Jesus’ Super Bowl Parade: The Real Story of Revelation`
March 2, 2021
Two Things the Book of Revelation is…
Revelation is meant to be
- Revelation 1:1-2
- Revelation 10:4 – He seals up a portion of the vision so we won’t understand that piece until the due time
- Revelation 22:10
- “Whoever has ears let them hear” repeated throughout Revelation
*The fact that Revelation leaves so many confused or misunderstood exposes something is wrong with our approach
Revelation is meant to you
- Revelation 1:3
- Revelation 22:7
*Only book in the Bible that explicitly states you are blessed if you read it!
*Like Genesis 1, we’ve turned something meant to be a blessing and beautiful and turned it into a point of contention, frustration, or confusion
You Must Read Revelation through the lens of
- John who receives the Revelation is suffering
- The churches John writes to is suffering
- Revelation 2:3
- Revelation 2:9-10
- Revelation 2:13
- Revelation 2:22-23
- Revelation 3:8
- Christ reminds them of His suffering
- Revelation 1:7
- Revelation 1:18
- The whole book of Revelation surrounds suffering
- Revelation 6:9-10
- Revelation 12:10-12
- Revelation 13:10
- Revelation 20:4
- “This calls for patient endurance” repeated throughout the entire book
*Here is the danger: Many put hope in promises God NEVER made! In fact, Jesus promised the opposite, He promised suffering
- “If anyone comes after me, they must deny themselves, pick up their cross and follow me” – Luke 9:23
- The cross was not a symbol of hope, love, and faith like today, it meant shame, suffering, and complete submission
*Interesting Note: The two churches God has nothing bad to say about were the smallest, most faithful, and in the most suffering. The two largest churches were the least faithful but the most comfortable.
*Real Christianity is MUCH harder than most are willing to bear. If you are comfortable and not suffering in some manner (financial, physical, in the flesh, etc.) there may be a problem
*Presence of suffering does not mean lack of joy (childbirth, good gym workout, etc.), the promise was not that we won’t suffer, but we will be sustained in peace, faith, hope, love, and endurance through it
You Must Read Revelation through the lens of the
- The revelation draws more on the Old Testament text than any other book of the Bible.
- 184 Direct references and quotations
- 34 to Daniel
- 49 to Isaiah
- 31 to Ezekiel
- 21 to Exodus
- 23 to Psalms
- 16 to Jeremiah
- 10 to Zechariah
- Indirect commentaries, references, and inferences from other books of Bible
- Revelation 12 provides commentary on the curse God gives in Genesis 3
- 1 and 2 Kings
- At least 90 instances of Gezerah Shavah (Probably more!)
- Gezerah Shavah is a rabbinical practice of applying God’s laws or teachings syncing one instance to a second instance to achieve a unified legal principle or application
- New Testament example: Mark 11:15 – “den of thieves”
*Modern readers tend to treat Revelation like a Sci-Fi novel. A late 1st century Jew would have viewed Revelation as a rabbinical literary masterpiece!
*MY CONVICTION: Christ ASSUMED the reader knew their Bible and hence, could understand Revelation. Many elements of Revelation I do not understand and exposes my lack of biblical literacy, and certainly by extension, the modern western churches biblical literacy
- We spend more time studying theologians/commentators and no time studying the prophets; and by proxy end up treating theologians/commentators as prophets
- Two questions to consider when reading commentaries or theological positions:
- Is there apostolic congruency with their position?
- What is the context of the theologian in time, place, world history, and personal history?
- Example: Calvin was anti-semetic
- Example: Augustine was a former Manichee and was weak in Greek
- Most common American approach to Revelation was not believed prior to 1855. The modern concepts of the “Great 7-year Tribulation,” “Anti-christ at end times,” a “rapture before, in the middle, or after that Great Tribulation” are new and not found in apostolic teaching.
