The Avenging of Righteous Blood (Deuteronomy, Matthew and Revelation)


Series: “Little Gems from Our Study of the Book of Revelation”

Recently my friend, Jerry William Bowers Jr., posted the following status on Facebook:

Revelation simplified:

Revelation 6:10, 16:6, 17:6, 18:24, 19:2, 20:4 speaks to the avenging of righteous blood.

This was prophesied in Deuteronomy 32:43, and would occur in Israel’s “END” (Deuteronomy 32:20) in their “Latter end” (Deuteronomy 32:29).

Matthew 23:34-36 very clearly says this would be fulfilled in their own generation.

It just doesn’t get any simpler than that!

I agree with Jerry’s summary, and would like to develop it further. During the last several years of studying eschatology, one thing I’ve enjoyed immensely is allowing Scripture to interpret Scripture. It’s an enlightening exercise. To give one example, I was taught for a long time that Isaiah’s imagery of a wolf lying down with a lamb is both unfulfilled and a literal reference to the animal kingdom. However, I’ve now come to understand, by allowing Romans 15 to interpret Isaiah 11, that this is presently fulfilled in Christ, who broke down the wall of division between Jews and Gentiles so that all may find their hope in Him (see “Romans 15 Shows That Isaiah 11 Is Fulfilled“).

Deuteronomy 32: Prediction of Israel’s End and Judgment for Murdering God’s People

Jerry’s status is also an appeal to allow Scripture to interpret Scripture, in this case concerning the theme of the blood of the martyrs. Let’s take a look at the passages he referenced in Deuteronomy 32, plus one more (verse 5). There Moses is speaking to Israel (Deut. 31:30), which he very interestingly addresses as “heaven” and “earth” (Deut. 32:1).

“They have corrupted themselves; They are not His children, because of their blemish: a perverse and crooked generation” (Deut. 32:5).

And He said: ‘I will hide My face from them, I will see what their end will be, for they are a perverse generation, children in whom is no faith‘” (Deut. 32:20).

For they are a nation void of counsel, nor is there any understanding in them. Oh, that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end! (Deut. 32:28-29).

Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people; For He will avenge the blood of His servants, and render vengeance to His adversaries; He will provide atonement for His land and His people” (Deut. 32:43).

Does anything jump out when noting Moses’ language in verse 20? Recall what Jesus said to His Israelite audience in Matthew 17:

Then Jesus answered and said, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me” (Matthew 17:17).

Moses predicted that at the time of Israel’s end, they would be a perverse and faithless generation. Jesus ministered in Israel to the same generation that was overthrown by the Romans in 70 AD, and He called that generation “faithless and perverse.” It would seem that Jesus intentionally invoked Moses’ words in Deut. 32:20. The apostle Paul did the same thing when addressing the Philippian church, as he used the exact same phrase Moses used in Deut. 32:5.

Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world…” (Philippians 2:14-15).

Matthew 23: Jesus’ Own Generation Responsible for The Blood of God’s Servants

We turn now to Jesus’ prediction in His woes upon the Scribes and Pharisees. He declared that they “build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous” (Matt. 23:29), and that they “are sons of those who murdered the prophets” (verse 31). Jesus went on to say:

Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation” (Matt. 23:34-36).

Moses, in Deuteronomy 32, predicted that God would “avenge the blood of His servants” at the time of Israel’s end. Jesus told the religious leaders of Israel that they would be held responsible for “all the righteous blood shed on earth” (or land, that is, Israel’s land). He made it clear that their generation would experience that judgment.

Revelation: The Avenging of the Blood of God’s Saints, Prophets, and Apostles

In the book of Revelation, as John is shown a series of judgments being poured out, we see this scene in heaven:

When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” (Rev. 6:9-10)

Many believe or teach that the judgments of Revelation will be poured out in our own future and upon the entire globe, but who did Jesus say would be held responsible for all the bloodshed of God’s servants? What generation did He say would experience that vengeance? Without a doubt, it was His own people (Israel) and His own generation. As the outpouring of judgment progresses in the book of Revelation, we see how God answers the cries of the martyrs:

Then the third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood. And I heard the angel of the waters saying: “You are righteous, O Lord, the One who is and who was and who is to be, because You have judged these things. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and You have given them blood to drink. For it is their just due” (Rev. 16:4-6).

