Feasts of Israel and the Menorah

The Menorah was a seven stem lampstand that was the represented light to a dark world and the seven stems portrayed the seven feasts of Israel. There were three feasts in the Spring: the Feast of Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread and Feast of First Fruits. Then there is a short delay of 50 days and you have the Feast of Pentecost. Then after another delay, about four months, there are three more Feasts, which include the Feast of Trumpets, the Feast of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles.

The feast of Passover involved 1) the killing of the lamb and 2) the Passover meal or seder. The lamb was set aside on the tenth of the month of Aviv (biblical) or Nisan (modern). It was tested for four days to make sure it was without spot and without blemish. On the fourteenth day the lamb was killed for the Passover meal. The next morning, another lamb was used as the Passover sacrifice. The Passover meal included three things: 1) the paschal lamb, the unleavened bread and the bitter herbs.

The time was during the month of Nisan. If one household was small, they would join with others, so one lamb might suffice for several different family groups and nothing of it remained until the morning. There are 15 parts of the meal. For example, there are three pieces of bread, which represent the Trinity. There are four cups of fermented red wine, each of which have meaning of blessing, plagues, redemption and praise.  The shankbone, the forearm of the lamb, represented the outstretched arm that God brought the Jews out of the land of Egypt (Deut 26:8). The salt water, in which several items are dipped represent the tears of the Jews serving in Egypt. There is much else to learn, but let’s apply this.

When Jesus road into Jerusalem on a donkey, many teach that it was the last offer of kingship to the Jews. It was really that Jesus set Himself aside as the Passover Lamb. It was on the tenth day of the month. For four days, Jesus was tested by the Pharisees, Sadducees, the Scribes and the Herodians. Jesus ate the Seder meal on the first night of the Passover, the same night that all Jewish people ate it, the 14th of Nisan. Jesus died on the first day of Passover, crucified at 9:00 am, the same as Passover lamb. Just as blood was sprinkled on doorposts, so Jesus shed His blood for the world. As the Jews purged their homes of leaven, the believer purges his life of leaven or sin, or the church of sin, which would be church discipline.

The second feast of Unleavened Bread occurred for eight days in conjunction with Passover. It lasted for seven days, in which the Jews could not eat leaven. Passover lasts eight days. Passover was observed in Egypt and the day after Passover, Israel began their journey out of Egypt. The New Testament application is from 1 Corinthians 5:6ff and the Messianic implication is explained in Hebrews 9:1-10:18. This passage explains the cleansing of the heavenly tabernacle, the removal of sins of the OT saints and the application of the blood to the New Testament saints.

The third feast of First Fruits began the counting of 50 days until the Feast of weeks or Pentecost. It was on the Sunday, first day of the week according to Lev 23:11, “the day after the Sabbath.” It was for one day and a sheaf of the first grain on the 16th day of Nisan. It was always on a Sunday, after the Sabbath after the Passover. This marked the two month spring harvest. In AD 30, 15th Nisan was from Thursday evening until Friday evening. 16th Nisan, Friday evening to Sat evening was 2nd day and Sat evening to Sunday evening was 3rd day. 

The fourth feast is the Feast of Weeks. It occurs seven weeks, plus one day after First fruits. It is the end of the Spring harvest. Acts 2:1-4 verify that this is the day the church began, as the Holy Spirit came to indwell every church age believer.

The fifth feast is the Feast of Trumpets. Rosh Hashanah is the most common name, “Head of the year”, but there are four others. It happens in the month of Tishrei. The shofar was blown and was curved, because it was a symbol of repentance in contrast to a straight horn, that is for Jews to return to Judaism and the covenant relationship with Yahweh.  It was a day of rest, blowing of the trumpet and many sacrifices. Shofar means “a horn for blowing” and the Hebrew word “truah” means “shout,” “a blast of war, alarm, joy.”

