Saturday, August 05, 2006

A Slice of Island Life

On the lighter side of things:

Last weekend the annual Fiestas Patronales were held here in beautiful Fajardo, Puerto Rico. People come from all over the island to celebrate this Carnaval. It is similar to the county fairs I remember from my childhood in Michigan, but with a distinct island flair. Evenings, and late into the night, live bands play salsa, marimba, and this new stuff my teenaged daughter likes called reggaeton. Thousands of people come to dance, greet old friends, eat and drink. Puerto Ricans know how to do fiestas!

This year, the event culminated with a fabulous parade on Sunday afternoon. The costumes were fantastic, the children were so cute, and everyone was having such a good time that I had to dig out the old Kodak and snap a few photos to share with all of you.

<--- Check out these costumes! The little girl in front was actually sitting on a stool, though you'd never know it by looking at her. She threw candy out to the kids along the parade route; you should have seen them scramble to get some!







The parade this year had an Egyptian --->
theme. Little Pharoah there on the right
must have been King Tut.








<--- Some of the Puerto Rico National Guard. One of my daughter's teachers is a Guardsman; he is serving right now in Afghanistan. We keep him and the rest of our military in our prayers always.

Okay, you experienced bloggers out there: I have several more pictures, but I can't upload them - why not????? Oh, well, we won't see the marimba steel band, or the "Lady in Red," I guess - sorry!

Puerto Rico is a beautiful place. Come and visit us soon!

In His love,
Lady Gilligan

Friday, August 04, 2006

What Are We Really Saying...

...when we call Jesus "the Christ"?


"Christ" is, as we all know, the Greek version of the Hebrew word "messiah." So when Jesus asks Peter, in Matthew 16:15, "But who do you say that I am?" and Peter replies, "You are the Christ, the Son of the
living God,"
he is really saying, "You are the promised Messiah, the Son of the living God."

But who would this Messiah be?

Many prophecies in the Old Testament that relate to the promised Messiah indicate pretty clearly that He would have to be God. Here are just a few examples:

Isaiah 16:12 - “Listen to Me, O Jacob, And Israel, My called: I am He, I am the First, I am also the Last."

How did Jesus identify Himself?

Revelation 1:11 - "...I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last..."

Isaiah 16:13, 16 - "Indeed My hand has laid the foundation of the earth, And My right hand has stretched out the heavens; When I call to them, They stand up together.

"Come near to Me, hear this: I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; From the time that it was, I was there. And now the Lord GOD and His Spirit Have sent Me."

Notice in verse 13 that it is clearly God who is speaking - and He says in verse 16 that from the time of the beginning, He was there. But then He says that the LORD God and His Spirit have sent Him. What can
that mean, but that it is the pre-Incarnate Word, the Christ Himself, who is speaking?

Psalm 45:6-7 - Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. You love righteousness and hate wickedness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.

Here, the psalmist is talking to God, clearly stated in verse 6. And in verse 7, he says that God, God's God, so to speak, has anointed Him.

Note that in Hebrews 1:8-9, the writer, quoting this psalm, says most definitely that these verses are addressed to the Son.

Isaiah 40:3 - The voice of one crying in the wilderness: "Prepare the way of the LORD; Make straight in the desert A highway for our God."

The Gospels tell us that this prophecy was fulfilled by John the Baptist:

Matthew 3:3 - For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the LORD; Make His paths straight.' "

Mark 1:3 - "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the LORD; Make His paths straight.' "

Luke 3:4 - . . .as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, saying: "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the LORD; Make His paths straight.' "

Therefore, we see that it was John prepared the way for Jesus, and his mission was to prepare the way for GOD.

Jeremiah 23:5-6 - "Behold, the days are coming," says the LORD, "that I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; a King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. In His
days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell safely; now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS."

In verse 5, it is obvious that the coming King will be a human descendent of David. But in verse 6 we see that He will be called "The LORD our Righteousness." LORD there is, of course, YHVH, referring ONLY to Almighty God.

Zechariah 12:10 - "And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as
one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn."

Again, here is God speaking; and we all know that it was Jesus whom they pierced. They will look upon ME; they will mourn for HIM.

There's much, much more, Gentle Reader, and I will soon share a very interesting teaching with you concerning the throne of the offspring of David. For now, pray about this and let it get into your spirit.

In His revealed love,
Lady Gilligan

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Forgiveness and Healing

Forgiveness is the first step in the healing process. And I am confident that the Holy Spirit Who comforted and guided and counseled me will bring that same loving work of His into your life, too. A word of caution, though - the process He will take you through may bring you even more hurt, but this will be temporary.

