Hello again! Remember a few weeks ago I wrote up a comparison of the similarities between the life-parable of the prophet Hosea, and Jesus’ parable of the Prodigal Son? (Nov. 5, 2015) Today I decided to take that Bible study technique a step further and both compare and contrast the last chapters of the Old and New Testaments. I had this hypothesis that the two sections (which both end significant portions of the Library of Scripture) would have common elements. Read on to find out if my hypothesis was correct…
Before we dive into that, however, I’d like to share the simple, super-duper Bible study technique employed here. It is relevant to all who wish to draw close to the Good, and Only, God of the Universe. Here is the secret formula mathematically applied by only the rare human being:
TIME SPENT READING + PRAYERFUL, HEARTFELT MEDITATION = WISDOM
It’s a guarantee! Check out James 1:5-8, if you don’t believe me! In fact, it is also a life or death matter – when we draw it out to its final end. So, as we conclude this year and start 2016, let’s renew our commitment to applying this secret formula in our own individual spiritual lives. Daily.
Now, back to the final readings of the year! I’ll remind you that the book of Malachi was written about 400 years before the birth of Jesus. It discusses the problem of religious worship degenerating into empty formalities that eventually would evolve into the hypocritical religious leaders/Pharisees of Jesus’ day. It warned about the need for repentance, and promised God’s special messenger would be sent before the “Coming of the Lord.” It is the last word of God to His wayward people for 400 years – closing out the Old/Mosaic covenant.
The book of Revelation, on the other hand, was written 30-60ish years after the Lord Jesus ascended into heaven. Thus, it was close to 500 years after Malachi’s day. It is among the last messages of Jesus transcribed through his First Century Apostles. It is a book literally rife with symbolic, dramatic prophecies, and warnings of God’s judgments meted out on the world. Revelation, too, provides the final warnings to those who would be faithful to the second New/Christian covenant.
So the secret formula application to the crescendos of these two books (as I contemplated their similarities and differences) resulted in the following tables. Please don’t just gloss over my hard work. 😀 Read the chapters yourself, and pore over my computations, while carefully considering the profound lessons inherent here. Add your own thoughts and deductions (and subtract mine, if necessary 😀 ) The point is, to make the themes real to your consciousness, your outlook, your life, your 2016 – just as I am desiring to do. They are timely wake-up calls to a world desperately in need of vision and good news.
|Messenger sent||Elijah||Jesus’ angel (Gk. Messenger) Jesus himself|
|Sudden appearance||Lord suddenly comes||Jesus “I am coming quickly (i.e. suddenly” 3X)|
|Message||Covenant||Tabernacle of God is with men|
|Day of Lord/Coming||Day of his coming/Lord3X Great and terrible||I come quickly 3X To render to every man according to what he has done|
|Refined faith||Refiner’s fire/ Fuller’s soap/purification||PURE gold streets (cp. Tried faith=gold 1 Peter 1:7)|
|Religious leaders cleansed||Sons of Levi purified, righteous||Thirsty get water of life (Jesus – John 4:10) without cost Bondservants serve God & Jesus 12 Tribes = gates 12 Apostles = foundation|
|Swift burning judgment on wicked||sorcerers, adulterers, false swearers, oppressors of: wage earners, widows, orphans, aliens; arrogant, evildoers||cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, idolaters, murderers, immoral, sorcerers, all liars, “dogs”, all who love and practice lying|
|Judgment=death||arrogant & evildoer = Burning furnace/chaff I will set them ablaze Wicked = ashes under feet Neither root nor branch||lake that burns with fire & brimstone/second death never enter the city no right to Tree of Life|
|Lord = unchanging||“I the Lord, do not change”||Alpha & Omega (21:6=God, 22:13 =Jesus), beginning & end, Eden & New Creation allusions|
|God’s message/actions||Return to me and I will return to you blessing/healing versus destruction||God dwells with men, Beginning and the end, Eden allusions destruction versus wipes tears, no pain/death, takes away curse|
|Obedience||tithes & offerings No more arrogant words (those who feared the Lord spoke)||Gates = 12 tribes (cp. Malachi’s “robbers” – now entryway into Bride of Christ)
cp. Foundations = 12 Apostles’ (preaching gospel)
|Faithful encouraged||Spoke often, esteem His Name, fear the Lord, heard by God||Precious stones of city = living stones 1 Peter 2:5, dwell with God, All things new, those who heed the words of book|