The sixth feast is the Day of Atonement. It was a day of affliction of the soul and day of individual and national atonement.  Several passages of OT taught seven truths. The approach to God was limited Lev 16. Atonement was by blood Lev 17:11. 3) the mediator was the high priest. 4) the high priest had to offer a bull for himself first.  The second bull was for Israel. 5) the blood of the first goat made it possible for the second goat to take away the sins of Israel. 6) Atonement dealt with known and unknown sins. 7) confession of sin always followed the shedding of blood.


The seventh feast, the Feast of Succoth or Tabernacles. It was seven days long, 2) they built and lived in booths or branch tents, 3) celebrated with citrus type fruit citron, the lulav, which is a branch of the palm tree, the hadas, which is a branch of the myrtle tree, and the anwah, which is a branch of the willow. 4) It follows the Day of Atonement and considered to be a time of rejoicing following the day of affliction. 5) it marked the first fruits of fall harvest. 6) additional eighth day of solemn assembly following the 7th day, but did not have to live in the booth.

Passover was fulfilled by the death of the Messiah. The Unleavened Bread was fulfilled by the sinlessness of His blood offering. The feast of First fruits was fulfilled by the Resurrection of Jesus. The feast of weeks was fulfilled by the birthday of the church. The Feast of Trumpets will be fulfilled by the Rapture of the Church. The Day of Atonement will be fulfilled by the Great Tribulation. And the Feast of Tabernacles will be fulfilled by the Messianic Kingdom.

This website has a good diagram that relates the feasts to the End Times:

Civil Disobedience Considered

When do you obey the government? And when do you choose not to obey?  I’m not going to answer that today. I am, however, wanting to get you thinking, because thinking is what wise people do when confusion is the alternative.

Certainly, in confusing times, there will be different opinions, but a wise person pursuing God’s Word under the conviction of the Holy Spirit, will be light-years ahead of the person who reacts according to self-centered desires. Certainly, Christians faced differences of opinion regarding which days to celebrate and what foods to eat (Romans 14). Certainly, Paul chose to not eat meat if it would cause his brother to stumble (1 Cor. 8:13). But what about today?

I’ve been impressed with the orderliness of those who are protesting government orders to stay home. Yes, there has been an uptick in burglaries in various communities across the country, but not as might be anticipated, considering how desperate many people are becoming. I’ve been impressed with the voices presented and the rational means of gathering to voice a collective opinion. At what point should people act with civil disobedience?

First, I’m not advocating civil disobedience…at this time. That time may be here for some, and may be here for others, but each must make that decision according to his conscience, even as Dietrich Bonhoeffer did in Nazi Germany.

In 1934 Bonhoeffer was already promoting to Germany, that citizens were responsible “to” the state, but also “for” the state. This was his concept of two kingdoms (also discussed by Martin Luther). Citizens were to obey the government, but also ensure justice in/within the government functioned under God’s sovereign authority.

Most of us are well aware of Romans 13, regarding God’s establishment of governing authority. Paul wrote, “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.” (Rom 13:1)  We are still allowed to study God’s Word, evangelize the lost and disciple anyone who desires to pursue the Lord Jesus. But when does a Christian not follow this passage.  After all, Paul continued, “Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. (Rom 13:2)  Defying the government may be defiance against God.

Additionally, Paul states that rulers are there for our good. He stated, “For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same.” (Rom 13:3) So, the government is there to serve the people’s interest of life and good works. But that doesn’t mean every government is righteous as Bonhoeffer resisted the rise of Hitler’s regime. Even Paul stated, “For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. (Rom 13:4)  Government is God’s minister to you for good.  But when the “good” becomes “bad,” then somewhere along the “line of decision” or continuum, a Christian will have to decide. Christians would have to decide, like the Jewish midwives did in Moses’ dayof Exodus 1:15-17,

15 Then the king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, of whom the name of one was Shiphrah and the name of the other Puah;  16 and he said, “When you do the duties of a midwife for the Hebrew women, and see them on the birthstools, if it is a son, then you shall kill him; but if it is a daughter, then she shall live.”  17 But the midwives feared God, and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the male children alive. (Exod. 1:15-17)

Not only did they defy the order of the sovereign leader of Egypt, but they made up a story for their actions,

18 So the king of Egypt called for the midwives and said to them, “Why have you done this thing, and saved the male children alive?” 19 And the midwives said to Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women; for they are lively and give birth before the midwives come to them.”  20 Therefore God dealt well with the midwives, and the people multiplied and grew very mighty.  21 And so it was, because the midwives feared God, that He provided households for them.  (Ex 1:18-21)

For the midwives, life was more important under God’s administration than obedience to the Pharoah.

