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Helping the Doomed Find Deliverance, Part 2 (Rev. 1:2-3).

Rejoicing Through Revelation  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  56:50
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Be blessed by reading, hearing and keeping this book of Revelation!

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Introduction:

Many people are fascinated, even obsessed with the future. They faithfully read their horoscopes, seek out Tarot card readers, have their palms read, feed on futuristic science fiction material, or call one of the many “psychic hot lines” advertised on TV. Some people delve more deeply into the occult, seeking out mediums (as did King Saul), futilely and sinfully attempting to obtain information about what is to come by “consult[ing] the dead on behalf of the living” (Isa. 8:19). The dead cannot, of course, respond to such efforts at contact, but demons do, masquerading as the dead and propagating lies.
All such attempts to discern the future, however, are in vain. There is only One who knows and declares the future: God (Isa. 44:7; 45:21; 46:9–10). Only in Scripture can truth about the future be found. The Old Testament prophets, particularly Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and Zechariah, provide glimpses of the future. So did our Lord in His Olivet Discourse, along with Peter and Paul in their inspired writings. But the book of Revelation provides the most detailed look into the future in all of Scripture. The fitting capstone of God’s revelation to man in the Bible, the book of Revelation unveils the future history of the world, all the way to history’s climax in the return of Christ and the setting up of His glorious earthly and eternal kingdom. [John F. MacArthur Jr., Revelation 1–11, MacArthur New Testament Commentary (Chicago: Moody Press, 1999), 13–14.]
This revelation of Jesus Christ needs to be personally considered by you, as well as shared with others.
Understand the eternal value of this unveiling of Christ, and then do your part to take its warnings and consolations to a world sitting on the brink of destruction.
Reproof - for the lackadaisical approach you have toward warning others of God's impending wrath
Rebuke - the distractions that take us from doing God's will to take His Word to those who would be doomed should they not hear
Exhortation - to rededicate ourselves to the message of hope that we can escape the coming wrath
Main Thought: Help the doomed escape the coming wrath of God on sin by revealing the hope of deliverance through Jesus.
Sub-intro:
The book of Revelation was probably written during the reign of the Roman emperor Domitian, about ad. 95. The emperor had demanded that public worship be rendered to himself; he was to be worshiped as lord and god. Christians refused to obey, and the second great wave of persecution against the church was launched. The Christians were subjected to public ridicule, economic boycott, imprisonment, exile, and death. The book of Revelation was God’s answer to that reign of terror. Christians could see, in a dimension never before revealed, that God was still on the throne. [John Phillips, Exploring Revelation: An Expository Commentary, The John Phillips Commentary Series (Kregel; WORDsearch Corp., 2009), Re 1:1–3.]
What is the evidence for the late date of the Apocalypse’s composition? First, and considered by many weighty to the point of settling the matter, is Irenaeus’ reputed testimony—confirmed by Eusebius and Jerome—that it was written toward the end of Domitian’s reign...Second is the contention that the emperor worship alluded to in the Revelation was more widespread in Domitian’s than in Nero’s day....Third is the argument that the persecutions referred to in the Revelation accord better with Domitian’s than with Nero’s reign. According to Martin Franzmann, for example, during Domitian’s reign ‘the emperor cult was propagated with great zeal in the province of Asia,’ which could account for John’s banishment to Patmos (1:9), Antipas’ martyrdom at Pergamum (2:13), and the souls of men who had been slain for their witness crying aloud for vindication (6:9, 10).4...The fourth argument is that the seven churches of Asia Minor are given descriptive appearances reflecting a period of development behind them not possible at the time of the Neronic persecution....The fifth late date argument is this: Paul founded the church at Ephesus around AD 52 and wrote to that church, if in fact Ephesians is his letter to that church,8 around AD 60–62. From the fact that this letter makes no reference to specific problems or disputes but rather simply elaborates upon the spiritual wealth the Christian has in Christ and upon the walk which comports with that spiritual wealth, plus the fact that nowhere in it does he address any particular heresy troubling the church, we can infer that in AD 60–62 the Ephesian church was in good spiritual health. But Christ’s letter to the church at Ephesus in the Revelation (2:1–7) rebukes it for having fallen away from its first love and calls upon it to repent. If the Revelation was written around AD 65, as the early date advocate urges, then he has to believe that in a very short space of time the church at Ephesus fell dramatically from the height of spiritual health which Paul’s letter implies that it enjoyed to a point where the Savior had to rebuke the church for having left its first love—a serious charge indeed—and to call upon the church to ‘remember the height’ from which it had fallen and to repent. Much easier is it to account for such a dramatic lapse if one postulates the late date for the Revelation. [Robert L. Reymond, John, Beloved Disciple: A Survey of His Theology (Fearn, Great Britain: Christian Focus Publications, 2001), 139–142.]
Body:

I. The Purpose of the Revelation (Rev. 1:1).

Revelation 1:1 KJV 1900

THE Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:

In this book all the other books of the Bible end and meet: in it is the consummation of all previous prophecy. [Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and David Brown, Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, vol. 2 (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), 550.]
Note - John Phillips Outline:
Visions of God (Rev. 1).
Visions of Grace (Rev. 2-3).
Visions of Government (Rev. 4-20).
Visions of Glory (Rev. 21-22).

