Adult Sunday School Revelation Picture


Lesson: Adult Sunday School Revelation Picture Date: March 31, 2024 Teacher: Pastor Brian Garcia


Well, good morning. Morning, morning.
I'm still not used to this church not being filled on Easter.
So weird to me. It's like the one time when I was pastoring at other churches. It's like the one day of the year where I know
I'm going to get a good crowd. Except for here. That's true.
That's true. But the nominal people don't know that.
The CEOs. Yeah. And so, let's open in a word of prayer. Our good and gracious God, we thank you that you are sovereign and ruler over history.
Lord, we know that all things happen according to that good pleasure and will. And Father, as we endeavor to open your word this morning, in one of the more interesting and difficult books of the
Bible, we pray, God, for your illumination, for your spirit to lead us and give us insight into the unraveling of history and the personal work of Jesus Christ.
Lord, we thank you that you've given us this church, this ministry, these people. We pray,
Father, for their edification. We pray, Father, for their sanctification. And that all these things would be used to bring them to a closer knowledge and image of Christ.
Unto the glory of the one true and triumphant God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We do pray this in Jesus' name. Amen. So since I became your pastor, it's been on many of your radars that I've got a big intrigue with the book of Revelation.
I always told you I'd love to go into a teaching on Revelation because I have a verse -by -verse systematic study of Revelation that would take us probably about two years to go through.
So we can't do that. We can't even do a full recap of all 22 chapters of Revelation.
What I want to do is kind of give you a taste and give you the big picture idea of this fascinating book of the
Bible. Everyone will agree that Revelation is probably the hardest book of the
Bible to understand. Everyone from theologians to pastors will all say that.
But I have a little bit of a different take. I actually think Revelation is one of the easiest books of the
Bible to understand. And the reason I believe that is because if you have a good knowledge and basis of the
Old Testament, then the book of Revelation will make so much sense.
One of the things that I've said about the book of Revelation that will sound heretical to you when you hear it is that there is nothing new in the book of Revelation.
Okay? There's nothing new. You might be wondering, Pastor, where else in the
Bible does it talk about the four horsemen of the apocalypse? Where else in the Bible does it talk about these plagues?
Where else in the Bible does it talk about all these incredible images? Actually, almost every image, almost every reference in the book of Revelation has a prior reference in the
Old Testament. For instance, you might wonder, where in the Old Testament are there four horsemen of the apocalypse?
Actually, we see them in Zechariah chapter 4. And we see their meaning.
You might be wondering, Pastor, where else do we see this idea of wormwood? You know, in Revelation chapter 10 and 11, there's this idea of wormwood, of what some people interpret to be a comet that comes, hits the earth, and then infects the water supply, and there's all these things.
Where do we find that elsewhere in Scripture? We actually find it in the book of Jeremiah. In the book of Jeremiah, it's referencing apostates.
And it's referencing an apostate people. Everything in the book of Revelation has a basis in the
Old Testament. And so today I want to give you a recap of the first 12 chapters, so halfway through the book of Revelation, and kind of give you a snapshot picture of what this incredible book is about.
Now, when we talk about books of the Bible, how many books are there? How many
Old Testament books are there? Thirty -nine. How many New Testament books are there? Twenty -seven.
That's some good math right there, good deduction. Now, of those 66 books, there are what are called different genres.
You have historical. You have prophetic. You have poetic. You have different types of narratives.
You have epistles. You have all these types of different genres of literature and of writing.
What kind of genre is the book of Revelation? It's prophetic, and it's also another one.
What? Apocalyptic. In fact, the word revelation, we get it from the
Greek, which is apokalypsis. And apokalypsis just literally means, when we think about apocalypse, it sounds like the end of the world, doesn't it?
It sounds scary. It sounds like doom and gloom. That's why people think that the book of Revelation is a scary book, and it's confusing, and it's all these things.
I've heard pastors say, I won't even touch the book of Revelation. But the word apocalypse, apokalypsis, or revelation, actually has a very different meaning.
The word means to unravel or to unveil. Think of a stage with a curtain.
And revelation, or to apocalypse, is to bring the curtain over and open it so everyone can see.
I want you to turn to the first chapter of Revelation. And excuse my sniffles.
I've got bad allergies today. And notice how this book opens in the first three verses.
The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants, the things that must soon take place.
He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw.
Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear and keep what is written in it, for the time is near.
Does it say scared and cursed is the one who reads these words?
Instead it says blessed. Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy. What a beautiful invitation that is.
It's not a warning sign of saying danger, danger, stay away, don't read this book, you won't understand it, you won't comprehend it.
He says no. Blessed are you who read aloud the words of this prophecy.
In particular, why? Because according to John the Revelator, the time is what?
Near. Now, the question might arise, what does he mean by nearness?
What is near? What time is near? We'll get into that in a moment. In your insert, or in your paper that you've been handed,
I want you to briefly go over the four major views on the book of Revelation.
Now, several years ago I think we went through a book on eschatology, and in that material
I think it went over some of this, how to interpret the book of Revelation. Now, that wasn't, what book was it?
It wasn't a commentary, was it? That's right, that's right.
And I know in that book, because I've also read it, he goes over some of this in regard to the four understandings of Revelation.
The first one I want you to write down is, one of the four views of understanding
Revelation is the idealist view. Can anyone tell me what the idealist view is? Anyone remember what the idealist view is?
Pastor? Yeah.
Sometimes it's also called the spiritualist view, or the spiritual view. And it is, again, similar to what
Pastor just mentioned. It is the view that everything that's in Revelation is to be viewed from the lens of a spiritual view that this happens kind of in every era of the church.
And so the beast, there's always going to be a beast. That's government. There's always going to be a struggle.
