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01 the alpha and the omega (part 1)   slideshow 01 the alpha and the omega (part 1) slideshow Document Transcript

  • The Book of Revelation 03/04/2007 Lesson 1 The Alpha and the Omega (Part 1) Amen! Hallelujah! – A Study of the Book of Revelation By Dale Wells Text: Rev 1.1-8; Rev 22.8-12 Revelation is a book to be understood Rev 1:1-3 WEB This is the Revelation of Jesus Christ Apocalypsis – an “unveiling”, “revealing”, or “disclosure” The book is not a “mystery” (mysterion), but a “revelation” "Blessed is he who reads" Rev 1:3 WEB Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and keep the things that are written in it... Ho anaginooskon – “the one reading aloud” Apparent in blessing “those who hear” Envisions one reading to a congregation Lesson 1 1
  • The Book of Revelation 03/04/2007 “Blessed are those who hear” Akouoo with a genitive noun meant “hear” With the accusative, as here, it meant “understand” Jesus intended the message to be understood “Blessed are those who keep the things in it” Terountes means “observe”, or “obey” God intended people to “understand” and “obey” the book, so he must have written one they could understand and were capable of obeying! Why is the book misunderstood? People misunderstand the book because of faulty assumptions they bring to the text, not because of what the text, itself, says Popular approaches to Revelation Some see it as a “summary of history” They see the Catholic Church, Reformation, Luther & Calvin Philip Melanchthon, Luther’s contemporary, took this approach Recent authors are Albert Barnes and John Hinds Each reapplies history to put himself in the last days Some believe it only deals with the end of time Authors since 1948 think we are in the last moments of time Each rewrites when time proves him wrong Something is wrong with an approach that rewrites interpretation every time history disproves it Lesson 1 2
  • The Book of Revelation 03/04/2007 The time frame is set by two phrases Dei genesthai en tachei - “which must happen soon” Rev 1:1 WEB the Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show the things which must happen soon... Rev 22:6 WEB He said to me, “ The Lord God sent his angel to show the things which must happen soon.” Some believe that en tachei means “certainly” Not so! Tacheoo always means “quickly”. Act 22:17-18 WEB “ while I prayed I fell into a trance, and saw him saying to me, 'Hurry and get out of Jerusalem quickly,” Gal 1:6-7 WEB I marvel that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ to a different gospel 2Ti 4:9 WEB Be diligent to come to me soon... Readers of Revelation understood that the fulfillment would be soon - from their point of view, not ours! The time is at hand Ho gar kairos engus – “for the time is at hand” Engus means “in hand” or “within reach” The use of “the time is at hand” Rev 1:3 WEB Blessed is he who reads those who hear and keep the things written in it, for the time is at hand. Rev 22:10 WEB He said to me, “Don't seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand. This same expression is used elsewhere Mar 1:14-15 WEB Jesus came saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand! ” Rom 10:8-9 WEB The word is near you... Phi 4:5 WEB The Lord is at hand. No text uses engus of something far away Reasons for interpreting the book in light of its time: It was a “revelation” to its readers, not a “mystery” It was intended to be read, understood and acted on Its time of fulfillment was close at hand Picture yourself as a Christian in Pergamum Antipas has been executed for his faith. You may be next! A messenger comes with John's letter. Do you want to know what to expect in 2000 years? No! You want to know if you’re going to be alive tomorrow! If not, what then? Was it worth it for Antipas – or for you? You don’t care about 21st Century writers. You want to know what’s going to happen to you and what God is doing about it! A message to early Christians about their concerns! Lesson 1 3
  • The Book of Revelation 03/04/2007 Keys to understanding Revelation All literature is not read alike Elizabeth Barrett Browning vs. Edgar Allen Poe William Shakespeare vs. Stephen King Newspaper vs. poetry; biography vs. prophecy; history vs. a math textbook They are not interpreted the same way Revelation is written in apocalyptic style Makes heavy use of symbols Imagery that is not intended to be taken literally What if I told you that yesterday, I saw a vision I saw what looked like a living creature It had four legs, but it stood up on two, like a man. It had a prominent nose. It was brown with long ears I saw another living creature It looked like a bird without wings. It was blue and had two legs with three toes on each foot The first creature sat astride a red cylinder The first creature sped toward the second creature The second stepped aside as the first sped past Who are the two creatures? Read Revelation the way you watch animations – use your imagination 7-headed dragon, 7- headed beast, lamb with 7 horns and eyes, prostitute on a beast Don’t let details distract you from the picture Let the picture grab your imagination and you will understand it Revelation uses symbols extensively Some are self-evident Lesson 1 4
