This week we finish up the New Testament with Jude and Revelation and begin with the Old Testament in Genesis.
Jude - This book is often attributed to one of Jesus' brothers. This 25 verse letter was composed as an encyclical letter - not directed at any one church but rather intended to be circulated and read in all churches. Addressed to Christians in general it warns about the doctrine of certain errant teachers. Many examples of evildoers and warnings about their fates are given in some of the most strongly worded language in the New Testament. The letter concludes with a doxology (short hymn of praise) one of the highest in quality in the Bible.
Revelation - Also attributed to John the disciple and probably written during John's exile at Patmos, this book is the piece of apocalyptic literature in the New Testament, a genre that relies heavily on visions and symbolism (like Daniel in the Old Testament). This book is written specifically to a group of churches in Asia (that was a province in the Roman Empire which encompasses modern day Turkey). The book deals a lot with sevens: messages to seven churches, the seven seal judgments, seven trumpet judgments and finally the seven bowl judgments. One of the big keys to understanding the book is found in the Old Testament - 278 out of the 404 verses in the book allude or refer to things contained in the Old Testament. Personally, I have found the most benefit when I read through Revelation thinking of it as God's great triumph over evil. And there is a lot of love and mercy to be found in the words as God continually provides opportunities for people to turn away from sin and turn to Him.
Genesis - Did you know that Genesis means "beginnings" or "origins"? And there are several beginnings and origins that are actually outlined within the book of Genesis as we move through it; Creation, the flood story and God's covenant with Noah, the tower of Babel and the dispersion of the people, God's calling of Abram and covenant with him, the continuation of that covenant through Isaac and later Jacob, and finally the starting over of the Israelites under the protection of Joseph in Egypt. We should pay close attention as we read Genesis because this is the beginnings of our history as the people of God.
Here is the schedule:
1 (Su) - 3 John, Jude, and Revelation 1-2
2 (M) - Revelation 3-6
3 (Tu)- Revelation 7-10
4 (W)- Revelation 11-14
5 (Th) - Revelation 15-18
6 (F) - Revelation 19-22
7 (Sa) - Genesis 1-4
May God add his richest blessings to the reading, the hearing and most importantly the living out of His Holy Word. Amen.