January 21, 2021

God’s last words —His best solution to end the curse on earth (six last prophets)


What is God speaking today? Can we hear through the prophets? Today we read some “last words” from God through six prophets as recorded in the Bible (735-430BC). Let the timeless words from God speak to our heart and give us the power and strength and hope we need. I have included the last few prophets here, who were confident to speak because they walked with God closely and listened to Him only.

Note that the book of Malachi closes the time for four hundred years before God speaks again through John the Baptist. The beginning key verse and the last verse reveal the heart of God toward us, His children. He starts by declaring, “I have loved you” and He ends by saying, “and he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and hearts of the children to the fathers.” (1:2, 4:6) It is clear that when men do not reconcile their hearts with God, they fail and the earth continues to suffer the curse that the first fall of mankind brought upon it. The solution from God is, “turn around, turn back” to God. Why? Because mankind were created according to His image and our lives originated from Him, and His ultimate purpose for us is to have that close relationship with Him as father and son. How can this be? God sent His Son.

Micah 735 BC       The Word of the LORD to Micah       1 – 7
Snapshot: Micah confronts the leaders of Israel and Judah regarding their injustice, and prophecies that one day the Lord himself will rule in perfect justice. Micah concludes with the prophet’s call on the Lord as his only source of salvation and mercy (7:7), pointing the people toward an everlasting hope in their everlasting God.
Key Verse: 4:5 For all people walk each in the name of his god,
But we will walk in the name of the Lord our God
Forever and ever.
LAST VERSES: Micah 7:19-20 (NKJV) 19 He will again have compassion on us,
And will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins Into the depths of the sea.
20 You will give truth to Jacob And mercy to Abraham, Which You have sworn to our fathers From days of old.

Habakkuk 625 BC       The Oracle to Habakkuk 1 – 3
Snapshot: Habakkuk pleads with God to stop the injustice and violence in Judah, but is surprised to find that God will use the Babylonians to do so.
Habakkuk was a frustrated prophet. The book contains an extended dialogue between Habakkuk and God (Habakkuk 1–2). The prophet initiated this conversation based on his distress about God’s “inaction” in the world. He wanted to see God do something more, particularly in the area of justice for evildoers. However, he finally turned to praising God regardless of the external circumstances. God actually answered his questioning God. 2:1-2
Key Verse: 2:4 but the just shall live by his faith. (Romans 1:17)
LAST VERSES: 3:17-19 Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls—18 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.19 The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills.

Zephaniah 638 BC        The Word of the LORD to Zephaniah 1 – 3
Snapshot: God warns that he will judge Israel and the surrounding nations, but also that he will restore them in peace and justice.
The prophet Zephaniah’s main message was concerning the “Day of the Lord” which he mentions continually throughout the book. On that day the Lord will personally deal with those who had forsaken him and become corrupt. The day of the Lord is a day of destruction, a terrible day, a day in which very few will escape. Zephaniah saw in the day of the Lord the destruction of his country Judah, his neighbors, and eventually the whole earth (Zephaniah 1:2,14,15,17; 2:10), and that ultimately it would result in the blessing of God’s presence among His people (3:17).
Key Verse: 3:9 (NKJV) “For then I will restore to the peoples a pure language, That they all may call on the name of the Lord, To serve Him with one accord.”
LAST VERSES: Zephaniah 3:20 (NLT) On that day I will gather you together
    and bring you home again.
I will give you a good name, a name of distinction,
    among all the nations of the earth,
as I restore your fortunes before their very eyes.
    I, the Lord, have spoken!”

Haggai 520 BC The Word of the LORD by Haggai 1, 2
Snapshot: The people have abandoned the work of restoring God’s temple in Jerusalem, and so Haggai takes them to task.
The prophet Haggai was the first of the three prophets during the Persian period who prophesied to the Jews who had returned from captivity, the other two prophets were Zechariah and Malachi. Haggai’s message was directed to the nobles and governor Zerubbabel. The time was 18 years after the king of Persia allowed them to return to rebuild the Temple. Samaritans from the north had caused all the work in the Temple to come to a halt. 16 years had gone by and people were more interested in beautifying their houses than rebuilding the Temple. The prophet Haggai encouraged God’s people to finish rebuilding the Temple that Zerubbabel had started. During the re-building, Haggai continued to preach to the Jews, encouraging them with the hope of future glory in the temple and a victory to come over the enemies of God’s people (2:7–9, 21–22). His message was effective, and the Spirit of the Lord stirred up the leaders and people to continue building and completed. 1:13-14. God speaks through him to the governor Zerubbabel, according to the word that I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt, so My Spirit remains among you; do not fear!’ (2:5)
Key Verse: 2:7 (NLT) I will shake all the nations, and the treasures of all the nations will be brought to this Temple. I will fill this place with glory, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
LAST VERSES: Haggai 2:23 (NLT) 23 “But when this happens, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, I will honor you, Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, my servant. I will make you like a signet ring on my finger, says the Lord, for I have chosen you. I, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!”