There's always going to be persecution. There's always going to be these ebb and flows of history. And so this view was popularized early on in church history.
Such saints as Origen or St. Augustine in particular held what we would refer to as the idealist or spiritual view.
And he very much popularized it. Augustine was someone who is credited in church history with a robust understanding of eschatology.
And so all millennialism and concepts of the kingdom that we understand today, a lot of it stems from Augustinian writing and thought.
And so certainly Augustine is a huge influence on this view. Then the second view is what is called the
Preterist view. Anyone know what a Preterist view is?
Gretchen? Yeah. So Preterist means pre, past.
And it basically says that everything in the book of Revelation is basically all done. It's happened.
It historically is fulfilled most likely in the year, in the time of the year of 70
AD in the first century. So Preterist view would say we look at Revelation. We say, okay, all this happened already.
So the Preterist would say, hey, we look at Revelation and we can rejoice in that this is actually fulfilled prophecy.
You might be wondering, okay, well, what about Armageddon? What about, you know, all the plagues?
What about, you know, the millennial kingdom? What about the world to come?
Where does that fit in with 70 AD? And so we'll briefly touch on that later.
But the Preterist view, again, is that everything happened around the year 70 AD. So this is a book of fulfilled prophecy.
And if you're a partial Preterist, you would agree with that view all the way until about Revelation 19 or 20.
So a partial Preterist would say that's true. All this is fulfilled except for the last, like, three chapters.
And so they would say that is a future event. Okay. The next one would be the
Historicist view. Can anyone remind us what the
Historicist view is? Or no, or want to give a hint?
What does that connotate? Yes, Ken? Yeah, it's very similar to the
Idealist or the Spiritualist view of Revelation. But they will ground it more so in history.
And so they will ground these events that likely have, again, an occurrence in every era.
And they'll try to pin it to various kingdoms or ages such as the Roman Empire, then the
Turks, and then the British Empire, the American Empire. So they're always trying to kind of connect it into history.
The other view is the Futurist view. So as opposed to the
Preterist view where the Preterist would say all these things have been fulfilled, the
Futurist says, no, these things are yet future. And so the
Futurist would look at the book of Revelation and say these are all things that haven't happened yet but will happen.
Of these four, which is the most prominent in Evangelicalism today? Futurists.
Futurists. If you read any literature on end times, it is predominantly 98 %
Futurist views. The stuff that gets sensationalized on television, on YouTube, on various channels, it's all a
Futurist view. Like, oh, you know, there's a red blood moon, there's going to be, this year in particular, there's going to be a solar eclipse and it's going to make a cross sign across America.
And this is a sign of Jesus' return. And they look at Revelation and it's like all future, future, future. And it's all nonsense.
Yes? There's a good reason for that. Yeah. Yeah.
To use a phrase, it's not sexy. It doesn't sell. It's not appealing. And so you have these four major views,
Idealist, Preterist, Historicist, Futurist, and these are all different ways of understanding
Revelation. So the question that we pose is which one is the right way? Which is the right hermeneutic or lens by which we can interpret the book of Revelation?
Is it the Idealist, Preterist, Historicist, or Futurist? Anyone have an opinion?
Pastor, be bold. I have a question too, personally. I guess the problem with the
Futurist view is if you are a saint prior to, etc.,
it would make no sense. If it was Futurist, it makes no sense. It gives me no comfort. It tells me nothing about.
Okay. The Preterist. No, Futurist. The Futurist, okay. Futurist view would make no sense to the people who first heard that letter.
It would give them no comfort. Perfect. That's still not an answer. Which one do you hold on to?
Idealist. Idealist. There you go. Anyone else? Want to be brave and label yourself?
Ken? The Idealist is a partial Preterist. Okay. I like that. Hybrid. You had your hand up?
Yeah. Yeah, I feel like this is a trick question. It is. I feel like I'm being set up.
But, yeah, I'd probably say there's a lot of it that's like symbolic and spiritual.
But, honestly, I'm just going based off what he said. But it's like the idea of like, yeah, this is like good news for the saints both in the past and in the present.
So, you know, there's some idea of Futurist and there's some idea of Preterist at the same time. But there's a lot of spiritual stuff going on.
Yeah. Okay. In the back, yeah. Historicist is, again, very similar to the
Idealist in that you're looking at it from a spiritual perspective, but then you're trying to apply it to history.
Right? Where the Idealist, it's a little bit less, it's a little more vague.
It's a little less tangible. It's more about principle. It's about looking at the spiritual application of these prophecies, the spiritual applications of these events, and how they have spiritual ramifications for our day -to -day.
Versus a Historicist tries to more so fit things in history in a more kind of systematic way.
Pastor? Yeah, if I could separate it. Preterist is first century.
Historicist is after first century, but before now. Futurist is after now. And Idealist is all the above.
Yeah. So, here's, yeah. I take a little more of a nuance approach.
I'd say that the Idealist, the Preterist, the Historicist, and the
Futurist are all right, depending on the verse, depending on the context.
Okay? The Book of Revelation is apocalyptic literature, as we've established.
It is a genre that is hearkening back to themes that are thematic in the
Old Testament, in particular. So, if you have a strong basis of the Old Testament, you will truly be well positioned to understand the
Book of Revelation because, again, everything is pointing to, particularly, the reign of Jesus Christ.
So, if you want me to put kind of a main theme in regard to the
Book of Revelation, it's the reign of Christ. The Book of Revelation is describing what all the prophets before have been prophesying, and it gives it to us in a climactic, dramatic form of literature, apocalyptic literature, and it's picturing the reign of Christ over His people.
And so, the theme of Revelation, I want you to write this in notes, is the revealing of the reign of Jesus Christ as Lord of History.
