Sunday, May 12, 2019

The Revelation of Christ – Part 2: The Theme, The Vision

The Revelation of Christ – Part 2:
The Theme, The Vision
HOFC - Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |

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The Book of Revelation, or the Revelation of Christ, is the most difficult book in the bible.

Because of this fact, many avoid it, or ignore it all together. Some fear lack of understanding, others afraid to misinterpret, which I guess it is better to avoid than dive in and get it completely wrong.

Many times, when a new believer comes to me for direction, they want to jump right into Revelation and find out what’s to come.

This is equivalent to deciding one day to learn Mandarin and sitting down to author a novel in Chinese that very same day.

Or, a kindergartener learning how to count, and then trying to calculate quantum mechanics calculations.

The words in Revelation have caused much debate on rapture, judgement, even some who claim John was writing about the events in his day in code rather than Jesus Christ revealing to him about the coming events and Judgment.

A special blessing is promised to those who read Revelation.

Although it may be a difficult book, we could all use a special blessing, reading this is good for us all, and with the help of the Holy Spirit, we will take the Revelation of Christ in small portions and gain understanding, little by little.

THE THINGS THOU HAS SEEN – Things that were
Part 1 – Introduction
Part 2 – The Theme, the Vision

THE THINGS WHICH ARE – The Church Age (Age of Grace)
Part 3 – Ephesus The Backsliding Church
Part 4 – Smyrna The Steadfast Church
Part 5 – Pergamos The Immoral Church
Part 6 – Thyatira The Careless Pagan Church
Part 7 – Sardis The Dead Church
Part 8 – Philadelphia The Favored Church
Part 9 – Laodicea The Church God Hates

More sermons in the series listed in Part 1

The Theme, The Vision
Revelation 1:3
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.”

Revelation 1:9-20
“I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. 10 On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, 11 which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.”
12 I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. 15 His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.
17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.
19 “Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later. 20 The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels[e] of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.”

a.   John, brother and companion in tribulation
                               i.   This mention by John of tribulation he is facing is not a nod to The Tribulation.

                              ii.   Tribulation in this sense was referring to the fact that John had been imprisoned for preaching the gospel as many brothers had and were at this very time also facing prison and persecution for Christ.

b.   In the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ
                               i.   John is encouraging those in tribulation for Christ’s sake that Jesus will ultimately establish His kingdom on Earth.

                              ii.   But we must be patient and endure until then.

c.   Imprisoned on Patmos for preaching the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ
                               i.   In the end of verse 9 we see John was not imprisoned for crimes he had committed, rather, for preaching Christ, for taking a stand for our Lord.

                              ii.   There was a time many years ago I thought the barbaric days of imprisoning someone for mere thoughts and words were long gone.
                             iii.   Yet, in recent time, there have been those who have been attacked, fined and even imprisoned for the Lord’s sake, and not only in backward countries like China, Africa, Muslim ran countries, were believer’s are murdered for their beliefs, but here in America where you can be fined and even jailed for the Word.

                             iv.   Whether it’s for not performing an abortion as a doctor, or baking a cake for homosexual marriage, or simply preaching the Word which this world labels “hate speech.”

Revelation 1:10 “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day (Sunday), and heard behind me a great Voice, as of a trumpet, saying I am the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last; and what you see, write in a book.”

a.   John was in the Spirit
                               i.   He saw a vision, and was in the Spirit. The Lord called John and moved him back and forth through time.
1.   The Lord said in verse 10 “I am the Alpha and Omega” beginning and end, first and last, existing outside of our time constraints.

2.   When people of the Lord are given a vision, a prophecy, it’s always correct because it is a glimpse of the actual future.

3.   When the people of God are given a warning, such as the case of Jonah to tell Nineva, that is not a prophecy, but a warning if conditions are not met.

                              ii.   The Lord commands John to write all he sees in a book (Revelation)
1.   So what John sees and records is not a “warning”, rather a vision of the actual events!

