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Revelation chp 1 vs 9 - I John - JS Gillespie - 20072021  

Revelation chapter 1 verse 9 : "I John"

Consider the apostle John: 

The difference one man can make in adversity and how he can make it! He is :

  • The right person (v9) 
  • The right place (v9) – Patmos 
  • The right preparation (v9) 

               Same kin 

               Same Kingdom 

               Same kind of conditions 

  • In the right condition (v10) 

Then John was a right help to the people of God! 

It took him until he was about 90 to be: 

  • That person 
  • In that place 
  • In that condition 

God was not in any hurry with the life and ministry of the apostle John, even if I am in a hurry for God to do something with my life, my gifts and my talents!

‘I John’ - consider the significance of this simple, humble statement in verse 9 of chapter 1 of Revelation. This greatest of biblical, prophetic revelations was given to a humble fisherman: to John! This was the John who leaned on the breast of Jesus. From that past experience of John, that proximity to the person of Jesus Christ, extends that reality of Jesus to these Christians now. This is of course the pattern for all true Christian ministry; to draw others into the proximity and experience of Christ, as I too have enjoyed it!

It was that same disciple and apostle John who: 

  • Travelled with Him 
  • Talked with Him 
  • Listened to Him 
  • Watched Him 
  • Rested on Him 
  • Wrote the gospel all about Him 

John summarises His experience of Jesus in 1 John 1:1-2: 

"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)" 1 John 1:1-2

The same John so close to Christ now draws close to Christians, that is his priestly ministry. 

This is the same ministry of our Great High Priest, Jesus Christ who: 

  • Bore our griefs and carried our sorrows 
  • Who washed the disciples feet 
  • Who being in the form of God thought not Deity to consist of grasping after (Phil 2) 

John’s ministry was a priestly ministry 

All Christian service is priestly service 
The service of Christ was priestly service (Phil 2, John 13) 
The pattern of spiritual service is priestly; Joseph, Moses, Aaron, Daniel 


John’s service isn’t only about preaching to people but is about reaching people. John doesn’t just appear out of the blue and start preaching to everyone about Jesus! John has a history, from history experience, an ongoing experience of Jesus! That history began with the call of Jesus on his life (Matt 4:21) and the obedience of John to that call may have seemed to some a tiny step; let go of his fishing nets and stop mending nets and follow Jesus. That first small step and call of John to follow Jesus, and the subsequent series of tiny steps though have led us and John here to the greatest prophetic revelation of the Bible! 

For perhaps the bulk of the gospel narrative an intelligent onlooker may well be forgiven for questioning wither or not  all of this sacrifice of job, security, family and finance was really going anywhere? Perhaps especially when we see Christ crucified and the 2 on the road to Emmaus despondent and discouraged. Had John made a colossal error of judgment? Perhaps he even wondered this himself? Returning it would seem at one point to the fishing in John chapter 21? 

The first book of the NT records where John came from – humble beginnings, unpromising and unqualified, uninspiring, but listen it is left for the last book of the Bible for us to learn as to where John went to! Not just Patmos but somewhere way more glorious than that:

From the sea of Galilee 

To 

The crystal sea (Rev 4) 

 

This journey from earth to heaven, to the eternal Glory of God is not uniquely John’s journey, this too is our journey! 

Is it not encouraging to see that the glory he gained was infinitely greater than the small steps of faithful obedience John took! This was a journey of many small steps of faithful obedience, to leave behind the mending of nets, to leave the fishing and boat and father and follow Jesus. Those many small steps of obedience and tiny steps of faithfulness brought John on a journey which concluded here with the statement: “I John” (1:9) 

I wonder if there will be many looking back from the edge of the crystal sea and wondering; seriously did I ever consider any of these passing and fleeting sacrifices of time of any real value and significance, past and now long forgotten; compared to the perspective that is now mine in eternity; on the edge of the crystal sea? 

“these light afflictions” – did I ever entertain the thought that such light afflictions, such tiny costs, such trivia might seriously be a hindrance or discouragement to me reaching this destination! Oh those light afflictions are so out of proportion to a far more eternal Weight of glory! 

Did I ever get: 

               Discouraged 

               Distracted 

               Doubt the purpose 

For such trivial gains? 

 

Little did John anticipate where these individual steps of obedience would lead him to! A life filled with many small steps of obedience can lead somewhere glorious. 

God uses / calls a man of experience in the Apostle John! From experience comes revelation and exposition. How much of a help can you be John? That question is in essence synonymous with another question: "How close are you to Jesus?" 

John is serving Christ and the people of God in his suffering (verse 9). Serving as a "brother" and a "companion in tribulation" for the sake of the gospel. Serving opens the ear to the saving word of God, consider:

  • John 11 and the table set for Jesus with Lazarus 
  • Cf the miracles of healing 
  • Cf Naamans maid 
  • John chapter 13 and the washing of the disciples feet 
  • John chapters 8 + 9   

Serving demonstrates the sincerity of the concern and care of the Christian in testimony:

  • We are not a cult 
  • We care 
  • We care because God cares 
  • We serve because Christ serves 
  • We deal with people as people who have a will to be won over 

This is the ‘Kingdom’ (v9); not the earthly kingdom of Pilate; ‘art thou a King?’ A kingdom not of this world; entrance to this kingdom is by much tribulation. This is a kingdom foreign to this world, belonging to another world, to be part of this kingdom is to be foreign to the world. 

