Unlocking Revelation (Week 8)

Unlocking Revelation (Week 8)

Review from the Previous Week

We paused in the throne room scene in Chapter 4 and saw how God glory cascades from heaven to earth, through symbiotic, synergistic relationship between God’s Heavenly host and the Church.

The Chapter 4 Glory of God scene and the resulting worship that ensues because of God’s radiant glory is actually a court room scene and the prelude to the next 8 chapters.

God’s Glory judges

In chapter 4 God’s is described as sitting on His throne. Exuding from Him is glory.

And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne.
Revelation 4:3

God’s glory is often seen as light. Light has a judging effect in that it reveals impurities. In short, light reveals what is not light.

In this sense God’s glory naturally judges through its revealing effects that which is Holy and that which is not.

God chose Israel to be the carrier of His glory. They were to be a light to the world. This was part of their commission. They failed in carrying tis glory as they should have.

Israel if you remember had failed their covenant and because they had failed in their covenant they had failed in their assignment to be a light to the world.

  • Israel had committed three heinous unforgivable crimes against their covenant with God:
    • Rebellion
      • Israel had rejected Jesus as their Messiah who was sent to rule and reign in the Davidic linage as their Promised Priestly-King.
    • Theft/Oppression
      • Jesus was also a sheep, the sacrificial Lamb of God (John 1:29; Rev. 5:6, 9)
        • He was wrongfully sold (Matt. 26:14-15),
        • He was treated “like a lamb that is led to slaughter” (Isa. 53:7).
    • Harlotry
      • Throughout Scripture, Israel is regarded as God’s Wife; the covenant is a marriage bond. Israel was expected to be faithful to it.
      • Israel’s apostasy from God was called by Him as adultery, so much so that she is called a harlot.

Whereas in the past God had forgiven Israel for her sins, this time her sins were the unforgivable sin.

God kills the Old Covenant and brings in the New.

God wanted to kill the Old Covenant because it so misrepresented Him.

Remember that God could not fully express Himself through the Old Covenant.

He was misunderstood because He was required to follow its format. Israel had opted for the worst kind of Covenant type, the Vassal Covenant where God was required to treat Israel as a slave and punish them for their crimes.

God wanted a New Covenant through which He could He could fully express Himself.

For that to happen, there needed to be a covenant representative to forge the New Covenant with God.

Chapter 5

1 Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. 

John’s original audience would have understood this scroll writer on both sides to be a Covenant document.

The Ancient Covenant Agreement Process

In ancient times a covenant was usually made between two tribes.

  • Exchange belts on which hung their swords, dagger, bow and purse. 
  • ↪️ I give you my strength. I will fight for you. I will protect you. I will give you my wealth.
  • Killing of a covenant animal usually a bull. Split down the back bone. The representatives would then do the covenant walk through the walls of blood in a figure of eight.
  • ↪️ Signifies infinity and their everlasting commitment and bond.
  • Swearing of oaths and calling on their gods to witness their agreement and prayed for their blessing and asked them to curse them if disobeyed
  • Cutting of their wrists and mingle blood together
  • ↪️ Sealed covenant (Covenant (berîyth) in Hebrew = To Cut
  • Covenant meal, usually include bread and wine. Sometime blood dripped into the cup.
  • ↪️ I’m giving you my very life and I’m drinking in your life
  • Name change
  • ↪️ Tribe A becomes Tribe AB. Tribe B becomes Tribe BA

And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. 

Who on earth was equal to God? Jesus!

And what made Jesus equal to God?

Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”

The Lion of the Tribe of Judah – Speaks of Jesus’ majesty. He embodied a God’s Kingship in how He lived His life. The dignity which He lived with.

The Root of David – King David was a man after God’s heart. Jesus is described not just as an offspring but the very source, the root of David’s heart. This makes Jesus perfectly aligned with God’s heart. God’s heart is Jesus’ heart.

Jesus is the one who has Triumphed – The very essence of God is that He is life. Jesus defeated the exact opposite of life death.

Jesus is described as the “Lamb, looking as if it had been slain”. Jesus is exactly like God because He poured out His all for others. The very essence of His dignity, is significance, is in direct proportion to His laid down life. 

God dismantles the Old Covenant and fully establishes the New Covenant (Revelation Chat 6- 8:5)   

In Chapters 6 and 7 the Worthy One, begins to open the 7 seals.