This is the theme of the Book of Revelation. Again, we've read the first three verses of Revelation, but take a look also in Revelation chapter 1, verse 7 and 8.
It says, So, again, the notes should read that the theme of Revelation is the revealing of the reign of Christ as Lord of History.
Yes? I think that's right.
I have a presupposition when it comes to the Book of Revelation. I have a presupposition when it comes to the entirety of the
New Testament. My presupposition is that the entirety of the New Testament was written before 70
AD. That is an unpopular view. It is gaining traction within scholarship.
It is gaining traction within, you know, a modern look at examination of the evidence.
But I would say every argument for a post -70 authorship of most of the
Gospels and including the Book of Revelation and the Johannian literatures point to a quote from a church father where he says in the 2nd or 3rd century, he says that John the
Revelator wrote during the reign of Domitian. Now Domitian was an emperor who reigned in the 90s, and so that's why most people would say, well, some of the earliest witnesses of the early church would point to, you know,
John writing Revelation while in prison in the island of Patmos under the reign of Domitian.
And the reason why I distrust that analysis is because this is the same church father who said
Jesus was crucified when he was 50 years old. Okay? So clearly this guy's not good at math.
And so if that's our strongest evidence in the early church for a dating of Revelation, I would then want to examine the internal evidence of the writings of the
New Testament. And one of the things that stands out in the Gospels is this climactic prophecy that Jesus makes twice, and primarily in what's called the
Olivet Discourse. In the Olivet Discourse, Jesus speaks about the destruction of the temple, and he speaks of this in very dramatic terms.
Now a criticism of a critical view of the Gospels and of the
New Testament would say, well, of course they were able to write this because they wrote this post -70
AD. So they're alluding to an event that had already happened, which doesn't make it prophecy. I believe that the
New Testament writers were prophesying that Jesus was prophesying when they speak of the coming destruction.
And no reference in the New Testament is there to the destruction of the temple in 70
AD, which would have been huge vindication of the
Christian witness. It would have been a huge, you know, it's like someone writing in post -911 context about, you know, politics and religion and society and not mentioning 9 -11.
I mean, it's even bigger than that. I mean, this is the center of Jewish worship, of which the view was that Christianity was a cult and a sect of Judaism.
And so for it not to be mentioned is pretty dramatic, and I think it's pretty telling. So there's an internal harmony and witness of the
New Testament that I would say leads to a compelling case. And this is just one little point.
We don't have time to go into far too in -depth in this. But I would hold to a pre -70
AD authorship of the entirety of the New Testament. And so that would be my perspective and view.
And I think the internal witness of Scripture would vindicate and speak to that view. Yes? Also, I think that because he predicted that he was going to come back and,
I mean, it was like judgment upon, and then it happened, I think there's a huge reason that the church grew so fast was because they were using that.
Like, see, this is what happened to the people that crucified the Lord. And just one more thing about the authorship, the date of authorship for Revelation.
I can make a really, I'm going to make a very quick and compelling argument that Revelation was written pre -70
AD. And it's the identity of the beast. Everyone debates today, especially all the futurists, who is the beast?
Who is the mark of the 666 about? You know? And again, Revelation chapter one makes it abundantly clear that this is a prophecy about things that must soon take place.
Okay? Soon. And in fact, this is one of the underlying thematic themes of the book of Revelation is the soonness of these events.
Okay? So then, only a futurist can stretch soonness to mean 2 ,000 years of history.
I think there's an immediacy to the things that are speaking and being alluded to in the book of Revelation.
Revelation chapter 13 being one of them where it talks about the mark of the beast. And I think this is a clear cut picture of Nero as the beast.
Two reasons why. First, John the Revelator invites us to investigate and to calculate the number of the beast, which is a man's number.
And he says it's 666. 666. Now, what could that possibly mean?
Understand the context of John of Revelation. John is writing under persecution.
He's in prison on the island of Patmos. And so, he wants this letter to get out to the seven churches. In order for the letter to get out to the seven churches, it has to go through the hands of the guards.
It's the only way you can get literature in and out. It's the only way you can get mail. It's kind of like a penitentiary today. You want to get a letter out of prison, it's going to go through the guards, and you better believe they're going to check to see what it is that you're sending because they want to make sure that you're not sending information that could be harmful to the government or to the empire in this case.
And so, John has to write a lot of things cryptically. And so, he uses a lot of the cryptological language that we find in the
Old Testament, primarily in the prophetic books of Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Jeremiah.
And, of course, the 12 minor prophets. So, in order to get this radical gospel and very much political message out to the seven churches, he has to use sort of symbolic and vague language.
But he then invites the reader to figure the mystery out because it's not that hard. He would not be inviting us to calculate the number unless we could actually calculate it.
Now, here is what a young, maybe let's say a young Christian in the city of Thyatira, one of the seven churches that Jesus wrote to, reading this letter from John and saying to himself and saying to his dad,
Dad, I don't get it. When John says this in Revelation chapter 13 and 666, I just don't understand.
Like, who's Harry Kissinger, right? Who's Barack Obama?
What is Social Security, you know? It's not what he was thinking of. It's not what the reader, it's not what the person to whom were the original recipients of this book, so again, we need to have a good exegesis, hermeneutics of the text.
That's not what they were thinking. Instead, what would have come to their mind when they're calculating the number of the beasts would be, wow, the numeric value of 666 brings me to the
Greek and Latin numeric value of Neron Kaiser. Okay? Now, in the book of Revelation in chapter 13, you'll see in your footnotes, and it's usually in, most
Bibles have a little footnote there when it says 666, that some, in some of the earliest translations actually, or manuscripts, have a different number.
