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ATN10 - "Of Scrolls and Seals - Part 1"

“All Things New”: Back to the Future

  • The Revelation of John is what is, what was and what is to come. It’s a manifesto for the Kingdom of God – a public declaration of God’s intentions; things which “are” and “are to come”

    • What was happening in John’s day (the seven churches)

    • What would happen between Christ’s First and Second Coming

    • What will happen at the end of the Age

  • “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Shema levot: Hb.“hearing hearts.” To hear is to obey, belief takes form ONLY in action

  • The tribulation and the Kingdom and the patient endurance. Yet, it is all “in Jesus” – making it both possible and hope-filled (2017: Jeremiah 29:11)

Interpreting the Symbols of Revelation

  • Why use Symbols?

    • Shows continuity with the Old Testament

    • Causes the reader to dig deeper, to reflect

    • Some of what he sees is difficult to explain

    • Symbolism is a red flag of judgement

  • The Use of Numbers

    • 3: from God

    • 4: represents the totality of something

    • 7: completeness

    • 666: epitome of incompleteness

    • 12: wholeness, fullness

  • Other Symbols

    • Scrolls, seals, living creatures, Lion, Lamb, “wild beasts,” Dragon, the Woman, Bride, Bridegroom, Beast

  • Interpreting the Symbols

    • Our key to interpreting the symbols is the Old Testament, the Jewish background of the day, the New Testament and Greco-Roman culture

    • Think of interpreting the symbols like a parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like..” (Matthew 13:31)

    • Get ready for history in “panoramic 3D”

Shifting Our Frame of Reference

  • With Chapters 1-3, we started out on earth:

    • Christ in the midst of the “lampstands”/churches, His presence with us

    • Jesus writes to seven churches: completeness – the whole church age

    • Each letter speaks to the leaders (“stars” / “angels”) and the churches about their spiritual state

    • Each letter ends with “listen to what the Spirit says to the churches” – shema levot

    • Effectively, Jesus Christ judges His Church, continually             

  • But, why?

    • Before God can bring justice for His people, and through His people,  they must be cleansed and purified: 1 Peter 4:12-19

    • So that the people who are His church are founded on Him and His Kingdom as He shakes EVERYTHING: Hebrews 12:18-29

  • With Chapters: 4-8:5, we ascend into heaven:

    • The vision of heaven and the seven seals

    • This covers the entire span of the church age

    • There is Christ’s first coming (5:5-6)

    • The rise and fall of civilization throughout the church age (6:11)

    • Final judgment of those who reject Christ (6:12-17)

    • The completed harvest of both Jews and gentile believers (Ch.7)

Glorification of the Righteous Judge: Chapters 4 & 5

Chapter 4: Glorification of the Father Creator

  • V.1 – an “open door” to heaven’s perspective

    • “what will take place after now”: Revelation 1:19

    • He is about to get the panorama of the church age

  • V.2 – “I immediately became in the Spirit”

    • Notice the shema response – he heard the voice, it happened

  • V. 3-the appearance of the Eternal Father

  • V.4 – the 24 elders – 12 Tribes, 12 Apostles: Ephesians 2:11-22

    • Throne/Thrones – Authority and right to rule & judge

    • The elders submit their authority to the Father as an act of worship

  • V.5 – the power of God and the presence of the Holy Spirit is seen in connection with the throne of God

  • V.6-8 the Four Living Creatures represent a number of things:



King of wild animals




King of domestic animals




King of creation




King of birds


  • All of creation worshipping the Creator God

  • The Redeemed ministering as priest-kings to our Father God

  • The complete Gospel testifying to whole earth the glory of God

  • The eternal Creator God, who is the holy Lord of Hosts, is worthy to rule over and judge His creation

Chapter 5: Glorification of the Lamb, the Son as Righteous Judge

  • V.1 –  “written on front and back,” “seven seals” – the compete, finished story – the history of God’s work

  • V.2-4 – Who has authority to finish the story, to complete the outworking of history?

  • V.5-7 – The Lion of Judah, the Son of David, the Lamb that was Slain is the ONLY worthy one

    • Slain = slaughtered ritually (animal), slaughtered illegally (man)

    • Seven horns/seven spirits: complete power & having the Spirit completely

  • V.8 – KEY: prayers of the saints: ministry to God & intercession

  • Vs.9- the New Song: enthronement worship of the Lamb by all of heaven and all of creation: Psalm 22:3

How This Applies to Us

  • Before God deals with the world, He has to deal with us, His children

  • He wants to purify us, heal us and bring us to wholeness in Him!

  • Christ is preparing His church to rule, spiritually in the “now” of His kingdom, eventually in totality when He returns

  • The “prayers of the saints” are a key component to both our worship and service to God, and our authority to bring justice in the earth!

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