 

 

A message preached as part of our series of Bible studies on the teaching of the prophetic book of Revelation

Yours by Grace in Christ

Dr J Stewart Gillespie 

Revelation chp 1 vs 4 to 6 - The Mystery of all Mysteries - From Tragedy to Triumph - JS Gillespie - 29062021  

The mystery of the Trinity in Revelation chapter 1: 

Note reference to the Trinity in verses 4 and 5 of Revelation chapter 1: 

  1. God the Father (verse 4) : "Him which is and which was and which is to come"
  2. Spirit of God (verse 4)
  3. Jesus Christ (verse 5)

This is a thoroughly Trinitarian section 

These opportunities are empowered by the 7 fold spirit of God (v4), able to meet the need of Gods people. 

V5 “and from Jesus Christ.” 

We note in these 2 verses reference to the doctrine often referred to as the ‘Trinity.’ 

Not a Biblical term admittedly but a soundly Biblical teaching and truth and pattern. 

God is 1 essential being with a 3 fold personality. 

Compare Human nature – not 3 persons but 3 aspects of the 1 individual:

  1. Body
  2. Soul
  3. Spirit

 

Not 1+1+1 but 1X1X1 

The truth of the Trinity is taught throughout scripture and especially in the NT: 

  1. God the Son – John 1:1,14 
  2. God the Father – John 6:27 
  3. God the Holy Spirit – Acts 5:34 

All 3 Persons involved with: 

  • Incarnation of Jesus – Matt 1:18, 20, 23; Luke 1:35; 1 John 4:14 
  • Miracles of Jesus 

Performed by Jesus – John 2:11 
In the name of His Father – John 10:25 
By the power of the Holy Spirit – Matt12:28; Acts 10:38 

  • Baptism of Jesus – Matthew 3:16-17; Luke 3:22 
  • Resurrection of Jesus Christ 

God – Psalm 16:5-10 
Lord Jesus – John 10:17-18 
Spirit of God – Rom 1:4 
God the Father – Rom 6:4 

  • Salvation of the Christian 

Spirit of God – 2 Thess 2:13; John 3:6 – the one who performs / is the executor of the work of saving a soul. 
Lord Jesus – John 10:28 – whose work provides that salvation 
God the Father – 1 John 4:14 – with whom the plan of salvation originates 

  

  • Indwelling if the believer 

Spirit of God – John 14:17 
Lord Jesus – John 14:18 
God the Father – John 14:23 

  • Baptism – Matt 28:19 
  • Teaching of the Believer / Apostles – John 14:26 
  • Our relationship with God – Ephesians 2:18 
  • Prayer 

In the name of Jesus – John 14:13,14; 16:23 
To the Father – Luke 11:2; Matt 6:9 
By the Spirit of God – Rom 8:26 

  • Fruitfulness in the Christian life: 

Father – John 15:1-2 
Son – John 15:1,4-5 
Spirit of God – Gal 5:22 

  • Comfort and Consolation to the Christian 

Father – 2 Co 1:3 
Son – 2 Co 1:5; 1 John 2:1 
Spirit – John 14:16-17 

  • Eternal security of the Christian: 

Jesus – John 10:28 
Father – John 10:29-30 
Spirit of God – Ephesians 1:13 

  • Testimony in the heavens (1 John 5:7) 
  • Inspiration of Scripture 

Is this a NT doctrine only? 

Consider Deuteronomy 6:4 :         

Elohyenu – plural title for God 
Echad – the Hebrew word for a composite unity compare the use of the same word in Genesis 1:5; 2:24; where it is also used for composite unity.

 
Yahid – by way of contrast, not used here in Deuteronomy is a word for singular unity – used in Gen 22:2 

 

Taken from a bible teaching series of studies in the book of Revelation.

Yours by Grace in Christ

Dr J Stewart Gillespie

 

Revelation chp 1 vs 4 to 5 - God Sovereign Eternal All Sufficient Triune - JS Gillespie - 22062021  

Revelation chapter 1 verses 4 to 5 - God Sovereign Eternal All Sufficient Triune: 

We have seen so far in our series of bible studies in the book of Revelation: 

  • Significance of the author – John 
  • Source of the Revelation – Jesus Christ 
  • Subject of the book – Jesus Christ 
  • Structure of the Book 

Significance of the author – John 

For John the book of Revelation is the 5th and final of John’s New Testament books. This interestingly is comparable to Moses who is the human author of the first 5 of the Old Testament books of the Bible. The closest parallels between these two authors exists between Moses first book; that of Genesis and John's final book that of Revelation.