Another easy example is in Acts 5, where Peter clearly identifies obedience to God, not men. The writer of Acts 5, Luke, wrote,

27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest asked them,  28 saying, “Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man’s blood on us!”  29 But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men. (Act 5:27-29)

So when the issue is life or the gospel, the choice is clear.  Let each one be convinced in his own conscience. But what about other issues, like school mandated curriculum? Are parents not responsible for that (Ephesians 6:1-4)? Or what about firearm bans? Is a man not responsible to protect his family? Is the man not responsible to provide for his family as he deems necessary (1 Tim. 5:8)?

I don’t have any of the desperation of many who are out of work, because I have a job. I’m blessed. How do you decide what is right and how do you decide when the government has crossed the line? That line may seem different for people, but there is a line that is evident from Scripture and every Bible-believing, God-honoring, other-centered serving, freedom-loving, Christian, under the wisdom of the Holy Spirit has to decide when to stand up and be counted.

Are we denied from openly worshipping the Lord Jesus? I don’t see any prohibition from our president’s administration. Are we denied our right to protect our homes? I don’t see any prohibition from our president’s administration. Are we denied the right to evangelize? Or the right to teach our children as we see fit? Or to disciple as must? I don’t see any prohibition from our president’s administration. On the contrary, however, there are opposing forces within our government that would like to oppose some of those passionate desires. Furthermore, there are opposing forces within the government preventing people from work and that is being addressed. What is the best way to address those issues? Just like the resistance in Germany through the 1930s and 1940s, there are different views and each must decide before God what is best under the guidance of the God’s Word and God’s Spirit.

Many writers of the German resistance disagreed with the manner and vocalization of resistance against Nazi Germany, but most concede they would not, themselves, have known precisely what to do.

Let me close with this…In a widely known account at the end of Bonhoeffer’s life, he recounts for us:

During one of their daily walks around the prison yard in Tegel [prison] Dietrich Bonhoeffer was asked by a fellow-prisoner how as a Christian and a theologian he could take it upon himself to participate in the active resistance against Hitler. In the brief time given him under the eyes of the warders, he answered with a story. If he, as a pastor, saw a drunken driver racing at high speed down the Kurfursendamm, he did not consider it his only duty to bury the victims of the madman, or to comfort his relatives, it was more important to wrench the wheel out of the hands of the drunkard.

Know that I will pray for you as you pray for me and we’ll stand together. Thanks for passing it on.

 

He is Risen Indeed!

He IS Risen!!!

What a blessing to be able to say that and passionately trust in that fact! As Paul said, “For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! (1 Cor 15:16-17)

There are some who did not see death before they saw the Lord, like Enoch, “And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him. (Gen 5:24)  Elijah was another one who did not see death, “Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. (2 Kg 2:11) And living believers who will experience the rapture will not see death  (1 Thes 4:13-17)

Some were brought back to life from the dead, but died again, before they saw the Lord. Some like Lazarus, “Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.” (John 11:43-44)  Or several that Jesus healed, like the unnamed ruler’s daughter, “When Jesus came into the ruler’s house, and saw the flute players and the noisy crowd wailing, He said to them, “Make room, for the girl is not dead, but sleeping.” And they ridiculed Him.  But when the crowd was put outside, He went in and took her by the hand, and the girl arose. (Mat 9:23-25)  But they all died again.

YET, no one who died, and was raised from the dead, was NEVER to die again! Except Jesus!!! Let us set our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith!

