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by Kristen C. Strocchia
“Look, he is coming with the clouds,’ and ‘every eye will see him, even those who pierced him’; and all peoples on earth ‘will mourn because of him.’ So shall it be! Amen. ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” Revelation 1:7-8
Here John’s vision invokes Old Testament scriptures, Messianic prophesies given pre-Christ.
Daniel saw one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven [Daniel 7:13] in a vision given in a dream. But the verses that follow make it clear that Daniel did not understand what he saw; so he approached one of the angels in his vision for an interpretation. John, however, receives a more complete revelation. He knows who this one like a son of man is–Jesus–and he passes on the angelic prophesy of Christ’s future return [1 Thessalonians 4:17].
Zechariah also prophesied pre-Christ that they [Israel] will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn [Zechariah 12:10]. Now Zechariah was given many Messianic prophecies, however, it is not clear whether he knew the full extent of his own message. But John, again, knows the one who was pierced–Jesus–and he speaks to the people’s response when they recognize what they have done.
Then John stamps these Old Testament revelations with a so let it be done, meaning, let God’s word come to pass as it is written.
Jesus speaks in verse 8, calling himself the Alpha and Omega. He’s not talking about wolf packs or lion prides though. When he says Alpha, he means the first letter of the Greek alphabet, and Omega is the last letter. That is to say that Jesus was the beginning of all things and he is the end of all things. He reaffirms this title by defining his eternality, saying, who is, and who was, and who is to come. In John’s gospel, he wrote that Jesus was at the Creation [John 1:1-10]. He was here before everything and everyone else. And in Revelation, we learn that Jesus’ kingdom will have no end. He will exist after everything else on this earth has passed away and after our earthly bodies have been made a new creation.
Not only that, but speaking of himself as letters, Jesus reminds us of the Creation being spoken into existence. Jesus is that word. John 1 tells us that through him all things were made.
Jesus alone is the Almighty–all powerful, sovereign Son of God.
Have you recognized Jesus as such? Do you worship him as sovereign of your life?
by Kristen C. Strocchia
“When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. Then the Lord said, ‘My spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.’ The Nephilim were on the earth in those days–and also afterward–when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.” Genesis 6:1-4
In Noah’s generation, earth’s population exploded. Easy to imagine being in the tenth generation of peoples who lived to be several hundred years old, having children throughout their lives. During this population explosion, the sons of God start to notice the human girls. Now it is commonly accepted that these sons of God are the fallen angels whose half-human-half-angelic offspring were the Nephilim recorded in verse 4.
It was not God’s intention for humans and angels–whether fallen or other–to intermarry. Just as He never intended for dogs and cats to produce offspring, or pines and maples. However, sin perverted God’s design in so many ways. Marriages became fraught with difficulty, dissension, and the temptation to be unfaithful. Lamech [McCain] perverted the marriage relationship to include a third spouse. And here, human women married fallen angels. The scripture records many other marital perversions that are an abomination to God, and it is easy to see that these distorted desires are rooted in the sinful nature.
And these relationships created the heroes of old—men of renown. Men. Myths. Legends. This explains a lot of the Greek and Roman [et al] mythology. Fallen angels–touting themselves as sons of God…and maybe, still believing Satan’s lie, straight up gods–had demi-human offspring who possessed superhuman strengths or abilities. By human standards, they would have been like demi-gods. It’s easy to understand why people would have feared and revered them, even though these too were nothing more than corrupted progeny of the Creation, with a sin nature that would one day stand before God.
This perversion truly exasperates God, makes Him throw His hands up and say, “Enough!” People are mortal–mort meaning death–so people are able to die. Their sinful beings were not able to live forever. But lifespans of up to 900 years with all of the wickedness carousing on the earth was intolerable to our Holy Creator. He wanted so bad to get rid of all sin right then and there, BUT…He. Loved. Us.
One hundred twenty years later [the limit set in verse 3] God sent His first judgment for sin on the earth–the destructive, worldwide flood. And it is important for us to know that, “as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man,” [Matthew 24:37].
Look around. Are people living perversions of the lives that God intended? Marrying in anything other than one man and one woman for life? Are people doing–in all things–whatever they feel is right for themselves? Do people disregard God’s Word or deny His existence altogether? These are exactly the things that were happening in the days of Noah.
The Lord is coming back soon. Are you ready to meet Him in the air [1 Thessalonians 4:17]?
by Kristen C. Strocchia
“So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” Genesis 4:5b-7
In the human struggle with sin, this is one of those verses that I keep coming back to.
Cain was offended that God didn’t accept his offering–as if behaving like a spoiled child would make God accept the unacceptable after all. He got angry and he pouted. So God talks to Cain and asks him the same pointed kind of questions that He asked his father in the Garden of Eden.
Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? But God already knew the answer to these, because God knew Cain’s heart [Psalm139:1; Jeremiah 17:10; Luke 16:15; Acts 1:24; Romans 8:27; 1 Thessalonians 2:4; Revelation 2:23]. So again, God asked these questions so that Cain would consider the answers very seriously–why was he angry? Why was he pouting?
Had Cain thought it all the way through, he may have realized that it was because of the effects of sin in his life. He didn’t choose to be born with a sin nature, but the fallen nature was as much a part of him as it was the ground he worked and it was causing him to think, behave, react, and choose wrongfully toward God and his fellow man [aka his little brother Abel].
The third question is the sticker though, “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?” Think about it Cain. If you choose to do right–to learn from your honest mistake–then you won’t feel jealous of your brother because you’ll both be accepted by me, God. Then you won’t feel angry at me, because there won’t be a conflict between us. Then you won’t feel depressed or discouraged because when you do what is right you are accepted–and everyone, even Cain, wants to be accepted.
But the most important take away from these verses and this story is Genesis 4:7b, “But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door…” A crouching tiger, waiting to pounce on its prey. Sin has stalked you all the way to your house where you feel most safe and it’s lying in wait for you outside your own front door, the entrance to your home. And that sin that you think is no big deal? It is hungry to devour you.
But YOU must master IT.
Plain and simple. Despite being born with a sin nature and into a fallen world, it is our choice to recognize sin and flee from it or not. It is ours to master or to allow it to consume us.
Just like Cain, we have all been born with this sin nature, and the Holy Spirit speaks to us, convicting our hearts of that which would become sin to us, that which threatens to destroy our lives both physically and spiritually.
Do you believe that you can, with the help of the Holy Spirit, master the sin that threatens to devour you? Do you hear God’s voice? How is He leading you to overcome?