The consolation at the birth of Jesus (Matthew 2:18-25)

We can see from the account that Joseph had very good character features – we are told about his righteous attitude, his compassion (he did not want to embarrass Mary) and his carefulness (he thought about the situation). He did not happen to become like that only at the moment he discovered the problem. A lifetime of godliness had gone into the p...

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The circumstances of the birth of Jesus (Matthew 1:18-25)

I wonder where or how Joseph proposed to Mary. It looks from the rest of the Gospels that he was older than her, perhaps by twenty years or more. Whenever it happened, he would have been very happy. He was a devout man and the Lord had provided for him a devout person as his future wife. Then he heard that the unexpected, even the...

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The greatest birth (Matthew 1:18-25)

The birth of Jesus is a great mystery. In fact, it is generally regarded as one of two great mysteries of the Christian faith – they are the mystery of three persons in the Trinity and the mystery of two natures in the person of Christ. Saying that there are two great mysteries does not mean that there are only two because, as we know, there are m...

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The uniqueness of Jesus (Matthew 1:1-17)

The first verse of Matthew 1 stresses that Jesus is unique. It is likely that a Jew who knew the Old Testament would be very excited when he first read this opening sentence of Matthew. We should imagine one such person receiving this gospel or hearing it read. The first verse would grab his attention and he would say to himself, ‘I am going to be...

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Listening to the genealogy of Jesus (Matthew 1:1-17)

We can see in this genealogy a fulfilment of the prophecy of Isaiah 53 that the Messiah would be numbered with the transgressors. Of course, this prediction is fulfilled in a variety of ways, such as when Jesus was baptised by John in the Jordan and when he was numbered with the criminals at the cross. And it is also fulfilled here because every...

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The Genealogy of Jesus (Matt. 1:1-14)

Matthew wrote his Gospel initially for Jewish readers. There was a tradition in the early church that he originally wrote it in Hebrew and afterwards wrote the same account in Greek. Whether that tradition is true or not does not really matter. We can easily see from the way he writes his account that Matthew wants to remind his readers that Jesus...

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The Genealogy of Jesus (Matt. 1:1-17)

Matthew wrote his Gospel initially for Jewish readers. There was a tradition in the early church that he originally wrote it in Hebrew and afterwards wrote the same account in Greek. Whether that tradition is true or not does not really matter. We can easily see from the way he writes his account that Matthew wants to remind his readers that Jesus...

Read more: The Genealogy of Jesus (Matt. 1:1-17)

Some messages from the genealogy of Jesus (Matthew 1:1-17)

We can see in this genealogy a fulfilment of the prophecy of Isaiah 53 that the Messiah would be numbered with the transgressors. Of course, this prediction is fulfilled in a variety of ways, such as when Jesus was baptised by John in the Jordan and when he was numbered with the criminals at the cross. And it is also fulfilled here because every...

Read more: Some messages from the genealogy of Jesus (Matthew 1:1-17)

The New Jerusalem - the street of the city (Rev. 22:1-5)


The angel takes John to the most important place of the city, which is the throne of God and of the Lamb. They are depicted as a shared fountain, which is the source of life for the inhabitants of the city. The water of life could be a reference to the Holy Spirit or it could be a reference to what the Holy Spirit brings to the city. This river...

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The New Jerusalem – the residents of the city (21:24-27)


John is then told that the light given to the church will influence all the nations as well as those who have authority (kings). Who are these nations and who are the kings? They are not enemy nations or hostile kings. I would suggest that the nations and the kings refer to the people of God. Here we have a fulfilment of the promise made to...

Read more: The New Jerusalem – the residents of the city (21:24-27)

The New Jerusalem – some features (Rev. 21:9-23)

John is given an expanded description of the church which was briefly given to him by the angel 1n 21:2. There he was told that the church was both a bride and a city, a reminder that she has a loving relationship with Jesus and is also a dwelling place with structures.

John has a similar experience to that of the prophet Ezekiel when he was taken...

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The voice of the Father (Revelation 21:5-8)

John has seen that the new earth has become the dwelling place of God and it will be the place where the comfort of God is experienced in its deepest way. But as yet there does not seem to be anything for the people of God to see. Then they hear the voice of the heavenly Father saying from the throne, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’ I think i...

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The voice of Jesus (Revelation 21:3-4)

We now hear several utterances and the first speaker seems to be Jesus because he is distinguished from God, which is usually the way the Father is described. Yet since the voice comes from God’s throne, the speaker must be divine. So I think the Saviour is speaking here. 

The announcement concerns the quality of life that will be experienced...

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New earth, no sea and a city (Revelation 21:1-8)


Many people are frightened by what they imagine is over the horizon. The future is unknown, and they prefer the confusion of an uncertain present to thinking about the world that is to come. Yet God in his love and mercy sent to John a message about the future that was conveyed to him by his Saviour, Jesus. It is beneficial to imagine how joyful...

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Revelation 20 – four thoughts

It looks to me that here John uses the word resurrection to describe heaven and the word ‘death’ to describe the places where sin will abound (whether on earth today or in the lake of fire). He does not say that the first resurrection is spiritual regeneration, which is how we often use it. Instead he uses it to describe what happens to the mar...

