Helper: One Way Women Reflect God’s Image

There’s an infamous verse in the King James Version of the Bible with phrasing that sets some people’s teeth on edge. Here, God says, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” We’ve sometimes read this as “help-meet” as if it’s all one word and is somehow demeaning women as nothing more than an assistant or something. Really, though, “help” and “meet for him” are two separate words and they mean something different than you might htink.

“Help” comes from the Hebrew word ezer, which we’ll be spending most of our time with in this study. “Meet for him” is an old Englishy phrase that means comparable to or suitable for. It’s from the Hebrew word neged, which speaks of something conspicuously placed before someone, as well as something beside or parallel to something else (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament [TWOT] 1289a; Brown-Driver-Briggs H5048). For example, God commanded “read this law before all Israel in their hearing” (Deut. 31:11, WEB) once every seven years during the Feast of Tabernacles. His law is important, and so He wanted it placed before His people to regularly remind them of what to focus on.

Setting negad aside for now, let’s go back to the word translated “helper.” The really interesting thing about the word ezer is that with just one exception, it’s only used to describe women and God. The word shows up 21 times in the Hebrew Bible. Twice it’s used in Genesis 2 to describe women. Once it refers to God scattering away anything else His people might try to rely on for help (Eze. 12:14). All the other times, ezer describes God.

Image of people holding hands and praying, with text from Psalm 20:1-2, WEB version: "May Yahweh answer you in the day of trouble. May the name of the God of Jacob set you up on high, send you help from the sanctuary, grant you support from Zion"
Image by Claudine Chaussé from Lightstock

Reflecting God’s Image

Right from the get-go, God makes it clear that He created both man and woman in His image. Though God is consistently described as masculine, both men and women bear His image and reflect who He is. We also have the same spiritual potential as “fellow heirs of the grace of life” (1 Pet. 3:7, NET).

Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, after our likeness, so they may rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move on the earth.”

God created humankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them,
male and female he created them.

Genesis 1:26-27, NET

In addition to being made in God’s image, we’re also supposed to grow into reflecting His character. We don’t look or act exactly like God right now, but He wants us to in the future (1 John 3:1-3). God the Father wants us “to be conformed to the image of his Son” and “put on the new man who has been created in God’s image—in righteousness and holiness that comes from truth” (Rom. 8:29 Eph. 4:24, NET). We’ve “borne the image of the man of dust”–we’re human, just like Adam and Eve– and now we should “also bear the image of the man of heaven” (1 Cor. 15:49, NET).

One of our main goals as Christians is to become like God the Father and Jesus Christ. We’re already like them in a few ways since we’re made in their image, but we’re supposed to become more and more like them the longer we’re in a covenant relationship with them. Studying God’s character traits helps us understand Him better and it also helps us understand what we’re supposed to be like.

Image of people holding hands and praying, with text from Psalm 121:1-2, WEB version: "I will lift up my eyes to the hills. Where does my help come from My help comes from Yahweh, who made heaven and earth."
Image by Prixel Creative from Lightstock

The Lord As Our Helper

Most of the 21 uses of ezer are found in the Psalms . Here, the writers talk about God as their help. Often, He’s described as help and shield. He shows up as a helper when we need a deliverer to protect and save us.

Our soul has waited for Yahweh.
He is our help and our shield.

Psalm 33:20, WEB

But I am poor and needy.
Come to me quickly, God.
You are my help and my deliverer.
Yahweh, don’t delay.

Psalm 70:5, WEB

You who fear Yahweh, trust in Yahweh!
He is their help and their shield.

Psalm 115:11, WEB

There’s a lot of martial imagery here. It makes sense; the root word for ezar “generally indicates military assistance” (TWOT 1598). Yahweh is our shield and deliverer. The connection between helper and battle is even more pronounced when God describes Himself to Israel as “your help.” All of us who are honest will admit we need help, particularly the sort of help God provides. And look at what a powerful sort of help this is:

“You are happy, Israel!
    Who is like you, a people saved by Yahweh,
    the shield of your help,
    the sword of your excellency?
Your enemies will submit themselves to you.
    You will tread on their high places.”

Deuteronomy 33:29, WEB

In addition to God’s role as help being linked with protecting and fighting, it’s linked with happiness. When He’s talking to His people, He says they are a happy “people saved by Yahweh, the shield of your help” (Deut. 33:29, WEB). When they turn away from Him, He tells them, “You are destroyed, Israel, because you are against me, against your help” (Hos. 13:9, WEB). If we go against God, our help, then we face destruction. But when we stay close to Him, we’re safe and happy (Ps. 146:5).

Image of a smiling woman with her hand raised in worship with text from Psalm 146:5, WEB version: "Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in Yahweh, his God"
Image by Pearl from Lightstock

Deborah’s Example

If we were just reading those verses that talk about God as help, shield, sword, and protector, we’d likely link ezer with God as a Warrior and assume helper is a masculine role. But God uses it for women at creation (Gen 2:18, 20). It’s not used to describe human beings in a positive way again, but we can’t dismiss this verse lightly. This is how God describes His intention when creating women. We weren’t afterthoughts because He forgot to create a female version of the human animal. No! He carefully sculpted man in His own image, then carefully sculpted woman from man (also in His own image).

We don’t usually think of women in the Bible as offering military assistance. One notable exception is Deborah, so let’s take a look at how she modeled God’s image as a help to those around her. You’ll find her story in Judges 4-5. She led Israel when King Jabin of Canaan was oppressing Israel. He’d been a problem for 20 years before God called someone to do something about it.

Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, judged Israel at that time. … the children of Israel came up to her for judgment. She sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam out of Kedesh Naphtali, and said to him, “Hasn’t Yahweh, the God of Israel, commanded, ‘Go and lead the way to Mount Tabor, and take with you ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun? I will draw to you, to the river Kishon, Sisera, the captain of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his multitude; and I will deliver him into your hand.’”

Barak said to her, “If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go.”