Consider the parallels in particular between Genesis and Revelation: 

 

Genesis 

Revelation 

Creation 

New Creation  

Satan comes in as the serpent 

Satan the serpent and dragon removed 

Sin and the fall 

Redemption and eternal salvation 

Sin, sorrow and suffering begin 

Sin, sorrow and suffering ended 

Tree of life guarded 

Tree off life freely available 

Plagues of Egypt 

Plagues on whole world 

Mark of Cain 

Mark of the beast 

Sun and moon created to give light 

Sun and moon no longer needed for light 

Babel its origins 

Babylon its fulfilment 

Manna for the Israelites 

Manna for Pergamos 

 

 

Subject of the book of Revelation is Jesus Christ 

Consider the following as suggested outlines of the book of Revelation:

  • Plan of Salvation (chp 1) 
  • Presence of Christ amidst His people (chp 2 to 3) 
  • Power over the world (chps 4 to 19) 
  • Purpose for Universe (chps 20 to 21) 
  • Pre-eminence in all things 

Structure of the Book 

Cf 1:19 

  • Lord in the midst of His people 
  • Lamb in the midst of the throne 
  • Lion over the world 
  • Lover of the Church 
  • Light in eternity 

Or we can divide the book of Revelation according to the locations in which the parts of the revelation were given: 

  • In Patmos (1:9) 
  • In Heaven (4:1,2) 
  • By sand of the sea (13:1) 
  • In wilderness (17:3) 
  • Great and high mountain (21:10) 

Consider the Setting in which this great book of Revelation was given to John. John was imprisoned on the prison fortress of Patmos. A penal colony and possibly also a quarry, to which prisoners were put for forced hard labour. John’s circumstances are greatly constrained, movements restricted, imprisoned and held on an island; possibly even set to work in a limestone quarry. These are not circumstances of his choosing by any manner of means!  Yet this island of Patmos was also conveniently situated just across the water from the port of Ephesus and this close to the 7 churches of Asia, addressed in the opening chapters of the book of Revelation. Whilst it may well be true that of all the places we might choose to be Patmos would not be one of them! It is also true that our disappointments can be Gods appointments! If life gives you lemons! John could either live according to circumstances he would like to be in and proceed to hit his head against a brick wall or he could live according to the circumstances that he was actually in! 

This is not just about making the best of a bad situation of course but rather making the most of a God given situation and opportunity! If we understand that God is in control, as we can certainly see here in Revelation then that injects purpose and infuses meaning into every part of human life and experience! If we understand that truth from anywhere in the scriptures that God is in control, it is surely from the book of Revelation! 

The 7 churches are in a geographical loop and sequence; interconnected by the Roman roads and each a postal town in the old Roman administration. Ironically the the infrastructure of hostile Rome provided for free movement and facilitated the distribution of the Gospel! John grasps the opportunity that presents itself to him and ministers within the new sphere of service given to him by the sovereign hand of God!

John discerns the hand of God in his circumstances and goes through the door that has been opened to him rather than trying to navigate around about the door. 

John is placed here in Patmos by GPS: 

  • Global Positioning System? 
  • God’s Providential Sovereignty! 

So far as God is concerned John's imprisonment in Patmos is: 

  • The Perfect Person in 
  • The Perfect Place for 
  • The Perfect Purpose 

This may not follow our plan or the normal pattern of life either; let’s not get irritated nor frustrated by Gods sovereignty. 

Note that John is thought to be around 90 years of age here! His greatest contribution to the scriptures and to the church and God’s people waited till he was 90 years of age! 

Normally we may be used with the secular pattern for life, a progression through: 

  • Childhood 
  • Maturity 
  • Education 
  • Adulthood and service 
  • Old age and retirement 

Christian life and service doesn’t necessarily comply with that pattern! Moses was aged 80 before God started to use him properly. Esther was present in the palace for one single crises in the 4000 year history of the nation of Israel. 

Are we willing to be so used?

Are we only willing to be who and what we wish to be, where and when we want to be? 

Like Naaman the leper (2 Kings 5:12) “are not Abana and Pharpar rivers of Damascus better than all the waters of Israel?” Are we only willing to do what we want to do or are we willing to be obedient and humble ourselves to do what God instructs us to do? Are we willing to confess with Christ; "not my will but thine be done"?

This ministry from John is no mere rhetoric or platitudes but is backed up by: God “which is, which was, which is to come.” This is the New Testament parallel to JeHoVaH. In the Old Testament Hebrew title for God, often translated as Jehovah or Yahweh or simply as The LORD, the consonants from the Hebrew word, are derived from the 3 parts of the Hebrew verb ‘to be’; signifying in one title: 

  • He who will be 
  • Who is 
  • Who has been 

We note that the order of tenses is different here between the Hebrew title and the New Testament order here in Revelation chapter 1! 

This present order of tenses in Revelation chapter 1: 

  1. Is 
  2. Was 
  3. Shall be 

Consider also the presentation of a similar pattern in the life of the Lord Jesus in verse 5:

  • “who is the faithful Witness” – In the present - He Is 
  • “first begotten of the dead” – An event in the past for Christ - Was 
  • “Prince of the kings of the earth” –  Awaiting future fulfilment for its full revelation - Which is to come 

Consider also the repetition of this theme in verse 8 and verse 18. 

The pattern seems to be consistent. 

