Revelation 1v1-3

SERMON TOPIC: Revelation 1v1-3

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 9 July 2023

Topic Groups: REVELATION, PROPHECY

Sermon synopsis: The Revelation [apokalypsis] of Jesus Christ…
Its title “Revelation” is derived from the first word of the Koine Greek “apokalypsis”, meaning “unveiling, uncovering or revelation”.
The book is also (incorrectly) called the Apocalypse of John (should be Jesus).

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THE IMPORTANCE OF PROPHECY

IMPORTANCE: 2nd COMING

Some people feel that we shouldn’t pay too much attention to doctrines like the Second Coming because it is too controversial or divisive. So we shouldn’t attempt to correct doctrinal errors in this regard.

If this approach is correct, one might wonder why Paul wrote the 2 epistles to the Thessalonians primarily to correct false doctrine on the Second Coming. Why not just let it go for the sake of unity?

We know from Acts 17:1-2 that Paul’s stay in Thessalonica was only 3 to 4 weeks. 2 Thess 2:1-5 indicates that in this short period Paul had taken the time to teach them about the Second Coming and about the antichrist. Clearly Paul was not of the opinion that this was an unimportant doctrinal side-issue.

There a total of 1,817 prophecies in the Bible, 1,239 in the OT and 578 in the NT. These constitute 26.8 % of the Bible’s volume. *

Besides the Olivet discourse and many parables in the gospels about the 2nd coming, there are 3 books dedicated to prophecy in the NT (1 & 2 Thessalonians, Revelation) and 16 in the OT. This constitutes 27% of the 66 books.

* “The Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy” by J. Barton Payne

ONE THIRD OF THE BIBLE

Some say that we should not waste time with prophecy, but:

If prophecy is unimportant, why did God dedicate a 3rd of the Bible to it?

If God thinks it important enough to talk about it, we should think it important enough to listen.

ONE THIRD OF THE BIBLE

Benefits of prophecy

Prophecy Will Help You Make Sense Out of Suffering

If you get all of your theology from your circumstances, you'll be hopelessly confused. Romans 8:18 says, "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us.“ *

Through prophecy, we understand that God is not finished yet. The tragedies of this earth will be turned into the triumphs of heaven. *

* https:// preceptaustin.org/ revelation-1-commentary1

Prophecy Will Lead You to understand God’s Ultimate Justice

If you are a student of prophecy, you understand that things don't end here on earth with man’s judgment. God will have the last word in the judgment halls of eternity. *

* Ibid.

Benefits of prophecy

Benefits of prophecy

Prophecy Causes You to Pray

The last prayer in the Bible is Rev 22:20: “even so, come, Lord Jesus.” Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matt 6:10).

When God prophesies that something is going to happen, somehow we see those events unfold as his children pray. I cannot explain how God’s ultimate sovereignty works with our prayers, but I know it does from the pages of his Word. *

* Ibid.

Benefits of prophecy

Prophecy Will Lead You to Purity

If you believe that Jesus is coming again, you are going to live a clean life.

1 John 3:2-3 (NIV) Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

Prophecy Prompts You to Witness

Rev 19:10 (ESV) … For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

Prophecy is a witness to the fact that Jesus is coming back and that people need to be ready for his return. It's not enough to sit around pondering the mysteries of prophecy. Are you warning others to flee from the wrath to come?

2 Cor 5:10-11 (NIV) For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others …

3 MAIN VIEWS ON TIMING OF PROPHECY

Preterism

Fulfilled before 70 AD

70 AD

PRESENT

Historicism

70 AD

PRESENT

Fulfilled across history

Futurism

70 AD

PRESENT

To be fulfilled

4 main views on the interpretation of Revelation

Preterists believe Revelation refers to the events in the1st century AD culminating in the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70.

Historicist interpretations see Revelation as being fulfilled progressively over the course of church history.

Futurists, meanwhile, believe that Revelation describes future events, with a reemergence of a revived Roman empire and a world ruler called the Beast (aka Antichrist).

Idealist or symbolic interpretations consider that Revelation does not refer to actual people or events, but is an allegory of the spiritual path and the ongoing struggle between good and evil. *

* https:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Book_of_Revelation

REVELATION - INTRODUCTION

The Book of Revelation is the 27th and last book of the New Testament, and consequently the final book of the Christian Bible.

WHERE DOES IT FIT INTO THE BIBLE?

OVERVIEW

The Book of Revelation is the consummation of the prophecies about the end times, which start in the Old Testament.