  • The Book of Revelation 03/04/2007 Consider John's description of one like a son of man in Rev 1:13-18 Robe and gold sash Hair like white wool Eyes like a flame of fire Feet like brass Sword out of his mouth Face like the sun I am the first and the last, and the Living one I was dead, and I am alive forevermore This is clearly Jesus. Look at the description of the Lamb of God in Rev 5:5-6 Lion of Judah Root of David He who opens the book and its seven seals Lamb standing, as though it had been slain It cannot be anyone but Jesus Consider the vignette about two witnesses in Rev 11:6 Shut up the sky that it may not rain Comes from Elijah Turn water into blood and strike the earth with plagues Come from Moses Lesson 1 5
  • The Book of Revelation 03/04/2007 A radiant woman gives birth to a unique child in Rev 12:1-5 Clothed with the sun Moon under her feet Crown of twelve stars Pregnant and in labor Gives birth to a son who is to rule the nations with a rod of iron John expects his readers to identify the woman as Mary, and her child as Jesus A conquering king rides in on a white horse in Rev 19:11-16 Faithful and True Eyes are a flame of fire Many crowns Covered with blood “The Word of God” Sword out of his mouth Rules with a rod of iron King of Kings and Lord of Lords No doubt this is Jesus The text explains the less obvious symbols What are the stars and lampstands? Rev 1:20 WEB The seven stars are the angels of the seven assemblies. The seven lampstands are seven assemblies. The lampstands are churches and the stars are their messengers Lesson 1 6
  • The Book of Revelation 03/04/2007 What about the dragon out to devour the child? Rev 12:9 WEB The great dragon , the old serpent, he who is called the devil and Satan ... In the Apocalypse, the dragon is Satan John sees a prostitute riding on a seven-headed beast in Rev 17 Rev 17:18 WEB The woman is the great city which reigns over the kings of the earth.” Rev 17:9-11 WEB The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sits. They are also seven kings Rome sat on 7 hills and ruled the world – the prostitute is Rome A puzzle to solve, not a mystery to ignore Start with what you know Lamb is Jesus Dragon is Satan Prostitute is Rome Heads are emperors Start there and the picture comes together! Lesson 1 7
  • The Book of Revelation 03/04/2007 Revelation for Dummies God Rules! Jesus is Lord! We win! The symbolism of numbers Apocalyptic literature used numbers symbolically Four numerals are oppositional pairs. 7 stands opposed to 3 ½ 12 stands opposed to 6 Others are not paired 1/3, 2, 4, 10, 1,000 Oppositional pairs are a feature of Revelation There are two lambs The Lamb of God Rev 5:6 WEB I saw in the midst of the throne a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain A lamb that speaks with the voice of a dragon Rev 13:11 WEB I saw another He had two horns like a lamb, and he spoke like a dragon. Lesson 1 8
  • The Book of Revelation 03/04/2007 Two oppositional women The prostitute Rev 19:1-2 NIV God has condemned the great prostitute The bride of the Lamb Rev 19:7 NIV Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Two who claim dominion God on the throne Rev 4:2 WEB Behold, there was a throne and one sitting on the throne Dragon who attempts to invade heaven Rev 12:7 WEB Michael and his angels made war on the dragon. The dragon and his angels made war. Two marks on people’s foreheads The seal of God Rev 7:3 WEB Don't harm the earth until we have sealed the bondservants of our God on their foreheads! The mark of the beast Rev 13:16-17 WEB He causes all to be given marks on their right hands, or on their foreheads Lesson 1 9
  • The Book of Revelation 03/04/2007 Kings of the earth and the King of Kings Rev 17:12 WEB The ten horns are ten kings Rev 19:16 WEB He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” There are other opposites, but this gives you the idea Some numbers are also in oppositional pairs Seven symbolizes God's completed work 7 occurs more in Revelation than the rest of the NT more in Revelation than in any OT book 7 symbolizes God finishing his work Gen 2:1-3 WEB On the seventh day God finished his work and he rested on the seventh day ... Revelation begins with a letter to 7 churches. Rev 1:4 WEB John, to the seven assemblies ... Rev 1:11 WEB ... “What you see, write in a book and send to the seven assemblies ” Rev 1:20 WEB ... The seven lampstands are seven assemblies. Ekklesiai is “churches” in other translations Lesson 1 10
