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How to Ride a Cloud (Reading Revelation- 4)

Shawn Boonstra

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Can you really understand the book of Revelation? Join Shawn as he continues reading verse by verse through the book of Revelation and helps us to understand prophecy in it.

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Shawn Boonstra

Speaker/Director for the Voice of Prophecy media ministry.

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  • February 21, 2015
    11:00 AM
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This week on The Voice of prophecy how to ride a cloud. MAN Welcome back to another edition of The Voice of prophecy. I'm your host Shawn Boone strike and right now I'm actually sitting in a tiny little closet in the basement of our new headquarters in Loveland Colorado. And why am I sitting in a closet in the basement. Well it's because we don't have our new recording facility finished yet for that matter we don't have any recording facility quite yet but thanks to generous gifts of listeners I have faith that I'm not going to be sitting in this closet forever but while I am crammed in this tiny little space we're actually reading our way through the Book of Revelation. Now obviously if I did every show on The Book of Revelation week after week after week we'd be at it for years and years and years because there's so much depth to this book that I just can't get to the end of it. So even though we've jumped into revelation for the last several weeks I'll take a break from it from time to time and cover other crucial topics and then from time to time I'll come back to Revelation. And I guess in doing this I'm really trying to accomplish a couple of different things. First I'm trying to demonstrate that you really can understand the last book of the Bible that Revelation is not some sort of in comprehensible mystery. Secondly over time I'm trying to accumulate enough material that you and I end up with a very comprehensive very detailed study of the Bible's last book. And the reason that's important to me is because it's really books like Revelation in Daniel that made a believer out of me. It was Bible prophecy that finally got. At me off the fence I mean it was prophecy that forced me to realize there's something more than human wisdom or human poetry at work in the pages of the Bible. I mean there's no way from a human perspective no way to explain away the astonishing content the astonishing concepts that you find in those books. How in the world did John and Daniel manage to get everything right. Hundreds and hundreds of years in advance and I'm not talking about vague or ambiguous predictions the kind that you find with Edgar Cayce you're Nostradamus. I mean these are very specific predictions that give amazing detail centuries in advance and sometimes as in Daniel's case they even name names they named these kingdoms before they exist. Just so what I'm hoping is we move along is that you're going to see the same thing. There's something to this there's something in these books that you just can't explain away in human terms. Now once in a while I actually head out into the public and I put on a month long seminar on The Book of Revelation kind of as a public service as a thank you from the voice of prophecy to the people who have kept this going for more than eighty five years and when I go out in that seminar I go over the major themes of Daniel and Revelation it's kind of a bird's eye view. But with this series now on the radio reading Revelation I'm going to slow down into low gear and will take a verse by verse approach. I suspect there will still be days when we have to look at the big overarching themes and move quickly and deal with really big concepts. In fact that's probably going to happen quite a bit but at the same time on other days like today I want to be careful to cover the ground we want to slow down and look at important details. So today we're going to look at Revelation one verse seven. But just before I dig into that verse I want to back up for just a couple of minutes and tie ups. I'm loose ends from the last time we looked at revelation because I never got to the final statement in verse six where Revelation describes Jesus as the one who quote has made us kings and priests to his God and Father. And I guess the one thing I want to point out about that statement is just how unworthy we are to receive an honor like that. Not only is Jesus the King of Kings Not only is he the great high priest in heaven sanctuary he also offers to share his status his honors with us. Even though you and I threw away the perfect world God made. Even though we bartered away our dominion over this planet to a fallen angel Jesus offers to give it all back according to The Book of Ephesians chapter one. Not only has Jesus redeemed us through His blood He has also given us an inheritance. Now honestly given the gravity of sin I'd be happy to slide into the kingdom of heaven and work as a busboy But according to officials Chapter Two Jesus actually elevates you and me to an imaginable heights. Listen to what it says and efficiency to verse four. But God who is rich in mercy because of his great