She said, “I will surely go with you. Nevertheless, the journey that you take won’t be for your honor; for Yahweh will sell Sisera into a woman’s hand.” Deborah arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh.

Judges 4:4-9, WEB

Deborah and Barak went to war together, along with 10,000 men. It doesn’t look like she strapped on armor and fought, but she was there to help. King Jabin’s military commander Sisera met them with 900 chariots and an unnamed number of other fighters described as “all the army.” Israel won the battle decisively. Only Sisera escaped, and then only for a short time. He took shelter in Jael’s tent since he knew her husband had a peace treaty with Jabin, and Jael killed him by driving a tent peg through his head. Deborah and Barak’s victory song celebrates Jael for her military assistance (though I recommend not following her model today if you’d like to help someone). Also in this song, we learn more about Deborah’s role.

Warriors were scarce;
they were scarce in Israel,
until you arose, Deborah,
until you arose as a motherly protector in Israel.”

Judges 5:7, NET

There are some questions about how to translate this section, but it looks like Deborah arose as a leader and protector in Israel to fill a gap when other warriors and rulers were scarce. God used her as a help that the whole nation needed.

Women As Helpers

Image of two women's clasped hands with the blog's title text and the words "r we aid someone facing a spiritual battle, encourage someone to keep going, or stand up for what's right, we're modeling God's role as 'help.'"
Image by Jantanee from Lightstock

What about us today? Deborah is an Old Testament example, and the idea of women as leaders, protectors, and warriors might not seem like it shows up in the New Testament at first glance. But there’s actually quite a bit of evidence for women teaching, leading, and protecting in the church. Paul mentions several at the end of his Romans letter.

Now I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a servant of the church in Cenchrea, so that you may welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints and provide her with whatever help she may need from you, for she has been a great help to many, including me.

Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their own necks for my life. Not only I, but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them. Also greet the church in their house. Greet my dear friend Epenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in the province of Asia. Greet Mary, who has worked very hard for you. Greet Andronicus and Junia, my compatriots and my fellow prisoners. They are well known to the apostles, and they were in Christ before me.

Romans 16:1-7, NET (emphasis added)

Here, Paul mentions four women who played a key role in the church. Phoebe was “a great help to many” in her role as a servant or possibly a deaconess (“servant” here is the same word that’s translated “deacon” in 1 Tim. 3:8, 12). Prisca, also called Priscilla, and her husband worked alongside Paul, hosted a church, and taught God’s way accurately (Acts 18:2-3, 24-26; 1 Cor. 16:19). Mary worked hard enough for the church that Paul noted her in this letter. Junia is a prisoner for her faith, just like Paul was at this time. The Greek wording used here is ambiguous; either the apostles took note of her or she was considered an apostle (Misreading Scriptures with Western Eyes, p. 172).

We could turn to other examples as well, but that seems sufficient to show that women in the New Testament still help in powerful ways. In addition, we’re involved with fighting spiritual battles, just like every follower of God throughout history. For both men and women, you’re a warrior even if you never pick up a physical sword or strap on armor. God puts His own armor on you and arms you with the Shield of Faith and the Sword of the Spirit. Whenever we aid someone facing a spiritual battle, encourage someone to keep going, or stand up for what’s right, we’re modeling God’s role as a help.

Featured image by Jantanee from Lightstock

Song Recommendation: “Onye-Inyeaka (My Helper)” by Mr. M & Revelation (lyrics translation in comments on YouTube)

Don’t Panic

If you’re a fan of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy you probably recognize today’s title. It’s also a quote from the Bible (and ironic in how I’m using it, given Douglas Adams’ views on religion), but as a sci-fi fan that phrase jumped out at me when reading Joshua precisely because of Hitchhiker’s Guide. In Adams’s novel, this phrase is written “in large, friendly letters on the cover” of the in-universe Hitchhiker’s Guide. Though it’s played humorously, in an interview with Sci Fi Weekly, Arthur C. Clarke (another sci-fi great) said he thinks “don’t panic” is “the best advice” he could give if addressing humanity as a whole.

While I suspect we could come up with better advice for the whole world than “don’t panic,” it is good advice. Panicking doesn’t do anyone much good. I’ve had many panic attacks, and when you’re panicking it’s hard to focus on anything else. For me, it’s like my chest is closing up, my stomach feels ill, and I start shaking all over. I just want to freeze or run. If it gets really bad, my skin starts prickling and I can’t stand being touched. Many people end up in the hospital with their first panic attack because they literally think they’re dying.

My anxiety has improved and panic attacks lessened significantly in more recent years. It’s still something I track carefully, though, and pray about regularly. I think C.S. Lewis is right when he says our anxieties are “afflictions, not sins” and that we should take them to God rather than feel paralyzed with guilt about them. Even so, there are many indications in the Bible that God doesn’t want us to live with panic, anxiety, and fear as part of our daily lives. It isn’t helpful to feel guilty about experiencing those things, but it’s also not good to just accept them as a normal part of life. God wants to help free us from the burden of panic. And that is good news for us and the whole world.

Image of a man pushing doors open, with text from Phil. 4:6-7, NET version: "Do not be anxious about anything. Instead, in every 
situation, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, tell your requests to God. And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."
Image by Pearl from Lightstock

Courage to Live as Kingdom-Citizens

We just got home from celebrating Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles/Booths). This week-long festival that God commands us to observe (Lev. 23:33-43) reminds us that our lives here on earth are temporary. It also invites us to look forward to a future when “our earthly house of this tabernacle” will be replaced with a spirit body (2 Cor. 5:1, KJV) and the kingdom of God will be here on earth at last (as we looked at in our recent Isaiah Study).

Today, we are citizens of God’s kingdom but we’re not living in it yet. We’re still here on earth, like expatriates whose native land is the kingdom of God and who live in foreign countries. Sometimes those countries are nice places to stay. Other times, they’re actively hostile to people following God. When the world around us opposes us for being citizens of heaven, it would be easy to get scared. But Jesus encourages us to do something else.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; I do not give it to you as the world does. Do not let your hearts be distressed or lacking in courage. …

“I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In the world you have trouble and suffering, but take courage—I have conquered the world.”

