Rapture Part 3
Welcome. Bibles. Rev 1.
Review the structure of chapter 1.
Review what we covered so far.
Verses 1-3 – Introduction
Verses 4-7 – Greeting
Verse 8 – Interjection – a quote
Verses 9-20 – John begins his testimony – begins the story of what he was shown by Jesus – he begins to write what God had given his son to reveal to John.
Lets try to come to this with a somewhat blank slate.
Not throwing out logic or truth but not letting man teaching impose itself on the text.
What does this in its plainest sense mean.
What would John be thinking and feeling and remembering as this is going on.
Let’s try and let the Bible say what it says. To speak for itself.
Hermeneutics – first rule – the Bible interprets itself. Let’s not impose any system.
We don’t need new rules of language to understand this book. The same hermeneutics apply.
Do we take the book of revelation literally? Yes. We read it like we read other things. We read it with the same understanding of language as usual.
Isn’t this book full of symbolism? Not nearly as much as people think. And the symbols that are used are not new and they are found elsewhere in the Bible and they are explained in Revelation.
Also, there are all the other ways that we speak and write. Like similes and metaphors especially. John often says, like we’ll see shortly, things like “the sky was rolled up like a scroll” or “the beast was like a lion”.
Remember the main point always – The vision is of the man and the things that must take place – the things that he will do.
Not studying to have dates and times and signs.
We want to know what Revelation says so that we can follow in the foot steps of out crucified and risen savior and King on the path to eternal life.
We want to be disciples of Jesus and to walk out everything he has commanded me to do and to be presented faithful before his presence on the day of his ultimate revealing.
I want to live in a manner that worthy of his glory and wonder.
9 I, John, your brother and partner in
the tribulation and
the kingdom and
the patient endurance
that are in Jesus,
Your partner in the things that are in Jesus. Whatever it means to be in Jesus.
John already knows what he saw when he writes this, correct? John has already seen it all.
He’s writing his explanation. How does he describe what it means to “be a partner in Jesus”?
3 things – the tribulation – and the kingdom – and the patient endurance
This statement sets out 3 dominant themes for this book, right out of the gate. John is like “Here’s what we’re in for folks, here’s what I’m going to be writing about – here are the things that we signed up for when we submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
The tribulation, the Kingdom and the patient endurance as God brings the tribulation that leads to the Kingdom to pass. John, is foreshadowing what is coming in this vision.
was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.
I was exiled because of what I was saying
10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, – not a lot of agreement on what this means – it might just mean he was worshipping. Singing and praying.
and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet11 saying,
“Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.”
12 Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me,
and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands,
Verse 20 – these are the seven churches
13 and in the midst of the lampstands
one like a son of man,
There is a figure – Stephen, Jesus, Daniel
clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest.
14 The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow.
His eyes were like a flame of fire,
15 his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace,
and his voice was like the roar of many waters.
Dan 10:5-6 – 5 I lifted up my eyes and looked, and behold, a man clothed in linen, with a belt of fine gold from Uphaz around his waist. 6 His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a multitude.
16 In his right hand he held seven stars,
from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword,
and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.
17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead.
But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not,
Ex 3:14 – God said to Moses, “I am who I am.”[a] And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”
John 8:58 – Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.
Jesus says “Fear not, I am” – I am everything I claimed I was and everything I claimed I would be”.
the first and the last,
Could also be the before and the finally. I am the one who chose and formed and fashioned all of this before the beginning and I am the one in whom it will all finally rest forever.
This is Jesus referencing Isaiah.
Isaiah wrote some things about God 700 years before Jesus was born.
Is 44:6 – Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel
and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts:
“I am the first and I am the last;
besides me there is no god.
Is 48:12-13 – “Listen to me, O Jacob,
and Israel, whom I called!
I am he; I am the first,
and I am the last.
13 My hand laid the foundation of the earth,
and my right hand spread out the heavens;
when I call to them,
they stand forth together.
18 and the living one.
Again Jesus is saying things to John that John would understand. Jesus is referring back to things that he said to John years ago. Things that John recorded in his own story of Jesus. The Gospel of John.
In the introduction of his gospel, John says of Jesus
John 1:4 – 4 In him was life,[a] and the life was the light of men.
John is the one who wrote about Lazarus and Mary and Martha and Jesus’ promise declared that day.
John 11:25-26 – “I am the resurrection and the life.[d] Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.
Jesus is reassuring John of who he is. He is everything he promised he would be. More than John, or we, could ever imagine or hope for.
This is a reference to his resurrection and NT verses but it’s also Jesus showing how he fulfills the longing of David.
Psalm 42:2 – As a deer pants for flowing streams,
so pants my soul for you, O God.
