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?

Messianic Miracle 1

The Revelation of Jesus – 1st Advent

The First Deed of the Messiah – Healing of a Leper  Matt 8:2-3; Mark 1:40-45; Luke 5:12-16

  1. Mosaic Law provided rules for many life and worship issues
    1. No cure for lepers in rabbinic writings.
    2. No record of any Israelite ever cured of leprosy after the Mosaic Law.
    3. Leprosy was left out of the Rabbinic cures. Why? Lev 13-14
      1. Report to priesthood, “I was a leper, but now I have been healed.”
      2. Priesthood to give two bird initial offering
      3. 7 day investigation to determine –
        • Was the person really a leper?
        • Was the person really healed of leprosy?
        • What were the circumstances of his healing?
    •     4. If the leper is healed, the priest shall go out of the camp on the 8th day, then four offerings

2. The Messianic cure of a leper Matt 8:2-4; Mark 1:40-45; Luke 5:12-16

  1. 5:12 What was the circumstance?
  2. 5:13 What did Jesus do?
  3. 5:14 What did Jesus tell the one healed?
  4. 5:15 What happened next?
  5. 5:16 How did Jesus respond?

3. The Jewish leadership response M 9:1-8; Mark 2:1-12; Luke 5:17-26

  • Luke 5:17 some of the Jewish leaders –
    • Observation –
    • Investigation –
    • Power of the Lord, present to heal him – Why?
  • Mark 2:1-12 Four friends brought a paralytic, but Jewish leaders blocked the way.

SO WHAT?

  • God came to man, spoke in man’s language, and acted to reveal credibility. Why? Because God loves man!
  • God functioned under His own Word, because He wrote it.
  • The leper did nothing to deserve the leprosy and God healed him.
  • God wants us challenged, will we believe Him? Will we balance our time to reach others for Christ and disciple them?

Now What?

  • God has already done everything,… Does that produce a passion to study, to pray, to sing, to witness His life?
  • Your greatest deliverance is from the power of sin.
  • You have the opportunity to learn the Word…. Will you do the Word? Trust the Word? Live out the power of the Word? Reach others for Christ and disciple them?

 Questions

  • What were the two kinds of miracles the religious leadership believed existed?
  • Why is there so much in Leviticus 13-14 about examination and cleansing of lepers if there was never one that was healed?
  • If Jesus touched the leper, why didn’t He become unclean?
  • Why did Jesus choose to heal this leper?
  • Did Jesus want the religious leadership to accept Him as Messiah? What did Jesus do?
  • What prevents you from continually believing that Jesus is the Messiah? What commands do we obey and what commands do we not obey?
  • What do we need to do?

The Beginning of the Revelation of Jesus

It all begins in Genesis with the Abrahamic Covenant

1.The Outline of Revelation : Revelation 1:19

i)Things which you have seen (chp 1)

ii) Things which are (chp 2-3)

iii) Things which will take place (chp 4-22)

2. Revelation’s main human element focus is on whom?

3. Why would God make such a focus?

a. God promised Israel a land, a seed and a blessing Gen 12:1-3; 13:14-17; 15:1-7, 18, 17:1-8

i. Land covenant Deut 30:1-10; Ezek 37:21-28

ii. Seed Covenant (Davidic) 2 Sam 7:12-16; Is. 59:20-21; Hos. 3:4-5; Zech 12:10

iii. Blessing (New) Covenant Jer 31:31-34

b. When? Dan 9:24-27

c. How?

d. Why?

4. Why such a focus on Israel?

a. God chose Israel – not because they were great Deut 7:7-8

i. He gave them a Law – distinct from all other nations

ii. He gave them a tribe of priests, in which their sole responsibility was to guide Israel to the Lord through worship and help them be a light to the nations

iii. He gave them a royal line through which would come the Savior

iv. He gave them prophets to teach and warn

b. God promised Israel. He made Covenants. He hasn’t fulfilled the Covenants yet.

c. God will be faithful to Israel Ezek 37: 21-28; 40-48

i. He will protect Israel from surrounding nations Zech 12:3; Ps. 2:1-6; Ob 1:15-17

ii. He will defend Israel Zech 9:14-16

iii. He will make the nations look foolish in their attack Zech 14:1-9

d.Israel will return to the Lord Zech 8:3-8

5. What about me?

a.You are a part of the Church Rev 2-3

b.You are not family of God, but royal family of God 1 Pet 2:9

c.You can be an overcomer just like Jesus 1 John 5:4-5

So What?