There are two things going on here simultaneously:

1> The establishment of the New Covenant

2> The destruction of the New Covenant

When did the Old Covenant end? Jesus Ended the Old Covenant at the Cross

When did the New Covenant begin? Jesus Started the New Covenant at the Cross

There is a third aspect here which extremely few Christians understand, which is the fact that the New Covenant didn’t fully begin until AD 70 and more than that the Old Covenant didn’t immediately disappear at the Cross, but it began a process of disintegration which completed when the Temple was destroyed in 70AD.

“By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.”  

Hebrews 8:13

When did the Holy Spirit get given? At the Cross? No. In the days and weeks after Jesus’ resurrection.

When did the power of the Spirit get given? At the Cross? No.

At Pentecost. 40 days after the cross.

When did the Canon of the New Covenant get completed. In 70 AD with the final Book of the New Testament being written.

Why is this important? A Canon is the supporting literature which explains everything we need to know about a covenant which allows the Convent participants to live out the covenant. It’s like there terms and conditions of a contract. 

So the opening of the Seals is two simultaneous events happening at the same time: It is the birthing of the New Covenant and the death of the Old.

What I want to show you is that the dismantling of Old resulted in:

      • The destruction of the Jerusalem in 70AD.
      • The destruction of the Temple

Now this is interesting. Many futurists, historicists, and partial preterists agree that Revelation chapter 6 parallel the what is called the Olivet Discourses in Mathew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21. 

Revelation 6

Revelation 6

Matthew 24

Mark 13

Luke 21

Seal 1

War (v. 1-2)

Wars (v. 6)

Wars (v. 7)

Wars (v. 9)

Seal 2

International strife (v. 3-4)

International strife (v. 7a)

International strife (v. 8a)

International strife (v. 10)

Seal 3

Famine (v. 5-6)

Famines (v. 7b)

Earthquakes (v. 8b)

Earthquakes (v.10)

Seal 4

Pestilence (v. 7-8)

Earthquakes (v. 7c)

Famines (v. 8c)

Plagues +  Famines (v.11)

Seal 5

Persecution (v. 9-11)

5. Persecutions (v. 9-13)

Persecutions (v. 9-13)

Persecutions (v. 12-19)

Seal 6

Earthquake; De-creation (v. 12-17)

6. De-creation (v. 15-31)

De-creation (v. 14-27)

De-creation (v. 20-27)

What is debated is the timing of these events.

I want to suggest to you that these events in Chapters 6 are describing the destruction of Jerusalem.

Mathew 23-24 fulfilment in Revelation Chapters 6-11

Throughout Matthew 23, we see Jesus rebuking the Jewish religious leaders.

Jesus ended His harsh set of rebukes declaring that judgment would come upon them (v. 35).

And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.

Mathew 23:35

Jesus goes on to say that this judgment will come upon them within one generation:

Truly I tell you, all this will come on this generation.

Mathew 23:36 

What is a generation in the Bible? 40 years.

Jesus tells them that Jerusalem and the temple will be destroyed (vv. 37-38).

37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you,how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. 38 Look, your house is left to you desolate.”

Mathew 23:37-38

So completely demolished will Jerusalem and the Temple be that not one stone will be left upon another.

“Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”

Mathew 24:2

It was immediately after that pronouncement of judgment, that the disciples asked Jesus, “ When will these things happen?”

The disciples come to Jesus privately and ask Him:

“Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”

Matthew 24:3

The 3 questions that they ask Jesus are:

  1. When will this happen?
  2. What will be the sign of you coming?
  3. And when will be the coming of the end of the Mosaic Age?

Jesus said the destruction would happen within one generation:

Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.

(Matt. 23:36)

When the disciples ask, “What will be the sign of you coming?” They are not referring to the 2nd coming. The subject they are talking about is the destruction of the Temple.

Revelation 6

Revelation 6

Matthew 24

Fulfilment

Seal 1
Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, “Come!” 2 I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.

War (v. 1-2)

Wars (v. 6)

In the 1st Century the Roman Empire set about a global conquest in which it subdued the world. About three years after Jesus died a war broke out between Herod and Aretas, King of Arabia. 4 years later 10,000 Jews were trampled to death.

Seal 2
3 When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” 4 Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make people kill each other. To him was given a large sword.

