Revelation 4

Revelation 4

4:1 After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald. Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God, and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal.

And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight. And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say,


  “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,
    who was and is and is to come!”

And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying,


11   “Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
    to receive glory and honor and power,
  for you created all things,
    and by your will they existed and were created.”

(ESV)

Saturday Study

Saturday Study

2 Peter 3, Jude & Revelation 1-2 (11.9.19)

Grab your Bibles and turn with me to 2 Peter 3.

*This is a little longer study than normal due to the importance and needed clarity over an often-misunderstood verse that we find in this text. Please set aside quality time to sit with your Bible and to be in prayer so that you can understand God’s word clearly as He has given it in Scripture for us to better know Him and how He works not according to tradition or our desired interpretation, but as according to Scripture alone. I’m praying for you. May God be glorified, and may the saints be emboldened to testify to His good news of saving grace.

2 Peter 3:1a This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind …

Peter is making a turn in his second letter as chapter 3 begins. He regroups and readdresses his audience before speaking to some specific heresy the false prophets were saying. Let’s review.

First, to whom is he writing? He literally says it here, “… I am writing to you, beloved …”

If you found a letter on the ground and picked it up and it said, “To my sweet and wonderful wife, Jennifer Kirstine,” Would there be any doubt in your mind for whom that letter was written? No.

Same thing here, Peter is writing to the church often referred to as the beloved. He is writing to the redeemed, the saved by God, those who have been born again by the grace of God and the costly blood of his only Son and the amazing regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. This clarity will become important again toward the end of this morning’s study.

Next, what is Peter’s aim in writing both of these letters, 1 Peter and 2 Peter?

2 Peter 3:1b In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind …

The word “mind” means understanding or thinking.

The word “sincere” means pure, uncontaminated.

Peter is saying, “Look. You, the church, are pure-minded because you are genuine believers. You have an ability for spiritual discernment, and I want to stir that up!”

I want to stimulate that pure mind and the truth that you already know, so your spiritual discernment will be able to understand false doctrine and give a proper rebuttal to it.

This is a great contrast to the kind of mind that the false teachers have. The false teachers have a mind that is darkened by sin. They have a mind that is depraved through and through.

Specifically, false teachers have come along to the people of the church and have said falsely that the second coming is not going to happen, essentially trying to steal away their hope. This is in direct contrast to the living hope Peter has assured us we have in Christ.

Skip ahead with me to verses 10-13 (we will come back to verses 8 and 9 in a minute), and let’s see how Peter, once again, brings great assurance that, indeed, Jesus is coming again and how we, the church, are supposed to be ready for, and hope in, His coming.

2 Peter 3:10-13 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

Beloved, Jesus is coming again. He is coming with fire. He will come like a thief in the night. All these things you see around you will be dissolved. They will pass away with a roar! Everything in the earth and all its works will be exposed! And new heavens and a new earth will be the eternal reality for those who repent and believe in Jesus alone!

This is often referred to as judgment day! But, as Christians, we are not to think of Terminator-like destruction.

Instead, there is a better name for this day which is the name Peter gives here, “the day of the Lord.”

It is a day of judgment and wrath. But it is also the coming of our Lord. It is His day!

It is the day for all who have told themselves, “Jesus is not King and God and not sovereign Creator and Lord,” to bow before Him as their eyes have been opened! They will see Jesus with great clarity. There will not be one who doesn’t see Him in all His glory and majesty, so much so that every knee will bow because it will be clear that He is the Lord. It is His day. The damning reality is, for those who finally see Him, it will be a fleeting moment of overwhelming truth as they are judged and condemned to hell for their unrepentant sin.

As for those who did repent and believe, what sort of bride should we be as we await our Groom to come for us? Verse 11 tell us—holy and godly!

Church, this is a beautiful truth to which we must hold. Read verse 13 again.

2 Peter 3:13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

This is the purpose of Peter’s writing. He wants to remind the Church, the beloved, of the promises of God in contrast to the false teaching of liars who will come in and try to deceive us and tell us Jesus is not coming again to judge. He is helping us navigate truth and lies.

2 Peter 3:12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn!

Wow! This is a sobering reality. Jesus is coming! And God will judge and execute His wrath. And the Bible tells us that this is good and right for God to do.

Romans 2:5 … because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.

Now look with me to verse 8 as it sets up where I want to spend most of our time today.