So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. And on her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement” (Rev. 17:3-6).

They threw dust on their heads and cried out, weeping and wailing, and saying, ‘Alas, alas, that great city, in which all who had ships on the sea became rich by her wealth! For in one hour she is made desolate.’ “Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you holy apostles and prophets, for God has avenged you on her!” …And in her was found the blood of prophets and saints, and of all who were slain on the earth” (Rev. 18:19-24).

For true and righteous are His judgments, because He has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication; and He has avenged on her the blood of His servants shed by her” (Rev. 19:2).

In our series on the book of Revelation, we noted that “the great city” was first identified in Rev. 11:8 as the place “where our Lord was crucified.” This is a positive identification of Jerusalem as “the great city” spoken of in the book of Revelation. It’s no wonder that “in her was found the blood of prophets and saints…” This is the very thing that Jesus said in Matthew 23 would be true of first century Jerusalem. This is also the time when the apostles lived and ministered (Rev. 18:20).

The great city, Babylon the Great, was called “the mother of harlots.” Did Jesus not refer to His own generation in Israel as “a wicked and adulterous generation” (e.g. Matthew 12:39, 16:4)? Did Jeremiah not use similar language to describe ancient Israel during times of apostasy? Was it not legitimate for God to use the language of adultery against an unfaithful nation that was in covenant with Him? Had first century Israel not become as awful and wicked as their ancient enemy and conqueror, Babylon?

See our study on Revelation 17:1-6 for the significance of the harlot imagery that John used, the garments that the harlot wore, the words on her forehead, the rich Old Testament background for all these things, and the harlot’s close partnership with first-century Rome.

The Apostle Paul Prophesies Judgment and Tribulation Against the Israel of His Day

In light of everything we’ve discussed above, it’s also good to take note of what the apostle Paul said to the believers in Thessalonica who were suffering and enduring persecution at the time of his letters (52-54 AD):

For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus. For you also suffered the same things from your own countrymen, just as they did from the Judeans, who killed both the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they do not please God and are contrary to all men, forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved, so as always to fill up the measure of their sins; but wrath has come upon them to the uttermost” (I Thessalonians 2:14-16)

“…[We] ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer; since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (II Thessalonians 1:4-8).

Paul affirmed that the time had nearly come for the inhabitants of Judea to experience God’s wrath “to the uttermost” for killing Jesus and the prophets. Their opposition to the gospel was “contrary to all men” and was a great hindrance in the quest to spread the gospel among the Gentiles. It would be “a righteous thing with God” when they were repaid with tribulation, and it would result in them receiving rest. Jesus had promised to come with His angels in judgment and in His kingdom while some of His disciples were still alive (Matthew 16:27-28).

To Review

1. Moses prophesied that God would “avenge the blood of His servants” upon a faithless, perverse, and crooked generation at the time of Israel’s “latter end” (Deuteronomy 32:5, 20, 29, 43).

2. Jesus repeatedly denounced His own generation as “perverse”, “faithless”, and “adulterous.” Paul told the Philippian church that they were shining as lights in the midst of “a crooked and perverse generation” (Phil. 2:14-15).

3. Jesus told the religious leaders of Israel that their generation would be held responsible and judged for all the righteous blood shed on earth (Matthew 23:29-36).

4. John was shown a scene of martyrs crying out for their blood to soon be avenged “on those who dwell on the earth” (Revelation 6:10).

5. John then sees seven bowls poured out “on the earth” (Rev. 16:1), and one of them causes the rivers and springs to become blood in order to judge those who had “shed the blood of saints and prophets” (Rev. 16:4-6).

6. John also sees a harlot dressed like a high priest of Israel and “drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus” (Rev. 17:3-6).

7. In Revelation 18:19-24, John sees the great city, earlier identified as Jerusalem (Rev. 11:8), overthrown and made desolate (see Matthew 23:38). The holy prophets and apostles, and all of heaven, were told to rejoice over this scene because God had avenged them on her, and because “in her was found the blood of prophets and saints, and of all who were slain on the earth.

