To Impact Our Lives
Rev2022 – 02 – How It All Ends – How Does God Wants To Impact Our Lives
How it all ends. We’re in part two. How does Jesus want to impact our lives? That’s what the book of Revelation is about. When you read this and see how He’s dressed. Did you notice that? Have you started reading and seeing He’s wearing these long robes and the sash around the middle? Why is all that in there? Why does God spend so much time telling us all these things that are so far from what our reality is? Because as we’re going to see today, the first law of textual interpretation, in theology, is called the first canon of textual interpretation. It means that the primary meaning of any portion of scripture is what God intended to communicate to the group that received it, that He directed that first letter to or the epistle or whatever.
These people were seeing this picture of Jesus and it answered the question, how does He want to impact our lives? With that, let’s pray. Are you ready? Father apart from You, You’ve told us we can do nothing. We do a lot, but it amounts to nothing. We ask for this class to touch each of our lives, mine, and all of these precious students. Not by might, nor by power, not by interesting pictures, but by Your Spirit says the Lord. That’s what we ask for. For the glory of Christ, we pray. Amen.
How does God want to impact our lives? He wants us to learn how to live in an ever darkening world. The people that this letter came to, the people that were in the second generation Church, were living in a time that was not quite paralleled until modern times. They lived in the most civilized, highly technological world. Did you know that a lot of things that were built back then are still operating today? There are aqueducts the Romans built that are still funneling water 2000 years later. Some of them are 500 and 600 miles long. The technology of that world has been unrivaled until modern times. Do you think you’re technological? They were really on the cusp, the cutting edge of technology, but Jesus was interested in seeing whether they were applying in their lives, their daily lives, what He’d left in the Gospels and the epistles.
How do we understand and interpret the Bible? I know you have a whole class on that. Probably Mark Strout, who knows, Paul Weaver. I don’t know who teaches it, but how do you understand hermeneutics? Not homiletics, communicating, but hermeneutics. How do you understand the Bible? Here’s the simple course. The correct interpretation of any part of the Bible. The part that they’ve assigned me to, and all the others, is based on the historic, geographic, and scriptural context. When you combine that with the actual grammar, all the exact words and the tenses and everything else, you have proper interpretation. You say, wait a minute, did all of them have to do that? Did they have to get a Greek lexicon and all that? No. See that’s the problem. They were hearing it directly targeted for where they were. We need all that so that we can understand what that message was and how do we put it?
The first rule and I already said this, of textual interpretation is what did God mean when He spoke to the original recipients? To understand the book of Revelation, the danger is to say that to me this means. I’ve led enough Bible studies I go, oh that’s like running your fingers on blackboards. You probably don’t even know what that expression is. It used to be, in the old days, they had these hard boards, and they wrote with chalk. If you did something wrong it was like running your fingernails down and it made this horrible noise. It was screechy. That’s what it’s like when someone says to me, the Bible means this to me because it doesn’t matter what it means to me. It matters what it meant to God, the message He wanted to communicate.
How it applies to me is vital. There’s only one true biblical interpretation of any passage of the scripture. Did you know that? There aren’t 20. There are seven different interpretations. No, there are seven views. God did not mean seven different things. Did you know that? The lifelong goal for all of us is to understand the totality of the scripture. There’s a word called analogia scriptura, which is part of the reformation, which means that the scriptures interpret the scriptures. The more that you understand the whole, the more you’ll understand any individual part, although do you remember what Peter said about Paul? Do you all remember that? I think Don Lough teaches 1 and 2 Peter or something, but when he covered that, do you remember what Peter says about Paul? Peter says Paul writes many things that are very hard to understand. Did Peter say that about Paul? Yeah. You see it’s not just us that are spending our lives. Trying to understand the Bible. They were trying to understand.