love with which he loved us even when we were dead interest passes made us alive together with Christ by grace you have been saved and raised us up together and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus that in the ages to come he might show us the exceeding riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. It's kind of hard to believe after everything we've done that God plans to exalt us in the kingdom of heaven. In Revelation twenty it says that you and I will live and reign with Christ. Now again I mean I would have been happy mopping. The floors in heaven. But according to the Bible you and I will be kings and priests in the world that's coming and pay attention carefully to Revelation one verse six. I mean it's actually written in the present tense not the future. It says we all are kings and priests right now because of Jesus. The deal is as good as done. I mean you can take it to the bank because of the cross. God already thinks of you in those terms king and priest. Now there's one small possible variation on the translation of this verse. I mean if you have a Bible with marginal notes you'll see that some manuscripts have this verse saying that Jesus made us a king dumb and priests and even if that happens to be the better rendition of this verse that's still exciting. I mean you and I are just part of the Kingdom of God We are the Kingdom of God He's not simply letting us again he's banking on the fact that you and I are going to be the substance of his kingdom. In God's mind you are what makes the kingdom what it is. And that's such an important part of God's plan that he's actually planning to physically take up residence on this planet and live with us. Now if you never thought of that if that's a new concept to you you might want to take a sneak peek ahead to Revelation twenty one where John says in no uncertain terms that God's plan is to set up this tabernacle in our midst and live right here with us. But we'll get to that in time. First things first. Eventually I will get to Revelation twenty one but we have a lot of ground to cover before that. For right now what we need to understand is that the Kingdom of Christ. Even though it's still in the future as far as its literal establishment is concerned that kingdom already exists in the hearts and minds of believers. It's already a reality in the minds of people who have decided that Jesus belong. One is on the throne and we already have God's full permission to consider ourselves kings and priests were kings because Jesus has taken back our kingdom from the powers of darkness he has beaten the devil is a real flesh and blood human being and you and I are priests because we have direct access to the father the only mediator we need according to the Scriptures is Jesus himself. Paul reminds us in first Timothy two verse five that there is one Mediator between God and man the man Christ Jesus. So you and I don't need an earthly priest or a minister or a rabbi. When it comes to approaching the throne of God You are a king and priest in your own right and you can go straight to God yourself. Now I'm already up against a break and it really is time today to move on to Revelation one verse seven I mean if I keep moving at this pace we will be studying the book of Revelation thirty years from now I won't get all the material done so I'm going to take a break and as soon as we come back we're going to go and look at Revelation one verse seven and you might want to buckle your seat belt have your bible opened to that passage because what we're going to look at is a real doozy of a verse in Scripture. I'll be right back. Hello I'm Gene Burns do you feel it if you have more questions than answers in your life. Are you searching for answers to some of life's biggest questions. Well the discovery by the guide can help you find the answers you are looking for is a death at Bible study dot com or call us at eight eight eight four five six seven nine three three free or free. Discover a Bible guy Bible study thought come and begin your journey today to discover answers to life's deepest questions and it looks like I'm back from the break so it is time to open our Bibles and dig into Revelation one verse just in case you're joining us a little bit late my name. As Sean Boone strip you are listening to the voice of prophecy. Over the last few weeks what we've started to do is read our way through the Book of Revelation. And if you happen to miss the first few episodes you might want to go to the O. P. dot com and get those episodes better yet go to the Android or i Tunes store look for the voice of prophecy and download our new app because that app will give you access to just about everything we say and do here on the program. OK now it's time to look at Revelation one verse seven and here's what it says. Now we're reading behold he and of course that's a reference to Jesus. Behold He is coming with clouds and every eye will see Him even they who pierced Him And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of him. Even so Amen. All right. There is a lot of information there for us to digest so where in the world should I begin. Maybe we should break this into parts and deal with the parts separately that actually might make