Tonight we will be studying Revelation 6-7. This begins the section on God’s judgment which will take us through Revelation 20 and which contains all of those great symbols that popular culture thinks of when we mention the word “apocalypse” – four horsemen, 666, angelic warriors battling dragons, beasts, and harlots, and the lake of fire.
Six of the seven seals are opened in quick succession. The opening of the seventh and last seal, however, must wait. In between the opening of the sixth and seventh seals, we have two discursive interludes in Revelation 7:1-8 and 9-17. Both of these digressions reference back to the plagues against the Egyptians where the Israelites were spared. Ex. 8:22, 9:4-7; 10:23. In other words, the coming judgment is not against those who are in Christ, but only those who stand against him.
Time in Revelation:
As we read through Revelation, we see that time does not necessarily happen linearly. Rather we can envision time occurring either in a rather roundabout looping Jeremy Bearimy or Family Circus kind of way or simply not occurring at all. The visions in Revelation, constantly revisit certain themes and places like cursive writing or a child’s meandering. On the other hand, as we have discussed in Genesis, if God is outside of time – him who was and is and is to come (Rev. 4:8) – then there is no temporal progression in the vision. The entirety of the vision takes place in the presence of the Eternal. John does not keep coming back into the throne room of the worshipping elders, etc. but never leaves that room. It is impossible for us to imagine the eternal present of God, but then all of John’s vision is beyond our imagination as well.
All means All:
One of the great themes of Revelation, like that of most of the New Testament, is that God is not simply the God of the Jews but the God of everyone. Revelation 7:1-8, speaks about the salvation of the Jews. The perfection of each of the twelve tribes of Isreal is realized. (12x12x1000). However, that perfection is then extended to every nation, every tribe, every people, and every language. (v.9). This is the same vision that we saw in the worship of the Lamb in Revelation 5:9 to where we circle back.
Washed in the Blood:
In Revelation, those who are saved are dressed in white. White is the symbol of victory, resurrection, purity, cleanliness, heaven, and divinity. The Church uses white for the great feast days of Christmas and Easter. We are made white by being washed in the blood of the Lamb. (v.14). In the Old Testament, it is the blood of the Lamb that causes the angel of destruction to Pass-over the homes of the Israelites in Egypt (Ex. 12) and it is the blood of the Lamb that cleanses the temple and the people to receive the presence of God (Ex. 24, Lev. 4). Therefore, it is only through the blood of the Lamb that salvation is received. (Compare, vv.15-17 and Matt. 11:2-6). This is what a Cross-centered salvation, not a sword-centered salvation, looks like. Victory is obtained only through the self-sacrifice of Jesus and our imitation of him. This is the gospel message.
SCHEDULE: Please do not forget today’s noon service at Messiah. The saint we are celebrating this week is Enmegahbowh – the first ordained Native American.
Dinner is at 6:30. The menu is shepherd’s pie. Discussion about 7:15. Hope to see you here.
Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is he who takes no offense at me.”Matthew 11:4-6