You see, when one's body is wounded or broken, even the healing hand of a physician causes pain. Sometimes a wound has begun to fester and needs to be broken open and drained of its poison before it can truly heal; sometimes a broken bone sets crooked and needs to be rebroken in order to mend straight. This can hurt so much - even more, sometimes, than the original damage.

When one's soul is broken or wounded, it's often similar. Facing all those ghosts, hearing all those voices from your past, may be the single hardest thing you'll ever have to do. But don't despair; peace and forgiveness and healing will come.

In my case, my depression and anger and hurt became so intolerable that I sought what our society euphemistically calls "professional help." First, I went to a psychologist; after one very angry session he told me that I had too many problems for him to be able to help me (twenty-five years later I'm still wondering what that $75 for a 50-minute hour was for!). So I sought out a family counselor; after our visit, she decided that I was brittle, dissatisfied, and bitter (no kidding?) and that I would profit more from visits to a psychiatrist. So, to the psychiatrist I went: $150 per hour while I talked about inconsequential things, he drank coffee from a mug that proclaimed, "Damn, I'm Good!" and doodled in his notebook, saying nothing; his "solution" was to prescribe anti-depressants for me so that he didn't have to actually listen to what I was saying.

After I gave up on him, I went to a pastor for counseling. He was kind and caring and compassionate, and sincere as all get-out. He told me that I needed to lay down my burden of hurt and anger at the foot of the Cross. Marvelous advice, the best advice in the world - but he couldn't tell me how to do it.

Then one day, I happened to remember that one of the Names of the Holy Spirit is "COUNSELOR." And it occurred to me (as crass as this may sound; I've never been what you would call well-off financially!) that His services would be free. So late one afternoon, when I was alone in our apartment, I spoke out loud to the Holy Spirit - just as one would to a human counselor. I sat on the couch and spoke to the chair across from me (this is not something I tell everyone, because not everyone could understand. . .), and I poured out my heart to Him.

Amazingly, this turned out to be not a monologue but an actual conversation. He listened to me actively - I clearly heard Him ask questions, repeat things back to me for clarification, point things out that I had missed or forgotten - just as a human counselor would do.

Then, when my outpouring of woe finally ran dry (it took several days, as I recall), He taught me about forgiveness.

That's when I finally understood exactly how to leave my burden at the foot of the Cross, as my pastor urged me to do all those years ago:

1. Confront the wrongs done to you with the Holy Spirit's guidance, with Jesus at your side and in the protection of your Father's love.

2. Ask for - and receive - the GRACE you will need to forgive each person for each wrong. It sounds improbable, but I can testitfy that it is absolutely true. No matter how badly someone may have hurt you, that amazing grace of His really is sufficient.

3. Any time your memory brings back those bad things, you just remind yourself: I HAVE FORGIVEN THEM. I don't have to feel this way anymore! Believe me, it's such a relief!

4. Now that your anger toward others has dissipated, you can face and acknowledge your own sins. The loving Spirit of God will show you what you have done clearly, without any needless and fruitless self-recrimination.

5. And once you have admitted your sins, ask for - and receive - that precious forgiveness obtained for you on Calvary. It's there, bought and paid for by the shed Blood of Jesus Christ, and is yours for the asking.

6. Believe the promise: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)

7. Forgive yourself. As you sometimes need to remind yourself that you have forgiven others, so it is sometimes necessary to remind yourself that God has forgiven you. Another promise to believe in: "As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us." (Psalm 103:12)

Whatever pain burns in your heart, pour it out to Him! He will reassure you, as I do now, that you are forgiven, and your sins are remembered no more. GOD HIMSELF has taken each sin and placed it as far from Himself as the east is from the west. Do you know how far the east is from the west? Put your finger on a globe. You can move your finger north for a ways, but once you round the top of the globe your finger starts moving south. Now, move your finger to the east. It will keep moving east – it will never, at any point, begin moving west. That’s how far away your sins are from your loving Father, once you confess them and claim His dearly-bought forgiveness. Isn’t that wonderful?

8. Finally, human nature being what it is, it will be necessary for you to apply this lesson of forgiveness in your everyday life, too. People will always hurt you, either unwittingly or on purpose, and you will always need to exercise this forgiveness. Otherwise, the resentment and anger and hurt will just build up again. You can believe me about this, too – if I hadn’t learned to forgive right away, before the bad stuff takes root, I'd never be able to live with my husband, tell you what!

Let me know if this helps, okay?

