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What's Next? - Revelation 1

Taught on | Topic: Revelation | Keywords: end times, revelation, apocalypse, rapture, second coming, Armageddon, transfiguration, prophecy, anxiety, faith

People have always been fascinated with the future and what's next. As we study prophecy, we can't help but wonder if current events play into an end-time scenario. The book of Revelation is John's written account of the spiritual revelation he received from God about the future return and reign of Christ. As Skip begins in Revelation 1, he encourages us to look at the future with faith and hope.

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1/10/2016
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What's Next?
Revelation 1
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
People have always been fascinated with the future and what's next. As we study prophecy, we can't help but wonder if current events play into an end-time scenario. The book of Revelation is John's written account of the spiritual revelation he received from God about the future return and reign of Christ. As Skip begins in Revelation 1, he encourages us to look at the future with faith and hope.
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What's Next?

What's Next?

We live in a culture that is constantly asking, "What's next?" We want to know the latest fashions, trends, stocks, and gadgets. In a world that's always looking for the next big thing, we can sometimes forget the most important thing. As Christians, we are called to wait with anticipation for the return of Christ. In this series through the book of Revelation, we look forward and ask ourselves, "What's next?"

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Outline

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  1. This Book Predicts the Future (v.3)

  2. This Book Promises a Blessing (v.3)

  3. This Book Portrays a Person (v. 1)

  4. This Book Produces a Response (v.17)

Study Guide

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Connect Group Recap: January 10, 2016
Speaker: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: "What's Next?"
Text: Revelation 1

Path

People are fascinated by the future. The ancients sought omens and people today open horoscopes and read palms. But only God knows the future. Pastor Skip began a new series through the book of Revelation—a work by the apostle John, revealing what's next in God's timeline of future events. Here is his outline of Revelation 1:
    1. This Book Predicts the Future (v. 3)
    2. This Book Promises a Blessing (v. 3)
    3. This Book Portrays a Person (v. 1)
    4. This Book Produces a Response (v. 17)
Points

This Book Predicts the Future (v. 3):
  • The book of Revelation is a book of prophecies. It predicts future events, giving more detail about Jesus' return than any other book in the Bible.
  • It amplifies in great detail the seven-year tribulation, the Antichrist, the rapture, the second coming of Christ, and our eternal state. 
  • Prophecy shows God's omniscience: He knows all things, from beginning to end.
  • Probe: Pastor Skip mentioned that some people are afraid of—or don't like—prophecy. What was your attitude towards prophecy before coming to Christ? Why is prophecy important for demonstrating the reliability and trustworthiness of Scripture?
This Book Promises a Blessing (v. 3):
  • The book of Revelation is the only book in the Bible that attaches a specific blessing to its reading and study (see Revelation 22:7). By not reading or trying to understand it, you are robbing yourself of joy.
  • Even with all the pain and destruction detailed in the book, joy is to be found.  Why? Satan loses; God wins.
  • Probe: Why do you think God's people are blessed when they read, understand, and keep the book of Revelation? What perspective do we gain from reading it to the end? What promises and comfort do we find?
The Book Portrays a Person (v. 1):
  • Contrary to popular Protestant leaders such as Martin Luther and John Calvin—who felt that the book of Revelation had a low view of Christ—Revelation puts Jesus at the center of history, both past and future.
  • The Greek word for revelation is apocalupsis, which means an uncovering or unveiling. The revelation is not so much from Jesus as it is about Jesus:
    • Chapter 1-3: Jesus superintends and evaluates His church as exalted, priestly King.
    • Chapter 4-5: Jesus is seen in heaven as the glorified Lamb of God and Lion of Judah.
    • Chapter 6-18: Jesus will be the judge of all the earth.
    • Chapter 19: Jesus will return as King of Kings.
    • Chapter 20: Jesus will reign on earth as bridegroom with His bride, the church.
    • Chapter 21-22: Jesus will illuminate the eternal state and New Jerusalem.
  • Probe: Using the only physical description the Bible gives of Jesus (see vv. 12-16), compare and contrast Jesus' first time on earth (humbling Himself) to the second time (His millennial reign). What differences and similarities do you see?
The Book Produces a Response (v. 17):
  • As Jesus is revealed in this book, one of our main responses should be worship.
  • As we read and heed the truths presented, we will learn to trust more in Jesus.
  • Probe: Pastor Skip reminded us that every tomorrow has two handles: one of fear and one of faith. Read vv. 5-6 and 17-18. How does the vision of Jesus produce faith, giving us confidence in God's plan and purposes for the future?
Practice

Connect Up: Read Jude 1:17-18 in the ESV. How can prophecy draw you closer to God? What does fulfilled prophecy tell you about God's promises and purposes in the world?

Connect In: Read 2 Timothy 3:16. How does prophecy help build and guide the body of Christ?

Connect Out: Read 1 Peter 4:11 and 1 Corinthians 14:1-3. How can prophecy help you witness to a weary world? Discuss ways you can use the promises of prophecy to evangelize and explain the gospel.