What did God mean when He spoke to the original recipients? Who are the original recipients? Right there they are. They’re those seven churches that represented all the churches, but they were seven literal geographic locations, historic. Bonnie and I have led groups, like many other people, to all those places. When you walk around them, real people were living in real places that had real problems and Jesus addressed local problems and applied His truth to their lives. Let’s do that.
Back to my journal. I typed it out for you. Here’s my 15th finding and we’re only in verse 9. I wrote this, I read verse 9. Here’s how I do it. “I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom.” I looked up tribulation, thlipsis. That’s an interesting word. Thlipsis is the big overview word for tribulation. Do you know what it means? To be squished, think of a trash compactor. Think of the garbage truck and how the little garbage is put in the back and then it makes this sound, and it squeezes. Where we live, I don’t know if it’s around here, all the water and stuff comes out of the truck. It leaks out, all that smelly water as it starts squeezing all that garbage. It’s terrible. That’s the word. Verse 9, “in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos.” He’s telling us who he is. He’s their brother in Christ. He’s also suffering like them. He’s on the island that is called Patmos. Why is he there? For the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. What I wrote is that John was at the worst time of his life. That’s the observation I made.
The Apostle John had endured the horrors of the destruction of Jerusalem. Remember how many times he’d walk to Jerusalem with Jesus? Jesus went every year at least at Passover, maybe more. John had gone up with Him every time and they would go up to Jerusalem and they’d see it. John had lived through the horrors of the destruction of Jerusalem. It doesn’t mean he was there because he probably wouldn’t have survived, but he lived through it because he heard about it and maybe from a distance saw it. He heard about the massacre of a million fellow Jews. He heard about the systematic hunting down of all of his fellow apostles by the Roman empire. The very personal adversary of John was the Emperor himself, Domitian.
Who’s Domitian? Well, his dad Vespasian is the one that started the Jewish wars. His brother Titus is the one that finished the Jewish wars and destroyed Jerusalem, murdered all the Jews, the 1.1 million, did the siege of Masada, and then wrapped it up in Galilee and wiped out the rest of them. The dad and the brother had both reigned, but now Domitian the younger son came to power. Domitian is an amazing guy. If I had time, I would show you, Bonnie and I were teaching Romans and Galatians in the city of Rome. How would you like that? That’s what we did in October. I taught the book of Romans and the book of Galatians in the city of Rome. What a blessing. I would take the students on field trips. We’d go to the Vatican to talk about Romanism. We went to the Scala Santa it’s called where Luther came to know the Gospel as he was crawling up those steps. We did all that, it was really fun.
You know, the most moving thing that got my attention was going up on Palatine Hill. The entire hilltop became Domitian’s palace. It is so big. It was at least three stories high. Each story was as tall as this room. How would you like to live inside of a palace that had this high? It’s unbelievably vaulted stuff. There are fountains. There is everything. Domitian exuded the power of Rome. He thought he was a god and he made them worship him. All the other Caesars lived in his house. They would change it a little bit, but he took Augustus Caesar’s little house and made it into his massive one that no one ever made bigger. He was the top of the Palatine builders.
John is hunted down by Domitian. Domitian captures him. Domitian exiles him. John is left far from anyone that he ever loved, that he ever served, that he ever taught. He is a prisoner of the empire and he’s far away from everyone except for one. John’s at the worst time in his life and his best friend shows up. Isn’t that neat? That’s what you see in this book. Jesus knew right where he was. Remember, Jesus is good and knows everything and is all powerful and He’s always with us. Maybe John needed to be reminded that Jesus was with him, so Jesus showed Himself to John and John saw Him.
The next thing I found was number 16, we can stay full of the Holy Spirit, even though it’s the worst of times. John was at the worst time of his life and look at what it says in verse 10. “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day.” Let’s see, this is Tuesday. Were you in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day on Sunday? Is that how you describe yourself on Sunday? Did you endeavor to be in the Spirit on Sunday? Do you ever think about being in the Spirit on Sunday? You’re not even being hunted down. I think most of us in this room are not being hunted down. I don’t think you’re going to be exiled. I’m not probably going to be exiled anytime soon. We have such comfortable lives compared to what John was going through, but John was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day. Here it is again, Sunday, and wherever John finds himself that is always the Lord’s Day.
