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Paying Attention to Jesus the Revelator March 14, 2010

Posted by roberttalley in Blood of Christ, Christ, Day of the Lord, Eschatology, God the Father, Imminency, Jesus, Judgment, Messiah, Millenial Kingdom, Prophecy, Religion, Resurrection, Revelation of Jesus Christ, Sermons.
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WHY PAY ATTENTION TO JESUS?
Revelation 1:1-18

The word “keep” in verse 3 carries the connotation of “paying attention with the intention to obey.” It is God’s intention that we keep the word of this prophecy and to the one who gives this prophecy. Sometimes it does not matter who the messenger is. When we listen to the news, it really does not matter who is reading the news. We may like the one we are listening to and they may make us feel better about the news but for the most part it matters little except for entertainment purposes whether I get my news from Diane Sawyer or Katie Couric.

It is different though when what we receive is a prophecy, that is, a direct word from God. There are many today who claim to have received direct words from God. We see them on our TVs, hear them on our radios, and see their books in the CBD catalogue. Should we pay attention to them? I do not; for none of them to my knowledge claim perfect inspiration and many of them preach one form or another of false doctrine. We are commanded to try the spirits whether they be of God.

Next week we will specifically look at why we should pay attention to His revelation. This week I want us to understand what is in it for us. That may seem a little backwards but this is the way it is presented in the book and so that is the order that we will follow.

This book begins by stating that God gave Jesus this revelation for the profit of His servants. Now many of us here this morning claim to be the servants of God, that is, the children of God, so this book is intended for us. Why do we need this book and why should we pay attention to the one who gives it to us?

A. Because God gave Him what we need to know for the future (1:1, 3b). The future is very important. Many of you will go to work because of the future. You will do schoolwork because of the future. Wars are fought so that nations can determine the future. Investments are made in the future. Roads and bridges are built for future use. Even history is often studied so that we can better understand the future.

Now God knows the future. Some of the future we need to know. We do not need to know details for the most part. In fact, God rarely gives us much detail. We do not know who the Antichrist is, we do not know the date of the Lord’s coming, we do not know if the multiple earthquakes that have recently occurred are signs of His immediate coming, and we do not know exactly how the world will look when Christ comes. Any details we have are either sketchy or incomplete. But there are some things we need to know about the future.

1. The coming of the Lord is imminent (verses 1 and 3b). He could come at any time. Two thousand years ago, the Lord could have come at anytime. That is still true today.

Now there are several attitudes that we can take about this.

a. We can be fatalistic about his coming. “If He comes He comes…” Now I do not think that very many people are truly fatalistic. Either they believe He is coming or they do not but this is a possible attitude one could take.

b. Most do not believe He is coming. They may not openly doubt it but they obviously do not believe otherwise they would be ready. Revelation 3:1-3 describes a church that did not believe He was coming. Jesus said that he would surprise them like a thief. Jesus taught quite often about this when He was on the earth. One of the last sermons He preached had as His main point that those who are not ready will be destroyed (Matthew 24:36-13). One of the illustrations He used was of a servant who was made ruler over his master’s house. He said to himself, “The master is delaying his coming.” He begins then to beat his fellow servants and to lead a life of partying. When the master suddenly returns the man will be cut in two.

c. There is though a third attitude. Being ready! How do you know you are ready? Romans 13:8,11-14 tells us how, “Owe no one anything except to love one another… and do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep…Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness…Let us walk properly…not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”

Luke also tells us in chapter 12 of his gospel how that those who live for the things of this world will not be ready. In other words, only the disciple who is willing to live for heaven and not for this world will be ready when Jesus comes.

2. We not only need to know that the Lord could come at any moment but we need to understand that He is coming as the Almighty (verses 7-8). When He comes every eye will see Him and recognize who He is. Those who crucified Him as prophesied in Zechariah 12 will see Him. Now you might think that those who crucified Jesus are already dead. Zechariah 12:10 makes it clear that John is talking about the Jew here in this passage. They will not be the only ones to see Him. All the tribes of the earth will see Him and mourn. Why? Because the Almighty has come to judge His enemies. It is possible to mourn in repentance (which is the caase in Zechariah) but the context of Revelation indicates that the peoples of the earth will mourn when they realize that the Lord is coming to judge them (Revelation 6:12-17). On that day, every news station will show the Almighty. Facebook and Twitter updates will mourn the coming of the Almighty. The nations will rise against Him but will not be able to stand because He is the Almighty.