John 1427; 16:33, NET

Jesus doesn’t mince words here. He promises peace, but He also says there’s going to be trouble for us in this world. We live in a place that’s war-torn, subject to natural disaster, faces famines, and is full of diseases and danger. There are many beautiful things in this world, but creation is fallen and captive, groaning as it awaits the future kingdom when Jesus will set all things right (Rom. 8:12-25). And on top of those troubles common to all people, many Christians in the world today face persecution for their faith.

If that were the end to the story, it’d be a wonder anyone wants to be a Christian. But the benefits far out weigh the temporary downsides. For one thing, “our present sufferings cannot even be compared to the coming glory that will be revealed to us” (Rom. 8:18, NET). In addition to the future we anticipate in God’s kingdom, we enjoy His presence, comfort, blessings, and aid right now. We can ask Him for help, confident that He will respond, just like the first-century church did. When they were threatened, they prayed for courage to keep teaching (Acts 4:18-31). God didn’t stop all the persecution, but He did answer their prayers. He even turned one of their most feared enemies into a highly effective apostle (Acts 8:1; 9:1-31; 1 Cor. 15:9-10). We can have both peace and courage as followers of God, even in a dangerous world.

Image of four people walking into a church with text from 1 Cor. 16:13-14, WEB version: "Watch! Stand firm in the faith! Be courageous! Be strong! Let all that you do be done in love."
Image by Pearl from Lightstock

Courage to Keep Going

I promised in the introduction that “don’t panic” isn’t just a sci-fi reference. It’s also a quote from the Bible. After Moses’s death, God entrusted Joshua with leading the Israelite people into the promised land. Joshua had seen all the things this people put Moses through in the 40 years since they’d left Egypt. He’d also spied out the land they were heading into, and knew the dangers they’d face there. The last time they’d tried to go into this land, Joshua had been confident that God would fight for them (Num. 14:6-8). Still, it’s understandable that he might have some worries now. God makes sure to address those worries when speaking with Joshua.

No one will be able to resist you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not abandon you or leave you alone. Be strong and brave! You must lead these people in the conquest of this land that I solemnly promised their ancestors I would hand over to them. Make sure you are very strong and brave! Carefully obey all the law my servant Moses charged you to keep. Do not swerve from it to the right or to the left, so that you may be successful in all you do. This law scroll must not leave your lips. You must memorize it day and night so you can carefully obey all that is written in it. Then you will prosper and be successful. I repeat, be strong and brave! Don’t be afraid and don’t panic, for I, the Lord your God, am with you in all you do.

Joshua 1:5-9, NET

What an incredible message of reassurance! Look how many times God says, “Be strong and brave,” and the reasons He gives for that courage and strength. “Don’t be afraid and don’t panic,” God says, “For I, the Lord your God, am with you in all you do.” And this wasn’t just a one-time promise to Joshua. We’ve also received promises from the Lord, saying, “I will in no way leave you, neither will I in any way forsake you” (Heb. 13:5, WEB).

In Romans, Paul asks the rhetorical question, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” The answer, obvious to anyone whose been paying attention to the Old Testament record, Jesus’s gospel message, and Paul’s writings so far is that nothing can stand against us when God is with us in all that we do (Rom. 8:28-39).

Courage Thinking of the Future

Image of a woman reading a Bible with the blog's title text and the words "God promises He'll be with us. If we can remember that–if it really sinks in and feels real to us–then panicking will be the farthest thing from our minds."
Image by Pearl from Lightstock

Remember near the beginning when I said the Feast of Tabernacles reminds us there will be a time when “our earthly house of this tabernacle” will be replaced with a spirit body (2 Cor. 5:1, KJV)? Paul also talks about courage in this section of scripture. We live in temporary bodies, just like the Israelites lived in temporary shelters while traveling from Egypt to the Promised Land. We need courage to keep heading toward our own promise of a better future.

For we know that if our earthly house, the tent we live in, is dismantled, we have a building from God, a house not built by human hands, that is eternal in the heavens. … For we groan while we are in this tent, since we are weighed down, because we do not want to be unclothed, but clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now the one who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave us the Spirit as a down payment. Therefore we are always full of courage, and we know that as long as we are alive here on earth we are absent from the Lord— for we live by faith, not by sight. Thus we are full of courage and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So then whether we are alive or away, we make it our ambition to please him.

1 Corinthians 5:1, 4-9, NET

Our hope for the future contextualizes our present worries. If I’m worried about what someone might think of me, it helps to remember that ultimately God’s the one whose opinion matters most. If I’m worried about a health concern, it’s a comfort to remember that my body is temporary and God plans to give me a better one. If I’m worried something’s going to go horribly wrong, it’s encouraging to remember God won’t let me go through anything by myself.

When it comes from God, “Don’t panic” is advice we have good reason to follow. He’s the Creator, the Sovereign Lord, the God of armies in heaven, the One in charge of how the whole story ends. He promises He’ll be with us. If we can remember that–if it really sinks in and feels real to us–then panicking will be the farthest thing from our minds. That doesn’t mean we’ll never feel worry or even panic, but it does put us in the mindset to welcome in the peace Jesus and Paul promise will guard our mins.

Featured image by Claudine Chaussé from Lightstock

Our Role As Priests

Jesus is coming again. We know this; it’s promised over and over again in the scripture. We hold on to this promise, letting it contextualize our lives now and give us hope for the future.

That’s not where the story ends, though. There’s still more after Jesus’s second coming. Satan will be locked away, the faithful believers will rise from the dead, and they’ll live and reign with Christ for 1,000 years. This is the time we’re looking forward to now as we celebrate Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles). And there’s still more to the story after that–when the rest of the dead will live again and God will dwell among people here on earth.

