Friday, December 5, 2014

Introduction to Revelation: A Vision of Jesus

Hopefully you are excited to study the book of Revelation. Ann Graham Lotz says “Some have missed a blessing because they are intimidated by the books numerical symbolism or overwhelmed by its awesome imagery.” If you have a dread or hesitancy about this study, please don’t miss the Blessing.
The beginning of the Bible (Genesis 1-11) is a prologue describing the downfall of mankind and our separation from God. Revelation is an epilogue in which God and man are reconciled through Christ Jesus our LORD.  In Genesis God created a perfect world for Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. As we come full circle to the book of Revelation John reveals another Paradise: Heaven on earth.  
Revelation from Greek word Apocalypses meaning "uncover", "reveal.”
The Book of Revelation bears comparison with the Old Testament Books of Daniel and parts of Isaiah, Ezekiel and Zechariah. The revealing of great or violent events and especially the end of the world, are often described in Jewish apocalyptic literature.
But Ann Graham Lotz says “The revealing is of the LORD Jesus Christ. The predominate theme is not the prophecy or future events, but the unveiling of Jesus Christ.”
      Revelation 1:1 The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. Revelation reveals Jesus, from eternity past to eternity future.
It’s all about Him.
As Jesus walked the earth we see over and over that He was so “veiled” that his own Mother, his half brothers, and even his own disciples did not fully understand who He was or the power He held over all creation. Mark 3:21 And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.”
Now we will see Him high and lifted up.        Isaiah 6:1 “I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple.”
And Ladies we will be blessed for reading this amazing spirit-filled book of Revelation.
Verse 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.
Then John finishes the section with this: “for the time is near.” Near doesn’t necessarily mean about to happen. Lotz explains: “The idea is not that the event may occur soon, but that when it does, it will be sudden.”
  “R. Murray McCheyne, the godly Scottish minister, on one occasion asked some friends in his home, ‘Do you think that Christ will come tonight?’ Pausing before each guest, he waited for their reply. One and all answered, ‘No, I think not.’ Then Murray solemnly quoted the words of our Lord, ‘In an hour when ye think not the Son of Man cometh.’”
Writers have spent years researching and have produced tons of material on the subject. Revelation has been misunderstood and conflict of opinion has divided churches and denominations. However, God is not the author of confusion. We will seek to learn from our CBS commentary which is interdenominational and focus on Points of Unity. In life now and in eternity it is all about Jesus
Points of Unity
Although Revelation allows for many interpretations, all Christians seem to agree that: The message of the book is relevant for Christians today, as it was for Christians at the time of its writing: a book is to provide hope and encouragement for believers of through the ages, especially in times of persecution or suffering.
1.     Christ is coming back and will judge humanity.
2.     The powers of evil are doomed before Christ.
3.     God promises an everlasting life and heavenly dwelling for all who believe in Jesus Christ His Son.
It’s all about Him.
For our introduction to the book let’s seek out the 5 W’s.
      When -Date
      Where- Written and delivered

 He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.”—Revelation 1:2

WHO   An early tradition identified the author as John with the beloved disciple, the author of the Gospel of John and the three letters of John.
         However, identifying John is not a simple task because: The author did not write any details about himself in the book of Revelation. The name John—Yohanan in Hebrew—was the fifth most common name in first-century Jerusalem.
The vocabulary and writing style of Revelation is different from any other New Testament book.
         John was the only Apostle to die a natural death. He was exiled on the Isle of Patmos while writing the Revelation, and was later released at which time he wrote three epistles bearing his name. Historical documents indicate that John lived well into his 90's - thus living through the death of all the apostles, including Paul.

Although these are important observations, well-documented tradition among several church fathers and historians, still makes John, the beloved disciple of Jesus,  the most likely author of the book.
      Irenaeus (c. 130-202) Bishop of Lyons
      Church historian Eusebius Pamphili c.260-341. 
      Writing around AD 236, Hippolytis
      About AD 270, Victorinus’ commentary of John
      Jerome c. 340-420 Illustrious Men,

No matter the speculations, It is all about Jesus.