Detailed Notes

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  1. Introduction
    1. People have always been fascinated with the future
    2. "The best thing about the future is that it only comes one day at a time"—Abraham Lincoln
    3. Some people have used the Bible to make their own predictions
    4. The events described in the book of Revelation are not improbable in this current day and age
    5. Revelation was written by John
      1. One of the apostles of Jesus
      2. He was a part of Jesus' inner circle (Peter, James, and John)
      3. At the time of this writing, he was an isolated prisoner on the island of Patmos
  2. This Book Predicts the Future (v. 3)
    1. This revelation is called a prophecy five times in the book
    2. This book contains more details about the coming of Christ than any other book in the Bible
    3. Revelation amplifies themes of the future
      1. Seven-year tribulation
      2. Final world war in the Middle East
      3. The Antichrist
      4. Second coming of Christ
      5. Millennial kingdom
      6. Eternal state
    4. Some people are afraid of prophecy
      1. Some feel they can't understand it
      2. Martin Luther even doubted it was part of Scripture
      3. Antilegomena: written texts whose authenticity or value is disputed
      4. John Calvin wrote commentaries on virtually every book in the New Testament, but did not write one for Revelation
      5. Revelation teaches a literal thousand-year reign of Christ on the earth; Calvin and Luther did not believe in the literalness of that reign
    5. Do not be afraid of prophecy
      1. One-fourth of the Bible is prophecy
      2. God is omniscient, so He can give messages about what will happen in the future
      3. Isaiah 41:21-23
    6. Every tomorrow has two handles
      1. Anxiety
      2. Faith
    7. This prophecy is given in signs (see v. 1)
      1. Signified: distinguished from the sign through which it is communicated
      2. The number seven is mentioned fifty-four times
    8. These things will shortly take place
      1. Entachi: it will shortly come to pass (see v. 1)
      2. When these things start, they will happen in a short period of time
  3. This Book Promises a Blessing (v. 3)
    1. Revelation is the only book of the Bible that has a direct and unique promise of blessing to those who read, heed, and keep this message
      1. If you avoid this book, you rob yourself of joy
      2. Blessed means oh how happy
      3. The more you read it, you will discover God's plan and realize that He wins and Satan loses
    2. Revelation
      1. It can be understood
      2. It is meant to make things clear
    3. The joy will be revealed when you read, heed, and keep the message
      1. Many people will only read
      2. Live in the light of eternity
  4. This Book Portrays a Person (v. 1)
    1. This is a revelation about Jesus Christ
      1. Apokalupsis: to uncover or unveil; a revelation
      2. To make something visible
      3. He is the main focus of this book
    2. Make clear the person of Jesus Christ
    3. Contains the only description of Jesus' physical appearance (see vv. 9-16)
      1. This is the description of the second coming
      2. The Lord's Day (see v. 10)
        1. Possibly refers to Sunday
        2. Possibly refers to John being catapulted in the Spirit to the coming end-time events in the vision
      3. Jesus' hair was white as wool (see v. 14)
        1. Similar to a vision Daniel saw of God in the Old Testament (see Daniel 7:9)
        2. Affirms Jesus' deity
      4. His eyes were like a flame of fire (see v. 14)
        1. Penetrative gaze
        2. He knows everything and sees everything
        3. Hebrews 4:13
      5. His feet were like fine brass (see v. 15)
        1. Fire and brass are symbols of judgment
        2. References the temple and where sins were dealt with
  5. This Book Produces a Response (v. 17)
    1. This experience changed John
      1. He was humbled and worshiped Jesus
      2. Similar to the transfiguration on the mount (see Matthew 17:1-11; Mark 9:2-9; Luke 9:28-36)
    2. "Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God"—Corrie ten Boom
  6. Closing
    1. Revelation contains some terrific, horrific predictions, but keep reading and find out where it leads
    2. Here is God's eventual, unfolding revelation of how it will all end
    3. Some of us need another vision of Jesus
    4. The bigger picture is that He will come in glory

Figures referenced: Corrie ten Boom, John Calvin, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther

Greek words: antilegomena, apokalupsis, entachi

Cross references: Isaiah 41:21-23; Daniel 7:9; Matthew 17:1-11; Mark 9:2-9; Luke 9:28-36; Hebrews 4:13; Revelation 1



Topic: Revelation

Keywords: end times, revelation, apocalypse, rapture, second coming, Armageddon, transfiguration, prophecy, anxiety, faith

Transcript

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Hello. And welcome to this teaching from Pastor Skip Heitzig of Calvary Albuquerque. As these teachings are shared worldwide, our prayer is that God uses them to draw people to himself. If this message resonates with you, we'd like to know. Email us at mystory@calvaryabq.org. And if you'd like to support this ministry financially, you can give online securely at calvaryabq.org/giving. As believers, we eagerly wait for the return of Christ to this Earth. In this new series titled What's Next, we look to the future as Pastor Skip teaches about the prophecies found in the Book of Revelation. Now let's turn our bibles to Revelation chapter one. As skip begins the message, what's next?