One of the things God reveals about the time after Jesus’s return is that we’ll be filling certain roles. Those who believe in, covenant with, and faithfully follow God now are told they’ll play a role in this future. We’ll either still be alive or we’ll be raised from the dead and welcomed into His family. And in that time, we’ll be priests. In fact, in many ways, we’re priests right now.

Serving in God’s Kingdom

In Revelation, John opens by saying that Jesus “has appointed us as a kingdom, as priests serving his God and Father” (Rev. 1: 6, NET). This is echoed again in a song “the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders” sing to the Lamb before God’s throne.

“You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals
because you were killed,
and at the cost of your own blood you have purchased for God
persons from every tribe, language, people, and nation.
You have appointed them as a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.”

Revelation 5:9-10, NET

Something happened at the cross which changed us and our role in the story. We’re not wandering around on our own anymore; we’re purchased for a specific appointment. God the Father and Jesus Christ choose and work with people from every location and background who are all destined to be part of a kingdom; His kingdom. If we’re part of this group, then we’ll be priests. We’ll even reign with Him, though that role is more about serving people than ruling over them (Matt. 20:25-28; 23:10-12).

I don’t know about you, but I find that an intimidating thought. Rule? As a priest? Me?!? There’s got to be some mistake. But we also know God chooses the sorts of people that don’t seem obvious; those who are unqualified by human standards and/or who realize the qualifications they have don’t mean much (Jer. 9:23-24; 1 Cor. 1:18-31). He wants rulers and priests who are humble; who realize they’re here to serve and help people toward a closer relationship with God.

Image of a young woman standing in church reading her Bible, with text from Rev. 1:5-6, NET version: ""
Image by José Roberto Roquel from Lightstock

A Kingdom of Priests

Usually when we talk about priesthood in the Bible, we’re talking about the Levitical priesthood or Jesus’s priesthood “in the order of Melchizedek,” which superseded the Levitical priests. Yet while the Levites were set apart as priests who served in the temple, the whole nation of Israel was described as priestly.

Moses went up to God, and Yahweh called to him out of the mountain, saying, “This is what you shall tell the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, then you shall be my own possession from among all peoples; for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.”

Exodus 19:3-6, WEB

The whole nation wasn’t allowed to serve in God’s tabernacle or temple (that role was just for the Levites), but they were still called priests. God intended for the whole nation to be holy, acting as priests in many ways. Here’s what the NET translators have to say about this phrase:

“This kingdom of God will be composed of a priestly people. All the Israelites would be living wholly in God’s service and enjoying the right of access to him. And, as priests, they would have the duty of representing God to the nations, following what they perceived to be the duties of priests—proclaiming God’s word, interceding for people, and making provision for people to find God through atonement.”

NET note on Ex. 19:6

In his One Year Worship the King Devotional, Chris Tiegreen puts it this way: Israel “was destined to be a priest between the world and its redeemer God” (Sept. 30 devotional). Ideally, the people joined to God in a covenant should fill a mediating, teaching, and worshipping role. They’ll be serving God faithfully and helping others who wanted to know God learn about Him.

Our Priestly Role, Now and Tomorrow

Image of a woman reading her Bible with the blog's title text and the words "As followers of God, we're 'a holy priesthood' today, just as Israel was chosen as 'a royal priesthood' under the first covenant."
Image by MarrCreative from Lightstock

Those of us in covenant with God today are part of modern “Israel” in a spiritual sense (Rom. 9-11). We’re grafted into the people of God and heirs with Jesus to the covenants. As part of that relationship with God, we’re part of His temple–His spiritual house. Jesus is the High Priest, but we have roles to play as well.

So as you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but chosen and precious in God’s sight, you yourselves, as living stones, are built up as a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood and to offer spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it says in scripture, “Look, I lay in Zion a stone, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and whoever believes in him will never be put to shame.” So you who believe see his value, but for those who do not believe, the stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone, and a stumbling-stone and a rock to trip over. They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do. But you are a chosen racea royal priesthooda holy nationa people of his own, so that you may proclaim the virtues of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. You once were not a people, but now you are God’s people. You were shown no mercy, but now you have received mercy.

1 Peter 2:4-10, NET (italics/bold in original to mark OT quotes)

Here, Peter says that we’re “a holy priesthood” today, just as Israel was chosen as “a royal priesthood” as part of the first covenant. As priests, we’re supposed to “offer spiritual sacrifices,” obey the word of God, and “proclaim the virtues of” God the Father and Jesus Christ. We get the chance to model service, worship, and faithfulness to the world. We also hold a role that involves teaching and showing people the way. This is a role we’ll hold in the future as well, in the time Isaiah looks forward to when he writes, “your teachers won’t be hidden any more, but your eyes will see your teachers; and when you turn to the right hand, and when you turn to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way. Walk in it'” (Is. 30:20-21, WEB).

In his letter to Rome, Paul said that Jesus called him to “serve the gospel of God like a priest” (Rom. 15:16, NET). Before his conversion, Paul was an influential and knowledgeable religious leader but he wasn’t a Levite (Phil. 3:5). He wasn’t part of the priesthood in his physical lineage, but Jesus Christ called him into a priest-like service. Jesus is doing the same for us today. We’re called into God’s temple as part of His temple for a specific purpose. We’re here to serve, to worship, and to teach. We are starting to fill this priestly role today and we’ll come into it fully after Jesus’s return.

Featured image by Matt Vasquez from Lightstock

Where Is Your Name Written?

I started this post partway through writing last week’s about God never forgetting His covenant with us. One of the verses I quoted in that post was Isaiah 49:16, where God says, “Look, I have inscribed your name on my palms.” I really wanted to study that, but knowing I’d probably not get back to the other post if I went off on a tangent, I saved it for this week.

One reason this verse caught my eye is that we’re in the midst of the fall holy day season. When I got the idea for this post, we were between Yom Teruah (Day of Trumpets) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). A common Jewish greeting during the Days of Awe between Trumpets and Atonement is, “May your name be inscribed in the Book of Life!” The Jewish people see these days as a time of repentance, reconciliation, and reconnection with God. They hope that on Yom Kippur, God will choose to write their names in His book of life for one more year.