A. What Happened (v. 1a).

Jesus received an "unveiling" from the Father.
The term Apocalypse is applied to no Old Testament book. Daniel is the nearest approach to it; but what Daniel was told to seal and shut up till the time of the end, John, now that the time is at hand (Rev 1:3), is directed to reveal. [Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and David Brown, Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, vol. 2 (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), 550.]
The first time our Lord came into this world, He came in the veil of our flesh. His deity was covered over with His manhood. His Godhead was hidden by His humanity. Just once in a while did His deity shine through, as on the Mount of Transfiguration, or as in His miraculous works. But most of the time the glory, the majesty, the deity, the wonder and the marvel of the Son of God, the second person of the Holy Trinity, were veiled. These attributes were covered over in flesh, in our humanity. He was born in a stable. He grew up in poverty. He knew what it was to hunger and to thirst. He was buffeted and beaten and bruised. He was crucified and raised up as a felon before the scoffing gaze of the whole earth. The last time that this world saw Jesus was when it saw Him hanging in shame, misery and anguish upon the cross. He later appeared to a few of His believing disciples, but the last time that this unbelieving world ever saw Jesus was when it saw Him die as a malefactor, as a criminal, crucified on a Roman cross. That was a part of the plan of God, a part of the immeasurable, illimitable grace and love of our Lord. “By His stripes we are healed.” But then is that all the world is ever to see of our Saviour—dying in shame on a cross? No! It is also a part of the plan of God that some day this unbelieving, this blaspheming, this godless world shall see the Son of God in His full character, in glory, in majesty, in the full-orbed wonder and marvel of His Godhead. Then all men shall look upon Him as He really is. They shall see Him holding in His hands the title-deed to the Universe, holding in His hands the authority of all creation in the universe above us, in the universe around us, and in the universe beneath us; holding this world and its destiny in His pierced and loving hands. (W.A. Criswell, Expository Sermons on Revelation [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1969], 1:16–17)
Note - Revelation = apo ("to take away") + kalupto ("a covering"); it means to disclose divine truth.
REVELATION apokalupsis (ἀποκάλυψις, 602), “an uncovering” (akin to apokalupto; see above), “is used in the NT of (a) the drawing away by Christ of the veil of darkness covering the Gentiles, Luke 2:32; cf. Isa. 25:7; (b) ‘the mystery,’ the purpose of God in this age, Rom. 16:25; Eph. 3:3; (c) the communication of the knowledge of God to the soul, Eph. 1:17; (d) an expression of the mind of God for the instruction of the church, 1 Cor. 14:6, 26, for the instruction of the Apostle Paul, 2 Cor. 12:1, 7; Gal. 1:12, and for his guidance, Gal. 2:2; (e) the Lord Jesus Christ, to the saints at His Parousia, 1 Cor. 1:7, rv (kjv, ‘coming’); 1 Pet. 1:7, rv (kjv, ‘appearing’), 13; 4:13; (f) the Lord Jesus Christ when He comes to dispense the judgments of God, 2 Thess. 1:7; cf. Rom. 2:5; (g) the saints, to the creation, in association with Christ in His glorious reign, Rom. 8:19, rv, ‘revealing’ (kjv, ‘manifestation’); (h) the symbolic forecast of the final judgments of God, Rev. 1:1 (hence the Greek title of the book, transliterated ‘Apocalypse’ and translated ‘Revelation’).”* See appearing, coming, lighten, B, Note, manifestation.¶ [* From Notes on Thessalonians, by Hogg and Vine, pp. 228, 229. ¶ Indicates that all the NT occurrences of the Greek word under consideration are mentioned under the heading or sub-heading. [W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, and William White Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, TN: T. Nelson, 1996), 532.]
...the noun occurs in Rev 1:1 and is used very nearly as a book title (which it soon becomes—as well as the designation for a genre): “The revelation of Jesus Christ.” This expression is intended to summarize the contents of the entire book which follows: the disclosure of history up to its goal in the holy Jerusalem, which descends from heaven, through Jesus Christ who thus exposes both God’s redemptive activity and the divine work of judgment. (In 22:18 the content of the book is described as προφητεία; on the combination of concepts cf. Amos 3:7.) [Horst Robert Balz and Gerhard Schneider, Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1990–), 132.]
Revelation 22:18 KJV 1900

For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:

Amos 3:7 KJV 1900

Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing,

But he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.

