REVELATION: THE FINAL PHASE OF CHRIST’S REDEMPTIVE PROGRAM Andy Woods, Ph.D. candidate, attorney, theologian and author, once again blessed us with his teaching. In two short hours on Sunday, April 19, 2009, Andy gave us an overview of the Book of Revelation. “Revelation? In two hours?” you might ask. Yep. And if anyone can do it, Andy Woods can (and did). His seminary thesis was used for a chapter in End Times Controversy. The Second Coming Under Attack, and he contributed to The Popular Encyclopedia of Bible Prophecy. His credentials speak for themselves—and with authority. An important note on this mystifying book is that it is not the revelation of the Apostle John. It is the revelation of Jesus Christ to the Apostle John . The passage in Daniel 9:27 is the basement of this world’s future, and Revelation is the ceiling. John adds more detail to Daniel’s structure. The Chain of Communication is from God the Father to Christ to the angel to John to the book to the pastor to the listener. This isn’t like the game of gossip where the comment whispered by the first person becomes radically different by the time the last person recites it. These words have been carefully and painstakingly written down. In this overview, Andy gave us the structure, in my opinion, of a three-act play: § Act I: The Things Which You (John) Have Seen (Chapter 1) § Act II: The Things Which Are (Chapters 2-3) § Act III: The Things Which Will Take Place After These Things (Chapters 4-22) The first act begins with the prologue in Chapter One that offers the blessing to us who hear this prophecy and heed its admonitions. Then John, being held captive on Patmos for preaching the Word, is compelled to write what he sees. The purpose is to offer comfort to the oppressed churches in Asia Minor and to stimulate them to practice holiness through future reminders of Gods’ conquest and punishment of evil. The message is Christ’s ultimate victory over evil. Act II opens in Chapters Two and Three with praising and rebuking the seven churches. Smyrna and Philadelphia were the only two not to receive rebukes because they were under persecution at the time of the writing. Laodicea was the only church to receive no praise because they had locked Jesus Christ out of their fellowship. (Like many churches today that offer a “feel good” doctrine.) Rev. 3:20 is not an evangelical premise to invite Jesus into your heart. He is knocking at the door of the church that has forgotten who He is and what He has done for them. And Act III represents the entire tribulation period in Chapters Four through the end of the book. The first half of the tribulation sees the Seals and Trumpets judgments, and the Bowl judgments are spread throughout the last half. Grasping the judgments has been the most difficult for me when I attempt a study of this book. Are they concurrent or disconnected? Andy teaches they are telescopic, with chronological progressions that start and stop, perhaps like labor pains (again my assessment) with five non-chronological parenthetical insertions between the sixth and seventh of each. I’ll call them breathers. (Many who have given birth will attest to the need for a breather between labor pains.) Here’s a diagram that helped me: Seals 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Trumpets 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Bowls 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Sorry, the diagram won't work in this format. :-(
Picture (if you'll indulge me) the #1 of the Trumpets falling directly below the #7 of the Seals, then the #1 of the Bowls falling directly below the #7 of the Trumpets. Andy compared the “breathers” to a hiking trip. You’ll always pause at some point on your journey to look back at where you’ve been and forward to where you have yet to go. These insertions are strategically placed between the sixth and seventh judgments, which then usher in the first of the next series of seven. Another prophetic statement we often miss is in the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus states Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. God will instill His will on earth. Revelation 4 depicts God’s role in creation. He has the authority to “recycle” it because He created it. And isn’t it interesting that He begins the destruction with plant life, which was the first living entity He created in Genesis? I regret that this is as far as my note taking could go. I ran out of paper in my little notebook. But no need to fret! You can either purchase a CD of the lesson at Bayside Community Church, or listen to it online at www.baysidecommunitychurch.net/resources.html. May God continue to bless you as you study His word!