the most sense. So let's begin with the statement that Jesus is coming with clouds. Now you might remember when Jesus went back to heaven in Acts Chapter one that the disciples stood on the mountain and kept watching Jesus go up until a cloud. That's what it says in the book of Acts. A cloud received Him OUT OF THEIR SIGHT. Then an angel told them that the same Jesus would come back the same way they saw him go. So we know that a literal physical Jesus went up to heaven and a literal physical Jesus will come back. They were able to see Jesus leave and you and I will be able to see him arrive. In fact the next statement here in verse seven says every eye will see him. But what does it mean when it says that Jesus comes back with clouds. Well it might just mean that he's coming in the sky and that you're going to look up to see him come and there will be clouds up there all around him. That might be all there is to this but there is another intriguing possibility that emerges when you compare this verse to the rest of the Bible. Back in Matthew chapter twenty four a chapter that a preacher friend of mine used to call the Reader's Digest condensed version of Revelation in Matthew twenty four Jesus says pretty much the same thing. Here's the statement in Matthew twenty four verse thirty. This is Jesus speaking. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. So again just like with Revelation one verse seven you have the tribes of the earth the people of the earth mourning when they see Jesus and it says that Jesus comes on the clouds of heaven. Now given the fact that Jesus made a point of spelling out that he's going to come with clouds and John repeats that detail. It probably means that we should pay attention. It probably means that comparing this verse to the rest of the bible is going to show us a really important concept. And really that's one of the biggest keys to understanding the Book of Revelation you have to remember that two thirds of the material John uses two thirds of the language two thirds of the imagery it comes from the rest of the Bible. If you really want to understand what John says in Revelation you've got no choice you have to read the whole Bible. That's the context. I mean there's just no other way. Now at the same time you've got to be really careful that you don't try and read something into every last syllable of the Book of Revelation or you're going to end up with some really strange theology and I have piles of letters. Sitting in a desk drawer that just demonstrate how bad theology can get when somebody tries to read something into every single syllable of Revelation. In this case though it's going to prove useful and it's going to place this verse in the context of the rest of the Bible and it's going to paint a very important picture. What exactly does it mean when John says that Jesus comes with clouds. Again it might mean nothing. It might just mean that Jesus comes in the sky and you'll see him when he comes. But the way clouds are used elsewhere in the Bible shows us something really interesting. For example take a look at Psalm one hundred four. Word says that God makes the clouds his chariots. Now that doesn't mean that God is like the pagan gods of ancient mythology. It doesn't mean that he literally rides around in a chariot made out of clouds. It might just be poetic language describing God's creative power and his ownership of nature. But it also might be symbolic language for something else. I mean compare that statement to Psalm sixty eight and something really interesting suddenly comes to the surface. Listen to this this is Psalm sixty eight verse seventeen. The chariots of God are twenty thousand even thousands of thousands. The Lord is among them. As in Sinai in the holy place. Now the Bible says that God has twenty thousand chariots and thousands of thousands. In the original language it says that God has thousands of sheer non or myriads that he rides with. It's clearly a reference to a crowd and probably a crowd of warriors. And that is so likely that the translators of the Old King James version just kept a step and said that the chariots of God are thousands of angels. It's a picture of God. I'd coming down on Mount Sinai in a cloud just the way the Book of Exodus describes it except that this almost is describing that cloud as a cloud of angels the chariot of God might just be a cloud of angels. So in Revelation one verse seven What sort of cloud does Jesus return with. It might just be a cloud of water vapor. But given the language of the rest of the Bible is far more likely that John is describing Jesus returning with clouds of angels which would be perfectly consistent with the language of Jesus himself. I mean here listen to what Jesus says in Matthew twenty five verse thirty one he says when the Son of Man comes in His glory and all the holy angels with Him then He will sit on the throne of His glory and that statement Jesus returning with all the angels is completely consistent with the description of the Second Coming found in Revelation nineteen where Jesus comes riding a horse leading the armies of heaven. Now remember the thousands mentioned in Psalm sixty eight were a reference to warriors and that matches exactly what John