Revelation, chapters 7-9

“[…] A great star burning like a lamp fell from heaven, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of waters. The name of the star is Wormwood.”
~Revelation 8:10,11

“And I saw a star that had fallen from heaven to the earth, and the key to the shaft of the abyss was given to him.”
~Revelation 9:1

Is the star representing the same thing or spirit in both passages?
There are so many “star” references in Revelation that it comes in handy to have a list of how the word is used in other Bible passages.

Revelation continues the sequence of events by calling Jesus “Apollyon,” which means Destroyer. (Rev. 9:11)
Wormwood represents bitterness, and a message of destruction would be bitter to those about to be destroyed.
So at the risk of being completely wrong, it seems logical to me to infer that the stars in both passages refer to Jesus.
We can also take into account a parallel passage which explains that the rivers and springs became the blood of the holy ones and prophets being poured out in God’s anger. (Rev. 15:7; 16:1,4)
It is common to equate bitterness with anger.
It does not seem that God would use a demon to execute an act of justice, but rather, he would use Jesus, as he usually does.
Additionally, the passage goes on to say a third of the sun, moon and stars were darkened, that neither the day nor night might have any light in them. (Rev. 8:12)
This is obviously symbolic because a literal application would wipe out life as we know it.
But this symbolism is in stark contrast to the star that burns like a lamp in its descent.
The passage seems to compare Christ’s enlightened message denouncing those who have persecuted God’s people with the spiritual darkness that they now find themselves in.

Revelation, chapters 3-6

“[…] I saw underneath the altar the souls of those slaughtered […]. A white robe was given to each of them, and they were told to rest a little while longer, until the number was filled of their fellow slaves and their brothers who were about to be killed as they had been.”
~Revelation 6:9,11

After the four horsemen account, this passage says there are “souls” shouting out for justice. (Rev. 6:10)
God’s Word explains that someone’s soul, or person, is in their blood. (Lev. 17:11)
The imagery of a person’s blood calling for justice is not new. (Gen. 4:10)
And Christians who died before Christ’s second coming were actually dead and not lingering in some sort of afterlife. (1 Thess. 4:15,16)
If the “souls” shouting out for justice are representative of Christians’ shed blood, in what sense are they given white robes?
This chapter begins by dynamically describing Christ’s coronation and subsequent catastrophic events on earth. (Rev. 6:2-8)
Between then and the ‘number of fellow slaves being filled,’ there was a moment in which dead Christians who were meant to rule with Christ in heaven were raised and each granted a white robe.
They have been resurrected to immortality and the white robes symbolize their righteous acts. (Rev. 3:5; 19:8)
They “rest” in the sense that they must patiently wait for God’s judgment day before being allowed to avenge their deaths. (Rev. 7:3,4; Rev. 17:14)
So while initially the word “souls” represents the shed blood of loyal Christians, halfway through the passage it is referring to their resurrected selves.

Revelation, chapters 1-3

“[…] I hold this against you, that you have left the love you had at first.”
~Revelation 2:4

If we feel our love for true worship waning, what can we do to revive it?
We can try to remember what drew us to Jehovah in the first place and what convinced us that we had found the truth.
Those reasons are probably still valid. (Ps. 119:151,152; Mal. 3:6; Jas. 1:17)
We can also meditate on what Jehovah has done for us over the years since we dedicated our lives to him.
What trials has he helped us to endure? (1 Cor. 10:13)
What blessings have we personally received as a result of obeying him? (Ps. 34:8)
We may find that the time we have available for spiritual matters has lessened due to changes in personal circumstances.
If that is the case, we can remember the struggle the Ephesians had to keep a balanced life.
Ephesus was a very wealthy city, having a long street paved in marble.
There was a temple for the Greek goddess of fertility and a stadium featuring live violent entertainment.
It was also known for its dark magical arts.
Every year, it hosted hundreds of thousands of visitors. (Ephesus; Ephesians, Letter)
The Christians who lived there towards the end of the first century were enduring despite the pressures, but what Jesus asked of them was wholehearted resolve to grow in zeal. (Rev. 2:3,5)

1 John, chapters 1-5

“If we accept the witness of men, the witness of God is greater. Because this is the witness God gives, the witness that he has given about his Son.”
~1 John 5:9

Living in the information age, we are constantly learning about new discoveries and ideas about how to live better.
We might assume, for the most part, that what we read or hear has at least some factual basis.
Likewise, when we first learned about Bible truths, we probably heard them from a person.
Regardless of what type of information we come upon, we would want to make sure it does not turn us into skeptical Bible students who start to doubt that it is the inspired Word of God.
While human knowledge in its many fields has a lot to offer, it does not compare with the infallible wisdom and hope offered by Jehovah and Jesus. (Num. 23:19)

1 Peter, chapters 1 & 2

“[…] ‘No one exercising faith in it will ever be disappointed.’ It is to you, therefore, that he is precious, because you are believers […].”
~1 Peter 2:6,7

Jesus’ teachings, way of life and role as messiah were rejected by most of his contemporaries. (Luke 20:13-17; 23:18-23)
Today, many Christians endure ridicule or persecution from their families, classmates or coworkers, neighbors or from government agencies for trying to follow in Christ’s footsteps. (1 Pet. 2:21)
If others look down on us or despise our God-centered lifestyle, we can remain joyful if we hold on fast to our hope in God’s appointed king. (1 Pet. 1:6,7,24,25)
May we never disregard the value of our ministry.