Did the Romans look on Sunday as the Lord’s Day? Are you kidding? Domitian was the Lord, and every day was his day. John was saying I’m calibrating not with my problems and with all my struggles, but I’m calibrating with God. God said that this first day of the week, devote to Him. Even though I’m a prisoner on this island and maybe he was in forced labor, who knows what they were doing to him. He said even though I’m a prisoner and I can’t go to the gathering of the body, I’m in the Spirit and I’m joining with all the other believers on Earth. I’m joining with all the believers already in Heaven and I am in the Spirit worshiping God. Is that what you did on Sunday? See, that’s what the Lord wants anywhere we are. John is in the Spirit. That’s the key to serving God at the end of the days. We have to stay full of Spirit. We have to walk through life in Christ and we can live in the Spirit no matter what we’re going through. That’s why I love to read great biographies and see how they did it. Whether it’s Jim Elliott with the Auca’s, it doesn’t matter which person you read. Look at his widow, Elizabeth Elliot, and how she served the Lord. How do these great servants of the Lord do it? Applying the scriptures.
Back to verse 9. John was a prisoner of the empire, so not only was he having a bad time, he was a prisoner of the empire. He was on that island. It’s off the coast of Turkey. It’s called the Roman Asia Minor Province. When we take groups there it’s just 10 miles long at the longest and it’s only six miles wide. Domitian who reigned from 81 to 96 sent him there and according to Eusebius, you say, who’s Eusebius? He’s the father of Church history. He’s the Bishop of Caesarea, as in where Paul sailed in and out of on the coast of Israel. He was the pastor there and he wrote the first Church history. He said that Nerva, the one who followed Domitian, released John and all the other prisoners, the Christians that Domitian had in prison.
Number 18. John shared the same struggles as the faithful saints in the seven churches. Remember I already read it in verse 9, “your companion in the tribulation and kingdom and the patience.” What John is saying is I’m far away. Remember he pastored the church at Ephesus, the church where Paul was for three years and where he is installed Timothy. That’s where the pastoral epistles go to, Timothy pastoring in Ephesus which Eusebius said was the largest church of the ancient world. John had been there. Can you imagine going to church when John was a pastor and Mary attended? Paul was from there. John was there. What a church to go to. John says I’m going through the same struggles as you. He says we’re all together awaiting Christ’s return to right all wrongs. Patiently enduring through these hard times.
There’s where Patmos is on my little map that I showed you. Crete, that’s the island under the red arrow then the red arrows pointing right there. That little, tiny island off the Western shore of Turkey. As John was there, Jesus had sent Revelation knowing that there were centuries of godless and moral emperors who had absolute and ruthless power. Centuries of them ahead for the Church.
Now here, there’s this interesting group and they’ve taken all of the statues and everything else they can find and put them into machine learning, AI. They’ve tried to see what these guys will look like. This is the most recent posting if you’d have met one of these emperors what they would have looked like. God knew that Julius Caesar and Augustus and Tiberius and Caligula and Claudius and Nero and Galba and Otho and Vitellius. There’s Vespasian, the father of Titus and Domitian, Nerva who followed him, and Trajan. He was a real persecutor of the Church. God knew. That’s why Revelation was sent to guide believers through hard times.
Now you don’t have to be in Rome to have a hard time. You can have a hard time in New York. You can have a hard time anywhere, but look, when John uses that word in verse 9, patience, he’s using the word for God telling us how to hold onto Christ. Patience means you hold on even when it hurts. It’s like in the movies where they’re clinging, and they’re holding on even though it hurts. That’s the vivid imagery. John’s readers were going through the exact same thing. They were meeting in secret to avoid being fed to lions. They were suffering for their faith and listen to this; they were constantly surrounded by so much immorality that they faced temptation walking down the street.
