Parallels in Revelation: Chapters 1-12

How to Approach God’s Throne

I felt I had to take a break from Revelation to add in a sort of educational chapter. After reading and writing about Revelation chapter 4, I asked a number of people if it was still possible to approach God’s throne. For the most part, people didn’t want to answer, or didn’t know the answer. But a few did.

Approaching God’s throne is a personal matter. Each person has their own unique way of approaching God’s throne. Some people skip God’s throne while still meeting personally with Jesus while others grasp onto the theme in Hebrews chapter 4 telling us to, “boldly stand before God’s throne.” Let’s face it, personally talking with God and Jesus have been a rather obscure subject to say the least. Either people will agree or disagree. Few people will look at the subject of approaching God’s throne and a learning opportunity. There are a few, but that is a minority of people. An even smaller minority are those who want to share their moments at God’s throne. Those people are few and far between.

When it comes to direct communication with God, doubters go as far back as Moses. No one heard God’s voice for about 400 years. Then one day this well known figure, who could have, and should have done something about slavery in Egypt when he was next to Pharaoh’s throne shows up dressed like a common shepherd. What happened Moses? You were a prince then disappeared. Now your back here telling us God is going to free us from slavery. Why didn’t you do something about it when you were a prince?

Parallels in Revelation: Chapters 1-12
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It seems God placed Moses in a tight spot. Moses could have taken action when he was next to Pharaoh’s throne. In a sense, Moses did take action by killing a single Egyptian. That didn’t solve anything. Moses had no idea about the big picture. Maybe God had a plan to use Moses when he was in Pharaoh’s court. We have no way of knowing if Moses altered God’s plan to a certain degree. That will be interesting to find out when we get to Heaven. In the long run, God had a plan that worked. In hindsight, Moses placed himself in a tight spot.

No Israelite in Egypt heard God’s voice for over 400 years. Of course they prayed. If you were a slave, you would be praying to. But God didn’t answer. So when Moses showed up and said he talked with God, people doubted. We are still plagued with that mentality. Try sharing something new with someone who thinks they have a direct line with God. Some people have the attitude, “if God didn’t go through them with a message, that message must have come from the other side.” I’ve run into that mentality many times. I ask them how they communicate with God, and they normally shot back with a few verses about false prophets, which has nothing to do with the subject at hand. But those verses about false prophets is their man made defense mechanism they use for every circumstance they don’t agree with.

It took a few choice miracles or plagues, depending on their point of view to convince people, Moses was meeting with God and delivering messages from God. And then there was Pharaoh. The guy who knew each and every one of those Egyptian gods were fake. He thought he was in control and that God Moses talked about was as fake as the gods Pharaoh and his family made up. Pharaoh was a tough nut to crack. In his world everything outside his control was fake. People still have that mentality today.

Eventually God got Israel out of Egypt and into an environment they could mellow out and think. One day God decided to show Himself to Israel so they could believe He was real and could talk to them. Of course every Israelite that left Egypt with Moses saw all those plagues. They saw Egyptian crops being ruined as their crops flourished. They saw Egyptian cattle dying when not one of their cows or sheep showed any signs of being sick. They saw water turn to blood, hail from from the sky, frogs, locusts, and other bugs controlled by God. They should have had a firm belief in God. Something went wrong. After spending their entire lives learning how to fear every god from A to Z, that fear clung onto Israel like the chains that kept them as slaves. Since they were used to someone telling them what the gods demanded, they asked Moses to play that part as a go between themselves and God.

God offered the priesthood to every Israelite that came out of Egypt. And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. (Exodus 19:6 KJV). They turned down that offer.

We see the same pattern repeated when Jesus began His ministry. And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. But he passing through the midst of them went his way, (Luke 4:28-30 KJV).

No one seemed to hear God’s voice for a few hundred years between the end of the Old Testament and the beginning of the New Testament. Once again God was silent for a time, and people just thought that pattern would continue. Or they invented new ways to make people think, God spoke to a select few in some mysterious way. So don’t ask for details, just follow their lead.

