Intro to Revelation
Intro to Revelation

Alexander Galvez • October 14, 2019

We resume our normal blog structure with some minor tweaks for the month of October. For the most part, the schedule will be as follows: 

- Mondays: New Testament 

- Wednesdays: Protestant Reformation 

- Fridays: Old Testament 


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3 Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near. 

Revelation 1:3 


If you have been following along in the Bible in a year journey, you may have been growing anxious for when we reach the book of Revelation. Perhaps it is because that means that we are nearing the end of our Bible in a year journey. However, it may also be that this book is often a book that is very confusing and you know that the goal/aim of this book is to aid you in your reading and to augment your understanding. Starting off, I want to say that this little blog will not be able to cover everything that we read in the book of Revelation, not Revelations, but I will try to cover as much as I can in this article and the next two articles. 


Let’s start with the author. While the apostle John is considered to have been the author for the Gospel of John, the three epistles of John, and the book of Revelation by church history, his authorship of Revelation is the most hotly debated. Interestingly enough, the book of Revelation is the only one of the five books that explicitly gives its authorship to a person named John. And while there are some differences in styles and language between this book and the fourth Gospel, there are also a remarkable number of similarities of thought, doctrine, and terminology. 


Which leads to the next question, why did John write this book? Simply put, God told him to (Rev 1:19) which John seemed to obey (Rev 10:4). And for what purpose is this book written? Of course, being apocalyptic literature, this book is very much concerned with the end times. We also are able to further develop our understanding of who Christ is and the atonement he made. But I want to make one other point related to the purpose of this book with relation to end times ethics. That is to say, I believe that the book of Revelation, while eschatological, also provides the believer with instructions on how they are to live in expectation of Christ’s Second Coming. I see that as being one of the main reasons why John wrote this book when we read in verse three of chapter 1, “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.” While many read Revelation with an emphasis of “discerning” the times, I think a proper approach would be to see how we may be the blessed one who keeps what is written and, at the same time, seeing what will occur in the end times. As you read through, and have been reading through the book of Revelation, keep those questions in your mind. What is it that I ought to hear from God’s Word? What is it that I should keep and apply in my daily living as I cry out Maranatha (Come, Lord Jesus)? 


Which really extends this blog article further than my normal 500ish word count; how I will be interpreting the book of Revelation. I want to present you with a high-level overview of the various perspectives and then conclude with my approach because each interpretation will radically change how you understand much of the book of Revelation. The first approach: Preterist interpret the book of Revelation with respect to the past. What is commendable in this approach is that it forces us as readers to understand what relevance and bearing it had on the audience in John’s day. However, I should mention that full preterism is heretical while partial preterism, depending on the flavor, is not necessarily heretical. The second approach: Historicists interpret this book as unfolding over the course of history. The danger to be aware of in this approach is that many will read Revelation with a newspaper in hand and try to associate/predict events and generally focus mainly on the past. A positive contribution of this view is that it does bring us to see how the prophetic events are fulfilled in this world. The third approach: Idealists in their fullest sense interprets all of Revelation as either a symbol, metaphor, or principle. They stress mainly that this book is not necessarily looking to future events, but teaching us how it is that we should live now. This can be very dissatisfying to those looking to understand the end times, because they do not look to interpret in light of future events. However, this view is very satisfying for those who are trying to draw out the book’s relevance on their lives in the here and now. The last approach is the futurist approach, which probably needs a bit more discussion. 


In the futurist perspective, you find four major views: 1) Some think that Amillenialists do not believe in a millennium reign, but this is actually not true. They do believe in a millennium reign, but do not believe it will be a literal 1,000-year reign. To be succinct, they believe that Christ is sitting on the throne of David and ruling over all creation right now and that there will be a future Second Coming. The remaining three views likewise view the events described as taking place in the future and also do not necessarily believe in a literal 1,000-year reign of Christ. I should also mention that all eschatological views consider Christ as ruling now on His throne, wtih amillenialists identifying this throne to be explicitly David's throne. 2) Postmillenialist, view Christ’s millennial reign (however long it may be) and see his coming being after the world becomes Godlier. This view is very problematic because this is contrary to what we see in Scriptures on that the world will not get better and better, but worse and worse. 3) Dispensational Premillenialists have four main distinctions. First, they emphasize a pretribulational rapture of the church. Second, they make clear distinctions between Israel and the church. Third, they believe that Christ will return and reign for 1,000 years (again, not necessarily a literal 1,000 years). And 4), that prophecies are to be read literally and not ever symbolically or figuratively. This leads to the final perspective, and my own personal opinion and interpretation (for now) which you will find in these articles, Historic Premillenialism. This view was held by many of the early church fathers, such as Ireneaus and Tertullian, and by many Reformed theologians, such as J. Barton Payne. Unlike dispensationalists, it does not distinguish between Israel and the church and it differs in the placement of the rapture. It holds to a post-tribulational rapture of the church, which is in line with how the Scriptures emphasize a single return of Christ beginning the millennial reign (again, not necessarily a literal 1,000-year reign). In terms of interpretation of events, my view has much in common with amillenialist, with the main difference only being the interpretation of the millennial reign of Christ. 


