Introducing Revelation

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Information about Introducing Revelation

Published on March 15, 2014

Author: cgarland


Introducing Revelation: Introducing Revelation Past, Present, and Future Introducing Revelation: Introducing Revelation “IF YOU READ HISTORY you will find that the Christians who did the most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next…It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at heaven and you get earth ‘thrown in’: aim at earth and you will get neither.”—C. S. Lewis Introducing Revelation: Introducing Revelation The Book of Revelation is primarily a book of prophecy (cf. Rev. 19:10; 22:6-10). Jesus said: “Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book” (Rev. 22:7). But this is not a book into which to squeeze every troublesome current event. Such attempts are “prone to subjectivism and the manipulation of Scripture. Many such interpretations associated with the Cold War of the 1950s-1980s already have proved false” (D. Lewis 118). Introducing Revelation: Introducing Revelation Instead, as prophecy, it is primarily concerned with the testimony of Christ before the Divine Court, the judgments that are unleashed as a result of that testimony, and the call for the people to repent. To the Seven Churches, for example, Christ walked up and down their representative candlesticks to examine the light of each church. Based on His testimony—“I know your deeds” (Rev. 2:2)—He calls them to repentance. Introducing Revelation: Introducing Revelation His clarion call to the church of Ephesus still resounds today: “ Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place” (Rev. 2:4-5). Introducing Revelation: Introducing Revelation I believe that Revelation contains a record of Christ’s testimony. John wrote in the prologue of the book: The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. 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. Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.—Rev. 1:1-3 Introducing Revelation: Introducing Revelation It is revelation from Christ, yes, but it is also called “testimony” sent by a messenger of the Divine Court (an angel). Do you see the connection between testimony and prophecy? One who prophecies is essentially one who speaks the testimony of Christ. Introducing Revelation: Introducing Revelation It is upon the declaration of Christ (His testimony) that a prophet prophecies. In short, the content of prophecy is the testimony of Christ: At this I fell at his feet to worship him (the angel). But he said to me, “Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Rev. 19:10). Introducing Revelation: Introducing Revelation Prophecy is all about hearing what God says or seeing it as a vision and declaring that as a messenger of the Court of Heaven to the recipients. Jeremiah declared: “But which of them has stood in the council of the Lord to see or to hear his word? Who has listened and heard his word? “ (Jer. 23:18). Introducing Revelation: Introducing Revelation Such representatives of heaven, like Christ, must be faithful witnesses: “These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness , the ruler of God’s creation” (Rev. 3:14). Introducing Revelation: Introducing Revelation However, I believe Christ’s testimony is not just recorded in the opening chapters of Revelation to the Seven Churches, but it is also recorded in dramatic form in later chapters of the book. Before we turn to this, we need to layout the chapters of the book and add a few more pieces to our foundation. Introducing Revelation: Introducing Revelation In Revelation 1:19 Christ commissions John to write his vision in three time frames: “Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later.” Introducing Revelation: Introducing Revelation This verse provides a basic division of the book into three parts: The past – the vision of Christ among the golden lampstands (Rev. 1:9-20). The present – the condition of the seven churches of Asia Minor (Rev. 2-3) at the writing of the book. The future – Christ’s future and final judgments on all Creation and the eternal states (Rev. 4-22). Introducing Revelation: Introducing Revelation The future events begin with John’s vision of heaven: After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this .”—Revelation 4:1 Introducing Revelation: Introducing Revelation These distinct sections are illustrated below: Past 1:19-20 2-3 Present (John’s Day) 4-22 Future (Primarily) Introducing Revelation: Introducing Revelation The “Present” has to do with the Vision of the Son of Man among the seven lampstands and the letters to the seven churches of Asia (Rev. 1:9-3:22). Introducing Revelation: Introducing Revelation The “Future” has to do with the visions of the Divine Court, the seven-sealed scroll, the seven seal judgments, the seven trumpet judgments, the seven sign court testimony , and the seven bowls of God’s wrath (Rev. 4:1-19:10). It also has to do with the vision of the return of Christ and the consummation of His kingdom, the millennium, and the eternal states (Rev. 19:11-22:5). Introducing Revelation: Introducing Revelation What we must emphasize is that the “Future” section is framed by Divine Court sessions. In Revelation 4-5, the Court convenes to consider who is worthy to break the seals of the Scroll of Judgments. The Court convenes in 20:4 before the millennium and again at the Great White Throne in 20:11 after the millennium. Introducing Revelation: Introducing Revelation The “Future” section begins as John is invited through a “door standing open in heaven” (Rev. 4:1) to witness and record the judgments of the council. Throughout this section is recorded the judgments of heaven poured out on humankind. Whether by a voice from heaven or by a mighty angel, heaven directs the behind-the-scenes events that result in judgments on earth. Introducing Revelation: Introducing Revelation The “Future” section ends with the final judgments of God that determine the ultimate estate of all humankind. Introducing Revelation: Introducing Revelation Revelation portrays a conflict of cosmic powers — the struggle between Christ and Satan. In forceful images, it depicts Christ as the Divine Warrior who takes possession of His kingdom and brings final destruction to the enemies of God. Satan will be overthrown; evil powers will be subjugated; victory will be complete Introducing Revelation: Introducing Revelation Revelation reveals the testimony of Christ and the righteous judgments of God. One of it’s overall purposes, therefore, is to show the courtroom drama of heaven and the whole process of judgment. The world’s iniquity has been stored up in God’s cup of judgment. A double portion will be poured back in retribution upon her—with fury. Introducing Revelation: Introducing Revelation In the end, the kingdom of darkness will be utterly and eternally consumed in the burning Lake of Fire. Against this backdrop of judgment and destruction looms the hope of Christ’s return, the completion of God’s purpose, and a new heaven and earth. Works Cited: Works Cited Alan Johnson, Revelation in Frank Gaebelein , editor, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary , vol. 10 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1981). C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: HarperCollins, 2001). Daniel J. Lewis, 3 Crucial Questions about the Last Days (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1998).

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