Have you ever gone to a museum and seen any Greek statues? Hardly any of them have any clothes on and people go, oh! Why? That was the Greek ideal. Athletics were practiced in gymnasium. Have you ever heard of a gymnasium? Do we have a gymnasium here? You have one, but it’s not a real one because gymnós is the Greek word for naked. It’s a place where naked people practiced their sports. Every town of any size had a gymnasium, and you didn’t have to beep your card to get into it. It just was part of life. They had the bathhouse and they had everything. All those statues are what they saw in real life. They were constantly surrounded by so much immorality that they faced temptation just walking down the street.
It was unlike that at any time in history until 2007 when Steve Jobs the genius, the man that will probably be recorded in history as altering the direction of human society. Invented this (cell phone) to be in everyone’s pocket. He invented the music first to be in our pocket then he thought I’ll put the music with the phone and then I’ll add a camera and then I’ll add a flashlight and then I’ll add everything else you need to live. So that young people get to the point where they sleep with this because they don’t want to miss anything. You know what? In the Roman world, just walking through life, you faced endless temptations. It wasn’t like that in the rest of history until our day.
Did you know, it used to be if you wanted to be tempted you had to go on a journey to wherever the temptation was. Most people didn’t live near a lot of temptations. They just worked all the time, but now the temptation is in the pocket. Did you know, what is it, 80%, 89% of all pornography is consumed on portable devices where you can be all alone and know who’s watching and not? Except for One, who’s always with us.
See, I get asked all the time as I travel to visit young people. They say how do we overcome our struggle with whatever tempts us? I say by understanding the attributes of God. Remember Joseph in Genesis? Joseph is attacked by Potiphar’s wife. She starts pulling his clothes off. That’s the direct approach, pull the clothes off. He stops her and says stop! She said, why? He said, how can I do this evil and sin against God? Do you know what Potiphar’s wife did? She went like this and looked all around the room. She said, there’s nobody else in this room. Joseph said, yes there is. My God is here, and I will not sin against Him. That’s the answer to how we overcome temptation. Knowing that the God who loves us, who knows everything, who has all power, is not far away. He’s right here. That’s what He reminded John of, and John reminded the Church.
Really quickly. I think we have enough time. I’ll listen to a little bit of this. Bonnie and I, one of the privileges of our lives is to teach the Bible all over the place and one of the places that we taught was on the Isle of Patmos more than once. Finally, I decided I would take my cell phone and just quickly pop a video. I hope the sound comes through. Here’s a video overviewing Revelation for you. Someone needs when they’re struggling and alone and in danger. The book of Revelation was written to someone just like that. The Apostle John was on a rocky, barren island called Patmos on the Aegean Sea. That’s exactly where we are right now. A rocky, barren seaside island on the Aegean Sea. John remembered the loss of all of his beloved brothers in ministry. The apostles had each been hunted down and martyred by the empire. He was the last one and they got him. They put him here in exile, but as the years went by, he began to remember. He remembered his beloved city was gone, destroyed, leveled. The hundreds of thousands of fellow Jews were massacred or sold into slavery. Here he was old, weak, alone, and in danger. What does God think you need when the empire is against you and hunting you down and when the world seems to be headed toward destruction? It sounds like the times we live in. If you’re listening to the news at all about global warming and water scarcity and the environment being destroyed by humanities industries and CO2 emissions. It’s true. The Earth is shaking and groaning and dying. Just like it says in God’s word. What’s the most encouraging thing that God could send? Well, to the Apostle John it was this book of Revelation. He said you’re blessed if you read it and you’re blessed if you heed it and you’re blessed if you keep the things that are written in it. That’s what this course is all about.