|Faithful are God’s jewels||special treasure, My own possession||costly jasper, precious stones, pearls = faithful people|
|Book||of Remembrance before God||Lamb’s Book of Life|
|Sun/Light||Sun of righteousness rises||No night, No need of sun, Glory of God illumines, Jesus= bright morning star|
|Healing||in his wings||Leaves of tree for healing of Nations|
|Curse||Obey messenger – lest I come and smite the land with a curse||On those who add or take away from the words of the book of this prophecy|
|Conclusion||Overflowing Blessing, Nations’ honor, delightful land Hearts restored to each other – by God’s design||Reign forever and ever
Water of /Tree of Life The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all (Grace = outworking of God’s good will on human hearts)
|Warning||Given – “return to Me”||Spoken in sense of New Jerusalem is here so its too late for warning – Judgment has arrived – “Let the one who does wrong, still do wrong…”|
|Authority||God||Some things turned over or shared with the Lord Jesus|
|Covenant||Old Covenant/Moses, Horeb||New Creation/Jerusalem–Jesus the Bridegroom -Lamb of God – slain once Heb. 10:8-14, root and offspring of David (links to Abrahamic covenant)|
|God’s dwelling place||Temple||No temple – now among men = New Jerusalem|
|Sun||Sun rising||No need of sun|
|Fulfillment of Prophecy||John the Baptist Mt. 17:9-13(partial fulfillment)||No fulfillment yet|
|Sin||Being eradicated||Being finally and completely eradicated such that there is no more death|
|Amen||None||Two “Amens” – official ending – Hebrew means; so be it, so it is, may it be fulfilled, double reinforcement|
Many of the conclusions are self-apparent when displayed in this graphic way. I will just share a few of my own. Perhaps you can see additional ones that jump out.
I found it astonishing how many similarities I discovered by doing this exercise! It was not just, “Yes, there are similar themes” but, “Wow!! So many??!!” Did you feel that too? The big-picture message of God to waiting people did not change between the two covenants. It boils down to: Warning: Be righteous! Overcome sin! I have sent messengers! Judgment is coming! You really don’t want to be among the wicked! Amazing blessings await the Righteous Ones!
The contrasts are also quite revealing. They show Jesus’ enhancement and comprehension of other prophecies (beyond Malachi – like Isaiah) in expounding on the Kingdom Age. Many additional details are elaborated by the Lord Jesus of that “great and terrible day.” They connect more dots and give us further insight that takes our breath away. Like the reminder that God will wipe away every tear from our eyes! How truly awesome is that?! The contrasts also point out clearly that Revelation is the ultimate and final Day of the Lord. It is not the partial one (with the wonderful preaching of Elijah-John the Baptist) before the first coming of Jesus on the world’s radar. (Although in Matthew 17 Jesus seems to indicate there will be a latter day Malachi-type-Elijah as well ) Revelation leaves us with a real sense of finality. Sin and death have to be forever and completely abolished before God can dwell with men – in the Revelation sense.
“So it is!” Jesus says to us. It will happen! “I am coming quickly!” “I am coming quickly!” “I am coming quickly!” When we understand this word to mean “suddenly,” it jerks our attention to awareness, watchfulness, awake-ness. Don’t be caught among the wretches who become ash heaps outside that great city of Living Stones! Don’t do it! Reach instead for sun, healing, the end of pain and sadness. Reach to be overcomers/inheritors – beyond the power of sin anymore. Reach to hear your name read from the Book of Life and to be offered fruit from the Tree of Life washed down with the Water of Life. Reach to be a part of God’s glory, His holy city, His people. Reach to see His face and feel His compassionate hand wiping your tears away forever. Reach to dwell in a place always illumined by the glory of God and the lamp of the Lamb. It’s gripping language. It’s Jesus’ language.
And don’t forget that Jesus already dwelt with the Holy Father and myriad angels when he spoke these words. And he dwells there still, today – at the final end of the Year 2015. Will 2016 be the year of the culmination of the God-ordained events of Malachi and Revelation? Let’s live as if it is – because it certainly might be! Jesus urgently calls us to join him – because he knows exactly how good life in the presence of God really is. And he graciously promises his grace will be with all who follow his example.
Amen. Come Lord Jesus. Rev. 22:20