23 December – Additional Notes
REVELATION 2 – Everlasting Christmas Gifts I
With another Christmas upon us, and another mad rush to the shops as parents go into debt, yet again, buying the latest gadgets for the children, my mind seems to settle today on the concept of gifts that don’t last. Two of our children have birthdays immediately after Christmas. So, the idea of another stack of presents, so soon after receiving a bunch of gifts, has always seemed “over the top” extravagant.
And yet, at the start of this 66th book, that we’ve covered in my Breadcrumbs this year, “over the top extravagance” has always – and quite noticeably – been His style in the Creator God’s story.[a] In today’s chapter, we’ve stumbled across six everlasting Christmas Gifts, and each given to a group of people dotted about in Asia Minor – or what is now modern-day Turkey. I’ve learnt three things today from the One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands… [v1]
- The existence of Everlasting Christmas Gifts that He’s freely giving away.
The gift of eating from the Tree of LIFE. [v7] Apart from the Book of Proverbs (and using the phrase in a philosophical sense), this chapter is the first time in history that the Tree of Life gets a mention outside its important role in the original paradise: our original ecosystem at creation.[b] So the whole of human history is about to complete a full circle. For the first time since time began, we’ll be back where we started, with full access to the Tree of Life.
In likeness, the second everlasting gift is the Victor’s Crown of LIFE. [v10] Instead of a pump in our chest giving life to our central nervous system, the heads of the victor’s will be crowned with LIFE so that those who are victorious in this life, will not be hurt by the second death. [v11]
The third everlasting gift is hidden manna. [v17] This is a reference to eternal food that our spirits live on.[c] But the use of the word “hidden” indicates an ability to access, ingest, understand and take possession of the Creator God’s Eternal Words[d] that are sharper than a double-edge sword[e] – His unfathomable knowledge that’s currently inaccessible to us.
The forth is a white stone with a new name written on it. This indicates for us that we really are a new creation, the old has definitely gone and the new has come.[f] The fact that no-one knows the name, except to one who receives it, indicates complete intimacy between us and our Maker. When He who has called the stars by name[g], calls us by name, there’ll be no greater intimacy.[h]
The fifth is authority to rule. [v26-27] This is not knew information, we were originally designed specifically to rule over the Creator’s created order.[i] What’s incredible here is that we’ll be given the iron sceptre that was given to Jesus – the sceptre of justice; the sceptre of the Creator’s Kingdom.[j]
The sixth everlasting gift is the Morning Star. [v28] Again, this is something that only He holds by the authority of the Creator[k], and yet He is willing to share it with us.
- There are several things I need to keep central in my choices and lifestyle.
I need to put to the test those who claim to represent the Creator God [v2], toiling in perseverance – enduring for His Name’s sake without growing weary. [v5]
In a culture and society that proclaims “tolerance”, I need to not tolerate evil people – hating the practices that a contrary to my Maker’s Handbook. [v6]
In tribulation and poverty, I need to understand how rich I am in my Maker’s hands. [v9]
I don’t need to fear suffering or testing, because the Creator’s story isn’t finished yet. [v10]
In a corrupted world, I need to hold fast to my Maker’s Name and not deny my faith in Him even when evil things happen around me. [v13]
I need to keep doing good deeds, remaining in love, faith and service so that my good deeds grow, and not diminish, in time. [v19]
- As I look forward to a new year, there are several things to avoid.
I need to hold onto my first love[l], doing the deeds I did when I first came to faith in my Maker. [v4]
I should watch for people without my faith group who have wrong teaching – a stumbling block to Believers, committing acts of immorality. [v14]
In a world where the goal posts are continually changing, I need to not tolerate false “prophecy” (teaching and so-called divine inspiration) that leads the Creator God’s servants astray, especially into acts that have been previously understood as “immorality”. [v20]
Now I’ve not done the Tour of the Seven Churches of Revelation in Turkey. I’ve only been to Ephesus and Smyrna. But it’s shocking to think that the lampstands of all seven churches were removed just as Jesus warned. Peering from a bus window at the rippling mirage-covered landscape, we passed surreal sights like a single pillar from the ancient past rising high from the long grass in a field where life once thrived. Having seen such sights with my own eyes, the noticeable phrase in today’s chapter, that’s repeated with every group of people, is: “But to those who overcome – or, to those who are victorious – I will give…”
Because of this, I enter into this Christmas season thanking my Maker that His Word isn’t fairy tales based on outlandish dreams of a that’s “paradise” soaked with our own greedy desires. There’s a system to HIStory that’s been written over more than fifteen centuries by more than 40 different people. And yet, despite the broad spectrum of testimonies, the evidence put forward is completely consistent, harmonious, coherent and therefore completely believable.
CLICK to return to today’s “Daily Breadcrumbs”
[a] Deuteronomy 28:1-14
[b] Genesis 2:9 and Genesis 3:17,22&24
[c] Exodus 16
[d] Isaiah 45:3
[e] Hebrews 4:12
[f] 2 Corinthians 5:17
[g] Psalm 147:4
[h] Exodus 33:17; Psalm 91:14; Isaiah 43:1&49:1; John 10:3
[i] Genesis 1:26-28
[j] Numbers 24:17; Psalm 45:6; Hebrews 1:8; Revelation 12:5&19:15
[k] Revelation 22:16
[l] Deuteronomy 6:5