After the apostles, the same thing happened. No one seemed to hear God’s voice. It seemed the contact with the Holy Spirit Jesus promised was meant for a few choice people, and when they died, this world was left to figure things out on their own. The world grew dark and it seemed it needed a new religious leader. So a group of people got together and selected the most likely candidates God would eventually speak to. One after another was set in solitude to see if they heard God’s voice. After a number of attempts, one man came out of the room and told the committee, he heard God’s voice. That was good enough for that pious committee. They made that man their new leader and created a new religion based on the belief that God talks to one man here in earth, and the rest of the world has to follow dictates from that single man for God to bless this earth. That concept has stuck with this world ever since, and people who don’t fall in line are looked upon as outcasts or part of a cult. The devil won. He convinced the majority of this world that concept of one man between themselves and God was the only choice this world had. For some reason people read the Bible, and instead of taking God’s Word, and following God’s instructions, they decided to take the word of slaves. They decided that the choice that group of slaves made was the only choice. Scholars sipped right over God’s offer to be a nation of priests and clung onto the decision that Israel made. They convinced themselves and much of this world that Israel’s decision was somehow inspired. Reading that story the way it was written shows how Israel rebelled against God. But Satan took out the few words he needed to form a new religion, and had his agents spread it all over the world. Satan thought he had his prison door shut and locked. But God has always been at His best when it came to reaching people in prison.

Today it is rare to find people who approach God’s throne. It is rare to find people who know anything about approaching God’s throne. Or are open minded enough to learn anything about approaching God’s throne. Why is that? We just covered a few of the concepts the devil found to be effective. There are more. Take out a few choice lines in the Old Testament, add in a long speech about how God chose a few choice prophets to talk to, and you have a theology that forges the same chains that one man concept created. In the long run, the devil doesn’t want anyone to approach God’s throne, talk to Jesus, work with the Holy Spirit, or read scripture. Those are a few things the devil fears the most.

As soon as you enter God’s presence, you are in a place the devil can’t touch you. His influence is gone, and you are opening yourself to total, untainted truth. The thing is, you have to learn to put away so many thing this world has taught you. But when you approach God’s throne, you take the first step to separating truth from fiction.

I’ve talked to a number of people over the past week to get their view points on approaching God’s throne. It’s good to know God still has a number of people who will talk to Him. It may seem rather strange to think of God as feeling lonely or rejected. After all, God has billions or requests to deal with from billions of people everyday. God hears their prayers. People ask for favors, blessings, and ask God to deal with countless situations every second of every day. God knows how to deal with each of those situations. If you ever approached God’s throne, you know how God will tell you how to deal with your situation. God will give you step by step instructions you can’t argue with. If you follow those instructions, the problem is solved. The problem is, the devil is watching, and launches a hundred more attacks.

At times God will take you back a few steps to remind you how you got yourself into that mess. God is also a Teacher and Father who never wants you to repeat your mistakes. Correction from God may be a little difficult for some people to accept. That is one reason some people avoid God’s throne. You just have to learn to get over your pride.

I have may own way of approaching God’s throne. It may not be right for you, but at least you have something to think about. I look at Jesus as a way to God’s throne. To me it makes sense to cleanse myself, to make myself pure enough to approach God’s throne. After all, Aaron the high priest had to wash himself and dress in the proper way to enter the Tabernacle and to offer a sacrifice. I ask Jesus to be forgiven for my sins and to be cleansed. Then I find myself in God’s presence. Not so much to make requests, but to listen and learn. I may ask one question, then another. I may go through three or four questions before I hear a response. When I do hear a response, I know it is God’s voice. I could never second guess or argue with any of the answers God offers. They make total sense. God backs them up with stories from scripture. God’s answers are often verified by real life events that confirm His answers and messages.

There are of course as many ways to approach God’s throne as there are people. We all have our own unique personalities. One person may see God’s throne as this, another as that. When we approach God’s throne, we have respect for other people and their stories about being at God’s throne. There is no doubt about that.

The thing about books like Revelation is, people tend to get caught up with trying to figure out the future. That’s something the devil has planted in our brains. The devil wants people to believe, if they can figure out the future, that somehow draws them closer to God. That could not be further from the truth. Common sense tells us, God knows everything about the future. So why would anyone think, God wants us to figure out the future, then tell God what the future holds? That is reverse thinking. It is actually insane. All God wants is people to go to Him for answers. But this world has been trained to go to every other source but God. People have been convinced, God doesn’t talk to this world. But David tells us different story.

The one thing I ask of the LORD– the thing I seek most– is to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, delighting in the LORD’s perfections and meditating in his Temple. For he will conceal me there when troubles come; he will hide me in his sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock. Then I will hold my head high above my enemies who surround me. At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy, singing and praising the LORD with music. Hear me as I pray, O LORD. Be merciful and answer me! My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “LORD, I am coming.” (Psalms 27:4-8 NLTse).

