God reveals Himself all throughout His Word, from beginning to end. Over the past 3 weeks we’ve learned to see God in places we might not think to look: creation, the 10 plagues of Exodus, and in our suffering. This week we learn how we can see God’s invisible attributes through the book of Revelation. But Revelation wraps up our series in another neat way—it features God at work through each topic we’ve studied in the last 3 weeks!
We see the suffering of the saints, the hand of God at work to avenge believers and turn the world’s attention toward Israel as He did with the 10 plagues, and His redemption of His creation at the end of the book that parallels the beginning of the Bible. God is always at work and makes Himself known to us in many ways. We hope this series reminds you of His character and the love He has for you!
If you missed the first three parts of this series, you can Visit our Archives.
Steve Conover: Welcome to The Friends of Israel Today. I'm Steve Conover. With me is our host and teacher, Chris Katulka. We have a great show for you today, but before Chris comes, I'd like to encourage you to visit our website, foiradio.org. There you'll find trustworthy and accurate news on Israel and the Middle East. And while you're there, you can support our ministry by clicking on the donate button, and you can help us continue to teach biblical truth about Israel and the Jewish people. Again, visit us at foiradio.org.
Chris Katulka: Well, it's hard to believe Steve, but we're wrapping up our series on the Divine Portraits of God. We've looked at many different angles of who God is throughout the Scriptures. And today we're going to be landing on the Divine Portrait of God through, which I'm very excited about, the book of Revelation. And then at the very end, we're going to look at each of the different things that we looked at about God, and really find its culmination in the book of Revelation as well. So I think it's going to be a great episode.
Steve Conover: Hang on for the end of Chris's series. But first, in the news, The Times of Israel reports that Israeli prime minister Yair Lapid demanded the United Nations’ Secretary General, António Guterres, dissolve a commission investigating last year's war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. This, after antisemitic remarks were made by one of its members, Mulloon Qatari, who said the Jewish lobby controls social media and even questioned why Israel is a UN member.
Chris Katulka: Steve, here's my take. I'm not sure if Mr. Qatari remembers, but it was Hamas, a terrorist organization, that used Gaza as a launchpad to fire more than 4,300 rockets on Israel. Secretary General Guterres should end this inquiry on Israel immediately, and actually begin one on Hamas. And Mr. Qatari should be removed from the commission for inciting antisemitic tropes that often lead to more violence.
Chris Katulka: We're wrapping up our study on the Divine Portraits of God, where it's our desire to show from a Jewish perspective, various angles of God, Divine Portraits of God, from the Scriptures. Now over the last three weeks, we saw God from many different perspectives. We looked at God through the lens of creation. We've seen him through the lens of the 10 plagues and even the lens of our own personal suffering. We learned that God is desirous and even jealous for his creation, that he wants his creation to know that he is God alone. The one true God, there are no other gods before him. And I know that this biblical concept can seem almost elementary, but it really gets at the heart of all of Scripture. What all of the Scriptures are trying to teach us about our relationship with God. The entire Old Testament presents the tension between God as the one and only God who instills the laws and commands that the Israelites should worship no other God.
And yet the Israelites are the ones who continue to break the law. I think I mentioned this last week, but there are 613 laws in the Old Testament for the Israelites to follow. And I often say that Christians can say, oh, no one could ever keep the law. It's impossible to keep the law, but think about which laws Israel broke almost immediately. It wasn't law number 516. It wasn't law number 343, or even law number 11. Of the 613 laws that the Israelites broke, they broke number one and they broke number two right away.
And then they continue to break those laws throughout the Old Testament. I think God is trying to get our attention today in 2022, as Christians. It begs the question, what's drawing us away from God as recognizing that he is the one and only God who deserves our worship and our adoration? And what has the capacity to pull us away from the Lord the most, if we don't set our gaze on him? Well, it's actually suffering, our personal suffering has the ability to either draw us closer to the Lord or pull us further away.
So was the case with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus was suffering and being pressed on all sides. That's actually what the Garden of Gethsemane means. Gethsemane is two words, gat shemanim, the place of pressing, where they pressed olives. And so just imagine the picture there of Jesus being pressed like an olive in an olive press. And he had to make a choice to either follow God's will or to carve his own path in the midst of his suffering. But it's through the suffering we learned so much about our gracious heavenly father. We learned that he cares for us and that he loves us. And he thinks about us even in our suffering. He knows what it means to suffer. So far, our series has introduced us to God through the lens, like I said, of creation and 10 plagues and suffering.