John describes a series of prophetic visions, which culminate in the Second Coming of Jesus. The colourful visions describe the last days before Christ’s return and the ushering in of the new heaven and new earth.

There is tremendous power in symbolic language. It is one thing to call someone or something evil, but it is far more vivid to describe the image of a woman drunk with the blood of the saints (Rev 17:6).

BROAD OUTLINE

Jesus appears to John on Patmos.

Messages for 7 churches of Asia

Before the Throne of God

7 Seals are opened

7 trumpets are sounded

The 7 Spiritual Figures (events leading into the Third Woe)

7 bowls are poured onto Earth

BROAD OUTLINE

Vision of the woman on the beast

The Marriage Supper of the Lamb

The Judgment of the two Beasts, the Dragon, and the Dead

The New Heaven and Earth, and New Jerusalem. There is no more suffering or death.

Conclusion

CHURCH AGE (TIME OF THE GENTILES)

7 YEAR TRIBULATION

Birth Pangs (Matt 24)

7 CHURCH AGES

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

EPHESUS

SMYRNA

PERGAMUM

THYATIRA

SARDIS

PHILADELPHIA

LAODICEA

7 SEALS

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

FALSE CHRISTS

WARS

FAMINE

PLAGUE

PERSECUTION

RAPTURE

7 TRUMPETS

7 TRUMPETS

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

3RD OF EARTH

3RD OF SEA

3RD OF RIVERS

3RD OF HEAVENS

LOCUSTS

3RD OF MANKIND

7 BOWLS

7 BOWLS

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

SORES

SEA BLOOD

RIVERS BLOOD

SUN SCORCHING

DARKNESS

ARMAGEDDON

EARTHQUAKE

CHRONOLOGY OF REVELATION

SEVENS IN REVELATION

7 Beatitudes

7 Churches 1:4; 2:1-3:22

7 Letters 2:1- 3:22

7 Spirits 1:4; 3:1; 4:5; 5:6

7 lampstands 1:12,20; 2:1; 4:5

7 Stars 1:16,20; 2:1; 3:1

7 Seals 5:1; 5:5; 6:1

7 Horns 5:6

7 Eyes 5:6

7 Angels 8:2,6; 15:1,6,7; 15:8; 16:1; 17:1; 21:9

7 Trumpets 8:2, 6

7 Thunders 10:3,4

7 Thousand people 11:13

7 Heads 12:3; 13:1; 17:3, 7, 9

7 Crowns 12:3

7 Plagues 15:1,6,8; 21:9

7 Golden bowls 15:7; 16:1; 17:1; 21:9

7 Hills 17:9

7 Kings 17:10,11

Last 7 visions Chapters 20-21 *

REVELATION – chapter 1

PROLOGUE

Revelation 1:1-3 (NASB)

1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John,

2 who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw.

3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.

WHERE DID THE BOOK GET ITS NAME FROM?

v1 The Revelation [apokalypsis] of Jesus Christ…

Its title “Revelation” is derived from the first word of the Koine Greek “apokalypsis”, meaning “unveiling, uncovering or revelation”.

The book is also (incorrectly) called the Apocalypse of John (should be Jesus).

DEFINITION OF “REVELATION”

According to the OED, “revelation” is a noun meaning:

a surprising and previously unknown fact that has been disclosed to others.

the divine or supernatural disclosure to humans of something relating to human existence.

Another definition for “revelation”: The act of God whereby he discloses to man what would be otherwise be unknown.

Revealed words

This is an apocalypse – a revelation, not apocrypha (something hidden). Far from being "hidden words" these are in fact "revealed words!"

“If God did not wish us to understand the book of Revelation, He would not have given it to us at all.” - (D.L. Moody)

revelation is the antithesis of mystery

Hence the book is not intended to be enigmatic. Paul says that revelation is the opposite of mystery.

Rom 16:25-26 (ESV) Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations…

“FROM” or “OF”

Rev 1:1 (NIV) The revelation from Jesus Christ…

Rev 1:1 (KJV, NKJV, ESV, NASB) The revelation of Jesus Christ…

The Greek is ambiguous but both meanings are valid:

Jesus is the SOURCE of the revelation.

Jesus is the OBJECT of the revelation.

INTENDED AUDIENCE

The Revelation is not just for John, nor just for the Seven Churches of Asia, but for all saints of all ages.

v1 (ESV) The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants …

This is why unbelievers find the book of Revelation incomprehensible; it was not intended for them. It was given by the Father to the Son to show to those who willingly serve Him. Those who refuse to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord cannot expect to comprehend this book. “A natural man,” explains Paul, “does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised” (1Cor. 2:14). *

* The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, Rev. 1:1.

