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Revelation 1

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Introduction

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.

Revelation is a fascinating book with a variety of effects in our world.
“Apocalypse” (the word in Greek) has a negative connotation: Zombie Apocalypse!
But it means "unveiling, revelation”
Revelation unveils for us the reality that is going on “behind the scenes.”
It gives us the spiritual explanation of the experiences we encounter upon the earth.
The challenges of the hearers are re-framed in the climactic struggle of good versus evil.

In the Spirit

1. John’s Context:

Persecution and exile
Weight of the oversight of the churches with challenges:
Ephesus: “endured hardship”
Smyrna: “Endurance of afflictions and poverty”
Pergamum: “Where the throne of Satan is”
Thyatira: “perseverance”
Sardis: only a “few” who have not soiled their clothes
Philadelphia: “little strength”
Laodicea: “lukewarm”
YET, John was “in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day”
“in the Spirit” is used 3 times in Revelation signifying important progression of the vision
“the Lord’s Day” was also a common term in John’s wider world used to refer to a feast celebrating the Roman emperor. For the people of Jesus, the Lord’s day was Jesus’ day.

2. When you are in the Spirit:

You are where God is: “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,” NKJV ()
You transcend time, space, and metaphysical categories:
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,
NKJV (). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.” Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne --- The New King James Version. (1982). (). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.”

Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, 11 having the glory of God

2 Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne.
You encounter the presence and power of God; you see the truth about your situation. We need to have a vision baptized in the Spirit!
The New King James Version. (1982). (). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

The Vision of Jesus

1. Jesus Is with His Church

12 Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man,

Lampstands: reminds us of Temple where heaven and earth overlap. The Spirit has made John’s location and the churches the sacred space of God.
Robe and sash: reminds of high priest’s garments
White head and hair: like the Ancient of Days ()
Eyes of fire: penetrating vision; nothing escapes
Feet of brass: contrast with the feet of iron and clay in Daniel’s vision; Jesus does not have feet of clay
Voice of Waters: all other voices are drowned out; His Word prevails
Sword from Mouth: the decisiveness and power of His Word; all veils are penetrated and righteous judgment is administered
Shining Face: Jesus displays the glory of God; light of the world
This climactic: the blazing light of God’s glory floods John’s vision and outshines all other lights. It is a blinding light.
Queen Orual in Til We Have Faces: “I ended my first book with the words no answer. I know now, Lord, why you utter now answer. You are yourself the answer. Before your face questions die away. What other answer would suffice?” (C. S. Lewis, page 308)

John is “undone”

17 And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead.

Has your world ever been undone? We are so adept at knitting and weaving and building tightly constructed worlds wherein we are in charge. Nothing unexpected can happen. We have defined the move of God. We have determined the will of the Spirit. We have established our boundaries of who is in and who is out. What can be done and what can’t be done. Voltaire said, “God created man in His image and we returned the favor.” In our worlds, we are masters.
But what we fail to realize in this narrow cramped world where we are in charge, is that it can only breed death. The beauty is limited. Our windows are muddy and see the world around us through distracting grime. The air is stifling. We are in charge, but we no longer have the supernatural power of God moving for we have made ourselves gods and the power at work in our world is limited to our strength. We have become limited for we make ourselves the ultimate of our world.
But then in the midst of our stifling prisons of Patmos, we catch a glimpse of HIM! With the blazing light of a thousand suns He melts our boundaries. With the thundering voice of a cascading waterfall He shakes us to the core. He looks upon us. He speaks to us. And we are unmade. We behold the face of the
The lion and lamb
The God and man
The First and last
The Savior and judge
The Beginning and the end
The Warrior and the lover
And our world is unmade. He refuses our categories. He rejects our own rules. He spurns our worldly wise counsel. And our world is unmade.
Until you see Him and your world is undone, you know not of true beauty or wonder or glory or holiness. We must have a vision of Jesus that blows away our constructions till only His glorious form remains!

John Is Raised up by Jesus’ Right Hand

Jesus Holds the Stars

Significance of the Stars:
7 wandering stars (planetoi) of the ancient world
History is the right hand of Jesus
Angels (aggeloi) of the churches
Difference of interpretations: pastors at the churches or supernatural beings? Regardless, these are messengers of God’s word.
Regardless, these are messengers of God’s word.
Spirit-empowered Words:

63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.

Appear weak
But move history
individual
examples of how Spirit-words affect you
global
examples of how Spirit-words affect the world

Conclusion

When we are in the Spirit,
We will see Jesus
Be undone
Then raised up and sent out.
How?
To go into the Spirit
Is to go higher
To go higher, we go lower in worship
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