6 thoughts on “Sermon: Revelation 1”

  1. Ooh…a series on Revelation! This I must listen to.

    I forgot to tell you Jeff, that I did look up one of those men you mentioned back in September (John McArthur).

    I didn’t read everything that he wrote, but I read enough to see that he divides the promises made to Abraham into spiritual and literal. I don’t want to comment on that now.

    But I did want to say that what struck me is that the main thing missing in most modern expositions of prophecy (and of the book of Revelation), is the understanding of what is going on in Heaven, and the focus on Jesus our High Priest, in the Heavenly Temple.

    When the Apostles went out preaching, they pointed men away from the earthly temple (which had fulfilled it’s purpose), to the heavenly temple, where Christ was ministering forgiveness of sins, and the gift of the Holy Spirit.

    When Luther and others took part in the Reformation, they pointed men away from the earthly priests and cathedrals (which mimicked the Old Testament temple in many ways) to point them to going to Christ directly, as their great High Priest in the temple above, where there is power to cleanse the conscience and free the soul from the burden of sin.

    It seems it is Satan’s constant effort to direct our minds away from Christ’s work, and our participation in it, to some other earthly substitute. This gets our mind off the work of having Christ cleanse us from sin. But Revelation is full of temple language, and it is all about what is going on up there, and how it affects us down here.

    The book of Daniel also has references to heaven, although in that time, rebuilding the earthly temple, as a lesson book of the heavenly, was still on the agenda. But in Daniel 7, it is a judgment in heaven that takes away the power of the little horn which persecutes the saints.

    It’s not about bombs and wars, and earthly governments. It’s about what Christ is doing in heaven. I wouldn’t tell you what to preach, but as you go through this book, I really hope you can direct your listener’s attention to the heavenly things. I know you are trying to do that anyway.

  2. Okay, I finished listening. Some good points. I like the thought that the vision of Christ in heaven should humble us, as John “fell dead” at the sight of Him in His glory. And I’m sure this was not just the outward glory, but the full majesty and beauty of His perfections.

    About the “seven spirits”. I’ve understood certain numbers in the Bible to signify perfection in different ways:

    7 = perfection with respect to time (7 days make one full week, 7 feasts cover the whole Jewish year, slaves were freed in the 7th year, they are all time-related).
    10 = ordinal perfection, perfection of work (10 commandments define “the whole duty of man”, ten fingers and toes symbolizing all that man does)
    12 = character perfection, all the attributes of Christ (12 tribes, 12 apostles, the different attributes of the character of Christ divided among men, just as a prism splits light into different bands).

    So “seven spirits” would mean the Spirit given to the church from the beginning to the end of church history. Similar to what Jesus said, “Lo I am with you always, even unto the end.”

    That’s also my reason for taking the seven churches to indicate a history of the church through seven periods from beginning to end; because seven signifies time.

    I don’t doubt that the counsels to the different churches can apply at different times as well, so as to say that a person living in the Thyatiran “age” could be “losing his first love” which was the problem in Ephesus. So there is benefit in all the counsels.

    But there were certain strengths and weaknesses that defined certain church periods, or that certain church periods were subject to, as a whole.

    This is also borne out in the Old Testament where the Jewish nation goes through certain definite periods: the time of the settlement, the time of the Judges, the time of the Kings, the time of the captivity, the time of the Restoration, etc.

  3. I am intrigued with the idea that the seven churches are church history. I have read a couple attempts to line it up. I guess I’m enough intrigued by the idea to not be surprised if it’s legitimate, but also not convinced enough to see it as being the case. The jury is still out on it for me.

    As to Revelation being about heaven: I will mention heaven when the text does and earth when the text does. I’m not comfortable putting the whole book in the heavenly realm. This would simply make words not mean what they typically mean. I know it’s “Apocalyptic Literature,” which people say is all figurative, but alas, it’s only figurative language for those who tend to interpret them figuratively!

  4. Jeff, a few comments on the seven churches as history:

    1. The Waldensian Church, in their logo, showed 7 candlesticks, with the fourth one being highlighted (symbolizing their church). That would be the Thyatiran period. They saw the persecuting Catholic theocracy as the “Jezebel” of Revelation 3.

    2. I’ve read a few ministers from the late 1700-1800 period referring to the Protestant churches as Sardis, the ones who “had a name that they lived, but were dead”. ie. that they were trusting in their past and the names of their spiritual fathers, but were not continuing on in the same spirit of reform.

  5. Oh, I just checked the Waldensian logo. It’s a single candlestick, with 7 stars in a semi-circle at the top, and the candle flame is pointing to the fourth star.

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