Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Revelation Chapter 1 verses 1-5a part 1


Chapter 1:1-8

I. Title
a. Apokaluyis (apokalupsis)
i. This is the subject of the book
1. It is about John’s experience with God
2. God’s word is dynamic
ii. It is the nature of the book
1. It is what the book does
2. It reveals what God intends
3. God’s word is truth
iii. This is the only place within the book where this word is used of the material
1. In all other locations it is called prophecy
b. Revelation of Jesus Christ
i. There are two possible understandings of this phrase
1. It is a revelation about Jesus – focused on revealing/unveiling the lordship of Christ
2. It is a revelation by means of Jesus – focused on revealing coming through Jesus’ mediation
c. Chain/process/order of revelation
i. God gave the revelation to Jesus
1. That it might be shown to His bond-servant/slave/doulos (doolos)
ii. Jesus sends the revelation by means of His angel
iii. His angel communicated/signified the revelation to his bond-servant, John
iv. John bears witness to the word of God and the testimony of Chrsit
1. Word of God and testimony of Christ are not separate
2. The second expands the understanding of the first
3. It is the Gospel
v. “all he saw” can refer to two things
1. It refers to Christ – Jesus sent and communicated all he saw…
2. It refers to John – who bore witness to all he saw regarding the word of God
d. Signified – shmainw (semaino)
i. This carries the idea of figurative representation
ii. “give signs”; “make known”
iii. God/Christ communicates by means of symbolic language (through visions)
iv. The message and the medium cannot be separated
1. You cannot extract the message while leaving the images for “better” images
v. The author intends to draw the reader/hearer in by means of imagination and emotion
e. Content
i. Things which must quickly come to pass
1. Quickly poses a problem for some people
a. It is a “time” issue
2. Possible answers to the “time problem”
a. Quickly refers to the events after the “end times” begin
b. Quickly is understood as meaning certainly
c. John is referring to the coming persecutions only
d. Quickly is understood in reference to Christ’s resurrection and the inauguration of his kingdom then
e. Prophecy language is always the language of imminence
3. Daniel 2:28-30, 45-47
a. With reference to Daniel, this is a definite, imminent time of fulfillment which has likely begun in John’s lifetime
b. John fully expects all of what was seen in the visions as the beginning of the fulfillment but not the final, complete fulfillment

II. Beattitude
a. There are 7 beattitudes (blessed are) in the Revelation (1:3; 14:3; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6; 22:7, 14)
b. They are similar to and may be borrowed from Luke 11:28
c. John 12:47a is a negative parallel to this beatitude

Revelation Chapter 1 verses 1-5a part 2


II. Beattitude
a.There are 7 beattitudes (blessed are) in the Revelation (1:3; 14:3; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6; 22:7, 14)
b.They are similar to and may be borrowed from Luke 11:28
c.John 12:47a is a negative parallel to this beatitude
d.Blessed is/blessed are
i.The one who reads
1.Ancient texts were almost always read aloud in the congregation
2.Possibly someone with a skill/art for reading
3.Words chosen to effectively communicate meaning aurally
4.A feature of Revelation is that it is written explicitly for oral performance
5.There is an epistle (letter) feature of the Revelation
ii.The one who hears
1.It is thought provoking
2.Prophecy – similar to the Old Testament idea – the word proclaimed for the hearer
iii.The one who heeds – the one who does
1.The Revelation has ethical implications within
2.Old Testament prophecies carried ethical implications for the people
iv.The time is near
1.This is linked directly to verse 1 – things which quickly take place
2.The time issue is bound to the understanding that this is a prophecy
a.Prophetic messages are more concerned with ethical implications than predictive fulfillments
i.Jonah 1:1; 3:3-4