WHAT   Revelation describes the vision that the apostle John had while on the island of Patmos in the Aegean Sea. Its message was to give hope to Christians who were going through trials and testing, especially the seven churches mentioned specifically. These Christians faced severe persecution, dealt with dangerous false teachers, and faced the temptations of immorality, idolatry, and spiritual complacency. Does this sound like our troubles today? John wrote Revelation to instruct, guide, comfort, and reassure believers in their Christian journey.
Revelation speaks to the deep longing of all believers: the return of the Lord as King and Savior. God will renew creation and his people will live with him forever.  Until that day, all Christians join in with the final plea of the book: Come, Lord Jesus!
 WHY      Recently I lost two dear friends from my church. Yesterday I visited with my Wednesday lunch buddy to hear the diagnosis for Melanoma throughout her body. As we tried look for the positives in her situation, I reminded her of our heavenly home where her twin sister as well as other family members are waiting. Yes we plead “Come, Lord Jesus.” Are you ready for His coming?
Audience Revelation1: 10-11
I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet "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." SHOWN ON THE MAP
         John wrote primarily for the seven churches addressed in chapters two and three.
Since these churches were located along the widely traveled roads that connected them, Revelation was meant to be a circular letter. A messenger would read the letter to Christians in one home church, and then take it to another congregation to read it to the believers there.
It all about Jesus

 WHEN : DATE Revelation was probably penned between 35–65 years after Jesus’ resurrection. The content suggests it was written during a time of severe persecution. There are two possible periods when Christians suffered persecution under the Roman Empire.
Argument for the later date (AD 81–96):
·        Testimony from notable writers listed from slide 9 reports that John wrote Revelation during the reign of Domitian.
·        Emperor Domitian required Christians addressed as lord and god.  They refused, becoming targets for persecution during Domitian’s reign.

Argument for the earlier date (AD 54–68):
·        Some ancient versions of the book of Revelation mention Nero’s name.
·        Nero blamed Christians for a massive fire in Rome and he then severely persecuted them. 
·        Revelation does not mention the destruction of the temple a significant event which occurred after Nero’s reign in AD 70.  
No matter when it was written It is still all about Jesus
Where: Revelation 1:9  I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.
 Patmos was a rocky volcanic island prison where political prisoners were kept.

Table of Contents page XV right before Lesson 1 Study of all the SEVENS

Three themes in the Book of Revelation
      The TRINITY

The Trinity Ultimately it is all about Him.
      God, the Father: As a child I thought of God as a policeman, a rule enforcer who plays “gotcha” when we sinned. Now I see Him as my Abba Father loving and compassionate. He is the creator of the universe, all powerful, all knowing, and ever present in our time of need. He knew me before I was formed and He knows the hairs on my head. He is LORD of All.
      JESUS: THE SON: He is the worthy lamb, who left His home in glory to become a Son of Man. Fully human yet fully God. His death made a way for me to be reconciled with God the Father. Now Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father making intercession for us.
Philippians 2:9-11  Therefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in Heaven and things on earth and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

      The Holy Spirit: this member of the Trinity confounded me until I searched the scriptures(literally) and discovered He was there at the beginning hovering over the waters. During the OT the Spirit entered men like Samson and Saul but God was able to remove His spirit at will. When Jesus returned home to His Father the Holy Spirit became available to enter the hearts of men and abide forever, reminding us of Jesus teaching and comforting us when we have no words. As we accept the free gift of salvation purchased by the blood of Jesus the Spirit indwells us and gives us a peace that passes all understanding.

Revelation makes it clear that EVIL—and the agents of evil—are totally under God’s control. Revelation 20 tells us will be ultimately defeated and cast into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer.             Ladies I want you know that as a child of God, Satan has no power over you.  He can whisper in your ear but we must stand firm fully dressed for the battle. You have the choice to give in to his taunts or reject his lies.
         The dragon, the beast from the land and the sea, the harlot, and the Antichrist are agents of the devil. But there appointed place has been prepared and the LORD holds the keys of Death and Hades.
      "Fear not, I am the first and the last,and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.

·  In heaven, God sit on a magnificent throne and is worshiped as the true God and the Ruler of all: “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being” (Rev. 4:11).
·  John saw a vision of heaven. What happens in heaven is the model of what should happen on earth.
·  God inhabits the praises of His people.
·  Our pleasure is to sing and utter words of praise.
Worship Jesus as Prophet, Priest, and King “let us stand”
Life now, and in eternity is all about Jesus and each person’s response to Him. He divides the sheep from the goats. Matthew 25:31-46 Those who are humble enough to agree that we are sinners and to accept the redemption He paid in full on Calvary from those unbelievers who are too proud to do so.
Will you choose to humble yourself, admit you are a sinner, and accept the salvation He offers?

The Vision of HIS GLORY  Anne Graham Lotz
Understanding The Book of Revelation Rose Publishing Company