In His healing love,
Lady Gilligan

Friday, July 28, 2006

The Gift of Forgiveness

Forgiveness is the first and probably the hardest lesson the Holy Spirit - the Counselor - imparted to me when I finally turned to Him for help. I had carried around so much baggage for so long, and I really didn't know what to do with it. Not to get into too much detail here, but I had been rejected by every single person I had ever loved (not an exaggeration!) and consequently blamed myself – you see, all of those people couldn't be wrong so there must have been something horribly unlovable about me, and when you got right down to it, I really didn't deserve to live.

But the Holy Spirit had other ideas for me.

He gave me one word:

Forgiveness.

Matthew 6:12 - "And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors."

Matthew 6:14-15 - "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."

Well, I knew there was a lot in my life for which I needed forgiveness, and I yearned for that forgiveness! But could I really have been to blame for everything? After all, it wasn't me who did the rejecting.

So I dug underneath the hurt and pain, and found that what I had really been carrying around with me was anger and resentment. I had been seeking the Lord for five years, and was no closer at that point than I had been at the beginning of my search, and I knew that something had been keeping me from Him. Could that something have been the anger I harbored against those who had abandoned me?

"Forgive them," the Holy Spirit urged me.

"But WHY?!" I demanded. "They're dead, or at least lost to me – what good will forgiving them do now? And they never even acknowledged that they did anything wrong!" See, I remembered reading something in Luke about how the one who did wrong had to repent – found it in Luke 17:3-4 – "Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins againstyou, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sinsagainst you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returnsto you, saying, `I repent,' you shall forgive him."

"Forgive them," my Counselor urged again.

Matthew 18:21-22 - Then Peter came to Him and said, "Lord, how oftenshall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seventimes?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times,but up to seventy times seven."

"But WHY?!" I demanded again. "They don't need my forgiveness! They won't even know I've forgiven them!"

"No," the Counselor said, "but you need to do the forgiving. It is for your benefit that Jesus told you to forgive."

And He showed me Matthew 18:34-35 - "And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses."

Those torturers, I understood, had been at work in me for most of my life – their names were, of course, Anger, Resentment, Fear, Pain, and Hurt. And I was tired of their power over me!

And again, He led me to Mark 11:25-26 - "And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses."

Then He took me to Luke 6:37 - "Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven."

And then He brought it all full-circle to the other version of the Lord'sPrayer in Luke 11:4 – "And forgive us our sins, for we also forgiveeveryone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation,but deliver us from the evil one."

So, one by one, I forgave each person who had ever harmed me, as my Counselor brought them to my remembrance. It wasn't an easy thing to do, believe me -- there'd been a lot of anger buried inside me for a lot of years, and I was quite used to being mad. I had to keep reminding myself, whenever I thought of something hurtful from my past, "No, wait a minute – I forgave them."

And do you know what happened? It was absolutely amazing – all that anger, resentment, pain, fear, hurt – it all began to fade away. I hardly even noticed it going, until I woke one morning and discovered it was pretty much gone.

Then came the REALLY hard part: Admitting the things that truly were my fault, "owning" the sins I did commit that contributed to the loss, rejection and abandonment I faced, and repenting of these wrongs. But I had to do it, so that I could be forgiven.

And, of course, my sins were indeed forgiven - a fact which amazes and exhilerates me every day, and moves me to fall to my knees in gratitude. . .

But had I not forgiven those who hurt me, I would not have been able to see my own sins clearly enough to truly repent.

I know well the unbearable weight of a burden of anger. But I also knowh ow great it feels to go through life without such a burden to carry! Jesus said, "Come unto Me, you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." He gave me rest – through forgiveness.

Forgiveness does not mean being a doormat – rather, it is one very effective way to claim that precious "peace that passes understanding" (Philippians 4:7).

Anyone who has hurt you, anyone who has caused you pain, anyone who has sinned against you – these I urge you, as the Holy Spirit urged me, to forgive. Whether these people are still in your life or not, the damage from their acts still is. And the only way to find healing for that damage is through forgiveness.

Whether your forgiveness restores any relationships or not, it is still necessary for your own good. No broken relationship is going to be restored without forgiveness, but restoration isn't always necessary or even possible (many of the people I had to forgive were already long dead, for instance).

And whether or not the person(s) you need to forgive ever repents is also a secondary consideration in light of your own peace of mind. Their repentence is necessary for THEM, but not for you. The forgiveness is there if they ever want it. . .

. . . just like God's forgiveness has been ours since Jesus bought it with a price and is just waiting for us to claim it.

