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Daily Devotion for June 16, 2014

Whore of Babylon, Cranach the Elder for 1534 Luther Bible, Book of Revelation
This flamboyant woodcut of the "Whore of Babylon" from Revelation was painted by Lucas Cranach the Elder, for Martin Luther’s 1534 Bible.



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lessons and scripture

Lord's Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.


This should get everyone moving after the week-end!

For Each New Morning

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
I thank thee.


For Renewal of the Holy Spirit

Renew in our own days your miracles like a second Pentecost. Grant that the Church, re-united in prayer, may extend the kingdom of Jesus - a kingdom of truth and justice, of love and peace.


Prayer to Give Witness When Called Upon

Oh my God, I wish I could convert as many sinners as there are grains of sand in the sea and on the earth, as many as there are leaves on the trees, plants in the fields, atoms in the air, stars in the sky, rays in the sun or the moon, creatures on the face of the earth. Loose my tongue Oh God that it may never be still in the face of embarrassment or hostility; put your words upon it, that I might serve you and know what to say, that I may never be at a loss of words when I am called upon to help those who seek you. And let me speak always in love and respect of others, this day and always,



[May the church be reunited in prayer.]


Oh Lord Jesus Christ, who said to your apostles, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you”; I pray that I and your whole church, the body of all faithful people, will know your peace, and live in harmony and unity, one with another, in accordance with your wishes. This I pray to you, who lives and reigns forever.


Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.

<i>St. John on Patmos</i> by Hieronymous Bosch, ca. 1489.
St. John on Patmos by Hieronymous Bosch, ca. 1489.

Blue Latin Cross

Revelation 1:9, 12-20 (ESV)

I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. . . .

Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. . . . saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.

Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this. As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

Notes on the Scripture

Overview of the New Testament (27):
The Revelation of St. John the Divine

The origin of Revelation (no “s” on the end — it is singular) is shrouded in mystery. Old church legend credits it to John the Apostle/Evangelist, but this is nearly impossible to believe, due to the markedly different writing style and theological concerns from John’s Gospel or Epistles.

The author identifies himself only as “John”, living on the island of Patmos. The book has seven or eight different names. The original title was Apocalypse or The Apocalypse of Jesus Christ. It is rarely known by these names today, however, because the book itself changed the meaning of “Apocalypse”! In Greek, “apocalypse” simply meant a revelation, an uncovering of something previously unknown; but due to the weird and violent imagery of the Biblical book, together with its vision of the end of the world, “apocalypse” has come to connote violent and widespread cataclysm.

Killing the serpent Satan, illustrated Bible

The entirety of Revelation consists of allegorical or metaphorical visions given to John by an apparition of Jesus Christ. The book is divided into two basic sections.

The first three chapters of Revelation comprise an introduction and seven short epistles to churches existing at the time, roughly 90-100 A.D. These delineate the character, faults and strengths of each church, and prophesy their future. Given the nature of Revelation, many commentators believe that the epistles are entirely prophetic; and a rather good case can be made that these prophecies have largely been fulfilled in the past 2,000 years: each church represents an age, or period of time in what is now church history, with the seventh age having begun around 1960.

The remainder of Revelation, Chapters 4-22, are a fantastic vision of Christ's Second Coming, the final judgment of mankind, the destruction of earth and the creation of a new earth, which most Christians consider to be the heaven of eternal life promised by Christ. Theologians have a big word for this, of course: “eschatology” (from a Greek word meaning “the end” or “last”).

A number of famous images that have become the stock of cheesy horror movies originate in these chapters: The Mark of the Beast (“666”), the Whore of Babylon, the rise of the Antichrist (although he is not termed such in Revelation), the Rapture, and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are all notable. Numeric symbolism abounds in Revelation, especially the numbers 4, 7, 12, and 666. Indeed, the book itself can easily be divided into either four or seven sections.

Interpretations of Revelation differ radically. It consists of such a huge mass of bizarre imagery, that can be interpreted in so many different ways, that it is impossible to give an overview in a short space. There are as many interpretations of it as there are churches. Scholars do not even agree as to whether most of the events have already occurred, have occurred in part, or lie fully in the future, nor the degree to which it is literal or metaphorical.

    The four main schools of interpretation are
  • 1) Preterist (from Latin praeter meaning “past”), which holds that, through the use of symbols and allegory, Revelation deals with events that were fulfilled in John's time, and that it was written primarily to provide hope and comfort to the first century church persecuted by Rome;
  • 2) The Historicist approach views the Revelation as a symbolic or allegorical prophetic survey of church history from the first century up to the Second Coming of Christ; it was widely espoused by major ProtestantNote that the top illustration from Calvin's Bible depicts the Whore of Babylon wearing the crown of the Pope! There are also Catholic Historicists but they, obviously, have different specific interpretations than the early Protestants. reformers (Calvin, Wesley, etc.);
  • 3) The Idealist approach makes no attempt to find individual, literal fulfillment of John's visions, viewing Revelation as a great drama depicting transcendent spiritual realities in colorful symbols; and
  • 4) The Futuristic approach views Revelation as literal prediction of future end-time historical events preceding, during and after the return of Jesus Christ, including the preliminary establishment of His 1000 year kingdom and the Rapture. It is currently popular in evangelical churches.

To read it, one really needs to study it with one or more commentaries (or teachers) at hand. For simple reading, one might find Chapters 1-3 and 22 comprehensible and interesting.

endless knot

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Matthew 7:7-8 (NKJV): Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

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