My daily exploration of the Bible, taking it one chapter at a time. If I do it everyday, it'll take 1189 days.



Monday, February 18, 2008

It is finished!

Dear all who have read this over the years,

It is finished!

I started this blog in November 2004 and have been doing it until today, February 18th 2008. That's about 3.5 years. This blog never saw a large readership, however if you read my first introduction post on November 16, 2004 you'll find that that was never it's purpose.

Firstly, I want to thank all the people who have read along with me or have commented on my posts. In recognition of my appreciation, I am delighted to give you all a free car* each.

Please keep commenting on chapters as you read them, and I'll still reply. All chapters are complete and can be found using our little device on the top right on the page.

I'm happy that I managed to achieve a ridiculous plan I set out 1189 days ago. I've done it in a relatively consistent way, and generally kept to my timeframe. I have, at times, been up to a month and half behind, but I'll always managed to catch up, and I finished on the right day without breaking my rule of only doing a maximum of two chapters per day.

So what has happened in my life over the last 1189 years? Well, I have moved back to New Zealand, moved to Dunedin and had a whole new life down here. I've completed my first 24 papers at University without getting a degree. I've gone from being a newbie at Elim in Dunedin to being a lifegroup leader to being the Student Pastor. I've received a nephew and a niece to add to the one nephew I already had. I'm pretty sure I had both my brothers-in-law before I started this. No-one close to me has died. I've had one girlfriend and fallen in love at least once, yet am still desirably single. I've learnt Hebrew. I've been on a missions trip to Thailand. I've started crying occasionally again. I've kept and shared my faith.

To be honest, I'm happy this blog is over. It forced me to it in front of the computer every day, which meant I wasted time on the computer doing other stuff because I'm ill-disciplined. I'm happy to have achieved what I have, but I will actually have a significant chunk of time back each day, and I can actually go days without finding a computer because I don't have an excuse anymore. I'll be more diligent at work because I won't have an ulterior motive to do my blog!

The question now is, what will my daily countdown programme do once it reaches zero? Only time will tell.

On to the Apocrypha!

Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Revelation 22

World without an end

Summary:
Then I saw the river of life flowing from God's throne. The tree of life was on the banks bearing crops every month. The leaves heal the nations. We, God's servants, will see God's face. This is all true.

"I'm coming soon! Do what this book says!". I, John, saw all of this and was told to tell the world.

"I'm coming soon! I'm the beginning and the end! Wash yourself clean. This message is from me, Jesus."

"Come if you're thirsty" says the Church and the Spirit. Don't add to this book nor take away.

Amen.

Key verses:
2. the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.
17. "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.

My thoughts:
This is it! The end of the Bible. And it's all good. I love the first key verse. The nations are now healing. Human history, a history of suffering, is over. This is the way our world ends.

The curses and plagues associated with subtracting and adding to this book is clearly referring to Revelation and not to the whole Bible.

Revelation is written with a point, and the point is this: "Come". Come, whoever is thirsty and take from God's water. As I finish this blog I encourage you to come drink from God's water.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Revelation 21

The new-maker

Summary:
Then there was a new heaven and earth replacing the old. There was a new Jerusalem, the bride. God now lived with people and makes everything sweet. It's all new! Life to the overcomers, and second death to the sinners.

Jerusalem was Jesus' bride. It was like a beautiful jewel. There was one gate for each tribe, and one foundation for each apostle. It was a cube of 2,200km with thick walls. It was made of very expensive jewels and gold. There is no temple nor sun nor moon, because God's presence was there and he's shiny enough himself! There is no night. Only those in the book cane enter. Nothing impure will be there.

Key verse:
5. He who was on the throne said, "I am making everything new!"

My thoughts:
John/God paints a pretty sweet picture here. It is utter perfection in way unimaginable to us. God's presence would be undeniably present. I'd assume there'd be no tiredness, because there's no night and probably no sleep. It's all very cool.

Here it connected the second death with a lake of sulfur which connects it closer to the final destination of the unholy trinity, but it's certainly not conclusive.

The apostles are highly elated here with the tribes of Israel. It makes clear the priority of the initial apostles as having a special role over all those who would follow. They are eye-witnesses of Jesus. It also shows how the church is the new Israel, God's new people, his new Jerusalem. Very cool.

So Jerusalem is the bride, though often we think of the church as the bride, but I reckon there will be no distinction between the church and Jerusalem.

I love God's desire to make things new. He's the creator! Yay!

There is an implication here that there will be those living outside the holy city, but I think a too literal reading is unhelpful. This is a vision and needs to be interpreted thus. Notice that there is no night in the city, but presumably there is elsewhere. Clearly this isn't really speaking to reality as we see it.

The city is the size of a small moon.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Revelation 20

Prast-millennialism

Summary:
Then an angel locked up Satan in the Abyss for a thousand years during which the martyrs came back to life and reigned with Jesus. This is the first of two resurrections.

After this, Satan will be released to bring an army against God, but God will whomp them sending Satan with the rest of his trinity to suffer eternal torment.

Then a massive throne came, causing all things to recede, and books of everyone's lives were there. All the dead came back and were judged. If they weren't on the list, then they were thrown into fire with death itself.

Key verse:
15. If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

My thoughts:
Okay, so there is a passage here which quite clearly refers to a place of eternal torment, but it's also quite clear that that place is only for the unholy trinity. The general resurrected who are judged go to a separate place; the lake of fire. It is unclear whether that is eternal torment or simply second death.

Actually, it's entirely clear. It says "The lake of fire is the second death".

