Revelation (Handle with Care)
April 19th, 2009
Introduction: The book of Revelation: Handle with Care!
· Joel’s Army
· Black militant group
· Millerites- 1834
· 1988-Edgar Whisenant’s book “88 reasons why the rapture could be in 1988”
· “1994” Harold Camping’s book stating that the return of Christ could happen between Sept 15-17, 1994. Now He is claiming that the rapture will happen May 21st, 2011.
I) The Revelation (v.1)
A) Lit. the unveiling- of what must soon take place
B) By Jesus Christ- This is an important phrase. John is seeking to show from the very start that the words contained in this letter carry divine authority. The One who shares these words is:
1) The Alpha and the Omega- Rev. 1:8, John 1:1
2) Given this revelation by God the Father.
C) To show His servants:
1) This letter was given to the seven churches in the province of Asia (show slide)(preterist)
2) This letter was also intended for us as well- but we must understand first and foremost that this letter and it’s symbolism was understandable to the original audience to which it was given.
3) John lumps himself together with the servants of God. (v. 1, 9)
4) We are first and foremost servants of God, we are also His children. (John 1:12, 1 John 3:1)
(a) There is a reason that God desired that this letter be read. (transitional statement)
D) What must soon take place.
1) “Soon” spoken of several times. (Rev. 22:7,20) the understanding here is imminent, it is going to happen- (like a pregnant woman)
E) He made it known – through the use of symbolic language- language that would have been understandable to the original readers. Language that we need to take great care with.
II) The Responsibility (v. 2)To testify
A) Interesting word: testifies- almost every time it is used in the book it has overtones of death with it. (Jesus, Antipas) In fact the word for testify is the word that we use for martyr. The word faithful is also used in conjunction with it.
B) It would appear right from the start that we are being put on notice that this letter is about faithful witnesses under pressure and prospect of death. These faithful witnesses should take heart because their witness will not be in vain- they will be vindicated.
C) We should also see from the reference to Jesus’ death and the death of Antipas that martyrdom was something that John’s audience had already come to grips with.
1) John’s audience is being called to be faithful unto death, a prospect that they did face.
(a) Written during the reign of Domitian- who was worshipped as a deity in Asia Minor. The penalty for not worshipping was often death.
D) We have a responsibility to remain strong to the end- what many believers go through in other parts of the world for their faith in comparison to our fear to share the truth with those next door.
III) The Reward (v. 3)
A) Blessed is the one who reads, hears and takes to heart the words of this prophecy.
1) In the time that John wrote there would have been a reader.
2) The thrust of this blessing is tied to the fact that we cannot simply hear these words we must take them to heart (lit. apply them to our lives)
B) Because the time is near.- All of the things written in this book will come to pass, count on it. We don’t have time to play games, with our spiritual lives, with the lives of others. Now is the time to spread the word!