8. In Revelation 19, John sees a heavenly scene in which there is much rejoicing over God’s righteous and true judgments, because He had judged the great harlot and “avenged on her the blood of His servants shed by her” (verse 2). With the harlot judged and put away, John sees that “the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready” (verse 7).

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Revelation 6 and Luke 23: Hide Us From the Wrath of the Lamb


Series: “Little Gems from Our Study of the Book of Revelation”

My favorite series on this site is our in-depth study of the book of Revelation. Many of the chapter-by-chapter studies are rather lengthy, and buried within these posts are some very interesting mini studies (in my opinion).  Over time I would like to pull out some of these little gems and present them briefly, one post at a time. They will be added to the “Revelation” page on this site as they are posted. This is the first such post.

Revelation 6:15-17 Is the Fulfillment of Luke 23:27-30

One can learn a lot and gain a lot of insight by comparing Scripture with Scripture, or letting Scripture interpret Scripture. Consider John’s description of the opening of the 6th seal judgment, Revelation 6:15-17 in particular:

I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place. And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” (Rev. 6:12-17)

Comparing these verses with an earlier prophecy by Jesus in Luke 23:27-30 is very enlightening:

And a great multitude of the people followed Him, and women who also mourned and lamented Him. But Jesus, turning to them, said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For indeed the days are coming in which they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, wombs that never bore, and breasts which never nursed!’ Then they will begin ‘to say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!”

  • Question #1: Who did Jesus say would call upon the mountains to fall on them because of His wrath and judgment?
  • Answer #1: The daughters of Jerusalem, and – even more so – their children (note the word “they” in reference to the children).
  • Question #2: When did Jesus say this would happen?
  • Answer #2: During the lifetimes of the ladies who were weeping as Jesus walked past them toward the cross, and during the lifetimes of their children.

In Luke 23, Jesus foretold what would happen to His own people, and to His own generation. In Revelation 6, John saw a vision of the same scene playing out during the great day of the Lord’s wrath. This was not to be a global event, nor was it to occur thousands of years later. It would, and did, occur in the same place where Jesus walked and lived, and upon His own generation which largely rejected Him.

Echoes of Hosea

The same prophecy was once given by the prophet Hosea concerning Israel:

“Also the high places of Aven, the sin of Israel, shall be destroyed. The thorn and thistle shall grow on their altars, and they shall say to the mountains, “Cover us!”, and to the hills, “Fall on us!” (Hosea 10:8).

This is one of many indications in the book of Revelation that the judgments were directed at apostate Israel and the “evil”, “wicked”, “faithless,” and “vile” generation that Jesus often spoke against.

The Significance of “The Kings of the Earth”

Revelation 6:15 speaks of “the kings of the earth.” Note that the Greek word for “earth” here (“ge”) can be, and sometimes is, translated as “land.” This can be understood as the Promised Land, i.e. Israel, and there is no doubt that this is the meaning in Luke 21:23, for example, where this same word is used:

But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains… But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people” (Luke 21:20-23).

The expression “those who dwell on the earth” occurs frequently in the book of Revelation, and ample evidence points to this being a unique reference to first century Israel, as outlined in this 3-part series (here, here, and here).

F.F. Bruce on Revelation 6:16 and Luke 23:30

F.F. Bruce (1910-1990), well-known Bible scholar from Scotland, regarding verse 16 in Revelation 6:

“The best commentary on the present passage is found in our Lord’s words to the ‘daughters of Jerusalem’ on the Via Dolorosa (Lk. 23:30).”

