Dec 162017

Revelation 1:1-6

1 The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John,


  • The revelation – not the revelations. The apocalypse = Greek = revelation.
  • So many think this is the revelation of anti Christ -Sadaam Hussein – Osama bin Laden, Donald Trump, (fill in the blank for the current bad guy.)
  • What is a revelation? It would be the revealing of something that is already there. Picture this; a dark room where you see nothing – but as the lights are slowly brought up you start to make out the outlines of some furniture, and as more light is brought in you see the entire furnished room.
  • Even in the pitch black, everything you now see has always been there.
  • ‘Gave him’ = gave to Jesus. God the Father throughout all of scripture has given his word to Jesus to bring to the world.
  • If you hear God’s word it is Jesus speaking.
  • God is funny in this way – he reveals himself by being hidden – he hides in the flesh of Jesus Christ.
  • So Jesus sends an angel to speak to John – Jesus is the mediator between God & man.

who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw.

  • John was faithful in what he was given – he gave it to everyone he came in contact with.
  • What did John say at the end of his Gospel? ‘all these things are written that you may believe, by believing you have life in his name.”
  • This is why he wrote all of this down – just like his gospel.

3 Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.

  • Prophecy is what is now and what will happen – but it is always about Jesus.
  • What already is – is prophecy that has already has happened / is happening.
  • Foretelling and forth telling – proclamation of God’s word for today – the past for us, he shed his blood, he rose and he now reigns.
  • In chapters 2 & 3 we see Jesus presently reigning in his church.
  • In the future we expect “behold, I am coming soon.”
  • This Revelation of Jesus Christ (not a narrative about Jesus Christ), is that he died for you, he rose for you, he loves you, he gives you eternal life, he is going to take care of you no matter what.
  • Jesus keeps his promises despite what persecutions and trouble you are going through in this life.
  • In spite of everything that seems to the contrary, God is in control of world history – and the climax was Good Friday.
  • We are to proclaim Jesus Christ for the sinner – The “for you”.
  • When you go to church and you hear the pastor say “Jesus died for you.” Or at communion and you hear Jesus’ own words “this is my body, ‘given for you’… this is my blood, ‘shed for you’ – this is a revelation.
  • This is his kingdom and he reigns over your sin and death with his own body and blood in his death.
  • Also, not to be missed – his kingdom is on this earth – and Jesus comes to us.

Greeting to the Seven Churches

John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne,

  • Greetings from John – was John that well known or would a brief introduction be given by the reader of the letter to the crowd?
  • Asia = Asia Minor = Modern day Turkey
  • Grace / Peace = very similar to the Pauline greetings.
  • This is a word from God – not John. It is a word of God to be read during the Divine Service.
  • This is a message from God the Father, who is, who was and who is to come.
  • This is also from the Holy Spirit – the 7 spirits – 7 = God – 7 = divine completion.

5 and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood

  • And Jesus Christ – John has the Trinity covered.
  • Jesus is the faithful witness – he is the martyr. Faithful even unto death – this is important to me, as I am not a faithful witness.
  • Look what we have here – a vision – a letter – a sermon from the Trinity.
  • This is for those in John’s age and those for us in this age – but we must read it first in their day.
  • Note – his blood freed us from our sin. This is not that he made us capable of being free from our sin – No! We are actually freed.
  • Something to think about – who are the kings Jesus rules over? Are they Caesar, Hitler, Stalin, Trump?
  • Or are they us, the Christians, those who gained our crowns through his ascension? Ruler of the kings, we who reign with him – saints who later take our crowns and cast them at the feet of Jesus as we realize our crowns are because of him.

and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

  • Has made us – not a future tense – this is already done.
  • This is not something that is to be fulfilled later in some future kingdom.
  • For those who believe that the kingdom of God has not yet come – that some future priesthood will be set up, waiting for some millennial age – believe me, Jesus the King has come.
  • Jesus, the high priest has come – Jesus is the lamb, the whole sacrificial system is fulfilled in him. Jesus is the temple; he is God with us.
  • The Apostle Peter himself has picked up on this in 1 Peter 2 recognizing we are the New Israel – the Church. We who are baptized – we are NOW a kingdom and we are priests. “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
  • Jesus reigns among us – he put his name on us and dies for us and reigns among us sinners.
  • We are his priests – not high priests – but on top of all, we are the New Israel.


  24 Responses to “The Weekend Word”

  1. For clarity sake these studies are by Martin Luther’s Disciple.

    I couldn’t be happier that we are doing this study now and I invite those with different perspectives to engage with MLD and the rest of the community here.

    This book has been influential in not only the church, but in secular thinking and especially in politics.

    I would contend that the popular understanding of the book is not only wrong, but dangerously wrong…it’s not about the coming “New World Order”…

    I hope for more light than heat, though this book always generates both.
    I expect us all to engage irenically and with respect.

  2. I became a believer at a CC bible study of the Revelation. I now recognize that the rapture doctrine brought out of this perspective is heretical? blaspheme? It certainly derails many from the intended path.

  3. I think heretical is too strong a word.
    I would say that it is ahistorical and from my perspective, aberrant.

  4. Thank you MLD, this is very good. Thanks for you time and effort you put into this study.

  5. “Heterodox” is a useful word when you are too polite to say “heretical.”

  6. I am laying the foundation that this is a recounting of church history with Jesus ruling, reigning and working in the local church.
    We can cover the rapture in detail when we come to it in this book. 🙂

  7. Outstanding!

  8. I misspoke a little. It is broader than church history – but it is at least the time of the church and surrounding world events.