If David could enter God’s Sanctuary, why not us? If God protected David, why not us? God does not play favorites. God can’t love one person more than another. So why does the world teach us, God favors some people over others? That doesn’t make sense when we take the Bible as a whole. It’s time to make a decision. Is your view of God based on what the world wants you to think, what the devil wants you to believe, or direct contact and communication with God? What is our source of information?

The Word was God

Hated Without a Cause

John 15:22-27 MKJV If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have had sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. (23) He who hates Me hates My Father also. (24) If I had not done among them the works which no other did, they would not have had sin. But now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father. (25) But that the Word might be fulfilled that is written in their Law, “They hated Me without a cause.” (26) And when the Comforter has come, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He shall testify of Me. (27) And you also shall bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.

When we look back at previous chapters, we see how Jesus’ family tried to direct His ministry. We see how people ate bread He blessed, doubted Him, then turned away. People He grew up with doubted Him. And many factions of the religious leaders tried to arrest and kill Him. His ministry wasn’t easy. Jesus was attacked on may sides. The enemy was always plotting ways to trip Him up, delay, and eliminate Jesus.

 

The enemy has the same plans for us. We’ll always have people turning away, questioning what we’ve learned, opposing what we teach, and trying to redirect us. In business the enemy will always try to remain at least one step ahead of us, using any means at his command to waste time, starve us, steal business, and generally make life impossible. Jesus knew all those details before we saw them coming. That’s why He encouraged His disciples and us. That’s why He reminds us of what He had to go through.

The world at large is an evil place. The enemy knows how to manipulate people in our paths, in business, our social life, family, and spiritually. I lost count of the opportunities I’ve seen fall apart in business. I have no idea how many spiritual situations have been altered by the enemy. I do know, not many people know how to connect with God on a spiritual level. When people learn how to connect with God, the world looks at them as if they are strange. That’s when God sends in the reinforcements. You’ll meet new friends who’ve had similar experiences with God. You suddenly see a new world open up and your vision of Heaven is clear. You know when God gives you a message and have no problem knowing who the right person is.

At first your a messenger, which is sort of a prophet. You take a message, deliver it, and move on. The role is simple. If you prove yourself worthy and reliable, you move onto higher levels. Next is a teacher. You learn the process so well as being able to explain it to others. God puts people in your life who know communication with God is possible, it is supposed to be an everyday way of life. They may have heard God’s voice or seen visions. They may have felt His warmth, or been close enough to hear His heart beat, but they aren’t sure how to get back there. They are like the disciples who told Jesus they don’t know the way. A teacher can tell them the way to God’s throne.

Everyone has their own way of meeting with Jesus. Some pray all day. Some pray in the morning, others in the evening. When it’s really time to listen to God’s voice, they get away from the world. When they are alone, they concentrate on a single subject and let God speak.

People have their own way or path to approach God’s throne. God’s mountain has many paths. You want to pray, confess your sins, ask forgiveness, ask to be cleansed by Jesus’ blood, and ask to sit at God’s throne to listen and learn from the Infinite source of wisdom. Suddenly the Heavens open up., Scripture links itself to scripture like you’ve never seen before. You see Jesus’ life in ministry in a new light and wonder why no one ever saw those simple details before. After a while you begin to see how your life fits into God’s plan of salvation. You hear assignments. Then, when something is important, you see the condition of the world and a list of scripture describing its course and place in prophetic history.

The branch of prophecy is trimmed from the vine. You no longer care about prophecy or follow the course the world is traveling. Prophecy is now something you trust to God. You know Him well enough to see, if something important is going to happen, God will let you know, and will verify it.

God uses the same sources to verify messages and events. At first you don’t trust God’s messages. Don’t worry, God is patient and He’s seen it a million times. He already has His plan in place to verify the message. If we paid attention to the story or Jesus going to Jerusalem, we would have noticed the process. Jesus’ brothers told Jesus to go to Jerusalem, and Jesus told them it wasn’t time. Later that week, Jesus received marching orders from God and went to Jerusalem. Notice how the message came from God. Jesus didn’t need His message verified. His communication channel to God was wide open and functioning properly. With us it’s a little different. But we should keep in mind, God always comes to us before He sends verification.

The Word was God
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We have a tendency to question or doubt God. That’s when He puts His plan into action. God will verify the message He gives you through people who serve Him. Also through His Word. Some times it may be verified through a vision or dream. And it may be verified by events in or related to your life. Did that ever happen to you? Something happened and you had that feeling, you knew it was going to happen?

Some people think they are teachers but they don’t know the process. I’ve talked to a number of people over the past weeks who feel they have a message and as they say, are not afraid to share it. They usually pick a topic they feel strong about. They’re sure they’re right. The message they claim usually involves a sin. Be very careful. God will not send you with any message to convict anyone of any sin until you are ready and totally reliable.