Now, this is never mentioned by the futurists. Do you know what the other number is? 616.
Why the discrepancy? Why does some line of manuscripts use 666, others use 616?
As a matter of fact, the vast majority of the earlier manuscripts use 616. It's kind of concerning.
Why the difference? Because the Hebraic value of the name
Neron Kaiser would have been 616. So, thus, the discrepancy between 666 and 616, depending on which language you're doing the calculating in.
Make sense? Yeah. Hebrew. Correct.
Correct. That's right.
That's right. So, every other book of the Bible, like Daniel is very good at this.
Daniel gives us his succession of empires, and he names them all as beasts.
They're all beasts. One is the shape of a leopard, one is the shape of a bear, one is the shape of a lion, and then one is the shape of a terrible beast that just goes beyond description.
That's Rome, right? And so, clearly, Daniel understood the beast to be
Rome, and Daniel prophesies in Daniel chapter 9 of a little horn that would rise up and speak blasphemous words.
I believe this was Nero. This is who is being referred to here in that text.
And I think it has a spiritual, if you took the idealist view, I think it has actually a spiritual application to the
Pope. Because who is the one who sits in the midst of the sea of Rome today?
It is the Pope. In fact, that obelisk that sits on the
Vatican, do you know who erected that? Nero. During the Neroic circuses.
So, this is the place in which Peter was martyred, which is why it's called
St. Peter's Square. This is the place that Peter was martyred. And that obelisk was actually erected under Nero.
And Nero was known as the beast, even by Romans. Did you know that when
Nero, he was a nasty guy, and he had his mom murdered.
And you know what his mother said as she was being murdered? She said, stab me here in my womb where I nourished the beast for nine months.
Interesting, huh? So, if you look at a first century perspective, there's no doubt who these people would have been thinking of.
What did the numeric values 666, 616 lead to? It's Nero.
It's Caesar. It's Rome. So, there's another mystery here.
Yeah? Back up for just a second. The idea that he used the numeric value.
Correct. Correct. So, it's a bit of an argument for silence.
Because I've always wondered if that would be the case. Why didn't he say Nero? Well, there it is in the number. But we also have to take the premise with that, that the guards who were reading the letter wouldn't have gotten it.
They were expecting the common Christian and others to read it. Oh, okay. So, Dad, what does that mean?
Here, let me tell you something. You can figure it out. But the guards were saying that they would have missed it or couldn't.
Yeah, because they don't have no basis in the Old Testament. They have no basis of Hebraic apocalyptic thinking.
And so, these were pagan guards who this would have been nonsense. This would have been garbled.
What does this mean? And so, again, I'm not hiding my presupposition. My presupposition is that this book is written prior to 70 and that these are events that are in the first 12 chapters in particular.
I would take a strongly preterist view of a lot of the prophecies that are being fulfilled.
And so, that is my presupposition as I go into the text. But I came to that presupposition because of the text itself.
And so, I studied Revelation for four years reading the four major views and reading the four major eschatological understandings, dispensationalists, historic premillennial, amillennial, and premillennial or postmillennial.
And so, I think this is the most compelling view, and it makes the most sense to the internal harmony and witness of the scripture itself.
Someone else had their hand up? Yeah. So, the point of Revelation is the reign of Christ.
It's a description of Jesus' reign over the nations. Another way of thinking of Revelation, and this alludes to some of the teachings that come from St.
Augustine. St. Augustine writes of the tale of two cities, and I would say it's a tale of two women.
There are two prominent women in the book of Revelation. One is dressed in purple scarlet, and she's whoring herself with the nations.
She's giving herself away. She's drunk with the blood of martyrs. And then there's another woman that's described in the book of Revelation, and she's clothed in white, glorious, without blemish, and she marries the lamb.
It's a tale of two women. Babylon the Great, the church. Who is
Babylon? I would say it's Jerusalem. Jerusalem is
Babylon. Why is
Jerusalem Babylon? When you look at the Old Testament, in particular the book of Jeremiah and the 12 minor prophets,
Jerusalem time and time again is referred to as a harlot. She's referred to as being drunk on the blood of the prophets.
She's accused even by the Lord Jesus as being the one who kills and stones the prophets.
And Jesus prophesizes in Luke 21 and Matthew 24 that on Jerusalem will fall the judgment of all the righteous blood spilled on the earth.
So that upon that city would come great tribulations which has never been seen before nor shall be thereafter.
And so I look at all what the scripture has to say regarding Jerusalem, in particular the prophets and what the
Lord Jesus says of her, and I can draw the conclusion then as I read
Revelation that this woman is indeed Jerusalem. Yes?
So the two cities or the two women would be
Jerusalem, the Old Jerusalem and the New Jerusalem. Yeah. Go ahead,
Pastor. Do you want to say something to that? I'm sorry. Babylon in the
Bible is a literal place. Babylon existed. But Babylon is also hatred of God.
But I think what Ken was saying, they're always against God. So Babylon also is a paradigm of human hatred of God.
Yeah. Yeah, so in the book of Revelation there's two, there's Egypt, and Egypt represents the world.
It represents the nations that are against Yahweh, right? So out of Egypt comes the persecution of God's people in the
Old Testament and so forth. And Babylon is a representation of spiritual apostasy that comes all the way back from Genesis chapter 11 where you have the
Tower of Babel. And in the Tower of Babel what happens? You have the nations coming together in opposition to Yahweh and to erect a symbol against Yahweh.
And what does Yahweh do? He disperses them, confusing the language, and now it's Babel, right?
And so it's always been a reference to confusion, to apostasy, to when a people group comes against Yahweh.
And so Babylon has more of a spiritual implication, which is why Revelation refers to it.
