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Remember the Lord Your God

September 7, 2003

Dear Friend of Mary Craig Ministries,

People wonder. "Where are we after the resurrection of Christ?" "What did it mean for Christ to ascend into heaven to the right hand of the Father?" And "What does it mean for us today?"

When facing an uncertain future, we must remember that God is eternal and unchangeable (Malachi 3.6), that He is not at the mercy of anything or anyone else, that He is not defined by any external condition. The Revelation reveals Jesus Christ as the Lord of history. It is a book about rule, with Godís throne being the place of Godís official court, the place where He receives official worship.

God gave Jesus Christ a prophecy, a revelation that was delivered to John the Apostle by His angel on the Island of Patmos. In the Revelation, John begins writing to the seven churches in Asia Minor with a greeting from the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Father is described in terms of His eternal nature and being. The Holy Spirit is symbolized with the number of perfection, the number seven. Jesus Christ is presented in terms of His offices of prophet, priest, and king. Jesus is the faithful witness, the firstborn out from among the dead, the ruler over the kings of the earth. Jesus is the One who loves us and who loosed us from our sins in His own Blood and the One who has made us kings (a kingdom) and priests unto God and His Father. To this Jesus, John declares, is owed glory and dominion into the ages of the ages. (Revelation 1.1-6)

Arthur Pink wrote:

"The Lord God omnipotent reigneth. His government is exercised over inanimate matter, over the brute beasts, over the children of men, over angels good and evil, and over Satan himself. No revolving of a world, no shining of a star, no storm, no movement of a creature, no actions of men, no errands of angels, no deeds of the Devilónothing in all the vast universe can come to pass otherwise than God has eternally purposed. Here is a foundation for faith. Here is a resting place for the intellect. Here is an anchor for the soul, both sure and steadfast. It is not blind fate, unbridled evil, man or Devil, but the Lord Almighty who is ruling the world, ruling it according to His own good pleasure and for His own eternal glory." (Arthur Pink, The Sovereignty of God (London: The Banner of Truth Trust, [1928] 1968), pp. 43f.)

God is not limited by time. He has all-rule, all the might and power that goes with someone governing. He is not limited or moved by competitors vying to govern and rule His creation. Jesus Christ is the first of a kind, the prototype, the highest in rank, the firstborn out from among the dead. To Him is owed dominion, kratos, ruling over all creation, and He has it.

John the Apostle had had a glimpse of the majesty of Christ at the Transfiguration. There on the mount he was privileged to have a revelation of what was to come that he might be able to endure the evil of the days approaching, the days of Jesusí death by crucifixion and burial.

Now he receives a revelation, a glimpse into the Lamb slain who sits on the throne, who is coming in the clouds, who will judge the living and dead. This revelation is given so that the readers of this prophecy could be prepared and encouraged to overcome tribulation. The revelation shows us how Godís will is done in heavenly worship (and worship is a central theme of the prophecy) so that we can go out into the world to serve God in/with our lives. Jesus Christ is returning to defeat all evil and to establish His reign. Indeed, He reigns now.

To put evil in its place, you must see the risen Christ with all dominion holding the keys of death and hades. You must see the redemptive plan of God, the blessings of grace (the favor of God bestowed upon those who, apart from Christ, deserve wrath) and peace (the state of permanent reconciliation with God through Christís atoning work) extended to the elect.

It was a time of tribulation. John was on the island called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. Following Christ, being sent by Christ, came with a price. And John was in the Spirit on the Lordís Day, and he heard behind him a loud voice as of a trumpet.

The voice gave him some instructions, an assignment, a task. The voice identified itself as the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last. What was to be shown to John, unveiled as it were, was to be written in a book and sent to the seven churches in Asia Minor.

John heard the voice behind him. Then he turned to see the voice that spoke with him. And I turned to see the Voice that was speaking to me. (Revelation 1.12)

Today I am led to exhort the Body of Christ (including myself) with this verse. We have heard the voice of God and He has identified His voice to us. But we need to turn and look at the voice that is speaking to us. We need to turn and look long and intently at the One speaking to us.

