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Revelation - 1

Revelation message part 1

Apokalypsis Iesou Christou

The Apocalypse of Jesus Christ.

Apocalypse – To reveal that which is hidden. These are the first words of Revelation. People are really curious about how the world will end

Through history, there have been many movies made about the end times. I’ve always been fascinated by these types of movies. – Will Smith has a movie out about being the last person alive – I am Legend. And the history channel has stuff on every few weeks. When I was a sophomore in high school, I got my first Bible. None of it made sense. Then I read Revelation – and it made even less sense. I remember going to see a movie called ‘The Omen’ – I remember being scared to death. The kid had 666 scrolled across his forehead. I was 17 and I remember hiding under the seat and going home to check my forehead to make sure it wasn’t me!

This book is probably the most misunderstood and wrongly interpreted book of the Bible. Today, for the most part, we have fiction-oriented books that tell how they think it will play out – or prophecy books- and their view of how it might play out – what needs to happen for it to play out. If that is your only way to get understanding of the Book of Revelation – your understanding needs a little help. These can often represent an inaccurate view and a wrong emphasis of what is trying to be said in this book.

Apocalypse – Unveiling – revealing that which is hidden.

This book is theological – God, His work, and His relationship with people. It is not about trying to figure out if Iraq is Babylon or whatever – it has NEVER been about that. It is first a study of God and how He works. There are significant and timeless truths to be learned – regardless of how close the end times might be.

Today will be a little more academic than usual – some of you are saying hooray – others, not so much. For those of you who say not so much, there will be refreshments afterwards, so you have something to look forward to.

I could spend 6 months in this book. As it is, we’ll spend two – I have been preparing this since October. To get into a lot of this, we need a good base and background.

Father, thank You – and we ask You to help us as we look at Your word – give us a deeper understanding of You – we want to love You – worship You – and we offer ourselves to You as a sacrifice – we don’t bring great gifts, great talent. Kind of like little small gifts we offer – our lives. Turn it into something fantastic – something special and unique – kind of like the loaves and fish - to be multiplied as a significant offering to feed many.

There are five different methods for interpreting the book of Revelation.

Idealist – a view held early on – 200-500 AD – one of the most famous who held this view: Augustine. The view is that the book is symbolic – symbolism to teach timeless truths. These are not actual events – but symbols and allegory – a story that taught us many lessons – this view is not held by many today.

Historicist – Only used when referring to this book! This view holds that the Book of Revelation is a map of history. Each section is a different time period of history. From the time it was written until the end it was speaking of different times of history. Some who held this: Luther, Calvin, and others – the view during the Reformation. At the time, the popes weren’t very religious – more politically oriented. Luther and Calvin related the antichrist to the popes – but thing have changed and that is not what most believe.

The Seven churches – relating to different church ages. Ephesus – the early church – the last church Laodicea – Speaking to today. In the 70’s – that was the view when Hal Lindsay was writing his books.

Praetorist view – gaining in popularity right now. They would say that this was written primarily and almost completely to the original audience only. When he spoke of the beast, they would understand who that was. EXCEPT – the very end – the second coming of Christ. Some believe he has already come. Hank Hannegraaff would hold to this view.

Futurist view. Except for the first 3 chapters, the rest is relating to the end times – Think Tim Lahaye and the Left Behind series.

Fifth view – and my view – held in the academic world – the Eclectic view – holds to two or three of these views. For me – 1 part idealist, 4 parts praetorist, and 5 parts futurist.

Sometimes the danger is setting ourselves in one camp.

The book of Revelation contains three types of literature. There are plenty of books to help you study this out. First, it is an epistle – actually, seven epistles in one. It could be interpreted like Romans, or Philippians or any of the Epistles. Second, Prophetic. Third – Apocalyptic. First, being prophecy, it speaks to the future. A word from God to them – but it is also revelatory – to reveal some things that others would not understand. FIRST, there is an immediate message – for the people of that day. When they got this letter and it was read to their church – there was significant understanding about what is being read. There were things that they would understand that no one else would – it was written TO THEM. We might think that because we are closer to the end, we might understand it better. That is not necessarily true.

Everything points to the second coming of Christ. It is about ushering in the Kingdom of God. It brings us to the point where God will finally reign in every heart. Evil is wiped out. That is where the book moves and directs us. Prophecy is progressive – stages of fulfillment. Like the thing with the Anti-Christ. You’ve heard all these crazy conjectures: Ronald Wilson Reagan – 666 – or William Jefferson Clinton or Hitler. Jesus said that the antichrist will come and has already come! There are many antichrists! It is a continual building that there are those who are against Christ. You could say Hitler was the antichrist – but he wasn’t the FINAL antichrist.