III.Greeting – 1:4-8
a.This is similar to many other New Testament and other Greek letters
i.Superscriptio – sender
a.There is no claim to authority or title
i.Galatians 1:1
ii.Adscriptio – addressee
1.7 churches in Asia
a.Some disagreement on what these 7 churches represent
b.Symbolic representation of the entire church
i. 7 is a number of completeness/wholeness
ii.This would then be a letter to all believers
1.There is no mention of the churches after chapter 3
2.Worldwide judgments in 7 seals, trumpets, bowls
3.Final completion of the entire biblical tradition
c.A circuit of churches in Asia
i.If you draw a line connecting the churches in order beginning and ending with Ephesus it completes a circle
d.John has special relationship or authority with these churches
e.Each church represents an aspect of persecution or problem
f.They represent the entire church through different eras of history
iii.Grace and peace
1.This is similar to other New Testament greetings
2.It is a combination of Greek and Hebrew greetings
a.xapin (karin) – favor or pleasure becomes the Christian xaris (charis) – grace
b.Shalom – the Hebrew blessing of peace
3.A difference from the New Testament is the source of the grace and peace
iv.He who is, who was, and who is coming
1.This refers to God
a.Exodus 3:14
b.Grammatically it is incorrect
i.From he who is, from he who becomes
ii.This “error” preserves the immutability and absoluteness of the divine name
v.7 Spirits
1.Symbolic understanding of one complete spirit – Holy Spirit
2.Archangels of Jewish tradition
3.Spirits/angels associated with the rest of the revelation
a.They would be undefined
4.Sharing of God’s spirit within each church
5.Manifestations of God’s character through spirit – Isaiah 11:2
vi.Jesus Christ
1.The third entity from whom grace and peace flow
2.The only “real” evidence for grace and peace
a.Faithful witness
i.“witness” is a Johanine term for Christ’s mission of mediating God’s message
ii.martus – Greek for witness
1.martus -> martyr -> one whose witness results in death
2.Psalm 89:37b
b.firstborn of the dead
i.Literally firstborn is the first child, usually a son, born to a family
1. Jesus was the first to experience resurrection
2.He was the first but is not the last providing for resurrection of believers
ii.Figurative – the firstborn assumes the power and glory of the father
1.Christ is exalted through death and resurrection
2.He thus has sovereignty over the cosmos
iii.Psalm 89:27a
c.Ruler of the kings of the earth
i.Psalm 89:27b
ii.Parallels king of kings reference later in Revelation
d.All three represent the entire salvation effort through Christ
i.Witness – death
ii.Firstborn – resurrection
iii.Ruler – exaltation

Friday, September 19, 2008

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Introductory Material to Revelation

This session covers the introduction to the material of the Book of Revelation. This covers apocalyptic literature in general as well as examining the author, date of writing, and the 4 major methods of interpretation.

You can download it here, but it is a large (50 mb) file.

Introductory Material to Revelation

Monday, September 15, 2008

Bible Study Introduction

Here is my first attempt at podcasting the Revelation Bible Study.

You can listen to it here or download it here:

Bible Study Introduction

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Back to Revelation

I am beginning to teach a Bible study here in Turpin. After a survey of the congregation, I decided to go ahead and teach Revelation. This will the fourth time through for me.

As an offering to the congregation, I will be posting my notes on a weekly basis (or as we get to them in class). This is quite an undertaking. My class on Revelation is almost a year long (at 1 1/2 hours once a week). It is also as close to a college level class as you can find.

Before I begin each class, I share some of my methodology and rules for the class. I will post those here to begin. This would be comparable to a syllabus.

Most of the material will be in outline form. If you feel the need to take this material, please contact me and let me know you will be using it.

Class Rules for Revelation Bible Study


This is the 4th time I have taught this level of class on Revelation. I have devoted, and will continue to devote, 6-12 hours of study on each lesson. Each previous class I have taught was 11-14 months long. I do this for a number of reasons:

1.) Revelation is a book that is deeply misunderstood, causes confusion and anxiety, and is difficult to read.

2.) This book has a relevant message for the church of the 21st century as much as it had a message for the church of 1st and 2nd century.

3.) I love to teach and help others find their own level of understanding. I don’t want you to finish this class agreeing with me as much as I want you to finish this class with a deeper understanding of what you personally believe and passion to learn more.

I will teach in lecture style. But if you have questions or get confused about something all you have to do is stop me and ask. I will make my notes available to you by photocopy or posted on my blog. If you want to discuss an issue with me privately I will make myself available at a time that is convenient.

Understand that I try to teach a middle ground perspective. I try to find the best quality of research and study along the theological spectrum. I avoid teaching extremist positions but will read them to become familiar with what they say. I then attempt to synthesize the material into what I believe is a balanced lesson. If you feel strongly that something has been left out, bring the material to my attention. I will give it a fair evaluation. The Left Behind books are NOT scholarship. They are fiction based on study. They do not count.

