Revelation; "Fear not"

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posted on Sep, 5 2010 @ 05:34 PM
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"Fear not, O Jacob my servant...I am the first and the last, besides me there is no God"- Isaiah ch44 vv2-6

I want to offer some thoughts on Revelation ch1, which sets the tone for the rest of the book.

I'm going to be asking the question; what does this chapter say about the purpose of Revelation?

The chapter has to be understood against the background of the troubled state of the church. It's implied in the "tribulation and patient endurance" mentioned in v9 and in John's apparent exile in Patmos.

So the first key point is that the events to be described are events which must happen and must happen soon- the rescue mission cannot be prevented or delayed.
(I take the word "soon" to be about the speed of God's response to the relevant crisis; the crisis involving the church of John's time has now been resolved, while any similar crisis which might involve the future church has not yet begun)

Then John validates the message of hope by spelling out where it comes from.
It was God who gave the revelation to Jesus Christ.
Christ then sent his "angel" (presumably the image seen later in the chapter) to "his servant John".
John saw the vision and gives his testimony, and the blessing extends the line of transmission to those who read the words aloud and those who hear and absorb them.

John then passes on the offer of "grace and peace"; a standard greeting in Paul's letters, but with deeper implications (and more relevance to the theme of Revelation) than I would have space to discuss.

The grace and peace come from a three-fold source;

from him who is and was and is to come

To this, in v8, the Lord God adds that he is the Almighty and also the "Alpha and Omega", the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet.
So in two different ways the all-embracing present is extended into past and future.
In short, the Eternal One.

from the seven spirits which are before the throne

But the number seven, in Revelation, is really a label meaning "belonging to God". So what we have here is the seven-fold spirit, or the spirit "belonging to God".
That is, the Holy Spirit.

from Jesus Christ

But Christ himself is then named in three different ways;

"Faithful witness"

Ths name comes, ultimately, from the Cross. In the "court scene" imagery found in John's writings, Christ is our "advocate with the Father" and stands over against "the accuser of the brethren", the "faithful witness" against Satan's hostile testimony. This is one way of describing the redemption which is the effect of the Cross.
So, as a name, it carries the promise that our sins will not be held against us.
(Then there's the secondary sense, that he thereby becomes a model for the "faithful witness" of his own followers)

"First-born of the dead"

This name comes, of course, from the Resurrection. "First-born" because he's to be followed by many others.
So, as a name, it holds the promise of our own resurrection from the dead.

"Ruler of the kings of the earth"

This name comes, ultimately, from the Ascension, with which we associate the fact that he can be called "Lord", the name at which "every knee shall bow".
So, as a name, it holds the promise that the oppression of the "kings of earth" can be overruled.

And in these three different ways, from the Eternal One, from the Spirit, and from Jesus Christ, the grace and peace come to us from a source of power.

But John hasn't finished explaining what Christ does for us. We benefit from;

what was

Glory and dominion belong to him because he loves us and therefore freed us from our sins by his blood- that is by his death on the Cross.
In other words, he's already won a victory for us, and won us freedom from oppression in the area that matters most.

what is

Glory and dominion belong to him because he made us "a kingdom, and priests".
As the Israelites themselves became after the Exodus; "You shall be to me a kingdom of priests, a holy nation"- Exodus ch19 v6
In other words, the church has become the new Israel.

what is to come

In Daniel ch7, the prophet sees "one like a son of man" who is coming "with the clouds of heaven" to be presented with dominion over the nations of the earth.
And Zechariah predicts that the families of Israel will see, and mourn over "the one whom they had pierced"- Zechariah ch12 v10.
Matthew brings the two themes together and extends them to the tribes of the earth at large, who will mourn when they see the coming of the Son of Man.
But Jesus identified himself as the Son of Man.
So John here combines the two themes in the same way that Matthew does, while spelling out more clearly the fact that the mourners will be the ones who pierced him.
In other words, his coming in glory implies the defeat of his enemies.

So the church benefits (as before) by freedom from sin, new life, and freedom from oppression.

After this introduction, the visions themselves.
John is experiencing the Spirit "on the Lord's day". A day which began as a celebration of the Resurrection of Christ seems a very appropriate setting for a lesson about the effects of Resurrection power.

Hearing a voice behind him, he turns round.

He sees seven golden lampstands, and he's later told that these are the "seven churches".
At one level, this means the just-mentioned seven churches of the province of Asia.
At another level, as in the case of the "seven spirits", it means "the seven-fold church"- that is to say, the Church which belongs to God.
So the figure in this vision is one who stands at the very centre of God's Church.