Note - of Jesus Christ [John MacArthur follows Hort here, whereas I agree with Robertson below].
Of Jesus Christ (Ἰησου Χριστου [Iēsou Christou]). Hort takes it as objective genitive (revelation about Jesus Christ), but Swete rightly argues for the subjective genitive because of the next clause. Gave him (ἐδωκεν αὐτοι [edōken autoi]). It is the Son who received the revelation from the Father, as is usual (John 5:20, 26, etc.). [A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1933), Re 1:1.]
Note - shortly is an adverb of manner, not time.
The word [“shortly”] (en tachei; cf. 2:16; 22:7, 12, 20) means that the action will be sudden when it comes, not necessarily that it will occur immediately. Once the end-time events begin, they will occur in rapid succession (cf. Luke 18:8; Acts 12:7; 22:18; 25:4; Rom. 16:20). [John F. Walvoord, “Revelation,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 928.]

B. Why It Happened (v. 1b).

To help prepare and comfort His dedicated and loving servants for the future.
Note - the play on words with servant and servants.
Exodus 21:5–6 KJV 1900

And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free: Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever.

Note - the interchange between scenes in heaven and earth throughout the book.
The scenes in Revelation alternate between heaven and earth. Chapter 1 is set in heaven; chapters 2 and 3 are set on earth; chapters 4 and 5 are back in heaven; chapters 6 and 7 are back on earth again. The book begins in heaven and it ends in heaven. The scenes alternate as follows:
1. In heaven: Blessing from God (1:1–8)
2. On earth: John Imprisoned (1:9)
3. In heaven: The glory of Christ (1:10–20)
4. On earth: Letters to the Churches (2:1–3:22)
5. In heaven: The Lamb and the throne (4:1–5:14)
6. On earth: The seals broken (6:1–17)
7. In heaven: The 144.000; silence (7:1–8:6)
8. On earth: The trumpet judgments (8:7–9:21)
9. In heaven: The little book (10:1–11)
10. On earth: The two witnesses (11:1–13)
11. In heaven: Worship (11:14–19)
12. On earth: Israel persecuted by the beasts (12:1–13:18)
13. In heaven: The 144,000 in glory; angelic activity (14:1–15:8)
14. On earth: The seven vials; the two Babylons (16:1–18:24)
15. In heaven: The marriage of the Lamb; its consequences (19:1–16)
16. On earth: Final judgments (19:17–20:10)
17. In heaven: The last judgment; the celestial city (20:11–22:21)
The reason for the alternating scenes is clear. In this last book of the Bible we have the full and final answer to the Lord’s prayer: “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10). In this book we see God’s will being decreed and declared in heaven, then we see that will being done on earth. The book of Revelation shows that no power in heaven, earth, or hell can frustrate the fulfillment of that plan. God’s kingdom will come, whether men like it or not.
The book of Revelation is occupied for the most part with events that have little bearing on our lives—most of the events will take place after the church has been removed from the scene. But there are two abiding values for us in this book. As we study it. we can keep in view the Person of Christ and the purposes of God. This book will teach us to adore that Person and accept those purposes, and thus make its impact on our lives. [John Phillips, Exploring Revelation: An Expository Commentary, The John Phillips Commentary Series (Kregel; WORDsearch Corp., 2009), Re 1:1b.]
Note - by his angel...
The angel messenger is not named but some believe he was Gabriel, who brought messages to Daniel, Mary, and Zechariah (cf. Dan. 8:16; 9:21–22; Luke 1:26–31). [John F. Walvoord, “Revelation,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 928.]
The angel does not come forward to “signify” things to John until Rev 17:1. Previous to that John receives information from others. Jesus Christ opens the Revelation, Rev 1:10, 11; 4:1; in Rev 6:1 one of the four living creatures acts as his informant; in Rev 7:13, one of the elders; in Rev 10:8, 9, the Lord and His angel who stood on the sea and earth. Only at the end (Rev 17:1) does the one angel stand by Him (compare Da 8:16; 9:21; Zec 1:19). [Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and David Brown, Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, vol. 2 (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), 551.]

II. The Penman of the Revelation (Rev. 1:1c-2).

Revelation 1:1–2 KJV 1900

THE Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.