Now why do we need to know that He is coming as the Almighty? Because right now it looks like Christ is losing. The world is becoming more anti-Christ every day. He seems to be losing ground but when He comes we will be able to give thanks (Revelation 11:15-18) because He has returned and restored His rule over this earth. That is the day that we long for according to Romans 8. This world of sin and sinners is oppressive to the believer in Christ but when Christ returns, the sinner will be destroyed and sin will be put in check. Only the Almighty God can accomplish such a feat.

B. The reason we need to know about the future is that there is blessing in paying attention to Jesus and His revelation about the future (1:3). This blessing is not in stock tips or oil futures. This blessing is a spiritual blessing.

1. To be blessed means to be saved (1:3; 14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6; 22:7, 14). Seven times in the book of Revelation, a blessing is pronounced on those who are believers in Christ. The word we read in our Bibles as “saved” Martin Luther often translated as “blessed” because He understood that to be truly blessed of God meant much more than houses and lands and nice families. God blesses the unsaved also with such things. To be blessed of God, however, means to be saved, to be redeemed by the Lamb. Sometimes this word is translated “happy.” That is not a bad translation, for one who lives eternally in the presence of God will be happy and the one in hell will not. To be blessed though is more than an emotional reality, it is a spiritual reality. Look at Revelation 20:4-6. What a contrast? Those who were beheaded for the witness of Jesus are blessed because they are free from the second death. It is certainly not a happy occasion to be beheaded. Those who might sympathetically be looking on might say, “What a waste!” But they are blessed. They are saved from the second death, from the wrath to come.

2. To keep the word means to have an active faith (1:3; 22:14; compare with 1 John 3:23). You see, to keep a prophecy means that there is something that should be done in response to that prophecy. Revelation 22:14 makes it clear that those who do His commandments will have the right to the tree of life and may enter through the gates into the city. Now does this mean that we can work our way into heaven? Absolutely not. James put it this way, “Faith without works is dead.” In other words, true faith will live a certain way. First John 3:23 tells us exactly what the commandments of Christ are, “And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.” So this blessing means more than to believe that Jesus is God. It demands becoming a disciple of Christ, an active faith that determines not only to trust Christ but to obey Him.

It is clear that Jesus can demand an active faith from me and I need to hear His word with active faith. The blessing of God is promised to me if I keep His word, if I have an active faith. An active faith will be ready for His coming. That is the point of the last phrase in verse 3. He is coming. Are you ready?

“A lady, who heard Whitefield, in Scotland, preach upon the words, “And the door was shut,” being placed near two dashing young men, but at a considerable distance from the pulpit, witnessed their mirth; and overheard one say, in a low tone, to the other, “Well, what if the door be shut? Another will open.” Thus they turned off the solemnity of the text. ‘Mr. Whitefield had not proceeded far when he said, “It is possible there may be some careless, trifling person here today, who may ward off the force of this impressive subject by lightly thinking, ‘What matter if the door be shut? Another will open.’” The two young men were paralyzed, and looked at each other. Mr. Whitefield proceeded: “Yes; another will open. And I will tell you what door it will be: it will be the door of the bottomless pit!-the door of hell!-the door which conceals from the eyes of angels the horrors of damnation!”

Jesus could come today. Are you ready? Is your faith active? Do you have faith in Christ at all? Trust Him today and live for Him, forsaking this world and all others for the one who loves you and died to wash you from your sin.

Next Week: The Son of Man

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Answers to questions from Sunday night (Revelation 16-17) October 9, 2007

Posted by roberttalley in Antichrist, Babylon, Day of the Lord, Demons, Eschatology, Imminency, Judgment, Religion, Revelation of Jesus Christ, Satan.
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What is the reaction of the two angels to the first three bowls or vials of God’s wrath (verses 5-7)?

  • They recognized that God’s judgment on the earth is a righteous judgment. 

What is the reaction of those being judged in verses 8-11 and 21?

  • They blasphemed God and did not repent.

What is the purpose of the sixth bowl and what is the connection of the three frogs to this judgment (verses 12-16)? Do they cause these events or are they simply players whom God ultimately controls?

  • The purpose is the gather the kings of the earth (read here nations as represented by their armies) for the battle against Christ known as Armageddon. Although the demonic influence of Satan and the two beasts on the surface influence these events, they are ultimately brought together by God. 

What indicates that there will be believers left at the end of this time (verse 15)?

