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ATN 2 - “Of Tribulation, the Kingdom…and Endurance”

Review: “All Things New”

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

  • 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

  • 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; things which “are” and “are to come”

  • 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.

  • 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”

A Key Which Opens this Apokalypsis

  • V.9 John’s greeting unlocks this book to us:

    • The tribulation: John 16:33

    • The Kingdom: Revelation 1:6

    • The patient endurance: Matthew 24:13

    • Yet, it is all “in Jesus” – making it possible and hope-filled

  • John is in exile on the island of Patmos, a Roman mining colony (He will be later released under Emperor Nerva

  • V.10 – John was “in the Spirit” on the “Lord’s Day” and had a vision

  • The voices was “like a trumpet,” calling His attention

  • V.11 – “write what you see in a book and send it” to the seven churches in Asia (seven real churches, but figuratively, all churches)

  • V.12 – “seven lampstands” are the seven churches/the all churches: Matthew 5:14-16

  • V.13 – a picture of the Risen Christ, King of Kings, active in the midst of His churches

  • Vs. 14-15 – an image straight out of Daniel 10, one of the many call-outs from the Old Testament

  • V.16 – Powerful imagery

    • "Seven stars” – the leaders of the churches, firmly in His grip

    • “sharp two-edged sword” – Hebrews 4:12-13

    • “face shining like the sun” – Matthew 17:2

  • V.17 – John falls under the power of the Spirit

  • V.18 – “keys of death and hades”- the victory is secure!

  • V.19 – things that are and are to come later: present and future application of the revelation

  • V.20 – Jesus explains the “sevens”

The Message to the First Church: Ephesus

  • 2:1 – Jesus identifies Himself as present with them and engaged

  • V.2-3 – Commended for: works, toil, patient endurance, spiritual discernment, for persevering and not giving up

  • Vs.4-5 – Things over with which Christ is in “conflict” with them:

    • They gave up/stopped/quit the love they had at first

    • Repent and do the righteous deeds you did at first (they had lost their compassion)

    • Not “feel the first feelings” but “do the first works”

  • V.6 – the “Nicolatians” – “conqueror of the people” follower of a deacon who embraced bad doctrine, which permitted occult practices and loose sexuality. Compared to Balaam in the Old Testament

  • V.7 – Shema the Spirit, and inherit eternal life in the presence of God

Why This Matters

  • Again, knowing the story of redemption helps us find our place in it

  • We know that Jesus is present and active in His churches, moving and protecting, and evaluating

  • We can see that tribulation comes from the spiritual war between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of darkness

  • Every person on Earth is involved in spiritual warfare, whether they know it or not, and whether they like it or not

  • Spiritual endurance is required to conquer spiritually. We must finish well to inherit eternity – we must stay faithful regardless of what may come

  • This can happen as we walk in Christ, who has conquered and can give us strength in the journey

  • We must not lose our compassion to the stress of life or because we let serving displace Jesus. Loving actions and care for others is key: "Loving and serving others is my second priority”

  • We must not fall into the trap of the Nicolatians and allow incorrect understanding of the faith to lead us into the occult and sins of the flesh

  • We can have hope and confidence in this life – and the next – because the Alpha and the Omega; He who is, Who was and Who is to come has defeated death and gives eternal life to all that accept His lordship!

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?

  • Read next week’s passage: Revelation 2:8-11

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