He Received a Significant Message (v. 1c).
Note - this was given to John, the Beloved Disciple.
The book has been “signified”; it is a book of signs and symbols. About half of the symbols are explained in the book itself. Lamps, for example, represent assemblies of God’s people; stars represent angels; incense odors represent the prayers of saints. Where the symbols are not explained, other parts of the Bible must be searched for clues. It is an axiom of hermeneutics that God is His own interpreter. [John Phillips, Exploring Revelation: An Expository Commentary, The John Phillips Commentary Series (Kregel; WORDsearch Corp., 2009), Re 1:1c.]
Because of His Faithful Handling of God's Truth and His Testimony for Jesus (v. 2a).
As well as his eyewitness account (v. 2b).
Note - a possible inference to his Gospel Account.
It is a matter of belief. We either believe John or not. John is either telling the truth or he is lying. Which do we believe? Is Jesus Christ returning to earth? Are the events of the end time going to happen as recorded in Revelation or not? Should we be watching for Christ and these events or not? If the Revelation is truly the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ, then we must watch and be ready, for every event will certainly take place and nothing will stop them. We shall witness every single event either from heaven or from upon the earth. [Leadership Ministries Worldwide, Revelation, The Preacher’s Outline & Sermon Bible (Chattanooga, TN: Leadership Ministries Worldwide, 1996), 11.]

III. The Promise of the Revelation (Rev. 1:3).

Revelation 1:3 KJV 1900

Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

A. Prosperity for Those Who Hear (v. 3a).

John expects this book to be read in each of the seven churches mentioned (1:4) and elsewhere. Today the public reading of the Bible is an important part of worship that is often poorly done. [A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1933), Re 1:3.]
1 Timothy 4:13 KJV 1900

Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.

B. Prosperity for Those Who Heed (v. 3b).

James 1:21–22 KJV 1900

Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

Note - present tense participle keep = keep on observing, paying attention to, doing these things...

C. Prepare for the Time At Hand (v. 3c).

Note - the difference between chronos (clock-time) and kairos (as here, for seasons or eras of time).
The word “time” (kairos) refers to a period of time, that is, the time of the end (Dan. 8:17; 11:35, 40; 12:4, 9). The end time, as a time period, is mentioned in Revelation 11:18 and 12:12. In 12:14 the word “time” means a year (cf. Dan. 7:25); and the phrase “time, times, and half a time” means one year (“time”) plus two years (“times”) plus six months (“half a time”), totaling three and one-half years—the length of the time of “the end.” Revelation 1:3 includes the first of seven beatitudes in the book (1:3; 14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6; 22:7, 14). [John F. Walvoord, “Revelation,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 928.]
Romans 13:12 KJV 1900

The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.

1 Corinthians 15:51–58 KJV 1900

Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

1 Thessalonians 4:15–18 KJV 1900

For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

Hebrews 10:24–25 KJV 1900

And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

James 5:7–9 KJV 1900

Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.

1 Peter 4:7 KJV 1900

But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.

1 John 2:18 KJV 1900

Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.

2 Peter 3:4 KJV 1900

And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

Conclusion:

There are seven blesseds or beatitudes in Revelation.
⇒ The blessing or beatitude of obedience.
“Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand” (Re. 1:3).
⇒ The blessing or beatitude of eternal life.
“And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them” (Re. 14:13).
⇒ The blessing or beatitude of watchfulness and purity, of watching for the Lord’s return and living a pure life.
“Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame” (Re. 16:15).
⇒ The blessing or beatitude of heaven, of being called to the marriage supper of the Lamb.
“And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God” (Re. 19:9).
⇒ The blessing or beatitude of the resurrection, of being raised from the dead, of conquering death and living eternally with Christ.
“Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years” (Re. 20:6).
⇒ The blessing or beatitude of obedience, of heeding the sayings of Revelation.
“Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book” (Re. 22:7).
⇒ The blessing or beatitude of obedience, of keeping all of God’s commandments.
“Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city” (Re. 22:14).
Note the critical importance of obedience. Three of the seven blessings have to do with obeying God, with keeping His commandments—just doing what He says. Obedience cannot be overstressed. We must do what God says to do in the book of Revelation. [Leadership Ministries Worldwide, Revelation, The Preacher’s Outline & Sermon Bible (Chattanooga, TN: Leadership Ministries Worldwide, 1996), 11–12.]
This revelation of Jesus Christ needs to be personally considered by you, as well as shared with others. If we wait until the angel spreads the Everlasting Gospel it will be too late for those that we love now:
Revelation 14:6 KJV 1900

And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,

Understand the eternal value of this unveiling of Christ, and then do your part to take its warnings and consolations to a world sitting on the brink of destruction.
Reproof - for the lackadaisical approach you have toward warning others of God's impending wrath.
Rebuke - the distractions that take us from doing God's will to take His Word to those who would be doomed should they not hear.
Exhortation - to rededicate ourselves to the message of hope that we can escape the coming wrath.
Main Thought: Help the doomed escape the coming wrath of God on sin by revealing the hope of deliverance through Jesus.
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