-Answered Prayer Wall
Revelation 8:4 - The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand.
Revelation is not a crystal ball revealing esoteric secrets that enable one to escape the harsh realities of life on earth, but a down-to-earth manual on how to be a disciple of Jesus facing the harsh realities of life on the earth; in particular, how to do this the way Jesus did and does.
-Foundational conviction of the book is that things are not as they seem
-Or more exactly…things are not ONLY as they seem
-Revelation reveals that there is more to “reality” than meets the unaided senses
-More than the five senses
-There is more to what we call “life”
Thank what we can pick up with our unaided senses, intellect and emotions
-It is the purpose of Revelation - the down-to-earth, this-worldly, pastoral purpose - to open that up more
-The more we tap into this, the more our whole perspective on life changes
-It adds a dimension to reality that shifts how we interact with the world
-Interact with media differently
-We perceive cultural forces differently
-We see the people around us differently
-We see the church differently
-Most importantly…we see Jesus NOW differently
-The goal of Revelation is to undermine our confidence in what we take in through our senses
-And heighten our awareness and confidence in the unseen realm!
-Janitor story - “It means Jesus is gonna win”
-Why apocalyptic vision? - John had a lot of options…stories, teachings, etc
-By its own identification Revelation is three types of literature
-Letter - 1:4
-Prophecy - 1:1, 22:6 - “to show what must shortly take place
-Apocalyptic - An image with a message
-Why an apocalyptic vision?
Revelation uses images
-Images have a power of their own!
-Art Museum - Even if there his an explanation of the “message” of a painting the painting can’t be reduced to that explanation
-Our goal is to understand the message and internalize it as the original readers did
-We do not want to do away with the images themselves
-We are faced with powerful images constantly!!!!
-Revelation presents a compelling competing image!
-Churches are facing increasing pressure to compromise
65 - Nero
67 - Vespasian
-70 - Jerusalem destroyed
-Peter, Paul & Timothy martyred
92 - Dominitian
-Caesar Worship - Incense & “Caesar Kurios”
“a little act of worship” - Fed his insecurity and glued the empire
-For John and all disciples this was no “small act”
-Danger is not the persecution, but spiritual compromise and complacency!
-Revelation is a call to all-out allegiance to the Lamb of God in a world that is feverishly worshipping the beast
-And pressuring them to do the same!
-John is the only apostle to not be martyred…he is a case study in longevity
“I do not read the Revelation to get additional information about the life of faith in Christ. I have read it all before in law and prophet, in gospel and epistle. Everything in the Revelation can be found in the previous sixty-five books of the Bible. The Revelation adds nothing of substance to what we already know. The truth of the gospel is already complete, revealed in Jesus Christ. There is nothing new to say on the subject.
But there is a new way to say it. I read the Revelation not to get more information but to revive my imagination. St. John uses words the way poets do, recombining them in fresh ways so that old truth is freshly perceived. He takes truth that has been eroded to platitude by endless usage and sets it in motion before us in an “animated impassioned dance of ideas.”
“someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet”
-This may be the most important part of the vision…
-In light of this vision “someone like a son of man” is the central figure in human history to which all authority is given to establish God’s indestructible eternal kingdom
-And to whom all people of all ages owe complete allegiance!
-Therein lies the central message of Revelation
-To whom will our allegiance go?
“dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest”
-Priestly garments of Aaron - Exodus 28:4
-Kingly garment -
-Revelation 19:8 - Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.)
-Around wait = work!
-Around chest = done
-The priestly work of reconciliation…DONE!
-The kingly work of rule and establishing a kingdom…DONE!
-Fulfilling all righteousness…DONE!
1. White Hair(do):
-Daniel 7:9 - The Ancient of Days…God!!!
-The Son of Man is God!
-The picture is grace and God’s kingdom established through Jesus!!!
2. Eyes -were like blazing fire
-Eyes as the window to the soul = Pure
-Eyes that penetrate and purify
3. Feet - his feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace
-Echoes of Daniel 2 statue
-Tried and tested foundation
4. Voice - his voice was like the sound of rushing waters.
-Drowns out other sounds
5. Right Hand - In his right hand he held seven stars
-Seven messengers of the churches
-Seven known planets - Thought = planets control the world
-John’s Troas Night
6. Mouth - coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword.
-Close combat sword
-Conviction is a good thing!
-Being cut by the word of God is a good thing!
7. Face - His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.
-Exposing light of day
-Imagery of blessing (Numbers 6)
Parallelism of this passage points to Voice!
-Jesus wants to drown out all of the other voices clamoring for these disciples attention
What is the message?? - 1:17-18
-John falls down!
-Jesus puts his right hand down on him
“Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 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.
What were all of the disciples in the Asian churches feeling?
-Fear is a powerful force
-All fear is rooted in a fear of death
-Jesus allowed himself to be taken captive in the prison of death…the thing we fear
-Burst forth alive!
-With the keys to the prison!
-He’s not running scared of being taken captive again!
-He offers us that same freedom!
Revelation is an appeal to overcome that fear
-To not succumb to worshipping the beast
-To not give in to compromising loyalty to Jesus!
The KEY to overcoming is having a clear vision and a purged imagination
-To see the present in light of the future, yes!
-But more importantly…to see the present in light of the unseen realities of the present
Closing question…Where is your total loyalty? Does Jesus have your complete loyalty?
-Maybe it has drifted…diminished…got distracted
Revelation is calling you back!
-Jesus tears back the curtain and reveals himself to win back your loyalty!
No matter what is going on
-Jesus has won
-Jesus is ruling the universe including this crazy world
-He has the power to see us through even if it demands our life
-Jesus has won!