That is moving to me to think that John was all alone and Jesus said, you’re not. I’m here. I know what you’re going through, it’s part of my plan. What’s the plan? Well, look at verse 11. He looked around behind him. Here’s this voice, the trumpet he hears behind him. “I am the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last.” Verse 11. “What you see, write in a book.” Verse 12, he turns around to see Jesus. Look at what I wrote. This is the only picture of Jesus in the Bible. Have you ever thought about that? This is the only picture of Jesus. Isaiah says that His form is the worst. His face is so battered that He doesn’t look like He’s a human. It says His beard was pulled out, but it doesn’t tell us what He looked like, just how bad He looked. This is the only picture of Jesus in the whole Bible. Look what it is. It’s the only word picture describing God the Son, Jesus Christ. It has seven elements. Remember. Why not another number? Seven. John loves sevens. It’s Jesus’ hair, His eyes, His feet, His voice, His hands, His mouth, and His face.
The purpose of this passage is something we need. Peter put it this way, he said, I want to stir you up by way of reminder. That’s why he wrote his epistles. Peter didn’t write a lot of new stuff, he just reminded them. John didn’t write new stuff in this book he just reminded. Jesus reminds them of what? This is the amazing picture we need to ponder each day as we live through the last days. Jesus came to Patmos to remind John and us that the Christ of the Gospels is now unleashed. Do you understand what is going on? Think about three years. John often went back to those days in Galilee, those days walking. Could you imagine how fun it was to relive those days? What were those days like? Wherever Jesus went, and John had followed him for 3+ years, Christ’s very presence made sure that death fled. Jesus was raising people from the dead. All He had to do was stop when the widow’s son of Nain was in that coffin. He just touched the coffin and the guy sat up. That must’ve been very unsettling to the people, it was unbelievable. Diseases faded and the despair of the multitudes melted because of broken bodies. That could just come into contact with Jesus were mended.
Have you ever thought about that? People used to line the way through the marketplace for Jesus was coming and if Jesus just walked by, if He was in their presence, it just was intense. It was like this power emanated from Him. If you could just get people close to Him. They were digging through roofs. They were climbing trees to get sight of Him, whatever they could do, they were reaching through. Remember the woman in Mark chapter 5? She reaches through the crowd, through all the feet, and grabs the tassel of Jesus’ robe. If you could just get near Him, ruined lives were repaired. Sightless eyes were restored. Empty ears were filled with sound. Missing fingers were returned. Hungering lives were satisfied. John remembered that everywhere Jesus went, wherever He was, whenever He was there, the presence of Jesus meant death, disease, and despair were no more. He remembered that.
Jesus only did that for being in one place at a time. Most of the Gospels are crowds of people walking around saying which way did He go now? Where? They’d sail across the sea of Galilee because they thought He was on the other side. They were going back and forth. Just one place at a time. Crowds came to Him, multitudes flocked to Him, and none were disappointed. If you came to Him, He helped them all. Sometimes it was so great that they would take extreme measures, but they did whatever to get near Him. Now, after resurrection Sunday, this is what Jesus was reminding John and us about. The unlimited power of Christ is now available everywhere.
Think about that. Something had changed. After the resurrection morning, Jesus was now available to anyone, anywhere, at any time. If you read, those 40 days He was on Earth before the ascension, Jesus was showing up all over the place. He showed up walking on a road with a couple on their way to Emmaus and all of a sudden, He’s walking through the door with the disciples, scared to death inside. Then He’s showing up when Thomas finally shows up to restore Him. Then He goes up and He’s on a mountain in Galilee. He’s just everywhere and anywhere with anyone.
For a moment let’s back up. We’ve gotten so far that we need to go back to verse 5. I want to show you something in verse 5 because I want you to think about what was the greatest miracle that Jesus accomplished. Was it raising people from the dead? It was a great miracle, but almost all of them, in fact, all of them, died again. All of them. He healed them from death, but they died again. How about the people whom He fixed their eyes? If they live long enough what happens? They didn’t have glasses back then, so they lost their sight. What about the people He gave their hearing back to? If they live long enough that starts wearing out. What about the rest of the people? Do you understand what I mean? All of Jesus’ miracles from the feeding of the 5,000 to the calming of the storm, to raising the dead, to fixing all the diseases in the eyes and the ears, all after some time wore out. The wine that was changed from water eventually was gone. The food from the feeding of the 4,000 and 5,000 was gone. What’s the only miracle of Jesus that never went away? It’s right there. It’s verse 5.