As if we see God from the present extending back to the past and forward into the future; like an eternal light house casting His light into the whole of human history. It is not so much that God has a past and a present but rather it is that God is eternally present throughout history, providing a structure, order, plan and narrative to the whole of history. He is eternally present throughout history and over history; as Alpha and Omega (1:8) the originator and terminator of time and history; as the eternal “I AM” ever in the present! Recall the significance of “I AM the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” quoted by the Lord to establish the reality of life after death to the Sadducees in Mark chp 12: 

“And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err.” (Mark 12:26-27) 

For this to establish the continued existence of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob there is an inherent assumption in this statement; that God Himself does not change! This statement presumes that the relationship of God to time is different from our relationship to time. For me to state that I am the friend of….. does not provide for them the assurance of their perpetual existence! Yet this statement regarding Abraham, Isaac and Jacob does! For God; what is, will always be because God does not simply have a past / present and future tense but He is the eternal being present in and over past, present and future. 

The continued existence beyond death of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is established because they are connected by the perpetual “I AM” to an unchanging God, an eternal being, not simply a person subject to and passing through time. They are "fastened to the Rock which cannot move, Grounded firm and deep in the Saviour's love."

 

“For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” (Malachi 3:6) 

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (James 1:17) 

The God whom Abraham met is exactly the same God we meet today! He has not changed, He cannot change! 

The eternal character of God orders and ordains not only events today but in the past and present and future. 

This gives a coherence, order, plan and structure to all of time. 

This brings all of history to an ordered conclusion and destiny! 

 

We note in these 2 verses; verses 4 and 5 of Revelation chapter 1 there is reference to the doctrine often referred to as the ‘Trinity.’ Not a Biblical term admittedly but a soundly Biblical teaching, truth and pattern. 

verse 4 : "from Him which is and was which was and which is to come" - God the Father 

verse 4: "the seven Spirits" - God the Spirit 

verse 5: "and from Jesus Christ" - God the Son 

 

God is 1 essential being with a 3 fold personality. 

Cf. Human nature :

  1. Body
  2. Soul
  3. Spirit

Not 3 persons but 3 aspects of the 1 individual. 

Not 1+1+1 but 1X1X1 

The truth of the Trinity is taught throughout scripture and especially in the NT: 

God the Son – John 1:1,14 
God the Father – John 6:27 
God the Holy Spirit – Acts 5:34 

All 3 Persons of the Trinity involved with: 

  • Incarnation of Jesus – Matt 1:18, 20, 23; Luke 1:35; 1 John 4:14 
  • Miracles of Jesus 

Performed by Jesus – John 2:11 
In the name of His Father – John 10:25 
By the power of the Holy Spirit – Matt12:28; Acts 10:38 

  • Baptism of Jesus – Matthew 3:16-17; Luke 3:22 
  • Resurrection of Jesus Christ 

God – Psalm 16:5-10 
Lord Jesus – John 10:17-18 
Spirit of God – Rom 1:4 
God the Father – Rom 6:4 

  • Salvation of the Christian 

Spirit of God – 2 Thess 2:13; John 3:6 – the one who performs / is the executor of the work of saving a soul. 
Lord Jesus – John 10:28 – whose work provides that salvation 
God the Father – 1 John 4:14 – with whom the plan of salvation originates 

  

  • Indwelling if the believer 

Spirit of God – John 14:17 
Lord Jesus – John 14:18 
God the Father – John 14:23 

  • Baptism – Matt 28:19 
  • Teaching of the Believer / Apostles – John 14:26 
  • Our relationship with God – Ephesians 2:18 

 

  • Prayer 

In the name of Jesus – John 14:13,14; 16:23 
To the Father – Luke 11:2; Matt 6:9 
By the Spirit of God – Rom 8:26 

  • Fruitfulness in the Christian life: 

Father – John 15:1-2 
Son – John 15:1,4-5 
Spirit of God – Gal 5:22 

  • Comfort and Consolation to the Christian 

Father – 2 Co 1:3 
Son – 2 Co 1:5; 1 John 2:1 
Spirit – John 14:16-17 

  • Eternal security of the Christian: 

Jesus – John 10:28 
Father – John 10:29-30 
Spirit of God – Ephesians 1:13 

Testimony in the heavens (1 John 5:7) 
Inspiration of Scripture 

Is this doctrine of the Trinity  a New Testament  doctrine only? 

Consider Deuteronomy 6:4 :         

Elohyenu – is a plural title for God 
Echad – is the Hebrew word for a composite unity compare the use of  the same word in Genesis 1:5; 2:24 
Yahid – by way of contrast is the word for a singular unity – used in Genesis  22:2 : "your only Isaac"

 

A sermon preached from our bible teaching series on the book of Revelation 

Yours by Grace in Christ  

Dr J Stewart Gillespie

Revelation chp 1 vs 1 - Revealing Reality Beyond - God Gravity and Glory - JS Gillespie - 15062021  

 

The closing book of the NT, bringing the entire Bible to a conclusion after more than 2000 years of inspiration! 

We might expect a massive finale, and we get one! 