(“Revelation” in International Bible Commentary, p. 1608, published in 1986)

Josephus on The Final Days of the Roman Siege on Jerusalem in 70 AD

On July 31, 70 AD, after a five month siege, the Romans succeeded in penetrating the final wall around Jerusalem and burned the temple to the ground. Tens of thousands of Jews were killed, but the surviving Jews retreated to the Upper City of Jerusalem, where Josephus says that many continued to plunder, ambush, and assault their fellow Jews. The victims were too weakened by famine to resist, and quite a few were killed senselessly. Josephus tried to persuade them to surrender to the Romans and spare what was left of the city, but he was only laughed at. Josephus records that some put on happy faces “in expectation, as they said, of death to end their miseries.” Many Jews sought refuge in the caves and underground caverns, hoping to remain hidden once the Romans would reach the Upper City:

So now the last hope which supported the tyrants and that crew of robbers who were with them, was in the caves and caverns underground; whither, if they could once fly, they did not expect to be searched for; but endeavored, that after the whole city should be destroyed, and the Romans gone away, they might come out again, and escape from them. This was no better than a dream of theirs; for they were not able to lie hid either from God or from the Romans (Josephus, Wars, 6:7:3).

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See here for our complete study of Revelation 6:

Part 1 (Rev. 6:1-8)
Part 2 (Rev. 6:9-17)

Daniel 2: The Kingdom Is Here


Jonathan Welton, the author of the book “Raptureless,” has created a neat illustration of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and Daniel’s interpretation of it in Daniel 2. I very much agree with the main conclusion: “The kingdom is present; the kingdom is growing. We are in the kingdom age… and we are the King’s ambassadors.”

Daniel 2:44 is indeed a pivotal verse, as it states clearly the timing for the setting up of God’s eternal kingdom:

And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.”

As many scholars agree, Rome was the fourth kingdom depicted in Nebuchadnezzar’s vision. Rome was preceded by Nebuchadnezzar’s own Babylonian kingdom (#1), Medo-Persia (#2), and Greece (#3). These were successive empires, and the Roman empire ceased to exist in 476 AD (Sources: BBC History, History Learning Site, Rome.Info, Wikipedia, About.com’s Ancient History). Daniel, a true and faithful prophet, recorded that God’s kingdom would be set up before all four of those kingdoms ceased to exist.

By the year 600 AD the final earthly kingdom revealed in Nebuchadnezzar’s vision had been gone for more than 100 years. By 1500 AD that fourth kingdom had already been gone for a full millennium (1000 years). What are we to make, then, of popular teachings which say that, as of the year 2014, God has not yet set up His kingdom? We are now 1538 years beyond the parameters of Daniel’s prophecy: “And in the days of these kings…” If God’s kingdom has not yet been established, it would seem that Daniel was not a true prophet.

The problem, however, is not with Daniel, but rather with premillennialism and any other school of thought which says that God’s kingdom is not yet here, or that when it comes it will take on earthly characteristics (e.g. a temple and a spiritual headquarters in Jerusalem, Israel) that the world has not yet seen.

Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:20-21).

Daniel 7 Reveals the Timing of the Kingdom

Coming back to Daniel, he later had a vision of four beasts, the fourth of which was “dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong,” and having 10 horns (Daniel 7:7). Daniel also foresaw “One like the Son of Man coming with the clouds of heavento the Ancient of Days – a picture of Jesus’ ascension.

I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed” (Daniel 7:13-14).

In the rest of the chapter, Daniel sees or is told three times that the kingdom would be given into the hands of the saints:

But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever” (verse 18).

I was watching; and the same horn was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them, until the Ancient of Days came, and a judgment was made in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom” (verses 21-22).

Then the saints shall be given into [the fourth beast’s] hand for a time and times and half a time. But the court shall be seated, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and destroy it forever. Then the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him” (verses 25-27).

Parallel to this is Revelation 13:1-8, where John also saw a beast with 10 horns speaking blasphemous things and making war with the saints and overcoming them for 42 months (which is equal to 3.5 years, and also equal to Daniel’s “time and times and half a time”). In our study of Revelation, we saw how this was fulfilled in Nero and his 3.5 year campaign of persecution against Christians in the Roman empire from November 64 AD – June 68 AD (see here and here). In Daniel 7 then, we first see that Jesus received the kingdom immediately after His ascension, and then we see that God’s kingdom was set up and given into the hands of His people during the days of the fourth kingdom/beast, Rome.

The Gospels Reveal the Timing of the Kingdom

John the Baptist and Jesus, in their day, repeatedly proclaimed that the kingdom of God was at hand. Then Jesus told His disciples (Matthew 16:27-28) and the crowds (Mark 8:34-9:1) that He would come in His kingdom while some of them were still alive.