Yom Kippur was a key moment of yearly atonement; the only day when the high priest could enter the holiest part of the temple and present a sacrifice to cover the sins of all God’s people that year (Lev. 16). It wasn’t the only time for repentance, though, and the book of life isn’t explicitly connected with this day in scripture. Today, Yom Kippur is a reminder of His atoning sacrifice, a day to humble ourselves and recommit to God. It also looks forward to the day when Satan is put away and there are no barriers between God and His people.

I don’t think scriptures indicate that God decides on Yom Kippur whether or not your name is “safe” in His book for the rest of the year. He’s more dynamic and responsive than that–He’ll accept repentance and give salvation any time during the year. For believers today, Jesus’s sacrifice and the security that comes with being in covenant with Him is a constant thing. However, God does talk about writing our names (usually in a book rather than on His hands) and He does have a book of life. Now, with Yom Kippur a few days behind us and Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) beginning soon, this seems a good time to study how and where God writes our names.

The Lord’s Book

As I began this study, I started by searching for the phrase “book of life” in three different English translations: WEB, NET, and KJV. This particular phrase only appears once in the Old Testament, where David prays his enemies would be “blotted out of the book of life” (WEB) or “deleted from the scroll of the living” (NET). The NET translators suggest that this phrase (which appears nowhere else) likely refers to a census scroll listing the living members of a community, rather than a reference to God’s Book of Life as discussed in the New Testament.

When we think of God’s book where He writes righteous people’s names, we immediately think of the Book of Life. That phrase has become so closely associated with this book that it even shows up in traditional Jewish greetings. I can’t confirm this, but I assume this had become a well known name for God’s book in the Jewish community by the time Jesus came along, and that’s why His disciples use “Book of Life” in the New Testament writings. The Jewish people didn’t just come up with the idea of a book of life on their own, though; they got it from the scriptures.

The first reference we find to God writing someone’s name comes from Moses. After the golden calf incident, Moses went back to God to beg for mercy.

Moses returned to Yahweh, and said, “Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made themselves gods of gold. Yet now, if you will, forgive their sin—and if not, please blot me out of your book which you have written.”

Yahweh said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against me, I will blot him out of my book. Now go, lead the people to the place of which I have spoken to you. Behold, my angel shall go before you. Nevertheless, in the day when I punish, I will punish them for their sin.”

Exodus 32:31-34, WEB

This is a fascinating exchange. I’m guessing Moses must have had some unrecorded conversations with God about this book to even know it exists. From this conversation, we learn that Moses knew 1) his name was in this book and 2) his name could be removed. We also learn that God won’t blot one person’s name out in exchange for forgiving someone else–if He removes someone’s name, it’ll be because that person “has sinned against me.” We could also add to that “sinned without repenting,” since we know God is eager to offer forgiveness. An everlasting covenant with people who He’ll give everlasting life is His end-goal.

Image of a Hebrew scroll, with text from Jer. 31:33-34, WEB version: “But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” says Yahweh: “I will put my law in their inward parts, and I will write it in their heart. I will be their God, and they shall be my people. ... I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
Image by me

Writing Those Who Belong

If you’re searching for information about books in the Bible, there are only a few tantalizing tidbits that speak of books God keeps and/or places where He writes down names. For example, Psalm 87:6 tells us that God “writes up the peoples” ( WEB), like He’s keeping a “census book of the nations” (NET). This seems to hint at two books God keeps–one where He records everyone and another (I assume the same one Moses talked about) where He writes the names of the righteous.

My frame wasn’t hidden from you,
when I was made in secret,
woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my body.
In your book they were all written,
the days that were ordained for me,
when as yet there were none of them.

Psalm 139:15-16, WEB

Then those who feared Yahweh spoke one with another; and Yahweh listened, and heard, and a book of memory was written before him, for those who feared Yahweh, and who honored his name. They shall be mine,” says Yahweh of Armies, “my own possession in the day that I make, and I will spare them, as a man spares his own son who serves him.”

Malachi 3:16-17, WEB

One thing we can clearly tell from these verses is that being written in God’s book is a good thing. It’s connected to God knowing you intimately. It’s where the names of people God calls “mine” are written. We also see hints at some of the things people who are written in God’s book do and who they are. They’re God-fearing, honor His name, and they speak with other believers. This is similar to how Jesus talks about the church in Sardis.

But you have a few individuals in Sardis who have not stained their clothes, and they will walk with me dressed in white, because they are worthy. The one who conquers will be dressed like them in white clothing, and I will never erase his name from the book of life, but will declare his name before my Father and before his angels.

Revelation 3:4-5, NET

Last week, we talked about a verse where Moses says God “cannot forget the covenant with your ancestors that he confirmed by oath to them” (Deut. 4:31, NET). There aren’t many things that God can’t do, but forgetting about the people He’s engraved in His palms and written in His book is one of them. While we are cautioned that it’s possible for a name to be “blotted out” or “erased” from God’s book, we’re also assured of God’s continuing commitment to those who do their best to follow Him. It takes perseverance and the humility to ask God for help since we can’t do this on our own, but we can overcome and walk with Jesus in the white clothing of righteous deeds (Rev. 19:6-8).

The Book of Life

The New Testament is where we start seeing the phrase “book of life.” Paul mentions it once, urging one of this readers to assist those “in the gospel ministry … whose names are in the book of life” (Phil. 4:3, NET). I wish we had records of Paul’s other teachings on the book of life. It sounds here like it’s common knowledge among his audience, though from our perspective this is the first time it’s mentioned in the New Testament. All the other information about it is in Revelation.

We already quoted one of the book of life verses from Revelation. Two others contrast those who will worship the beast power with those who are written in “the book of life belonging to the Lamb” and will stay faithful to God (Rev. 13:7-9; 17:7-9). The final verses look forward to a time beyond Jesus’s second coming, even after the Millennium and Satan’s final defeat (Rev. 19-20). These verses align closely with a verse from Daniel. Let’s look at all three of those verses.