Zechariah 520 BC    The Word of the LORD to Zechariah  1 – 14
Snapshot: The prophet Zechariah calls Israel to return to God, and records prophetic visions that show what’s happening behind the scenes. His name means, “Yahweh (God) remembers.”
He is both a priest and a prophet. Zechariah’s message is very messianic and future-looking, and reveals much about the end times in which we are living. Looking at the eight visions together, you can see it is God’s message to restore Israel and the nations to their right relationship to one another, and to Him as the God of the world.
The re-building of the Temple was halted for 16 years. Two months after Haggai delivered his first sermon, Zechariah began his prophetic ministry (Hag. 1:1 and Zech. 1:1). He encouraged the people to spiritual renewal and motivated them to rebuild the Temple by revealing to them God’s plans for Israel’s future. With this encouragement, the Temple reconstruction was completed in 515 BC, five years later.
Key Verse: 4:6 (NKJV) So he answered and said to me: “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the Lord of hosts.
LAST VERSE: Zechariah 14:21 (ERV) In fact, every dish in Jerusalem and Judah will have the label, holy to the lord all-powerful. All the people offering sacrifices will come, take those dishes, and cook their special meals in them. At that time there will not be any merchants buying and selling things in the Temple of the Lord All-Powerful.

Malachi 430 BC       The Word of the LORD by Malachi    1 – 4
Snapshot: God has been faithful to Israel, but they continue to live disconnected from him—so God sends Malachi to call them out.
Malachi prophesied during the Persian Empire. The Temple in Jerusalem was rebuilt and many Jews had returned but they had neglected the things of God. They were skimping on their sacrifices and failing to give their tithes, and the priests of God did nothing to encourage them. There were mixed marriages and divorce had become a common practice. He told them not to neglect the things of God and repent right now if they ever expect to receive the blessings of God and prosper.
Malachi also speaks of the coming day of the Lord, and prophesied the coming of John the Baptist (who came as the fulfillment of his prophecy about Elijah preparing the way for the Messiah) (Matthew 3:1-12 and 11:14). The Book of Malachi closes the Old Testament and there was not another prophet for nearly 400 years until John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness.
Key verse: God reminds that Israel is the Beloved of God: 1:2 (NKJV) “I have loved you,” says the Lord. “Yet you say, ‘In what way have You loved us?’ Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?” Says the Lord. “Yet Jacob I have loved;
LAST VERSE: Malachi 4:6 (AMPC) And he shall turn and reconcile the hearts of the [estranged] fathers to the [ungodly] children, and the hearts of the [rebellious] children to [the piety of] their fathers [a reconciliation produced by repentance of the ungodly], lest I come and smite the land with a curse and a ban of utter destruction.

Kainotes, 2021-01-21

December 13, 2020

A list to reaffirm our position in Christ today

I BELIEVE JESUS IS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF GOD. I HAVE LIFE IN HIS NAME

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:” (John 1:12 NKJV) “but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of Godand that believing you may have life in His name.” (John 20:31 NKJV)
“And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.” (John 1:34 NKJV)

MY REAL LIFE IS IN JESUS, THE SON OF GOD. Jesus lives in me. The Holy Spirit dwells in me. His word abides in me.
I am born of God, the Holy Spirit.  Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. (John 3:5 NKJV)
Jesus is the Son of God. I live by the faith of Jesus Himself. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20 KJV)
My real life is in Jesus Christ (in God). I am in Christ.“For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:3 TLB) “And when Christ who is our real life comes back again, you will shine with him and share in all his glories.” (Colossians 3:4 GNT).
Jesus is the vine and I am a branch. I abide in Jesus. (“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 NKJV)
I am the righteousness if God in Christ.“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV)

I AM OF GOD, THE HOLY SPIRIT LIVES IN ME
God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit live in me.
I do the will of God by believing in Jesus, the Son of God. I belong to the family of God. I am one of the children of God. Jesus said, “Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” (Mark 3:35 NIV). “And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:40)
Because I belong to God, I have the Holy Spirit in me and have overcome the spiritual wickedness of the world. “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4 NKJV)

I HAVE THE LOVE OF GOD IN ME. I AM LED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT TO LIVE LIKE JESUS
Because God loves me so He has given me the status of a ‘child of God.’ “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.” (1 John 3:1 NKJV).
I am led by the Holy Spirit. I am a child of God. “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” (Romans 8:14 KJV)
As Jesus is, so are we in this world- living like Jesus.“Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.” (1 John 4:17 NKJV)
“Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him.” (1 John 5:10 NKJV) I am born of God.