PURPOSE OF WRITING

v1 (ESV) The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place.

The book is the final warning that the world in its present form will surely end and of the certainty of God’s judgment.

We get a small glimpse of heaven and all of the glories.

It takes us through the great tribulation with all its woes and the final punishment that all unbelievers will face for eternity.

We see the ultimate triumph of good over evil – the fall of Satan and the doom he and his angels are destined for.

We have the promise that the saints will live forever with Christ in the New Jerusalem.

To Take place shortly

v1 (NKJV) … things which must shortly (en tachos) take place.

There are 4 takes on what “en tachos” (translated here as “shortly” or “soon”) means:

The phrase requires all of the events in the book to have transpired within the lifetimes of John’s initial readers (Preterist view).

The events will begin soon but transpire over a long period (Historicist).

The phrase denotes closeness in time, but from God’s perspective - a day as 1000 years – 2 Pet 3:8 (Futurist)

To Take place swiftly

As “en tachos” can mean “in quickness”, it denotes events which may be in the distant future, but which transpire in rapid sequence once they begin (Futurist).

In support, 3 other NT passages use this phrase to describe events which are delayed for long time periods.

Luke 18:8 (ESV) I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily (en tachos). Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?

Rom 16:20 (NKJV) The God of peace will soon (en tachos) crush Satan under your feet..

Rev 22:6-7 (NKJV) “things which must shortly (en tachos) take place”, after which Jesus says “I am coming quickly (tachy)”.

SWIFT BUT DELAYED

The use of this same verb in the Septuagint also provides evidence for a long delay in fulfillment.

The LXX uses tachos in passages which even by the most conservative estimations could not have fulfillments within hundreds or even thousands of years. *

E.g., Isa 13:22 was written around 700 BC and foretold the destruction of Babylon, which occurred at the earliest in 539 BC. *

Similarly, Isa 5:26 speaks of the manner, not the time frame, by which the Assyrian invasion of Israel “will come with speed swiftly.” *

* https:// preceptaustin.org/ revelation-1-commentary

SWIFT BUT DELAYED

THE VEHICLE OF REVELATION

v1 (NIV) … He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John

Many of the visions in the book came to John through the supervision of an angel (e.g. 5:2, 7:2, 10:8 to 11:1, and 17:7).

AUTHOR

v1 (NIV) … He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John

Revelation 1:1,4,9 and 22:8 identify the author of the Book of Revelation simply as “John”.

While some have attempted to make the author another John, Justin Martyr (AD 150) states that the author was the apostle.

And further, there was a certain man with us, whose name was John, one of the apostles of Christ, who prophesied, by a revelation that was made to him, that those who believed in our Christ would dwell a thousand years in Jerusalem… (Dialogue with Trypho 81)

EARLY FATHERS LINKED TO JOHN

We will make reference at times to Irenaeus and Hippolytus. They are very important early Christians especially when looking at the writings of John (c. 6-100 AD).

Papias of Hierapolis (c. 60 – c. 130 AD) was a disciple of John.

Polycarp of Smyrna (69-155 AD) was a disciple of John.

In the 2nd century, Irenaeus of Smyrna (130-202 AD) was a follower of Polycarp (2nd generation disciple of John).

In the 2nd/3rd century Hippolytus of Rome (170-235 AD) was a follower of Irenaeus (3rd generation disciple of John).

AUTHOR

Irenaeus, the 2nd generation disciple of John, identifies the author of Revelation as John “the Lord’s disciple”.

John also, the Lord’s disciple … says in the Apocalypse: I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And, being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks … (Against Heresies 4.20.11)

Other early Christian writers such as Papias, Hippolytus Melito (the bishop of Sardis), Clement of Alexandria, the author of the Muratorian fragment, Theophilus of Antioch, and Tertullian ** also identify John the Apostle as the “John” of Revelation.

** https://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf03.v.iv.iv.xxiv.html

AUTHOR

The author identifies himself to the 7 churches in Asia Minor (including Ephesus) as “John” with no qualifying title. Obviously, the recipients in this area knew the author so well that he had no need of any further title—his own name gave authority to the work.

We know that the apostle John spent his last years in Asia Minor – in particular, Ephesus. Irenaeus writes:

… the Church in Ephesus, founded by Paul, and having John remaining among them permanently until the times of Trajan, is a true witness of the tradition of the apostles. (Against Heresies 3:3:4)

The author uses titles for Christ unique to John’s Gospel, e.g.