“At that time Michael will stand up, the great prince who stands for the children of your people; and there will be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time. At that time your people will be delivered, everyone who is found written in the book. Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine as the brightness of the expanse. Those who turn many to righteousness will shine as the stars forever and ever.”

Daniel 12:1-3, WEB

Then I saw a large white throne and the one who was seated on it; the earth and the heaven fled from his presence, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne. Then books were opened, and another book was opened—the book of life. So the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to their deeds. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and Death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each one was judged according to his deeds. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death—the lake of fire. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, that person was thrown into the lake of fire.

Revelation 20:11-15, NET

Now I saw no temple in the city, because the Lord God—the All-Powerful—and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, because the glory of God lights it up, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light and the kings of the earth will bring their grandeur into it. Its gates will never be closed during the day (and there will be no night there). They will bring the grandeur and the wealth of the nations into it, but nothing ritually unclean will ever enter into it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or practices falsehood, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Revelation 21:22-27, NET

I feel woefully inadequate when it comes to writing about prophecy, but that’s where we find ourselves for these three verses. They’re talking about the resurrections that happen after Jesus’s second coming, in particular the resurrection after the Millennium when all the dead will come back to life and God opens the books (plural in Rev. 20:11). There are a few ways you could interpret this. The one I hear most often in my faith tradition is that God will open the books of the Bible so that people who’ve been resurrected can understand His law, then some time will pass so they have an opportunity to show Him how they’ll live with this new knowledge before the final judgement.

One thing we can say for sure is that God plans on deliverance, life, and light to come out of this. There’s an end for the wicked who refuse to live aligned with God’s way of life, but there’s also mercy and goodness and life for those who follow God. Here, we have a realization of God’s justice rewarding good and putting a merciful end to evil. These are sobering passages, but they also speak of a good future.

Writing God Inside Us

So where are our names written? If we’re following God, then they’re written on His palms and in His book of life. And it seems that’s where we’re going to stay unless we do something to get ourselves erased and then don’t repent. God deeply desires to give everyone eternal life (1 Tim. 2:3-4; 2 Pet. 3:9). He even writes Himself into us to help make sure that happens.

For if that first covenant had been faultless, no one would have looked for a second one. But showing its fault, God says to them,
“Look, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will complete a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.
“It will not be like the covenant that I made with their fathers, on the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not continue in my covenant and I had no regard for them, says the Lord.
“For this is the covenant that I will establish with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and I will inscribe them on their hearts. And I will be their God and they will be my people.
“And there will be no need at all for each one to teach his countryman or each one to teach his brother saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ since they will all know me, from the least to the greatest.
“For I will be merciful toward their evil deeds, and their sins I will remember no longer.”

Hebrews 10:7-12, NET

God’s law is an expression of His character; a guide for how we can be in a relationship with Him. And He’s writing it inside of our hearts at the same time He’s forgiving and forgetting our sins. We also have a role to play in this; in Proverbs, we’re told, “Don’t let kindness and truth forsake you,” “Keep my commandments and live! … write them on the tablet of your heart” (Prov. 3:3; 7:2-3). Just as we want God to write our names and keep them close to Him, so we should also “write” His words inside us as part of internalizing His character.

Featured image by Andrys Stienstra from Pixabay

Humility To Keep Covenant With God

Have you ever noticed there are things God cannot do? For example, “it is impossible for God to lie” (Heb. 6:18, NET). When we talk about serving a God who can do anything, what we really mean is that He has the power to accomplish anything He promises and to work things out which seem impossible to us.

The fact that there are some things God simply can’t do is reassuring when we look at what those things are. It isn’t just that God chooses not to lie–He can’t do it. Deception simply isn’t in His character. That means we can trust Him completely. When He makes a promise He’s going to keep it. He might adjust His plans in response to something we do (the way He delayed Nineveh’s destruction when the people repented) but He will never go back on His promises. One of the promises that He’ll never break involves the covenant relationships He establishes with people.

No Chance of God Forgetting

I’ve been writing about covenants again recently. I hadn’t planned to stay on this topic, but one verse read in a sermon last Sabbath caught my ear and got me digging deeper again. To get some context, this verse comes from Deuteronomy when Moses spoke to Israel before they entered the promised land. He recapped their journey so far, reminded them of times they’d disobeyed God, recalled military encounters, and spoke of Joshua taking over after his death. Then, he says, “Now, Israel, pay attention to the statutes and ordinances I am about to teach you, so that you might live and go on to enter and take possession of the land that the Lord, the God of your ancestors, is giving you” (Deut. 4:1, NET). Now, he starts to remind them of the covenant promise they made.

Again, however, pay very careful attention, lest you forget the things you have seen and disregard them for the rest of your life; instead teach them to your children and grandchildren. … You approached and stood at the foot of the mountain, a mountain ablaze to the sky above it and yet dark with a thick cloud. Then the Lord spoke to you from the middle of the fire … he revealed to you the covenant he has commanded you to keep, the Ten Commandments, writing them on two stone tablets.

Deuteronomy 4:9, 11-13, NET

Moses will recap this covenant as the book goes on, but first He talks about what will happen if Israel forsakes this covenant. If they break their relationship with God “and do other evil things before the Lord your God that enrage him, I invoke heaven and earth as witnesses against you today that you will surely and swiftly be removed … you will surely be annihilated” (Deut. 4:25-26, NET). That’s a serious consequence, but it’s also not God’s final say in the matter.

In your distress when all these things happen to you in future days, if you return to the Lord your God and obey him (for he is a merciful God), he will not let you down or destroy you, for he cannot forget the covenant with your ancestors that he confirmed by oath to them.