The Silence of God

Today, we ponder the silence of God. [At least to us (Jesus was actually making a triumphal pronouncement in Tartarus (1 Pet 3:18-20; 2 Pet 2:4)]

In the history of the disciples 2000 years ago, they had THE most discouraging day of their lives. They had spent several years with the Man they thought was the Messiah. He had said and done all the right things. They even watched the triumphal procession into Jerusalem just a few days before. The contact with the religious leaders of the Passover week was a crescendo.  It was only a matter of moments in their view and He would reveal Himself as the Messiah to the world and they would be in on the Greatest Reversal of all time – the Jewish people under the thumb of Rome, paying taxes to Rome and giving allegiance to Rome – would be reversed!.  Now was “their” moment when all of that would be changed!.  The Romans would recognize Jesus as Messiah and they were in on the “ground floor”!

But then tragedy. Their hopes were dashed. Their leader was crucified the most heinous of deaths. Their adrenaline took a deep dive. Temporary depression set in. They were bewildered. “What happened?”

Has that ever happened to you?

On Saturday, the disciples would likely have been wondering, “What just happened? What do we do now? We left everything and the very thing we were hoping for, counting on and trusting in…was gone!”

Has that ever happened to you?

Indeed, God was silent to them. Sometimes God intentionally is silent, because He wants us to be silent. To meditate on the promises of God, the power of God and the presence of God, even when we can’t see it, experience it and to know we need to remember them.

The Sons of Korah wrote, Psalm 46. Verse ten says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! (Ps 46:10)”  IN FACT, the rest of the Psalm is incredible for this day.

As you ponder anew the silence of God, and maybe you are experiencing the silence of God, consider what happened in just one more day 2000 years ago.  The Silence of God means He is ready and able to do a truly Great Reversal!

 

Our hope is in Him! Always!

Freedom and Serving

One day, those who trust in the precious blood of Christ shed for the world will be free from all sorrow and tears. We will have freedom and liberty unknown even now. We will be free to worship the Lord Jesus without constraints, personal or corporate. He will be exalted forever and ever.

Yet, today, the wickedness of this coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on many lives, especially first responders and health care providers.  Some in our midst are demanding their right to live the way they want. They are demanding to go where they want, to assemble as they want and to carry on as they would want.

I WANT that for everyone! It would seem we are guaranteed that. But if my freedom endangers others, then I should restrict myself for the sake of others. I should restrict myself, so as not to endanger first responders and health care providers or others. If I am foolish, then I should not cause others to be put in the position of endangerment.

My challenge is, if I demand my freedom to live the way I want, will I live and love others thinking more highly of them than myself?  Paul wrote, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. (Phi 2:3-4)  If I don’t even know if I’m carrying a virus (asymptomatic), then how should I relate to vulnerable people (which we are now learning is just about everyone)?

Again Paul wrote, “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another! I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. (Gal 5:13-16) Do I have liberty in Christ to do as I want OR as would best be serving (loving) other people. That would include all people, especially, the household of God.  Am I truly loving others as commanded (Matt 22:37-39)?

I know the issue many are making is government intrusion into my/our life/lives. I don’t want the government to cross the line – EVER! Yet, our government was established for a morally righteous people. So, what do the current actions of people say for those who gather and unknowingly spread the virus? Would they be considered wise? Would they be considered as loving others as commanded?

Look at these passages! The issue is not my right, but how do I serve others? The issue is humbling myself for the sake of others.

Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; (Rom 12:10)

…submitting to one another in the fear of God. (Eph 5:21)

Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (1 Pet 5:5 )

Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense. It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak. Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. (Rom 14:19-22)

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, (Eph 4:1-2)

Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being. (1 Cor 10:24 )

Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved. (1 Cor 10:32-33)

No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. (1 Cor 12:22-26)

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; (1 Cor 13:4-5)

I know a huge danger is shutting down businesses. AND how will those businesses get going. AND people are likely going to suffer because of not having a job. AND people are going to lose their homes. We are on uncharted waters. I’m not sure government should be in the role of shutting down businesses. Considering how little we knew about this virus and considering how little people were “restricting themselves for the sake of others,” and considering we are lovers of self rather than lovers of others, I wonder what the numbers would be if guidance was not put out?