2 My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.
Psalm 84:2 – How lovely is your dwelling place,
O Lord of hosts!
2 My soul longs, yes, faints
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and flesh sing for joy
to the living God.
The prophet Hosea – lived around the same time as Isaiah. Speaking of the chastisement that was coming on God’s people. And the severity and hardship of God’s judgement in their unfaithfulness to him.
Holds out the promise that even though it may look like they’ve been destroyed, God will not fail to fulfil his promises.
Hos 1:10 – 10 [d] Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered.
Reference to what God promised 1000 years before to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Hosea is like “It’s still going to happen”. And then he says this.
And in the place where it was said to them, “You are not my people,” it shall be said to them, “Children[e] of the living God.”
And Jesus is like “John…it’s me. I am the living God.” David and Hosea were talking about me.
I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.
John, you saw me die. Behold – Look! – I beat death. Death couldn’t keep me.
Keys = ownership – death and hades belong to me.
Against the idea that there are different rulers for the dead. And Jesus is like – No. I’m Lord of all. There is no place that I am not in charge.
Look what he’s saying here.
You have nothing to fear from me.
And you have nothing to fear from death.
You have nothing to fear from me John. I am everything I promised. And I will fulfill all my promises.
John 15:15 – No longer do I call you servants,[a] for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends,
John 14:3-4 – And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.”
Jesus is showing John. All the words of the prophets are about me. I am everything that they promised.
And John – I am everything I said I was when I was last with you. Look and see John. It’s all true.
This whole vision is to show John that Jesus is Yahweh the God incarnate. John’s best friend is the God of creation forever united with his creation by being born a man into his own creation. Nevertheless his power and glory as God undiminished, in fact, amplified in his son.
Who is forever, Yahweh in the flesh. The God man.
19 Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this.
God has shown you. I have shown you, who I really am.
I am the faithful witness
The firstborn of the dead
The Ruler of Kings on earth
I have loved you Freed you from your sin by my own blood
Made you a kingdom and priests of my father
I am the first and the last
The Living God
I have conquered death
I am alive forever more
And I am ruler of all.
Write this down John. This is good news. Tell people what I have shown you and what I am about to show you.
20 As for the mystery of the seven stars that 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 are the seven churches.
We have to remember that there is a heavenly realm that is also going through their own history.
God says that the church exists to demonstrate something to the powers of heaven.
Eph 3:8-11 – To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in[b] God, who created all things,10 so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord,
What God is demonstrating is that he is not only sovereign over earth he is sovereign over heaven as well.
The point of the seven stars and the seven lampstands is that they all belong to Jesus.
He’s showing John “I’m in charge in heaven and on earth.”
Some people think this means that each church has an angel. Maybe. But that’s not really the point.
Whatever the interaction of heaven and earth is over specific churches. Jesus is showing John that he is in charge of both.
He has control over the seven churches in the heavenly realm and he has control over the seven churches in the earthly realm. Jesus is in charge of the church in heaven and on earth. No one in heaven has more power over the church than he does. He rules it all.
This is actually also a picture of the fulfilment of one of the most famous promises of Jesus.
Matt 16:18 – I will build my church, and the gates of hell[c] shall not prevail against it.
This is why. This is what Jesus knew. This is what Jesus was looking toward. And Jesus wants John to know these things. Jesus wants everyone to know these things.
Write all this down. Read this. Hear this. Keep this.
Remember John has already told us what this story is going to be about.
And patient endurance
We are going to find out that the story hasn’t changed.
God promised Moses
Ex 7:6 – I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment.
Jer 30 – The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Write in a book all the words that I have spoken to you.3 For behold, days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will restore the fortunes of my people, Israel and Judah, says the Lord, and I will bring them back to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall take possession of it.”
Alas! That day is so great
there is none like it;
it is a time of distress for Jacob;
yet he shall be saved out of it.
Daniel 12:1 – And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book.
Jesus said – “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. 10 And then many will fall away[a] and betray one another and hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be.
I think why this encounter, this message, starts this way is to remove any and all doubts that might creep into John’s mind or ours.
Jesus is like “look John, let there be no doubt.” Things are going to get really bad. In fact in the end it will even appear that imminent and total destruction are inescapable.
Don’t worry. Don’t be fooled. Don’t despair. It may look like that to you and to my people in the last days. But fear not. That might be what things look like from your perspective.
But I have shown you what things really look like. What they look like from my throne room.
Remember and don’t doubt – I am accomplishing everything that has been promised. I will not fail. I will not fail my people. I won’t fail you John.
It’s all in hand. My hand. And I will never let you go.
John 10:28-29 – I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me,[a] is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
And here 60 years later we see Jesus showing his friend John just how true and certain that that promise was. And still is. And always will be.