And if you didn't get a chance to listen to last week's program, then please be sure to visit foiradio.org to get caught up on this series. Again, that's foiradio.org, but for our last message on the Portraits of God, we're going to see God through the lens of the book of Revelation. This is such a fascinating study because to me, the book of Revelation shows two things. The first is this. God has a plan. When a believer begins to question whether God is there, or God even hears them. Let me tell you, just go to the book of Revelation and see that God has a sovereign plan that he is working out even to this very day. Just listen to Revelation, chapter one, starting in verse eight, it says, “‘I am the alpha and the omega,’” says the Lord God, ‘the one who is, who was and who is still to come, the all powerful.’
I, John, your brother, and the one who shares with you in the persecution, kingdom, and endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony about Jesus. I was in the spirit on the Lord's day. When I heard behind me a loud voice, like a trumpet saying, ‘Write in the book what you see and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.’ I turned to see whose voice it was speaking to me. And when I did so I saw seven golden lampstands. And in the midst of the lampstand was one like a son of man. And he was dressed in a robe, extending down to his feet, and he wore a wide golden belt around his chest. His head and his hair were white as wool, even as white as snow and his eyes were like a fiery flame.
His feet were like polished bronze refined in a furnace. His voice was like the roar of many waters. He held seven stars in his right hand and a sharp, double edged sword extended out of his mouth. His face shown like the sun shining at full strength. And when I saw him, I fell down at his feet as though I were dead, but he placed his right hand on me and said, ‘Do not be afraid. I am the first, and the last, and the one who lives. I was dead. But look, now I am alive forever and ever, and I hold the keys of death and of Hades.’ Therefore, write what you saw, what is, and what will be after these things.”
As I read through Revelation one verses eight through 20, I can't help but think that God has a plan. He is the alpha and omega. He is the one who is, and was, and is still to come, the all powerful. And if he is the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end, then that means he sees from start to finish. And from the beginning to the end, and he has a plan to make all things new, including you. And not only does God have a plan, but the book of Revelation shows us that God is in control. In verse 17, as John is being overwhelmed by the presence of the resurrected Lord Jesus in all of his glory and power. Jesus tells John, do not be afraid. I am the first and the last, the one who lives. I was dead, but look, now I am alive forever and ever, and I hold the keys to death and of Hades. Again, Jesus has a plan, but he's also in control.
Notice Jesus doesn't rally the troops here and tell us that he has a plan to get the keys to death. Hey, team, let's huddle up here. I've got a plan to take the keys of death from Satan. It's the final piece that I need to wrap things up here. No, that's not what Jesus says. When Jesus is talking to John, he's holding the keys to death and Hades. That means Jesus has dominion and authority over death and the place of the dead. And I'm sure Jesus' authority and control gave the apostle John a true sense of assurance that he and anyone who has placed their faith and trust in Jesus are accepted by him and have confidence that Heaven awaits them. Revelation is such a unique book in the New Testament because it reveals to us not only that God has a plan, that he's in control, but it also reveals to us that the battle being fought is already won. The battle being fought in the unseen realms between God and Satan has already been won by God.
So this becomes an important part of how we understand who God is. He has a plan, he's in control and the battle belongs to him, but there's another important component to Revelation that I love. And as we've been journeying through the divine portraits that we've been looking at God through many different lenses, I want to focus in on something in John's apocalypse, the book of Revelation that I believe brings a culmination to all the things that we've been looking at. When we return, we're going to look at the last three weeks of the Divine Portraits of God, right here in the book of Revelation.
The Bible holds the fascinating stories of Israel's divinely appointed Kings and prophets. That's why I'm excited to share with you our Written in Stone: Kings and Prophets DVD. Now you can watch these stories come to life with new archeological breakthroughs, see the evidence for biblical battles, the bones of Israel's Kings, Nehemiah's rebuilding of Jerusalem, and even an artifact called the first bill of human rights. Each discovery testifies to the truth and glory of God's words. And this DVD will help you understand Scripture as the real history of God's chosen people. To get your copy of the DVD Written in Stone: Kings and Prophets, visit us foiradio.org. Again, that's foiradio.org.