Let's turn to Revelation chapter one. Revelation chapter one. Somebody once said we should all be concerned about the future because we're going to have to spend the rest of our lives there. That's good advice. People have always been fascinated with the future. What does the future hold. In ancient times, people looked at signs in the sky as omens. It's one of the reasons people look at horoscopes today-- is to find out what the future holds. One of the reasons you're interested in a study in the Book of Revelation is because you are wondering what is next.

And throughout the years, there have been songs written about the future. Hundreds of them. Some of the more famous ones are Some Day by Mariah Carey. The Age of Aquarius-- going way back now. 1969 The Fifth Dimension. The song Next Year by Foo Fighters. Kids of the Future by The Jonas Brothers. Apollo Alto by Radiohead. Tomorrow Never Knows by the Beatles. A Song for the Future Generation the B52s. Welcome to the Future, Brad Paisley. And my personal favorite of all time future songs is a song called In the Year 2525. I'm going way back. That was by Zagger and Evans.

Last week because it was the end of the year, I was interested in what newspapers, and magazines, and online sources say about what's going to come in the next year. There's always at the end of every year, beginning of a new year-- what certain people believe, pundits believe, prognosticators think about what we can expect in the coming year. People make predictions all the way from who's going to win the election to who's going to win a Grammy. From what's going to happen with the stock market to what you can expect in your market with vegetable prices.

And some of these are made on trends. Some of these predictions are just simply good guesses. But a couple of predictions got my attention of what they say you can expect to happen in the next year. Among other things, they say you can expect airlines to get more crowded and seats to be narrower. How that is even possible, I don't know. But that is what some are predicting. They're also predicting that virtual reality will go mainstream more and more so.

They are also predicting there will be higher salaries for American workers. Before you think that's great news, you should also know they're predicting rent to be higher and cost of living to be higher. So it'll balance itself out. I agree with Abraham Lincoln. He said, the best thing about the future, it only comes one day at a time. But what's next? What is next for our world. What is next for our nation. And do current events-- things that we're watching take place around the world-- do they play into an end time scenario.

We're going to consider some of those questions in this upcoming series but I need to sound a note of caution. I feel I always do whenever we take on a study of the Book of Revelation or any prophetic study. And the caution is that some have used the Bible to make outlandish predictions. You can make the Bible say just about anything you want to if you read it wrongly. If you look at it out of context. You can superimpose things into it. And some people have used the Bible to predict the craziest things.

One interesting example of that was from 1870 when a man-- a minister was visiting a friend of his-- a college president. And he said, I believe the Bible predicts that nothing new can ever be invented after this point. This is 1870. Think of how outlandish that seems today. Those of you who are reading your bibles on your iPhones. Nothing new could ever be invented. The college president looked at him and said, I wholeheartedly disagree with that statement. Why I believe within 50 years man will soar through the sky like birds. They'll be able to fly.

The minister turned on his heel toward his friend and he said, be careful lest you be guilty of blasphemy. For flight is reserved only for the angels, he said. What is intriguing about that example is that the minister's name was Milton Wright. W-R-I-G-H-T. Yes, he had two sons Wilbur and Orville Wright. Who within 30 years would be flying an airplane outside of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. So every time you get on an airline, whether it's overcrowded or with skinnier seats or not, you are testifying that Milton Wright was wrong.

But his friend-- the educator-- now he was right. He made a prediction that within 50 years man would fly. And he was right. It seemed outlandish at the time but he was right. And some of the statements you're going to read in Revelation-- some of the predictions-- must have seemed outlandish to John, to people 2,000 years ago, to people 1,000 years ago. But not so weird and wacky these days as we see events unfolding.

Now the Book of Revelation was written by Johh-- you'll see his name appear in the first few verses. John was one of the apostles of Jesus. Close followers and even closer than the 12, there was an inner circle of Peter, James, and John. John's dad was Zebedee, a fishermen in Galilee. His brother James-- he and James and Peter as I mentioned, we're very, very close to Jesus. It was John who leaned his head on Jesus' chest at the Last Supper. John was first at the tomb and first to believe that Jesus had raised from the dead.

John is now in his 90s. Some believe around 95 or 96. And he is writing this book after seeing a vision while he is in isolation on the island of Patmos-- a little six by 10 mile island, about 35 miles off the coast of Turkey. What I want to show you from some of the verses in the first chapter, to begin this series are four notable features. Four characteristics about this book of Revelation. Let's read some of these verses together.

Revelation chapter one, verse one. "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants. Things which must shortly take place. And he sent and signified it by his angel to his servant John. Who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ. To all things that he saw, blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy. And keep those things which are written in it, for the time is near. John, to the seven churches, which are in Asia. Grace to you and peace from him who is, who was, and who is to come from the seven spirits who are before his throne. And from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the Kings of the Earth. To him who loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood. And has made us kings and priests to his God. And Father to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Behold he is coming with clouds and every eye will see him. Even those who pierced him and all the tribes of the Earth will mourn because of him, even so. Amen. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, says the Lord. Who is, who was, and who is to come, the All Mighty."