But the seven lampstands also, indirectly, indicate the presence of the Holy Spirit in the Church.
The connecting link is the fact that in Zechariah ch4 v10 the seven lampstands are identified as the "eyes of the Lord which range through the whole earth", and in Revelation ch5 v6 those eyes are identified with that same seven-fold Spirit.

The figure in the middle is called "one like a son of man", as in the Daniel vision.
But he's also carrying the white head and hair which belong to the "Ancient of days", the other figure in the same vision.
In other words, this figure can be identified with the Son of Man and with the enthroned God at one and the same time.

There's another vision in Daniel ch10, when the prophet sees a great figure clothed in linen and a golden girdle, with eyes like flaming torches, limbs of burnished bronze, and a voice "like the sound of a multitude".
The figure then gives him an account of the great ruler who makes war on God.
The figure in this vision has similar features, which may forewarn us to expect another account of hostility from a great ruler.

There's a two-edged sword coming out of the figure's mouth.
This points us towards the power of the Word, which is "sharper than a two-edged sword" to discern the intentions of the heart- Hebrews ch4 v12.
Similarly, the Servant in Isaiah was able to say "He has made my mouth like a sharp sword" (Isaiah ch49 v2) and the Branch of Jesse would be able to "smite the earth with the rod of his mouth" (Isaiah ch11 v4).
These passages are about the power of the Word in dealing with the wicked and restoring God's people in righteousness.

The final detail in the picture is that the figure's face is shining like the sun.
In Malachi ch4, the coming of the Lord's "day" would have a double effect.
It would be "burning like an oven" against the arrogant and the evildoers.
But for those who fear the name of the lord, the sun of righteousness would be rising "with healing in is wings".

All these visual details are presenting the message that the figure at the centre of the Church has the power to restore his people by overcoming the power of the oppressor.

As in Daniel ch10, John falls to the ground.
As in Daniel ch10, the figure touches him and says "Fear not".
The more obvious and immediate meaning is "Don't be afraid of me".
But the deeper and more important meaning is "Don't be afraid of anything else".

Then he accounts for this instruction by explaining who he is, what he has done, and what he is able to do.

He describes himself in terms which echo what God says about himself elsewhere.
"The first and the last" is an echo of the verse from Isaiah quoted at the beginning of these comments, and it also matches the "Alpha and Omega".
"The living one" echoes the frequently used title "the living God".
These two phrases in combination add up to the equivalent of "who is and was and is to come".
But he then, also says, "I died, and behold I am alive".
So this figure who has already identified himself using the names of God also identifies himself as Jesus Christ.
As the one who died and now lives for evermore, he hold "the keys of death and Hades", which is presumably about his ability to unlock the doors of death and let people out. It is the promise of resurrection life.

The purpose of this explanation is to demonstrate why John (and his church) should not fear.
That is the key message of this chapter, and also what it says about the purpose of Revelation, a book designed for the benefit of a church facing persecution.

"I have the power of God, the Resurrection power.
Do not fear the power of sin.
Do not fear the power of oppression.
Do not fear the events which "must take place" in order to overcome the power of oppression.

FEAR NOT"


[edit on 5-9-2010 by DISRAELI]




posted on Sep, 5 2010 @ 06:19 PM
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Another wonderful message,Disraeli!

Very reassuring for the times ahead!

Thank you.



posted on Sep, 5 2010 @ 07:37 PM
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Greetings Disraeli:

I commend you in your abilities to ascertain the true meaning within these scriptures. Fear of the event's in our near future is continually being fed with negativity. Altering our collective consciousness is the great deception. I Thank You for bringing this subject into the light we all share. Well done!

In Love, Light and Wisdom
trinity369



posted on Sep, 6 2010 @ 04:16 PM
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reply to post by DISRAELI
 

Supplementary thoughts on the subject of "grace and peace",mentioned in the OP.
A very sketchy outline of a train of thought which really needs to be developed in greater depth;

"Peace", in the Old Testament, as something to be desired; good relations with others, a state of not being troubled.
"Peace" in the New Testament with particular reference to relations with God.
Not only the "Peace I leave with you" of John ch14 v27.
But also "We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ", through whom we have obtained "access to this grace in which we stand"- Romans ch5 vv1-2
The "new Jerusalem" at the end of Revelation, in which "death shall be no more", and in which there will be no more mourning, tears, or pain. A state of ultimate peace.
The Pauline "grace and peace" of reconciliation with God as the starting-point of the journey leading to the ultimate Peace of Revelation chs 1&2.

But this really needs a thread in its own right.



posted on Sep, 11 2010 @ 09:37 AM
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Originally posted by trinity369
Greetings Disraeli: I commend you in your abilities to ascertain the true meaning within these scriptures.