Welcome back everyone. We're wrapping up our series on the Divine Portraits of God, where we're looking at God's character in nature through various lenses. And today we're looking at God through the lens of the book of Revelation. And earlier we saw that Revelation shows us that God has a plan, that God is in control, and that God in the end wins the battle. And all of this gives us the assurance as believers to trust in him, even when it seems as though God may not be there, or maybe when it even seems as though God can't hear us in our times of distress or suffering. And what's amazing to me is that the book of Revelation sheds light on all of the other divine portraits that we've been talking about over the course of this series. I'm actually going to reverse it. So we're going to start with suffering.
Last week, we talked about suffering and seeing God in our suffering. The suffering of the saints plays a major role in the book of Revelation. The saints I'm talking about are the ones martyred during the tribulation period, but you could also think about all of the saints who have suffered throughout church history. In Revelation chapter six, verse nine, as the lamb is breaking the fifth seal on the scroll, John sees those who were martyred and they cry out from under the altar and they say this: “How long sovereign master, holy and true, before you judge those who live on earth and avenge our blood?” We've been talking about the spiritual value of suffering in last week's episode, that sometimes we can't explain why believers suffer, but here is one thing that we know about God, especially from the book of Revelation, is that he will avenge those who have suffered for the sake of the gospel.
He's the sovereign Lord who will judge those who have brought harm and suffering to the saints. God does not take pleasure. This is important. God does not take pleasure in the suffering of his children, but God does vow to judge those who bring harm on them, which brings me to the 10 plagues. We talked about the 10 plagues as well in past episodes. How will God avenge those who have suffered and died? He will do it through acts of judgment, poured out on Earth. You see that in the book of Revelation. The 10 plagues were used by God to display to the world that he is the one and only God. God tried to get the world's attention through his messenger, Moses. Do you remember when Moses appeared to Pharaoh? But Pharaoh rejected Moses and his message. And by rejecting Moses, he ultimately rejected God.
And so God brought the 10 plagues, which one by one destroyed the gods of Egypt and exalted the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The same can be said in the book of Revelation, God sent a prophet like Moses, God sent the King of Israel. God sent his one and only son who announced the Kingdom of God is at hand. But everyone, Jew and Gentile alike, must repent and turn to him. And through repentance, God would save them from his coming wrath, his coming judgment, but many over time have rejected him. They've rejected his message of forgiveness and reconciliation. And for that reason, God's wrath, his judgment will be poured out. That's what the majority of Revelation is all about, God dealing with sin once and for all. God's wrath dealing with sin once and for all. And you know, what else the book of Revelation shows us, just like the 10 plagues?
Is that God's not through with Israel and the Jewish people. It's in the book of Revelation where God turns his attention, once again, back on the nation of Israel to fulfill the divine purpose he gave them in Genesis with Abraham. And finally, we started this series off with creation. God reveals in creation that he is the one true God who spoke everything into existence. There's no one like him. And yet Adam and Eve sinned. And through him, sin entered the world, corrupting God's perfect creation. Yet, in God's grace, think about this. In God's grace, he never abandoned his creation. In fact, he created a plan to redeem it. I love that the creation account and Revelation serve as bookends of the Bible. In Genesis chapter two, we see Adam and Eve walking with God in the middle of the garden of Eden.
And right in the middle of the garden was the tree of life. And at the end of the Bible and Revelation chapter 21 and 22, God once again is dwelling with his creation. And in the middle of the city, the new Jerusalem, is the tree of life. God's desire all along was to make all things new through his son, Jesus, the Messiah.
I really hope that you've enjoyed the portrait series. The one big takeaway for me, as we've seen God through various lenses, the lens of creation, the lens of the 10 plagues, the lens of suffering. and now through the lens of the book of Revelation, is this. It's that God loves us. He desires to have a relationship with us. And I hope that you feel the same way too.
Steve Conover: Israel on the verge of becoming a state, a teenage Holocaust survivor arrives on her shores alone. His name is Zvi Kalisher. Little did he know his search for a new life in the Holy Land would lead him to the Messiah. Zvi, enthusiastic to share his faith, engaged others in spiritual conversations. Many of which can be found in our magazine, Israel My Glory. While Zvi is now in the presence of his Savior, his collected writings from well over 50 years of ministry continue to encourage believers worldwide. Now, Apples of Gold, a dramatic reading from the life of Zvi.
Mike Kellogg: On my visit to North America, I met a very Orthodox Jewish man. We spoke for only a few minutes, but we quickly became friends. When I returned home one day from work, I saw an ultra Orthodox man whom I had never met before sitting at our table. He introduced himself as a good friend of the man whom I had met in North America. He said I had promised to give my friend something and my friend sent him to collect it. “I want to give you something you do not have,” I said. “Joy.” “Are you normal?" he asked. "Yes." I replied. “When I met your friend, he was unhappy like you. He was curious to know how I had found joy. So I explained just like someone who has walked in darkness and finally sees the light thanks the Lord for that light. So it is with you.”