Some are listening to a counterfeit. For others, the voice is speaking, but these havenít turned to take a good look at who exactly is speaking. Some have Jesus as a baby, or as a boy, or as a buddy, or merely as a brother. Their revelation of Jesus Christ is incomplete. They need to turn and see the voice speaking to them as He is today. Some, like John, need the full revelation of Jesus Christ exalted.

John, so far as I know, had not seen Jesus since His ascension into glory. He had had a glimpse of the glory, but now the glory of Christ will be unveiled. Even now the eye of faith sees the Resurrected Christ exalted at the right hand of the Father having all dominion, all rule. Jesus is Ruler of the kings of the earth. That includes kings, civil rulers, all civil authority, all authorities in both the physical and spiritual realms. Jesus has all the kratos, the governing rule and dominion, even over death.

Just what did John see when he turned to see the voice that was speaking to him? He saw One like the Son of Man. (Hebrews 2.8-14; Psalm 8) This title speaks of Jesus as Messiah, as one having dominion, authority to execute judgment (John 5.27; Acts 17.31), of one returning in glory and power (Mt. 13.41; 24.30; 25.31; Mark 8.38; 13.26).

The vision of Christ John has here differs from Jesus in the flesh ministering on earth. Jesus is the risen, glorified, exalted Son of God, the King-Priest of His people having the authority to judge all peoples. He is the terror of the wicked and the comfort of the righteous. He is the devilís worst nightmare.

Satan had tried to stop the line of the Messiah from the first promise of a savior in Genesis 3.15. He failed. He tried to keep it to one family. He failed. He tried to keep the rule to one nation. He failed. He tried to keep the Messiah from coming. He failed.

Jesus has the rule, not just over one man, one family, one nation, but over the whole creation. The Son of God is also the Son of Man. The Incarnate Word has overcome and now the corruption will get out of the system.

The white hair symbolizes eternality, the Ancient of Days as in Daniel 7. His eyes see all, enabling right judgment. Burning brass likewise symbolizes judgment, since the brazen altar was the place where the fire consumed the sin offering. Jesus is now the Judge, and He is coming on the clouds in great glory. First the kingdom comes in grace. Then the kingdom comes in power, when the world is judged by the Just One, Jesus Christ, the God-Man.

Jesusí voice is the sound of many waters. He is the last word to man (Hebrews 1). The sword from His mouth represents the living Word of God. Jesusí name is Word of God. His countenance shone.

John fell at His feet as dead. Awe and fear are both proper responses (Daniel 10). But Jesus tells John not to be afraid. The One who rules is good, holy, just, loving. He is the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and Death. (Rev. 1.17,18)

Hebrews 2.14 tells us that through death Jesus Christ annulled the one who had the rule or governing authority of death, i.e., the devil. "To annul" means to bring to nothing, render null and void, render powerless, to cancel. Some fear Satan more than God. Some fear people more than God. Remember the Lord your God. Fear Him. Give Him the worship, the obedience, and the glory He is due.

Jesus is humanityís last and only hope. He reveals Himself in the Revelation given to John the Apostle to provide believers with confidence and stability. As Christ comes, judging men and nations, His purpose is redemptive. "When Your judgments come upon the earth, the people of the world learn righteousness." (Isaiah 26.9) Through judgment, deliverance comes. All areas of life are to come under Christís rule. As we read the Revelation, we are to know that its purpose is not merely to inform, but to produce in us the stuff wherewith to overcome. 1 Timothy 1.5 says: Now the end of the commandment is love out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned. So look, and live.

In His love,

Mary Craig

P.S. Cheer up; Jesus has overcome the world!

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,
Who is the faithful Witness, the Firstborn from the dead,
And the Ruler of the kings of the earth.
To Him
Who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood,
And has made us to be kings (a Kingdom) and priests
To His God and Father; to Him be the glory and the
Dominion forever and ever. Amen. (Revelation 1.4-6)

Copyright © 2003 Mary Craig Ministries, Inc.


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