And elsewhere, I think Peter, writing in 1 or 2 Peter, writes to Babylon, and that's where was
Peter prominent? It was Jerusalem, right? And so he says he's writing to Babylon, but he's actually in Jerusalem.
Because even in the time of Peter, Babylon was already a desolate desert. It was uninhabitable.
And that was a fulfillment of prophecy from Isaiah that when Babylon's destroyed, literal
Babylon, the city of Babylon, that it would never be inhabited again. So when Peter says he's writing from Babylon, he's not saying he's writing from modern -day
Iraq. He's writing from Jerusalem, which is the place of prominence where he was. And so lots of good reasons to point to Jerusalem as the harlot, as Babylon the great.
And so you have this theme that is being played out of two cities, two women.
And so I really wish I had more time to go deeper into this, but let's go a little further into the message that Jesus has for the seven churches.
Dispensationalists would say that the seven churches are seven types. It either represents seven types of churches or seven types of ages or dispensations of the
New Testament church. I disagree with that. I think that is a stretch because Jesus is speaking to seven literal churches, all with very distinct problems and things that would only make sense in that particular context.
So for instance, in Revelation chapter 2, figure which city it is.
Yes, it's the church in Pergamum in chapter 2, verses 12 to 17.
Jesus says in verse 13, I know where you dwell, where Satan's throne is.
Yet you hold fast my name, and you would not deny my faith, even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.
So there you have some two very important data points. One, Jesus says that Pergamum is the place that Satan's throne is.
Interesting. We'll get back to that in a second. Second, he says, this is the days of my faithful servant
Antipas, right, who was killed among you. So this is talking about historical person, historical event. Why the reference to where Satan's throne is?
In those days, in Pergamum, this was the center of Jupiter worship or Zeus worship.
In fact, anyone ever seen like the Disney cartoon movie of Hercules? What a great movie, right?
And in that movie, you have Hercules and he goes into this temple and his father
Zeus is on this throne. And then he's made of marble and then he becomes animated and he starts talking to his son
Hercules, right? That was real. Not that that was real.
But that is referencing a real place in Pergamum. There was a temple dedicated to Zeus or Jupiter worship.
And it was a huge statue of Zeus or Jupiter that sat upon this throne.
And what Jesus is saying is that throne that you know as Zeus, that throne that's worshipped as a god, that's actually
Satan. That speaks to some interesting theological concepts when the Bible talks about powers, principalities, thrones and authorities.
He's saying that the Bible I think teaches that these principalities are very real.
So those whom the nations worship as Zeus, those whom the nations worship as Allah, these are actual spiritual presences.
But they're not what you think they are. They are demons or even Satan himself.
And so clearly Jesus is making an equation here with Zeus to Satan. So the primary god of that age being
Zeus, Jesus is like, yeah, that's Satan. Zeus doesn't exist. That's actually Satan people are worshipping.
So he's making a theological statement with that. All things that have to make sense within a literal understanding that Jesus is speaking to seven literal churches and he has a particular message to them.
I've heard futurists and dispensationalists use the seven churches as a means to say, hey, no, look, this teaches a pre -tribulation rapture.
And the reason why this teaches a pre -tribulation rapture is because one of the churches here says that he will spare them from persecution.
I think it's in chapter 3. Let's see, which church is that?
Yes, to the church in Philadelphia in chapter 3, verse 10. Because you have kept my word about patient endurance,
I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world to those who dwell on the earth.
I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have so that you may seize your crown. So in this particular case,
Jesus says, well, look, I'm going to spare you from the hour of trial that's coming upon the earth. So they say that's argument for a pre -tribulation rapture.
Except in chapter 2, it says in verse 22 to the church in Thyatira, Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her
I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works. So one church is spared, the other isn't.
So this is not talking about two dispensations or two types of churches. This is talking about one church that's obedient, one church that is disobedient.
The disobedient church will suffer more persecution and harm. The other one will be spared. Again, this makes sense in a historical context.
So I would say this is more of a historicist or preterist view understanding of these particular texts.
So again, like I said, which of the four views is the right view? Again, I say it depends on the text.
And so here again, the message that Jesus has for the seven churches is one of endurance. I want you to write that in the notes.
To each church of the seven churches, he calls them to endurance. Why endure if we're just going to be out of here?
If we're just going to be raptured? I had a brother who I love so much in the
Lord, but he's so wrong on this. And he used to tell me, Pastor, I don't worry about that because I'm going to be out of here.
I'm going to be raptured. And I said, you poor thing. You have no idea.
That is such a terrible mindset to have, which is why in the last hundred years the church has lost its place of prominence in the culture and in the world and in government.
It's because we've given it up. We said, well, what's the point? We're not going to be here. We're going to be out of here. We're going to be raptured.
We're going to fly away in the morning. That's not what the teaching of the Bible is. In fact,
Christ calls the seven churches all to patient endurance, to endure in trial, and to be faithful.
And so Jesus' message to the seven churches is one of endurance and faithfulness even unto death.
And all the references are there from Revelation 1, 2, and 3. After the message to the seven churches, the narrative begins to shift a little bit in the book of Revelation.
So you have real powerful historical writings, warnings, admonitions, praises that Jesus gives to the seven churches in Asia Minor.
And then the literature begins to shift from an epistle to grand prophetic visions that are likened to what we see in the first chapter of the book of Ezekiel.
And so you begin to see the unraveling of apocalypse, the revealing of the curtain.
And what God is doing through that is he's giving the church hope and admonition.
Because what he's doing is he's peeling back the layer. He's peeling back the onion.
He's revealing the stage of heaven. And in Revelation chapter 4, it's a vision of heaven.
It's incredible. God amongst the crystal sea, serve him and serve him, worshiping him, throng upon throngs of angels.
