The Firstborn of the Dead

David Bast

Read: Revelation 1:4-5a; 1 Corinthians 15:42-52 Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. (v. 5) Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, and Martin Luther King Jr. all were powerful leaders in the struggle for a more just society. Each of them inspired millions, and each died a martyr’s death. Their words and actions are remembered, they have monuments built to them, but none of them is worshiped. You don’t worship a dead human …

The Eternal God

David Bast

Read: Exodus 3:1-14 Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come. (Rev. 1:4) Following his introductory comments, John opens with what our liturgy’s Order of Worship used to call the Salutation: “Grace to you and peace . . .” The apostle Paul began most of his letters the same way. In the book of Revelation, this greeting is beautifully Trinitarian. Here, note what John said about the first person of the …

How Long?

David Bast

Read: 2 Corinthians 4:16–5:10 . . . the time is near. (Revelation 1:3) Picture the cartoon of a bearded guy in a robe walking along the sidewalk holding a sign that proclaims: “The End Is Near!” Well, the end is near. John wrote that more than 1,900 years ago. You call that near? It depends on what you mean by “near.” God’s definition of near isn’t the same as ours: “But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with …

Blessed Reading, Blessed Hearing

David Bast

Read: Revelation 1:1-3 Blessed is the one who reads . . . and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it. (v. 3) The first word of the book of Revelation is . . . “revelation.” It’s an unveiling of what’s going to happen, of how the world will end. Jesus sent an angel to pass this message on to John so that all of us (“his servants,” v. 1) can know it too. Think …

The Promised Land

Michael Wilcock

Read: Genesis 25:7-10 The field that Abraham purchased . . . (v. 10) Abraham, says Hebrews 11:9 (NRSV), “stayed for a time in the land he had been promised, as in a foreign land, living in tents” with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. Curious translation; “for a time” makes it sound like a month or two, when it was actually the best part of a hundred years! In fact, he is doubtless still there today, …

God of Providence

Michael Wilcock

Read: Genesis 22:1-14 So Abraham called the name of that place, “The LORD will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided.” (v. 14) These words translate a name of God that you may sometimes sing about: Jehovah Jireh, your Provider, whose grace is sufficient for you. What Abraham now learned about God was what Hagar had learned earlier, but here the focus is even sharper. This is a God …