For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom” (Matt. 16:27-28; see also Matthew 10:23).

In Luke 21 Jesus described a series of events which were to occur before the temple would fall (Luke 21:5-7) and before His generation would pass away (Luke 21:32). According to Jesus, when His disciples saw those things take place, they could be sure that God’s kingdom was near.

Then He spoke to them a parable: ‘Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near. So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near” (Luke 21:29-31).

Matthew 21: The Parable of the Tenants

The Parable of the Tenants (Matthew 21:33-46) is also important in regard to when God’s kingdom was to be established, and we see in this parable a parallel to Daniel 7. Jesus, speaking to the chief priests and elders of the people (Matt. 21:23), exposes the vinedressers (the stewards) of God’s vineyard for their long-term persecution, beating, and killing of God’s servants, and for finally conspiring to kill Him and attempt to seize His inheritance. Jesus continued the discussion in this way:

“Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vinedressers?” They said to Him, “He will destroy those wicked men miserably, and lease his vineyard to other vinedressers who will render to him the fruits in their seasons.” Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? “Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it. And whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder” (Matthew 21:40-44).

Jesus thus proclaimed that the kingdom would be taken away from the corrupt Jewish religious leaders at the time of their judgment for shedding the blood of God’s saints and God’s Son. (This judgment was to fall upon Jesus’ own generation, according to Matthew 23:29-37.) It was at this time that the kingdom would be given to a fruit-bearing nation, the church.

As in Daniel 2, Jesus is the rock that crushes His opponents. In this case, faithless Israel, except for a remnant, had set itself up in opposition to Him, and the Rock would fall and “grind him to powder.” This happened with the destruction of Jerusalem, Israel, and the temple in 70 AD. At the same time, Jesus is a mighty Rock and fortress for those who trust in Him.

Hebrews 12 Reveals the Timing of the Kingdom

The author of Hebrews spoke of the kingdom that his audience was receiving in the first century (Hebrews 12:28), and he pointed out that it was a kingdom which could not be shaken, unlike those things made with hands which could and would be shaken (verses 26-27). I believe this was a reference, in particular, to the temple in Jerusalem, the worship center for old covenant Judaism. The context bears this idea out. Ten verses earlier we read that the saints had not come to Mount Sinai, where the old covenant had been established (verse 18), but they had “come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem…to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant…” (verses 22-24). If we compare this with Galatians 4:21-31, we see that earthly Jerusalem was in bondage and was about to be cast out (verses 25 and 30), but the heavenly Jerusalem is said to be the mother of God’s people (verse 26). Here is what Hebrews 12 has to say:

For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest, and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words, so that those who heard it begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore. (For they could not endure what was commanded: “And if so much as a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned or shot with an arrow.” And so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I am exceedingly afraid and trembling.”)

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.

See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.” Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire. (Hebrews 12:18-29)

To Review

1. Daniel 2 reveals that God would set up His kingdom before Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome had all expired as kingdoms/empires.
2. Daniel 7 reveals that Jesus would receive His kingdom at the time of His ascension to His Father’s throne. It also confirms that God’s kingdom would be put into the hands of His people, the church, during the time of the Roman empire and immediately following a vicious campaign of persecution meant to eradicate the church.
3. John the Baptist and Jesus repeatedly proclaimed that the kingdom of God was near in their day. Jesus promised to come in His kingdom while some of His disciples were still alive, and He revealed that His kingdom would be given to His church at the same time it was taken away from rebellious Israel at the time of their judgment.
4. Hebrews 12 reveals that God’s people were receiving an unshakable kingdom in the first century, and that they would receive it at a time when all that could be shaken would be shaken.

The nation of Israel, as a whole, was found unworthy to steward God’s kingdom. Jesus, on the other hand, was perfectly obedient, laid down His life, rose again, and was found worthy to receive the kingdom. He came to take it out of the hands of Israel’s leaders, and He placed it into the hands of His church. We have been given the privilege of being the stewards of God’s kingdom. How much is the church being limited in its ability to spread God’s kingdom, and walk in its realities and power, because of the pervasive belief that it hasn’t even come yet?

