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ATN16 "For Yours is the Kingdom"

The Journey to Eternity: “You Are Here”

  • 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.”

    • The key to understand this is found in how He taught us to pray: Matthew 6:9-13, 1 Chronicles 29:11.

    • It always has been, and always will be, about the Kingdom of God

  • What the Book of Revelation is all about: The tribulation and the Kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Christ Jesus (Revelation 1:9)

    • The book is about hope for those who live in the “Now” of the Kingdom, because of the promise of the “Not Yet”

    • Even though we live in the Kingdom now, we must endure tribulation 

    • There is a call to covenant-keeping, and being faithful to God, remaining unstained from the world, living the Kingdom way of Jesus

    • It is the story of the Last Days, the Church Age, spanning from the Day of Pentecost to the Day of the Lord: Acts 2:14-21

    • It is about living in the Kingdom in the “Now,” and the promise of the coming of the “Not Yet” – what the Church will endure and a promise that the end WILL come

    • It is both the entirety and the completion of the Story

  • With Chapters 1-3, we started out on earth with the Seven Churches

    • Seven letters to real people in real churches of the day, and a letter to the church throughout the Church 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 entire book is about covenant keeping – and the justice which God adjudicates for Himself, His Church and the human race at large

    • With Chapters 4-8:5, we ascend into heaven to see things that are, and are to come – the Seven Seals as a panorama of history in the Church Age

    • The Creator God is the righteous judge of His creation

    • The Lamb Who Was Slain is the only one worthy to consummate history, the is the Alpha and the Omega, its beginning and end

    • Human society devolves: War, murder, economic injustice, people becoming like “wild beasts”

    • As God pours out wrath, a complete number of His servants are sealed with the Holy Spirit, being kept from destruction

  • With Chapters 8:6-11:19, we see the judgements of the Seven Trumpets, with God beginning to take up His rule over the Earth

    • The prayers of the saints result in God executing justice

    • The “code book” explaining the “last things,” the little scroll, is consumed by John, the exact details of the end withheld from humanity

  • With Chapters 12:1-14:20, we see Heaven’s perspective of Satan’s master plan – and his defeat!

    • The complete control of government, religion and commerce, through and evil theocracy – will reoccur throughout all of history and ultimately in the final Anti-Christ/unholy trinity at the end

    • “Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.” Don’t give in to the pressure of the world system to compromise – and be saved from destruction

    • The Harvest of the Earth (14:14-20)

1.      The First Harvest – first, Redemption

2.      The Second Harvest – then, Wrath

  • With Chapters 17:1-18:24 - The Unfaithfulness of Human Society

    • “Babylon” – the greatest human society is pictured as a whore, but arrayed as a queen (which is why John marvels in 18:6)

    • “Seven mountains/seven kings” – again, the entirety of human kingdoms and rulers in their fallen alliance with the Devil will resist Christ and His church, but will ultimately fall to the King of kings, and Lord of lords! (17:14)

    • The key to this section is found here: “called and chosen and faithful.” The passage in Revelation is a call to endurance in covenant-keeping

    • The destruction of human power – “Babylon”

      • False religion destroyed: covenant–breaking judged

      • Rebellious human government which are aligned with the Beast, and not with Christ, are destroyed

      • Destruction of economic dominance of the Beast destroyed

      • The saints are called out of Babylon: Don’t participate in her sins, don’t suffer her judgments

  • With Chapter 19:1-10 – The Faithful Bride Married to the Lamb

    • Another heavenly interlude of celebration of God’s victory, an encouragement to endure

    • The called and chosen and faithful are united with Christ as His eternal companion

    • “It was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure” – those who accept the righteousness of Christ as a free gift

    • “For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” All true revelation has at its core Jesus’ testimony to the faithfulness of the Father!

The Last Battle (Revelation 19:11-21)

  • v.11 – the white house is that of a conqueror, Jesus Christ, who has been faithful and true to both:

    • His Father as the obedient Second Adam (ending rebellion)

    • And to His Church, who trusted Him with their lives, even unto death

    • And this rightness with God and humanity makes Him just to judge and bring execute justice

  • v.12 – He is all seeing (eyes) and has all authority (diadems) and a name beyond human comprehension (Judges 13:18)

  • v.13a – A warrior spatter with the blood of his enemies: Isaiah 63:1-6

  • v.13 – The Word of God, logos, the will of God incarnate: John 1:1

  • v.14 – pictured as YHWH ṣĕḇāʾôṯ - “Lord of Hosts”

  • v.15 – His very word gives life or death to the people of the nations, and He will shepherd them with a rod of iron - judgement (2:27, 12:5), and implement the wrath of the Almighty (Gk. – pantokratōr, the one who rules/controls everything) against the rebellious humans who have rejected His authority

  • v.16 – King of kings, Lord of lords: Matthew 28:18, Philippians 2:5-11

  • v.17-21: the Beast, the False prophet, the kings an peoples of the earth are allied with them and defeated at a word by the Word

One Last Panorama of the Church Age – the Millennium (Revelation 20:1-3)

  • Satan is bound / has been bound: Matthew 12:29

  • Christ has already triumphed at the Cross: Colossians 2:6-15

  • v.1: Millennium: 10X10X10 – time is completed, fullness of time, kairos

  • v.2-3: During the Church Age Satan’s power is limited, but not powerless. Again, we see at the VERY end the enemy is released upon humanity (ref. Revelations 12:12)

The First Resurrection (Revelation 20:4-6)

  • v.4: John sees four groups of people who participate in the “first resurrection”

    • Those who are to judge the earth (“24 Elders”: Rev. 4:4)

    • Those who were martyred for Christ

    • Those who were sealed with the Holy Spirit and refused the “mark” of the beast – the saints of the Church Age

  • When does this happen? 2 Corinthians 5:6-10

    • Resurrection/glorification is immediate for those who die in the Lord, and they reign with Christ

The Last Battle Redux (Revelation 20:7-10)

  • Another picture of Satan’s ultimate defeat and the end of the Church Age and the return of Christ

  • The Author of Rebellion is defeated, the human rebellion is quashed, and judgement has come – the Lake of Fire! It’s over

The Final Judgement: The Great White Throne (Revelation 20:11-15)

  • V.11 – The rebellion defeated, Satan punished, the Kingdom of God is now ultimately established – the “Now Yet” breaks through! Heaven and earth become one!

  • Humanity is judged for their participation in Satan’s rebellion

  • All human actions are judged: Hebrews 9:27-28

  • Those not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life and cast into the Lake of Fire, along with the death and the grave.

  • The people of God are now reunited with their Creator!

But that’s not where the Story ends!

Why This Matters

  • We will be both judged and rewarded for our work in the Kingdom “now” when the “not yet” comes – but not for sin!

  • We will take part in the “First Resurrection,” and not endure the “Second Death” – damnation. By grace we can have confidence in our relationship with God!

  • Our Foe is bound, but not powerless – as Kingdom Agents we must embrace and enter into the spiritual conflict in/through/with the Holy Spirit!

  • We will not cower before the Enemy, because at the Name of Jesus every knee will bow – and we know Satan’s destiny!

  • There is a harvest of souls Jesus wants for His Kingdom in our generation, and we will not stop until we see everyone hear about the love of God in Christ Jesus!

  • We can stop fearing the “End Times” and live powerfully and freely with hope in the “now” of the Kingdom! 2 Timothy 1:6-7

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