4 thoughts on “Sermon: Revelation 7”

  1. I appreciated especially your ending comments about God answering His people’s prayers and defending them. Amen! Even so, it may not seem that God is defending His people, even as Job and Jesus did not seem to be helped in the midst of their trials, but they were preserved from sinning (which is the most important), and eventually did find deliverance from their outward afflictions also.

    I differ, as you may know, on the application of Jewish terminology. I have no problem applying the terms “jew”, “israel”, “tribes”, “circumcised”, and the names of the individual tribes, to Christians. I find full support for this first in Romans chapter 9 to 11, Gal. 6:16, and many other places in the New Testament (ie. the “new covenant” was made “with the house of Israel and the house of Judah”, Heb. 8:8,13; 12:24, yet we believers claim it as ours).

    As well, the book of Revelation seems to support it as well. In the Old Testament, there was a geographical Israel, a geographical Egypt, and a geographical Babylon. These entities also represented spiritual ideas or philosophies.

    In the New Testament, the spiritual ideas are still there, but no longer located in the same geographical region. So, Revelation 11 makes reference to “spiritual Egypt”, Peter identified Rome as “Babylon” in 1 Peter 5:13, and Paul identified believers in Christ as spiritual Israel (Rom. 9:25, 11:17, Gal. 6:16).

    This is not “allegorical” interpretation, it is seeing things as God sees them. The Lord looks on the heart, and names things accordingly. An Israelite is an overcomer. Jesus called Nathanael “an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile”.

  2. Your assertion that your interpretation is “how God sees it” might be a tad overstated. I would suggest including at least a possible clause you may be wrong. Yes, God judges the heart, and you and I are not God. I would refrain from saying that in regard to my interpretation.

    I read what you say in these comments, but in all honesty, I have no desire to argue about interpretations of the Book of Revelation. But I do read what you write. As I said in my sermon, if you disagree with me, that’s fine, it’s not the end of the world.

  3. Jeff, I didn’t mean to imply that I had the corner on God’s view of the prophecies. Of course His thoughts are greater than ours and we strive to catch glimpses of them.

    What I meant was that the idea that the words “jew” and “israel” can apply to true believers, or people who have overcome sin in the faith of Jesus, is more than just “allegorical” interpretation, as you stated it in your sermon.

    Sometimes the seemingly “plain” or “literal” meaning of the Bible, especially in relation to the prophecies, is not the meaning God may have intended. There is always some human interpretation involved, and what seems “literal” to us, may not be God’s idea of “literal”.

    The early church was primarily a Jewish organization, and did not look at itself as a separate entity in the beginning. Rather, it was like a “reformation” within the Jewish body. Even after the descent of the Holy Spirit, the followers of Jesus were very slow to understand that the gospel was to go “wholesale” to the Gentiles.

    They knew that in the Old Testament, a few Gentiles here and there had been incorporated into the Jewish faith (I was surprised to learn the other day that Caleb, that man of great faith, was a descendant of Esau). But they still saw a barrier between the Jews and the Gentiles “according to the flesh”.

    This barrier really started to fall when Cornelius and his household were converted through Peter’s ministry, and when Paul was called as an apostle to the Gentiles. Still there were struggles, such as the controversy over circumcision.

    So, it was slowly and gradually that the apostles and disciples came to understand the “literal” meaning of the prophecies.

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