God’s kingdom has come, and God’s kingdom will remain forever.

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For the record, I agree with everything in Jonathan Welton’s illustration except for this statement:

“Since Jesus (the Rock) crashed into the feet of the statue in His first coming, the kingdom has been present and growing all the way until His second coming.”

Spared Three Times In Five Days


This week I’ve witnessed three car accidents happen in front of me, and have nearly been involved each time, but Friday’s incident was the most bizarre. I’ve also seen the aftermath of an even higher number of accidents this week. Many in different parts of the US, I know, can say the same thing.

Before I share what happened Friday, I should mention that in recent months I’ve been out on the road more than the average person. Since my wife and I moved to Bowling Green, Ohio last August I’ve been driving a shuttle van/Honda CRV (and occasionally dispatching) for a taxi company here. Aside from transporting college students and others in town, I also transport people to and from:

1. the Detroit airport (75 miles to the north)
2. the Toledo airport (30 miles to the north)
3. the Greyhound bus station in Toledo
4. the Megabus station in Toledo
5. the Amtrak station in Toledo
6. the Greyhound bus station in Findlay (25 miles to the south)
7. medical appointments to determine eligibility for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare); the taxi company I drive for is contracted to do this, and it involves waiting for the duration of each appointment before taking the passenger back home; this takes me to Toledo, Findlay, Lima, etc. in NW Ohio
8. and more.

I would estimate that at least 20% of my passengers in Bowling Green are from Saudi Arabia, and I’ve enjoyed learning Arabic words and phrases from them, learning about their culture, and building some neat relationships.

I also tutor on the side through Wyzant, mostly in the areas of ESL (English as a Second Language) and proofreading/editing, and that work also sometimes involves traveling to Toledo, Findlay, etc.

Friday’s Strange Mishap

Friday morning at around 10:00 I was on my way to pick up a passenger who had finished his night shift at an industrial plant. A lady driving a minivan toward me caught my eye because she was sitting in the passenger seat and leaning way over to the side to grip the steering wheel. Even though the road was dry, she lost control, swerved both ways, and then rammed into a snow bank as I was about to pass her.

I immediately stopped, but before I could do anything she got out of the passenger side, ran around to the driver’s side, managed to reverse the van, and promptly drove away. I could see that no one else was in the van. I don’t know how she was pressing the gas and brake pedals, but later I humored myself by imagining she was using a toilet plunger.

Someone who heard the story suggested that she could have been a rural mail carrier, as they sometimes use their own vehicles which are altered in such a way that they can drive via the passenger seat and easily reach into mailboxes. (If anyone reading this post knows how that works, I’d be interested to learn more about it.) However, this incident occurred within Bowling Green’s corporation limit, her van was unmarked, and she was leaning over very awkwardly as she drove. I’m inclined to think she was drunk, but I could be wrong.

I’m glad her final swerve took her into the snow bank, or we could have collided head-on.

Monday’s Near Misses

The roads were especially treacherous in Bowling Green on Monday, after Sunday’s snowfall, and with no salt on the roads.  I experienced numerous “near misses” as drivers had a hard time stopping at intersections, but an accident took place in front of me twice.

In the first incident, I passed over Interstate 75 on a two-lane road, and as I drove down the hill I saw that a car had stopped at a stop sign a little further up and to the right. (There was no stop sign coming up for me.) Then I saw another car come up behind the first one – too fast – and he slid sideways and rear-ended her hard enough to push her into my path. By the grace of God, I was able to swerve to my left and make it around her. They were both OK.

In the second incident, I was stopping at a four-way stop when an SUV approaching from the side slammed head-on into an electric pole just before the intersection. The collision nearly took down the pole, and the wires flopped up and down violently for a few seconds. Because of his speed, my guess is that he didn’t notice until the last second that he had a stop sign ahead of him. He got out a minute later, dazed, but apparently OK, and emergency vehicles were soon there.

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These incidents and others were more than enough “excitement” for one week, but I’m grateful for God’s protection in each case.