So many are looking around at all that has been happening in the world and saying is this the beginning of the end?
In a word, in my opinion, this is not the end times but the Bible tells us before the end, there will be many labor pains that will be felt on the earth and we will go through them.
Jesus prepared the churches for the end coming by writing letters to all seven churches that were applicable to all seven and are applicable to the church today, they are challenges and encouragement. They help us to understand the end times and our lives today.
During this series, all we are going to do is study the first 3 chapters and then in the fall, on Wednesday night we may continue deeper into the rest of the book for those who want to go there. It may be way too intense for Sunday mornings.
Today I’m going to simply give you and introduction to the book of Revelation so we might understand what we are getting into as we read the letters to the churches…we will be surprised how applicable they are to our daily lives as well as our future
This book describes the total redemption of everything as it shares about a new earth and a new heaven all things are created new…everything in this world, in this universe, has an expiration date. How soon will it all expire, we don’t know, only the Father knows!
Just as a reminder our Bible is 66 books penned by over 40 different authors over thousands of years….it is an integrated message system. Every number, every detail, exhibit very skillful design and anticipates things before they happen
The Old Testament is the account of a nation and the New Testament is an account of Jesus.
The Bible is… God meaning what He says and saying what He means.
I am going to give you my understanding based on my study, however I expect you to research and study so you might come to conclusions not necessarily based on what I have said but on your study.
There are over 800 allusions of the Old Testament in the 404 verses in this book. So you can see just by that statement you can study this book for a very long time
There are four different views of this book
Preterits view – this book was only good for the time it was written, the time of John’s life
Historical view – this has all been historically completed
As we look at the scriptures I think you will see the errors in those interpretations
Allegorical view (idealist view) – merely a story representing the story of good versus evil
Futurist view – believe the Bible is what it says it is and that it interprets itself as we study, the book claims to be a book of prophecy so we interpret it as such
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, 2 who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. 3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.
Notice what verse one says
“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place.”
God gave an “unveiling” of Jesus Christ to Jesus to show His servants…Jesus told us no one knows the hour of his return except the Father (Matthew 24:36)…this book starts out saying the Father is revealing his plan of His son’s return, to Him, so we might have understanding.
Many people stumble over the “shortly take place” but a better interpretation would be once these things begin to happen they will happen suddenly, quickly” not that they will be happening soon.
This is the only book in the Bible that says “read me, I’m special”
“Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it”
Seven bowls, seven trumpets, seven lampstands, seven churches, seven seals, seven beatitudes (Blessed are..) there are dozens of sevens…just look for them as we study…moving on
John, to the seven churches which are in Asia (meaning Asia Minor):
Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth.
Grace is a greeting to the Greeks and Peace (Shalom) is a greeting to the Jews who is the greeting from? The Trinity….
God the Father – who is and who was and who is to come
God the Holy Spirit – from the seven Spirits who are before His throne (Isaiah 11:2) as I had shared a few weeks ago
God the son – Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth.
God is telling us as we read this book it is directly from the throne of God specifically to you to tell you what things are going to come about so you will know the future
To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, 6 and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
It says he “loved us” in past tense. Whenever we see that phrase in scripture it is referring to the event of His great love for us, Jesus death on the cross, because of that we have been washed from our sins and through the power of the Holy Spirit has made each one of us Kings and priest
Kings came from the line of Judah and priest from Levi
There are only three types of kings and priests in scripture
Melchizedek – who meets Abraham after the battle to free Lot, (Genesis 14:18)and we hear about in Hebrews chapters 5,6; Psalm 110
Jesus –who is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and the priest who is ever interceding for us before God
Here – every believer is called Kings and priest
Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven.
And everyone will see him—
even those who pierced him.
And all the nations of the world
will mourn for him.
8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come—the Almighty One.”
Self explanatory… but to say Jesus is proclaiming here that he is God who always was, is, and will always be!
I, John, am your brother and your partner in suffering and in God’s Kingdom and in the patient endurance to which Jesus calls us. I was exiled to the island of Patmos for preaching the word of God and for my testimony about Jesus. 10 It was the Lord’s Day, and I was worshiping in the Spirit. Suddenly, I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet blast. 11 It said, “Write in a book everything you see, and send it to the seven churches in the cities of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.”