JESUS CHRIST HAS MADE ME AN OVERCOMER. I CAN LIVE BY FAITH, BELIEVING IN THE WORD OF GOD
Jesus came to destroy the work of the devil. “The one persisting in sin belongs to the diabolical one, who has been all about sin from the beginning. That is why the Son of God came into our world: to destroy the plague of destruction inflicted on the world by the diabolical one.” (1 John 3:8 The Voice)
I overcome the world by faith. “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” (1 John 5:4 NKJV)
I have Jesus as my protection from the evil one. “We know that God’s children do not make a practice of sinning, for God’s Son holds them securely, and the evil one cannot touch them.” (1 John 5:18 NLT)

I CHOOSE TO AND CAN LIVE THE SUPER-ABUNDANT VICTORIOUS (FREE FROM THE BONDAGE OF SIN AND DESTRUCTION) LIFE THAT JESUS HAS GIVEN ME, BY THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN ME
“12 So, my brothers and sisters, you owe the flesh nothing! You do not need to live according to its ways, so abandon its oppressive regime. 13 For if your life is just about satisfying the impulses of your sinful nature, then prepare to die. But if you have invited the Spirit to destroy these selfish desires, you will experience life. 14 If the Spirit of God is leading you, then take comfort in knowing you are His children. 15 You see, you have not received a spirit that returns you to slavery, so you have nothing to fear. The Spirit you have received adopts you and welcomes you into God’s own family. That’s why we call out to Him, “Abba! Father!” as we would address a loving daddy.” (Romans 8:12-15 The Voice)

Kainotes, reblogged this list which I proclaimed on 2015-12-22 as spiritual auto-pilot when confronting with spiritual fear after waking from a nightmare of the future world —which happens to be now on 2020-12-12.

Have the right “mark” (seal) and win the race: God’s winning strategies in Revelation 2-3

The essence of strategies is to choose what to do. This is a really difficult one unless you have been sealed with the right mark on you. What? Do all who profess to be Christians have mark too? Wait. We shall see who has the mark and who does not, according to Jesus.

Firstly, beware of the wrong mark, the mark of the beast, as warned in the Book of Revelation (13:16, 17, 14:9, 11, 15:2, 16:2, 19:20, 20:4). Those with the evil mark (on their forehead or on their hands) will be tormented (16:2) and eventually cast into the lake of fire (19:20).

Only the saints, those without the mark of the beast, and instead have been sealed with the mark of Christ, can reign with Christ for 1000 years.

Revelation 7:3 “Wait! Don’t harm the land or the sea or the trees until we have placed the seal of God on the foreheads of his servants.”

Revelation 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

What is the mark of Christ and how do believers of Jesus receive it? Here are the Scriptures: The seal (mark) is the Holy Spirit and comes from God through Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 1:19-22. 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me, Silvanus, and Timothy—was not Yes and No, but in Him was Yes. 20 For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us. 21 Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God22 who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.

2 Corinthians 5:5 Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

Ephesians 1:13-14 13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

1 John 2:20 But you are not like that, for the Holy One has given you his Spirit, and all of you know the truth.

1 John 4:13 And God has given us His Spirit as proof that we live in Him and He in us. 15 All who confess that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. 17 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgmentbut we can face Him with confidence because we liv like Jesus here in this world.

From the above verses we see that the believers of Jesus have been sealed with His mark, which is the Holy Spirit. This mark distinguishes us as belonging to Jesus and not to the devil (the beast) who will also brand his followers with a mark on their forehead or hands. The mark of the Holy Spirit in us enables us to live like Jesus in this world, a victorious overcomer.

The outcome of each group is entirely different. The beast and its followers will end up in the lake of fire. The group who belongs to Jesus, marked by Jesus, and follows Him to the end and overcome will reign with Him. What are the keys given to us to overcome the adversaries and adversities? Let us read Revelation 2-3 again to find them.

