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Reading Revelation- 2

Shawn Boonstra


Do you ever feel like the book of Revelation is off limits? Do you feel like it's describing something beyond your comprehension? Today Shawn continues his study right where he left off last time. Part way into Revelation chapter 1. 


Shawn Boonstra

Speaker/Director for the Voice of Prophecy media ministry.



  • January 31, 2015
    11:30 AM
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a number voice of prophecy on the pickup our study of the book of Revelation right were I left off last time part way into Revelation chapter one so you might want to go and get your Bible because it's just about time to start him to I'm your host Sean Boonstra and to date were going to pick up reading the book of Revelation part way into chapter one the very spot I left off last time I was looking at this mysterious book if you missed part one you might want to look for it over on iTunes around the voice of prophecy website so that you can catch up you can get some of the background that we establish before we started reading but honestly you haven't missed a lot at this point because we only made it through chapter one verse three that all important first that makes it abundantly clear that God really does intend for you to understand this book it says in verse three Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy and keep those things which are written in for the time is near yet I hold first deals a bit of a death blow to people who argue and trust me there were lots of people who argue that the book of Revelation is somehow incomprehensible that God never meant for you to understand this stuff how in the world let me ask this column the world can God bless you for reading this book and listening to what it says and doing what it says if you just can't understand it wouldn't make sense and as you and I work our way through the key parts of this book I think you're going to see that it's simply not true it takes a little no question to read revelation it does take some homework but believe me you really can understand I been teaching it for more than two decades and I seem thousands and thousands of people say hate this book 's not that hard so I went to pick up today in Revelation chapter one verse four actually let's back up to Revelation one for a moment because there's a key thought they are in the opening statement of the book that I don't want you to miss your it is Revelation one verse one it says the revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave him to show his servants things which must shortly take place I watched a think about that statement very carefully for a moment open your Bible and look at Revelation one verse one I want you to look at it because today when most people talk about the book of Revelation they speak as if the whole thing is that happen at some point in the distant future may be in just the last few moments the last few years of Earth 's history people talk about revelation as if it's only about the last few closing moments but look at what it actually says look at the language that John actually uses he wrote this almost two thousand years ago and the angel says that the things he's about to see envision are going to take place shortly as in the near future in John's day there is nothing in the language of the book itself that indicates that this book the book of Revelation is only about the last few years of Earth 's history what John is about to see what Sean is about to describe what you and I are going to read together in the weeks to come as we work our way through this book on the angel said this is the start happening right away it will happen shortly the book of Revelation actually shows us the history of the New Testament the history of the New Testament church all in advance and it spread all the way from John's day down to the second coming of Christ and he goes over that ground again and again several times it covers that ground the whole history of the world in the New Testament it covers it through the seven churches which represents seven distinct periods in church history and then it goes over that same history several times more from differing perspectives and with new details each time so that you and I learn well and we don't miss the key points so in other words I guess I'm saying the book of Revelation is written historically its history in advance it shows us a long chain of events that stretch all the way from the first century to the moment when Jesus comes back now that's a new way of thinking if that's a new concept to you if you never called that before that the book of Revelation his historical and that it covers in a continuous way the whole sweep of New Testament history well I should probably tell you that that's exactly how most Christians read this book for the first eighteen hundred years of the Christian church and then there was a major shift in thinking earlier in the nineteenth century I mean this whole idea that John was only writing about the very distant future that's an new idea we came up with that in the last couple hundred years that's an idea that the early church fathers and the Christians of the first few centuries would've found very strange that that should raise a red flag in the minds of careful thinkers why exactly did we change our approach just a few generations ago wife we now chosen to ignore the Angels fear we pointed declaration that the predictions of the book of Revelation were going to happen shortly back in John's day is there a reason we changed maybe more importantly is there a justification for the change am not sure that I be able that question today but as we read through the book together I'm sure you can find the answer for yourself because when you read the book of Revelation historically when you read it the way it was intended some really amazing stuff suddenly rises to the surface and it paints a picture that well it blew me away the first time I saw it again the picture that develops us were going to study together that picture would be nothing new for our ancestors in the Christian faith what you and I are going to see as we study together wouldn't have surprised our ancestors in the slightest because they all read the book of Revelation this way but what I meant to do was to go through the book together remember to let you see it for yourself so that you can learn to ask all the right questions and I will happen over the weeks as we study together for now though let's get back to Revelation chapter one because we have only scraped the surface and it's really important that we have the right foundation so that the rest of