The first feature I want you to see about the Book of Revelation is that this book predicts the future. Notice what it is called in verse three-- blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this-- what. Prophecy. It's called a prophecy. It is called that five times in this book. It is not an allegory. It is not a fantasy. It is not poetry. It is not legendary prose. It is predictive prophecy. This book predicts the future. In fact, the Book of Revelation contain more details about the end times and the coming of Christ than any other portion of the Bible.

And it will amplify it in the greatest detail. There are 22 chapters. It will amplify things like the 7 year tribulation period. The final World War in the Middle East. The arrival of a mysterious figure, typically called the Anti-christ-- though he is known by 50 titles in this scripture. It will detail the second coming of Christ, the millennial kingdom, and finally the eternal state. Now some people, I have noticed, are afraid of prophecy. As soon as you say we're going through Revelation they go, oh no. Revelation. Who can understand it. It's an enigma. It's at least a distraction.

I don't like to think about those things. I can't understand those things. And I find it interesting that of all the people that didn't like the Book of Revelation, Martin Luther was way up on top. He didn't like this book. In fact, he doubted it was even scripture for a long time. In fact, Martin Luther classified the Book of Revelation in a list that he called antilegomena, which was disputed books. Disputed books-- books of disputed origin. So he had trouble with it.

Also, John Calvin, though he wrote commentaries on virtually every book of the New Testament did not write a commentary on the Book of Revelation. And one of the reasons that both of those gentlemen did not really give a high view of Revelation is because the Book of Revelation teaches a literal 1,000 year reign of Christ on the Earth. And they were, by their predisposition, all millenialists. I'll discuss that later in detail. That is, they didn't believe in the literalness of Christ's reign upon the Earth.

By the way, when Luther and Calvin were alive, the events that this book describes seem to so impossible, outlandish, hardly possible. In our day and age, they seem highly probable. A lot has happened since then. Let me just say don't be afraid of prophecy. And that's because one fourth of your Bible is prophecy. To be precise, 26.8% of the entire scripture is prophetic. So if you don't want to read prophecy, there is a lot of the Bible that will be unread. It's all over scripture.

I want you to think of prophecy as being an aspect of one of God's great attributes. God is omniscient. He knows everything. And because he is omniscient, one of the aspects of his omniscience is that he knows the future in advance and can write about it-- can predict it through his prophets in graphic detail. In fact, do you know that this is sort of like God's calling card.

In the Old Testament when he compares himself to the false gods of the peoples around-- in Isaiah 41 the Lord says, can your idols make such claims as these. Let them come and show what they can do, says the Lord the King of Israel. Let them try to tell us what the future holds. If you are Gods, tell us what will occur in the days ahead. If your really, truly, Deity you can predict the future like I can, God is saying. And of course they couldn't.

So every tomorrow has two handles-- the handle of faith and the handle of anxiety. Too many of you are grabbing on to the handle of anxiety. Prophecy will move you to grab the handle of faith as you realize, I serve a God and hopefully I trust a God who knows the end from the beginning. And calls things before they happen as though their past. There is a special aspect, however, to this prophecy. And that it's given in signs, in pictures, and symbols.

Notice something in verse one, it says, the Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants, things which must shortly take place. And he sent-- and notice the next word-- he signified it. That is he gave it in signs. That's what signified means. You gave it in signs. Signs, symbols, pictures. Some of those symbols are lamp stands, trumpets, bowls, beasts. And something else-- if you have ever read this book of Revelation, it is very heavy on the number what-- which number? Seven. 54 times there is seven somethings. There are seven churches, seven seals, seven trumpets, seven bowls, seven stars, seven thunders that give an utterance.

So why is this prophecy given in signified language-- in signs and symbols. Well, I don't have time to explain this week. That will be saved for next week. I'll explain why next time. But let me move you to a phrase in verse one. It says, which God gave him to show his servants-- now look at this-- things which must shortly take place. Now this is thrown some. Because they go well, it's been 2,000 years since that was written. It must shortly take place.

Well, you need to understand what this means. It means it will take place within a short amount of time. The word shortly is the word [GREEK] in Greek. N [GREEK], which we get the word tachometer from. Tachometer measures velocity. So the idea of this is simply, once it starts, it's going to take place within a very brief period of time. It's like history drops into high gear as these things happen. Picture dominoes that are set up and once you trip one of them they will all fall in rapid succession.

And so we'll read about the emergence of the Anti-Christ followed immediately by the tribulation, the abomination of desolation, the great tribulation, Armageddon, the return of Christ, et cetera. They're just going to-- like tripping dominoes-- fall very rapidly. And this is what I believe Jesus meant when he said, unless those days be shortened, no flesh would survive. But for the elect's sake, they will be shortened. So this book predicts the future.

Second feature of this book. This book promises a blessing. Did you notice verse three? It said blessed is he who avoids this book. Oh, it doesn't say that. Excuse me, I misread it. Blessed is he who reads. And those who hear the words of this prophecy. And keep those things which are written in it for the time is near. This is the only book of the Bible that has such a direct and unique promise of blessing to those who read it, hear it, and do it. You find this promise at the beginning and you find it again at the very end at Revelation 22 verse 7.

