Rapture Part 1
Bibles. The book of revelation.
(End times – pop culture – prophecy teachers of the 70’s and 80’s)
(Avoid getting led astray – keep the focus on the main thing)
Verse 1 – The revelation of Jesus Christ – apokalypsis
Remember the central theme in Daniel? – The Son of Man and His Kingdom.
We’re going to find a lot of things in this book that connect directly back to what Daniel wrote centuries before.
The centre piece of revelation is the same – King Jesus and His Kingdom.
The Beast and his number
Plagues and pestilence
This book is about a man. Jesus the Messiah.
It’s not the revealing of the latter days or the anti-christ. It’s the revealing of Jesus.
His person, his work, his nature.
The revealing of the Lion and the Lamb, the root of Jesse, the son of David, the promised one, the bright and morning star, the crushing one.
The one who will both judge and heal the nations.
Jesus out Lord – Will vindicate all of God’s promises and accomplish all God has declared must happen before the end of this age.
Not given so that we can focus on the details of the events to try and make predictions of whose who and what’s going to happen next Tuesday. Like it’s God’s to-do list.
It’s given so that we will see our King revealed and long for his arrival and worship Him today with greater love and longing as we wait for him to make us ready to see him.
No other book in the Bible displays the wonder and the glory and the power of God.
No other book in the Bible describes more of God’s plan for the end of the age and the revealing of His Son than this book.
Yet it continues to be the most neglected, misunderstood and therefore misinterpreted book in the Bible.
It should not be like that. The things in this book are not supposed to be hidden or incomprehensible. That was not God’s plan.
In this way it is different than the book of Daniel.
Daniel 8:26 – The vision of the evenings and the mornings that has been told is true, but seal up the vision, for it refers to many days from now.”
Dan 12:4 – But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end.
God has a different instruction for this book.
Rev 22:10 – And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.
More than that,
Look how the book begins – verse 3 – blessing for reading, hearing and keeping – obey, guard, or continue in – that presupposes understanding it.
So important that God re-iterates this again at the end of the book.
Rev 22:6-7 – 6 And he said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place.”
7 “And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”
It seems like God, in giving his son this revelation for us, is very interesting in us understanding it and guarding it and continuing in it and being blessed by what he chose to reveal in this book.
We would do well to pay attention to what God has revealed.
Ok. It’s been about 60 years since the followers of Jesus watched him return to his Father. The apostle John is living on Patmos.
It’s been about 40 years, since Peter and Paul and James and the rest of the apostles have been killed for their testimony.
Verse 1-3 – The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants[a] the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his 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 the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.
God is like – I want them to know more. I want them to know more about you my son. Here. Go show them – the things that must soon take place.
What he gives his son to tell us is amazing. Because, in this book, this final book, this message from God – these things that he wants us to know are the answers to the questions and the resolutions to the dilemmas that we read in the very beginning of this book.
God creates the heavens and the earth
we have the rebellion and rise of God’s adversaries and man’s participation with them
In Gen – Sin and death are released into creation
Man is removed from God’s presence
And the tree of life is lost
And a creation begins to groan under the curse and the hopelessness of the situation
But it’s in Genesis we find one glimmer of hope.
In the very first few pages of this story we the first promise of a savior.
The promise of the coming crushing one.
In this last book – this book about the end – God resolves all the problems of the beginning – in revelation God shows us
The redemption of all of heaven and earth
The removal of sin and death from creation
And mankind brought back to once again live in God’s presence no longer stained by the curse of sin
And the groaning of creation silenced
And the tree of life is gained again
It’s in this last book where the promised crushing one arrives and conquers his enemies and establishes his throne and kingdom and begins to reign on the earth.
Part of the problem is keeping the main thing the main thing.
Just a little bit more clarification about the intent of the things revealed.
- Verse 1 – The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants
The things that must soon take place
Dan, I thought you said that this book isn’t focused on events and their descriptions.