This is John the disciple of Jesus, brother of James, the son of thunder and the disciple who Jesus loved…he was also responsible for the care of Mary, Jesus’ mother
He was exiled by Domitian to the penal colony on Patmos in the Aegean sea until Domitian dies then he is released he retires in Ephesus…John most likely wrote this book in 96 AD
He hears a booming loud thunderous voice…who is it?
I’m glad you asked…let’s look
Revelation 1: 12-13a
When I turned to see who was speaking to me, I saw seven gold lampstands. 13 And standing in the middle of the lampstands was someone like the Son of Man.
He sees seven golden lampstands….what are they, what do they represent? (besides lampstands) we will see? Everything has meaning in this book!
In the middle of the lampstands is the Son of Man, Jesus! Do you ever imagine Jesus speaking with a loud thunderous voice, he does when he has had enough, he is seen as the son of man because he is coming for the final redemption of mankind….let’s look at the rest of his appearance
Revelation 1:13b- 16
He was wearing a long robe with a gold sash across his chest. 14 His head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow. And his eyes were like flames of fire. 15 His feet were like polished bronze refined in a furnace, and his voice thundered like mighty ocean waves. 16 He held seven stars in his right hand, and a sharp two-edged sword came from his mouth. And his face was like the sun in all its brilliance.
We are seeing a description of the risen Christ, after he had gone to His Father. He is wearing a golden sash and robe to his feet! A better description would be golden chainmail or armor, he has white hair and fiery eyes…his feet glowed like bronze in a fire, (“as” and “like” are used to show us the use of simile) his voice loud “roar” like crashing waves, he was holding seven stars (what are those stars? We will find out shortly)
The two-edged sword is a figure of speech, here is what is coming out of Jesus’ mouth
For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.
It is the word of God, the truth, life that he is speaking as he is standing there…also Ephesians 6 “sword of the Spirit”
His face is glowing like, John had seen before, in Matthew 17:2 when the transfiguration took place.
17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as if I were dead. But he laid his right hand on me and said, “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave.
This is important to understand as Jehovah’s witnesses come to your door. (look at the notes on the app I don’t have time today)
Isaiah 41:4 Who has done such mighty deeds, summoning each new generation from the beginning of time? It is I, the Lord, the First and the Last. I alone am he.”
Isaiah 44:6 This is what the Lord says—Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies: “I am the First and the Last; there is no other God.
Isaiah 48:12 “Listen to me, O family of Jacob, Israel my chosen one! I alone am God, the First and the Last.
With each of these verses they will agree that this is Jehovah God but then we come to this scripture
It says he is the first and last…Jehovah but then as we look at verse 18 it proves to be Jesus that He and Jehovah are one in the same not two separate Gods because the first and last was alive, died and is alive again.
19 “Write down what you have seen—both the things that are now happening and the things that will happen.
In this book John is writing…
– what he has seen….the post resurrection Christ
– things that are now….the letters to the churches
– things that will happen…chapters 4 – 22
Remember we had questions about who or what are the stars and the lampstands? Here are the answers.
20 This is the meaning of the mystery of the seven stars you saw in my right hand and the seven gold lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
– Angels or messengers of the seven churches
– Churches are the lampstands why because we are called to be light bearers notice not only are we called the light of the world by Jesus but corporately we are even more effective as lampstands that are the brightest light bearers.
Why these seven, there are 20 or 30 churches that aren’t mentioned Rome, Jerusalem, Antioch, Berea so many others why these seven what importance do they speak to us today….we will find them reflected in the church today.
Homework read chapters 2&3 it would be good to read them several times over the next weeks as we see where we are today
I needed to lay this foundation as without it we don’t know what is going to happen and why and will not understand the next two chapters and why they are so important to where we are today.
2 Peter 1:19 Isaiah 60:1, 2…. Because of that experience, we have even greater confidence in the message proclaimed by the prophets. You must pay close attention to what they wrote, for their words are like a lamp shining in a dark place—until the Day dawns, and Christ the Morning Star shines in your hearts…… 1) Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
2) For behold, darkness shall cover the earth,
and thick darkness the peoples;
but the Lord will arise upon you,
and his glory will be seen upon you.