Revelation 1-3: What Is Revelation?

Ask:

Who has heard a sermon on Revelation? Of those who heard a sermon, who has heard one on something but the 7 churches? Who has read the whole of Revelation? Of those, who can give a one word impression of Revelation from that reading?

Qualifications: Only that I love Godʼs Word and want to know it better Assumptions: 1. We will not speculate on meanings based on modern-day equivalency metaphors 2. We will not speculate on dates or times (see Acts 1:7, Matt. 24:36) 3. Revelation was understood and relevant to its first readers as evidenced by the bookʼs rapid growth. This precludes modern day interpretations and means that we can understand it without having to wait for something to happen. 4. Revelation is not a chronological breakdown of future events. Rather, it is a series of visions. a. “Prophetic perspective” - O.T. prophets blended the near and distant prospects to create a single canvas. The prophetʼs concern was not to give a program or chart to the future, but to bring to light the heavenly perspective on our lives. Ex. Isaiah 52:13-14, 53:1-4; Isaiah 13 (Babylon & End of days); Luke 21:20-28 b. Revelation is filled with powerful illustrations that have greater meaning that is inherent to the object of the illustration. Ex. Mark 14:22 passover/eucharist Also think about what these mean: shield, rock, fortress, builder, shepherd, door, vine Three Basic Principles of Interpretation: 1. How would the original hearers understand it? 2. What is the historical context? 3. What does this mean in light of other scripture? Scripture interprets scripture. How would the original hearers understand it? - Revelation was a letter, similar to an epistle - Someone would read it, it would be copied, then passed on to the next church - The seven churches in Asia Minor were on a mail route; as such all of the book of Revelation was meant for understanding (see Rev. 1:11) - Revelation was a prophecy - Revelation was an apocalyptic-style book, like Daniel

Revelation 1-3: What Is Revelation?

Historical Context: Parthians: - Feared enemy of Rome; defeated Roman armies on several occasions - Nero crafted a peace treaty with Romans in A.D. 63 and thus became popular with the Parthians and the Eastern provinces Fire of Rome: - Unknown who started it (though it was rumored to be Nero himself) - Christians blamed for fire, local persecution in Rome begins - Traditionally, Paul and Peter died at this time at the hands of Nero Nero Dies: - Nero was the first Caesar to proclaim himself a deity before he died (usually a task of the Senate) - On coins he minted was inscribed “Savior of the World” - By the time he died, heʼd grown out of favor with the Senate and the Army - Committed suicide by stabbing his neck with a dagger - His body was cremated, so there was no proof of his death - “Nero Recitivus” myths of Neroʼs return and revenge as leader of the Parthians were common; three documented impostors showed up within years of his death Roman Civil War: - Power struggle between 4 powerful generals; the Roman Empire is on the verge of collapse - Vespasian becomes Caesar

Revelation 1-3: What Is Revelation?

- Because of Romeʼs return from the brink of collapse, many begin to wonder if it can be defeated (see Rev. 3:9) Destruction of Jerusalem: - The Jews are the only people group who werenʼt compelled to convert to Roman state religion - This carried over to Christians, who were considered a Judaic cult - After the fall of Jerusalem, Jews became less friendly to Christians, began to “out” them as not belonging to Judaism (see Rev. 3:9) Domitian Becomes Caesar: - Eventually declares himself “Dominus et deus”: Lord and God - Encouraged Emperor worship - In Asia Minor, there was an attempt to cull favor by intense Emperor worship, huge statue was erected in Ephesus for Domitian - Some trade guilds required members to participate in emperor worship in order to buy or sell Scripture interprets Scripture: - Revelation: “apokalypsis” or, what is revealed, reveal, disclose - Revelation of Jesus as God (see Luke 10:22, Matt. 16:17) - Revelation of Godʼs love to us (1 Cor. 2:9-10) - Revelation of knowledge of Jesus (Eph. 1:17) - Revelation of Jesus at end times (2 Thess 1:7, 1 Pet 1:7 Revelation 1:8-20 • Isaiah 41:4 - The first and the last • Exodus 25:37, Zech 4:1-2 - the 7 lampstands • Ezekiel 1:26, Daniel 7:13 - “one like a son of man” • Daniel 7:9 - “Ancient of Days” has hair like wool • Ezekiel 43:2, Daniel 10:5-6 - voice like the sound of many waters • Daniel 10:5-6 - burnished bronze • Isaiah 49:2, 11:4, Hebrews 4:12 - the sword in Jesusʼ mouth • Daniel 8:17-18 - falling at the feet like a dead man • Exodus 34:29-35 - shining face like the sun (Moses) • Exodus 19:16 - loud trumpet blast at foot of Sinai • Daniel 10:5-6 - Golden sash (sign of authority, counterpart to Zeus who wore one) • Exodus 28:4, (Extrabiblical sources) - long robes priestly • Daniel 10-5-6 - Eyes like fire • Luke 24:5 - The Living One • Isaiah 22:22 - the key of the house of David (also, counterpart to Hades, the Greek god)

Revelation 1-3: What Is Revelation?

Elements of messages to the churches: The pattern: • Element of who Jesus is • The condition of the church • Commendation of the church • Possible rebukes the church • An exhortation • A promise for overcoming • An exhortation for all to hear His message Points: He wants us to know who he is God is intimately acquainted with our situations He encourages us where weʼre at He doesnʼt tolerate stagnation He wants us to grow There is a reward! We can learn from others

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