International strife (v. 3-4)

International strife (v. 7a)

This resulted in Roman Pax (Peace) but it was held together under the threat of a spear.

Seal 3
5 When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. 6 Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “Two pounds[a] of wheat for a day’s wages,[b] and six pounds[c] of barley for a day’s wages,[d] and do not damage the oil and the wine!”

Famine (v. 5-6)

Famines (v. 7b)

Agabus prophesied one in Acts during Claudius.

A small amount of corn was sold for about a weeks wage.

Seal 4
7 When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” 8 I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.

Pestilence (v. 7-8)

Earthquakes (v. 7c)

Many recorded earthquakes are mentioned just prior to 70AD. There were earthquakes in Crete, Smyrna, Miletus, Chios, Samos, Laodicea, Hierapolis, Colosse, Campina, Rome, and Judea. 

Seal 5
9 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained.10 They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” 11 Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters,[e] were killed just as they had been.

Persecution (v. 9-11)

5. Persecutions (v. 9-13)

The Jews and the Roman Emperor Nero over this time persecuted the Christians

Seal 6
12 I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red,13 and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. 14 The heavens receded like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.

15 Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and everyone else, both slave and free, hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. 16 They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us[f]from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 For the great day of their[g] wrath has come, and who can withstand it?”

De-creation (v. 12-17)

6. De-creation (v. 15-31)

The Destruction of the Temple

The 6th Seal is de-creation.

Why De-Creation?

The Biblical language of de-creation (the “collapsing universe”) is symbolic of God’s judgment, especially reminiscent of the Flood and the plagues on Egypt at the Exodus.

What Jesus is saying in Matthew 24, therefore, in prophetic terminology immediately recognizable by his disciples, is that the light of Israel is going to be extinguished; the covenant nation will cease to exist.

At the end of the Tribulation, Jesus said, the universe will collapse: the light of the sun and the moon will be extinguished, the stars will fall, the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

What was most important about the Garden- indeed, that which made it a Garden at all-was God’s presence with His people.

What made Israel was God’s Presence with them. Where was the Presence? In the temple.

No temple. No presence. No God.

In 70 AD, approximately 20,000 Roman soldiers surrounded Jerusalem and cut off all supplies of food for four months so the city inhabitants would starve. Then the soldiers came into the city and mercilessly killed more than one million Jews. When the soldiers entered the temple, they slit the throats of over 2,000 Jews and then set the building on fire. Only 97,000 Jews survived that holocaust, and they were led away as captives to serve as slaves.

Implications

1. The Old Covenant veiled God and needed to be fully removed for God to be seen

All that was seen of God was judgement and condemnation. On the other side of 70AD  we are now free to see God face to face as the loving Father He is.

Have you ever been in a job where you have to perform a function. I have a job description that I have to honour. In the process of doing the job description who you are is not fully seen.

God had suffered 1500 years of being misunderstood.

In the New Covenant God got to write His own job description.

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,

    because he has anointed me

    to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners

    and recovery of sight for the blind,

to set the oppressed free,

19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”

Luke 4:18-19

God’s goodness is seen and experienced

2. We have been judged already in Jesus

Under the New Covenant believers are not under judgement because we have been judged already in Christ.

As Jesus began His journey towards the Cross He made this statement:

“Now is the time for judgment on this world.”

John 12:31

Mysteriously, in a spiritual, quantum physics kind of a way, the Cross, was the Day of the Lord in advance.

As Jesus was hung on the cross He experienced the full weight of the judgement of God that will occur on the Day of The Lord falling on Him.

That’s also why the sun went dark and the ground shook. These were the physical hallmarks that the Prophets had foretold of the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord.

The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.

There was only One man representing the entire human race there that day. Jesus has experienced Judgement Day in advance.  

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:1

Whilst we have died and been punished in Jesus’ atoning sacrifice, there still remains a judgement for the Christian. But as opposed to being a judgement for our misdeeds it is a judgement for reward.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad

2 Corinthians 5:10

13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.

1 Corinthians 3:13-15

3. We are the Light of the World

Jesus was the light of the world. When he left He said, “Tag, now your it.”

Lion of Judah – Majesty and dignity

Root of David – People after God’s heart only

Triumphed – Victorious ones

Lamb of God – Lay our lives down in service that others may have life

 

 

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