Blessed. It means get happy. That's what the word blessed means, get happy. Or oh, how happy. If you avoid this book, you are robbing yourself of a blessing. You are robbing yourself of a certain amount of joy that God wants you to have. Some of you are going, wait a minute. I read enough of Revelation to know there's not a lot of joy in it. There's a lot of catastrophe. There's a lot of destruction in it. My answer? Keep reading. You haven't read far enough. Wait until you get to Revelation 19 and Revelation 20 and Revelation 21 and Revelation 22. And here's what you find, we win.

And we win because Jesus wins. And because Jesus wins, Satan loses. That's enough to get happy about. That'll make you happy. The more you read it, you'll discover God's plan for your future. And you'll discover not only does Satan lose, he's the biggest loser in the book. He would be incarcerated for 1,000 years. We will be told. Bound for 1,000 years. After which it says, he will be tormented forever day and night. Just the thought of that makes me happy.

Louis Talbot-- a commentator on this book said-- the devil has turned 1,000's of people away from this portion of God's word. He-- Satan-- does not want anyone to read a book that tells of his being cast out of Heaven. Nor is he anxious for us to read of the ultimate triumph of his number one enemy, Jesus Christ. The more you study the Book of Revelation, the more you understand why Satan fights so hard to keep God's people away from it.

Listen, it's a revelation. Look at the second word-- the Revelation. It's not some cryptic, mysterious, veiled book. It's a revelation. It's a revelation and you can understand it. The devil doesn't want you to understand it. God certainly does want you to understand this book. I wrote a book called You Can Understand the Book of Revelation and the other night just for kicks, I got on Amazon to read what reviewers were saying about the book. One reviewer was kind and said, it's true after reading this book you can understand the Book of Revelation. That's the intention of the Book of Revelation. That you can understand it. But the joy is promised to those who read it, those who hear it, and it says right there, you can look at it, those who keep it.

Ah, that's the caveat isn't it. A lot of people read but a lot of people don't heed what they read. Oh yes, they can quote it. They just don't do it. According to Guinness Book of World Records, the Bible is the biggest, bestselling book of all times. We might want to clap at that but be careful because it is the most famous book of all time and best selling book of all time. I just don't know if it's the most obeyed book of all time. I kind of doubt that.

The real joy-- the real joy that you will experience is when you decide to keep it. And how do you keep the Book of Revelation? By living in the light of eternity that's how. By having less and less touch and a control by the things of this world. So this book predicts the future. This book promises blessing. And here's the third feature of this book. This book portrays a person. Of all the things that the Book of Revelation does, it highlights a particular individual. And it's not the anti-Christ. You know who it is? Jesus Christ.

Look at verse one, the revelation of Jesus Christ. It's the revelation of Jesus Christ. In Greek, apokalypsis [GREEK], a revelation or a revelation about Jesus Christ. Now that word, apokalupsis, sounds an awful lot like apocalypse. We get our word apocalypse from the Greek word apokalupsis. But it's unfortunate that when you think of apocalypse, you think of Apocalypse Now. You think of all of those crazy apocalyptic movies that talk about destruction and war. The meaning in English is not the meaning in Greek.

I looked it up in the dictionary. The dictionary describes apocalypse as the complete, final destruction of the world. That is not the meaning of the original word. The meaning of apokalupsis this is the unveiling. That's what revealing means. It's not concealing something. It's disclosing. It it's revealing it. It's not covering, it's uncovering it. It means to uncover or to unveil. Of the 18 times the word is used in the New Testament, when it refers to a person it always, always, always means to make that person visible. To make that person clearly seen-- to become visible.

So the Book of Revelation will tell you about the future. It will tell you about the tribulation. It will tell you about what's coming on the Earth but more than anything else it will reveal to you Jesus. He's the person highlighted in this book. Picture a statue that is covered up, veiled with a covering-- a cloth-- at City Hall An artist has made it. The day has come. The mayor comes and gives a speech. The band plays a song. The artist describes his work. At the precise moment, the veil is pulled off the statue and people clap as they see the work of art. Think of revelation like that. God is pulling the veil off and saying ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce to you Jesus Christ. He is clearly seen.

Now back to Martin Luther. Remember I said he didn't really care for this book. And one of the reasons he said he didn't care for this book is still a puzzle to me. Martin Luther said of this book and I quote, "my spirit cannot adapt itself to the book. And a sufficient reason why I do not esteem it highly is that Christ is neither taught nor recognized in it." When I read that, I thought Martin, are we reading the same Book of Revelation? I mean, Martin, dude. You were right about the reformation. You are dead wrong about the revelation. Jesus Christ is the main focal point throughout the book.