I explained how I came to know the Lord and how I first received joy and happiness. “You know, I am so afraid.” “To be afraid is good,” I said. “It is written in Psalm 112 verse one, ‘Praise the Lord, blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who delights greatly in his commandments.’ Believe me, I also fear the Lord, but I am happy because I am sure that what the Lord has given me, he will not take away from me.” “And what is this?” he asked. "Salvation," I replied. “Forgiveness of sin and everlasting life.” My new friend was surprised to see me without a hat. This was hard for him to understand. I questioned, "You say what I'm telling you is very interesting, but why can we not be good believers and serve the Lord without a hat?" Then I quoted Ezekiel 18:31. “Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel?”
“Think about that,” I said. “What is more important? A new hat or a new heart and a new spirit? Now you have the choice. Receive the Lord as your personal Savior and come out from the darkness and false teaching.” “I've been here a long time. What is it that you want to give me?” he asked. "I will give you what the Lord has given to me," I replied. I read Psalm 144 verse 15 where it is written, “Happy are the people whose God is the Lord," I told him.
I said, "We are sinners, but because of his suffering, we can be saved." “What? Can God suffer?” I then read Isaiah 53. His face changed because he knew it referred to Jesus Christ. And then I quoted Zechariah 12 verse 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 a firstborn.” Please pray for the salvation of this ultra Orthodox man. He has been exposed to the truth of the gospel. May the Lord open his eyes and convict his heart.
Chris Katulka: The impact of Zvi's life in ministry in Israel, it didn't end when he went home to be with the Lord. In fact, Zvi's legacy lives on. Our Friends of Israel ministry representatives continue to share the gospel in Jerusalem, Israel, and really all throughout the world. We also serve Holocaust survivors in their families. We provide free food, medicine, and clothing, and we even promote the safety and security of the state of Israel and the Jewish people everywhere. So when you give to The Friends of Israel, your donation actually allows us to advance the gospel of our Messiah Jesus. You can give online by visiting foiradio.org. Again, that's foiradio.org. You can click right there on our donate link. Also, be sure to let us know where you listen when you contact us.
Steve Conover: Thank you so much for being with us for today's program. I invite you to reach out to us on our contact form at foiradio.org and let us know how we're doing. We want to create content that we know is enriching your lives and drawing you closer to the Lord. So contact us at foiradio.org.
Chris Katulka: Now, Steve, it's all God's timing here, but as we're wrapping up our Divine Portraits of God series, where we looked at God through the lens of the book of Revelation. Next week, we're going to be looking at our most recent issue of Israel My Glory, which is all about Revelation chapter 12, the woman, the child, and the dragon. I think it's going to be a fascinating time for our listeners to look at our most recent issue of Israel My Glory.
Steve Conover: Join us then. Our host and teacher is Chris Katulka. Today's program was produced by Tom Gallione. Our theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong. Mike Kellogg read Apples of Gold. And I'm Steve Conover, executive producer. Our mailing address is FOI Radio PO Box 914. Bellmawr, New Jersey, 08099. Again, that's FOI Radio PO Box 914. Bellmawr, New Jersey, 08099. And one last quick reminder to visit us foiradio.org. The Friends of Israel Today is a production of The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. We are a worldwide, Evangelical ministry, proclaiming biblical truth about Israel and the Messiah while bringing physical and spiritual comfort to the Jewish people.
Written in Stone: Kings and Prophets DVD
Discover the fascinating world of archaeology that makes the Bible come to life! This DVD’s archaeological evidence focuses on the era of Israel’s kings and prophets, including a look at Jewish life during Babylonian exile, the bones of kings, and the rebuilding of Jerusalem under Nehemiah. You’ll find your faith in Scripture strengthened through these phenomenal discoveries!
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Apples of Gold: Fear the Lord
One day Zvi found a stranger sitting at his table in his home. The man said he was a good friend of an Orthodox Jewish man Zvi had become friends with in North America. He went to Zvi on behalf of his friend, asking to collect what Zvi had promised to give him. The man was expecting something tangible to bring back to his friend, but Zvi gave him something else entirely. Hear how Zvi offered the man the greatest gift of all!
The Friends of Israel Today theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong.
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