And it says in Revelation chapter 4, verse 8, it says, And the four living creatures, each of them six wings, are full of eyes all around and within.
Day and night never cease to say, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, is, and is to come.
And then it says in verse 9, it says, And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty -four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever.
And they cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory, honor, and power.
For you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created. So with the scene here in the throne room scene,
God alone is pictured as being worthy of all worship and adoration. Yet in the following chapter, in chapter 5, there's a question that's raised, and it's a question of worthiness.
After this great scene of worship, the scene then begins to shift, and the heavens become silent.
Why? Because there is a scroll that is presented, and it says, No one, even among heaven, was found worthy to open the scroll.
So you have, again, in chapter 4, the scene of a worthy, holy God being worshipped, and then
Revelation 5 starts with silence, and with mourning, because no one was found to be worthy to open the seals in the scrolls, until heaven reveals the one who is worthy, the
Lamb, who was slain from the foundation of the world. And that's why it says in verse 9 that the saints, and that heaven begins to sing,
Worthy are you to take the scroll, to open its seals. For you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God, from every tribe, and language, and people, and nation.
You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth. Verse 12,
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power, and wealth, and wisdom, and might, and honor, and glory, and blessing.
And to him who sits on the throne, verse 13, and to the Lamb be blessing, and honor, and glory, and might, forever and ever.
And notice verse 14, And the four living creatures said Amen, and the elders fell down and worshipped.
And so this crescendo that it shows and demonstrates, the triune
God being worshipped in the unity of the Trinity. You have the Lamb who was slain before the foundation of the world.
God in chapter 4 is already mentioned as the one who is seated on the throne. Revelation also starts with a vision of the seven spirits of God, which is a reference to the
Holy Spirit. Seven being the number of perfection, the number of unity, and it's also the seven characteristics that are mentioned in Isaiah chapter 2 and 11, in regard to the
Holy Spirit, in regard to the Spirit of the Lord that will rest upon Christ. And so you see this beautiful worship of the
Trinity crescendos here in verse 14 of chapter 5. So heaven indeed has one who is worthy, and it's
Jesus. And so Jesus is revealed as enthroned. I want you to write this in the notes. He's revealed as enthroned and found worthy.
And he's found worthy according to the song that's sang by heaven because he ransomed the people for God.
And so by virtue of his ransom sacrifice, he's found to be worthy. Again, the sacrificial
Lamb is found to be worthy. He being God incarnate alone can make a satisfactory sacrifice and atonement for our sins.
And so what ensues in this case is his coronation as the king and sovereign of history.
And what comes next is the approaching judgments from the seals that are coming from his hands.
So the scroll that he receives isn't just a symbolic pretty little thing.
It actually brings judgments. And it's he who is worthy to administer justice.
He alone is worthy to administer God's wrath upon an unrepentant and stiff -necked people.
So you begin to see how the narrative is unfolding in the book of Revelation. Everything making sense so far?
Any questions? Alright. What ensues in chapter 6 of Revelation is the opening of these scrolls and the opening of these seals here.
And the judgments that are unfolding are against the covenant breakers, Jerusalem.
I want you to write this in the notes. Being fulfilled in 70 AD. Now again, there's a lot of presuppositions there.
And I tried to make a case earlier for those presuppositions. But we won't have time to go into this in depth.
But in that reference, there's a lot of references to the Old Testament. Zechariah chapter 6,
Ezekiel 14, Revelation chapter 6 as well, Hosea chapter 10. That should be fairly compelling to the argument that's being made here in regard to these judgments that are unfolding are not something to expect on a grand scale necessarily here in America.
Because what we always do is that we look at Revelation and we're always looking for America. Where's America in prophecy?
Where's America? Because we're a big deal right now, right? We are the empire in the world that's ruling the world.
And so in our hubris, we wonder where are we in this huge prophetic scheme of things?
And here's where, I know exactly where America is in prophecy. Do you know where it is? I find it in Psalm chapter 2.
That the nations conspire against the Lord has anointed. And the Lord looks down from heaven and he laughs. That's where America is.
Our president yesterday made a powerful proclamation vested in him by the power of the
Constitution. Where he made today, March 31st,
Transgender Visibility Day. Just so happens to be that on this year of our
Lord that this Sunday happens to be on the calendar
Easter or Resurrection Sunday. The day in which Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
What a fool. What a beast. What an arrogant man who thinks he can establish such a thing on a day that the
Lord has set apart. Not that the Lord has set apart Easter specifically, but this is the Lord's day. And so the hubris of our leaders is just outstanding.
But Christ is enthroned and he's king even now. Which is the point of the book of Revelation.
Is to demonstrate Christ's reign even over unrepentant people and nations.
So again, my argument is that Revelation in the next particular chapters, chapter 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11.
Are judgments against Jerusalem. You might ask, okay, well there's some pretty big scenarios that happen in the next following chapters.
There's a scene where a third of the population dies. The water supply is poisoned.
Famine ensues. Surely that has to point to the future. I think that that points to the destruction of Jerusalem in the year 70.
When you look at the accounts historically of what happened in the year 70. And you look at what
Revelation says. It lines up perfectly. It really does. If you look at what the accounts from Josephus, for instance.
In regard to the massacre. When Jerusalem was sieged. Immediately about a third of the population was killed.
Wiped out. One of the things that the Romans did as well. Is that they cut off the water supply and they actually poisoned it.
By throwing garbage and other materials in there. So that the water became useless.
These are all things that prophecies warn about. Now the question might arise. It seems it has to be bigger than just Jerusalem.
Because of the fantastic language that's used in these visions.
It talks about the heavens falling. It talks about the stars being shaken. This is what scholars refer to as cosmic deconstruction language.