Here's an example. Chapters one, two, and three showed Jesus Christ holding the lamb stand superintending his church as the priestly King. Chapters four and five, you'll see Jesus is in Heaven as the glorified Lamb of God-- as the lion of the tribe of Judah. In chapter six through 18, Jesus will be seen as the judge of all the Earth. In chapter 19, you will see Jesus coming back returning to the Earth from Heaven as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Chapter 20, you'll see him running on the Earth as the bridegroom with his bride, the church. Chapters 21 and 22 will describe Jesus as illuminating Heaven with his glory.

Now the Apostle John-- the guy who writes this-- he's in his 90s. It's been six decades since he has seen Jesus in the flesh. And that's how he knew him. He knew him only in the flesh. He knew I mean his humiliation. He didn't know him in his exhile-tation, his glorification. He knew in the first coming sense. He did not know him in the second coming sense. But now that's about to change.

In verse nine, I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ. I was on the island that was called Pat most for the word of God. And for the testimony of Jesus Christ. I was in the spirit on the Lord's day. And I heard behind me, a loud voice as of a trumpet. Saying, I am the Alpha and the Omega. The first and the last. What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches, which are in Asia. To emphasis-- Smyrna, Permamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea. Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned, I saw seven golden lamp stands. And in the midst of the seven lamp stands-- one like the Son of Man, clothed with the garment down to the feet, guarded about the chest with a golden band.

His head and his hair were white like wool. As white as snow and his eyes like a flame of fire. His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace. And his voice is the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars. And out of his mouth went a sharp two edged sword. And his countenance was like this sun, shining in his strength.

You know what's really interesting? This is the only description in the entire Bible of what Jesus looked like. For centuries, artists have wondered, how shall I paint him? What did he look like? And you have seen all the various pictures of Jesus that are in our Western minds. The SoCal surfer Jesus-- with the coiffed kind of hair and the kind of cool suntan look. You see in all the different depictions of Jesus as artists have grappled with what he looked like.

John knew what he looked like. He didn't write what he looked like but here he sees a vision of what he looks like in second coming glory-- blazing glory. Notice a couple of things-- we'll just touch on them because we don't have time. He says, I was in the spirit on the Lord's day. Now that could mean one of two things. It was Sunday when he gets the vision-- the Lord's day. Or-- as some think it ought to be translated-- and I was in the spirit unto the day of the Lord. The day of the Lord is a synonym-- a word picture-- for the coming, end time events. The tribulation period, the second coming, et cetera. The day of the Lord.

So what he could be meaning is I was catapulted in the spirit all the way to the very end. In this series of visions that he gets called the Book of Revelation, seeing Jesus in his glory. Notice that as he looks at this one like the Son of Man, that his hair was white like wool. Now I hope for some of you that rings a bell. I hope some of you are thinking back to our study in the book of Daniel chapter 7 where Daniel sees a vision of God the Father called the Ancient of Days. And it's very similar to the vision John sees of Jesus. And even the language, God in the Old Testament said, I am the beginning and the end. The first and the last. There is no other besides me.

Here now Jesus is saying, I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. And one of the unmistakable features of the Book of Revelation is that it affirms the deity of Jesus Christ. He and the Father share some of the same characteristics. We notice that his eyes were a flame of fire. Simply, that's his penetrating gaze. He sees everything in you and in me. He knows everything. The writer of Hebrew, says all things are exposed. Naked and open before the eyes of the one with whom we must give an account.

And that penetrating gaze is related to his feet. Look at verse 15, his feet were like fine brass. All of this is symbols of judgment, as you will see in the Book of Revelation. Oh and by the way, there are 404 verses in the Book of Revelation. 278 of which point back to the Old Testament in their symbolism. In the Old Testament, brass and fire was a symbol of judgment. There was a brass altar in the courtyard of the Tabernacle and later the temple. A fire was built there. Sacrifices were consumed there. That's where sin was dealt with. That's where sin was judged. These are symbols of judgment.

So for John, the Apostle, this is not the familiar, humble Jesus that he remembers. This is the second coming, exalted, glorified Lord. So this book predicts the future. This book promises a blessing. This book portrays a person. Fourth and final feature that we'll touch on. This book produces a response. Or at least it should.

It did in John verse 17. And when I saw him I fell at his feet as dead. But he laid his right hand on me saying to me, do not be afraid. I am the first and the last. This experience changed John. It humbled him. It flattened him. It was overwhelming to him. And John gets down. That's the appropriate response in seeing the glorified Lord and getting a revelation of him-- humility, worship. He gets down. Very interesting because six decades earlier when Peter, James, and John saw Jesus transfigured before them-- remember that? The Mount of Transfiguration? They saw Jesus with Moses and Elijah and he was in blazing glory.

It says that Peter, James, and John fell on their faces and were greatly afraid. John sees it again in a prolonged vision. And this is the appropriate response, it's humility, it's worship. It's important we get a vision of Jesus before we get into the rest of the Book of Revelation. Corrie ten Boom, who was a survivor of the Nazi war camps, said, never be afraid to trust an unknown future. Into the hands of a known God.