  • The command to watch and be ready for this event of Armageddon.

How are the cities, islands, and mountains destroyed (verses 17-20)?

  • By the ultimate earthquake.

Chapters 17-18 seem to be simply an expanded description of the judgment of the seventh bowl. What proof in chapter 16 is there for this statement (see verse 19)?

  • The judgment on Babylon is an integral part of the seventh bowl. 

Revelation 17:1-6 is a vision of judgment on Babylon. Verses 7-13 is the explanation of the vision. Although we are not exactly sure of the identity of the city, what is the relationship of this city to the Antichrist?

  • It is his center of power.

What is the involvement of the ten kings during the days described in this chapter (verses 12-18)?

  1. They will receive their authority to rule from the beast.
  2. They will war against God.
  3. They will turn on Babylon and destroy her (possibly turning against the beast also, although that is not explicitly stated).

More on Imminency in the first three chapters of Revelation June 18, 2007

Posted by roberttalley in Eschatology, Imminency, Revelation of Jesus Christ, Seven Churches of Revelation.
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Because of computer problems, I have updated the posts on the churches at Sardis and Philadelphia with my answers rather than posting a new post. Saved me a bit of typing to do it that way.

https://roberttalley.wordpress.com/2007/06/06/questions-concerning-sardis/

https://roberttalley.wordpress.com/2007/06/13/questions-concerning-the-church-at-philadelphia/

We also talked more about imminency on which I posted back in May when I first began this blog. https://roberttalley.wordpress.com/2007/05/09/follow-up-on-last-sunday-evenings-discussion-of-imminency/

There are two verses in the messages to the seven churches that may be referring to the Tribulation period:  2:22 and 3:10. Revelation 2:22 (compared with 7:14) and Revelation 17-19 seem to describe the same or a similar event. Revelation 3:10 seems to describe the ebvents in 14-19. How do we understand the warning to Thyratira and the promise to Philadelphia? If they apply just to the churches, when is the time that the wrath of God was over the nations of the whole earth? If they apply just to the future what purpose did it serve to tell the churches what was to come on them? Understanding imminency correctly helps us to understand the passages as the churches understood them and as they will ultimately be fulfilled.

Remember, imminency refers to all the end time events surrounding Christ’s coming and not just to the Rapture or the Second Coming of Christ described in Revelation 19.

Follow-up on last Sunday evening’s discussion of “Imminency” May 9, 2007

Posted by roberttalley in Imminency, Revelation of Jesus Christ.
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Tying up more loose ends from last Sunday…

To see the questions and my comment on what was discussed click https://roberttalley.wordpress.com/2007/05/02/hello-world/

  • A question something like this was asked, “Did not some of the early believers wonder if they had missed the Rapture?”

I managed to completely bungle this question (or maybe it was a comment). The question was referring to 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3. In this chapter, the coming of Christ and the day of the Lord seem to be synonymous. The day of the Lord includes more than just the coming of Christ but includes according to the Old Testament, the judgment on the nations and the turning of the Jewish remnant as a nation to God. The context indicates that they thought they were in the time of judgment, the day of the Lord, commonly known as the Great Tribulation. It may or may not indicate that they thought they had missed the Rapture.

  • The last question (that I did not deal with at all): How does Matthew 24 fit in with “imminency” as seen from Revelation 1:1, 3?

Revelation 1:1, 3 are dealing with the events that are leading up to Christ’s coming in Revelation 1:7 as well as the events after His coming. Matthew 24:30 is describing the same event as Revelation 1:7 (see also Zechariah 12:10 in its context). Imminency (or as some would prefer to characterize it, “expectancy”) is referring to the whole row of events that are described in Revelation 4 onward and Matthew 24:15-25:46. Imminency then is referring not just to the Rapture but to the whole “end time” period. This is also consistent with Paul’s teachings in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:5 and 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4, 8-12. None of these passages tell us plainly when the Rapture is ordered in relation to the Tribulation.

  • I got the impression after the service that some understand “imminency” to be a doctrine of “dispensationalism”.

This depends on whether imminency is applied just to the Rapture or whether to all the endtime events surrounding Christ’s coming. In the description under #2, imminency is not necessarily dispensational. Most adherents of other views would also believe in imminency. Obviously, that is not the way the term is used in discussions about the endtimes but it is more biblical. On the other hand, the biblical definition does not weight the discussion in the direction of any one viewpoint. That is, however, a discussion for another day 🙂