We're so glad you decided to join us today!
When we meet in person, we share our joys and concerns together. Take some time as you consider your past week. What joys or concerns do you have? As we walk in this season of thanksgiving, think about what you were thankful for in the last week. If you have anything you would like to share, you can add it as a comment to this post. When you are ready, use the prayer below (source) to get started.
O God, when I have food,
help me to remember the hungry;
When I have work,
help me to remember the jobless;
When I have a home,
help me to remember those who have no home at all;
When I am without pain,
help me to remember those who suffer,
help me to destroy my complacency;
bestir my compassion,
and be concerned enough to help;
By word and deed,
those who cry out for what we take for granted.
Today's text is Revelations 11:15-19.
Revelation has been traditionally understood to have been received by the churches in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey) during the last decade of the first century AD. The key to understanding Revelation lies in recognizing that it is known as “apocalyptic” literature. Apocalyptic literature features unveiling of a big-picture reality by a heavenly being (God or angels) to a human recipient. The reality that is revealed includes dealing with end-time salvation and the reality of another, supernatural world.
The central part of Revelation concerns three sets of seven events initiated in Heaven. Today’s lesson details the climax of the second of these three sets of events. These judgments, however intense, fail to stop the idolatry and sexual immorality in the world. Today’s text focuses on the seventh and final angel.
The finality of this collective kingdom becomes clear as the voices’ proclaim that God will reign for ever and ever. Whereas the kingdom of the world is temporary and filled with sin, the reign of God will be eternal, featuring everlasting life for the faithful. The elders describe God’s eternal nature. God's eternal, unchangeable nature implies his sovereignty. This part of John’s vision will be the final move of God as he establishes “a new heaven and a new earth.”
Israel’s center of worship, the temple had been destroyed about 25 years before John wrote Revelation. About 40 years before the destruction, the temple’s importance had been suspended by the death and resurrection of Jesus, which resulted in a new understanding of “temple.” John's vision saw an even better reality to come — that of God’s heavenly temple where worship continues into eternity. Today's passage invites us to anticipate a future where the kingdom of God is fully established everywhere, where injustice no longer prevails, and where we worship God for eternity.
Lord, may we remember that you are everlasting and unchanging! You are worthy to receive every honor and praise. May we, like those in the book of Revelation, celebrate your reign forever and ever with an eternal “hallelujah!” In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
Thought to Remember
There is a future when God’s reign in Heaven will join his reign on earth.
Today's benediction is from the King James Version.
Next week's lesson will be on Revelation 19:1-8.
We are a small, rural Presbyterian church in southwestern Pennsylvania.