  • God said it; He will be faithful to what He said. He promised Israel and by faith, the greats believed Him.
  • Israel has been and will be the target of Satan’s destructive arrows.
  • God’s promises to Israel are a physical picture of God’s promises to you.

Now What?

  • Accept God’s promise for you. John 3:16 God is not unaware of your circumstances.
  • Believe God’s Word for daily decisions.
  • Clench His truth and His power for His will for you.

Questions

  • What is the outline of Revelation?
  • Why did God choose Israel and not the Chinese, or Italians, or Moroccans?
  • What are the promises (covenants) that God made to Israel and are they fulfilled?
  • What special things has God done for Israel that He didn’t do for other nations?
  • Why are you even more blessed than Israel?
  • How will you live based on the fact that you are more blessed?

Question: What is heaven like?

At a funeral this week, one of the passages I addressed was Revelation 21.  I was asked by one of the family members to address what heaven is like.  I only scratched the surface of how great heaven is.  It was just enough to give those who had not trusted in Christ an opportunity to hear that heaven is a place unlike the earth.  Let’s note several principles about heaven:

Heaven is coming. Twice in Revelation 21:1-2, John says, “I saw…” the new heavens and new earth.  We can praise the Lord for the great expression in the Bible, “And it came to pass…”  It didn’t come to stay, but it came to pass, because there is something better coming.  We may or may not experience it on earth, but we, who have trusted in Jesus Christ will experience the better in heaven.

Presence of Jesus. In Revelation 21:3, we see the “Tabernacle of God” is with men.  The Tabernacle in the Old Testament was a type of Christ with all of its articles pointing toward an aspect of Jesus Christ.  For example the showbread spoke of Jesus as the Bread of Life.  The Menorah spoke of Jesus as the Light of the world.  Revelation 21:3 says there will be a new relationship with men far beyond anything even what most Christians will experience on earth.  Jesus will be with Christians in heaven and they will willingly submit to Him as their head.  He is the great Builder of heaven.

No more pain.  Revelation 21:4 provides that great expression, “No more death, no more sorrow, nor crying.  There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”  Why?  It is because God makes all things new in quality and wipes away every tear.  We will have sorrow and pain on earth, because this is not heaven and it is a sin-dreadful place.  But it will come to pass.

New surroundings.  Revelation 21:5 describes how Jesus will make ALL things new.  Nothing from the old will pass into eternity.  We can’t load up the Uhaul and take anything to heaven.  We won’t want to once we get there.  It will be beyond what we could ever imagine.  That’s the reward for simple faith at the point of salvation.  His words are true and faithful.

Living fresh water. Revelation 21:6 describes Jesus, the Alpha and Omega from Rev. 1:8 and 22:13, promising the water of life to anyone who thirsts.  We can experience that fresh water on earth, and it will be unbelievably real in heaven.

Overcoming friends. Revelation 21:7-8 describes those who overcame will be in heaven and inherit all things.  John writes in 1 John 5:4 that an overcomer is one who has been born again because of faith in Jesus Christ.  However, the rest of humanity who rejected Jesus and showed their rejection by hatred, sexual immorality, idolatry and lying will end up in the Lake of Fire, which is the second death.

Glory of God’s city.  Revelation 21:9-11 describes the Bride, the Lamb’s wife, which is the holy Jerusalem, the glory of God prepared for God’s people to dwell.  It is the presence of God.  It’s hard to understand the infinite, so John records Jesus’ words that He was going to prepare a place for Christians, mansions in heaven (John 14:1-3).

Solid structure for living.  Revelation 21:12-14 describe a city of walls, gates and foundations.  There is perfect protection and orderly living in heaven, because there will be perfect harmony in Jesus Christ.  It will be the best vacation spot, but where every believer will want to worship the Lord forever and ever.

Perfect spaciousness.  Revelation 21:15-17 describe the space provided in the city.  God has it measured and God’s perfect character ensures it will be perfect for us.  There will be no fighting because of a lack of room or having to share with another person. Why?  It will be because we will be in perfect harmony with each other.

Perfect beauty.  Revelation 21:18-21 describe using precious gems and stones the construction of the city.  It will be beautiful!  It will cause everyone to have to lift their mouths, like a gal who sees a beautiful one carat diamond ring a guy she loves uses to propose to her.  It will hold our attention because of perfect variety and beauty.

God’s presence.  Revelation 21:22 describes a lack of a temple, because the Father and Lord Jesus Christ are its temple.  It will be beyond anything we could ever imagine today.  Some great cathedrals seize your breath the first time you walk into them, because of their grandeur.  God’s presence will be amazing.

