Segment 08 - 01.01 - What must soon take place
Okay. Let’s take a look at Chapter 1, to kind of get some idea of what’s going on here, and we’re going to move through this I hope not too rapidly, but just enough to cover some of the important points, and in Chapter 1, you have sort of an introduction there, which establishes the whole idea here that’s supposed to happen. Let me read the first couple of verse for you, Verses 1 through 3 of Chapter 1. It says, “The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His servants what must soon take place.” Folks, let me stop right there. What must soon take place. This is very important to understand. I know that many people through for years have taken the book of Revelation and other writings in the Bible, prophetic writings, and in them they’ve tried to say that those writers were predicting what was going to happen in the future, what was going to happen in the future, 1,000 years, 2,000 years down the line, and so forth. The battle of Armageddon that’s spoken of here in the book of Revelation is still being anticipated by many people.
Just the other day, I read in the paper, just a couple of days ago, where one of the leading evangelists in this country made the statements, words to this effect. We are right on the doorstep of Armageddon, and he makes this statement in the face of the situation with Russia, and Afghanistan, with Iran, and all ... People just have to have an Armageddon, I guess, and nobody’s going to be happy until we have that great battle. The battle of Armageddon really is something that takes place within us, when we overcome negative thinking, when the positive thoughts of light, we allow them to overcome the negative thoughts of darkness within us. That can be externalized in an outer way. We can work on that so hard that we’ll set something up for ourselves where we’ll have a battle of Armageddon, but it doesn’t have to be, but because they see it in the Bible, and they want to take the Bible as the literal, strict word of God, then it’s something that’s got to happen.
What’s this one sentence that we just read here? What must soon take place. When these people who wrote the books of the Bible wrote those books, they were attempting to solve problems of their day. Sure they were concerned about the future, but they were not trying to anticipate something that was going to take place 500 or 2,000 years from their time. Just like today, we’ve got problems of inflation. We’ve got problems on the world scene and so forth. We all know this, and if one of you jumped up, and wrote a book, and said, ‘Don’t worry about it, folks, because in 2,000 years, we’re gonna be saved,” what comfort does that bring today? It doesn’t bring much comfort. What happens of course is that the patterns that you see evolve in the book of Revelation and in other biblical books, these patterns will apply at any time. In a sense, there’s always a battle between the powers of darkness and light. That can happen within us. It can happen out there. It can happen right now. It can happen a thousand years from now.
The patterns that are identified in these books are really universal, and they can happen at any time, and in that sense, they apply to the future. To say that they’re written specifically for the future that they have to come about is to miss the whole point. The people of this day, around 90 A.D., were expecting Jesus to come back soon, right away, and some people are still waiting for the return of Jesus. In truth, we know that the second coming has already occurred when what happens? When we become aware of the Christ, whom Jesus represented, in us, when the Christ is born in you and me, when we have an awareness of who and what we are, when this new birth takes place, then Jesus has come a second time. Then the second coming has been experienced. Let’s go back to this one, and I’ll try to get through these first three verses. You see what happens? Here it is. We’re about halfway through the first hour, and I’ve got not even the first verse covered, okay? That’s the way it is.
The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to Him, God gave Him to show to His servants what must soon take place, and he made it known by sending His angel to serve in John, who bore witness to the Word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. Blessed is he who reads aloud the words of the prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written therein, for the time is near. For the time is near. It’s happening right now. In the book of Daniel, the main theme was hold on. God is coming. We’re going to be saved from our Greek persecutors very shortly, because God is about ready to reveal Himself. That book was written in 165 A.D., not too long before the arrival of Jesus. In the book of Revelation, what the writer is also saying, the same theme as in Daniel. Hang on, for God is coming, but this time in the form of Jesus the Christ. Jesus is coming back. Hang on. We’re going to be saved from our Roman persecutors. You won’t have to worry about this emperor worship anymore, because Jesus is coming back.
The battle between the powers of light and darkness is going to take place. God will set up His kingdom, and wow, we’re going to have peace forever, and a goal that one of these days we will attain his aid. He’s saying, “Hold on. God is coming once again. Jesus is coming back, and everything will be all right.” That’s really overall the basic theme, the same as it is in the book of Daniel. Hold on. God is coming, and we’re going to be okay. Have you ever felt that when you’re looking for your way out of a challenge? Something keeps saying, “It’s almost there.” It can drive you crazy after a while, right? How about right now? Suddenly, because in one way or another, we’re able to change our consciousness and establish the right thought, then salvation occurs. Then we find our way out of that particular challenge or problem, and everything is okay until what? Until we draw the next one into our life, and then we go through the whole process again, but hopefully each time we do, what happens? We take a step up in consciousness, right?
Segment 09 - 01.04 - The image of Jesus
Okay. Let’s go on down here to the second section then. We’re beginning with verse four that has to do with these four letter ... excuse me, with these letters to the seven churches in Asia. All right? Before we get to those, you’ll see that what the writer does, he identifies himself. In verse four, he says, “John to the seven churches that are in Asia.” And then he identifies himself down below in verse nine. “I, John your brother, who share with you in Jesus the tribulation and the Kingdom, and the patient endurance was on the island called Patmos on account of the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus. I was in the spirit on the Lord’s Day.”
Now the Word’s during the time of meditation. Something was revealed to him, just as it is revealed to you and me. The isle of Patmos is here just off the coast of present day Turkey, just a little bit southwest of Miletus here, a town just below Ephesus out here off the coast, one of the Greek islands. Okay? Apparently, it was a penal colony. And because of his activities in preaching Jesus Christ in whatever he did, he was sentenced to exile on this island of Patmos and apparently he wrote this book during that time, or maybe later. He might have gone back to Ephesus and written the book. But he identifies himself here. And then he goes on and names the seven churches in Asia. And that means in Asia Minor, up here. These are churches, some of which were established by Paul when he was bringing the message to the gentiles.
And apparently these were key churches during that time. And he’s addressing himself to these churches. In verse twelve, he gives you a wonderful picture of Jesus. Sort of a symbolic picture of Jesus. He says, “Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lamp stands.” This is in verse twelve. “And in the midst of the lamp stands, one like a Son of Man.”
You’ll see that if you’re able to break this down, in this picture of Jesus here, he uses seven parts. The picture consists of about seven parts: lamp stands, one like a Son of Man, clothed with a long robe, and with a golden girdle round his breast, his head and his hair were white as wool.
When you go back to Daniel, the seventh chapter, you’ll see that one is identified as the ancient of days in the vision that Daniel has there, the ancient of days who has white hair was sitting on a throne and that sort of thing. And the tie in is made there. His hair was white as wool, white as snow, his eyes were like flame of fire, his feet were like burnish bronze refined as in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of many waters. In his right hand, he held seven stars. From his mouth issued a sharp two edged sword. And his face was like the sun shining in full strength.
This is a symbolic picture of Jesus. Its a little different picture of Jesus than we’re normally used to. Right? You know, as the prince of peace and so forth? This picture of Jesus ties into sections of the Book of Daniel, in particular the seventh chapter of the Book of Daniel. It ties in to the apocalyptic thrust. It ties in also to the type of Messiah that the Jewish people were looking for at that time. Okay? And then, with this traditional picture of Jesus sort of established, then he goes on with his letters to the seven churches of Asia here, which are named. And with this picture of Jesus, he sort of gives an okay to what’s going to happen from here on.