  1. Jesus reiterates the truth that He has overcome the NUMBER ONE FEAR in human, that is, DEATH. Jesus has died and resurrected, and He now holds the keys of death and the grave. And He tells us not to be afraid. The Good News is He is alive forever and ever, and so are His followers. (Revelation 1:17-18; Hebrews 2:14-15) The key is to “remain faithful to what we have been taught from the beginning”, the apostle John assures us this in 1John 2:24-25, “If you do, you will remain in fellowship with the Son (Jesus) and with the Father. And in this fellowship we enjoy the eternal life He promised us.”
  2. Jesus also reassures that He knows all the things we do and the situations we are in, and what the enemy is doing. (Revelation 2:2-3, 2:9-10, 2:13, 2:19, 2:24, 3:1, 3:4, 3:8, 10, 3:15-16) All we need to do is to listen to the Holy Spirit and understand and act accordingly.
  3. Jesus says He loves usRevelation 1:5 and from Jesus Christ. He is the faithful witness to these things, the first to rise from the dead, and the ruler of all the kings of the world. All glory to him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding his blood for us. 3:9 Look, I will force those who belong to Satan’s synagogue—those liars who say they are Jews but are not—to come and bow down at your feet. They will acknowledge that you are the ones I love. 3:19 I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference.
  4. 1 John 4:4 Little children, you are of God [you belong to Him] and have [already] defeated and overcome them [the agents of the antichrist], because He Who lives in you is greater (mightier) than he who is in the world.

Our application: Make sure we have the right marking, listen to the Holy Spirit, understand what He is saying and act accordingly.

Kainotes, December 12, 2020

Align, finish the race, win: God’s winning strategies in Revelation 2-3

The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.” I learned and practiced this even when employed in the corporate world. Today a Generation Z asks me why do I bother to write this blog? Why bother with the serious stresses of the world when I can just write fun things and get on with a relaxed life? After all, there are many good Christian blogs out there. What makes one blog special when there are seventy millions blog posts being published on WordPress each month? The answer for me and other Christians is we are each running to complete a race, made more pressing especially in the current uncertainty and anxieties in many hearts. Every Christian is enrolled in a race (1 Corinthians 9:24-27); every Christian is engaged in a conflict (Ephesians 6:10-18; 2 Timothy 2:4, 5).  And the goal set before every Christian is to win the race, be victorious in the conflict. God has made provision for us to say at the end, “I have fought the good fight [‘I have strained every muscle in the good contest’].  I have finished the race, I have kept the faithFinally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness . . . .” (2 Timothy 4:78)

In this context, I am looking at the keys in the seven letters that Jesus has given to the churches/Christian groups in the Book of Revelation (Chapter two and three). Please read on.

What the Christians are not to do: (Not doing the wrong things)

Firstly, do not follow and do what the opponents of God do. How to identify this? Observe and measure their intentions, actions and outcome against God’s plume line (the words of God in the Bible).

Satan (the devil/the enemy/the thief) —the head of the enemies of God has only one goal —rebellion against God through human beings, and one strategy —deceptions. he succeeded through Adam and Eve. Their action resulted the downfall of all mankind, and the takeover of rulership by the devil on earth.

Whilst Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8b) and brings His people into the super-abundant life in the Kingdom of God, the thief continues to steal, kill, and destroy mankind (John 10:10). The two “leaders” of rebellion cited in the Book of Revelation—the Nicolaitans and Jezebel originate and take direct order from God’s enemy. Jesus warns of their existence in the midst of Christian community and even Satan-owned synagogues (2:9, 3:9) and commands us to take action against such evil.

Action required of Christians:

  1. hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans. (2:6, 2:15) Take note that their evil teachings and practices occur in Satan’s city with Satan’s throne. Jesus urges the fallen/compromised church members to repent of their sins or to face destruction together with the Nicolaitans. (2:13-16) The following quote (in Italics) on the Nicolaitans is excerpted from the Quick Reference Dictionary (biblestudytools.com)

Who are the Nicolaitans?

(followers of Nicolas ), a sect mentioned in ( Revelation 2:6 Revelation 2:15 ) whose deeds were strongly condemned. They hold the doctrine of Balaam. They held that it was lawful to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit fornication, in opposition to the decree of the Church rendered in ( Acts 15:20 Acts 15:29 ) ( 2 Peter 2:15 ; Jude 1:11 ) They brought the impurities of those feasts into the meetings of the Christian Church…not simply as an indulgence of appetite: but as a part of a system, supported by a “doctrine,” accompanied by the boast of a prophetic illumination, ( 2 Peter 2:1 ) To hate those deeds is a sign of life in a Church that otherwise is weak and faithless. ( Revelation 2:6 ) To tolerate them is well nigh to forfeit the glory of having been faithful under persecution. ( Revelation 2:14 Revelation 2:15 )

The error of Balaam is associated with “reward [profit]” in Jude, and the way of Balaam is associated with the “wages of unrighteousness” in 2 Peter.  1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.

