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ATN11 - "Of Scrolls and Seals - Part 2"

“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). MOST of revelation applies to the day in which it was written

    • What would happen between Christ’s First and Second Coming. ALL of Revelation is about the Church Age – the “Last Days”

    • What will happen at the end of the Age. SOME parts of Revelation are about the “Last Things” and the “Day of the LORD”

    • Human history does not end with Revelation. It is the culmination of the story of redemption with Christ’s Second Coming and the renewal of all things:

  • “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 entire book is about covenant keeping – and the justice which God adjudicates for Himself, His Church and the human race at large

  • 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:

o The vision of heaven and the seven seals

o This covers the entire span of the church age

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

o The rise and fall of civilizations throughout the church age (6:1-11)

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

o The competed harvest of both Jews and Gentile believers (Ch.7)

  • 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)

The Panoramic View of History Starts – The First View: Chapter 6

  • “Recapitulation” – retelling the story / history in “panoramic 3D”

    • Example: Two views of Creation in Genesis (God’s view Genesis 1:2-2:3, Mans view in Genesis 2:4-2:25)

    • Rev. 6 is a retelling of Matthew 24 (some of which pertains to the time immediately after Christ’s Ascension, some for the Church Age, and some for the “Last Things,” the “Day of the Lord” and His Second Coming)

  • The Seven Seals on the Scroll written on front and back (Rev. 5:1)

    • The competed story of redemption

    • Christ as the Lamb is the only one worthy to complete the story, and through which the story culminates

  • Revelation 6:1-2 – The First Seal: War Between Nations

    • White horse, “garland” – military conquest

  • vs.3-4 – The Second Seal: People Murdering One Another

    • Red horse = blood, murderous discord of all kinds replaces peace

  • vs. 5-6 – The Third Seal: Economic Oppression of the Poor by the Wealthy

    • Basic commodities are outrageously priced, while luxury items are plentifully available for the wealthy who can afford them

  • vs.7-8 – The Fourth Seal: Devolution of Human Societies

    • War & murder causing disease & famine, turning people into “wild beasts”

  • vs.9-11 – The Fifth Seal: The Church Cries Out for Justice

    • The Church throughout the Last Days / Church Age cries out for justice until their number is “complete”

  • vs.12-17: The Sixth Seal: The Day of The LORD comes!

    • The Church’s cry for justice is satisfied in the judgement of the nations / fallen human societies at the Second Coming of Christ

  • NOTE: this is historical cycle throughout the Church Age / Last Days in societies, with a final, ultimate Day of the LORD

The One New Man of the Church Age: Chapter 7

  • V.1 - “After this” - Another Panorama inserted - the Portrait of the One New Man: Ephesians 2:11-22

  • 1-2 – Ultimate destruction is held off during the Church Age until the servants are sealed: Ephesians 1:13-14

  • An extremely large, complete number of Christ followers (“Israel”) are gathered into the Kingdom

  • V.9 – “After this” – the story jumps forward, the mission is fulfilled, the “One New Man,” Israel/Church fulfills its mission as a representative people to the nations

  • The imagery indicates comfort to the Church: the covenant-keeping God will not lose one of His Chosen Ones even in the tribulation of the age

The Seventh Seal and the Golden Censer: Chapter 8:1-5

  • Back to the first panorama!

  • “Solemn silence” – waiting upon the LORD to act (Part of the morning Temple ritual)

  • The “prayers of the saints” are the fire which brings judgement!

How This Applies to Us

  • The current misunderstanding of Revelation has left the Church deceived and demobilized. Everybody is waiting for the “pre-Trib rapture bus” to whisk them away at the last minute – and do nothing to bring change

  • A proper understanding of the Story is needed to find our place in it, and understand the urgency for our generation and our society

  • The “cycle of the seals” happens in all human societies, and will happen until Christ’s return – even in America

  • Without godly justice, ALL human societies devolve, people becoming like “wild beasts”

  • The Church, as Kingdom Agents must constantly cry out and work for justice; for individuals, families, towns and countries. We must “put our foot down” for the Kingdom’s emergence in our lives and society

  • We must understand that we all have a part to play in seeing God’s Kingdom come that all things might be made new!

  • Until Christ returns, we must continue our work as Kingdom Agents!

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