I’m not casting stones. I’m not sure of the best way to give business freedom to operate. I’m just asking that we apply God’s Word to imitate the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the One who said, “”For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mar 10:45)

Insights: Coronovirus March 22, 2020

David wrote a comforting Psalm, when he was captured by the Philistines in Gath and  was tempted to be afraid:

2 My enemies would hound me all day, For there are many who fight against me, O Most High.
3 Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.
4 In God (I will praise His word), In God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me? (Ps. 56:2-4 NKJ)

I like the acrostic about fear. Fear is – False Evidence Appearing Real.  The temptation of fear is there, but the overwhelming character of God helps me see my fear for what it is: Satan’s temptation to put my eyes on the current situation, rather than God’s eternal character.

Be like David – trust in the Lord – even if you come down with the symptoms of coronovirus or the virus itself. God is not caught off guard and He will sustain you, even if you are in the grasps of the virus’ pull. We will trust in the Lord!

Rev 2:1-7 Grappling Questions

NOTE: Before we jump into teaching this passage, here are some questions that have to be answered in order to correctly interpret the passage?
Revelation 2:1-7
1) 2:1 – Who is the “angel of the church”?
2) 2:4 – Who is/are the “you” and “your”?
3) 2:5 – If the subject of, who has/have “fallen, repent, and do” is doing good works in 2:2-3, how or in what way has/have  he/they actually fallen?
4) 2:5 – In what way would the Lord “remove your lampstand from its place”? What does that look like?
5) 2:7 – Who is the “He who has an ear”? Does he only listen to the guidance of what is said to Ephesus? What is the significance of this verse?
Okay, remember this is for fun and not an exercise of futility.  Your time grappling with these questions will have eternal benefits, compared to being glued to the news today.

Revelation 1:9-20

This second message is focused on the incredible description of the Lord Jesus Christ and how we should respond to Him. This picture is almost unknown in Scripture.

 

The Revelation of His Coming

The revelation of Jesus to John writing to seven churches of His coming Rev 1

1.The circumstances of His coming 1:9-11

  1. 1:9 John, 90 years-young
    • Brother and companion
    • Circumstances –
  2. 1:10 In the Spirit on the Lord’s day 1 Thes. 5:2; Rom. 14: Col. 2.
  3. 1:11 The seven churches

What are your circumstances?

2. The characterization of His coming 1:12-16

  1. 1:12 Seven golden lampstands –
  2. 1:13-16 John saw one like the Son of Man – Ten characteristics of Christ
  • 1:13 One like the Son of Man – Rev 14:14; Ez 1:26-28; Dan. 7:13; 10:4-6; Phil. 2:7-8; Heb 2:14-17
  • 1:13 Clothed with a garment to feet – 20:26. Dan 10:5
  • 1:13 Girded about the Chest – Rev 15:6; Ex 28:6-8; 39:5; Lev 8:7; Is 11:5
  • 1:14 Head and hair like white wool – 7:9-13
  • 1:14 His eyes like a flame of fire – Rev 2:18; 19:12; Dan. 10:6-12; Zech 4:10
  • 1:15 His feet were like fine brass – Rev 2:18; Ez 1:7; 40:3; Dan 10:6
  • 1:15 His voice as the sound of many waters – Rev 14:2; 19:6; Ps 93:4; Ez 43:2
  • 1:16 He had in His right hand seven stars – Rev 1:20. Dan 8:10
  • 1:16 Out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword – 6:17; Heb. 4:12; Rev. 19:15
  • 1:16 His countenance – 17:2; Rev 10:1; Is 60:19-20; Mal 4:2; Act 26:13

3. The consequences of His coming 1:17-20

  1. 1:17 -18 John’s response and Jesus’ action John 13:23; 21:7; 14:1; 2 Tim 1:7
  2. 1:19 Chronological outline of Revelation
  3. 1:20 The interpretation of the mystery of the lampstands and stars

SO WHAT?