Deuteronomy 4:30-31, NET

Notice the wording here: God “cannot forget the covenant.” Many translations say “will not” here, but the NET translators understand the Hebrew’s “imperfect verbal form to have an added nuance of capability here.” Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Lexicon say this Hebrew word lo means “no” or “not” in a way that’s an “absolute prohibition.” In other words, there’s no chance–not in a billion years or under any circumstances–that God could possibly forget His covenant.

Image of a woman holding a baby with text from Isaiah 49:14-16, NET version: “Zion said, ‘The Lord has abandoned me, the Lord has forgotten me.’ Can a woman forget her baby who nurses at her breast? Can she withhold compassion from the child she has borne? Even if mothers were to forget, I could never forget you! Look, I have inscribed your name on my palms"
Image by Pearl from Lightstock

What About Us?

That covers one side of the covenant. God’s not going to back out, break His promises, forget He’s in a relationship with us, or decide we’re not worth it. But we’re in this covenant, too. What about us?

You people of this generation,
listen to the Lord’s message:
“Have I been like a wilderness to you, Israel?
Have I been like a dark and dangerous land to you?
Why then do you say, ‘We are free to wander.
We will not come to you anymore?’
Does a young woman forget to put on her jewels?
Does a bride forget to put on her bridal attire?
But my people have forgotten me
for more days than can even be counted.”

Jeremiah 2:31-32, NET

God knows we’re not perfect. We are capable of breaking covenants, going back on our word, forgetting Him, or letting our relationships slip down on our priority list. Forgetting God is an insane thing to do–like a bride forgetting to put on her wedding dress and not even noticing. But people still forget Him over and over. That’s why, in His mercy, God built in a way for us to come back into covenant with Him.

Let’s read Moses’s words one more time: “if you return to the Lord your God and obey him (for he is a merciful God), he will not let you down or destroy you, for he cannot forget the covenant with your ancestors that he confirmed by oath to them” (Deut. 4:31, NET). Remember that, through Jesus, we inherit the covenants God made with Israel’s ancestors. This promise includes us today, and we can come back to covenant with Him if/when we stray by following the same steps: return and obey. When we do that, He covers up our covenant breaking with His abundant love, faithfulness, and grace. He’s incapable of abandoning His covenant, and He makes it so that we can be counted faithful too.

Keeping Covenant With God

Image of a man sitting on a beach at sunset with the blog's title text and the words "When we realize our ability to keep covenant with God is a result of His mercy, it results in humility coupled with a sense of security. His faithfulness enables our 
faithfulness."
Image by Aaron Kitzo from Lightstock

Did you notice the sharp contrast between us and God here? He’s incapable of breaking covenant; humans have never been 100% faithful to Him. He’s committed to never walking away from us; people walk away from Him all the time. He’s holy and perfect; we’re fleshy and flawed.

A proper understanding of this contrast leads to an attitude we need in order to return to God and obey Him. We need humility. When we realize that our ability to keep covenant with God is a result of His mercy, there’s no room for feeling puffed up about ourselves. It’s His faithfulness that enables our faithfulness. When we have an understanding of how much we owe to Him and how highly He values us, it results in humility coupled with a sense of security.

For the high and lofty One who inhabits eternity,
whose name is Holy, says:
“I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also who is of a contrite and humble spirit,
to revive the spirit of the humble,
and to revive the heart of the contrite.”

Isaiah 57:15, WEB

While we do have obligations as participants in this covenant, we don’t have to be afraid that God will cut us off if we make a mistake. We just need to humbly recognize that we can’t do this on our own and accept the same thing God told Paul: “My grace is enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9, NET). We’re all weak compared to God, and when we acknowledge that weakness it opens up opportunities for Him to work in us powerfully.

God highly values His covenant with us. He promises to live with us when we’re humble and trust Him. He doesn’t hold our weakness against us. Rather, He loves us so much that He died to take away the death penalty humans earned for covenant-breaking and welcomes us into His family with open arms. We can trust Him. We can love Him without fear. And we can keep covenant with Him even though we’re flawed knowing that, with Jesus, “whenever I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:10, NET).

Featured image by WhoisliketheLord Studio from Lightstock

Falling in Love With the God Who Plans to Marry Us

If you’re reading this blog post the weekend it was published, then Yom Teruah (Day of Trumpets, also called Rosh Hoshanna) is about to happen. This year, the first day of the seventh Hebrew month falls on Monday, Sept. 26. All around the world, people will blow shofars and gather to celebrate this day God calls holy to Him.

Last year, I wrote about the many different theories for what this day pictures. God simply calls it “a solemn rest for you, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation” (Lev. 23:24, WEB). There are several ideas about what this day pictures in the New Covenant now that Jesus has filled the Law up to its fullest extent (Matt 5:17-20; see Thayer’s definition of pleroo). I think the strongest argument links this day with Jesus’s return to claim His bride.

I’ve been thinking about love and marriage a lot lately. I recently started dating a man I’ve been friends with for years and I’m kind of in awe of how wonderful this relationship is; I thought we’d be good together but I hadn’t realized exactly how good. This giddy, happy, can’t-wait-to-see-him feeling is how we should feel as we wait for Jesus to come back to earth. We should be longing to see Him, eager to have our Bridegroom give us His new name (Rev. 3:12).

Promised in Marriage

I know the idea of being romantically in love with God and having Him in love with us makes some people uncomfortable. For some, thinking of Jesus as lover as well as Lord is a struggle; the in-love emotion seems a strange thing to try and balance with the respect due God. I suspect it’s a particularly weird analogy for men in the church, who are asked to picture themselves as a bride for their spiritual relationship to Christ while also modeling His role as Husband in their relationship with their own wives if they get married (Eph. 5:25-33). Still, church as bride and Jesus as Groom is one of the most common analogies for our relationship used in scripture, so it’s worthwhile to try and wrap our minds around it.

Usually at this point in a study about Jesus as our Bridegroom, I’d start talking about Jewish wedding traditions. Today, though, I want to focus just on how scripture talks about this relationship. For more on the Jewish background and historical context, check out my posts “The Bridegroom’s Pledge” and “The Bridegroom Cometh!