So when you come to know and see Jesus in this book I hope you will be moved more and more to trust him. I know you're going to read about some pretty terrific, horrific things that will happen in the days ahead on planet Earth. Predicted in this book. But just keep reading. And find out where it leads. Over in England, in London, there's a museum called the British Museum, one of my favorite stops in that city. And there is a map-- a Mariners map-- dated from 1525. That's an old document.

It's a map of the coastline of part of the United States and the adjacent waters that touch the coastline. The cartographer who wrote this-- who built this map in 1525, made inscriptions on different parts-- areas not yet explored. And he wrote these inscriptions in one area he wrote, here be giants. In another place, here be fiery scorpions. In another place, here be dragons. Well, eventually that map got into the hands in the early 1800s, of a British explorer named Sir John Franklin, who scratched out all of those frightful inscriptions and wrote in large letters on the top of the map, HERE BE GOD.

Think of the Book of Revelation that way because you're going to read about fiery scorpions. You're going to read about giants-- so to speak. You're going to read about dragons in chapter 12. But here is God. And here is God's plan for the world. Here is God's eventual unfolding revelation for how it will all end. And actually, some of you desperately need this book. Because some of us desperately need another vision of Jesus. Some of you in your minds, you can only conceive of Jesus as that little baby in a manger. Or some of you still have him fixed up on a cross. That's your view-- the suffering savior.

And those are little snippets of his life. But the bigger picture is that he is the one who was, and is, and is to come. And he will come in glory to judge the living and the dead. So what's next? Well I would ask what's next for you. What's next for you. Perhaps the next step for you-- the best step for you is that you would embrace what you have placed at arm's length for so long. And that is a relationship with Jesus Christ. You've come to church, you've listened to sermons, you've sung the songs, but it's always put at arm's length. That has not been a personal, repentance and receiving of Christ.

And what's next for you, I hope, some of you, is found in verse five. Where it says at the very end of that verse, to him who loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood. I want you to know that Jesus loves you and he wants to wash you of your sins. And he has provided his blood. That's why he came the first time, to deal with sin. To shed his blood. To forgive you. That's what's next for some of you.

Father, as we close this beginning foray into the Book of Revelation-- this beginning study, this consideration-- just touching on a few introductory thoughts and versus. Getting a vision that floored John, that humbled him, that caused him to worship, caused him to lie there in wonder. Feeling much like what Jesus described in a beatitude, blessed are the poor in spirit and those who mourn. Because in seeing Jesus he saw himself and he saw his own need, his own lack.

And I pray that for some of us we would begin there, in our lack we would turn to you the one who fills that lack. You are the beginning, the end, the Alpha, the Omega. The first and the last. You knew everything from the beginning. You predicted it. You gave us what we need to know. You revealed it. You detailed it. But above all, you want us to know you love us. And you proved your love by shedding your blood to cover our sin. And I pray for anyone who hasn't done that yet. And needs to do it now.

As our heads are bowed, if you're here this morning and you've never personally given your life to Christ, you may have gone to church, you may have been religious, you may even have been in a leadership position in a church, but you've never personally asked Jesus to come in and reign in your heart. You can do that right now. Or if you've wandered from him and you need to come back. As our heads are bowed, my eyes well be open. You raise your hand up if you're ready to receive Christ as your savior. Just raise it up right now in the air. Just so I can acknowledge it and keep it up for a moment so I can see it.

God bless you to my right. Anyone else raise their hand up. To my left yes sir. God bless you. Anybody else. In the back, God bless you and you. Several of you toward the back and in the middle. Anybody else. If you are in the balcony, raise it up high so I can see. Or in the family room. Right over here, God bless you. And you, right in the middle.

Father, we thank you for so many who have raised those hands. Behind those hands is a real life with real issues and hopes, fears, talents, treasure. You love them. You want to wash them. Right where you're seated, if you raised your hand. Would you just say something like this, you can say it out loud or you can say it inwardly. Say, Lord I give you my life. I know that I'm a sinner. Forgive me. I believe that Jesus died on a cross for me. Shed his blood for me. And rose from the grave. I turn from my past and I turn to Jesus as my Savior right now in the present. Give me hope for the future. Help me to live for you. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Jesus is the beginning and the end. He knows all things and is in control of all things. That means we don't have to fear the future. How does that truth strengthen your faith? Let us know. Email mystory@calvaryabq.org. And just a reminder, you can give financially to this work at calvaryabq.org/giving. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from Skip Heitzig of Calvary Albuquerque.