I have my opinions. I try to place my opinions to the side and bring a fair representation to all perspectives. But understand that I have come to my opinions through many hours of study of the material at hand. If I am not being fair, call it to my attention.

I have a set of basic rules for this class.

1.) In disagreements Christian charity must lead. Revelation can be a fight starter. If you do not agree with someone’s position, that has to be okay. I encourage healthy, Christian debate, not argument, of your particular viewpoint.

2.) This is a study for which there are few historical or logical reference points. Historically the events described may be attributed to many eras. The images described within the book are just that, images, and open to a wide range of interpretation. What we are studying will be left to each person’s own interpretation. No one is more or less valid.

3.) We are all at different levels of understanding. If you do not understand, stop me and ask me directly. I will not be offended if you interrupt and I will not think that you are unintelligent. If I tell you to hold that question, I mean only that. Write the question down and ask me again later (in a few minutes or after class).

4.) Be open to change. Every time I study this book I walk away with a different understanding about some part of it. Part of the fun of studying the Bible is the change that it makes within us. Any change should reflect an ongoing, growing relationship with God through Christ Jesus.

5.) Have fun and learn something.

There are also a few things I recommend for this class:

1.) Get a good Bible.

i. It should be a readable, reliable translation

ii. It should not be a paraphrase

iii. Avoid the original King James

iv. Avoid the study notes and commentaries until after you have thought about what you read

2.) Study along. If I tell you what we will be covering then read ahead. But as you are reading, make it active reading. Take notes. Ask yourself questions. Mark important things in your Bible. Journal about new understandings or questions. Pray over the material. By doing this you will grow in two ways: you learn the material and you learn how study skills to apply to other books of the Bible.

3.) Get other resources

i. Dictionaries, lexicons, concordances help with understanding words and themes

ii. Commentaries are opinions of interpretation

4.) Talk to others about what you are studying

5.) Bible study doesn’t end at the end of class.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Hello Love

I don't believe in luck. Period. It doesn't exist in Toddworld. Good luck. Bad luck. It doesn't matter. I don't put any stock in it.

But if I did believe in luck, I would have to say I got pretty lucky this last week.

I entered a contest from a radio station. I don't do that very often. (If you don't believe in luck, it doesn't make much sense to enter contests.) I did it on a fluke. I didn't think anything would come of it. But dadgum if I didn't win. What did I win, you are wondering. I won tickets to a Chris Tomlin pre-release mini-concert.

Chris Tomlin's new CD, Hello Love, hits stores tomorrow. He was in Tulsa on a promotional tour. I won tickets for Lisa and I to go see it. So we did the bad parent thing and pulled the boys out of school and hauled our family across the state.

I love Chris' music. I love listening to it, playing it, singing it, praising to it, worshiping with it. And to see Chris live and sing and praise right along with him makes it that much sweeter an experience.

This was a limited attendance event. There were only 300 people in attendance. So this was definitely an intimate experience. It was held in the historic Cain's Ballroom north of downtown Tulsa.

Chris only had a guitar player and keyboardist. It was only acoustic guitars, no electric.

Chris came out and played 4 previous released songs to get everyone in a right frame of mind and spirit. Then he began to share about the new release. He played a couple of the songs live and a couple he played through the speakers because they needed to be heard with the choir and full instrumental accompaniment. He ended with a few more songs from previous albums.

The total concert was only 1 1/2 hour. But it was well worth the trip across the state. I wish it had been a little longer. And I loved hearing the stories behind the songs. The extra bonus was that everyone in the audience received a copy of the CD plus got the chance to have Chris autograph it and get a picture taken.

One of the fun providential moments happened when we pulled up. We ran into a colleague and friend. He had also won tickets. So we had an spontaneous, impromptu double date.

Of the new music, Jesus Messiah has already gotten airplay on Christian radio stations. But some of the music has been played on the Passion tour which is on college campus across the world.

One of the great new songs is God of This City. The CD is worth it for this song. I can't recommend this new CD enough. Plus there is a limited edition Worship Leader version that includes a second CD that has chord sheets and music as well as videos about the music for all of the songs.

And if you get the opportunity, go see Chris Tomlin. He will be in Amarillo in February. I wonder what the weather will be like?