says in Revelation nineteen. Here's Revelation one thousand verse fourteen and the armies in heaven clothed in fine linen white and clean followed him that's Jesus followed him on white horses. You might remember a story from the Book of Joshua where the young leader is outside the camp near the city of Jericho and she says suddenly appears to him and describes himself as the commander of the Lord's army. He's telling Joshua that there's nothing to worry about. God will take care of Jericho for the children of Israel. And the message for you and I in the second coming is exactly the same. Jesus returns riding on clouds. He leads the armies of heaven back. This Earth to eradicate completely wipe out the effects of our rebellion and sin. He demolishes what we've done. He wipes out suffering and pain and sorrow and death. After waiting patiently for the human race to come back home to return their hearts to God Jesus finally seizes his kingdom and He makes things right. And this is such a big event that all the angels come along all of Heaven empties which might be the reason that revelation eight verse one says that all of heaven falls silent under the seventh seal. Heaven fall silent because there's nobody there. They all come here every angel joins him when Jesus comes to claim His Kingdom when He comes to claim his bride. It is such a huge event that the whole universe joins him and I'm telling you that's a lot of angels. There are these descriptions in Daniel and Revelation of ten thousand times ten thousand angels multiplied by further thousands specifically in conjunction with the final judgment. And if you take those numbers literally we're talking hundreds of millions of angels maybe billions of Angels. And even if you don't take the numbers literally it's still describing a number too big for human comprehension. I mean think about this when one single Angel suddenly showed up at the Tomb of Jesus it was so overwhelming that tough Roman guards actually passed out. So imagine what it would look like when all the angels of heaven suddenly light up the sky. So what is the cloud that Jesus comes back with. Personally I'm convinced it's a cloud of angels. Not only is that consistent with the other descriptions of the Second Coming. It's also consistent with the amazing judgment seeing you find in Daniel Chapter seven where the son of man approaches this. Others thrown and it says that he approaches the throne with the clouds of heaven. Now that might mean there are actual clouds of water vapor in the throne room of God and I honestly doubt it. It's far more likely that this is a reference to the huge crowds of angels that are specifically described in the very same scene but I'm telling you one thing is sure the Bible teaches that when Jesus comes he comes with the clouds of heaven just like it says in Revelation one. And when Jesus comes he comes with all the angels just like it says in Matthew twenty five. At any rate it's going to be the most spectacular event in the history of our planet. Now I'm going to take a short break and when I come back we're going to look at the rest of this verse and we're going to ask the question why in the world do people mourn when they see Jesus return. Hello I'm steamed and I do thirteen for answers to life's questions like Where is God when we factor. Can I find real happiness or is there any hope for our chaotic world. Are you searching for answers to the other of life's most challenging questions whether discover Bible guide to help you find the answers that you are looking for. Both studies dot com Give us a call at eight eight eight four five six seven nine three three for your free discover Bible guide study online on our secure Web site or have the free guide mailed right to your home. There is never a cost or obligation. The Discover Bible guides are power free gift to you. Find answers and I'd like to have my life really matter to God and a second chance at life. You'll find answers to the things that matter the most to you. In each of the twenty six discover Bible guides Bible studies dot com and begin your journey today to discover answers to life's deepest questions. I'm back from the break and today I'm looking at Revelation one verse seven which describes the second coming of Christ. And just before I stop for the break I asked this question. Why do people mourn when they see Jesus. That's what it says in Revelation one verse seven. All the tribes of the earth will mourn because of him. And it said the same thing back in Matthew twenty four. So why in the world would anybody be upset when Jesus comes back. You'd think it'd be the best news on the planet. Unless of course your personal interests are completely at odds with the kingdom of Christ. If you are still at the center of your own universe when Jesus comes that's going to be a problem because God's going to completely overhaul everything when you take a look at the prophetic passages like Daniel chapter two where the kingdoms of this world are utterly crushed at the return of Jesus and the powder of the kingdoms of this world just blows away in the wind. Well it's pretty obvious that in order to restore this planet to the paradise it used to be God's going to eliminate everything we built. After