Our greatest need isn’t happiness or health or food. It’s forgiveness. That’s the one miracle Jesus is still doing today. Verse 5. “From Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood.” The miracle that’s still going on today. I’m not saying Jesus doesn’t heal people. There aren’t healers, but He still heals people. I’m not saying that Jesus doesn’t perform miracles because we’re supposed to call unto Him and He shows us great and mighty things we don’t know, but He’s not doing what He did during His earthly ministry. Walking by and everybody that gets near Him gets well. You know what He’s still doing? The greatest miracle. I think we need to think about that. Sometimes I don’t think about that.
I was working on this material. I was editing. This class is from a book I wrote called Living Hope for the End of Days, it was my dissertation at Dallas Seminary. I was editing that book into lessons, and daily devotionals. I was a pastor, and I would go every day to Starbucks because if you stay in the church, people just come. I had a policy that if anybody came, no matter who it was, I would meet with them because the purpose is to minister to the flock. I would go on my lunch hour and not eat at the church, and I would go and just have a glass of vitamin C. You know what that is? They sell it at Starbucks. Coffee. I would go have my vitamin C and sit there and I found this little corner in Starbucks in this uber busy downtown one. They didn’t have Uber, it was busy. The line always went long, there was a turnstile, and it went out the door. It was the busiest Starbucks in that town of a million people.
I would stand in line, and I’d read, and I’d get my drink. I’d go over to my corner table, and I’d sit there, and I’d spend my hour editing. The problem is getting my drink. Every day when I would get my drink, this barista would slide it across and look at me and I would look at him. I noticed a lot of things about him. One thing was, he looked like Eminem used to look. The black skeet cap thing, close to his head, black everything. I guess it was called goth or something back then. Everything was black, but it wasn’t just black. He had metal everywhere. He wore big log chains when he walked behind the Starbucks counter. I didn’t know they let people dress like that at Starbucks. I thought you had to wear the green apron. Maybe it was good. Clink clink, his chains. He had studs, metal studs. They looked like alligator’s teeth or something all the way down his pants. He had so many piercings, his tongue looked like a pincushion. Everything about him was pierced metal chains, black. Great. That was him.
I was studying Revelation, he’s the barista. Every day, five days a week. Finally, one day I looked at him and I looked right into his eyes. The whites of his eyes for this color yellow. They were orange. Do you know what that is? It’s called hyperbilirubinemia. That meant that his liver was no longer pulling the poisons out of his body, and they were building up in his body. The first place it shows is in the whites of your eyes. You can always tell a heavy duty drug user that’s really overdosing like the Foo Fighter guy, the one that overdosed last month. If someone had looked, he probably would’ve had orange in his eyes because his body couldn’t keep up with the poisons from all those chemicals.
Here I am, confronted with the fact that I am studying the book of Revelation to teach people and I’m being slid a Starbucks drink by a guy who, when he looks at me, I can tell he’s dying before my very eyes. I have a policy. I won’t witness to anybody on company time because it’s like stealing from their employer. I’ll give a tract to a waitress, but you don’t engage her in this 20 minute talk because someone’s going to get upset. I said, okay, Lord, I’m editing today, but I want to talk to that barista. If, when I get up to the counter and order, there’s no one behind me I’ll keep my principle that I won’t steal from Starbucks by witnessing to their employees during work time. So, if no one’s behind me, I’ll witness to this guy. I decided that I would look at his name tag. The next day he went like this and looked at me with his orange eyes. Daniel. I was ready. I got my tract, my Gospel tract that I always keep in my wallet, and I pulled it out. I wrote my name and my email address on it, and I got it all ready. I got over to the Starbucks in the city of 1 million that has a turnstile and they’re out the door. I got in line, it was out the door, and I was reading, and I kept reading and I kept reading. I got up to the counter and made my order and I looked behind me. There was no one behind me. I’d never been at Starbucks with no one behind me.