This is the conclusion to: 

  • The Bible 
  • History 
  • Israel 
  • World 
  • Satan 
  • Evil 
  • Death 
  • Suffering 
  • Sin 

This is quite a conclusion 

There is a lot in it 

Revelation addresses: 

  • The meaning and purpose of life 
  • The destiny of humanity 
  • The end of the world 
  • The plan for the universe 
  • The battle of good over ever 
  • The ultimate and final victory 
  • The mystery of suffering 
  • The perplexity of seemingly unanswered prayer 

 

Perhaps we may feel overwhelmed by this, discouraged from studying the book with so many symbols, demanding such a thorough knowledge of the rest of scripture and maybe even a good working knowledge of  Church history. 

Perhaps as CA Coates has observed this is the reason for the encouragement of 1:3; the Spirit of God well understanding that we may indeed by discouraged from grappling with the book! 

Revelation 1:3 encourages us to personally engage with the book. 

Not only engage with someone who has engaged with the book; which may indeed be very tempting. 

There needs to be on our part, a fresh appreciation and application of the text of Revelation: 

Read 
Hear 
Keep 

All this given to the Apostle John. 

The first book of the Bible – Genesis – written by Moses 

The final book of the Bible – Revelation – written by John 

Each are responsible for writing 5 books in the OT and the NT 

Much of what Moses set the scene for in the first 5 books of the Bible will find its completion here in the final book by John. 

The symmetry through the ages of inspiration is striking: 

Genesis 

Revelation 

Creation 

Old world passed away 

Satan comes in 

Satan removed 

Sin and the fall 

Redemption and eternal salvation 

Tree of life guarded 

Tree off life freely available 

Plagues of Egypt 

Plagues on whole world 

Mark of Cain 

Mark of the beast 

Sin, sorrow and suffering begin 

Sin, sorrow and suffering ended 

Sun and moon created to give light 

Sun and moon no longer needed for light 

It would seem justified to open the pages of Revelation with a degree of trepidation and humility, it is after all the magnum opus of John, given to him in his 90s after a long and deep experience of Christ and the gospel! 

It took a man of deep spirituality to write it, the author of the deeply spiritual 1 + 2 + 3 John! 

The apostle who served his apprenticeship leaning on Jesus breast and who gave to us the epistles of love, life and light. 

To John is given the task of writing the only completely prophetic book of the NT! 

Many books of prophecy in the OT: 

Major prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel and Ezekiel 
12 minor prophets 
A significant proportion of the Psalms 

At least 16/39 OT books could be classified as prophetic books, yet only 1 completely prophetic book in the NT, although parts of other NT books would have a prophetic content; Matthew, 1 + 2 Thessalonians, 2 Peter, and 2 Timothy. 

Interesting perhaps to reflect on why we might have that pattern / disparity? 

The great burden of  OT prophecy is to point us forward, not so much to events nor even a programme but to a person, that is Christ. 

The bulk of the NT now looks back at the person; that is Christ. 

The NT Gospels take the place mainly of the OT prophets, both from their own perspectives bringing us to Christ prospectively and then retrospectively. 

What was prophetic for the OT authors is now historical for the NT. 

The prophetic burden is not that God’s people become sign watchers, nor experts in geopolitics but rather that the Lord’s people look off unto Jesus! 

It is surely a great challenge to read it and apply it! 

Back to the book of Revelation at 50! 

It has been an interesting 50 years 

The intervening 35 years have shed considerable light on the revelation not so much from a biblical perspective but from human history and the areas of: 

technology 

 infectious diseases 

mechanized warfare 

Global politics 

eg Rev 1:7 “every eye shall see Him,” and the two prophets of Revelation 11 

the general witness of the Nations to two dead in Jerusalem. 

In the first half of the twentieth century Christians were unable to explain how this could happen. In the second half of the twentieth century in my younger days some saw the possibility of this by means of the television 

Now at the beginning of the 21st century such a statement is completely compatible with current experience, there is no explanation needed. 

The mark of the Beast is likewise enabled by modern technology implantable microchips are already in place. 

Illust: Story told of Albert Einstein setting a university exam for his students. His assistant professor asked ‘but isn’t that the same exam you set for your final year students last year? Exactly the same exam? You can’t do that! To which Einstein famously replied ‘yes the questions are the same but the answers have changed.’ 

 

As we come to look afresh at Revelation, the questions, the text, the inspiration, the Spirit remains exactly the same but we come with a fresh perspective as to what some of these texts could potentially mean in the light of recent, very recent changes in the world in which we live. 

Perhaps we can see just how close these events have become, how easily and quickly our society has been and can be changed: Mass surveillance of the population; contact apps for ‘disease monitoring’ 
Control of financial transactions via electronic means 
Threatened and real abandonment of physical monetary transactions eg Wuhan province 
Attractiveness of implanted microchip technology 
Removal of civil liberties eg right to assemble and control of movement and monitoring of social media information feeds for ‘misinformation.’ 
Imposition of a closely policed state 
State interference in privacy 
Compromise of data and confidentiality –

How easily and quickly he Kingdom of the beast could emerge with: 

Monitoring 
Financial control 
Restriction of personal freedoms and liberties 

Outlines? 