I would suggest that he try reciting these things in a monologue on Saturday Night Live.

I would probably be able to laugh loud enough for the entire audience...

Except, that is, for one thing:

Such nonsense is merely representative of the kind of nonsense that has been vomitted up by the "beast of the earth" consciousness of the 'thinker' about the Revelation of John for almost 2000 years now.

There are, at this moment, hundreds or thousands of Christian religious 'authorities' and their followers who consider that they understand the Revelation of John.

There are any number of books, and video tapes, and audio tapes, and discussion groups and 'Bible studies'.

Millions upon millions of dollars have been made by people claiming to understand the Revelation of John.

The print media and the Internet media are filled with probably hundreds of interpretations of the Revelation of John which do not have even so much as a dime's worth of difference between them.

The radio waves and the television waves; and, I suspect, blackberries and iPods and Facebook pages and twitter accounts are filled with such nonsense...

But, do any one of these hundreds or thousands or millions of people have even so much as one piece of Knowledge about the Revelation of John?

Of course not.

And, all the while, the conflict and violence and bloodshed and torture and horror increase around the world; with every indication that these horrors will soon increase by several orders of magnitude with the initiation of a war with Iran and a conflict over Jerusalem.

And these issues are very directly related.

People have no desire whatsoever to be told the Truth about the Revelation of John.

That Knowledge cannot even be given away for free.

The religious 'authorities' would lose too much money were that Truth to be widely publicized.

And millions upon millions of Christians would have to find some other way to entertain themselves.

Michael Cecil



posted on Sep, 11 2010 @ 10:36 AM
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reply to post by Michael Cecil
 

This is not about entertainment.
It is about Resurrection power.

It is about Resurrection power when John says that Jesus Christ is the "first-born from the dead".- v5
It is about Resurrection power when Christ himself says "I died, and behold I am alive for evermore".- v18
It is Resurrection power that brings victory to God and eternal life to those who belong to God at the end of the book.
That is the reason why John is told not to fear.
That is the reason why we should not be afraid.

Something which is literally a matter of "Life and death" is more than entertainment.



posted on Sep, 11 2010 @ 11:23 AM
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Originally posted by DISRAELI
...The "new Jerusalem" at the end of Revelation, in which "death shall be no more", and in which there will be no more mourning, tears, or pain. A state of ultimate peace.
The Pauline "grace and peace" of reconciliation with God as the starting-point of the journey leading to the ultimate Peace of Revelation chs 1&2.

Sorry, I've only just noticed that this last reference is nonsense.
I meant, of course, chs 21&22



posted on Sep, 12 2010 @ 04:55 PM
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I now attach a link to the more recent thread, which covers the letters mentioned in this vision as "written to" the seven churches of the province of Asia;
The seven churches (have been promised)



edit on 12-9-2010 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 11 2010 @ 03:55 AM
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Originally posted by Michael Cecil
I would suggest that he try reciting these things in a monologue on Saturday Night Live.
I would probably be able to laugh loud enough for the entire audience...
Except, that is, for one thing:
Such nonsense is merely representative of the kind of nonsense that has been vomitted up by the "beast of the earth" consciousness of the 'thinker' about the Revelation of John for almost 2000 years now.

Yes, you have told me that you are "the only individual in human history" qualified to write about Revelation, but I regret to say that I cannot accept your monopoly rights on the subject.
Those of us who do not have direct revelations must attempt to understand the Bible by focussing their attention on what the text says.

This exercise is being carried out in faith and in good faith.



posted on Feb, 1 2011 @ 05:00 AM
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Now that I've reached the Return of Christ (in the most recent thread), this series of threads on Revelation is evidently nearing completion.
So I'd like to advise anyone who may be interested that there will be an Index thread, in due course, intended to help people navigate their way around the collection.



posted on Feb, 16 2011 @ 01:52 PM
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The importance of FAITH in Revelation

At the end of ch1, John is given the instruction- "Fear not".

The theme of "Faith" is very important in Revelation.
Understandably so, because Revelation deals with times of crisis.
There is the immediate crisis of persecution.
Then, in the later stages of the book, there are the crises affecting the life of the world at large.
The essence of faith is "Trust".
God's people will need to be able to keep their trust in their God through both sets of experiences.

There is the word PISTOS- "Faithful".
It is the "faithful" who accompany the Lamb (ch17 v4).
Those in the churches are urged to be faithful, if necessary "unto death". (ch 2 v10)
Such a one was Antipas, who is called a "faithful witness" (ch 2v13)

The same word also means "reliable", one in whom trust can be placed.
So Christ himself is descibed as a "faithful witness" (ch1 v5), besides being "faithful and true" (ch19 v11) or a "faithful and true witness" (ch 33 v14).
I think Christ is called "faithful witness" in a double sense.
He is a role model for such as Antipas, having been "faithful unto death" on the Cross.
But he is also a "witness" in front of his Father, when he "confesses" the names of those "who have conquered".