I wish that you would be patient with me in a little foolishness, but indeed you are being patient with me! For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy, because I promised you in marriage to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. But I am afraid that just as the serpent deceived Eve by his treachery, your minds may be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

2 Corinthians 11:1-3, NET

There isn’t much room to argue with this verse. If we’re following Jesus, then we’re promised to Him in marriage. Our goal is to be pure for Him at that marriage; in other words, wholly faithful to Him now whatever our past was like. The “foolishness” Paul talks about here involves defending his apostolic mission from naysayers, moderate boasting about the mission God sent him on, and the shocking idea that his readers might listen to someone preaching “another Jesus” (2 Cor. 10-11). It isn’t foolish to think of Jesus as our future Husband. It’s foolish to let anything distract from our focus on being faithful to Him.

Image of a man reading a book, with text from Rev. 19:7-8, NET version: "“Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the All-Powerful, reigns! Let us rejoice and exult and give him glory, because the wedding celebration of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.”
Image by Creative Clicks Photography from Lightstock

The Marriage Covenant

If you followed along with my recent Isaiah study, you might remember that the topic of God’s marriage covenant with Israel came up in Isaiah 40-66. When God established His covenant with Israel at Mount Sinai (often called the Mosaic covenant), He was setting up a marriage relationship (see Is 54:5-8). They would be His people and He would be their God. When they stopped worshiping Him or brought foreign gods into their hearts, He took that as adultery. Ezekiel 16 summarizes this well.

“Yes, I swore to you, and entered into a covenant with you,” says the Lord Yahweh, “and you became mine. … You were exceedingly beautiful, and you prospered to royal estate. Your renown went out among the nations for your beauty; for it was perfect, through my majesty which I had put on you,” says the Lord Yahweh.

“But you trusted in your beauty, and played the prostitute because of your renown, and poured out your prostitution on everyone who passed by. … Moreover you have taken your sons and your daughters, whom you have borne to me, and you have sacrificed these to them to be devoured. …

“I will judge you, as women who break wedlock and shed blood are judged; and I will bring on you the blood of wrath and jealousy.” …

For the Lord Yahweh says: “I will also deal with you as you have done, who have despised the oath in breaking the covenant. Nevertheless I will remember my covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish an everlasting covenant with you. … Then you will know that I am Yahweh; that you may remember, and be confounded, and never open your mouth any more, because of your shame, when I have forgiven you all that you have done,” says the Lord Yahweh.

Ezekiel 16:8, 13-15, 20, 38, 59-60, 62-63, WEB

Love story” is my favorite metanarrative the Bible gives us to describe the big, important story God is creating. When we pull back and look at God’s plan as revealed in the whole Bible, we see a story of romance where God married a people who were then unfaithful to Him, and whom He died for in order to bring back to Him. You’re simply never going to find a better love story than that. Even the most beautifully romantic fairy tales are pale reflections of God’s love for His bride. He’s passionate about us and He wants us in a faithful, lasting covenant relationship with Him.

Image of a woman with rolling hills in the background, with text from Isaiah 54:5, NET version: “For your husband is the one who made you—
the Lord of Heaven’s Armies is his name. He is your Protector, the Holy One of Israel. He is called ‘God of the entire earth.’”
Image by PhotoGranary from Lightstock

Falling in Love With God

There’s a really interesting connection between love and obedience in the Bible. The greatest commandment is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Mark 12:28-34, WEB). All the other commandments depend on loving God and loving your neighbor (Matt. 22:36-40). Love is the basis for our obedience; the foundation for following God’s other laws. It’s also a lot easier to enjoy being obedient if you’re in love with God and trust that His commands are good for us.

But what if you don’t feel “in-love” with God? Real love is as much an action as it is a feeling, so we can (and ought to) do the things that people who love God do regardless of how we feel. As much as I enjoy relating to God’s word academically, though, I also think it’s appropriate to get excited about God and our relationship with Him. There’s likely more than one way to do this, but one of the things that helps me connect with my love for God is reading about His love for me.

Image of a smiling woman worshipping with the blog's title text and the words "As wonderful as it is to be in love with God now, how much more wonderful will it be after He comes back for us, marries His church, and establishes His 
kingdom here on earth?"
Image by Pearl from Lightstock

Yahweh appeared of old to me, saying,
“Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love.
Therefore I have drawn you with loving kindness.”

Jeremiah 31:3, WEB

“I will betroth you to me forever.
Yes, I will betroth you to me in righteousness, in justice, in loving kindness, and in compassion.
I will even betroth you to me in faithfulness;
and you shall know Yahweh.”

Hosea 2:19-20, WEB

God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, even though we were dead in offenses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you are saved!

Ephesians 2:4-5, NET

In just those three verses, we see God passionately declaring His love for His people, and one of those people reminding us of the “great love with which He loved us.” The reality of God’s love is awesome. We were dead and His love brought us back to life. We made mistakes and He still wants to keep us with Him forever. He treats us with loving kindness and calls His love faithful and everlasting.

We are recipients of God’s love now, which is an incredible thing. We’re still waiting, though, for a time when things will be even better. When Jesus returns, we’ll “be like Him” and we’ll get to “see him just as he is” (1 John 3:2, NET). Make no mistake, Jesus is present with us now. We don’t get to see Him, though. Our conversations don’t happen face-to-face. As wonderful as it is to be in love with Him now, how much more wonderful will it be after He comes back for us, marries us, and establishes His kingdom here on earth? That’s the sort of wonderful, exciting thing we can look forward to as we begin this fall holy day season.

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” He who hears, let him say, “Come!” He who is thirsty, let him come. He who desires, let him take the water of life freely. … He who testifies these things says, “Yes, I come quickly.”

Amen! Yes, come, Lord Jesus.

Revelation 22:17, 20, WEB

Featured image Jess Bailey from Pixabay

Song Recommendation: “Even So Come” by Chris Tomlin