And cosmic deconstruction language is used when God judges a nation. So for instance, Isaiah chapter 13.
God speaks of a judgment against Babylon. He says, the sun will be darkened.
The moon shall not give its light. The powers of the heavens will be shaken. The earth will tremble to its core.
Did those things literally happen? No. Was Babylon judged?
Yes. Was Babylon defeated? Yes. This is cosmic deconstruction language.
It's apocalyptic language literature. That is used by the prophets. By Christ. And here in the book of Revelation.
To describe a particular judgment against a particular people. But it is cosmic in scale.
Because Yahweh is writing swiftly in the cloud of judgment. Like we see in Isaiah chapter 19. In Isaiah chapter 19 we see
God visiting Egypt in judgment. And it says he's writing on the clouds. A picture of God bringing judgment upon a particular people.
And so now the theme of Revelation begins to make sense. When you compare it to the backdrop of other prophetic works in the
Bible. And so in the midst of judgment against the nations.
I want you to write this in the notes. Christ's kingdom is advancing. And the way it's advancing in chapter 7.
We see this break of the seals. And the seals are against judgments against Jerusalem.
So now this makes sense in the narrative of Revelation. Because this is getting bad.
Because God is going to bring judgment against his people. Does that mean that God has forsaken humanity? Has God forsaken his covenant?
Has God forsaken the salvation that he promised to bring to the world? No. Why?
Because in Revelation chapter 7. You have two visions of two redeemed people. That are actually one redeemed people.
Revelation chapter 7. You have the 12 ,000 from the 12 tribes of Israel. Some people would say, well are these literal
Jews? I would say no. I would say that Revelation chapter 7 verses 1 to 8. I want to talk about the 144 ,000.
The 12 tribes. This is a reference to the church militant. This is a reference to the church in action.
This is a reference to the church that is marching in a militant fashion in the world.
Against the forces of darkness. One of the reasons I take that view is because the 12 tribes that are mentioned.
Are not the historical tribes that are mentioned in the Old Testament. There is a difference. Also the formation that is taken here.
Is reminiscent of what we see outside of the camp. When the Israelites were in Sinai.
They were to be lined up according to the number of the 12 tribes.
Actually it is really cool. It is a military formation. It is actually in the shape of the cross.
Very interesting little tidbit there. It also makes sense.
In that the number that is referenced here. Again the 144 ,000. 12 ,000 from 12 tribes.
To me again I would take this as the church militant. Then what we see coming out of that.
We have a definite amount. The contrast is. God's elect are finite.
There is a definite amount. There is a definite number of God's elect.
It is pictured here as 144 ,000. On the flip side of that.
It is a great crowd that is innumerable. It is both finite.
God knows the number of his elect. God knows those who are his own. But then from the other perspective. It is a great crowd that is innumerable.
You can't measure it. Both things are true. Concerning God's people and God's elect. God does not have two covenants.
God has one covenant of salvation. It is only through Jesus Christ. God's covenant of salvation is for this great multitude.
That is from every nation. Every tribe, people, languages. They are standing before the throne. They are clothed in white robes with palm branches in their hands.
They are crying out salvation belongs to our God. Who sits on the throne and to the lamb. They come from all the nations.
Which would include Israel. Which would include Jerusalem. God is saying I have not forsaken my covenant of salvation.
My covenant of salvation. Although Jerusalem will be judged and destroyed for her apostasy.
I am saving and redeeming a people for God out of every nation.
Out of every tribe. But these people are spiritual Israelites. According to verses 1 -8.
These are the spiritual people of God. And so out of the spiritual Israelites. Comes this great crowd.
So both are true. You see the contrast that is being drawn. You have the Israelites and you have the nations.
They are both the same. It is the people of God. God's one covenant was one people.
And so I would say this. In the midst of judgment against the nations. In the midst of judgment against the nations.
Christ's kingdom is advancing by his redeeming of a great crowd. And this is demonstrating a very important fulfillment of prophecy.
Particularly what we see in Psalm 110. That is where we will close. Let's go to Psalm 110. The most quoted text of the
Old Testament in the New Testament. Sorry my outers are kicking my butt this morning.
The Lord says to my Lord. Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool. The Lord sends forth from Zion your mighty scepter.
Rule in the midst of your enemies. Your people will offer themselves freely on the day of your power.
In holy garments. Does that sound familiar? From the womb of the morning.
The dew of your youth will be yours. The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind. You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.
So what we see here. Is that the fulfillment of Psalm 110. Is happening in our day.
It's happening as Christ is enthroned now. The error of the futurists.
And the error of the dispensationalists. And of some of the premillennials. Is that they are waiting for a future enthronement of Jesus as King.
Friends. The witness of the New Testament is abundantly clear. Jesus is King today.
He is King of Kings. And Lord of Lords. So much so. That one of the other pictures that we see in the
New Testament. Is in Acts chapter 7. Where Stephen is martyred. And the thing that he sees.
Is Christ sitting at the right hand of the Father. That's Psalm 110.
So he says. Okay. You're ending my life. You're taking my life from me. It doesn't matter. Why?
Because I see Jesus standing at the right hand of the Father. He's reigning. He's King. He is at the right hand.
Therefore we're not waiting for a future enthronement. He is enthroned. And Revelation chapter 5 says so.
They're singing worthy is he today. He is sitting on David's throne. He is the
King that was promised. He is the promised Messiah. And he is that priest after the order of Melchizedek forever.
And so the point of Revelation. Not just in chapter 1 to 12. But all the way to the end. Is that Christ is reigning.
So that regardless of what is happening with the beast. With the nations. Christ's kingdom will progress.