Can’t go wrong with the one given: 

1:19: 

Thou hast seen (chp 1) 
Things which are (chp 2 to 4) 
Shall be hereafter (chps 5ff) 

Or: 

Grace (chp 2+3) 
Government (chps 4 to 19) 
Glory (chps 20 to 24) 

Or thinking of Christ: 

  • Lord in the midst of the lampstands 
  • Lamb in the midst of the throne 
  • Lion over the nations 
  • Lover in the midst of the marriage supper 
  • Light in the midst of heaven 

 

Consider the differing perspectives we find here in Revelation: 

  • In the Isle called Patmos (1:9) 
  • In heaven before the throne (4:1ff) 
  • Upon the sand of the sea (13:1) 
  • Carried into the wilderness (17:3) 
  • On a great and High mountain (21:10) 

 

Perhaps my own 7 fold outline of the changing themes and scenes of Revelation: 

  1. Revelation of the Person and Character of Christ (chp 1) 
  2. Revival in the Church (ch 2 + 3) 
  3. Reigning and Ruling over the world (chp 4 – 19) 
  4. Response to the prayers of the saints 
  5. Retribution on the wicked 
  6. Removal of evil (chps 13 to 19) 
  7. Restoration of Righteousness 

 

The righteousness of God is seen in the person of Christ impacts: 

Personally 
On the Church chps 2 + 3 
On the world chps 5 to 19 
Into eternity chps 20 to 22 

“the revelation of Jesus christ” (1:1) 

The whole of the Bible is the 'Revelation of Jesus Christ' 

In the sense that it is the revelation about Jesus Christ 

'Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.'(Joh 5:39) 

The scriptures are full of prophecies / patterns and parables of Christ 

Luk 24:27 'And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.' 

This revelation is a little different 

This is not the Revelation 'concerning' Jesus Christ but rather the revelation from Jesus Christ. 

This revelation is very special: 

This is the revelation from the Revelation of scripture. 

This is the revelation within a revelation, to reveal the truth behind appearance, reality behind perception! 

Genitive of Origin? 

Notice the flow here: 

God gave the Revelation to Jesus 

                              

               Jesus Christ "Him" 

                                             

                    By His angel 

                              

"Unto His servants" / "unto His servant John" 

                              

               To show unto His servants 

God gave the revelation to Jesus 

Jesus gave his revelation to us 

This is the revelation from Jesus Christ as we follow the flow of the revelation through these verses. 

It is hard to miss the significance however of the fact that the whole of the Word of God is a Revelation of Christ: 

OT – pictures, prophecies, pointers and parallels 
NT – Person and work of Christ 

And here crowning it all – the concluding Revelation of Jesus Christ! 

Here we see that out of the: 

Trial and Tragedy comes Triumph 
Disaster comes deliverance 

All has as its destiny the glory of Christ. 

As the alpha He is the origin 

As the omega He is the destiny 

With all things headed up in Christ in chapters 21 and 22: 

The bride is the bride of the Lamb 
The apostles are the apostles of the Lamb 
The temple is The Lord God and the Lamb 
The Light is the Lamb 
The book is the Lambs book of Life 
The throne is the throne of God and of the Lamb 
The river of life flows from the throne of the Lamb 

History is His Story! 

This is about to come as something of a shock to a world which has universally rejected Christ : 

“14 But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.” Luke 19:14 

“38 And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.” Luke 23:38 

And still so: 

‘By the world rejected and by the few enthroned.’ 

Therein lies the missing piece of the jigsaw of this world 

If only he were not so universally rejected there would be no: 

Gender confusion 
Broken marriages 
Murdered unborn 
Racial tensions 
Tribalism 
War, famine, and man made disasters 
Corruption 
Despair 

This is indeed a book all about Jesus Christ; charting His life from: 

Grave (1:5) to the Glory (Rev 22) 
Cross (1:5) to the Crown (Rev 19:12, 16) 

Yet all of the Bible is about Jesus Christ! 

In the OT: 

Pictures 
Patterns 
Parables 
Prophecies 

In the Gospels – biography – Person of Christ 

In the epistles – doctrine 

This is the ‘Revelation of Jesus Christ’ – the unveiling! 

This is a unique glimpse behind the fabric of space and time, behind and beyond what we can see, to what we can’t see. 

This book reveals that righteousness is not random. 

Here is what lies behind the veil of reality, what is behind the scenes! 

Not only do we see that righteousness is not random, but we also perceive that evil is not random: 

Christ and the Church 
Satan and Babylon 

As He is progressively unveiled; we perceive Christ and: 

His Plan of Salvation (chp 1) 
His Presence in the midst of the Church (chp 1 to 3) 
His Power from the throne, in judgement (chp 4 to 19) 
His Purpose for the universe (chp 20 to 22) 
His Person supreme and glorified over all and in all 

We peel away the layers of what we refer to as reality and behind the appearance of what we perceive to be transpiring we see that hand of Christ! 

We gain a glimpse into the deep mysteries of this universe, beyond the dimensions of space and time. 

