Showing posts from April, 2010

Revelation - Blowing the Trumpets

6: Revelation 8:2 – 11:19: The Seven Trumpets are Blown Purpose of a trumpet: A trumpet was blown to issue the call to worship in the Temple. Trumpets might also preface important announcements or warnings. When trumpets follow the opening of the seals on the scroll, it is tempting for modern Western readers to imagine that the events foretold will follow the events described in the seals. But Jewish writing frequently uses repetition for emphasis, and different imagery to retell the same event. The information given with the blowing of trumpets may just be another way of looking at the same events described as the seals were opened. Following the imagery of a worship service, the scroll has been brought forward to be read and the congregation is now called to attend as the trumpets are blown. List of Trumpets: There are seven trumpets, just as there were seven seals, a repetition that makes it even more likely that the number is symbolic of God’s plan. We are all called. We can a

Revelation - Removing the seals from the scroll

5: Revelation 6:1 – 8:1: The Seven Seals on the Scroll Recap: John’s letters to the churches end with promises of heaven – the Tree of Life, not being harmed by “second death,” hidden manna, a white stone, a new name, having authority to rule, the morning star, white robes, our name written in the book of life, Jesus standing up for us, our presence like a pillar in the Temple, permanence, the New Jerusalem, Jesus will eat with us, and we share his throne. Implied question : You can image John replying to the angel “Okay, but I still don’t understand what heaven’s all about.” We can imagine ourselves making the same reply. Angel's answer : John is invited by the angel “Come up here,” as if he’s being asked to climb the steps to the Holy of Holies. And then… Heavenly worship begins : with harps, a scroll to be read, a High Priest (the Lamb) to read it, etc… Purpose of a Seal : Normally a seal is removed from a letter or a scroll so we can read the message inside. Sometimes

Revelation - John's Description of Heaven

4: Revelation 4 & 5: John’s description of Heaven Imagine trying to describe something that can’t be described. Heaven must surely be beyond our power of description, and beyond the author, John’s. Comic artists render action with symbols familiar to all our children – star-shapes with “POW” and “BAM” written on them imply somebody being hit. “BANG” is usually a gun. Light-bulbs drawn over heads imply inspiration and ideas. The symbols John used in his writing would have been just as familiar to early readers, and to readers intimately acquainted with the Old Testament. When we read without the same understanding of the symbols, we might expect to struggle to understand – just as an alien might struggle to understand our children’s comic books. John has just written Jesus’ letters to the churches. The rest of the book might be expected to give an explanation of what the warnings and promises were all about. The story starts with images very reminiscent of the temple in Jerusa

Revelation - John Sends Letters to Churches

I guess I'll just have to post more than one study per week to finish this by Pentecost. But the next study's ready "already" so here goes... 3: Revelation 2 & 3: John sends seven Letters If these seven churches represent God’s church throughout the world and throughout time, it might be interesting to see to what extent our own churches are like or dislike them, and the to what extent the same warnings and praises might be relevant to us. Note, each letter is written in the same format: To: … church’s name From: … a depiction of Jesus and His relationship to His church Credit: … for something the church is doing right Problem: … pointing out something the church is doing wrong Repent: … a warning and call for change Listen: … a message and promise for hope Reward: … followed by a reminder of our eternal hope. 1. Ephesus To: The metropolitan mother-church, in the city of the Temple of Diana (who was said to have fallen from heaven like a meteor – Rev 2:5

Revelation - John's Introduction

I'm going to have to post more than one a week of these if I'm going to finish by Pentecost. Ah well. I'll try... Revelation 1: John introduces his vision Who is writing? There are lots of Johns who may have written Revelation. John the Apostle, writer of John’s gospel and the letters of John is one likely candidate, but it’s unlikely that we’ll ever know for sure if he wrote the book of Revelation, or if it was another John. Some things that we can be pretty sure of are that this John knows his Bible, he knows Jesus, he’s a respected leader who’s letter will be read in the churches in Asia, he was banished to an island, and John received a vision from God. ( Revelation 1:1-4 ) Who is John writing to? Revelation 1:4, 9-11 John writes to the “7” churches in Asia, and 7 stands for God’s plan. He could be literally writing to seven churches, no more and no less. But given the amount of symbolism in what he writes, it’s more likely that he’s writing to all the churches

Revelation - 50 days from Easter to Pentecost

There are fifty days from Easter to Pentecost: 7 weeks: And the Book of Revelation is filled with sevens of sevens. I'm not sure if I can cover the whole book in 7 weeks, but I'd like to try. Introduction to Revelation Most people recognize the book of Revelation as a book of prophecy, typically of end-times prophecy describing the world’s ultimate fate. But it’s also a book steeped in symbolism. And it’s a story, with all the background and repetition and view-points that any other story might have. Prophecy: In general prophecies might have three separate meanings: immediate, general and long-term. For example, the well-known prophesy in Isaiah 7:14 Look, the virgin is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanue l, has several meanings, at least one of which is not accepted by all faiths that accept the passage as prophecy: Immediate meaning: The “virgin” is used to mean Israel, as opposed to the harlot who represents the godless. The name “God is wit