  • The Book of Revelation 03/04/2007 The first vision features two sevens The son of man is among 7 lampstands Rev 1:20 WEB ... The seven lampstands are seven assemblies. He is holding 7 stars Rev 1:20 WEB ... The seven stars are the angels of the seven assemblies... Before God's throne were 7 lamps Rev 4:5 WEB ... There were seven lamps of fire burning before his throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. These are seen elsewhere Rev 1:4 WEB ... Grace to you and peace ... from the seven Spirits who are before his throne A 7-sealed scroll was opened by a Lamb with 7 horns and 7 eyes Rev 5:1-6 WEB I saw, in the right hand of him who sat on the throne, a book written inside and outside, sealed shut with seven seals (6) I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, having seven horns, and seven eyes Lesson 1 11
  • The Book of Revelation 03/04/2007 God's judgments were announced by 7 angels with 7 trumpets. Rev 8:2-6 WEB I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them (6) The seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound. 7 angels administer God's judgments Rev 15:1 WEB I saw seven angels having the seven last plagues, for in them God's wrath is finished. Rev 15:6-8 WEB One of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God... 7 bowls of wrath were poured out on the earth. Rev 16:1 WEB I heard a loud voice out of the temple, saying to the seven angels, “Go and pour out the seven bowls of the wrath of God on the earth!” Lesson 1 12
  • The Book of Revelation 03/04/2007 3½ depicts Satan's attempt to thwart God's purpose 3 ½ is opposed to 7 7 is God doing his will. 3½ is a time of suffering Daniel envisioned a 3 ½ year oppression Dan 7:25 WEB He shall speak against the Most High, and the saints be given into his hand until a time and times and half a time. A year (“time”) + 2 years (“times”) + 6 months (“half a time”). A time of oppression and provision Drought during the reign of Ahab Jam 5:17 WEB Elijah prayed that it might not rain, and it didn't rain on the earth for three years and six months. God provided for Elijah 1Ki 17:3-6 WEB (6) The ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook. The picture comes from military sieges Measured in months Roman army surrounded a city, cutting off supplies Built siegeworks and starved the city Jewish-Roman War Began in 66 AD Jerusalem fell 42 months later in 70 AD A time when Satan tries to stop God’s work, but God is still in control! Lesson 1 13
  • The Book of Revelation 03/04/2007 3½ years in Revelation 11 Gentiles besiege God’s city for 42 months Rev 11:1-2 They will tread the holy city under foot for forty-two months. God's witnesses preach for the same 1260 days Rev 11:3 my two witnesses will prophesy one thousand two hundred sixty days 3½ years as 1260 days and “a time, times, and half a time” God cares for the woman for 1260 days Rev 12:6 Satan tries to get at the woman for a time, times and half a time Rev 12:13-14 He can’t get to her, because God is protecting her The outcome is always the same – God wins! Twelve symbolizes God's people 12 and multiples (24, 12,000, 144,000) is the second most prominent number in Revelation In Rev 4:4, 24 elders sit on thrones 24 elders are God’s people in two covenants 12 patriarchs (Old Testament) 12 apostles (New Testament) Lesson 1 14
  • The Book of Revelation 03/04/2007 In Revelation 7 there are 144,000 people sealed Rev 7:4 WEB one hundred forty-four thousand, sealed out of every tribe of the children of Israel These are people with God’s seal of approval on their foreheads 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes of Israel The number is not literal The radiant woman in Rev 12 wears a crown of twelve stars Rev 12:1 WEB a woman and on her head a crown of twelve stars We saw this woman earlier as an idealized picture of Mary The 12 stars represent God’s people – her crowning glory 12 dominates the description of the holy city in Rev 21:10-17 12 gates 12 angels Names of 12 tribes 12 foundations 12 names of the 12 Apostles 12,000 stadia Wall is 144 cubits Lesson 1 15
  • The Book of Revelation 03/04/2007 This is the city where God’s people live! It is a cube 12,000 stadia on each side, with 12 gates, having walls 144 cubits thick. The city has plenty of access (gates) room (dimensions) security (angels at the gates) protection (walls) 6 symbolizes rebellion against God It depicts man’s attempt to dispense with God Contrast of 6 and 12 12 is God’s faithful people protected by him 6 is man in rebellion against God Like Satan’s attempts to stop God (3 ½), man’s rebellion always fails The most infamous use of 6 is the number of the beast in Rev 13:18 Rev 13:18 WEB His number is six hundred sixty-six. Rebellion compounded Man’s attempt to usurp God’s throne 666 is a gematria The number concealed a name the readers knew, but history quickly forgot Irenaeus (2nd Century) suggested names, but couldn’t determine the name behind the number Lesson 1 16
