AN IMPERFECT LIFE (chap 1-4)

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Many of the events described in Revelation 6—11 seem to be chronological in order. This can lead the reader to expect this pattern to continue. For example:. In the midst of a vivid description of the great battle of Armageddon, there is another pause. Since the Apostle was translated and was to live through all the events he saw, the Lord seems to pause to show him what part he will have in all of it. This is the longest and perhaps the most difficult interlude to understand.

When John hears that the kingdoms of the world are to become the kingdoms of Christ see , it is as though the Lord stops to teach more about these two different classes of kingdoms. They are under, beneath and lower than the true Church. The highest eternal reward they can offer is the terrestrial kingdom, whose glory is like the moon. Packer — of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles elaborated on how we can find protection during this spiritual war:. Even at the foundation of the world, it was a certainty that Jesus Christ would perform the Atonement; thus, the effects of the Atonement began in the premortal world.

Scott — of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles described the power of testimony:. It generates the conviction that as the teachings of the Savior are consistently obeyed, life will be beautiful, the future secure, and there will be capacity to overcome the challenges that cross our path. A testimony grows from understanding truth, distilled from prayer and the pondering of scriptural doctrine.

It is nurtured by living those truths in faith and the secure confidence that the promised results will be obtained. The Joseph Smith Translation then adds these further insights:. Satan wages his fiercest battles against the Saints of the true and living Church. After seeing that Satan went to make war against the remnant of the seed of the woman, John saw a beast rise out of the sea see Revelation It could be said that any kingdom or government that exhibits these characteristics manifests the spirit of the beast. Revelation —12 contains additional information about the beast, including its ultimate destruction.

And while many of our members are remaining faithful and strong, some are wavering. Some are falling. See Rev. It will require more than that. The righteous will need patience and faith in Jesus Christ in order to withstand the evil that will prevail in the last days. Uchtdorf explained:.

Patience means active waiting and enduring. Patience is not simply enduring; it is enduring well! Patience is truly a fruit of the Spirit. It means reining in anger and holding back the unkind word. It means resisting evil, even when it appears to be making others rich. This description suggests that the second beast will seek to appear to represent Christ while actually teaching the false doctrines of Satan.

He comes into our lives as a thief in the night. This may symbolize that the wicked show by their actions hands and beliefs heads that they do the will of the beast and accept his ideology. Their unity is notable: These all continued with one accord. When we saw the disciples in the gospels, it seemed that they were always fighting and bickering. What had changed? Peter still had the history of denying the Lord; Matthew was still a tax collector; Simon was still a zealot.

Their differences were still there, but the resurrected Jesus in their hearts was greater than any difference. Their prayer is notable; they all prayed, and they continued in prayer and supplication. The idea of supplication is a sense of desperation and earnestness in prayer. Already, we see three important steps in making godly decisions: The disciples are in obedience, they are in fellowship, and they are in prayer. Act Peter suggests selecting a replacement for Judas.

And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples altogether the number of names was about a hundred and twenty , and said, "Men and brethren, this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus; for he was numbered with us and obtained a part in this ministry. And it became known to all those dwelling in Jerusalem; so that field is called in their own language, Akel Dama, that is, Field of Blood. Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples : Here, Peter takes a natural leadership role among the disciples.

There is nothing wrong with seeing Peter as the leader of the first group of the apostles, even as he often was the spokesman among the disciples during the earthly ministry of Jesus. However, the idea that the authority of Peter was supreme, and that he handed it down in unbroken succession, is unbiblical and wrong. Peter's words show a wisdom we did not often see in him before; he begins by noting that Judas didn't spoil God's plan, he fulfilled it this Scripture had to be fulfilled. This is something that only the wise and mature can see when evil happens.

Luke's historical note calls attention to how Judas died. Matthew says that Judas hanged himself, but apparently he failed in the attempt, fell, and was killed by the impact of falling from the tree in the Field of Blood. It was a Field of Blood not only because Judas spilled his blood there, but also because the field was purchased with the "blood money" given to the betrayer of Jesus. For it is written : Peter, quoting from two separate Psalms, shows why God would have them choose another disciple to "officially" replace Judas.