And will consume the world. So that not only is Psalm 110 true. Where it says that Christ in the midst of his reign will be reigning in the midst of his enemies.
That's the nations. This is happening right now. We're living fulfilled prophecy today. But also
Psalm 2 will come true as well. And that he will soon come. And this is alluded to many times in the book of Revelation.
That he shall come and break the nations as he would break pottery with his mighty scepter.
And so the whole point of Revelation is to give us a prophetic picture of the reign of Christ today.
He's reigning today. And so this is the grand picture of Revelation.
Christ reigns. Any questions? We have a very short time to ask questions.
And if you have questions afterwards I'll be here all day. So, yes.
Yes. Yeah, so for instance what he wrote to the seven churches is all about patient endurance.
And about faithfulness unto the end. Right? And so it's a call to perseverance. Which is why
Revelation closes with that great climatic vision of a new heavens, new earth. And that cry from the saints should be, yes, even so come
Lord Jesus. It's that call to perseverance. It's that call to be faithful when he returns.
And so we do not deny the reality of the bodily visible return of Christ. We know
Christ is going to return bodily visibly. He's going to descend from heaven just as he ascended in the book of Acts.
And we hold on to that blessed hope. But in the meantime we are called to patient endurance.
And we are called to remember that the reason for our endurance is because he reigns.
Any other thoughts or questions? Yes. So, you said that you're not a historicist.
But it seems like a lot of the things that you said, and I understand the nuance of kind of what you said a little bit.
But kind of what Gretchen was saying too, is that what part of this outside of just general encouragement is something we are to look forward to?
Like is it like you just went over the first half of it and some most parts of the second half are for the future?
Absolutely, absolutely. So I would say we're living in Revelation 20 right now. That's where we are. So if you want to know where we are in Revelation, we're in Revelation 20.
I'm an all -millennialist. I believe we're living in the reign of Christ. We're living under his millennial kingdom right now.
When a person dies to be with the Lord, they enter into the realized kingdom. And so they are with Christ, reigning with him for a thousand years.
A thousand years being a, not literal, being a picture of the reign of Christ with his people and over his people.
And so the all -millennial perspective is not just that the millennial, the millennium kingdom is now.
Whereas, you know, post -millennialists are looking for like a more of a realized physical manifestation of that reign.
We understand that we enter fully into that reign upon death. And so the hope of the Christian is that we are found as the call in Revelation chapter 1 to 3 to the seven churches is to persevere unto death.
Because Jesus says in Revelation chapter 3, it's upon death that we receive that crown. That is where we're seated with Christ.
Another interesting picture of the church that's found in Revelation is the 24 elders. The 24 elders is also a picture of the church.
And it's a picture of the Old Testament church and the New Testament church. Why? 12 tribes plus 12 apostles equal 24.
24 elders are a picture of the 12 tribes, the 12 apostles upon which the old and new covenants are built.
Upon which is a representation of the whole people of God from the Old and New Testament dispensation.
So, yes? Why do you say the 24 elders are the church instead of just angels? Well, they're not angels because they have thrones.
They're sitting on thrones and they have crowns. And what their response in worship is to cast their golden crowns to the ground in worship.
They're the ones who intercede also in that heavenly space. And so that is a picture of the church.
The church is an intercessory. Our intercessory work as priests and kings in that priestly role.
And then also, again, it is a picture of the Old Testament, 12 tribes. New Testament, 12 apostles. We see that in the depiction of the city, the new city that's in Revelation chapter 22.
It has 12 foundations, 12 gates. And it says, representing the 12 tribes and the 12 apostles.
That's hearkening back again to the 24 elders. And so the 24 elders is a picture of the holistic people of God from the
Old and New Testament. So, hopefully
I convinced some of you. Hopefully you've been edified by this. Hopefully you've been encouraged by this.
Hopefully you see that the point of Revelation isn't to be scared out of your boots or to, you know, dread about the future.
But instead it's optimistic hope for the future. Wrapped in this is also, you know,
I don't believe in a necessarily a future great tribulation.
It could be. I'm open to that possibility. But I think that the great tribulation was fulfilled in 70 A .D.
And so I'm an optimistic all -millennialist, right? So I'm not post -millennial, but I'm optimistic in my all -millennialism.
Why? Because Christ's kingdom will advance. It will have this powerful impact in the world before the coming of Christ.
Will there be trouble? Yes. Jesus says, in this world you will have trouble. Jesus says that you should expect persecution.
But I really think, looking at the statistics, we're going to be in for a rough next 60 years.
But in the next 100 years, I think the church will be in the majority again.
And the reason for that is the declining birth rates of the heathens. They're not, it's true, they're not having kids.
The heathens are not procreating. And so, you know, good people like some of you here are doing all the good work of procreation.
And so it's only a matter of time before we fill the world again. And non -believers aren't having babies, and so the believers aren't having babies.
And so in about 100 years, we'll be in the majority again. And it's all about the ebb and flows of history. So again, idealist, preterist, historicist, futurist view of Revelation.
They're all kind of right in their own right, depending on the context. And so I have hope for the future.
Christ is coming again, and Christ is Lord, and He's King today. So let me pray. Father, again, thank
You for the power of Your Word. The power of fulfilled prophecy as we examine it in the pages of Holy Scripture.
Lord, we have a sure hope and anchor for our soul. That's the visible, tangible, powerful return of Christ from heaven at the end of the age.
Lord, we pray God that You would help us until that end. Whether the Lord Jesus, we meet
Him in the sky at His return, or we meet Him upon our death. That we would be a people that is enduring faithfully, even unto death.
And that we would praise the one who is enthroned, who alone is worthy, who alone ransomed for God a people of every tribe, nation, and tongue.