And in the last two chapters the "words" (LOGOI) of God himself are also described as "faithful and true" (ch21 v5 and ch22 v6)- though in those cases the RSV chooses to translate the word as "trustworthy".


So "faith" is about the faithful putting their trust in one who is faithful, the firm holding on to firmness.



posted on Feb, 16 2011 @ 03:59 PM
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The importance of ENDURANCE in Revelation

It might be translated as "patience", or "endurance", or even "patient endurance".
In any case, it's an indispensable quality in Revelation.
Without that quality, the church could not resist the harassments of their persecutors.
So the time of tribulation which John is sharing with his readers (ch 1v9) is also a time of "endurance"- the two things go together.
Over and over again, the seven churches are commended for their "patient endurance" during the time of trial.

Endurance depends upon faith.
In the middle of destructive troubles, faith gives an assurance that better things are coming, there's "light at the end of the tunnel".
"There'll be blue-birds over
The white cliffs of Dover,
Tomorrow, just you wait and see,"
That's why the two things are linked together in this book. ""I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance"- ch2 v19

"Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints"; ch13 v10 (and similarly ch14 v12).

I'm emphasising the verse just quoted, because it's the "mission statement" of the book of Revelation.
The whole object and purpose of the book is to encourage the faith of the saints, in order to motivate their "endurance" during a time of persecution.
The readers of John's own time need encouragement in order to endure the persecution of the Roman empire.
A church facing the persecution of the Beast would need encouragement.
And the saints would need encouragement again if the world was living through the traumatic events of the second half of Revelation.

Incidentally, if this book is a manual of encouragement designed for the benefit of a church suffering persecution- that would explain why it seems so puzzling in the interval, when the church is not suffering persecution. We don't find it easy to understand its purpose, because it's addressing a need which we're not experiencing.

But if the church is plunged once more into a time of tribulation, they will find the kind of encouragement in this book which will motivate their faith to "patient endurance".


edit on 16-2-2011 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 18 2011 @ 05:44 AM
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This product contains no Rapture

I've argued elsewhere that the function of Revelation is to promote and encourage the "patient endurance of the saints", during a time of tribulation.
If this is the case, then any thought of the kind of "Rapture" which would remove the Church from the experience of tribulation would be completely out of place.
The whole idea runs counter to the reason for the book's existence.

I made a point of not using the word in these discussions.
In any case, there was no occasion for me to introduce the subject. I was following the text,chapter by chapter, and never come across any passage that was clearly teaching it.

The word "rapture" is borrowed from the teaching of Paul, describing the moment when "we who are alive" are "caught up" to meet Christ (1 Thessalonians ch4 vv15-17); but Paul is clearly teaching about what happens "at the Lord's coming". Which, in Revelation, means chs 19&20.

The argument for an earlier "Rapture of the church" can sometimes be a little circular.
"The Rapture takes place at the end of ch3"
How do you know?- I ask
"You must have noticed that the Church disappears from Revelation after that point. There's no mention of it."
I notice nothing of the kind, I say. I see the church in ch7, getting sealed. I see the church in ch11, worshipping around the altar and witnessing for Christ. I see the church in ch13, coming under the persecution of the Beast. How can you be so blind as to miss the presence of the church all the way through the book?
"Ah, but those people are not the church"
How do you know? -I ask.
"They can't be the church, because the church disappears at the end of ch3",
That's what I mean by "circular".

The "Rapture" teaching is unhelpful,because it distracts the church from settling down for the long haul of "patient endurance".
If it's combined with the practice of date-calculation, and the event fails to take place on the expected date, then it also becomes a faith-killer.
Its a teaching which oofers the short-term excitement of anticipation, but the excitement comes at a cost.



posted on Mar, 15 2011 @ 05:26 PM
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There is now an Index, covering all these Revelation threads, at this location;

Index of Revelation threads

This thread is numbered as #1 in the "order of chapters" list and Biblical reference index.



posted on Jan, 3 2012 @ 05:42 AM
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Just to clarify;
Nothing in the OP is intended to suggest any particular prophetic signifcance in the year 2012 or the date 21/12/2012



posted on Jan, 9 2013 @ 11:50 AM
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reply to post by DISRAELI
 

My response to the claims made about the year 2012 was that I could see no prophetic significance in the date.
This position seems to have been vindicated.





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