2. Do not follow the Jezebel spirit —teachings and the evil deeds (2:20-23). She is immoral, leads God’s servants astray, teaches them to commit sexual sin and to eat food offered to idols, and leads them to commit adultery with her. Jesus describes this evil teaching in 2:24 as “this false teaching (‘deep truths’, as they call them—depths of Satan, actually).” Jesus warns all the churches that those who do not repent and turn away from immorality will suffer greatly and their offsprings with Jezebel will be killed as well. (2:20-23)

Read the following characteristics about the people with Jezebel’s spirit:

Jezebel’s ultimate goal is always control. The Jezebel spirit causes people to attack, dominate or manipulate, especially against male/legitimate authority, causes fear, flight and discouragement, often insecure and wounded, with pronounced egocentric needs, function subtlety and deceptively, are proud, independent and rebellious. A Jezebel spirit is always in alignment with an ideological totalitarian/dictatorship spirit.

Jesus also warns us not to be/do certain things. Why? Not doing the negative will increase our abilities to overcome the adversities and adversaries. Doing the right things will bring us on the right race course and run to victory as Jesus has done.

  1. Do not lose the same fervor of love we have for God when we first accepted Jesus as our Savior and Lord. God empowers us through love to do the works of God. We shall be victorious over the Nicolaitans. (2:4-7)
  2. Do not be afraid of physical persecution and suffering (for Christ) (2:10), e.g. being thrown into prison, poverty, blasphemy, and threat of death. (2:9)
  3. Repent from the Nicolaitans’ sins, and turn back to God. (2:6) Repent from the Jezebel sins and turn back to God when there is still TODAY. (2:21)
  4. Know that God searches out the thoughts and intentions of every person and gives to each whatever we deserve. (2:23) We are to follow the truth and hold tightly to what we have until Jesus comes.
  5. Wake up, strengthen, and stay alive! Repent, turn back to God, return to what we first heard and believed and hold fast to that belief! (3:2-3)
  6. Obey God’s words, do not deny Him, persevere, and hold on to what little we have, despite having little strength. (3:8-11)
  7. See and acknowledge the lack in ourselves and our churches which sit on the fence, indistinct from the rest of the world (spiritually wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked). Do something! Be diligent and turn from our indifference! (3:15-19)

Jesus’ promised abilities, and rewards to these who overcome and finish the race in victory: His believers are able to listen to the Spirit and understand what He is saying to the churches (all of us who believe). (2:7, 11, 17, 29, 3:6, 13, 22)

  • Hidden manna from heaven.
  • The fruit from the tree of life*.
  • A new name as in Christ. A name in the Book of Life in heaven.
  • Crown of life.
  • Authority over all the nations as in Christ (the morning star).
  • Friends with Jesus. sit with Him on His throne!

*Revelation 22:2 It flowed down the center of the main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations.

Hebrews 3:12-15 12 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; 13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, 15 while it is said:

“Today, if you will hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”

Kainotes, Dec 11, 2020

 

Begin at the finish line and win the race with focus and boldness

In my corporate days, I have taught a useful leadership management topic called, “Begin at the end”. What it means is that when you know your finish line, you will run with focus, boldness, and even ease. How do we know what the finish line of our life is? The Bible is our plume line. When we know what God uses to measure our lives, and what resources and abilities He has richly given us, we know the finish line.

I cannot think of a more essential strategic book to read than the Book of Revelation* in December 2020. In the early 1980s when first baptized in the Spirit and started to feel the hunger pang for God’s words, I was posted by my company to a town with only one evangelical church and the pastor, a fervent missionary, who decided to teach the handful of us the book of Revelation in nightly Bible classes! Imagine suddenly throwing someone who cannot swim overboard into the vast ocean. That was exactly what happened to me that winter. Looking back, I still remember listening and reading the unimaginable words and phrases night after night, with my mouth wide-opened in awe, and it turned out to be one of the best years for a “novice” in Christ. Unlike what many Christians may think, the book of Revelation is not a book of bad news for us. I believe that after one learns to swim proficiently in this vast ocean, there will be great rejoicing reading any other Book of the Bible (including the Leviticus)! For those who are familiar with this Book, it is still good to meditate on it and prepare for the year 2021. Begin at the finish line and you will not go astray.