The Bible is full of mysteries, 14 specific NT mysteries of which we find 3 in the book of Revelation itself: 

The NT mysteries: 

Mysteries of the Kingdom – Matthew 13:11; Mark 4:11; and Luke 8:10 
Mystery of blindness on Israel (Roms 11:25) 
Mystery of the Gospel to all peoples (Rom 16:25ff) 
Mystery of the Cross (1 Co 1+2:7ff) 
Mystery of the Rapture (1Co 15:51) 
Mystery of His will, of all things in Christ (Eph 1:9) 
Mystery of Jew and Gentile in 1 body (Eph 3:3ff) 
Mystery of Christ and the Church (Eph 5:32) 
Mystery of Christ in you (Col 1:25ff) 
Mystery of Iniquity (2 Thess 2:7) 
Mystery of Godliness (1 Tim 3:16) 
Mystery of the 7 churches (Rev 1:20) 
Mystery of Gods judgement (Rev 10:7) 
Mystery of Babylon the Great (Rev 17:5-7) 

What is a mystery? 

Perhaps we have often heard the memorable phrase: 

'Truth once concealed and now revealed' 

With the thought of 'mystery' often attribute to previous concealment, ie that they once were a mystery. 

Is it? 

Certainly this highlights one important aspect of the NT mysteries – that they are NT mysteries and that if anything can be discerned of them in the OT can only really be discerned in retrospect! 

But as definitions go its not the best: 

It's not very precise, that definition would apply to any NT revelation or doctrine not clearly revealed in the OT for example; the incarnation, life and ministry of Christ, justification by faith etc. It is not very informative. 

It tells us nothing about the subject or content of the mysteries, it’s a rather cryptic definition of mystery! Having heard the definition of the mysteries of scripture, if I were to then ask; 'what is a mystery?' we would really be none the wiser. 

It's not entirely accurate – there are some mysteries which are not yet revealed (eg 2 Thess chp 2 and 3 mysteries in Revelation). 

It demystifies mysteries! Mysteries seem to maintain the character of mysteries in the NT rather than surrendering that character now that they are 'revealed' eg 1 Tim 3:9. This definition almost dismisses / denies the mystery aspect of these truths. 

What are the NT mysteries? 

''μυστήριον'' : from 'mustes' – a person initiated into the sacred mysteries, from 'mueo' to initiate, learn a secret or esoteric knowledge. 

Linked to the sacred mysteries. 

At the heart of many of the ancient religions lay a secret, an answer, a hidden insight into the nature of reality, the meaning of life, the destiny of existence, the mysteries! 

This is still seen in some today: Mormonism, Free Masonry etc. 

There is a reason we come to a place of worship, to a gathering, a reason we read the Bible! 

One of those reasons is our search for answers, for meaning, for purpose. 

We seek answers to why we are here, where we are going, the meaning of life, the answers to the big questions of life. 

There are answers in the Bible. 

The Bible is exceedingly interesting! 

The Word of God contains God's answers to the reason why, who, what and how! 

God's answers to: 

Why I am here 
What in the world is happening 
How I can find God 
Who God is 

These are the NT mysteries! 

These are Gods answers to the question why? 

Gods hidden agenda. 

They are justification for the conspiracy theorists paranoia that there is an agenda behind the scenes. 

Gods hidden agenda, revealed not by time, not by a time delay switch but revealed to those that have ears to hear, those who have the Spirit of God! 

'he that hath ears to hear let him hear' (Matt11:15; Luke8:8) and also Matt 13:11; Luke 8:10. 

Not so much: 

Concealed in the past and revealed in the present but 
Concealed to the unregenerate and revealed by the Spirit of God 

The distinction between: 

concealment and revelation 
mystery and understanding 

lies not so much in time but in aptitude and ability. 

The mystery is unlocked not by time but with a key; and that key is Christ. 

Not so much a distinction between: 

then 
now 

But rather: 

without the Spirit 
with the Spirit 

It is not time that is the key but Christ who is the key (Matt 16:19; Rev 1:18; Rev 3:7) 

God's agenda in human history has not been hidden. 

God's desire is for a world saturated with the knowledge of God: 

Habakkuk 2:14: 'filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord' 

Isaiah 11:9: 'They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of -- the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.' 

It is the insight into what is happening behind the scenes that is specific to Revelation. 

History is not chaotic 
Evil is not sporadic 
Righteousness is not random 

Revelation gives us a glimpse behind the scenes of this universe, into dimensions not apparent. 

It is interesting that science is perhaps catching up here! 

String theory – multiple dimensions beyond this world – possibly 11 
M-Theory – membrane / mystery / magic theory! 
Problem of the low value of gravity – cf. magnetic forces 
An attempt to identify the graviton via the SERN collider 
A hope to understand why the force of gravity is so low and the possibility of leakage into another dimension? 

Much is speculative of course but one thing is clear, that mainstream science and physicists are seriously entertaining the idea that there is more to this universe than appears on the surface, there are more dimensions to this universe than we have before appreciated! 

