“Paradox is vivid in the letter to Smyrna, one of Jesus’ two blameless churches. The Smyrnan Christians are poor, yet they are rich. Their opponents claim to be Jews but are Satan’s synagogue. The victor who is faithful to the extremity of death is promised a crown of life and safety from the second death. This promise is secured by the One who is Israel’s eternal refuge (‘first and last,’ echoing Isa. 44:6; 48:12) and yet is also the suffering savior who ‘was dead and has come to life’ (Rev. 2:8).” (Dennis E. Johnson, Triumph of the Lamb, p. 73).
“[T]he churches are to read and reread the book in their assembly so that they may continually be reminded of God’s real, new world, which stands in opposition to the old, fallen system in which they presently live. Such a continual reminder will cause them to realize that their home is not in this old world but in the new world portrayed parabolically in the heavenly visions.” (Gregory Beale, The Book of Revelation, NIGTC, p. 175).
Quotes used in the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC.
“Baptism . . . signifies union with Christ, purifying from the pollution of sin by regeneration of the Spirit, and purifying from the guilt of sin by the blood of Christ. . . . The sign and seal of baptism can be no pledge or guarantee to us of that which baptism signifies except as we are mindful of God’s covenant, embrace its promises, discharge its obligations, and lay hold in faith upon the covenant faithfulness of God.” (John Murray, Christian Baptism, pp. 89-91).
Quote used in the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church, OPC–looking at the bronze basin which God had Moses build for the Tabernacle.
The isolation in Egypt had kept Abraham’s relatively small clan from being influenced by and absorbed into the pagan Canaanites as they grew into a nation. They were different from the peoples around them. Similarly, God’s people today are still a distinctive people. Beware of compromising that by replacing trust in the Lord with dependence on a political leader who cloaks himself in messianic garb—regardless of which political party he or she identifies with. The health and wealth gospel is a false gospel, whether coming from the left or the right. With Jethro, see the greatness of the God who, in distinction from whatever else is worshiped, has overcome his foes and delivered his people.
(from reflections on Exodus 18:9-12, Jethro’s visit to Moses and the nation of Israel)
Jethro, a Gentile, joins in worshiping the LORD, the covenant God of Israel. He anticipates what would happen when the Messiah came, drew us near to a holy God by shedding his blood for us, and then breaking down the wall of partition. We have been incorporated into a building made of living stones, and by the Spirit, have become a dwelling place for God!
“Jethro saw in the rescue from the power of the Egyptians and of Pharaoh proof that the Lord was greater than all other gods, . . and, of course, especially the gods of Egypt. He thus perceived the spiritual background of the events of the Exodus and wilderness journey, even though he was a Gentile; his praise was a prophecy of the future recognition on the part of the nations, those who were not descendants of Abraham, that none among the gods was like the God of Israel (df. Ps. 86:8-10). In Jethro, the Lord showed Israel that, although the law would later be given to Israel alone, He was faithful to his promise of Genesis 12:3. . . .” W. H. Gispen, Exodus, p. 175).