Phew, thanks for sticking around with me for this loooonnng article and I pray that this is helpful. As always, you can send me your questions at OverflowBlog@outlook.com. 


Grace and Peace, 

Alex Galvez 


To never miss an article, click on the "Subscribe" button at the top of the blog page (https://aogalvez.blogspot.com/

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These articles follow the current Bible Reading plan for Overflow Ministries. If you would like to join the reading plan, simply download the plan here: Overflow Reading Plan 

You may follow Overflow Ministries @ https://faithlife.com/overflowtx/activity 

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Question? Comments? Post in the comments or send me an e-mail: OverflowBlog@outlook.com

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Intro to Malachi
Intro to Malachi

Alexander Galvez • October 11, 2019

For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the LORD of hosts. 

Malachi 1:11 


If you have never seen the show The Office, this reference might be lost on you. But just like Dwight Schrute’s promotion to Office Manager and marriage to Angela (anyone know what her last name was) was the perfect ending to The Office, Malachi is a very fitting close to the Old Testament Scriptures. It not only directs worshippers towards living a life of holiness, but also builds the expectation in the readers of a future messenger who will “prepare the way” before the Lord (3:1). Malachi helps to sort of close out the Old Testament while at the same time transitioning and building an expectation for us in the New Testament. Apart from his name, we know very little about Malachi; this seems to hone our focus in on the message that God is delivering through Him as opposed to the man himself. The outline for this prophetic book is not surprising since it follows the same three-fold structure we have seen in all of the other prophetic writings of indictment, judgment, and future hope. However, the style that Malachi is written in is very unique as it is almost a prophetic disputation between God and the people. 


For example, God speaks in verse 2 saying that He loves them, and the response of the people is, but how? In verse 6, the Lord tells them that they have despised His name and again the response is, how? In verse 7, he indicts them for having polluted the altar. And the response is the same as before, how? In all of the indictments we see this back and forth exchange occurring throughout the book (1:12-13; 2:14,17;3:7,8,13-15) which reveals to us that these people are very religious, but their religiosity is not pleasing to the Lord. Why? Simply put, their hearts are far from God, they were mistreating one another, and they were withholding the tithe from the temple. You could say that they were worse than the Pharisees in Jesus' day since they not only were inwardly dead, but outwardly they were rebellious against God’s commands. The judgment that God pronounces on them are curses to be fulfilled at the coming day of the Lord. And after this message of judgment, there is a hopeful for those who fear the Lord (3:16).


Despite their wickedness, God still reaffirmed His love for them (1:2) and promises a coming messenger who will prepare the way for the Lord’s coming. At the fulfillment of this promise God's people will be able to offer up offerings that will be pleasing to God because it will be given through the blood of Jesus Christ. As we wait for the coming of our Lord a second time, let us not be guilty of the sin of the false worshippers in Malachi’s time. May we be those who fear the Lord and worship Him in spirit and in truth.


Grace and Peace, 

Alex Galvez 


To never miss an article, click on the "Subscribe" button at the top of the blog page (https://aogalvez.blogspot.com/

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These articles follow the current Bible Reading plan for Overflow Ministries. If you would like to join the reading plan, simply download the plan here: Overflow Reading Plan 


You may follow Overflow Ministries @ https://faithlife.com/overflowtx/activity 

or on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/OverflowChurchTX/

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Post Tenebras Lux
Post Tenebras Lux

Alexander Galvez • October 09, 2019

On October 31, 2019, most of the world will be celebrating Halloween. But in my house, each year we have spent it with a study on the Protestant Reformation and handing out chocolate with Gospel tracts to the neighborhood children. The reason Monica and I started this tradition was because 1) what an incredible opportunity it is to have people come to our doors and willingly accept Gospel tracts, and 2) as we wait for the day when God will make all things new, we desire to redeem our time and actions and holiday celebrations for His glory. But probably the most influential reason for why we do what we do is because, having been a pastor for over 9 years, I am struck at how little most Christians know about their own history. I am by no means a Church Historian, but I do believe that there are certain figures and events in our history that all Christians would do well to acquaint themselves with. For example, the early church writings (such as John Chrysostom, Augustine, and Basil) to Scholastic Writers like Anselm or Renaissance writers, like Aquinas, to modern church figures like the "original" Puritans (John Owen, Richard Sibbes, or John Bunyan) and modern puritans (Jonathan Edwards and Martin Lloyd Jones). Events in Church History as recorded in the Scriptures, the early century church, the Protestant Reformation, and one's own denomination's history (Southern Baptist History for me). 


Why? Because it is foolish to try and build your theology on your own, ignoring all of the work of those who have gone before you. It would be like someone trying to build an app for a phone but refusing to use Google or Apple's operating system and deciding to make their own OS. It would be like a doctor who refuses to study what other doctors and scientists and biologists have discovered and trying to understand the body and how certain treatments affect a person. It is foolish and prideful. And just as much as we can formulate and better understand the doctrines we affirm as Christians; we can also learn from the mistakes of those who have gone before us. They help us and walk with us on our journey of faith and help us to better understand the challenges that we face as a body of faith. And so, leading up to Oct 31, Reformation Day, each Wednesday I will highlight a figure or event from the Protestant Reformation which will hopefully encourage you to press on in your study of your history.