People will cling onto one particular sin they don’t like. They may be right, it is a sin. People should know it’s a sin, but Jesus is the only One authorized to deal with sins. We’re not. Only Jesus knows how to reach that person. All we know how to do is stab in the dark. Those people cling onto their own message. They do not know God’s voice and will not follow His process. They are neither messengers, prophets, or teachers.

Teachers are given the ability to see, learn details in a process, and teach them to others. A teacher has to know and respect the fact, people are at their own level. They must begin at their level and learn at their own speed. A teacher knows how to ask questions and pause. Then wait for an answer from God and instructions on how to proceed. Teachers will always respect a person’s ability to develop their own pattern and technique to communicate with God. Everyone is a little different. Teachers can show people the process of connecting with God, so the individual and God can work out a comfortable format between themselves.

An evangelist is a little different than a teacher, because a teacher is normally a one on one experience, or small group basically on the same level. But an evangelist has to have his act together and lines of communication open to God. It is not an easy task to reach a group. Evangelists deal with group problems. Jesus was both a teacher and evangelist. Look at the problems Jesus had. If your an evangelist, you’ll see the same problems.

I’ve been able to learn a few things about evangelist. One pastor told me, “if your an evangelist when you walk into a room full of people, or a church, and you can’t see their needs in ten minutes, your in the wrong business. I can’t argue with that.

Another pastor shared how he prepares for an meeting, or some people call it a sermon. God provides the topic, then expands on it, and expands, and expands. Having been a teacher, I know how important it is to prepare to answer any and every question on a subject. Students can come up with the strangest questions. Now place that in the spiritual arena where the enemy is working behind the scene using people to trip you up. God spends a great detail of time preparing and drilling an evangelist. Then the evangelist has to take all that material and narrow it down to a twenty minute presentation. Which spells more prayer. An evangelist is able to see bits and pieces of the personalities they will be dealing with, to a certain degree. Then they go through the process of preparing their presentation in prayer. As an evangelist prepares, he can see the reactions, knows when to pause, and knows there may be times he has to add or subtract a little during the presentation. He prays during the presentation as angels watch over him and the people he is speaking to.

I’ve recently been put in the position of an evangelist with a small group of eleven other men. It didn’t take long to see their need. They brought up the subject and basically said, “this is what we need to learn.” They know they can talk with God. They know He answers. They know it is important to listen, but their not sure how. It sounds like an easy task to accomplish. Just tell those men the details I’ve already written here. But it is different in a meeting made up of people from different walks of life. Even though they are basically all at the same spiritual level, the conversation and topic seems to break down when you bring up a subject people are not sure about. Human nature wants to interject, ask questions, and unknowingly, alter the subject. We saw that happen to Jesus, and we know the world is not going to treat us any different.

I’m not sure about being an evangelist. So far, I feel I’m up to the challenge, I had a week to pray before the first meeting and now a full week to pray before the second. I think I prefer teaching. One on one is a lot easier. But God is with me. At least I am learning.

That series of meetings with those men turned out rather well. It seems all they needed was some proof the Spirit does exist, and exactly how the Spirit communicates with us. Or at least one example for that group of men to see how the Spirit can and will lead their Bible Study group. After a few weeks a trend began to develop. It seems the those men studied on their own during the week, and they were studying the same unannounced subject from different angels. One week the Holy Spirit came up as a subject. Some of those men admitted, they didn’t hear the Spirit, and didn’t know how to listen. I asked them to present one scripture that explained an important detail about how God communicates with us. As we went around the table, each man looked up and read a text that meant something to them. I wrote down each one. These were all texts they studied that week. I wrote down each one. After going through all 12, I looked at the list and guess what. The scripture went through the Bible in perfect order from the beginning to the end of the Bible. Not the whole Bible, or all of its books, but in order they are found in scripture. What were the chances that would ever happen again. I looked at that list, took a moment, shared that information with them, and told them, “that is the Holy Spirit working in each of you. The chances of 12 men choosing 12 different text in order they are found in the Bible is about the same odds of winning the lottery.” At that moment we could feel the presence of the Spirit in the room. The Spirit communicates in simple ways we often miss.

That’s the way it seems to be with God. A few branches are cut off and others take their place. When you look back, you can see how over grown some of those branches were and how harmful they actually have been in your life. Those new branches are what brings new growth and fruit. It’s a pretty simple process. The most important step is to listen to Jesus, the best teacher ever.