  • The Book of Revelation 03/04/2007 Ancient alphabets were not like our modern alphabets Hebrew and Greek had alphabets composed of characters that served a dual purpose as letters and numbers Thus “a” could either serve as a letter, or it could be the numeral “1”, “b” could be used as the numeral “2”, etc. Ancient writers engaged in “gematria” (Greek isopsephia) They added the letter values and the sum was the "number" of the name The sum represented the name when they wanted to reveal the identity to some, but conceal it from others This is important to understanding “666” in Rev 13:18 Ancient examples of gematria Graffiti in Pompeii: “I love her whose number is 545.” Only the couple would know about whom he was writing. A Roman inscription describes Gaius as holy and good Gaios = 3 + 1 + 10 + 70 + 200 = 284 (Ha)gios = 1 + 3 + 10 + 70 + 200 = 284 Aga(th)os =1 + 3 + 1 + 9 + 70 + 200 = 284 The words are gematrically interchangeable Possible names that make sense in light of the historical setting Lateinos = “Latin” (e.g. Rome, the city or the empire) = 30+1+300+5+10+50+70+200 = 666 Teitan = “Titus” (common name of the Flavian Emperors. Vespasian was emperor when Revelation was written. Titus ascended shortly thereafter. Domitian began the empire-wide persecution of Christians.) = 300+5+10+300+1+50 = 666 Kaisarsebaston = “Caesar Augustus” (“worshipful Caesar”). The imperial name = 20+1+10+200+1+100+200+5+2+1+6+70+50 = 666 (Note: this requires using the obsolete letter stigma (= 6) in the place of the letters sigma (= 200) and tau (= 300). Recall the book was intended to be read aloud. The hearers would be used to associating the “st” sound with the value of 6.) Lesson 1 17
  • The Book of Revelation 03/04/2007 1/3 symbolizes God’s restraint in judgment in Rev 8:6-12 1/3 earth burnt up 1/3 trees burnt up 1/3 sea became blood 1/3 sea creatures died 1/3 ships destroyed 1/3 rivers struck by star 1/3 waters became wormwood 1/3 sun, moon and stars darkened Old Testament roots in Ezekiel 5 where he was told to shave his head Eze 5:1-2 WEB (2) A third part you shall burn in the city take a third part, and strike with the sword a third part you shall scatter to the wind . Eze 5:12 WEB A third shall die and a third shall fall by the sword and a third I will scatter to the winds, and draw a sword after them Two symbolizes testimony Emissaries sent in pairs Mar 6:7 WEB He began to send them out two by two Mat 11:2-3 WEB John sent two ... disciples Jewish law of evidence required two witnesses Deu 19:15 WEB One witness shall not rise up against a man at the mouth of two witnesses, or three shall a matter be established. Lesson 1 18
  • The Book of Revelation 03/04/2007 The only significant usage of two is in Rev 11:3-11 2 witnesses prophesy 1260 days They are 2 olive trees They are also 2 lampstands, standing before the Lord They are also 2 prophets The image comes from Zechariah 4 Zec 4:2-3 WEB “I have seen, and behold, a lampstand all of gold, (3) and two olive trees by it ” Zec 4:11-14 WEB Then I asked him, “What are these two olive trees (14) Then he said, “These are the two anointed ones who stand by the Lord of the whole earth.” The two represent the testimony of the Law and Prophets Moses and Elijah at Transfiguration Mat 17:1-3 WEB (2) He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his garments became as white as the light. (3) Behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them talking with him. In Rev 11 they are sent to proclaim God's word Lesson 1 19
  • The Book of Revelation 03/04/2007 Four symbolizes the entire earth and universe Symbol of 4 derives from 4 compass points, 4 wind directions and 4 seasons Babylonian mythology: 4 signs of the Zodiac, Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius, powerful figures supporting heaven by 4 corners, or as the beasts of burden of the 4-wheeled heavenly chariot Ezekiel 1 described 4 creatures of God's heavenly entourage 4 living creatures Each had 4 faces: man, lion, ox and eagle Each had 4 wings Eze 1:4-28 WEB This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of Yahweh. John saw 4 creatures around God's throne worshiping him in Rev 4:6-8 Rev 4:6-8 WEB around the throne were four living creatures ... (7) The first like a lion, the second like a calf, and the third had a face like a man, and the fourth like a flying eagle. (8) They have no rest day and night, saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty ” Lesson 1 20
  • The Book of Revelation 03/04/2007 The 4 creatures worship the Lamb in Rev 5:6-14 Rev 5:6-14 WEB (8) the four living creatures fell down before the Lamb (9) saying, “You are worthy (11) I heard a voice of many angels (12) saying “Worthy is the Lamb ” (14) The four living creatures said, “Amen!” Zechariah 6 has 4 chariots depicting God's omnipresence & omniscience 4 chariots drawn by red, black, white, and dappled horses Zec 6:5-8 WEB “These are the four winds of the sky, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth. ” (7) So they walked back and forth through the earth In Rev 6:1-8, 4 creatures announce 4 horses with the opening of 4 seals 1st seal – 1st creature announces 1st rider on a white horse 2nd seal – 2nd creature announces 2nd rider on a red horse 3rd seal – 3rd creature announces 3rd rider on a black horse 4th seal – 4th creature announces 4th rider on a pale horse Lesson 1 21