The Book of Revelation is the finish line for mankind, including believers and none believers of Jesus Christ. There are already many easily accessible good online teachings and free Bible study tools for anyone interested. I would only share some of my notes on a few passages. Today I am led to look at three passages in chapter one: 1:1, 1:3, and 1:10 which speak to me.

What does Jesus mean by telling John in the three passages, highlighting:

“the events that must soon take place”, “for the time is near”, and “write in a book everything you see, and send it to the seven churches”?

1:1 This is a revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants the events that must soon take place. He sent an angel to present this revelation to his servant John,

God blesses the one who reads the words of this prophecy to the church, and he blesses all who listen to its message and obey what it says, for the time is near.

10 It was the Lord’s Day, and I was worshiping in the Spirit. Suddenly, I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet blast. 11 It said, “Write in a book everything you see, and send it to the seven churches in the cities of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.”

The watchman’s notes:

  1. The apostle John was worshiping in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day when he saw and heard Jesus talking to him and revealing to him the future events about mankind. 1:10
  2. John describes the Jesus he saw and what he heard in 1:10-20. he summarized what he understood who Jesus really is in 1:5-7. Briefly, Jesus is the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. He loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood. And He is coming again, and every eye will see Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him.
  3. What are the events that must soon take place? They are all recorded down by John in the Book of Revelation. How soon will they take place? John wrote this book while in exile on the Patmos Island around 95AD. The message of Revelation is about what is to come. John is writing in two spaces: what was happening then and what would happen in the future. The book gives a picture of what will happen as we close the doors on human history as we know it and we look forward with anticipation to Jesus’ second coming.
  4. What does it mean by “must soon take place”? When we read the Bible we can note that there is an emphasis on time, which reminds us that God does things in His time, the right time. From the definition of the word “soon” from Strong’s Greek 5034: Quickness, speed; hastily, immediately, it would appear in God’s view it would not be delayed when that right time comes. With God, a thousand years is like a day. In Matthew 24, Jesus Himself gave some answers to His disciples about the Jesus’ second coming and of the end of the age, and what will be the signs to watch. (Also read Mark 13; Daniel 9:23-27)
  5. There are many teachings on how to interpret Matthew 24. I have noted two clues in 24:7-12, verse 10 for Christians, “Then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.” How can this be? Yes, it is happening today, sadly, even among Christians and “believers” of Jesus as Lord and Savior. Verse 9 gives another frightening clue, “you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.” Verse 8 concludes what these mean when they happen, “All these are the beginnings of sorrows.
  6. The development and rise of influencers’ power through media (communication) via the internet and digital technology has accelerated the speed and spread of information and shaping of the mind (attitude, value and belief). It also means that “all nations” can access to big information, including hate speeches/news almost simultaneously.
  7. The above development and clear signs mean that “the time is near“. Revelation 1:3
  8. What shall Christians do when we read, hear, understand these words? Do what John was asked to do. Obey. Spread the words and help others to understand.
  9. Jesus came to this planet with a clear and focused mission, to save mankind from the power of sins and bondages and eternal damnation. And He did His part before He left earth. What did He tell tell His followers to do before He left? Matthew 28:17-20; Mark 16:15-20; Luke 24:44-49; John 21:15-17; Acts 1:7-8.
  10. Take note that 1:10-11 clearly states that the Book of Revelation is for the Christians to read, listen and obey, and the Lord Jesus singles out seven kinds of condition a conglomerate of Christians could be under.

Revelation 22:6 Then the angel said to me, “Everything you have heard and seen is trustworthy and true. The Lord God, who inspires his prophets, has sent his angel to tell his servants what will happen soon.”

Jesus Is Coming

Revelation 22:7 “Look, I am coming soon! Blessed are those who obey the words of prophecy written in this book.”

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*Revelation (Easton’s Bible Dictionary)

an uncovering, a bringing to light of that which had been previously wholly hidden or only obscurely seen. God has been pleased in various ways and at different times ( Hebrews 1:1 ) to make a supernatural revelation of himself and his purposes and plans, which, under the guidance of his Spirit, has been committed to writing. (See WORD OF GOD .) The Scriptures are not merely the “record” of revelation; they are the revelation itself in a written form, in order to the accurate preservation and propagation of the truth.

Revelation and inspiration differ. Revelation is the supernatural communication of truth to the mind; inspiration (q.v.) secures to the teacher or writer infallibility in communicating that truth to others. It renders its subject the spokesman or prophet of God in such a sense that everything he asserts to be true, whether fact or doctrine or moral principle, is true, infallibly true.