Light of glory. Revelation 21:23-24 describe the lack of light in heaven, because Jesus is the Light and all nations will walk in that light.  The infinite character of Jesus’ light is not easily understood, but in heaven, there will be no need for street lights for seeing or for protection.  Jesus will be the light.

Open access to Jesus.  Revelation 21:25-27 describe the open door policy of Jesus.  He doesn’t just have open door hours.  He is always available.  You won’t have to leave a voice mail or wait for a text message return.  Jesus will be instantly available, not for or to you, but with you because you will be in perfect submission to His glory.

Unending truth provided. Revelation 22:1 describes a river of life coming from the throne of God.  This will be truth that we will continue to enjoy the infinity of God.  Water is used for God’s Word in Ephesians 5:26.

Perfect sustenance. Revelation 22:2 describes 12 varieties of fruit for a different kind of pie or food each month.  God is creative and what is provided will not be boring or monotonous.  It will be better than anything you can imagine.

Freedom from cursing. Revelation 22:3 describes the freedom we will possess from the effects of the curse of sin.  All of God’s children will be servants who serve the Lord in perfect harmony.  There will be no estrangements.  There will be no hurt feelings.  There will be no harsh words spoken, wicked comparisons made, slights made toward anyone.  People will always be focused on the Lord in perfect unity.  THAT will be heaven!

Perfect fellowship with God. Revelation 22:4-5 describe that in the radiance of Jesus’ face, which will be reflected on our foreheads, we will see and reign forever.   Even as Moses’ face shone when he came off the mountain (Ex. 34:29-35), so we will bear that radiance on our face, because we will be face to face with the Lord!  There will be no shadows.  There will be no distrust.  There will be perfect harmony in heaven with each other, because we will be in perfect submission to the Lord.

 

Friends, are you a child of God?  You can become a child of God by trusting in Jesus Christ as your Savior.  There is nothing more important that understanding and taking the gift of salvation that God offers in His grace.  Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.  You will be adopted into God’s family and become a part of the Bride of Jesus Christ.  Your destiny will be heaven. 

Jesus was God and when He became man also, He bore the sins of all mankind while He hung on the cross.  God the Father made Him the target of His wrath as sin.  And pouring out His wrath on Jesus, the righteousness of God was satisfied and the world was reconciled to God awaiting that decision of faith by people to accept the gift of salvation.

Then you can begin to enjoy the blessings of heaven on earth as you submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.  To the extent that you humble yourself to His Lordship, to that extent you will enjoy heaven on earth.  Yes, there will be tribulations (John 16:33), but you can have His peace and harmony that surpasses all understanding (Phil. 4:7) and be a blessing to others regardless of their actions toward you.  You will be living heaven on earth, which is something the world does not and cannot understand. 

Let me know if you have any questions.

Explaining Divine History – Part 5

 We human beings are pretty proud of ourselves.  We have been able to take a little two inch by five inch by one quarter inch box and communicate with each other and websites all over the world.  We have at our fingertips information, relationships, and resources never before available.  We’re pretty proud of ourselves!  Yet none of that compares to the miracle that God performs for us.

The miracle of God is that He communicates to us.  We, His creatures, rejected God in the Garden of Eden, prior to the flood, at the Tower of Babel, at the incarnation of Christ and we will reveal our rejection of Him prior to His return and even at the end of the Millennial Kingdom.  It’s a miracle of God’s mercy that He communicates to us from His holiness.

There is no way that we could ever understand God unless He revealed Himself to us.  Because He is infinite and we are finite, He had to reveal Himself to us in ways and language that we could understand.  It would be impossible for man to understand the infinity of God’s person and purpose.  So God revealed Himself in nature we call General Revelation and He revealed Himself in Jesus and Scripture we call Special Revelation.  We can only learn about some aspects of God in General Revelation (Romans 1:18-20).  We needed Special Revelation to understand God’s plan for man.

Here’s the key to understanding God’s plan:

God’s divine plan can only be fully understood by the completed canon of Scripture.  It is from progressive revelation over a period of 1500 years by 40 authors that God’s Administration of History can be fully understood.

As was stated under “Explaining Divine History – Part 2” the Bible must be interpreted with a literal  historico-grammatical approach to interpretation.  Some people develop their theology and then use various forms of interpretation to make Scripture fit that theology.  Please refer back to that segment for a clarification of biblical interpretation.  What we need to understand is that God’s plan and history will only be understood by the completed canon of Scripture and then only when it is harmonized in, through and by means of all Scripture.  Leave the world behind and study God’s Word and you’ll understand Divine History.