  •  God has a message to the churches today.
  • The Lord Jesus is coming back in judgment on the world.
  • God wants us to trust Him, not the world.

NOW WHAT?

  •  Seek to please Him is all that you think, say and do. 2 Cor 5:9
  • Learn contentment with His presence. He is peace to the believer Eph 2:12-14; Rom 5:1: 8:1
  • Use those days you have remaining to tell others about your awesome Lord!

Questions

  • Why is the picture of Jesus here different than in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John?
  • What aspect of Jesus stands out to you?
  • How does this picture help us in the circumstances we find ourselves?
  • How should we respond to Jesus? Do we respond like John did? How did He feel? What was He thinking?

 

Upcoming Chapter Summary Statements

  • The revelation of Jesus to John writing to seven churches of His coming           Rev 1
  • Jesus’ letters to loveless Ephesus, persecuted Smyrna, compromising Pergamos and corrupt Thyatira                                                                                                               Rev 2
  • Jesus’ letters to spiritually dead Sardis, faithful Philadelphia and lukewarm Laodicea                                                                                                                             Rev 3

 

Revelation 1:1-9

Revelation of Jesus Christ

This opening passage introduces us to the author, audience and what the book is about – the Revelation of Jesus Christ. While a small portion (Revelation 2-3)  describes the audience – the church – the majority (Revelation 4-19) is about how God will complete His Covenants to Israel and the Second Coming of Jesus. It closes with the new heavens to come.

The Alpha and Omega – Rev 1:1-8

Genesis

Revelation

New Earth Gen. 1 New Heavens Rev. 21
Begins in Paradise  Gen. 2 Paradise to come  Rev. 21-22
Devil introduced Gen. 3:1-2 Devil doomed Rev. 20:10
God’s word questioned Gen 3:1-2 Word of God upheld Rev. 22:19
Man’s first rebellion  Gen. 3:1-6 Man’s last rebellion  Rev. 20:11-15
Satan’s head crushed promised 3:15 Satan’s head bruised and crushed Rev 20:2,10
Curse imposed Gen. 3:15-18 Curse removed Rev. 22:3
Tree of Life removed Gen. 3:24 Tree of Life awaits Rev. 22:2
Human Life murdered  Gen. 4:8 Human life in Book of Life 21:27
Sorrow from sin begins Gen. 3,4 Sorrow removed  Rev. 21:4
First death Gen. 4:8 No more death Rev. 21:4

            Why study Revelation? 

  • To reveal who Jesus Christ is 1:1
  • To reveal the course of future history 1:1; 22:6
  • To complete the testimony of John 1:2
  • To receive God’s blessing 1:3; Rev. 22:7
  • To warn believers to alertness   1:3; 2 Pet. 3:14-15; 1 Thes. 4:13-18

Three cautions

  • Do not say it cannot be understood.
  • Do not be overly dogmatic on the details.
  • Do not major only on Revelation.

1. The revelation of Jesus to John 1:1-3

  • 1:1 Subject –
  • 1:1 Source –
  • 1:1 Scribe –
  • 1:1 Speed –
  • 1:2 Sight –
  • 1:3 Spiritual Blessing –

2. John writing to the seven churches 1:4-9

  • 1:4 Seven Churches
  • 1:4 Salutation
  • 1:4 Son – Who was, is, is to come
  • 1:4 Seven Spirits –
  • 1:5 Savior –
    • His character 1:5
    • His ministry 1:5-8
      • His present ministry –
      • His present work –
      • His future work –
      • His title –

SO WHAT?

  •  God wants you to know what is ahead in the future.
  • God wants you to know what is ahead in your future.
  • He wants you to know that Jesus Christ is the future.

NOW WHAT?

  •  I need to trust Him for my future.
  • I need to be content with His presence, not His presents, rewards, or blessings.
  • I need to build bridges to others to help them be content with His presence.
  • I need to share this material with two other people.

 Questions

  •  How is Revelation the capstone of the Bible?
  • Does God look at time the way we do? Why? and How so?
  • In what is the blessing found in this book?
  • Do people live for the present or the future? How so?
  • Why did/does God bless America?
  • What do I need to consider for my personal life related to the challenges in this passage?