The events described in this book are just as certain and just as important as the rest of God’s promises.
Just as critical to the story as the miraculous events prophesied by Moses in the Exodus and the fulfilment of the words of the prophets in God’s nation Israel.
The events are important. They are given for a reason and they are given for us to understand.
But always keep this in mind. The descriptions of these events are not primarily given, so that we can know what mankind is going to do at the end.
The descriptions of these events are not primarily given, so that we can know what God’s adversaries are going to do at the end.
The descriptions of these events are not primarily given, so that we can know what the anti-christ and the false prophet are going to do at the end.
When we read and study this book, we begin to see that we are not the main actors in this play. The anti-christ isn’t either. Satan in all of his power is also not the main actor.
The main actor in all of this book is Jesus.
He is the one doing the actions – He is the cause of creation
He is the savior of creation
He is the one who has passed through the heavens to stand in Adam’s place under judgement
The one who’s allegiance could not be tempted away
He is the one whom sin could not conquer
He is the one sacrificed before the foundation of the world
He is the one who purchased salvation from sin and judgement
He is the one who has purchased an eternal kingdom
And he is the one who gives eternal life to all who call him King and trust in him.
This book is about him from beginning to end. And the last book is no different.
In revelation he is still the one at work accomplishing the plan for the ages.
He is breaking the seals, he is directing heaven and releasing the judgements, he is the one accomplishing his plan and bringing it all to pass.
He is the one luring his enemies closer and gathering them in to be judged, and he is the one who executes his plans for judgement. Jesus is the primary actor.
He is the one who is ordering it all and making it all happen.
I think it’s something like this.
Just before Jesus goes back to be with his father we read that he gathered his followers together and told them
Not long after they get crushed in Jerusalem and so the church is scattered.
The apostles are all eventually killed within about 20 years.
Nero comes to power and makes a sport of killing and persecuting these Christians.
Titus – during his reign that Jerusalem and the temple are destroyed
It’s now 20 years after that. And I can kind of imagine God saying to his Son.
Look, go tell them what the plan is. Give them some hope and direction. Give them a vision for who you are. Show them your power and glory and the final realization of the total authority that I have given you.
Let them have no doubt about my promises or your ability to secure them.
Go give them hope. Go show them the things that you are going to do one day.
Jesus, John’s friend whom he loved.
This is not just an encounter between John and the King of Kings and Lord or Lords. This is an encounter between John and the son of man, God in the flesh, born to a carpenter, grew up in Nazareth by the seal of Galilea, Jesus, the man who he last saw, 60 years before, the man who he lived with for 3 years. The man who was his best friend.
(Background on John) – lived in Ephesus for a while – Rome – boiled in oil – exiled to Patmos – returned to Ephesus in the end
Author of 1 Gospel – 3 letters – and revelation
- So God gives Jesus a message for his church. Jesus sends a messenger to visit John to deliver the message.
You may have heard that this book is difficult to understand. Two main problems that I have heard is the symbolism – what does everything mean? And the story. It’s confusing and hard to follow.
Well, I’ve got good news for you. First the symbolism.
Yes. There is a lot of symbolism used in this book. But good news. God wanted John to understand and God wants us to understand.
And all of the “symbols” in this book are explained in this book. God tells us what these things mean and represent.
Just look down farther in chapter 1 to verses 12, 16, 20.
As far as understanding the flow of the story goes…
Remember, we’re going to see that Jesus is the director of this whole encounter. And it can be confusing at first as to what’s going on in this book.
We’re going to do our best over the next weeks and months to bring the contents of this book into clarity.
We’ve always got to remember that this is a personal encounter. It’s almost like a conversation in spots.
Picture this as a meeting between two friends. Jesus meets John on the beach on Patmos and says “Hey John. Let me show you a video of the things I am going to do one day. Let me show you what’s going to happen when I come back”.
And they pull out the lawn chairs and set up a screen and a projector and Jesus begins to show him video clips. And just like any story, there are different characters, different settings and different scenes.