Kainotes, 12/03/2020

November 22, 2020

December 18, 520 BC. Haggai 2:18 (revelation received on Nov 22,2020)

Today’s revelation received by the watchman (Nov 22, 2020)

December 18, 520 BC. Haggai 2:18

Message to the priests about holiness, not getting themselves defiled by association with those defiled by sin,  and rebuilding the Temple of God

2:10 On December 18 of the second year of King Darius’s reign, the Lord sent this message to the prophet Haggai: 11 “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says. Ask the priests this question about the law…

Message to the people of God (the remnants of God’s people) to repent from their sin

2:14 Then Haggai responded, “That is how it is with this people and this nation, says the Lord. Everything they do and everything they offer is defiled by their sin.

The consequences of their sins: economic failure

15 Look at what was happening to you before you began to lay the foundation of the Lord’s Temple. 16 When you hoped for a twenty-bushel crop, you harvested only ten. When you expected to draw fifty gallons from the winepress, you found only twenty. 17 I sent blight and mildew and hail to destroy everything you worked so hard to produce. Even so, you refused to return to me, says the Lord.

God’s promise: a booming economy

2:18 “Think about this eighteenth day of December, the day when the foundation of the Lord’s Temple was laid. Think carefully. 19 I am giving you a promise now while the seed is still in the barn. You have not yet harvested your grain, and your grapevines, fig trees, pomegranates, and olive trees have not yet produced their crops. But from this day onward I will bless you.”

Promises for Zerubbabel (the anointed ruler) about giving him the authority to rule: God promises to overthrow other contending rulers, foreign power, overturn their military forces and cause confusion within the enemy’s camp so they will kill each other and self-destruct

20 On that same day, December 18, the Lord sent this second message to Haggai: 21 “Tell Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah, that I am about to shake the heavens and the earth. 22 I will overthrow royal thrones and destroy the power of foreign kingdoms. I will overturn their chariots and riders. The horses will fall, and their riders will kill each other.

23 “But when this happens, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, I will honor you, Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, my servant. I will make you like a signet ring on my finger, says the Lord, for I have chosen you. I, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!”

God’s promise and encouragement for the discouraged Temple builders: the political and religious leaders (the king and the priests) and the people (the remnant of God’s people): be strong and fearless in building up for God, and He will bring victory over their enemies and physical and spiritual prosperity for His people

4 But now the Lord says: Be strong, Zerubbabel. Be strong, Jeshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people still left in the land. And now get to work, for I am with you, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 5 My Spirit remains among you, just as I promised when you came out of Egypt. So do not be afraid.’

6 “For this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: In just a little while I will again shake the heavens and the earth, the oceans and the dry land. 7 I will shake all the nations, and the treasures of all the nations will be brought to this Temple. I will fill this place with glory, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 8 The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 9 The future glory of this Temple will be greater than its past glory, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. And in this place I will bring peace. I, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!”

Key point of this revelation:

On December 18, 520 BC, the God-anointed political leader (Zerubbabel) and the high priest Jeshua, led the people of God to lay the foundation of the Lord’s Temple. And that is the day when God reminded the priests of holiness, the people to stay away from sins, and officially recognized Zerubbabel as His designated ruler for His people and their land.

Kainotes, Nov 22, 2020

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Jewish history of the Hanukkah celebration and miracle

Friday, December 18, 2020 is the equivalent of 3 Tevet, 5781 Chanukah Day 8

8th Day of Chanukah Miracle (139 BCE)

On the 25th of Kislev in the year 3622 from creation, the Maccabees liberated the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, after defeating the vastly more numerous and powerful armies of the Syrian-Greek king Antiochus IV, who had tried to forcefully uproot the beliefs and practices of Judaism from the people of Israel. The victorious Jews repaired, cleansed and rededicated the Temple to the service of G-d. But all the Temple’s oil had been defiled by the pagan invaders; when the Jews sought to light the Temple’s menorah (candelabra), they found only one small cruse of ritually pure olive oil. Miraculously, the one-day supply burned for eight days, until new, pure oil could be obtained. In commemoration, the Sages instituted the 8-day festival of Chanukah, on which lights are kindled nightly to recall and publicize the miracle.

Today’s word of hope: hornet, Holy Spirit, and pattern for victory

What have these in common: hornet, pattern, the Holy Spirit? The watchman asks the Lord for the meaning of the vision he saw on the previous day during a 24 hours fast. In the vision he saw granular compartments in hexagon shape joined together. The word he receives today is “hornet”. Then he realizes that what he saw looks like a hornet nest.

