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These weekly messages are intended to help you more fully understand the text and answer some questions that you might have.  If you are looking for more information, all of our pastors invite your questions  about the Bible.

 

This Week's Email

 

Week Fifty-Two/ Days 358-365 / February 10-17, 2016

Revelation 1:1 – 22:21

Congratulations! Your journey of reading through the Bible is almost complete. A longer message from Pastor Hogenson about this year-long journey through the Bible will appear in the March Messenger. Know that Pastor joins us in expressing how proud we are of each of you. Whether or not you made it through every word, you have begun to develop the habit of daily Bible reading and planted its roots in your minds and hearts. You have fought the good fight, you have finished the race, you have kept the faith.  – 2 Timothy 4:7

We end our journey of reading through the Bible with the Book of Revelation, a book that has enthralled and confused generations of readers through its descriptions of heavenly purposes/secrets and the end of human history. Filled with imagery and symbolism, the book has led some readers to get so caught up in discovering hidden meanings and an end-of-the-world timeline that they miss the book’s primary purpose: to bring encouragement and hope to a suffering community—and to us. 

There are, however, some symbols that are helpful to note. One is the symbol of Christ as a lamb, sacrificed on our behalf and triumphant in the end. Another is the number seven, symbolizing completeness or perfection. Yet another is the use of beasts and monsters to depict evil forces.

Structurally, the book has three primary divisions, the first of which is the letters to the seven churches (1:4—3:22), most of which include a description of Christ’s qualities, praise for what the particular church has done well, criticism of its faults/failings, and a promise to the faithful. The second section (4:1—18:24) deals with the persecution of the faithful and God’s coming judgment of those responsible. This is followed by the third section (19:1—22:5), which assures readers that God will triumph in the end, which assures readers that God will triumph in the end, the faithful will be rewarded, and a new creation will come into being.

In speaking to the persecution his readers face, the author of Revelation clearly sees suffering as part of God’s divine plan. Through Christ’s suffering, they have received the fullness of God’s grace, which in turn strengthens them through the promise that beyond whatever they face in this time and life is a new age and new life in which they will rise with Christ and know peace:

For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of the water of life, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.  Revelation 7:17

The hope of the gospel is yours! Christ loves you and died for you that you could have eternal life. This is the truth on which Revelation ends. It is the same truth that all of God’s Word points to or declares anew as we read and encounter it again and again. And so, we celebrate with you this milestone in your journey of faith, and at the same time pray that as you have this last year, you will continue to . . .

Keep reading God’s Word!

Pastor Stephen Cornils
Carol Throntveit

 

A message from Pastor Cornils… On behalf of Pastor Hogenson I  join you, our beloved Bible readers, in expressing our heartfelt gratitude to Carol Throntveit, Team Leader—Adult Ministry, for providing supportive insights and  edification for each set of weekly readings throughout the year (especially during the difficult readings in the Old Testament!).  

Well done, good and faithful servant (Matthew 25:23).

 

 
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