This is the “revelation of Jesus Christ” 

Not only is it all about Jesus Christ – which of course the rest of the Bible is too: 

  • Prophetically in OT 
  • Pictorially in the OT 
  • Parable in the OT 
  • Person in the Gospels 
  • Doctrinally in the epistles 

Here we see Christ hidden, cryptically, in secret and now unveiled: 

  • His Plan of Salvation (chp 1) 
  • His Presence in the Church (chps 1 to 3) 
  • His Power from the Throne (chps 4 to 19) 
  • His Purpose for the World (chp 19 to 20) 
  • His Pre-eminence Eternally (chp 20 and 21) 

 

Babylon, Satan, the Beast and false prophet are very much to the fore up until chapter 19; wickedness, death, destruction and chaos ensues, until reality is unveiled in chapter 20 and behind the scenes of the chaos of the apparent in the reality of one working all things according to the counsel of His own will; working all things for His Glory. Christ pulls the trigger on these judgements, from the very first seal which is opened till the final destiny is reached. He has been behind the whole of human history from the very beginning until the end. 

His Person sovereign supreme 

Righteousness is not Random 

Evil is not chaotic 

There is order, and organisation. 

Consider the coordinated and pan European attack on the Jews in WW2 and consider the ‘spontaneous’ almost world wide rise in woke culture, identity politics and the promotion of homosexuality and transgenderism. None of this is coincidental nor disco-ordinated. 

If the DESTINY of this world is headed to Christ so too is the 

DIRECTION of this world headed to Christ and by implication, the path too – the DETAILS as to how we arrive at that DESTINY. 

“That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: 
11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: 
12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.” (Ephesians 1:10-12) 

Not only is the ultimate DESTINY of all things ultimately leading to the revelation of Christ (Rev 22), but the route there, the DETIALS of that journey likewise reveal Christ – His Grace in the church, His Government, power and judgment over the world and His Glory eternally. 

 

For there to be a definite destination there must be a definite direction. 

To reach this destination the direction of all of human history is ordered and ordained! 

The reason Abraham was called from Ur of the Chaldees 
The reason Israel sheltered in Egypt 
The reason behind the Exodus 
The reason Ruth accompanied Naomi out of Moab 
The reason for Daniels captivity in Babylon 
The reason for the census in the days of Herod 
The reason Elizabeth bore John 

Was that all might be brought to Christ! 

Here is a fitting conclusion to the whole of the Word of God. 

“to show unto us his servants” 

The object of the revelation is for His servants. 

If you serve the Lord, or if you desire to serve the Lord, you can claim a right to this revelation. 

Why is this relevant to those who serve the Lord? 

Because these revelations: 'must shortly come to pass' 

These Revelations: 

put service to the Lord into context 
condition the outlook of the believer 

This conditions the mind of the servant, the focus of the servant 

The mindset of the servant, to leave all and follow, to not take the eye off the goal, to not get distracted. 

Why? for curiosity? 

Why bother? 

What is the purpose? 

Is it sufficient that it is: 

The Word of God 
It is about Jesus? 
It is in the Bible? 

Is that enough? 

Yet so much of the Bible has a clear purpose: 

The Gospels: 'these things are written that you might believe and that believing you might have life through His name.' 

Romans: 'the Gospel of Christ, it is the power of God unto salvation' – presenting and defending the gospel. 

Epistles: 

sanctification truth – 1 Corinthians 
Church truth: 1 Corinthians, pastoral epistles 
Work of Christ: Hebrews 

But what would I think of Revelation? 

What does it do? 

What is it for? 

Revelation is the 'apocalypse' of John 

That Greek word has come into the English language. 

The apocalypse, the unveiling. 

The unveiling of what? 

The clue is in the name 

It is the unveiling of what we see. 

It is the unveiling to what lies behind what I see! 

What lies behind the veil of reality! 

Revelation is the true nature of absolute reality. 

This is God's plan and purpose and agenda, not ours! 

When the veil of appearance is dropped we see the nature of realty beneath it. 

That reality is very different from the one we have come to know. 

No rather to show the sovereignty of God in all things! 

To give a future eternal perspective on life. 

This makes sense of life! 

“if in this life only we have hope only in Jesus we are of all men the most miserable” 

‘laying up for ourselves treasures on earth’ is hardly an option! 

Do you see what happens to earth? 

Taking the easy way out? 
compromise with the world? 
collusion with the enemy? 

These are doomed to failure 

reassurance despite the difficulties and confusion there is a plan new life 

it is imperative to live in the present for the future. 

'shortly come to pass' (v1) 

Imminent? 

But was this not 2000 years ago? 

Shortly come to pass – possibly from the Divine perspective. 

The blessing is to (1:3) 

Read 
Hear 
Keep 

Surely blessing in all of the Word of God, but particular blessing here, why? 

Sense of perspective in life, seeing that all these things shall be dissolved. 
Thus a sense of priorities 
A sense of Divine purpose; seeing the underlying and hidden purpose of God in all things. How can I know my purpose in life if I don't know God's purpose for me? 
For the purpose of my life to be meaningful it must align with Divine purpose. 

The content of the book ought to influence our life practically

A sermon preached from our bible teaching series on the book of Revelation

Yours by Grace in Christ 

Dr J Stewart Gillespie