2.   A TRUE prophecy of what is to come!

3.   Nothing will change that.

                             iii.   The Lord tells John to send what he writes to seven specific churches Jesus has picked

                             iv.   There were more churches in the areas than these, however, these were chosen by Christ for symbolic reasons. Why?
1.   Ephesus – the backsliding church
2.   Smyrna – the steadfast church
3.   Pergamos – the immoral church
4.   Thyatira – the lax church with pagan rituals
5.   Sardis – the dead church
6.   Philadelphia – the favored church
7.   Laodicea – the lukewarm church

                              v.   These seven churches represent the condition of churches, along with Jesus’ criticisms, and counsel to change!

                             vi.   We ALL need this!

a.   John sees the seven golden candle sticks
                               i.   Symbolic of the churches holding the light
                              ii.   Candlesticks are NOT the light, they hold it, present it, display it for all to see

b.   In the midst of the candlesticks (churches)
                               i.   One, like unto the Son of Man
1.   This presents Jesus as the head of the churches!
2.   The one who places the candlesticks, or removes them
3.   The one who lights the candles or blows them out!
4.   He is the center of all activity within the church
c.   The Description of Jesus Christ (Starting in verse 13)
                               i.   Standing in the midst of the candlesticks

                              ii.   dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet
1.   Indicating His position as a King-Priest.

                             iii.   and with a golden sash around his chest
1.   Kingly apparel

                             iv.   The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, 
1.   Representing Majesty and Authority

                              v.   his eyes were like blazing fire
1.   portrays penetrating scrutiny and fierce judgment

                             vi.   His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace
1.   Bronze signifying His humanity, glowing in a furnace representing His super-human abilities

                            vii.   his voice was like the sound of rushing waters
1.   the voice of power
2.   I stood next to Niagara Falls once, the sound of the water rushing over the side of the falls was deafening

                           viii.   In His right hand He held seven stars
1.   "Hand" most frequently represents the ownership, power, or control that its possessor (either an individual or a people) 

2.   The hand of God, and especially the right hand, is also understood as a place of salvation, refuge, and protection. It is the favored position for the firstborn of Joseph to receive Jacob's blessing (Gen 48:13-18), for the bride of the king (Psalm 45:9), and for the chosen one who sits at God's right hand while judgment is rendered upon the earth (110:1 ; Jer 22:24). This is applied to Jesus (Mark 14:62 ; 16:19). He sits at God's right hand, where he intercedes as a priest for believers (Rom 8:34 ; Heb 8:1) and exercises authority over all powers (1 Peter 3:22). The apostles extend the right hand of fellowship to Paul.

3.   Who are the “stars”?  The pastors of the churches.
a.   Jesus owns them, and holds them in a place of salvation, refuge, protection, a favored position.

b.   A place for the chosen.

c.   Jesus exercises authority over the stars and any powers they have, represent or perform in His name.

                             ix.   and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword
1.   The sword is the Word of God

                              x.   His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance
1.   Represents His Glory

d.   John Thought he would die
                               i.   Jesus laid His right hand upon him and said, “fear not; I am the first and the last; I am He Who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive evermore; and have the keys of death and Hades
1.   Death (thanatou) physical and spiritual
2.   Hades (hadou) place of departed spirits (shoel)

a.   Write therefore (because of who Christ is) what you have seen, the things that are and the things that shall be

b.   The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the golden lampstands is this
                               i.   The stars are angels (messengers, by implication a pastor) of the seven churches
                              ii.   The seven lampstands are the seven churches

c.   This is a picture of the Church Age (Age of God’s grace)
                               i.   Jesus chose these churches to represent the full spectrum of where the churches can be during the age of grace

                              ii.   The fact that He gives criticisms shows He is judging them while they are active (not afterwards)

                             iii.   The fact Jesus gives counsel tells us, there is still time for these churches to change!

Every church right now should read these letters, criticize themselves, and read Jesus’ counsel so that they too may be pleasing to the Lord, and rightly lighting the world operating as the lampstands they are to be!

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