- There is a reason the Catholic church did not allow people to read the Bible independently. While eventually abused, it was originally due to ensuring apostolic congruency in teaching that the average peasant laymen would not know
You Must Read Revelation in context of the
- The symbols used throughout Revelation reiterate the symbols and promises given to the churches; and the symbols used for promise to the churches were based on the churches geographic position and cultural context
- Revelation 1:4 – Revelation 22:12-17
- Reiterates the purpose is to the churches, restates their sin and His promises, and restates the titles of Jesus
- Tree of Life
- Revelation 2:7 – Promise to Ephesus
- Worshiped the goddess artemis in Ephesus
- Temple was decorated as a tree (some temples built around a tree with tree as the center)
- Revelation 22:2 – Tree of Life established
- Dragon and the Beasts of the Earth and Sea
- Revelation 12:17
- Revelation 13
- Beasts reflect the same function as the context of Churches of Smyrna and Pergumum (Roman authorities working through Jewish authorities to persecute Christians)
- Synagogue of Satan (Religious)
- Throne of Satan (Political)
- NOTE: This also alludes to Satan trying to emulate God as a triune force
- Revelation 2:4 – Ephesus loses witness, Laodicea is dormant
- Revelation 11 – The two witnesses and 144,000
- White Robes
- Revelation 3:4 – Promise to Sardis
- Revelation 4:4
- Revelation 7:9-14
- Revelation 3:15 – Metaphor used for Laodicea
- Revelation 22:1-2
- Revelation 2:10 – Promise to Symrna
- Revelation 4:4; Revelation 4: 9 – Elders cast crowns at feet of God
- White Stone with Name
- Revelation 2:17 – Promise to Pergummum (white stone with name was given for access to cities)
- Revelation 21– The heavenly city and gates
- Ruling Authority
- Revelation 2:26-27 – Promise to Thyatira
- Revelation 3:21 – Promise to Laodicea
- Revelation 20:4- Given authority to rule and judge on judgment day
- Book of Life
- Revelation 3:5 – Promise to Sardis
- Revelation 13:8
- Revelation 20:12-15
- Revelation 21:27
- New Jerusalem
- Revelation 3:11-12 – Promise to Philadelphia
- Revelation 22
- Compromise and the Whore of Babylon
- Revelation 17 – 19
- Babylon = Rome (Rome was referred as Babylon is these days)
- Chapters 17-19 describe that the woman is the city of Rome, Babylon is the Roman empire, and ultimately the fall of Roman empire
*So many get lost in symbols and imagery (that they don’t understand because they don’t know the OT), they miss these letters from CHRIST Himself to what HE values in a church
*By missing the context of the churches, we become very aimless or unfocused in our interpretations
You Must Understand the to Understand the End
- Revelation 21:1-5
- Genesis 1 – Genesis 4
*God is building a home/kingdom. Revelation reiterates the REVELATION God gave all the way back in Genesis 1-4, that God is building a home/kingdom and that purpose has not been thwarted
- Our anticipation is not that one day we go to heaven, but that one day heaven comes to US!
- Remember: Jesus came to us, we couldn’t go to Him
Ultimately, Revelation “reveals”:
- There is more going on than what we are aware of
- True, suffering, and committed discipleship is not a byproduct of faith in Jesus, but plays a specific purpose to God’s mission
- Remember Revelation 6:9-11 – Until the full number is brought in slain as those who had already been
- Jesus is worthy
- Revelation 5
- Is Jesus worthy of your worship even without the promise of salvation?
- Is Jesus worth suffering for?
- While it seems Believers are losing, Jesus wins!
- MOST IMPORTANTLY: OUR HOPE IS ANCHORED NOT IN SYSTEMATICS OR THEOLOGIANS OR EVEN HEAVEN, BUT IN CHRIST’S RETURN!
- Remember our first week, Joy is the longing for a thing. Our joy is longing for Christ’s return – nothing else.
- Want to know where your hope, faith, love, and joy is truly anchored? Reflect on what, or who you suffer for?
Guided Questions for Discussion
- What promises of God do we tend to forget? What promises do we believe that God did not necessarily make? Personally? Corporately?
- Have you read Revelation and been enormously blessed? Or do you feel enormously frustrated or confused?
- Are you comfortable or suffering for the sake of Jesus right now? Suffering in the flesh? Physically? Economically?
- If you are suffering for the sake of Jesus, have you maintained your joy in Jesus? Does Revelation encourage you remain faithful through that suffering?
- Are you committed more too studying theologians, commentators, and pastors to understand scripture, or do you study scripture to understand other scripture better?
- Does realizing what Christ expects our biblical literacy to be convict you? Does it motivate you to get more serious about Bible study?
- There are many lens and ways we view Jesus, but have you ever viewed Jesus as the Jewish Rabbi that He was? Does the rabbinical genius behind Revelation encourage you to learn more about the Jewish Jesus?
- Does Revelation expose the inseparable linkage between the OT and NT? Does it show that without understanding the OT, you can’t truly understand the NT; and similarly, how the NT completes and clarifies the OT?
- Does it surprise you how much teaching exists in the modern church that was not always taught in the church, or especially by the apostles? Does that matter? How do we approach teaching and know what is apostolic, what is commentary, and what is theological?
- With consideration to the 7 churches, does the modern American Christian value the same things in church that Christ does? What elements of church do we value, or under-value that is not in keeping with what Christ values?
- Is your hope, faith, and joy truly anchored in Christ’s second-coming? Or is it anchored in something else?
- Who or what do you currently suffer for? The Marine Corps? Family? Money? Or Jesus?