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ATN 1 - Of Endings...and Beginnings



“All Things New”


Beginning at the end, ending at the beginning: Rev. 21:1-8


  • The Book of Revelation is the conclusion of the epic story of God’s redemption of humanity

  • In this passage we see God’s redemptive work coming to completion:

    • Humanity is fully reunited with our Creator and are present with Him as we were in the Garden

    • The “New Jerusalem” is not a place, but a metaphor for the Church, God’s people, in whom, and with whom, He dwells

    • The Kingdom of God is fully realized: all sickness, pain, sorrow and death – and all those who cause it – are removed from the universe

    • There is universal restoration – all things are made new

    • God Himself is the Beginning and the End, the who created the universe, and the one who recreates it

    • More on this chapter in a few weeks!


“The Revelation of Jesus Christ”


V. 1: The end begins with an apokalypsis


  • “The revelation” – Gk. apokalypsis – to reveal, disclose, to make fully known, to take out of hiding

    • This book is an apokalypsis (a figurative narrative which reveals) and prophecy (the speaking of God’s will) and a letter (to real people for life-application)

    • It’s a manifesto for the Kingdom of God – a public declaration of God’s intentions

  • “of Jesus Christ” – coming from Him, implying Jesus is the author, John is the scribe/amanuensis

  • “which God gave to Him” – the Father continues here to reveal His will in, and by, His Son (John 5:19). The Father is the source of revelation, the Son is the agent of revelation

  • “to show” – to expose to the eye, to demonstrate

  • “His servants” – all followers of Christ, in all ages, not just John, and not just at the “end”

  • “the things that must soon take place” – near-future events

  • “sending His angel” – other-worldly revelation, not from John. Jesus speaks directly with John, the angel picks up the dialog in Chapter 17

V.2: On the “witness stand”


  • Through the writing of this letter and recording all he saw, John testified to this word as being from God AND that it came through Jesus

  • Revelation 19:10c – “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” At the heart of all prophetic revelation is Jesus’ testimony to what the Father says and does.


V.3: A “revealing” which is meant to be lived


  • A blessing awaits those who minister this word to the flock

  • “read aloud” means in public worship gatherings

  • A blessing on those who “hear” and “keep” what is revealed here – think, the “Shema”

  • “The time is near”: This book is not a secret, encoded roadmap for the Last Things, but how to live the Jesus way, every day, “right now”


V. 4-5a: Greeting to the Seven Churches


  • Proconsular Asia – real churches which John knew

  • “seven”- a recurring theme in Revelation, meaning “completeness,” here meaning all the churches

  • "Him who is and who was and who is to come” – a phrase depicting the name of God YHWH, who is origin and end, unchanging, eternal

  • “the seven spirits in the presence of the throne” – the perfect, complete, universal Holy Spirit who is in each believer

  • Jesus Christ is the trusted witness, the first raised from the dead unto eternal life, and is now the High King. This last line is a direct shot at the Roman Emperor Domitian, who required people to address him as “lord and god.”

 

5c-8: A shout-out of praise!


  • John praises the One who loves us and shed His blood for our sins

  • Who has made us a kingdom and priests to the Father

  • Who will have dominion forever

  • Everyone will see His coming

  • And those who rejected Him will mourn at His coming


V.8: He is “Alpha and Omega,” first and last, origin and completion, setting the stage for the revelation John is about to receive!


Why This All Matters


  • Knowing the end of the epic of human redemption gives us hope: an analogy of a radio in a WWII POW camp

  • In this apokalypsis we see renewal, not just destruction

  • As we will see, there is daily-life application for us today – it is a revealing of God’s will which is to be lived

  • In it we see God’s love for us, and His desire for reconciliation

  • It helps us understand God’s ultimate intention and plan for humanity and that HE is our origin and our ultimate destiny

  • It brings final resolution to the conflict between good vs. evil – God is pictured on His throne and He will prevail!

  • As Kingdom Agents (our theme for this year) we can see how to partner with God in His work of renewal in the “Now” of the Kingdom of God


Your Next Steps


  • What did the Holy Spirit point out to you today?

  • How is He calling you to deeper obedience to His way of life?

  • How did this adjust your view of what the “apocalypse” is and what this book is about?

  • Read next week’s passage: Revelation 1:9-2:7


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