The Revelation (53)

Friday, 07 January 2011 16:16

Revelation Pt. 11 - "Patient Endurance"

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"I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. On the Lord's Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, which said: 'Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea'."  (Revelation 1:9-10)

This term "patient endurance" is used in several places in the book of Revelation, and always in the context of the suffering church. Just as John was suffering on Patmos, so the early church suffered at the hands of the Roman Empire, and so the end times church will suffer at the hands of the beast's Empire. But we'll examine that in greater detail in a future session. For now, we'll focus on the promises that are made to the overcomer that endures for Christ's name, and those that do not;
"Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, will will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us..."  (2Timothy 2:11-12)
Tuesday, 14 December 2010 16:13

Revelation Pt. 7 - The Rainbow

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In last week's lesson we described how the 'Tree of Life' supported the concept of the progressive covenants that are
observed in the Passover Seder and the Betrothal process, and also how these covenants ultimately lead to our marriage to Christ at the 'Wedding Supper of the Lamb'. This week we'll develop this theme a little further by illustrating how the Rainbow, God's sign of covenant, also supports this concept. 

The Rainbow and The Covenant

Rainbow"And God said, "This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth." (Genesis 9:12-13)

More often than not we view this declaration by God as simply His promise to not bring another cataclysmic flood on the earth, and we leave the discussion right there. But in this lesson we'll examine the potential reasons that God uses the rainbow as His sign, and the specific applications that it's colors have in our study of covenant. I think you'll find it quite fascinating that God appears to use the rainbow's three PRIMARY colors of red, yellow and blue to represent covenant offers that He initiated with man, while he uses the three SECONDARY colors of orange, green and purple to represent covenant offers that man initiated with God.
Wednesday, 29 December 2010 01:40

Revelation Pt. 10 - "Coming With The Clouds"

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This week we will review verses 7 and 8 of Chapter 1, which describe a very conspicuous return of Jesus Christ at the end of this age, where "every eye" will see the 'Alpha and Omega' (Aleph and Tav) upon His coming.

Coming With the Clouds

"Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen." (Revelation 1:7)

This announcement of Christ's coming "with the clouds" is really a preview of things to come near the end of the book of Revelation, but it's mentioned here at the beginning because His return is truly the subject of the entire book. This event is also mentioned in the gospels, which describe how this event will occur AFTER the 'distress' of the 'great tribulation', also known as Daniel's '70th Seven'; 

"But in those days, following that distress, ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken'. At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens." (Mark 13:24-27)
Monday, 27 December 2010 02:01

Revelation Pt. 9 - "Who Is"

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"John, to the seven churches in the province of Asia: Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.  To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father - to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen."  (Revelation 1:4-6)

"The Seven Churches (Assemblies)"

The term "church" used in verse 4 is a western term that has been adopted to describe believers in Jesus Christ, and in today's lexicon it has a very Christian connotation that is typically separated from any Jewish influence. But in the Revelation, John was speaking to the wider audience of believers that consisted of both gentiles AND Jews. For instance, in the earliest Greek manuscripts, the word for church is actually 'Ekklesia', which simply means 'assembly'. In the same way, the Hebrew equivalent would be 'Keheelot', which means 'community'. In both instances the respective words refer to those that are 'called out', and there is nothing that would distinguish Jew from Gentile.
Tuesday, 21 December 2010 14:49

Revelation Pt. 8 - "Blessed is the One"

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Finally the moment everyone has been waiting for! Laughing After months of preparation and set-up regarding the structure and essence of the Revelation, we'll begin to examine the Revelation itself, verse by verse. And as we proceed in this study, you will begin to see how the Festivals, the Menorah-shaped 'Tree of Life', and the Betrothal process are interwoven into the text, each revealing something dynamic about the Revelation that cannot be revealed through a conventional study.

Throughout the 404 verses of the Revelation, we find many references to New Testament teachings, and that should be no surprise since Jesus and several disciples commented rather extensively about the end times. However, we also find hundreds of references to Old Testament teachings, which occasionally surprises people. The truth is, you have to understand and properly apply text from the entire Old Testament in order to properly understand the New Testament and/or the Revelation. The New Testament does not CANCEL the Old Testament, it is built UPON the Old Testament. So without further adieu, let's jump right in.

