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Revelation 1





 

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TRANSCRIPT



Well Church, we have arrived! We have made it, not only to the last book in our Dwell series, the last book of the Bible, but to the infamous Revelation. This book has gotten a bit of a bad rap in our culture because some of the symbolic imagery can be confusing or even odd to some of us. As we dive in, I want to encourage you not get caught up or lost in the details of the symbolism but to focus more on the overarching purpose and meaning of this book. To reveal the full identity of Christ and to give warning and hope to all believers.


Revelation is about the present and the future. It offers hope to all believers, but especially to those who have suffered for the gospel. Which isn’t what you normally hear when Revelation is brought up. It’s been given such a negative undertone. That’s why I am so excited to dive into this last book.


Revelation was written by the apostle John while he was exiled to the Island of Patmos around 95 A.D. Now I think it is interesting to point out the fact that John is the last and longest living of the 12 disciples. He is the only one who was not martyred for his faith. I believe that this was not by accident. I believe the fact that he was exiled to Patmos for preaching the gospel instead of murdered was for the specific purpose of writing Revelation. God wasn’t finished with him yet.


This book was written to the seven churches in Asia, and christians everywhere, for the purpose of revealing the full identity of Christ and to give warning and hope to all believers. Most scholars believe that these seven churches of Asia that John was writing to were experiencing a lot of the persecution that took place under the emperor Domitian from 90-95 A.D. Now remember, John had seen Jesus in two forms, His human state and His incarnate state at His ascension. That is why he was able to recognize Jesus so clearly and quickly in his vision. God also revealed to him what would take place in the future: the judgement and the ultimate triumph over evil.


Revelation is written in apocalyptic form, which sounds super intense, but all it actually means is that it is a Jewish type of literature that uses symbolic imagery to communicate hope (in the ultimate triumph of God) to those of us in the midst of persecution. The events of this book are not strictly chronological in pattern.


Because of that, I want to walk you through the over-arching timeline of Revelation. We will go over them in greater detail later on in the book but I will give you a small snippet. First, there is the Rapture. Jesus will descend with a shout, the voice of an angel and the trumpet of God. All believers, dead and living, will rise and meet Him in the air. This is NOT the second coming of Christ that is talked about. We will get to that, but it is important to note, because the Rapture is commonly confused for the second coming. Second, there is the Tribulation. This is a 7 year period where the Spirit of God will lift any restraining influence on the Earth and there will be much evil. But as believers, we get to miss it! Third, after the 7 years of Tribulation, THAT is when the second coming of Christ happens! Jesus will come down from Heaven and win the final battle against evil. Fourth, is the Final Judgement. This is the great judgement day that is talked about where we will all account for our sins. Fifth is the Millennial Reign of Christ. John says that Christ will then rule the Earth for a thousand years! And lastly, after the Millennial Reign, there will be a new Heaven and a new Earth.


If we can leave Revelation knowing that timeline and understanding it, then we’ve done our job. We will be good! Those are the six most important parts of this book. I think we can do it!


As we bring things to a close today, I want to take a quick moment to look at a few key scriptures within chapter 1. The first is verse 3, which is sort of the key verse of the book, “ 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.” John encourages us in this book that we have nothing to fear if we faithfully follow God. We can walk in confidence of His love for us!


And secondly, I would be remiss if I didn’t end with verses 17 and 18. It says, “When I saw him, I fell at his feet as if I were dead. But he laid his right hand on me and said, “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last. I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave.” Wow, what a powerful statement, straight from the Lord himself.


So, Christmas in Revelation, not sure it’s been done before, but we are about go for it. Church, I cannot wait for us to dive into the rest of this book together! Let’s go!


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