An Encouraging Revelation

AN ENCOURAGING REVELATION

“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him, to shew unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass; and He sent and signified it by His angel unto his servant John: who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” Revelation 1:1-3 (KJV)

It seems that the history of man has began to reach its climax, and because of this, it is of the utmost importance for all people to realize the greatness of Jesus Christ, His present and future power to redeem, judge and bring to fruition the completeness of His redemption.

It is the purpose of this study to reveal the Lord Jesus Christ as being alive, seated at the right hand of the Father; as the “Chief Subject”; the exalted Priest-King in chapters 1 – 3; as the glorified Lamb in chapters 4 – 5 and reigning on the throne; the Judge of all the earth in chapters 6 – 18, and in chapter 19 He returns to earth as the conquering King of kings; finally, closing the book ushering His Bride (the Church) into the glorious heavenly city; thus “UNVEILING HIS GLORY”.

The book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ has been viewed by many, even professing Christians, as a book of “Doom and Gloom”, as has also been the other apocalyptic book of Daniel. They are not. These are books of hope and fulfillment of our final joy – eternal joy. Let me insert this information concerning the title of the book. Some refer to the book as “Revelations”. Not to be “Know it allish”, but there are no plural revelations, it is a single Revelation. It seems to me that there is one proper title of the book, and it is given in the first sentence of the text, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ…”

The book is for our understanding. It is written where you must be familiar with the rest of Scripture, especially the Old Testament. It is filled with symbolism, which is open to interpretation, but by the work of the Holy Spirit a committed Christian can understand. I know that I will fall far short of excellence, but these will be my thoughts and understanding in my study, hopefully and prayerfully led by the Holy Spirit.

This book was written to encourage the Christians, who were being persecuted by Rome, of the ultimate triumph of Jesus Christ. He would conquer every kingdom of man that would exalt itself against Him.

This book was written while the Roman persecution was going on under Domitian who hated Christianity. He had exiled John to “The isle that is called Patmos”. This is where John received the Revelation. It was sent to, and read by the seven churches mentioned in verse 11. Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. It is a book for the Church of all ages until the redemption of mankind is complete.

We will see in the Revelation that it is truly of Jesus and His power to redeem, and that until its completion we, who are Christians, are to keep the faith of Jesus Christ. He will be faithful to fulfill the Father’s will in us.
Let me explain something before I continue. I believe the Bible teaches the rapture of the Church before a period of Tribulation comes on the earth. That that period of Tribulation will be a total of 7 years in length, and that at the end of that 7 years Jesus will come down to earth, set up an earthly kingdom for a period of 1000 years. At the end of that thousand years will come the Great White throne judgment where all the haters of God, “…Inhabiters of earth” will be judged by their works. I believe these things can be seen in The Revelation, as well as other Scriptures. I also know that there are a many good Christian people who do not believe that form of eschatology. That is their belief, and they will go be with Christ in the rapture whether they believe it or not. I will be happy to meet them there.

Let us look now at the Revelation. If we think about the time that has passed since the resurrection and the ascension of Jesus, it could have been as much as 6o years. The Domitian reign of Rome is nearing an end, and John probably needs some encouragement, as well as those to whom he will send this writing. The “Unveiling” is the unveiling of Jesus Christ in all His glory. It will show things which must “Shortly take place”. There are some who argue against the imminent [ready to take place] appearing of Jesus Christ. This is one statement for it. Jesus reveals the suffering and rejection He has endured. He will reveal His power and His glory which all shall see. It is a revelation given by the Father to Jesus to reveal what “Must shortly come to pass”. It is a message which is delivered by an angel to His servants for all the servants of Christ. “Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” Amos 3:7 (KJV). This apocalyptic message is to be revealed (Rev. 22:10), while the message for Daniel, in his time was to be concealed (Daniel 12:4). There is only one thing that John is told not to write and reveal, and that was the message of the seven thunders (Rev. 10:4). What was said there we may never know, nor should we even speculate.

There is a faithful witness in this Revelation. John’s gospel and epistles point out Jesus Christ as the Living Word (John 1:1), the Lamb, come to take away the sin of the world (John 1:29), and that He is God in flesh (John 1:14). John shows us Jesus very clearly as the Word become flesh, for the purpose of dying for our sins, buried, and rising again. He is getting a look at Jesus much unlike anything He has ever seen. The only thing that may have come near it would have been on the mount as Jesus was “Transfigured” in their sight. John faithful in his testimony and witness of Jesus Christ.

We come now to the first of seven Beatitudes of the Revelation. It is a promise of blessing, of happiness – that is what the meaning of “Blessed” is. What many churches and pastors are getting away from in worship services is the reading of God’s Word. There is a special blessing for those who will read the Revelation in worship to God. This blessing would apply, I believe in any situation. In our own private reading, in a Bible study group, corporate worship, or parents with children, and spouses reading it together. There is also a blessing for the hearer of these words. “So then, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” (Rom. 10:17). To “Hear” means with understanding putting it to action, which leads us to the third blessing. The keeping of this is to “hear” it putting it to work for encouraging others in the faith, and for our own stability of faith. It is something to hang on to, because the times are tough. “Do not doubt in the dark, what you have learned in the light.” One thing is certain and that is that “time is short”, “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.” (1Thes. 5:2). This is a book of hope for the Christian. It is a book of encouragment. These seven beautitudes are placed in the book to show us the light in the darkness of troubled times. Seeing that there are seven of the “Beatitudes” it means that our joy will be full, and gives us strength in the face of opposition.