Sunday, 07 November 2010 17:09

Revelation Pt. 6 - Covenant and the Tree of Life

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In last week's lesson we described the Revelation's 'master menorah' that was built on the foundation of the Festival menorah, and we also showed how this formed the structure of the 'Tree of Life'.  In this week's lesson, we'll explore how this divine structure supports the 4 Cups/Covenants that were cited in the 'Passover Seder' and also the 'Betrothal' process.  For the purposes of review, those 4 Cups/Covenants were;

1) Cup of Sanctification - Blood Covenant
2) Cup of Dedication - Salt Covenant
3) Cup of Inheritance - Sandal Covenant
4) Cup of Praise - Marriage Covenant

These four progressive covenants played a critical role in our understanding of the betrothal process that we studied this fall, and also the Passover Seder that we studied this past summer.  Now we can apply what we learned there to the Revelation, and some of it's mysterious nature will begin to fall away.

Monday, 01 November 2010 01:20

Revelation Pt. 5 - The 'Tree of Life'

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Before we dive in to the next portion of our Revelation study, I’d like to take a minute to dispel some of the fears you may have concerning the perceived difficulty of this book.  I say this because the Revelation is the most avoided book in the New Testament, primarily because of it’s seemingly incomprehensible symbolism and apocalyptic nature.  For over 1900 years, few have made any real progress in unraveling it's mysteries, so in large part it has remained a mystery to the Church. That general feeling of frustration towards this masterpiece was recorded by Thomas Jefferson over 200 years ago in his letter to General Alexander Smyth, where he stated;

“It is between fifty and sixty years since I read it and I then considered it as merely the ravings of a maniac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherences of our own nightly dreams.”

Perhaps you have felt that way in the past?  I know I did.  But the problem is a simple one; we have been examining this book from our western mindset, when a Hebraic mindset was required.  So in this series of lessons we have attempted to return to the roots of our Christianity by examining the culture and traditions of the Hebrew people that lived it.  From that perspective, things begin to fall into place.

Monday, 25 October 2010 01:19

Revelation Pt. 4 - The 'Chuppah'

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Last week we left off with the bride and groom at the wedding site, where they were finally prepared for the wedding ceremony itself.  This week we will pick up right at that point and describe the actual ceremony, along with a few other implications that go along with it.  

The 'Chuppah' (Hoo-Pah)

When the wedding ceremony was about to begin, the groom would escort the bride to the ‘Chuppah’, which was a small dome or trellis with crimson colored cloth spread over the top.  The construction of this dome was normally rather simple, typically having four corner posts like a tent, with a few rafter members that formed a trellis ceiling.  The crimson color of the cloth dome represented the ‘blood covenant’ that we will discuss in a later lesson.

Monday, 18 October 2010 01:17

Revelation Pt. 3 - The 'Wedding Party'

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Last week we concluded our discussion with the three remaining milestones of the betrothal process;

1) the bride price
2) the preparation of the bride’s future home
3) the final wedding preparations

We also met the bridesmaids that would light the way for the groom’s arrival.  Well, the groom had his own attendants as well, and we're going to meet them in this week's lesson;

The Groomsmen

Just as the bride’s attendants who were all virgins, as attested in the 'Parable of the 10 Virgins', so the groom had his attendants, ALSO all virgins.  The grooms attendants were generally selected far in advance, were all males, and were generally close to the groom, often being part of the family or very close personal friends.  These men would be charged with staying with the groom in order to guard him and assist him in advance of his wedding.

Monday, 11 October 2010 01:14

Revelation Pt. 2 - The 'Ketubah'

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Hopefully last week’s betrothal lesson was quite revealing for those of you that like to explore the additional layers of scripture.  If you’re like me, you always love those moments where the ‘light bulb’ goes on, and scripture suddenly takes on a greater perspective and meaning.  Well, this week’s lesson should bring many more of those moments.

We left off last week with a general betrothal agreement between the two fathers and the families of the bride and groom.  This week we will discuss the formal document that was dictated once that agreement was in place.  It was called a “Ketubah”

As you may recall, once all the contract details were hammered out between the parties, the families would call a ‘Scribe’ who would sit down with the parties and record the terms of their agreement, always following a specific formula that was common to the process.  That formula included five separate sections that contained different requirements, and one final section for seven signatures.  It was laid out in the following way;

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