Most people know who Martin Luther was and how he spoke out against the injustices of his day. But there are many other characters that were instrumental and influential to him in creating the climate where a Reformation could flourish. But before we look at some of the figures, I want to briefly discuss some of the injustices and events that led up to the Protestant Reformation. Most people are well aware of the corruption of the church, but it goes far beyond indulgences and the Inquisition. Monasteries had been converted into places of leisure and old-fashioned dance halls. The leadership were also corrupt and had a hand in further corrupting the church. For example, many of the Monarchs and high nobility (and even some bishops and priests) were having illegitimate children. And to "provide" for these children, they would simply make them abbots regardless of that child's conviction or monastic calling. This set the tone which the people naturally began to follow. It was also a time known as the witch craze and, whereas heretics were the targets of the Church and state, witches became the new enemy to be crushed. Even in John Calvin's Geneva, two to three witches were executed every year.


As you can tell, it was a time of corruption, confusion, and chaos. But what really made this a dark time was that the Gospel had been obscured and the Scriptures were hidden. We live in a time, very similar to that. A time where scandals in the church and political leadership are reported on almost a daily basis. A time where there is much confusion on the absolute nature of truth, morality, and sexuality. A time of chaos with pastors not even preaching, but hosting group counseling sessions instead and Christians dividing from one another because of the music style or the colors of the chairs. A time of darkness to the Gospel, despite us living in a time where accessibility to the Scriptures is at its highest. So, what are we to do? We can learn a lot from the Reformers, but to bring us to a resolution, we must place our faith in Jesus Christ and boldly proclaim the Gospel. We must live as Christ's ambassadors, walking in righteousness, and we must be vocal in spreading the good news of the kingdom of God. There will always be darkness in this world, but keep faith because we are called to be lights in the darkness; not of ourselves, but reflecting the light of Jesus Christ.


Grace and Peace, 

Alex Galvez 


To never miss an article, click on the "Subscribe" button at the top of the blog page (https://aogalvez.blogspot.com/

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These articles follow the current Bible Reading plan for Overflow Ministries. If you would like to join the reading plan, simply download the plan here: Overflow Reading Plan 


You may follow Overflow Ministries @ https://faithlife.com/overflowtx/activity 

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Intro to Haggai
Intro to Haggai

Alexander Galvez • October 07, 2019

4 “Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins? 

Haggai 1:4 


In 2016, I started working on a new project; a board game. I spent countless hours working on the design (not looks, but how you play the game), theme (style of play), and the general vision for the art (looks of the game). I had even received price lists from various vendors to manufacture, ship, and distribute the game. However, due to several factors (art not in hand, starting a new job, not enough groundwork to grow the user base for pre-orders) the project never completed. It started out with a flash and sort of fizzled out as my priorities began to shift. Similarly, in the book of Haggai, we read of the resulting work of the first group of exiles who had returned to Israel to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple. They had returned home and had begun their project to rebuild the temple sometime in 538-537 BC, but had given up on the reconstruction project after having laid the foundation. 


However, God had not left them nor did He approve of their neglect. On August 29, 520 BC, God gives Haggai a message, rebuking them for living in “paneled houses” while the house of God “[laid] in ruins” (1:4). As opposed to standing firm against external oppositions and discouragement in the “small-ness” of their new temple (Ezra 1-3; Hag 2:3), the people had given up and this was displeasing to God. Through Haggai, God calls the people to repentance and covenant renewal and to do so with strength (2:4-5). Unlike many of the other prophetic books, we do see a response from the people in this book. They do begin their work on the temple and eventually will complete it several years later (Based on Ezra 6:15-18, it is estimated to be March 12, 515 BC). 


But there is more to this book than just a retelling of the rebuilding of the Temple. Haggai also includes a promise for the people of blessing and peace (2:6-9, 18-19) and a reversal of the curse on Jehoiachin. This reversal is essentially a restoration of the Davidic throne on earth through the descendants of Zerubbabel, which will ultimately point us to Christ. In this short book, we also notice that Haggai calls on the divine name of the Lord 34 times in only 38 verses, affirming both God’s presence with the people and His activity in their lives. And just as it was then, so it is now. God did not make a promise with the same result as our many uncompleted projects. He is with us and accompanies us in our works. And He calls on each of us to reexamine our priorities and to live faithfully for Him empowered by the gifting of the Holy Spirit. May we forever be committed to Him. 


Grace and Peace, 

Alex Galvez 


To never miss an article, click on the "Subscribe" button at the top of the blog page (https://aogalvez.blogspot.com/

**************************************************** 

These articles follow the current Bible Reading plan for Overflow Ministries. If you would like to join the reading plan, simply download the plan here: Overflow Reading Plan 


You may follow Overflow Ministries @ https://faithlife.com/overflowtx/activity 

or on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/OverflowChurchTX/

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