We see that Jesus is central to this final book of the Bible. Were the Bible to close with any other book we would not have a completed picture.

The Bible begins with the book of “Beginnings” – Genesis and closes with the triumph of Jesus Christ, the redemption of mankind. A-MEN.

A-MEN.

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Glory Departed from the Temple

“And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple:” Matthew 24:1 (KJV).

Beginning chapter 24 one must go back to view a little bit of chapter 23. Chapter 23 is a discourse Jesus had with the Scribes and Pharisees, condemning their legalistic, condemning practices of the people. Jesus refers to them as “Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites” seven times, and one of the “woes” pronounced Jesus calls them “blind guides” (v.16).

These were the ones who secured the temple and loved to be called “Rabbi” or in our area it would be similar to a PHD. or a doctorate in theology. Arrogance of their education, and wanting, desiring it above even, a right attitude with the Lord.

Chapter 23 ends with a lament from Jesus over the city of Jerusalem.

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” Matthew 23:37-39 (KJV)

There are a few things we need to see concerning Jesus leaving the temple. This phrase “Jesus went out, and departed from the temple” seems almost permanent. In Matthew’s Gospel this would be the final time Jesus visited the temple, before His cross in Jerusalem. Luke’s account of Jesus’s lament over the city does not mention all that Matthew records; they are different (Luke 19:41-44). Following Matthew’s account Jesus leaves the temple not to return again until He comes in His glory as King of kings (23:39).

Let’s consider why Jesus left the temple. He departed because He, His life, His message, and His Father had been rejected by the one’s to whom He first came. “He came unto His own; and His own received Him not” (John 1:11). Two times Jesus had came to the temple and found it to be full of profiteers, who were gouging the people out of their mammon and means; and He drove them out. Matthew’s gospel (chapter 21), Mark’s gospel (chapter 11), and the gospel of Luke (chapter19) has Jesus driving the “money changers” out of the temple in the latter part of His ministry; the apostle John records Him driving out the money changers early in His earthly ministry. The only plausible explanation is that Jesus cleansed the temple twice, and they never received the message. He very strongly, without wavering, was saying to them, “My house is to be a house of prayer for all people, but you have made it a den of thieves.”

Jesus spoke very strongly to all who came to Him. He did not withhold what He should say for fear that someone might be offended. Some were, especially those who were guilty of the charges; those were mostly the religious leaders who were given to their systems of belief, and refused to hear the message of Jesus. These so called spiritual leaders were angered by the clear, simple, and direct teaching of Jesus. He spoke with authority; as though He knew what He was saying and that He had it on direct authority from heaven. He did.

Jesus knowing that He had been rejected by His own and that the time of His crucifixion was drawing near; looked out over the city and pronounced this lament toward Jerusalem. The lamentation was from a broken heart, grieved that for many years and at many and various times they had rejected the prophets of God, even killing them. They were basically refusing the comforting, sheltering, loving of the Father. The warning preaching of the prophets were God’s call to gather under the sheltering wings of God, “but you would not”.

Very much unlike their favored, God annointed king of old, they would not flee to the wings of God, “Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wing.” Psalms 17:8 (KJV). “Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.” Psalms 57:1 (KJV). “I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah.” Psalms 61:4 (KJV). By these few verses from the heart of David we see that they were far from having the heart of king David, and far from the heart of God.

Jesus’s departure from the temple was very similar to the capture of the ark of the covenant in 1 Samuel 4. The ark of the covenant was a symbol of the power and presence of God. There was great and grave evil in the camp of Israel, and were foolish in sending the ark out to the battle in the first place, because they were attempting to use God in their evil. When the ark was taken, and did not come back with the defeated troops of Israel, as “his heart trembled for the ark of God” (1 Samuel 4:13), Eli died when he received the news of the captured ark. His sons Hophni and Phineas also died, and then Phineas’ wife had a son, and she died in child birth, naming the son “Ichabod” meaning “the glory is departed”. When Jesus left the temple that day; the Glory of God was departed from it, and would only return to it when they would look upon the One whom they pierced.

There are other places of Scripture which mention the departure of the glory of God from the temple. Ezekiel mentions the glory of God much in the closing chapters of his prophecy. Chapters 43-48 mention much about the return of the glory of God to the temple; speaking of the Millennial Temple; when Jesus returns in all His glory to set up His reign upon the earth. However, nearer the beginning of the prophecy, Ezekiel mentions the departure of the glory, because they have departed from God, as the nation, and gone into captivity. The prophet wrote, “Then the glory of the LORD departed from off the threshold of the house, and stood over the cherubims.” Ezekiel 10:18 (KJV). Jesus Himself was the physical manisfestation of the Glory of the LORD, as the writer of Hebrews says, “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;” Hebrews 1:1-3 (KJV). The apostle John mentions Jesus being the glory when he wrote, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” John 1:14 (KJV)

The glory incarnate was rejected by His own people. They crucified the Glory, buried the Glory, thinking the Glory was finished. The work was finished. The work which the Father had given His Son to do, was finished. He died to live again. He died that all who believe in Him might be saved. Jesus rose again. Now, the Glory of God lives in His temple; which temple we are, who profess Jesus as our Lord and Savior.