2 Peter 3:8 But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

Here, Peter is quoting Psalm 90:4. This is a great reminder to us, the redeemed!

He is saying, “From our viewpoint, the last days can feel like a long time.” It doesn’t feel very “last” when it’s a couple thousand years, but from God’s point of view it is very, very short.

We can’t confine God to our schedule. We may have a desire for a new home, but we must be patient. God is so patient with us. Think of the exiles of old, for hundreds of years, longing for their home.

What Peter says here is a good warning to our hearts who just want the end to come so we can go home.  It is a warning to our hearts to not get sucked into the false teachers’ reproach that God never does anything because He’s impotent or indifferent and the delay is so long. Maybe He can’t act; maybe He won’t act!

You have to stop and try to see that God is at work and He doesn’t live in time like we do. So, a couple thousand years to us is like a couple days to Him, meaning it’s nothing.

If you put together all God has been doing in these last couple thousand years, it is quite staggering, really!

Peter responds to the concern we might have about Christ’s delay to return sooner rather than later.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

Ok, this verse is a biggie! It’s a biggie, because this verse is one of the most misquoted verses in Scripture. Here is the problem with how many modern-day Christians have treated 2 Peter 3:9.

There are many verses in the Bible that take on a life of their own. This happens because some verses are so often quoted that the meaning is just assumed. Then what happens is the assumed meaning becomes hard and fast biblical truth in people’s minds. This leads to great error and false teaching, or false belief, in how God works.

The way to verify the true meaning of a verse is we have to go back to the original context where that verse was given and check to see if the modern meaning or belief about it is, indeed, what the author intended to say or not.

Let me give you an example before we do this for 2 Peter 3:9. If someone told you that they heard me say, and I quote, “I want to kill them. I want to literally annihilate them and watch them die. I want them all out of my house forever.”

You could hear that and think, “Wow, what is going on with you? I can’t believe you think this way or would ever say such mean and vile things about anybody. You are not talking about your family, are you?”

Now, you would be right to be concerned about a man of God speaking of anyone that way especially if that is the way he was speaking of his own family.

Can you imagine how that would eventually get around town? “Did you hear how Joshua Kirstine talks about his family? How he wants them all dead? He even said he wants to watch them die.” That guy should not be a pastor.

But here is the reality. The context is essential. What if, when I said, “I want to kill them. I want to literally annihilate them and watch them die. I want them all out of my house forever,” I was talking about an infestation of cockroaches that were up my walls, and in my bed, and running out of my shower drain. Then you would say with me, “Amen!” Not, “Wow! That guy is nuts!”

Context is essential to not forming wrong understanding about any particular verse in the Bible, too.

Now, for decades, people and pastors have declared, “God is not willing that any should perish! That will preach! And it has, for many preachers who have drawn crowds and raised up denominations of thousands around this battle cry. It cries out to the Church to go win the world because God doesn’t want anyone to perish. He wants all to be saved.

Based on this, the thought is to go and share the gospel and say, Make a choice. It’s up to you. God has made it possible for you to be saved and does not desire that anyone perish. Choose rightly! It’s up to you.

On the foundation of this one verse, understood out of context, a huge wave of modern-day Christian belief has been formed that, while God made it possible for you to be saved by Jesus’ work on the cross, it is ultimately you who decides if you are saved or not. Why? Because God is not willing that any should perish! But this is so unbiblical in so many ways.

If this were true, it would mean that Jesus bled and died and took on the sin of many who will not choose Him, thereby meaning that God messed up in who Jesus bled for and that Jesus unjustly suffered for some for whom He paid their debt, but they never accept the benefit of His costly atonement.

If this were true, it would mean that God is either by choice or by design impotent to save whom He desires. It means He wills all men to be saved, but He has to stand back, and hope, and watch to see if they will choose Him or not. Is this the omnipotent, sovereign God of Scripture, or is it a man-made idea of God that puts man in the driver’s seat and God in the backseat watching and hoping we will turn down the right road to life and not death?

If this were true, what do you do with all of the rest of Scripture which declares and demonstrates that God is sovereign and does all that His perfect will desires to do.

What we need to do is read and understand the verse within its context. Read it with me again.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

You will notice there is a pronoun in this sentence, “you.” “… but is patient toward you …”

This has been the highlight of this study so far. WHY? Because it is the very context and highlight of Peter’s very letter!

So, to remind us, and for the sake of great clarity, let’s review.

