Welcome to Coffee with the King

The home of daily Bible reading notes (published Monday to Friday). If this is your first visit, you can jump in with today’s reading (immediately below) or search the archives. If you like it, please share it with your friends! There’s also a free phone app available – search “Coffee with the King” on Google Play or App Store. More about Coffee with the King…

The Mark of the Beast – Part Four (Rev 13)

On Monday, we began a new series in Revelation, starting with chapter 13. You really need to start there for this week’s material to make sense. We identified the mark of the beast as emperor worship, then saw how the beast from the sea represented the Roman emperor, and the beast from the land was the imperial cult. 

The mark of the beast today

So we come back to what we began the week with: the mark of the beast. The mark of this idolatry that society tries to force upon us. And it’s not really an outward mark. That becomes pretty clear when in the very next chapter, believers get their own mark written on their foreheads: the name of Jesus and of God the Father. A mark that shows who they belong to. Not to the  beast, not to the empire—but to God and his Son. It’s a sign of your inner allegiance.

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The Mark of the Beast – Part Three (Rev 13)

On Monday, we began a new series in Revelation, starting with chapter 13. You really need to start there for this week’s material to make sense. We identified the mark of the beast as emperor worship, and saw how the beast from the sea represented the blasphemous, self-aggrandising dictator that was the Roman emperor. Today, we meet a second beast.

The beast from the land

Revelation then introduces another image; a second beast.

Revelation 13:11 Then I saw a second beast, coming out of the land. It had two horns like a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon.

It might look harmless enough, but again it does the work of Satan.

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The Mark of the Beast – Part Two (Rev 13)

Yesterday, we began a new series in Revelation, starting with chapter 13. You really need to start there for this week’s material to make sense. Having identified the mark of the beast as emperor worship, we now start at the beginning of the chapter, to see what Revelation has to say about the practice.

The beast from the sea

John introduces us to the  beast imagery at the start of chapter 13. And as we work our way through the chapter, you’ll see how he’s using it to critique the Roman Empire and the cult of emperor worship. To present it how God sees it, rather than how Rome and their PR consultants would have you see it.

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The Mark of the Beast – Part One (Rev 13)

Today, Coffee with the King begins a new series in Revelation. Last year, we looked at Revelation 1-11. (We also spent some time looking at how we read Revelation. If you missed that, it’s worth reading it first, or you might have trouble working out what’s going on.) Today, we start with chapter 13. What happened to chapter 12, you ask? I’m saving that for our Christmas special in a month… 

If you have ever: made the sign of the cross, owned a bankcard, gained entry to something using a barcode, used Microsoft software or attended church on a Sunday… then someone, somewhere thinks you have the mark of the beast.

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Back next week…

Coffee with the King returns next week, looking at the second half of the book of Revelation. We studied the first half last year, so if you missed it, some good preparation would be to read this post on how we interpret Revelation.

You can also order my recent book, Catching the Wave: Preaching the New Testament as Rhetoric, from the Book Depository and other online stores. Or if you’re in Australia, directly from me – dailybiblenotes@gmail.com – for $20 including postage. It’s a great Christmas idea for that special pastor in your life.  Full details here.

Jesus says farewell – part twenty (John 17)

Today we conclude our series through Jesus’ farewell speech in John 14-17. 

This week we’ve been contemplating this part of Jesus’ high priestly prayer, in John 17:

John 17:20-23 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

What have we learned out so far?

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Jesus says farewell – part nineteen (John 17)

We’re continuing in our series through Jesus’ farewell speech in John 14-17. 

So far, we’ve looked at Jesus’ prayer that his church might be one (John 17:20-21) and asked what went wrong? Should we be pursuing unity at all costs – like many would encourage us to do? Before we get to answering that, yesterday we made two important points: that unity doesn’t have to be organisational unity; and that there is a fair amount of functional unity between like-minded Christian groups. Today, we ask an even more fundamental question: must the call to unity take priority over truth?

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Jesus says farewell – part eighteen (John 17)

We’re continuing in our series through Jesus’ farewell speech in John 14-17. 

Yesterday, we looked at Jesus’ prayer in John 17:20-21 that we – his church – might be united, might be one. Let’s read part of that prayer again:

John 17:20-23 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

And, in the light of church history and the proliferation of different denominations today, asked: what went wrong?

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Jesus says farewell – Part Seventeen (John 17)

We’re continuing in our series through Jesus’ farewell speech in John 14-17. 

The final part of Jesus’ farewell speech records Jesus’ prayer. It’s often called Jesus’ “high priestly prayer,” as he prays on behalf of his people: the disciples gathered around him, and also – quite specifically – for all who would believe in the future through their witness. Which includes us.  Take a look at verses 20-21:

John 17:20-21 My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.

Jesus prays for us. He prays for the future church that would be established. Specifically, he prays for its unity – that we would be one.

Which makes you ask – when you look at all of the different denominations and groupings of Christians in the world, not to mention the arguments and even wars that have been fought along those lines – it makes you ask: what went wrong?

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