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The victory of God (Revelation 20:7-15)

Earlier John had been told that the devil would be released for a little while after the period represented by the thousand years was over. Within that brief period, the devil deceives the nations and leads them in an attack on the kingdom of Jesus. The imagery is taken from the book of Ezekiel where Gog and Magog attacked the holy land and were...

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Reigning with Jesus (Revelation 20:4-6)

John sees thrones but we are not told where they are located. Given that the description is similar to previous descriptions of the heavenly throne room, it is likely that John was shown what was taking place in heaven at that time.

He saw rulers, which may be a reference to angels, but more likely refers to believers who have died. Then he...

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The binding of the devil (Revelation 20:1-3)

The meaning of the thousand years is very much discussed today. How should we interpret the passage? It helps us to see what is happening when we realise that four different events are described in the chapter and we will focus on each of them briefly. They are (1) the binding of the devil, (2) the reign of the martyrs, (3) the defeat of God’s e...

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The Final Battle (Rev. 19:11-21)

John hears a second invitation to a supper, this time a very different supper from the marriage supper of the Lamb, and this time a call to birds of carrion to have a very large meal. It is pictured by use of a description of an ancient battlefield.

We are told the outcome in terms of that kind of situation, not the processes of the battle. John...

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What the King does (Rev. 19:11-21)

John is given another vision of the war that is taking place between Jesus and his opponents. It is not a literal war – after all Jesus does not ride into battle sitting on a horse. Instead what we have here is a description of Jesus and his eventual victory over all his enemies.

Several interpreters regard this passage as focussing entirely on...

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Who is Jesus (Rev. 19:11-21)?


The description of Jesus mentions, among other important details, four names that he has. In this post we will consider those names. The first one is ‘Faithful and True’ and this name reveals his character. He is also called Faithful and True in the description of him in Revelation 3:14, in the message to the church in Laodicea, a church that he ha...

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Called to the marriage of the ages (Revelation 19:6-10)

The angel who has been speaking to John about the wonderful topic of the wedding of the Lamb states a benediction. He says that those who are invited to the marriage supper are blessed. This is not a reference to the general call of the gospel in which everyone is invited to believe in Jesus. Instead the invitations to the marriage feast are sent...

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The attire of the bride (Revelation 19:6-10)

It is helpful when thinking about the details of the marriage supper to realise that the process in view here is how betrothals occurred at that time. An agreement was made regarding the couple; this was followed by a period between then and the actual wedding in which the couple were regarded as husband and wife; and then there was the actual...

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Anticipating the Wedding (Rev. 19:6-10)

This vision is connected to the previous one through the contributions of the heavenly choir who celebrated the events described in each. The connection is made by contrasting the prostitute Babylon with the true Bride. Both are described as cities in the Book of Revelation and the activities of each are summarised – the activities of the city of m...

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The response of heaven (Revelation 19:1-5)

In 18:20, a call is made to heaven. Is it from those at sea observing the destruction of the city? If so, the call seems to be an admission by them that God has intervened on behalf of his people. It does not seem to indicate a change of mind on their behalf. Rather they have realised which city is on the victory side. Having said that, it is...

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The destruction of Babylon (Revelation 18)

An angel announced that the day has arrived when this global organisation will be destroyed. He pronounces the complete destruction of this long-lasting city and mentions how people in general, and kings and merchants in particular, benefitted from the provisions of Babylon.

Another voice speaks. The certainty of the coming destruction causes a...

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The cruel city destroyed (Revelation 18)

An angel announced that the day has arrived when this global organisation will be destroyed. He pronounces the complete destruction of this long-lasting city and mentions how people in general, and kings and merchants in particular, benefitted from the provisions of the city.

Another voice speaks. The certainty of the coming destruction causes a...

Read more: The cruel city destroyed (Revelation 18)

The city of man - its influence (Revelation 17)

John was amazed when he saw the woman (v. 6) because of her seeming resilience. His response surprised the angel who was speaking to him. The angel then explained to John what the beast was with seven heads and ten horns signified, and its connection to Babylon.

The seven heads and the ten horns represent kings, with the ten kings having not yet...

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Babylon described (Revelation 17)

We noticed when looking at the previous chapter that the seventh bowl was the destruction of Babylon, the city with worldwide influence. The destruction is viewed as coming from heaven as God uses cosmic elements to bring the city to an end. Chapters 17 and 18 enlarge about the destruction and gives further information regarding how Jesus will...

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The city of man described (Revelation 17)

We noticed when looking at the previous chapter that the seventh bowl was the destruction of Babylon, the city with worldwide influence. The destruction is viewed as coming from heaven as God uses cosmic elements to bring the city to an end. Chapters 17 and 18 enlarge about the destruction and gives further information regarding how Jesus will...

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An unusual beatitude (Rev. 16:15)

Jesus announces this beatitude in the middle of his description of Armageddon. So it is connected to his second coming, which will come suddenly (the picture of a thief breaking into a building is used frequently in the New Testament connection to the second coming of Jesus). The beatitude is a warning to his disciples and he uses the picture of...

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