Who is the “you” he is speaking to here? Look back.

2 Peter 1:1 Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ

“… those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours …”, meaning those who are saved like we are—the Church, the saved, the redeemed.

2 Peter 3:1a This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind …

I am writing to you, the beloved, those with a sincere mind, a pure mind, those who are in the family of God, the beloved, those whom God has given a new and pure, sincere mind. He is talking to the Church—the saved. “… I am writing to you …” The “youis the true Church.

The next question to ask is, “Is there anyone else he is referring to in this letter?” The answer is yes!

2 Peter 2:1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you …

So, there are false prophets who rise among you.

2 Peter 2:1-3 … just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.

So, now we have two groups, the false prophets Peter refers to as “they” and the Church who he will refer to as “you.”

So, what does Peter say about you, the Church? Let’s go back.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

God’s will is that none of His people will perish but all will reach repentance. That sounds like exactly what Jesus said of His sheep, His people that God has entrusted to Him to save.

John 10:27-29 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”

So, what does Peter say about “them, or “they”, the false prophets?

2 Peter 2:3Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.

2 Peter 2:9 … then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment

This is really the opposite of the understanding that God’s will is that not any should perish if, indeed, He actively keeps the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment.

To say that 2 Peter 3:9 is speaking of all people on earth is to flat out ignore God’s sovereign hand “to actively keep the unrighteous under punishment” and all the other scriptures about God’s divine providence over the non-elect.

So, Peter is clearly speaking about two groups of people. The “us” or the “you”—those who have received a precious faith. These are the inclusive pronouns. Then there is the other group, “them” or “they.” They are righteously judged, and God is active to keep them under his punishment until the final judgment.

To ask it again, “To whom does the ‘God is not willing that any should perish’ apply?

2 Peter 1:1 … those who have obtained a faith of equal standing …

2 Peter 3:1 … the beloved …

John 10:29 As Jesus says, “those whom God has given to him.”

God wills that none of these will perish. This is good news!

But it says, “… not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

If the “you” is the saved, then why does he reference that all of these should reach repentance?

The “you” is the elect whether they are saved or not yet saved.

He has a particular people whom He will save and who will not perish! Jesus speaks to this in John 10:16, “And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.”

Jesus also says, there are some who are not of His flock (His elect).

John 10:26 Jesus says to His hearers, “… you do not believe because you are not among my sheep.”

These have not “… obtained a faith of equal standing …” because they are not of His chosen sheep.

So, in the end, 2 Peter 3:9 is a great promise and a great hope for all of God’s people—the saved and the going-to-be saved!

To all His people, Peter is saying, “In the midst of false teachers and deceivers and those destined for punishment, have faith. Trust in God’s perfect timing for these things.”

Peter says to God’s people, “Be patient and know this, ‘The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)’”

We should count the delay of Christ’s coming as an act of mercy and patience until all His sheep are gathered into the fold and not one is lost. He is not willing that any of them will perish!

Praise God that He is patient with us all.

Praise God that He elects some instead of condemning all as all our sin rightly demands.

Praise God that He is not slow as we might consider Him to be, but perfect in His timing to save whom He will.

Praise God that none of His people will perish. ALL will reach repentance!

Praise God that He has given us, the Church, a work to do in spreading the truth of His life-changing gospel to the ends of the earth so all of His elect will hear it and be saved.

By His grace and for His glory,

Pastor Joshua Kirstine

Disciples Church

Revelation 3

Revelation 3

3:1 “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars.

“‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you. Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens.

“‘I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and they will learn that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. 11 I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. 12 The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. 13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

14 “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation.

15 “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. 21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”

(ESV)

Revelation 2

Revelation 2

2:1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands.

“‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’

“And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: ‘The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life.

“‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.’

12 “And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: ‘The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword.

13 “‘I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 14 But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. 15 So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth. 17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.’

18 “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: ‘The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze.

19 “‘I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first. 20 But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. 21 I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. 22 Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, 23 and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works. 24 But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call the deep things of Satan, to you I say, I do not lay on you any other burden. 25 Only hold fast what you have until I come. 26 The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, 27 and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father. 28 And I will give him the morning star. 29 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

(ESV)

Revelation 1

Revelation 1

1:1 The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.

John to the seven churches that are in Asia:

Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth.

To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. 10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet 11 saying, “Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.”

12 Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, 15 his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.

17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, 18 and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. 19 Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this. 20 As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

(ESV)