgment that was to come. But there is a cycle of grace within Micah as he ends each judgment oracle with the promise that God would gather and restore. Today’s reading ends with the promise of the Shepherd-King who would come to redeem Israel (Micah 2:12-13)!

Transitioning to Revelation, we are still in the midst of an interlude (between the 6th and 7th trumpets) which shows what happens to the church. This chapter is subject to many different interpretations, but I believe that both the temple and the two witnesses are symbols for the church.

Let me briefly run through the symbolism (summarized from P. Gardner’s commentary, Revelation)…

  • 11:1 – Measuring the temple shows that the church is sealed and protected.
  • 11:2 – Outer courtyard of the temple represents unbelievers.
  • John’s vision of the temple hearkens back to Ezekiel’s 2nd temple vision (Ezekiel 40-48). One of the interpretations of this vision is that the restored temple is the New Testament church – especially since God’s presence returns to the temple. Now that Christ has come and been crucified – New Testament references to God’s temple or household refer to the church.
  • 11:3 –  The church will prophesy for 3.5 years. This time period is symbolic of half of the time of fulfillment (7 years) which shows that the time is limited and sovereignly controlled by God.
  • 11:4 – The two witnesses are called “the two lampstands” which is what the 7 churches were called in Rev. 2-3.
  • 11:4-6 – The “two olive trees” symbolize “two anointed ones (Zech. 4:11-14). Also, the special powers attributed to the two witnesses in 11:6, represent Elijah and Moses – who were also supported by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the church is empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Then we read in vs. 7-12 of the Beast killing the two witnesses, the world mocking them and then miraculously, after 3.5 days, they are resurrected. According to Gardner, this is probably not the final resurrection, because this is all happening before the 7th trumpet is heralded, in other words, before the final judgment. No, this seems to be only a precursor to the final resurrection.

If the two witnesses are the church – then it is the church which is killed by the beast and the church which is resurrected. We’ve seen this happen throughout history – how the church is persecuted so heavily that it seems to be wiped out, but somehow it grows and multiplies in spite of the persecution. Consider China…Mao tried to rid his country of Christianity, but today, there are millions of Christians in China!

I believe we are living through this part of Revelation, and that the church will suffer until the final judgment comes…

We read of this final judgment at the end of the chapter (11:15-19) when the 7th trumpet sounds. The elders sing of the God who was, and the God who is (11:17), but they do not say the familiar “The God who is to come” because he has come! This is the day when the unbeliever will be judged and the believer will be rewarded. This is the day our Shepherd-King will come again and gather His people and we will enter His rest!

I will surely assemble all of you, O Jacob;
I will gather the remnant of Israel; […]

Their king passes on before them,
the Lord at their head (Micah 2:12-13).

Disclaimer: I humbly and cautiously offer an interpretation of the book of Revelation based on my Reformed understanding of Scripture, an Amillennialist eschatology, and a heavy reliance on the book, Revelation, The Compassion and Protection of Christ by Dr. Paul Gardner.

Day 353: God’s compassion on the Nations

Jonah 1-4Revelation 10

Yesterday’s reading in Revelation ended with the heralding of the 6th trumpet. Today’s reading contains an interlude before the final judgment that the 7th trumpet brings – very similar to the one before the opening of the 7th seal in which John was shown things concerning the church.

Today, we also read the book of Jonah in its entirety, which stands in stark contrast to what we read yesterday. In the book of Obadiah, God proclaimed judgment against the nations, specifically to Judah’s southeastern neighbor, Edom. Conversely, in Jonah, God’s compassion for the nations is on full display as he instructs his servant Jonah to warn the city of Nineveh to repent in order to avert impending destruction!

Again, we are reminded that God’s judgment is exercised in the context of His faithfulness to redeem His people!! And as the story of God’s redemptive history unfolds, we learn (and experience first-hand) that His people are not limited to the physical Israel – rather, His people are represented by ALL nations, tribes and tongues!!

In today’s reading from Revelation, we see Christ’s angelic representative come to earth to deliver a message to His people, the church. Yet, John is not to write its message down. Rather, John was instructed to eat the scroll, and as odd as this instruction sounds, this is not the first time a prophet has been asked to eat a scroll! Ezekiel ate a scroll in Ezekiel 2:9-3:3. As he ate, he took the scroll’s contents to heart. Similarly, John, before he could proclaim God’s message to others, had to take to heart the message for himself.

In verse 7, we can glean a hint of the angel’s message… “The mystery of God will be fulfilled”  includes both judgment and salvation – as is represented by the taste of the scroll… “It tasted sweet, for it was a message about the fulfillment of prophecy and about the return of Christ and the protections of God’s people. Yet the message was also sour, for along with the covenant blessings of Christ’s second coming, come all the horrors of judgment and wrath and covenant curses on those who have not repented. John’s task will be to tell about the glory of the second coming and the new heavens and the new earth, but it will include also prophesying about the events heralded by the seventh trumpet.” (P. Gardner, Revelation, pg 147).

John’s prophetic call would be difficult – just like it was for Jeremiah (Jer. 15:16Lam. 3:14-15). And it will be difficult for all Christians in these last days.

Comparatively, Jonah had an easier calling. For unlike other prophets, Jonah was able to see the fruit of his message in the dramatic repentance of the Ninevites. In the face of their repentance, God relented and did not send the promised destruction. You would think that Jonah would have been glad, but he did not share God’s compassionate heart for the nations.

The book of Jonah ends with God questioning him, for Jonah cared more about the destruction of a plant than he did the destruction of hundreds of thousands of people (Jonah 4:10-11). God’s compassion is in stark contrast to the hard-hearted Jonah. 

So often we are quick to assume God’s judgment is harsh and unfair, but God’s compassion is far-greater than our own. God delays His return because of His compassion!

Disclaimer: I humbly and cautiously offer an interpretation of the book of Revelation based on my Reformed understanding of Scripture, an Amillennialist eschatology, and a heavy reliance on the book, Revelation, The Compassion and Protection of Christ by Dr. Paul Gardner.