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Greatness in the Kingdom of God – (Mark 10:35-45)

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SynopsisJesus taught that to be a true member of the kingdom of God necessitates a life of self-sacrificial service to others, not power over them.
As in Mark 9:31-37, once again after predicting his upcoming suffering and death, the disciples of Jesus jockeyed for rank and power in the coming messianic kingdom. As before, Jesus taught them that to be a true member of the kingdom necessitates a life of self-sacrificial service to others rather than power over them.
James and John requested to sit at Jesus’ side when he comes “in his glory.” They were still not hearing his words or heeding his example. Suffering and death must precede glory. Apparently, John and James expected Jesus to come shortly into his kingly glory.
Perhaps they still expected glory to come without cost or suffering. They addressed Jesus as ‘Rabbi’ or “teacher,” a title of respect but one common enough among Jews of the period. The use of the term provides no indication that James and John yet understood who and w…

The Seventh Seal - (Revelation 8:1-6)

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SYNOPSIS:  The seventh seal ends with the seven angels prepared to sound their trumpets. There is a close link between the seals and the trumpets.
The paragraph describing the seventh seal opening also introduces the next sevenfold series, the seven trumpets. The paragraph is a transition from the seals to the trumpets (Revelation 8:1-6).
The literary structures of the seals and the trumpets include several common features. Both begin before the throne, both include the seven spirits or angels, both feature the “prayers of the saints,” and both include a final judgment scene marked off by “voices, thunder and lightning” (Revelation 6:12-178:511:19).
In both series, the first four events are distinguished from the final three, and both have a literary break between the sixth and seventh events during which saints are prepared for future challenges (the “sealing” of the saints [7:1-21]; the measuring of the temple [11:1-2]).
Transition to the Seven Trumpets (8:1)
(Revelation 8:1) - “And …

The Innumerable Multitude - (Revelation 7:9-17)

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SYNOPSIS:  John now sees an innumerable multitude from all nations exiting the tribulation; what he sees interprets the number he heard, the 144,000 men from the twelve tribes of Israel.
In Chapter 7, the same group of saints is portrayed with two different images:  the tribes of Israel assembled for travel and the innumerable multitude exiting the “great tribulation.” In the end, the full number of the saints is found “standing before the Lamb and the Throne.”
The sealing of God’s servants uses imagery from the Exodus story of Israel. The full number of martyrs is assembled for the march to the Promised Land, New Jerusalem. The vision of the innumerable multitude presents those same saints “standing” victorious before the Lamb at the end of their journey in the New Jerusalem, having persevered through the great tribulation.
The vision of an Innumerable Multitude (7:9-12)
John first “hears” the number (arithmos) of the sealed, then “sees” a vast multitude that no one can number (arithmeō)…

The Sealing of God's Servants - (Revelation 7:1-8)

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SYNOPSIS:  God’s servants are now sealed, numbered, and assembled for their journey to the Promised Land, New Jerusalem.
The seventh chapter of the book of Revelation appears to interrupt the sequence of seal openings between the sixth and seventh seals. However, this “interlude” or interruption is an integral part of the series of seven seal openings and it follows a literary pattern established in Chapter 5.
The “sealing of God’s servants” includes several verbal links back to the unveiling of the Lamb in the vision of the throne and the sealed scroll (Revelation 5:6-14). Chapter 7 is comprised of four sections: The sealing of God’s servants (Revelation 7:1-3).The numbering of the sealed (7:4-8).The vision of an innumerable multitude (7:9-12).The interpretation of the innumerable multitude (7:14-17).In Chapter 7, the same group is portrayed with two different images:  the tribes of Israel assembled for travel and the innumerable multitude that John sees exiting the “great tribulation.”…

The Sixth Seal - (Revelation 6:12-17)

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SYNOPSIS:  The sixth seal ushers in the Day of the Lord, the time of wrath and judgment upon the inhabitants of the earth for their opposition to the Lamb – No one can stand before the throne.
The sixth seal is opened, and the celestial and terrestrial trauma associated with the Day of the Lord appears. This is nothing less than the “great day of the wrath of God and of the Lamb.” Men from all societal ranks panic as the wrath appears imminent. Every attempt by the “inhabitants of the earth” to hide from the Lamb and the One Who sits on the throne is in vain. There is no escape for anyone and no one is able to “stand” before the throne.
(Revelation 6:12-17) – “And I beheld when he opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; and the stars of heaven fell to the earth, even as a fig tree casts her untimely figs when shaken by a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled to…

The Fifth Seal - (Revelation 6:9-11)

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SYNOPSIS:  The fifth seal reveals the souls of martyrs kept underneath an altar. From there, they cry out to God for justice for what they have suffered.
The fifth seal reveals the souls of martyrs underneath an altar that cry out to God for vindication and justice. It represents faithful saints from a period before the Lamb’s victory waiting for their vindication. The generic description of souls “slain for the word of God and their testimony” points to this conclusion.
The Lamb responds to the martyrs, not with chronological information, but with a declaration that all God’s witnesses must complete their testimony and join the assembly or martyrs to bring in God’s judgment and kingdom (seeRevelation 11:18-19).
The heavenly temple imagery is continued from the previous scene; the altar is before the throne from the Lamb now reigns, not in the Temple building at Jerusalem. The martyrs wear priestly robes while they offer the ultimate sacrifice, their lives poured out around the base of t…