The term “Logos” (Word) in John 1:1,14 and Rev 19:13 appears nowhere else in the NT .

The title “Lamb of God” (Agnus Dei) only appears in John’s Gospel (1:29,36). Revelation includes over 30 references to Christ as the Lamb.

AUTHOR

ALLUSIONS TO THE OT

The author shows familiarity with the Jewish Scripture that few Gentile converts would have had. The book contains a higher percentage of allusions to the OT than any other NT work - 278 allusions in 404 verses (almost 70%).

Over half of the references stem from Daniel, Ezekiel, Psalms, and Isaiah, with Daniel providing the largest number in proportion to length and Ezekiel standing out as the most influential. *

* https:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Book_of_Revelation

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

The apostle John was the son of Zebedee and the brother of James.

Both brothers belonged to the Twelve and, with Peter, were also part of the inner circle of three closest disciples.

But John was Jesus’ closest friend and known as “the disciple Jesus loved” (John 21:20-24).

An eyewitness account

v 2 (NIV) who testifies to everything he saw …

John assured us that this was his personal testimony not something he had heard from someone else. Revelation is an eyewitness account by an apostle of Jesus - who is telling us all he saw.

The Importance of Being a Witness

When the Titanic went under, three messages had been sent that said to watch out for the icebergs.

Because everything looked all right, the folks taking the message never passed it on.

They never sent the warning out to people who needed to hear and, as a result, over fifteen hundred people lost their lives. The folks who knew kept quiet. (Tony Evans)

Another tragedy of the Titanic was that the lifeboats, designed to carry people away from the sinking ship, were only half full. People who had made it to safety in the lifeboats didn’t want to turn around and go pick up people who were dying. They didn’t want to take the risk of panicking people flipping over their boat ... Fifteen hundred people didn’t have to die, but they did. The folks who were saved didn’t want to go back because it was risky. (Ibid.)

A RISKY BUSINESS

A RISKY BUSINESS

Sharing the Gospel has risks—the risk of rejection, the risk of being made fun of, the risk of being called “holier than thou” … the risk of being avoided, the risk of being asked questions you don’t know the answer to.

Yes, there are risks, but when someone is dying, offering them the gift of salvation is worth the risk. (Ibid.)

The logos of god and the testimony of jesus

v2 (NIV) who testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word (logos) of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.

The phrase “Word (Logos) of God” is a signature term of the apostle John when referring to Christ - so called in John 1:1, 1:14; 1 John1:1, 2:14, 5:7 (TR); Rev 6:9, 19:13.

There are 2 ways in which “the testimony of Jesus Christ” may be understood:

The testimony was provided by Jesus. He is its source.

The testimony is about Jesus. He is the one revealed by the testimony.

Some shy away from this book, but it is the only book in the Bible to promise a blessing to those who read it.

v3 (NKJV) Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy…

This is the first of 7 beatitudes in the book. It is the same word used by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5:1-11).

A blessing

SEVEN BEATITUDES

He who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy (Rev 1:3).

The dead who die in the Lord during part of the Tribulation (Rev 14:13).

He who watches and keeps his garments (Rev 16:15).

Those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev 19:9).

He who has part in the first resurrection (Rev 20:6).

He who keeps the words of this prophecy (Rev 22:7).

Those who do His commandments (Rev 22:14).

SEVEN BEATITUDES

1:3 (NIV) Blessed is the one who reads aloud 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.

14:13 (NIV) Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labour, for their deeds will follow them.”

16:15 (NIV) “Look, I come like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake and remains clothed, so as not to go naked and be shamefully exposed.”

19:9 (NIV) Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God.”

20:6 (NIV) Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.

22:7 (NIV) “Look, I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy written in this scroll.”

22:14 (NIV) “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.

David Guzik writes: “The Book of Revelation gives us much more than information for prophetic speculation. It gives us things to keep. If we understand the Book of Revelation, it will change the way we live.” *

* https:// enduringword.com/ bible-commentary/ revelation-1

Rev 1:3 (NKJV) Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it…

HEAR THE WORD OF GOD & KEEP IT

We need to remember Jesus’ response to the woman who blessed His mother Mary:

Luke 11:27-28 (HCSB) As He was saying these things, a woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, “The womb that bore You and the one who nursed You are blessed! ” He said, “Even more, those who hear the word of God and keep it are blessed! ”

THE TIME IS NEAR

The statement, “The time is near” (1:3) is used by Preterists to support their argument of a 1st century fulfilment. But this is time from God’s perspective.

2 Pet 3:3-4,8-9 (NIV) Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? … But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.



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