Revelation 12 -14
9th June 2019
With Peter Veysie
Disclaimer: our electricity was out and our recording is not at the usual clarity – it does improve, so keep listening.
- Pentecost and why we celebrate it.
Today we celebrate the birth of the church and the pouring out of the Holy Spirit. It is a powerful declaration from the Lord that he has fulfilled all righteousness and given authority to the church to do His work. Acts is really all about the actions of the people of God after Jesus had ascended to heaven. Here, on this day, as many gathered for Pentecost, the feast celebrating 50 days after Passover, 3000 are added to their number on one day. Imagine if we had 3000 new members suddenly on one day. The impact of that upper room experience must have been awesome for them, but also daunting, as they had to give instruction and guidance as well as deal with the immediate ‘disownership’ of these people from their own families. As the church began to spread, the story continues and we know that John had particular oversight over seven churches which he held dear to his heart. They had experienced deep love and care for each other and a commitment to Christ that would cause them to sacrifice their own lives for the sake of the gospel. They had experienced persecution and challenges along the way and some had even lost heart. John therefore writes a letter, inspired by the Lord, on the island of Patmos to encourage, warn and motivate these churches not to give up.
It is a letter written not only to them, but also a living letter as relevant to us now as it was to them then. We may well find ourselves becoming confused and experiencing some concerns as the imagery is shared in a way that gives the readers at the time pictures that they can identify with and relate to, but may seem strange to us. I have said already that this is not a systematic journey but rather a practical application of the mystery for us as readers and listeners today.
- A summary of Revelation so far:
And so here is a summary so far for those of you studying in your groups:
We saw how John was brought to a place of seeing in a vision the presence of an angel and a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ who walked amongst the lampstands. We were introduced to the seven churches and both their strengths and their weaknesses are shown. A warning to them, excluding one, about the importance of keeping up the faith is discussed. Then there is worship and a break before the next vision. It is one of seals describing some of the challenges the church and humanity would have to face (four horses- deception, war, famine and disease). There is, once again, worship and a sela (pause) and we move into the vison of the seven trumpets. Each trumpet describes certain plagues connected to the Egyptian plagues which the people would have known about. These are warnings to us too, to look after our water, seas, vegetation and humankind. We then have another sela (pause) as we are prepared for the next vision which has to do with the spiritual battle the church experiences and three clear players in this drama – God’s people (us), Satan and Jesus Christ. So many have tried to interpret this part of Revelation and I would like to call it just ‘Pentecostal Holy Living’ – so here we go !!! Remember that the churches were reminded that: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign for ever and ever.” Rev 11:15.
Now you might say “really?” as we look at what is going on today!!!! It is all very well for us to be worshipping here on Sunday, but as we walk out of the door of GMC today and into the week, we become very aware that we are dealing with a very different kingdom and the church of that time would have been confronted by the corruption and lawlessness of the Roman Empire and a total disregard for God. Not much has changed in our world. As we have seen political leaders gathering together, in various parts of the world, it is very clear to see the power struggles and tactics of certain leaders. Remember that God is sovereign and no-one is exempt from His rule.
- Revelation 12 – 14.
3.1.The woman the child and the dragon
12 I am reminded of the fact that at the birth of Jesus there was a huge attack and the firstborn boys around Bethlehem who were two years old and younger were killed. This cosmic spiritual battle that happened between the churches and the Messiah. The dragon (evil) is resisted.
3.2. They overcome him by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimonies.
The ability to give up our lives for the sake of Jesus.
The power of Peter’s sermon and story on the day of Pentecost – turning people back to the Lord. The power of our stories to turn lives around.
13 The earthly battle, Daniel 7 -12, two beasts empowered by the dragon -Military power and economic machine. The number 666 is the anti shema (it falls short of perfection 777) and it is about allegiance to these two beasts- the shema was the word written on the foreheads of the Jews and bound on their hands to declare that they were committed to serve the Lord with their thoughts (head) and actions (hands). This is an anti shema in that it is symbolic of serving these two beasts (military power, economic machine.) The nations always entice us to follow them and that is why Jesus says that we cannot serve both Him and money.
The four nations who had been expressions of these beasts were Babylon, Persia, Greece and then Rome, in John’s day, and now other nations that act in the same way.
3.3. Lead by the power of God to do His work not ours
14 The Lambs Army – Jesus now shows Himself as the one who leads His people. The one’s who have given their lives for Him. The call to come out and give our lives completely to the Lord. They call everyone to the eternal Gospel. Two harvests – grain- Jesus gathers up His people. Wine harvest – humanities evil. They are squashed like grapes.
We are given a choice to either follow Jesus or Babylon.
Revelation Chapter 12:6. The drama of history: Even though suffering will exist in this world (because of the conflict between the church and the powers of evil), God’s people will be victorious through Christ.
Introduction to the drama: Recognize the cosmic, spiritual conflict occurring throughout history’s drama (12:1-17). 6.1.1
Realize there is a spiritual conflict occurring throughout history’s drama, and it revolves around three primary characters: God’s people, Satan, and Christ (12:1-6).
Realize that the drama’s deeper plot reveals victory for God’s people through Christ (12:7-16). Realize that Satan is operating a full-scale war against God’s people (12:17).
Revelation Chapter 13 The beast out of the sea: Recognize there are political, economic, and societal factors working against God’s people in this world (13:1-10).
The beast out of the earth: Recognize there are false religions that lead people astray (13:11-15).
3.4. It is more important that we worry about the fact that we are marked by the Lord as opposed to being marked by the number “666”
The mark of the beast: Recognize that those who are led astray by Satan reflect him and are not safe in the cosmic, spiritual conflict (13:16-18). Revelation Chapter 14 6.5 The 144,000: Recognize that those who follow Christ reveal Him and are secure in the cosmic, spiritual conflict (14:1-5).
The angels of grace, doom, and warning: Recognize that how one lives in this life will produce its proper reward after the cosmic, spiritual conflict has ended (14:6-14). 6.7 The harvesting of the earth: Recognize Christ will come again at the end of the cosmic, spiritual conflict and bring God’s final judgment (14:14-2).