Revelation Chapter 6-September 10, 2014

Revelation Chapter 6 Vision of the Seven Seals and Interlude

 

Background: three different cycles of seven: 7 seals, 7 trumpets, 7 bowls. Theories-1) each are three separate scenes, that happen in that order in history. 2) each are self-contained, and are a re-telling of the same thing. 3) each is a self-contained scene intended to teach something to the people about their situation. (Teach about the nature of evil and God’s judgement against it).

 

History: If Revelation was written A.D. 90-95 (which is most likely) Christians were undergoing persecution by the Roman emperor Domition, who is believed to have required everyone to worship at the Roman temples and required worship of himself, calling himself “Dominus and Deus” (Lord and God). There’s no definite proof of this, but is likely from other known sources and evidence. Stories say that the temple worshipers were “marked” to show they were loyal to the empire. If someone did not have “The Mark,” (anyone who didn’t worship in the Roman temples-many Christians) they were not allowed to buy or sell in the marketplaces, and were charged outrageous prices. Ex. v.6: 1 quart of wheat for a day’s pay- the amount of wheat it took to stay alive for a day, paid for with the amount of money earned in a day.

 

Chapter 6:1-8

First 4 seals-4 horsemen

White horseman: a conqueror (not necessarily a good guy). Someone who is going to make sure everyone does what he wants…Could be an example of the Roman emperor. (Also referred to as the False Christ)

Red horseman: symbol of War and strife. If the conqueror doesn’t get his way, war will break out.

Black horseman: lack of something (food) famine. When war happens, tough times usually result. (See the above note about wheat and barley). “Oil and wine” probably meant that only the people who opposed the conqueror didn’t have what they needed.

Pale green horseman: color of death. (Often happens during a famine).

Meaning: the one who “came out conquering” will set off a chain of events>>>war>>famine>>death.

 

Fifth seal (Ch. 6:9-11) heaven:

Souls slaughtered for the word of God=martyrs in heaven. Are the martyrs calling out for God to take revenge in verse 10? Or are they looking for God’s justice and will to be done, to prevent the forces of evil from winning? (These are our Martyrs)

 

Sixth seal (Ch. 6:12-17) earth:

Odd occurrences in nature-earthquake, black sun, falling stars, sky vanished, etc. A dramatic change in nature usually was a sign of God’s intervention (think about what happened at the crucifixion) In this case, intervention is a judgement on those who allied with the forces of evil. (Can’t hide from God!!) (Sometimes referred to as terror)

 

Which One?-September 7, 2014

Which One?

Matthew 18:21-35

What is the value of forgiveness? What is greater our sin against God or someone’s sin against me? When is enough, enough? When do we claim our rights over grace? How should we demonstrate grace and forgiveness in light of the great forgiveness offered through Jesus Christ?

I need to begin by saying that forgiveness always comes at a personal cost. The one offering forgiveness will have to find something of greater value than that cost. In our culture we are told that we are number one, we are independent, and we are entitled (have rights). To offer true forgiveness this sense of entitlement is what is sacrificed, so what is of greater value? We most often will truly forgive when we see the value of restoring a relationship over personal pride and entitlement to hold on to the hurts and the wrong doings. Holding on to these things will put us in a prison of its own kind. We too should forgive as we have been forgiven. We forgive as an act of grace and mercy, we forgive to restore, we forgive because we too have received mercy and grace from others, and we forgive because the King has forgiven us.

The story actually begins before today’s scripture. In the previous verses there is talk about steps to take in dealing with one who has hurt or offended us. We are told that if you are the offended person the other may not know, so you go to them privately first. If that doesn’t work go with one or two other trusted leaders, if there is still no resolution we are to take the matter to the church. After following all these steps if there is not resolution then treat them as like unbeliever and try to restore them.

Often this has been used by folks to look at this and this is what I should do so the other person will know I am right. The issue is not who is right, but how does this bring about restoration of a relationship within the body? The question then becomes are you ready as the offended party to accept an apology and restore the relationship. If “sorry” is not good enough for you, then first we need to talk to God about ourselves and our hearts first, then we need to talk to God about the other person, and then take the opportunity to confront them. In this sense it is not about who was right and wrong, but what will we do to restore this relationship and it will require sacrifice to bring restoration.

Peter understands that he should forgive, but how many times should we forgive? What a brave question. Basically at what point am I allowed to not forgive them, or hold this over their heads? Jesus responds to Peter’s question with a story that demonstrates there is more going on than just human relationships but also the relationship with the king. This story is about a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. Jesus says the kingdom of heaven is like this and in doing so reminds Peter that forgiveness is not just about us, but is about the kingdom of heaven and how we deal with forgiveness and our relationship with one another is significant.

The Kingdom of Heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. The king begins the settlement and a man who owed the king close to a million dollars in today’s money is brought before the king. What options do you think you would have if you were in debt like this?

The king decides how and when the debts are settled. Since the debt was too great and the man was unable to pay, the master ordered that the man, his wife, his children, and all that he had should be sold to pay the debt. What would you do? He did the only thing he could do. He fell on his knees and begged for mercy, for more time, he said that with more time I will pay it all back. How does one get in this type of debt, and who really believes he can pay it back? This is a clear indication that it could a million dollars or whatever it is, it is clearly impossible that he cannot repay the debt on his own.

We cannot repay the debt of our sin either. It would be like the average person trying to repay a debt of a million dollars. Sin puts us at such a distance that we cannot without the help of the King overcome it. We have been given a great gift of forgiveness through the blood of Jesus Christ. It is this forgiveness that brings the expectation that we should forgive others because of the great forgiveness we have been offered.

This servant went out and tried to hold someone else’s small debt although he had been given forgiveness of a great debt. When the king found out, he called him wicked and put him away. Which servant will you be? Will you be the one that recognizes the gift of forgiveness and offers it to others or will you be liked the wicked servant not offering forgiveness? Which one will you be?

 

Revelation Chapters 4-5-September 3, 2014

Chapters 4 and 5, Vision of God and the Lamb

apocalyptic, indicates a particular style or genre or writing

 

there are shared images from the Old Testament, such as from Daniel, and several new images presented in Revelation

Throne room of God-crystal and precious stone to refract light-create a rainbow, Old Testament imagery of God’s promise

24 smaller thrones for the 24 elders 2*12, 12 from the Old Testament, 12 from the New-representative of all the faithful of God’s people

Sea of glass-many throne rooms of time period had thrones on raised platform, with are in front of the throne of reflective material to add splendor

 

4 living creatures+all of created order:

lion-wild beasts

ox-domestic beasts

human-humans

eagle-birds

 

Scroll with seven seals

meaning of the scroll has been debated, but likely to be the unfolding of God’s judgement on those who were persecuting God’s people

only one worthy to open the scroll is slaughtered lamb (sacrificed) and which has over come death.

7 horns-complete power

7 eyes complete wisdom

7 spirits Holy Spirit

 

Main theme, unceasing praise to the Lord of all creation, 7 types of praise assigned to Messiah that emphasizes the Messiah’s sacrifice.