countless generations of self determination we've made it abundantly obvious as a human race that we don't know what we're doing. I mean every few years we go back and hold an election. We hold our hopes that we're going to elect somebody that makes life better and then a few years later we hold another election. Why. Because we still haven't found the perfect government. You and I live in a world where just about everybody looks out for his or her own interests first. We live in a world of corruption and greed and selfishness. And in order to restore paradise in order to wipe away our tears and put a permanent end to suffering God has to replace our way of doing things. You can't just fix it. God has to replace it and so on. Over and over again the Bible says that the earthly kingdoms are going to pass away and be completely replaced by the kingdom of Christ the Son of God became a real human being and he took back the planet that Adam gave away and now it belongs to him. And if you are in that group described in Revelation one verse six the group that has become aligned with God's agenda the group that God describes as kings and priests then the second coming is wonderful news. But if you're still hanging on to sin if you're still clinging to the human rebellion against God If you refused to believe that God was going to come. Well then the second coming is bad news because now your kingdom is finished. Your Ambitions are bankrupt and defeated. It's over and you suddenly realize you have no place in God's solution. You have no place in the kingdom that's coming and honestly given the way that God pulled out all the stops to save us. It doesn't make a lick of sense to still be lost the day that Jesus comes. On that day. Some people will see Jesus coming and they'll know they've blown it. They suddenly realize that all the stuff in the Bible they chose to ignore was real. They suddenly realize that when God said he would put an end to human suffering he meant it and that would include the suffering they caused. They suddenly realize it's too late. They ignored God's repeated warnings they ignored God's constant pleading and now they're terrified and you'll notice over in Revelation six verse fifteen onwards these people are terrified of the lion of the tribe of Judah. No no no they're terrified of a lamb which only highlights just how senseless it is to be lost people are terrified of a lamb they're terrified of the one who laid down his life to save them. And when you compare it to Revelation one verse seven. Where it says that those who pierced Jesus would see him. These are people who now realize that his blood is on their hands. Remember Jesus specifically told the High Priest that he would see the Son of man returning on the clouds of heaven some how Caiaphas is going to see it and at that moment he will have to admit for real that he was wrong and Jesus is the Son of God You and I have a choice to make. You'll notice that the people who cry for the rocks and mountains to fall on them at the end of Revelation six call Jesus the Lamb. It's a clear signal they know who he is. It's not a mystery. These are people who know what Jesus did for us and yet they rejected the cross. You know the Bible seems to indicate that God does not hold people accountable for what they can't possibly know and that's because God is fair. He's just. But these people in the end they know the gospel has reached a whole world before Jesus comes and these people know. Just like you and me we know we know who Jesus is. We know what he did and the only question left for you and me to answer at this moment is whether or not we're going to accept the gift of Christ and be counted among the kings and priests who really don't deserve it but have given the gift of becoming God's children and heirs to the kingdom of Christ. And honestly when you're given that kind of a choice it's sort of a no brainer. If there's really only one choice to make. Why wouldn't you want Jesus. Well that's all the time I have got for this week I can't believe how quickly it runs out. We'll pick up on The Book of Revelation again in coming weeks. Thank you for listening. I'm Shawn Boone Stra. This has been the voice of prophecy. Hello I'm seemed an I.Q. thirteen for ants. As to life's toughest questions like Where is God when we suffer. Can I find real happiness or is there any hope for our chaotic world. Are you searching for answers to these and other of life's most challenging questions. Well the Discover Bible guides will help you find the answers that you are looking for. Visit us at Bible study dot com Give us a call at eight eight eight four five six seven nine three three for your free discover buy book I study online or in our secure website or have the free guides mailed right to your home. There is never a cost or obligation. The Discover Bible guides are power free gift to you. Find answers and I'd like to have my life really matter to God and a second chance at life. You'll find answers to the things that matter the most to you. In each of the twenty six discover Bible guy is at Bible study dot com and begin your journey today to discover the answers to life's questions. Right. Yes.

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