In His forgiving love,
Lady Gilligan

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Those Who Do Not Know Him

Matthew 18:14 - Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

2 Peter 3:9 - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

We are told very clearly, though, that there is only one Way to be saved:

John 14:6 - Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."

But not everyone knows about the salvation we are offered ONLY through Jesus; what will be done for them? What kind of chance do they have to come to the Father through Jesus, since He is the only Way?

The Bible tells us throughout its pages, in many different passages, that all of creation tells of the Creator. God has written His law in our hearts. We are not blind to the magnificence around us, even if we may be ignorant of science. We may not know that the sun appears to rise because the earth rotates on its axis; we may not understand that the seasons change because our planet revolves around the sun; we may not know why seeds grow when we plant them or why rain falls or birds sing or bees make honey or even where babies come from - but all these things speak of a power greater than us.

A Buddhist monk in Nepal can see all of this wonder. The lowliest member of the remotest tribe in the deepest jungles of the Amazon can see all of this wonder.

But the monk worships Buddha. The Amazon tribesman worships an idol carved of stone, or maybe the sun, or maybe a hundred other objects in creation. Neither of them turns to the Creator whose “signature” is all over His work.

Remember Paul preaching to the Greek philosophers in Athens about the “unknown god”?

Acts 17:24, 28-29 –
“God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. . . for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’ Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising.”

Paul acknowledged that these men were very religious, for he saw that the city was given over to idolatry, and sought to tell them about the God they didn’t know. Why? Because they prayed to this unknown God – Who answered their prayers by sending Paul.

So with the monk and the tribesman: If they pray to this God Whose presence is all around them, their prayers will be answered. Paul points out to the Greeks, in verses 30-31:

"Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”

The times of ignorance are over; it is time for all men everywhere to repent and turn to the One God, this “unknown God” Who longs to be known so that none should perish.

I guess what I am saying, Gentle Reader, is that God is not as harsh at He may seem by insisting that only those who come to Him through Jesus Christ “will not perish, but have everlasting life.” Because He can be seen in His creation, and to whomever recognizes Him and asks to know Him better He will make a way to reveal His truth.

In His love,

Lady Gilligan

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

More On The Trinity - From Revelation

Part Two: The Lamb and the Holy Spirit


In Part One, we learned that Revelation 4 is the beginning of the description of what John saw in heaven: One Being who shone like precious gemstones, seated on a glowing throne and surrounded by a rainbow of brilliant light. A Spirit, as "God is Spirit" (John 4:24), God Himself.

In front of His throne John saw seven lamps of fire, which he tells us are the seven Spirits of God - or, in other words, the fullness and completeness of the Holy Spirit, ready to go forth from the throne to accomplish His manifold works on our behalf.

The four living creatures beside the throne, and the 24 elders seated around God's throne, continuously offer praise and worship to God.

Now, let's look at chapter 5:

Verses 1-4 tell us of a scroll held by the One on the throne, a scroll with seven seals that no one was found worthy to open. John wept because of this, but one of the elders comforted him:

Verse 5: But one of the elders said to me, "Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals."

Who is this Lion, the Root of David?

Hosea 5:14 - "For I will be like a lion to Ephraim, And like a young lion to the house of Judah. I, even I, will tear them and go away; I will take them away, and no one shall rescue."

God says that HE HIMSELF will be the lion of the house of Judah.

Isaiah 11:10 - "And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, Who shall stand as a banner to the people; For the Gentiles shall seek Him, And His resting place shall be glorious."

The Root of Jesse, who is also necessarily the Root of David (Jesse's son), will be the Messiah. And later in Revelation, we read:

Revelation 22:16 - "I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star."


THE LAMB

Verse 6 - And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth.

John 1:29 - The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!"

1 Peter 1:18-20 - ...knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you...

"I looked, and behold" - This phrase is used by John to show that he saw something that amazed him. "Behold" repeats "I looked" and calls the reader's particular attention to what he saw. The Lamb seems to have suddenly appeared in the midst of the throne, the elders, and the four living creatures. We can say that the Lamb came forth from "the midst of the throne," or, more precisely, from "the midst" of the One seated upon the throne. The Lamb came forth from God. The Lamb brought with Him seven horns, which are symbols of power and authority:

Matthew 28:18 - And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth."

The Lamb also brings with Him those seven Spirits of God (remember them from chapter 4?), which were here sent into all the earth. The Lamb looked as though it had been slain, which is explained:

Revelation 13:8 - All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

Verse 7 - Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.