Anywho... somewhat disturbingly it says we are judged by what we had done, and not by our faith. It doesn't actually specify what constitutes getting your name in the book of life however, so it's theoretically possible that people are judged for their actions, but that that doesn't stop their names from being in the book of life. Hmmm...

So yea... has the millenium of Christ happened yet? Will it ever happen? Is it coming? People disagree on these points. I would contend that they are yet to happen, because they seem to occur after Armageddon and all the plagues and Jesus' return, and the don't seem to have happened yet. If they have happened, then it was pretty on the sly...

The two resurrections is an idea I hadn't really picked up yet.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Revelation 19

Jesus riding on a white horse!

Summary:
Then a crowd praised God for condemning the prostitute. The elders worshipped, and there was a call for worship from the throne. The crowd praised God again, and sang that the Lamb's bride was ready. Those who get to go to the wedding will be stoked!

I worshipped the angel, but he didn't let me.

Then a powerful figure came on a white horse. We was dipped in blood and was at the front of heaven's army. He is the King of all Kings.

The angel called on the birds to dine on the bodies of the fallen sinners. The beast and his army fought against Jesus. The beast and the second prophet beast were captured and thrown into the lake of the fire, and the rest were just killed. The birds ate their flesh.

Key verse:
11. I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war.

My thoughts:
So the beast beat the prostitute, and now heaven's wrapping up the job. In the midst of heaven's full army, there's no hint that they might lose. Yay Jesus! This is quite a cool image here!

So the second beast from before is the miraculous prophet in the unholy trinity. It's now deaded.

So here there are two fates for sinful things. Some are thrown alive into the lake, others are simply killed with the sword. Does this imply an annihilation for all but the worst? Or perhaps humans get annihilated but demons go to hell? Just believe whatever is most convenient. That's what everyone else does.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Revelation 18

Ode to a city's doom

Summary:
Then someone sang of the fall of the woman 'Babylon', where so many had come to sin. Another voice called people to leave her and give her her due punishment. Though some of her fellow sinning kings mourned her, and merchants who could no longer trade all their things, including souls. The wealth has gone! The sailors will mourn at her sudden demise.

But you, God's saints, will rejoice. She was thrown down like a massive rock into water. Nothing will happen there again.

Key verse:
20. Rejoice over her, O heaven!
Rejoice, saints and apostles and prophets!
God has judged her for the way she treated you.

My thoughts:
This is a big triumph over a city's doom. Some are happy about it, some aren't. Sounds reasonably realistic!

I don't know what sort of chronology this is supposed to happen in with regard to the beast's demise. It seems to be a different plot thread and much more relevant to John's present situation, especially if the city is Rome.

This reminds me more of Old Testament prophecy. Good times.

Hear that? That's the sound of being up-to-date! That's the first time since, like, last September. Might be the longest I've been behind for, but anyway, I am now up-to-date with a couple of days to spare! And I've kept to my rule of only doing 2 chapters per day maximum. Go Pete!

The 18th of Feb will be the last day. For ages I thought it was the 19th, and I think my counter thing on the right is one day off, or I somehow missed a chapter which would be more disturbing! Anyway... it gets confusing with inclusive and exclusive counting etc. Getting close!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Revelation 17

1girl1cup

Summary:
Then an angel showed me the punishment of the prostitute. In the desert there was a women on the beast. The women, like the beast, wore royal purple, and she held a cup of filth. She is the great abomination and was drunk on Christians' blood.

The beast will come up from the Abyss to his destruction. He will amaze some because he died but came back. The beast's heads are seven hills and seven kings. The beast is an eighth king. The ten horns are ten kingdoms to come who will submit to the beast and fight Jesus, but Jesus will win.

The beast will ruin the prostitute, because the God has given the beast and his followers authority to do his will until his word is fulfilled.

Key verse:
17. For God has put it into their hearts to accomplish his purpose by agreeing to give the beast their power to rule, until God's words are fulfilled.

My thoughts:
The woman is probably Rome because it is a great ruling city on seven hills who has killed many Christians. The fact that this has a relatively clear interpretation makes me feel more inadequate for not really being able to think what is meant on the previous call for wisdom, when John declares the beast's number.

The ten kingdoms could be barbarians who destroy Rome. I dunno. There probably a lot of specific mention here of present kings and rulers for John, as he seems to be speaking here to the present situation of Rome.

I dunno if this is the same beast of chapter 13. I think it's the same because it looks the same, and I think the description of it being in the past, and coming in the future is another description of his fatal wound.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Revelation 16

It is done

Summary:
The first bowl gave people sores. The second turned the sea into blood. The third turned the rivers into blood, so that those with the beasts mark could drink the blood they shed. God is just. The fourth made the sun scorching. The fifth was poured on the beast's throne, and his world went dark, but people still didn't repent.

The sixth dried up the Euphrates for a battle. Frog-demons left the unholy trinity to go to the kings of the east to summon them for the final battle at Armageddon. Jesus comes like a thief.

Then the final bowl was poured. The very foundations of the earth shook. Cities were destroyed. Jerusalem split in three. The island and mountains were gone. It was done.

Key verse:
17. The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, "It is done!"

My thoughts:
This is way the world ends. From here on in it's just tying up the loose ends, punishment and re-creation.

So obviously the concept of Armageddon is well cemented in the popular understanding of the end times, yet it is only a side note to this all. In case you weren't aware, Armageddon is a real identifiable place in Palestine.

God, in theory, could've made the world simply disappear with the click of his fingers, yet for some reason he chooses to go through this big nasty sequence. I guess it's to teach someone a lesson! I love the bitter justice of making those with the mark to drink the blood they spilt.