There are two things to note about the hornets. Hornets (like bees) make hexagon cells, incredibly efficient mathematically optimal to divide a surface into compartments of equal area with the least total perimeter. The structure best economizes labor and materials. Hornet stings are very painful to humans because hornet venom contains a large amount (5%) of acetylcholine.

Why and where are hornets important in the Bible? Let us read the following three passages which all give one message from God. In the first two passages the Lord has given assurance to His people, especially the leaders and warriors, that He will send hornets before them to drive out and dispossess the enemies from the land that the Lord has given to His people. In the last passage the Lord recounted to His people the fact that He had actually done it, just as He promised.

What will God’s hornets do?

God’s hornets will cause fear and confusion among all the enemies, so that they will run away in defeat.

Exodus 23:27-28 27 “I will send My fear before you, I will cause confusion among all the people to whom you come, and will make all your enemies turn their backs to you. 28 And I will send hornets before you, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite from before you. 

God’s hornets will cause the enemies to fear and hide themselves from God’s people, and they will be destroyed.

Deuteronomy 7:17-21 17 “If you should say in your heart, ‘These nations are greater than I; how can I dispossess them?’— 18 you shall not be afraid of them, but you shall remember well what the Lord your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt: 19 the great trials which your eyes saw, the signs and the wonders, the mighty hand and the outstretched arm, by which the Lord your God brought you out. So shall the Lord your God do to all the peoples of whom you are afraid. 20 Moreover the Lord your God will send the hornet among them until those who are left, who hide themselves from you, are destroyed. 21 You shall not be terrified of them; for the Lord your God, the great and awesome God, is among you. 

God’s hornets have driven out and destroyed the enemies before the people of God, delivered the promised land to God’s people.

Joshua 24:11-13 11 Then you went over the Jordan and came to Jericho. And the men of Jericho fought against you—also the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. But I delivered them into your hand. 12 I sent the hornet before you which drove them out from before you, also the two kings of the Amorites, but not with your sword or with your bow. 13 I have given you a land for which you did not labor, and cities which you did not build, and you dwell in them; you eat of the vineyards and olive groves which you did not plant.’

Incidents of God’s helping the Israelites in their conquest of the land east of the Jordan and Canaan (from the watchman’s notes) It is obvious that the word “hornets” is a “secret weapon” of God for His people in battles to assure victories for them. Not the usual military weapons (sword and bow). During the Moses’ exodus from Egypt, and victories over two Amorite kings (Deuteronomy 2:31, 3:1-2) and later Joshua’s victorious conquest of the Canaan land, God’s presence is with them. The pillar of glory cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night which signified the Holy Spirit enabled the Israelites to escape safely from Egypt. God sent His Angel before them to drive out the Canaanite (Exodus 32:43, 33:2). God sent a Commander (Jesus) of the Lord’s army whom Joshua met outside the town of Jericho (Joshua 5:13-15). God’s presence with Joshua (in the battles), defeated the enemies and achieved great military success (Joshua 11:6). The presence of the trinity God is invincible. According to Joshua’s testimony below, one man of Joshua’s army (on earth) shall chase a thousand of the enemy’s army. The spiritual military power is a thousand times that of military strength of earth man in terms of warfare.

Joshua’s last words to the Israelites’ new generation of warriors: Joshua 23:9-11

For the Lord has driven out from before you great and strong nations; but as for you, no one has been able to stand against you to this day10 One man of you shall chase a thousand, for the Lord your God is He who fights for you, as He promised you. 11 Therefore take careful heed to yourselves, that you love the Lord your God14 “Behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth. And you know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one thing has failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spoke concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one word of them has failed.

Joshua 24:14 14 So fear the Lord and serve him wholeheartedly. Put away forever the idols your ancestors worshiped when they lived beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord alone.

What do I mean by the word “pattern” in this blog’s heading? God uses pattern to guide us. He gave a pattern of the tabernacles and all the related details to Moses. He gave a pattern of the temple to David. And He gives a pattern in the Bible about warfare. Why do I say this confidently? Our position in Christ has enabled every believer to confidently declare that we have the trinity God in us, the Father (God), the Son (Jesus) and the Holy Spirit. This is a pattern for victory.

On the power of pattern created and inbuilt by the Creator: “The honeybee’s honeycomb fits neatly into the atlas of mathematically optimal forms found in nature.” “That there could be a way primitive tiny-brained insects could possess the technology and skill to build incredibly efficient combs is simply astonishing.”

God’s last words —His best solution to end the curse on earth (six last prophets)

What is God speaking today? Can we hear through the prophets? Today we read some “last words” from God through six prophets as recorded in t...