I thought, wow, why don’t I pray for more things? That’s really great. I got down there, and I thought, oh, wow, and then they started coming in. I don’t know whether there had been a light or whatever, but people started coming in, so I knew I only had a short time. I ordered the same thing and I got down there, and I waited, and he went across and I thought, how do you share the Gospel in a very short time? I looked at him, I said, hi Daniel. His orange eyes got wider. My name? I said, yeah, Daniel, I’ve been here every day for a month. I said, Daniel, you know what? I saw your eyes. I said, Daniel, you’re going to wake up one of these days in Hell. I said, if you keep going the direction you’re going, I said, you’re going to Hell. I pulled out my Gospel tract and I said, this is a Bible study that tells you how you can know Jesus Christ who is still performing the miracle of forgiving and He’ll set you free. How long did that take? 27 seconds? I handed him the tract, went off to my little table, and edited another chapter.
I wrote down Daniel in my prayer guide, my little thing in my Bible where I pray for people. I prayed and said, Lord, I can’t wait. I’m going to follow up tomorrow. You can let the people be in line. I’ll follow up without any miracles, and I went the next day and I ordered, and I looked around and didn’t see Daniel. I said to the cashier, where’s Daniel? She said all of us are asking that. She said, where’s Daniel? She said we’re all asking that. She said, did you know yesterday at two o’clock he walked out the back door of the building and he’s never come back? I said, oh. Next day, where’s Daniel? She said, no one has seen him since two days ago, a whole week. Where’s Daniel? Then I really felt bad. I thought he probably died. He’s behind the dumpster. I walked around to see if Daniel had collapsed by the dumpster when he was taking out all the cups everyone uses.
I prayed for him then I forgot about him. About a year later I was editing another book and I was sitting in my corner totally immersed. All of a sudden, I noticed out of my peripheral vision, that someone was edging up to my table. I didn’t look at him, but I saw black, metal, chains, and I looked up and saw the biggest smile you’ve ever seen. Nothing else had changed. He had every metal and chain and his Eminem hat and everything else, but he had a radiant huge smile and big white eyes. He looked at me and he said, man, I’ve been looking all over for you. He says, hey, you scared the Hell out of me. He just went on and on and I said, what? He said you slid that paper to me and told me I was going to Hell and scared me to death, but you didn’t explain it to me. He said, I walked right out the back door and I started walking down the street with your paper saying, have you ever seen one of these? Could you explain this to me? Could you explain this to me? Could you explain this to me? He said I walked for about two hours until I came to a storefront church. It was called Guts.
Everybody there looked like him. They were bodybuilders and heavy metal everything and it was a real church. They explained the Gospel to him and led him to Christ. He was a drummer in a heavy metal band, so they invited him to drum for them. He said I’m on tour now. I do Christian shows all the time. Every time in the show when they stop all the steam and the lights and everything I walk out to the front and I say, I want to tell you about the time that someone scared the Hell out of me and gave me a tract. He gives his testimony. I thought, wow, we never know the power of God unto salvation until we share it with people. I hope that you’ll see God’s greatest miracle every time we follow His prompting to share the Gospel.