A lot of this book is like that. Jesus showing John something and then hitting the pause button and then showing John something from another setting or scene or character.
One of the main things to remember is that there are two primary locations for the scenes that John is shown. Heaven and earth.
So, often in the book, Jesus – showing John something in heaven – cuts to a “meanwhile, back on earth” type of transition.
Once you get this idea. The structure of this book becomes much more understandable.
The book has four main sections.
1 – The reunion on Patmos – the opening statements and vision and explanation for what is happening.
Verses 1-4 – Johns opening salutation
The rest of the chapter is the beginning of John’s vision.
During which we are going to learn that Jesus wants John to write down what he sees and send it to seven churches – Verse 11
John is given a commission, given a job to do. What John writes is going to become the book we have in our hands today as God’s message to our church and every church.
Chapter 2-4 – We learn that Jesus has specific messages that he wants included in John’ letters.
These seven personal messages from Jesus to these seven specific churches is the content of the second main section of this book.
Seven specific churches in western Turkey.
Just emphasising that this is very personal message from the savior and lord of the church.
Every message contains this phrase – He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
Over and over in this book. This is a message to his church that he wants his church to hear and understand.
Section 1 = Chapter 1
Section 2 = Chapter 2 and 3
The third section is John’s vision of the throne room of heaven. Chapter 4 and 5. This section sets up what follows in the rest of the book.
Here we see the opening scene of the eschaton. The introduction of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the one who is worthy to open the scroll and bring about the end of the age.
Section 1 = Chapter 1
Section 2 = Chapter 2 and 3
Section 3 = Chapters 4-5
Which means the rest of the chapters 6 thru 22 make up the rest of the book – the fourth section.
It begins with the breaking of the first seal on the scroll and carries on from there.
Good news. This fourth section can be broken down into more bite sized chunks as well.
Have look at chapter 6 and let’s just turn through the story.
Chapter 6 ends with the breaking of the 6th of the seven seal. Then it’s like the angel hits pause on the story.
Chapter 7 is an interjection. Jesus says “OK. Hang on John. I need to tell you about this first before we go on. And the scene switches from heaven to earth.
Then in Chapter 8 – we go back to the scroll story for the opening of the 7th seal. The opening of the seventh seal starts off a series of trumpet sounding. Seven trumpets.
The rest of chapter 8 and 9 are the first 6 trumpet blasts.
Well. Then it’s pause time again. And John is going to see some other things that are happening during this time.
Chapter 10 and 11 contain these stories.
The end of chapter 11 we finish the trumpet story and the chapter ends with the blowing of the seventh trumpet.
Chapter 12-14 are another interlude or interjection. God showing more about what’s happening and why. We are going to learn about a woman clothed with the sun. And a dragon and a beast and other things.
Chapter 15 picks up the story again. It’s the introduction to the promised wrath of God. Seven angels are given a bowl of wrath each to pour out on the earth.
Chapter 16 records the pouring out of that wrath on the earth. One bowl after the other.
Chapter 17 and 18 – again an interlude with more information about what is happening on earth during this time. The harlot of Babylon section.
- The first half of hapter 19 the perspective shifts back to heaven and we read about “the marriage supper of the lamb”.
Then in chapter 19 verse 11, the last section of this book begins.
It is a description of the culmination of history. The arrival of the King and the rescue of his nation and the establishment of his Kingdom and the judgement and destruction of his enemies and the glorification of his church.
And what began as shame and fear and guilt and corruption in the garden. Will all be transformed into the Kingdom of the beloved son of God.
This has been the plan of the ages.
Psalm 110:1 – The Lord says to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand,
until I make your enemies your footstool.”
Hebrews 10:13 – But when Christ[b] had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God,13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet.
God will not fail. These things written here will all certainly happen.
God will deliver the Kingdoms of this world to his Son. And his Son, our Lord, will deliver that Kingdom to us and we will rule and reign with him forever, just like he promised.