this book makes good sense in chapter one verse one right at the top of the book the angel says to John looked the stuff you're going to witness will happen shortly it will happen presently and then he goes on to paint one of the most abasing pictures in the whole Bible we've already covered verses two and three in a previous program so I want to jump down to verse forward John starts in on his message to the churches and NFL warming we are probably going to move rather slowly you might find it painful of moments we might actually stretch this out over a number of weeks because there's so much important detail in this first chapter so here we go Revelation chapter one verse four jaw to the seven churches which are in Asia Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come and from the seven spirits who are before his throne and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness firstborn from the dead and the rumor over all the kings of the soap paying attention carefully to the details here this is a letter from John but it's also a letter from Jesus the central character of the book the one who inspired it addressed to seven churches that were located in Asia or more precisely Asia minor the seven churches were all along the same road and what is modern-day Turkey it was kind of a horseshoe shaped road room upside down to you and the idea was that the church in Ephesus would get a copy of this letter and the pastor would read it to everybody and then extended down the road to the next church in the town of Smyrna then Smyrna would read it and pass it along and so on until it made its route all the way along that road now what's interesting about this is that we know for a fact that there were more churches in Asia minor than just the seven and some pretty notable churches at that so there must be a reason that these churches are named in other churches are not so here's what were going to do a minute take a quick break in the memory come right back and pick up on that thought why are these churches mentioned and not others so don't go away I'll be right back hello I'm jingling stress you feel as if you have more questions than answers in your life I used searching for answers to some of life 's biggest questions while the Discover Bible guides can help you find the answers you're looking for is a test at Bible studies .com or call eight eight eight four five six seven nine three three for your free Discover Bible guide to the Bible studies .com and begin your journey today to discover answers to life 's deepest questions and we are back from the brink my name is Sean Boonstra and you're listening to the voice of prophecy radio broadcast and just before we took a break we were talking about the seven churches of the book of Revelation and I mentioned that there were actually seven churches in Asia minor for example there was another church in the city of colossi the church that Paul wrote the book of Colossians two seven after pretty well-known church certainly not wanted overlooked by God and yet it doesn't appear in Revelation 's list and that tells me that there's more than meets the eye in this if this book was just a message for the first century Christians living in Asia minor then it probably should've included everybody but it doesn't it zeroes in on seven churches a distinctly symbolic number the number of perfection or completion and these are seven churches with very distinct characteristics these are churches that actually resemble the history of Christianity over seven distinct historical periods stretching from John's data the second coming of Christ and in the weeks to come also you just how amazing the similarities between these charges in those historical periods really are it is so uncanny that most Bible students all over the world are in agreement as to what the seven churches represent you that doesn't mean that this book was addressed to the actual churches in the first century we know historically that these messages addressed to each church actually match stuff that was going on in those churches in the first century it's just that these messages also match what happens to Christians over the next two thousand years so if that's true and I think you will find that it is if that's true it means that the book of Revelation is actually addressed to all of us it's addressed to all believers of all time this is a direct message from Jesus to the Christians of the first century but it's also a direct message to you and that's really what makes the book of Revelation so exciting it might be two thousand years old but it is never lost a single ounce of relevance is because it addresses the broad sweep of history it's because portion were specifically written to every generation that this proves to be one of the most pertinent books of the whole Bible of course the whole Bible is relevant with the book of Revelation is very special it actually has specific details that speak directly to every generation from John's time till now and I think you're going to discover is we read our way through the whole book that revelation has some pretty remarkable things to say about life in the twenty first century of course the way some people talked the whole book is for the twenty first century but that's not true either I think you can see all of this as we move through the book all right now let's take a look at the description of Jesus as John introduces in these opening verses and remember John might be the physical author of the book the man who put it to paper this is still the revelation of Jesus Christ this is a message from God 's son to you so let's look at the way John described him in verse four he gives us a greeting from all three persons of the Godhead of the father son and Holy Spirit which demonstrates that the early church absolutely believed in a triune God this is a book from the God who sits on the throne and to see more of that throne in chapters four and five this is a book from the seven spirits before the throne now that doesn't mean there are seven holy spirits whenever seven is a number that represents completeness and perfection and will probably have a chance to examine that a little bit more so it's also a book from the Holy Spirit and it's a book from Jesus and Jesus is described in a number of different ways because the character of Jesus is so broad so all-encompassing that one name or one description just doesn't cover me every time I think I figured out who Jesus is another aspect of his character rises to the surface another personality trait comes out that makes them seem even more magnificent and honestly I actually believe that you and I are going all eternity studying the character