  9. i won’t engage in this study… as one of those labeled heretic it would not serve a purpose that is constructive – further, since i am not a teacher i am instructed to avoid foolish and unlearned questions as they promote strife – we don’t need anymore strife

    Further i’m not too concerned about other Believers’ views of the second coming, or the prelude to the event, as long as all stay clear-minded enough through the tribulations to recognize false christs and to avoid moving to a mountain top in order to be the first ones out in the rapturing of the Church… 🙂

  10. Em, it’s sad that you would think questions asked here by some are foolish.

  11. So, I’m trying to be clear that the term heresy is off the books…there are vast differences within orthodoxy.

  12. ahhh, MLD …. your #10 is a glaring example of the reason that it would be imprudent to enter into your study from a contrarian viewpoint…
    i am not a teacher, it was my questions that would be foolish and unlearned…

    i actually find studies of Revelation rather boring and some years ago, as ii’ve said, i was surprised to be able to go thru the book with no preconceptions, building a flowchart that never hit a snag… from the world of computer programming, i learned that it is possible to flowchart logic even when you, yourself, are not able to construct said logic… logic stands on its own merit… the book of Revelation is very ordered logic, tracking from beginning to end with no hiccups… how you interpret the symbols is another matter – we’d agree on somethings, i think – the trumpets for example… but i don’t have your appetite for dissecting the book

    as i said above, “Further i’m not too concerned about other Believers’ views of the second coming, or the prelude to the event, as long as all stay clear-minded…..”

    i will read your weekly posting and i will, i assume, learn the historic interpretation’s structure…

  13. Em, You can join in. Heck there was more end times stuff in the Matthew study we just finish. You should be able to see in this 6 verse study it is clearly about Jesus and his work in the church. You can comment on that.

  14. Thanks again MLD. I appreciate your efforts here and look forward to the weekly notes.

  15. With regard to “the rapture” – I would not say “heresy”. I would not even say “heterodox”. It does not impinge upon the unity of the Trinity, the Deity of Christ or the nature of the Holy Spirit. It does not add or subtract from Christ”s sacrifice on the cross or his bodily resurrection.

    It is, in my view, an interesting “opinion”. It has been floating around in the Church since the sixteenth century (some would contend earlier with Ephrem the Syrian in the seventh century, but the text, in my opinion does not lend itself to that interpretation).

    As an “opinion”, however, it does not change our walk with Christ, or our life with Christ in the world. If I die tonight, that is Christ coming for me. If he chooses to come for me in any other way, that is in the hand of God, not my trying to figure it out…

    MLD, I look forward to the upcoming articles…

  16. I agree with Duane 99% of the time. His #15 is a 1% comment I disagree with.

    I think the rapture impinges on the doctrine of the incarnation, by denying the goodness of God’s creation and God’s promise to free it from corruption through the Gospel. Christ united himself eternally to creation and the idea that his first advent was a precursor to removing His body from the earth is a radical departure from orthodoxy.

    Moreover, that his incarnation and first advent did not fulfill his promises to Israel in bringing the kingdom of God and providing a Church in which from two men he makes one (Eph 2:15), is a teaching that is an affront to the Gospel.

    Finally, the doctrine of the rapture has a gnostic attribute in that its adherents often are against conservation and the goodness of God’s physical creation, because they believe the church is going to be removed from the earth.

    Aside from my rare disagreements with Duane, I love to read his stuff.

  17. Like many things I guess it depends on what we mean by the rapture. If it is what we see described in Matt 25:7 and the 10 virgins ” “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’” – then I believe in the rapture.

    However, if it is to fulfill some promise to get the church out of the way because their purpose has been fulfilled and clear the playing field so God can get back to promises for Israel that have not been taken care of by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, well, then I do think the rapture contradicts sound Christology.

    *** this does point to how bent we are with our feelings about Revelation, that we think it is about the rapture – which is neither mentioned nor implied in the book. Perhaps it is heresy to even discuss the rapture when discussing Revelation. 🙂

  18. I won’t enter in to a discussion on the interpretation of Revelation in this Weekend Word series… I will, however, observe that comments made here on the revelation of a capturing out of the Church that some very God fearinb and qualified scholarrs have proposed, betray here in the comments a lack of understanding of it…I
    Makes me wonder if their frame of reference has been constructed from anything more than H. Lindsey …? 😵

  19. Em, state your point of view as you have been taught. Why is the church removed before the end?
    You have already come on 3 times to say that you won’t comment or teach, and then you drop a nugget and depart.

  20. Good stuff. Thanks, MLD.

    I agree with MLD that Christians are the new Israel. I also agree with Jean’s concern that rapture theology detracts.

    Question, will the rapture be discussed in this study? On the one hand, MLD mentioned in #6 that the rapture will be dealt with when it comes up in the Revelation. On the other hand, he said in #17 that the rapture is neither mentioned nor implied in the Revelation. I hope that the teaching will hold to the text which is amillennial.

    Again, thanks.

  21. MLD, your in depth study is now only being prepared for launch… my “nuggets” will cease as you wade deeper into your teaching…
    your invitation at 19 would be a study in itself… there’s good material out there and well presented for anyone to study… and ponder

  22. Jeffrey, #6 was my snarky attempt to get people to back away from ‘rapture’ talk so early in the discussion.
    #17 is my view buy not the view of the majority of readers.

    Thanks for your comments.

  23. MLD, thank you for the #22 feedback. I look forward to the study.

  24. #16 Jean

    No problem with the disagreement.

    I should be clear. I’m not talking about the eschatological system some have built around the idea of the rapture. I’m talking about the idea of an action of God that he makes of his own accord. For me, the issue is simply that I will be with Christ, regardless of the means by which that takes place. As I said… I simply consider it an opinion… Even though I do not hold with that opinion, I do not see it impinging on the basic tenets of the Faith. No more, no less…

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