This Lamb, Who came forth from the Father who sits on the throne (John 10:30 - "I and My Father are one"), Who brought with Him all authority and power, Who brought to us the fullness of the Holy Spirit, Whom we know as Jesus Christ - THIS LAMB takes the scroll from the One who sits upon the throne, the Father. These three cannot be the same Person, for they are all three seen by John as distinct Persons - The One Who sits upon the throne (Father), the Lamb Who proceeded forth from the Father (Son), and the fullness of the Holy Spirit Who was sent into the world WITH the Lamb.

Verses 11-12 - Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice: "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain To receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing!"

Remember back in Chapter 4, verse 11? These same 4 living creatures and 24 elders proclaimed to the One seated on the throne, "You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power..."

And verse 13 - And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: "Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!"

Throughout the book of Revelation, John is chastised more than once for falling down to worship the angel who was narrating his vision:

Revelation 19:10 - At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, "Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."

Revelation 22:8-9 - I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me. But he said to me, "Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers the prophets and of all who keep the words of this book. Worship God!"

Clearly only God is to be worshiped - and yet here we see that not only is the One seated on the throne worshiped but also, IN LIKE MANNER, the Lamb (and with Him, the seven-fold Spirit of God) is also worshiped.

So there you have it. Does this hit anyone as hard as it did me?

Funny thing about studying the Trinity. Even when I'm looking through God's Word for something else entirely, I find proof after proof after proof of the Triune Nature of God!

In His revealed love,
Lady Gilligan

Monday, July 17, 2006

More on the Trinity - From Revelation

Part One: The Father and the Holy Spirit



In Revelation 4 and 5, John relates to us what he saw in heaven:

Revelation 4:1 - After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, "Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this."

The first thing he saw was a throne, and a Being sitting on it:

verse 2 - Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne.

Remember John 4:24? "God is Spirit..."

How does one describe a spirit?

verse 3 - And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald.

The way to tell whether something in the book of Revelation is symbolic/spiritual or literal/physical is to look for key words like "AS" or "LIKE." So we can see that the Being on the throne was not literally jasper (which is often red in color but can also be purple, green, or the color of brass) and sardius (deep orange-red), nor was the throne literally emerald - but rather John was trying to tell us that the Being shone like precious gems, radiated a rainbow of bright, beautiful colors, and His throne was likewise brilliant.

Verse 5a - And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices.

Always, lightening and thunder indicate the voice, the presence, and often the judgment of God:

Exodus 19:16 - Then it came to pass on the third day, in the morning, that there were thunderings and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain; and the sound of the trumpet was very loud, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled.

Exodus 20:18 - Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off.

1 Samuel 2:10 - The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken in pieces; From heaven He will thunder against them. The LORD will judge the ends of the earth. "He will give strength to His king, And exalt the horn of His anointed."

2 Samuel 22:14 - "The LORD thundered from heaven, And the Most High uttered His voice."

Psalm 104:7 - At Your rebuke they fled; At the voice of Your thunder they hastened away.

John 12:29 - Therefore the people who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered...

Jesus told the Jews in John 5:37, "And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form."

But then, many years later, John himself saw this vision of the Father, and heard His voice.

What else did John see?

Revelation 4:5b - Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.

This puzzled me at first: SEVEN Spirits of God? But then I realized a couple of things about the number SEVEN: First, seven often denotes a fullness or completeness; it might therefore be used in reference to an all-perfect Spirit. Seven may signify the diversity or the fulness of the Holy Spirit's operations on the souls of men, or his manifold work in the affairs of the world. Also, seven is a recurring theme in the book of Revelation: There are seven epistles to the seven churches, seven seals, seven trumpets, seven vials of the wrath of God, seven last plagues, seven lamps, and seven Spirits of God; the Lamb has seven horns and seven eyes; (Revelation 1:16) seven stars, (Revelation 5:12) seven attributes of God; Revelation 12:3, the dragon has seven heads; Revelation 13:1, the beast has seven heads. So I am perfectly satisfied that the seven lamps of fire (torches) burning before the throne represent the Holy Spirit and all His work, and the fact that they are "before" the throne sounds like He is ready to be sent forth at the will of Him who sits on the throne - as we know the Holy Spirit is.

Please pay attention to the four creatures standing close to the throne (verse 6), and the 24 elders (verse 4).

The four living creatures constantly proclaim, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!" (verse 8).

The 24 elders respond, "You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created."

We will hear these four living creatures and twenty-four elders praising again, in our next installment.

In His precious love,
Lady Gilligan

---------------- to be continued -----------------------