of Jesus and don't think for ever going to get to the end of I know I've been studying Jesus for several decades now every time I think I seen it all I discover more I mean just look at these few descriptions that John gives right here he calls Jesus the faithful witness you might remember if you've read through John's Gospel that when Jesus speaks to his father in John seventeen he says all I have glorified you on the earth and then he says I have manifested your name to the menu of given in another place and John's Gospel again Jesus says to Philip if you have seen me you've seen the father in other words one of the key things that Jesus accomplished arena Park from redeeming us at the cross one of the key things he accomplished was to reveal the character of God after you when I rebelled against God after we severed our intimate ties with the creator are thinking about God became confused we started to think of him is arbitrary severe we started to make him look like the gods of Greek or Roman mythology unpredictable angry vengeful bloodthirsty effect a lot of people still think about God like that the way some people talk about him you think they were describing a fundable Zeus instead of the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob the way we talk about God sounds more like someone who lives on Mount Olympus than someone who lives on Mount Zion Pitino it's really important that we don't allow pagan mythology or even Hollywood to inform our picture of God if you want to know what he's like you have to read the Scriptures because that's where he shows himself and if you really want to know what God is like you only have to look as far as Jesus who became a human being in order to bridge this impossible gap between us and God Jesus came to reveal what God is actually like and that's what makes Jesus faithful witness asked what John calls him but then he goes even further John also calls him the firstborn why want to be really careful how I handle this title for Jesus because some people have taken that expression to mean that Jesus was somehow created I have actually had people point to this very first revelations say that God the father somehow brought Jesus into existence at some point in the ancient past of Jesus is created and is not God after all these people say the book of Revelation says that Jesus was born and they point to a handful of other passages to make this case but look at it carefully that is not what it says it says that Jesus is the firstborn from the dead and that's a different thing from just being born how so well over in Psalm eighty nine the Bible calls King David forcible and it's actually using David to foreshadow Jesus to protect Christ yet even though it calls an firstborn I know that David was anything but the firstborn in this family in fact she was the little brother you see that the term firstborn in the Bible isn't necessarily a chronological power in that she has more to do with position in prominence in fact in Psalm eighty nine twenty seven when it calls David God 's firstborn it goes on to explain exactly what that means it's as he is quote the highest of the Kings of the earth firstborn is a term that the Bible uses to describe position more than chronology and in revelation one verse five when the Bible calls Jesus the firstborn it's very important that you read the context carefully it doesn't just say he's the first to be born it says that he's the firstborn from the dead which is a very important qualifier is not talking about some day in the ancient past when Jesus suddenly came into existence this is talking about the day he rose from the dead and even then it's not strictly a chronological term because there are several people who rose from the dead before Jesus I mean you have a larger raising the widow 's son you have Jesus raising Lazarus so chronologically speaking Jesus was not the first to come back from the grave but there's no question that Jesus is the most important resurrection of all time because of Jesus did not rise from the dead then nobody rises from the dead effort if Jesus just died and his body is still buried in a grave somewhere near Jerusalem the way James Cameron would have you believe then there's no hope for the human race and Paul makes that really clear in his letter to the Corinthian church we listen to what he says prescriptions fifteen seventeen if Christ is not raising your faith is futile you are still in your sins and those who are fallen asleep in Christ have perished in other words if Jesus didn't rise from the dead the dead are gone forever Allison what Paul says in first grade these fifteen verse twenty but now Christ is risen from the dead and has become the first fruits of those who fallen asleep verse twenty three but each one in his own order Christ the first fruits afterward those who are Christ's at his coming how is Jesus the firstborn from the dead is because his resurrection is the key to everybody's future it's because Jesus rose from the dead that you and I will one day rise from the dead to add a wait a minute some insist doesn't the Bible also say that Jesus was begotten of the father will yet it dots in fact it says it quite a few times but does that mean that Jesus was something less than God that he would some point walked absolutely not again it is really important that you understand these concepts by putting them in the context of the entire Bible if you take a look at Paul sermon in acts fifteen you see exactly what the Bible writers mean when they say Jesus was begotten of the father Paul tells his audience that Jesus was begotten on the very day he was raised from the dead and obviously Jesus existed before the now I'm up against another quick break I mean I can't believe how fast the clock on the wall runs through my time on the book of Revelation but let's take that break really quickly and I'll come back and we'll look at a few more of these titles for Jesus so hang tight I'm coming right back well I'm seem to deal feel as if your life has lost its meaning just moving from one task to another without any answers to the really important questions in life make it possible to have a fresh start and to find real happiness while the discovered by the guide will help you find the answers that you are looking for to this end love life 's big questions is an asset Bible studies .com are give us a call at eight eight eight four five six seven nine three three for your free Discover Bible guides visit Bible studies .com and begin your journey today to discover answers to life 's deepest questions and we are back from our break you are listening to the voice of prophecy in today it's one of those days when moving our way