The 20th thing I found is what does the picture of Jesus reveal to us? Starting in verse 11. Jesus’ hair is white. It speaks of Him being the Ancient of Days. That’s tying back to Daniel. His eyes were like flames of fire. Again, it’s talking about this laser like look of Christ inspecting our lives. He’s omniscient. His feet are like brass and He’s the ultimate judge. It speaks of His justice and righteousness. His voice, it says, was like the sound of many waters. I think about those waves and the storms hitting Patmos and John thought about that. It’s a voice we should listen to. His hands, remember John says, He’s holding the stars. He’s holding those messengers of the churches. It speaks of His compassion. Remember how many times Jesus touched people in the Gospel. He’s always reaching out and touching people. John thought of those hands. His mouth. John remembered how Jesus said in John 5 that the day is coming in which all in the graves will hear My voice and they’re going to come out of the graves. What a voice He has. Then His face. John saw Him, His face was like the sun.
See what He says in verse 11. Jesus said, “what you see,” in the middle of verse 11, “write in a book and send it to the seven churches, which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.” What I wrote is Jesus speaks to us today. He had a message for the believers of all time. Those seven represented all the believers of the New Testament world. The seven meant a collection of all the churches, but also because it’s in Revelation, it spoke of the churches throughout all ages. It’s to us. Jesus has a message for us.
What I see is in verse 12, look at this. “Then I turned to see the voices that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands and” verse 13 “in the midst of seven golden lampstands One was like the Son of Man clothed with a garment down to the feet.” Remember I told you. Why is He dressed like that? He was “girded about the chest with a golden band.” Then I read His hair was white. Jesus is now, I wrote, walking around among His churches. That’s when He’s walking around. That’s why it says in verse 20, “The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches.” Jesus said I’m walking around, holding the messengers, visiting the churches. I wrote in my journal Jesus now walks around among His churches, looking at their lives and ministry. He sees how He might help us best reflect Him as His lights in the world.
Did you know this is Jesus’ favorite word for Himself? When Jesus identified Himself, what’d He call Himself most often? The Son of Man. He was like the Son of Man. When John received Revelation, he was an exhale. He was cut off. Paul had gone to Rome and was beheaded. Peter, his childhood friend, was gone. His own brother James was arrested, and every other apostle was hunted down. John was a target, so he turned to see the voice and One like the Son of Man.
Do you know what Jesus’ most often recorded emotion is in the Gospels? The four Gospels, the 89 chapters. What is Jesus most often shown to be? Compassionate. Do you know what the word compassion means? It’s the word splánchnois. It means to be moved, right here, viscerally. You feel it. Jesus is the compassionate one. He feels our fears, our weaknesses, our pains. Hebrews 2 says that “He might destroy him who had the power of death…and release those who through fear of death were all of our lifetime were subject to bondage.” Then it says in chapter 4 that He is the one we can come “to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Jesus is compassionate. He was tempted in all points. He feels our struggles. He wants to help us in every time of need.
This is what I wrote down. See my journal. I enjoy that time alone thinking through the scripture, looking for what God wants me to learn that day. I wrote that Jesus knew right where John was. He knew where every member of the seven churches was not just physically, but He knew where they were spiritually. He knew that. Jesus reveals that He will help each of us through life. How do I know that? Because the outfit He’s wearing is the outfit of the priest, the high priest, actually. That’s why it has that kind of a girdle around the middle here, the sash. It is a picture that He is the one that’s coming to help us no matter where we are now in the spectrum of obedience. Jesus has a plan to get us back on target and to keep us there.
I told you I’d show you an application prayer. After I get all done with all these things, every day, I write one of these. This is the one I wrote this day. Lord, I want to know and follow Your plan. Help me to read and hear what You’re saying and keep what You want me to keep. You love me and loose me and wash me. You are the Almighty. Sunday is Your day and as You walk around Your Church, may You find me healthy. Use the sword of Your word in my life to keep me useful and pure. For Jesus’ sake. Amen. The whole book of Revelation is about how it all ends, but that’s not the whole book of Revelation. The purpose for us, besides knowing how it all ends, is to know how Jesus wants to impact our lives.
Check Out All The Sermons In The Series
You can find all the sermons and short clips from this series, Revelation Taught In 2022 here.
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