The Glory of Christ
I have prayed about this series, not really desiring to embark upon it.
But, after some time of answering peoples questions on current events, and how they may or may not play into end time scenarios, as well as some prodding from the Lord, I have decided to preach a series through the book of Revelation.
Last year, our small group read through and studied the book and found it most helpful, yet, we approached it from a wider viewpoint of people’s different theological positions.
I will not do that here!
I am unapologetically, pre-millennial in my theology, and will approach the book from that perspective.
You may disagree with me, and that is OK!
Because, however different we may view this book, it does not mean anything as far as salvation is concerned or whether we can have fellowship.
There is no more diverse opinions of any book in the Bible, than the book of revelation.
I do not claim to know it all!
However, I’ve done my homework for the better part of thirty years, and am satisfied that the approach I take regarding it, is the right one. However, i still question some of my preferred positions, and am always open to good alternative evidence. But no evidence will change my mind concerning the literalness of this book.
It means what it says, and is not an allegory as some suppose, which will become clearer as I go through the book.
I will guarantee one thing, that at the end of it, you will have found it a great blessing, and will have a better understanding of it and how current and future world events are to be viewed in light of it.
The first section is an introduction with a benediction.
1 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.
We find here in the introduction that the central theme to the book as a whole is the revelation of Christ Himself.
and not so much as the Lamb of God, but as the lion of the tribe of Judah in judgement!
There is also a blessing which is similar to the beatitudes found in Matthew chapter five.
A three fold blessing:
For Reading the prophecy of the book.
For hearing or understanding it.
For Keeping it.
but it’s not the only one. In fact Blessed is pronounced seven times in this book. We refer to this as the seven Beatitudes of Revelation.
Rev. 1:3; 14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6; 22:7; 22:14;
Thus, we should keep in mind, that it is probably a more straightforward prophecy than some give it credit for.
And as we shall see, there is a formula revealed to help guide the reader to its understanding!
It also says that the revelation is a prophecy of things which shall shortly or quickly take place!
doesn’t mean that it will happen soon
does mean that when it begins, it will happen swiftly
The next section deals with the greeting, which is much like Paul’s epistles.
4 John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: 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. 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. 7 Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen. 8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
The greeting is from John to the seven churches of Asia minor, which is a province of Asia.
Not the only churches in existence at the time, as is typical in the epistles of Paul, to write to certain churches, but benefitted by the whole body.
Numerology is most prevalent in this book as we shall see, and here now we find the number seven, a number describing perfection in completeness, contrasted to the number three which is perfection in holiness.
Because of the numerological aspects of Revelation, many have seen fit to spiritualize much of the scenes disclosed in this book.
Like for instance, that since seven means complete, then the scene is probably referring to the whole church, and perhaps pertains to seven church ages; where we are now living in the Laodicean age.
If that is how you see it, that’s fine, but I rather prefer a more literal interpretation.
The seven churches mentioned were all in proximity to each other and were real historical places.
There is also a clear allusion to the trinity in verses 4&5.
Revealing again, that this book is not just a spiritual road map to navigate the end times. it is a revelation of Christ Himself, and shows the world clearly that God’s plan to judge is certainly coming.
We also should notice as it says in verse seven, that “He comes in the clouds and every eye shall see Him, even they who pierced Him.”
This is undoubtedly referring to His second coming in glory and judgement. It is as physical as it is supernatural, as everyone will witness it (we are on a sphere), and even those who are in the grave.
The last section in this chapter is the vision itself.
9 I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. 10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, 11 saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” and, “What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.” 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, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. 14 His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; 15 His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; 16 He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. 17 And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. 18 I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death. 19 Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this. 20 The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches.
The vision is given to John “The beloved” , exiled on the Island of Patmos. An Island south west of Ephesus, in the Aegean Sea.
Early church fathers such as Iranaeus, Clement of Alexandria, and Eusebius, state that John the Apostle of Jesus Christ, was sent to this Island in his old age by the Emperor Domitian.
Early sources say that John was released after Domitian was assassinated in AD 96.
John sees the glorified Christ.
He had a golden band around His chest
His hair was white like wool
His eyes like a flame of fire
His feet like burnished brass
His voice like he sound of many waters
In His right hand seven stars
Out of His mouth, a sharp two edged sword
John falls to the ground as a dead man.
Isn’t John the one who leaned on Jesus when they ate?
Isn’t John known as the disciple whom Jesus loved?
Now John’s on the ground!
How many Christians walk around as though Jesus is their buddy?
How many unsaved people think of Jesus as some wimpy effeminate guy?
I’ve got news for you, when He comes back and world sees Him, they will wet their pants!
He is not going to be what they expected, unless of course they understand this prophecy!
John is looking at the face of God.
Christ says, “I am the first and the last.” These are the attributes of God.
John receives and gives the key to understanding the book as a whole.
This will be most important for us, as we will divide this book of prophecy according to this key.
Write the things which you have seen (Chap. 1)
Write the things which are (Chap. 2-3)
Write the things which shall be (Chap. 4-22)
It amazes me how many Christians are satisfied with a
a Sunday faith.
a feel good faith!
We will all stand at the judgement seat of Christ (Romans 14:10), to give an account of the things we’ve done while here on earth.
And the Jesus we will stand before, will certainly be the one that John described, and fell to the ground as dead before!
This is the revelation of Jesus Christ!
He is as we have already seen, the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last.
And He is as we shall see, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!
The Lion of the tribe of Judah roars in this revelation!
He is great and we are really insignificant in comparison to Him.
And that is what we need to focus on.