  • The Book of Revelation 03/04/2007 The OT mentions the 4 winds & the 4 corners of the earth 4 corners of the earth from which God gathers Isa 11:12 WEB He will assemble Israel, and gather Judah from the four corners of the earth. 4 winds by which God scatters his enemies Jer 49:36 WEB On Elam will I bring the four winds from the four quarters of the sky , Revelation has 4 angels at 4 corners of the earth holding back judgment Rev 7:1 WEB I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth Rev 9:13-15 WEB (15) The four angels were freed who had been prepared for that hour and day and month and year, so that they might kill one third of mankind. Ten symbolizes limits Relates to anatomy: ten fingers on the human hand Once you’ve counted to ten, you’ve exhausted all of your fingers, and all of your chances Many places in the Bible where one counts to ten and then says: “Enough!” Lesson 1 22
  • The Book of Revelation 03/04/2007 Ten years was limit of Abram's patience with God's promise Gen 13:16 WEB I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth Gen 16:3 WEB Sarai, Abram's wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her handmaid, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to Abram her husband to be his wife. Ten was the limit of God's patience with Sodom Abraham bargained with God to spare Sodom, testing God’s limits till he reached the ten Gen 18:32 WEB “Oh don't let the Lord be angry What if ten are found there?” He said, “I will not destroy it for the ten's sake.” Ten changes in terms was the limit of Jacob's patience with Laban Gen 31:41 WEB These twenty years I have been in your house. I served you fourteen years for your two daughters, and six years for your flock, and you have changed my wages ten times. Lesson 1 23
  • The Book of Revelation 03/04/2007 The Ten Commandments were the limits God set on Israel's conduct Exo 34:28 WEB He was there with Yahweh forty days and forty nights; he neither ate bread, nor drank water. He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the ten commandments. God gave people ten chances – as seen in two other events during the life of Moses Ten plagues showed the limit of God's patience with Egypt. Egypt suffers for Pharaoh's refusal to let Israel go In spite of plague after plague, Pharaoh continues to harden his heart The tenth plague results in final judgment on Egypt Ten rebellions test the limits of God's patience with the Exodus generation Num 14:20-23 WEB Yahweh said, because all those men who have seen my glory, and my signs yet have tempted me these ten times, and have not listened to my voice; surely they shall not see the land which I swore to their fathers Lesson 1 24
  • The Book of Revelation 03/04/2007 The uses of “ten” in Revelation Pergamum would suffer ten days before God said, “Enough!” Rev 2:10 WEB the devil is about to throw some of you into prison and you will have oppression for ten days. Be faithful to death, and I will give you the crown of life. Devil is limited by what God allows him to do! The dragon and the sea beast have 10 horns Rev 12:3 WEB Behold, a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns Rev 13:1 WEB I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns On his horns were ten crowns They have power, (horns), but only the power God gives them – God sets their limits! 10 horns are 10 kings – God sets limits on the beast's power Rev 17:7 WEB I will tell you the mystery of the woman, and of the beast which has the seven heads and the ten horns. Rev 17:12 WEB The ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority as kings, with the beast, for one hour. Lesson 1 25
  • The Book of Revelation 03/04/2007 1,000 symbolizes limitlessness Psa 50:10 WEB For every animal of the forest is mine, and the livestock on a thousand hills. God is not exempting the livestock on other hills, nor the livestock in valleys. What he’s saying is that all livestock belongs to him Apply that reasoning to other passages: Deu 7:9 WEB Yahweh your God keeps covenant with them who love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations Message: God loves everyone who loves and obeys him Psa 68:17 WEB The chariots of God are tens of thousands and thousands of thousands Message: God has immeasurable power And when we come to that text about 1,000 years Time is insignificant to God. Man’s eon is God’s moment Psa 90:4 WEB For a thousand years in your sight are just like yesterday when it is past, like a watch in the night. God’s schedule is not to be judged by man's. 2Pe 3:8 WEB But don't forget that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. Remember the symbolic use of 1,000 when we get to Rev 20:2-7 He seized the dragon and bound him for a thousand years I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus They lived, and reigned with Christ for a thousand years Devil’s power is limited (10 horns), but God’s dominion over him is unlimited (1,000 years) Lesson 1 26