Like Christ’s first coming – did not completely fulfill the prophecies of His coming – we know there is more to come. So we see that some of these things have been fulfilled – and will be fulfilled in bigger ways in the future.

Prophecy was never fully understood until after it happens. The disciples understood he was the Messiah – but not until it was all over and He was walking with them did they really get it!

I caution – in doing this – in guessing and trying to predict - that is not where God wants us to go. There are several themes to the theological issues of this book.

First – the sovereignty of God – God is in charge in every way.

Second – Jesus Christ – His sacrifice – the Lamb – His atonement – his reconciliation of people. How we can come into a relationship with Him.

It is a book of evil in the world.

It is a book of suffering and judgment – why does God allow it? And it helps you to understand when you are suffering.

It is a book about the church. We will spend a lot of time on that. There are truths in these letters that apply to us today.

Heresy and false doctrine.

Finally – a book about hope and the future. No matter our circumstances – there is something better waiting for us. There is something that we know is true that is going to happen – that we will participate in – no matter our suffering and difficulty –

I’ll jump right into chapter 1 – not to spend a lot of time, but to set up next week.

Reve 1:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must shortly take place; and He sent and communicated [it] by His angel to His bond-servant John, 2 who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, [even] to all that he saw. 3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near. 4 John to the seven churches that are in Asia:

Revelation that belongs to Jesus Christ – it is His – it belongs to Him – and He is giving it to John to give to His people. It is to show what is to take place shortly –

3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it;

This is a progressive thing – not where you get extra credit, but you are blessed if you read it, hear it, and obey it. Take action upon what it is you are reading. There is tremendous value. Like beatitude – blessed are those who hear. Do I want to follow it? Read – with an attitude to hear. Like Jesus said – he who has ears to hear, let him hear. Like He said to the Pharisees – you have ears to hear, but do not. Because they did not have a heart to obey. Often there is something that God wants us to do that we are unwilling to do or deal with, and it prevents us from hearing from God. God brings us back to that thing until we are ready to deal with it. Like the children of Israel wandering for forty years – and where did they end up? Right where they started – just cross the river. In our lives – has God brought us to a river that we are unwilling to cross? It is not like the Israelites left God – they sacrificed and followed Him – they loved their children – but God had to bring them back. It is the same with us – there are 1 or 2 things that bring us back – back to our Jordan. For me, I cross it and then cross back and wander. That is okay – as long as the next time God brings you there, you cross over!

I will close us with this next section:

Grace to you and peace,

Like all the other epistles – don’t be scared of this book!

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 first-born of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us, and released us from our sins by His blood, 6 and He has made us [to be] a kingdom, priests to His God and Father; to Him [be] the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 7 Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. Even so. Amen.

Here we have the Trinity laid out – Father, Son, Holy Spirit. We have our redemption – this is filled with the most important truths in the world.

7 Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. Even so. Amen

8 "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty."

It speaks of Jesus Christ, the faithful witness. For the folks of that day – the witness – those who witnessed for Christ – His testimony – brought suffering and death. Because He claimed to be who He claimed to be, they hung Him on the cross. And those who spoke out for Him – were persecuted and killed. The word WITNESS – associates suffering. From this we have the word MARTYR, because it cost so many of them their lives. Those He is writing to will endure significant suffering. These churches are being persecuted because of their faith – and he is writing to comfort them.

In v. 4 – From Him who is and was and is to come

V 8 – Repeated. This is repeated a bunch of times – but in this passage – he puts it, WHO IS first – You are going through it – going through the most difficult time of your life – you never thought it would get like this. Some were losing their lives – some were dwelling where Satan lives – but he is telling them – God is the same God and involved and in control – RIGHT NOW – in the present – in your life and mine in whatever we struggle with.

When you read the stories of the Bible – the Red Sea – and how God gave grace – just like all of that has happened- He is just as much in control now as ever. Nothing has gotten out of hand. In the future, He will still be in complete control.

God is in control. There is a hope. My future is bright – because God reigns in my present – just like He has through all history.

Father, we thank You that You reign. Thank You that whatever we face, You are there and have complete control – We can listen to Your word and heed and take action and be willing to cross that river – In Your Name we pray – Amen.


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