Their reliance on God's Word is notable; this wasn't the wisdom of man at work, but a principle revealed in Scripture. Also, this is the first time in the New Testament we read that Peter quoted Scripture! Let his habitation be desolate : David, the writer of these quoted Psalms, knew what it was like to be betrayed by another. When he was a fugitive from Saul, he was betrayed by a man named Doeg 1 Samuel , and many innocent people died as a result.

David may have penned these very words in reference to this betrayer. Let another take his office : When David was betrayed, he desired that the betrayer would be desolate and that another fill the betrayer's office. It wasn't hard to understand that the Son of David - Jesus, whom David often pictured - would desire the same thing. Their desire for God's will is notable; because of the principle of the quoted Scripture, they will replace Judas because they believe it is what Jesus wants, not because it is what they want.

Act Qualifications are stated and two men are nominated. One of these must become a witness with us : The disciples were bold enough to make a decision because they knew from God's Word that this is what He wanted. The apostles did not sense an outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon them; that was yet to come. But God did not leave them without guidance. They knew what to do from the Word. Even when we don't "feel" the Holy Spirit, we still have God's voice permanently established in His Word.

When we don't feel a special blessing from the Holy Spirit in an area not revealed by God's Word, we still know what to do: Obey God's Word.

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Who have accompanied us all the time : Whoever replaces Judas must be one who had been with them since they were baptized by John, stayed with them during the days of Jesus' earthly ministry, and they must have seen the resurrected Jesus. What told them that these were to be the qualifications? Sanctified common sense! There was no direct, awesome revelation from God; their common sense was being blessed because they were in obedience, in fellowship, in prayer, in the Word, and desiring God's will.

Their sanctified common sense was notable; it didn't answer everything, but it did narrow it down to two men. The main job of the new apostle was simply to become a witness with us of His resurrection. We can do the same job by showing that Jesus lives in our lives.

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Act The disciples pray and cast lots to select a replacement for Judas. And they prayed and said, "You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles. And they prayed : They prayed first, and it was easy to pray because they had already been praying Acts Their doing what Jesus would do was notable.

How did Jesus choose the disciples? He prayed Luke , even as these disciples did, to see who the Lord would add to their number. And they cast their lots : Many people have questioned the method for choosing one of the two men - after all these great spiritual steps, they end up rolling dice to pick the winner. Is this any way to choose an apostle? Their reliance on God is notable. Though they were not yet filled with the Holy Spirit, as they would be, they still wanted to choose a method that would make them rely on God. The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.

Proverbs The casting of lots may be an imperfect way to discern God's will, but it is much better than the methods many Christians use today, relying on emotions, circumstances, feelings, carnal desires and so forth.

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And the lot fell on Matthias : Was Matthias the right man for the job of the twelfth apostle? Some insist that Matthias was the wrong choice and the use of lots was not right. The idea is that God would have chosen Paul if the office had been left vacant. But we must respect the testimony of the Scriptures; God did not want to leave the office vacant.

If He did, it might be seen as a victory for Satan - Jesus picked 12, but one came up short and defeated Jesus' desire to have 12 apostles. Even though we read nothing more of Matthias, we should not assume he was a "dud" as an apostle; except for Peter and John, none of the original twelve are mentioned again after Acts 1. Matthias was no more of a "dud" than Matthew or Andrew or Thomas or any of the others.

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Paul considered himself an apostle, but one born out of due time 1 Corinthians It doesn't seem that he objected to the selection of Matthias. Revelation tells us that each of the twelve foundations of the New Jerusalem has the name of one of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. Is the twelfth apostle Paul or Matthias? Who can say for certain? No one can fault all the things they did before they cast lots. We must believe that all these things put them into the place where God would truly guide their decision. If we would put ourselves into the same place, we wouldn't make many wrong decisions!

How many wrong decisions would we make if we did all of these things before the decision? The disciples were in obedience, they were in fellowship, they were in prayer, they were in the Word, they wanted to do God's will, they used sanctified common sense, they did what Jesus would do, and they did what they could do to rely on God. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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