Additional Messages in this Series

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1/17/2016
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Come Up Here
Revelation 1:19-20; Revelation 4:1-11
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
As believers, we look forward to the return of our Lord Jesus Christ and the blessed hope of eternity with Him. Unfortunately, some are put off by the idea of the rapture, because the date has been incorrectly predicted for so many years. In this message, we get a glimpse into the throne room of heaven as we anticipate the joy we'll have at the glorious appearing of Jesus Christ.
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1/24/2016
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What Is Heaven Like?
Revelation 5:1-14
Skip Heitzig
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There are many preconceived ideas about what heaven is like: we might picture ourselves sitting on a fluffy white cloud playing a harp, or we see ourselves sitting on a porch or playing a round of golf. Some even think heaven sounds boring. In this message, we examine what heaven will really look like for believers and what we can expect when we get there.
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2/7/2016
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Stampede
Revelation 6:1-8
Skip Heitzig
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The tribulation period will be a time of deception, war, famine, and death for the occupants of the world. The Antichrist will rise to power and masquerade as the Messiah, pretending to bring peace, but instead bringing war. In this message, we learn what will unfold when the first four seals are opened and their terrors are unleashed on the earth.
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2/14/2016
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The World's Greatest Revival
Revelation 7
Skip Heitzig
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During the earth’s greatest trial and tribulation will also come its greatest opportunity for salvation. Even after the church is raptured off the earth and ensconced in heaven, there will be gospel preaching during this time of global pain. This is the flicker of hope that will be offered to the world while God pours out His wrath on it. There are three unexpected discoveries we make about the upcoming tribulation period.
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2/28/2016
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What's Next? from Jerusalem
Matthew 24:1-8
Skip Heitzig
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One of God's greatest attributes is that He knows what is going to happen before it actually happens, and His Word clearly maps the events of the future. In this message from Jerusalem, we learn why this city is the center of the world, as well as what we can expect to take place when Jesus fulfills His promise to return for the church.
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3/6/2016
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Cosmic Conflict
Revelation 12:1-6
Skip Heitzig
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There has been an invisible war between satanic forces and God’s purpose and people since time began. To fail to understand this conflict is to fail to understand both history and prophecy. Without the lens provided by Revelation 12, our vision of everything is obscured. We will never fully grasp the plan of God through the ages, the cross of Christ, the tribulation, and the future reign of Christ unless we can comprehend the cosmic conflict that is displayed in this chapter.
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3/13/2016
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Satan's Global Conflict
Revelation 12:7-17
Skip Heitzig
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"War in Heaven Brings Wrath on Earth!" That could be the headline of Revelation 12. The ongoing battle of the ages that began in heaven and has played out on earth will reach fever pitch in the coming years. If you're asking What's Next?, the answer in part lies here. The cosmic battle becomes a global battle that will be filled with both woe and worship, both fury and freedom. Let's get more insight into the motivations and actions of the archenemy of God's people.
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4/3/2016
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The Most Interesting Man in the World
Revelation 13:1-10
Skip Heitzig
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Unlike the fictional beer commercials, the most interesting man in the world is coming. Dynamic, persuasive, and a breath of fresh air, this leader’s diplomatic skills will be off the charts. On one hand, he will be everything the world has been waiting for; on the other hand, he will be its biggest nightmare. Since the number six is often the designated number of man in Scripture, let’s examine six characteristics of this most interesting coming ruler.
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4/10/2016
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The Coming Deception
Revelation 13:11-18
Skip Heitzig
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We know for sure that a ruler who will have international authority is coming to the earth. We also know that he will not be alone. There will come a religious deceiver who will aid and abet this global leader. Today, we consider the end-time teaching of the world’s fastest-growing religion to see if there is an interface with the Bible’s predictions about what’s next.
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4/17/2016
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The Return
Revelation 19:11-21
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We now come to the culmination of all redemptive history—the second coming of Jesus Christ. After history runs its sinister course, after the final period of man’s rebellion, Satan’s retaliation, and God’s judgment, the end of the world will come. But the end of this world will actually be the beginning of a new one. The event that hinges these together is the future coming of Christ to the earth. Let’s consider five aspects of His return, spoken of here and throughout Scripture.
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4/24/2016
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Heaven on Earth
Revelation 20:1-6
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Mankind long ago gave up on the idea of a future utopia. The thought of perpetual peace and undisturbed harmony became the stuff of fairy tales. But that is precisely what God promised He will bring to this earth one day. Though Satan has exercised a temporary authority over God’s creation for several millennia, the story isn’t over yet. Jesus will return to rule for a thousand years. And it won’t just be a spiritual kingdom in the hearts of His followers. This will be a literal dominion over a renewed earth. Let’s explore this thousand-year phase of your eternal future.
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5/22/2016
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What's Next...for Everyone!
Revelation 20:4-7; Revelation 20:11-15
Skip Heitzig
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My mom used to wake me up early every morning with her sweet voice saying, "Rise and shine!" It took a few times, but I eventually got up out of bed. Jesus too will call everyone who has died to "Rise up!" But not everyone will rise up to shine; some will rise up to suffer. Let's consider three inevitable and unalterable truths about the future for all of us: We will all live, we will all die, and we will all rise again to live forever.... But where and how?
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6/5/2016
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Surprising Facts about Your Eternal Home
Revelation 21-22
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
Through the years, I have observed that most people (even Christians) have ideas about what heaven will be like that are vastly different from how Scripture describes heaven. In this series, we have followed the chronological flow of the book of Revelation from the rapture through the tribulation, from the second coming to the millennial kingdom. We turn now to what the Bible describes as the final phase of heaven—the eternal state. Here are a few things that might further surprise you about your future home:
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There are 13 additional messages in this series.