Revelation – How to Approach It

Revelation (Part 3) – Jesus Revealed

How do you approach Revelation?  In order to understand why someone teaches Revelation the way he/she does, it is important to understand the four main ways people approach it. Here is a synopsis of the “Four approaches to Revelation.”

  1. The Spiritual approach – The prophecies of Revelation portray the ongoing cosmic conflict and the central theme of the triumph of good over evil.
  •  Strengths
    • There is a cosmic struggle – Rev 12 woman giving birth and a dragon wants to consume.
    • There is cleansing going on in the world, in which most are punished.
  • Weaknesses
    • It doesn’t hold to a natural reading of the text
    • It misses the point of God’s faithful promises to Israel
    • It misses the role of the church today and in the future Rev 2-3; 19-20

2. The Preterist approach – Revelation was fulfilled during the time of the Roman Empire, some specifically hold to completion by AD 70, or mainly in the first or first few centuries and not prophecy about the end of time.

  • Strengths
    • The judgment on Israel in AD 70 is very significant.
    • There were many challenges the early church had with Rome.
  • Weaknesses
    • It doesn’t hold to a natural reading of the events in the text.
    • It has no prophetic message to the church in the last 2000 years.
    • It misses the point of God’s faithful promises to Israel.
    • It misses the descriptions of Israel’s repentance, cleansing and regeneration during the Tribulation. Rev 6-18

3. The Historicist approach – Revelation is a survey of church history fulfilled in time and approaching the Second Coming of Christ. The churches of Revelation 2-3 describe the synopsis of all church history. 

  • Strengths
    • It declares God’s control of history. The emphasis is on God’s sovereignty.
    • It declares that Jesus is coming back in the future.
  • Weaknesses
    • It forgets the significant promises (covenants) God made to Israel, which will yet be fulfilled.
    • It forgets to let Daniel 2 and Ezekiel provide interpretation to Revelation.
    • It doesn’t recognize Daniel’s 70th week as the Tribulation period, yet to be fulfilled.
    • It declares the Catholic Church as the antichrist, which is erroneous.
    • It forces history as one thread (through Israel, to the Church, to Christ’s rule), but misses the big picture of separate phases of history and why they are unique.
    • It assumes interpretation, without letting Scripture interpret Scripture

4. The Futurist approach – Revelation 2-3 describe trends in the church age and Revelation 4 to the end describe literal events in the future.

  • Strengths
    • It looks at coming future events. This was promoted by the “Left Behind” series.
    • It promotes God is in control of events and is victorious in the end.
  • Weaknesses
    • Too many focus on a Eurocentric interpretation and make Romanism the antichrist. Although some believe this was written to get attention off of Romanism.
    • It leaves the church out of the book of Revelation, because Rev 2-3 ascribes what John saw in the first century, not succeeding centuries.

 

*   The Literal Historico-Grammatical approach to interpreting Scripture 

  • A Literal approach according to the type of writing
  • Historico– according to the history, background and culture in which it is found
  • Grammatical according to the word and verb meanings in their context

You must maintain “Authorial intent

 SO WHAT?

  • God is in control of history. We see struggle, but God is not struggling. He is sovereign. He is not struggling with how people interpret Scripture. Interpretation is part of growth.
  • Your method of Interpretation is everything in understanding Scripture. Everyone needs to learn what their approach is. If you want to grow and influence others, you will need to know how you approach Scripture and HOW YOU EXPECT YOUR BIBLE TEACHER TO APPROACH Scripture.

NOW WHAT?

  • Review your notes and ask, “How is my Bible leader approaching Scripture?”
  • Be a Berean. God knows the outcome.

Questions

  • What are reasons people plunge into the different approaches to Revelation?
  • Are there any dangers in choosing the wrong approach?
  • How would you define or describe what the “Literal Historico-grammatical” approach is?
  • The Literal HIstorico-grammatical approach is often considered difficult. Why?