through the book of Revelation and were right now in revelation one verse five we look to Jesus is the firstborn from the dead and we saw that Jesus is the key to everybody's future because he rose from the dead G1 I don't have to fear the gray Jesus lived so we have a future is called the firstborn from the dead because he became a human being and lived a sinless life and then conquered the grave and the world becomes his kingdom you and I have a future the help with the very few minutes I have left I want to look at the final description of Jesus in verse five because it's intimately tied to the same idea the verse ends by calling Jesus the ruler over the kings of the earth and obviously the kingdoms and nations of this world are still being run by a lot of very imperfect people and in some cases the governments of this world are being run by some very corrupt individuals so in what sense can we say today that Jesus is the ruler over the kings of the well the key to understanding this actually found over in Daniel chapter seven passage which describes the final judgment in a lot of incredible detail if I had another hour today I walk you through that passage step-by-step but I don't have the time so let me just summarize what happens in Daniel seven the prophet Daniel seized the throne of God and he sees Jesus the son of man approach that thrown at the conclusion of the judgment and this is what Daniel says he saw verse fourteen then to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom that all peoples nations and languages should serve him his dominion is an everlasting dominion which shall not pass away and his kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed that's obviously still in the future but the Bible clearly teaches again and again and again and again that Jesus in Harrods this planet he was born as a human being he lived a sinless life he paid the penalty for our sin and then he rose from the dead Paul calls Jesus a second Adam a second head of the human race when the first Adam was created the Bible says God gave him dominion over this world he actually put us in charge she made us stewards of his creation but the moment we see the clean this planet as his own which is why you see him trying to offer it back to Jesus during the temptation of Christ there's no need to dial across the devil says just bow down and worship me I'll give you the kingdoms of this world just worship me of course Jesus didn't do it because you and I would've been lost forever if he done instead Jesus takes back this planet the hardware he pays for our sins and then he rises from the dead and because of that after the judgment when everybody had a chance to examine the books and decide for themselves if God really is everything he's ever claim to be fats when the planet belongs to him that's when Jesus finally claimed his prize that's when he comes back rather Zechariah chapter fourteen and he puts his foot on this earth a clear act of taking ownership yup here's how this actually affects you there is no question that ultimately Jesus wins there is no question that he's already won this world and that the close of the judgment it given to him for all time there is no question that he's the firstborn from the dead there is no question that he's the new head of the human race and that we can inherit everything in the there's no question the kingdoms we built the empires we build the stuff we do it's all going to pass away and God is going to establish a kingdom under his only begotten son a kingdom that last forever but you know the amazing thing about this is that God not only wants to give they came to Jesus he actually wants to give it to you that you don't deserve it I don't deserve it but in Jesus he says we can have in Romans eight seventeen the Bible says Jesus made it possible for you and I to be children of God and if are children of God Paul says that we can be joint heirs with Christ in a words you can own a piece of this kingdom with Jesus now because you deserve it but because he bought and paid for it with his blood he's offering to bring you we because in his mind to his way of thinking the kingdom that's coming just wouldn't be the same without you the question is what you going to do with these kingdoms the ones that were investing in so heavily in this world are going to pass away if you build your whole life on this planet on the road ambitions on the things that are around you you need to know there is a finish line coming and it's all going to pass away you'll be lost with the world the gods going to replace so why would you cling to that stuff instead cling to the kingdom that's coming investor part in the kingdom of Christ place yourself in his care what you got to lose it seems to me like it's the wisest investment of all time Jesus is the which means that you don't even have to fear the grave now if he doesn't come before you pass you still don't have to fear Jesus is the firstborn from the dead and because he rose from the dead you can rise from the dead and you can face a future forever living in raining Jesus what if you got too much now I'm afraid that's all the time we have for this week reading our way through revelation so I better stop right there and the next time we meet will pick up again with the next passage in Revelation chapter one for now thanks for listening my name is Sean Boonstra and this has been the voice of prophecy hello I'm Jeanne Boonstra I hope that you're enjoying this new revelation as much as I am Revelation is one of the books in the Bible some more I read it and study at the clearer it becomes really doesn't bless me when I read this book that was once only in mystery to me now I read it like a letter from an if you're searching for answers and revelation or firm questions you have in life in general I know where you can begin to find answers to discover Bible guides will help you find the answers you're looking for visit asset Bible studies .com or give us a call at our toll-free number eight eight eight four five six seven nine three three for your free Discover Bible guide to twenty six Discover guides cover a whole range of subjects including the ones that we've been talking about today if you're wondering how you can get more out of your everyday life guide number five rates to a satisfying life will walk you through step and if you've wondered about the number eight makes practical sense event and you can study online at our website Bible studies .com is a free guide mailed right to your home since our completely free of charge visit Bible studies .com and begin your journey today to discover answers like he is him and


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