Hebrews, chapters 12 & 13

“Pursue peace with all people […].”
~Hebrews 12:14

Jesus said, “Happy are the peacemakers, since they will be called sons of God.” (Matt. 5:9)
Is it possible to pursue peace without letting others walk all over you?
Abraham’s son, Isaac, had to move on several occasions to keep peace with his neighbors, and Jehovah blessed him. (Gen. 26:12-25)
Eventually, Isaac’s good example brought praise to Jehovah. (Gen. 26:26-31)
If a Christian keeps him or herself “restrained under evil,” in time, the other party could come back to their senses. (Prov. 16:7; 2 Tim. 2:24-26)
We trust that we do not need to take matters into our own hands because Jehovah will hold wrongdoers accountable for their actions. (Rom. 12:17-19)
But pursuing peace is not passive; rather, we try to conquer evil by kindly doing good. (Rom. 12:20,21)
While it may grow tiring waiting on Jehovah, we focus on the future promises for those who endure, and on our spiritual blessings. (Rom. 12:12)

Hebrews, chapters 9 & 10

“For you need endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the fulfillment of the promise.”
~Hebrews 10:36

The work “Insight on the Scriptures” explains that “endurance” in ancient Greek means to “stand one’s ground; persevere; remain steadfast,” and “not lose hope in the face of obstacles.”
Jesus had to wait patiently to receive his heavenly blessings after sacrificing his life, and we do well to imitate his patient attitude. (Heb. 10:12,13)
He taught that what we do towards the end of our Christian ministry counts for more than what we did at the start. (Matt. 24:13; Luke 21:19)
We demonstrate endurance when we look for strength in God’s Word and through prayer, instead of looking for quick and easy short-term solutions to our problems. (Rom. 15:4,5; Jas. 1:5)
We can then face problems with a positive attitude, knowing that without them, we would not have had a chance to demonstrate our faith/hone our Christian qualities. (Rom. 5:3-5; Jas. 1:2-4)
Though God’s promises might sometimes feel like they are too far off, endurance helps us remember that they “will not delay.” (Heb. 10:37)

Hebrews, chapters 7 & 8

“[ …] They will no longer teach each one his fellow citizen and each one his brother, saying: ‘Know Jehovah!’ For they will all know me, from the least to the greatest of them.”
~Hebrews 8:11

How is Jeremiah’s prophecy being fulfilled under God’s covenant with annointed Christians?
Annointed Christians show they have God’s law written in their hearts through their preaching work and actions. (Jer. 31:33; Heb. 8:10)
When those of us who do not have a heavenly hope learn about Jehovah, obey him and develop faith, we too come to have his law written in our hearts. (John 17:3; Heb. 11:6; 1 John 5:3)
We do not rely on human teachings, but on the truths found in his Word. (2 Tim. 3:16,17)
He answers our prayers through principles we learn in our study of the Scriptures and when we rely on him in our times of need.
As a result, each one of Jehovah’s Witnesses has the privilege of a personal relationship with Jehovah God through his new kingdom covenant. (Rom. 8:19-21)

Hebrews, chapters 4-6

“[…] A promise of entering into his rest remains […].”
~Hebrews 4:1

Although Jehovah God rested from his creative works on the “seventh day” of creation, there remains a figurative “sabbath” day into which God’s people will enter. (Gen. 2:2,3; John 5:17) This will be when the earth becomes a paradise free of evil, pain or sin, as was God’s original purpose. (Ps. 37:9-11; Is. 33:24; Matt. 5:3-6; 12:8-13; Luke 13:10-13; John 5:5-9; 9:1-14)
That God’s original purpose of a paradise earth will be accomplished is guaranteed by his own word, which is immutable. (Heb. 6:17,18)
Whether we end up entering into God’s rest in person or through the resurrection, we can be sure that our efforts to listen to him and do what is right are never in vain. (Heb. 6:9,10)

Hebrews, chapters 1-3

“Look! I and the young children, whom Jehovah gave me.”
~Hebrews 2:13

This passage is a quote from the book of Isaiah, in which the prophet and his children were to serve as “signs” to the people of Judah. (Is. 8:18)
But the prophet foreshadowed Christ’s role as a means to salvation from death. (Heb. 2:14,15)
His “children” are the annointed members of the Christian congregation who are to rule in heaven with him. (Gal. 3:29; Heb. 2:16)
They serve as signs to us when they proclaim God’s kingdom message of justice. (Luke 4:18,19)
The tenderness with which Jesus views his brothers and sisters upon calling them “children” inspires one to draw closer to his congregation.