Applying Revelation: Its Warning for Modern Day Believers


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This is the final lesson in the Applying Revelation series. 

By the time you get through a study on the whole book of Revelation, it’s easy to feel confused, frustrated, and overwhelmed. There is so much strange imagery and so many culture and time specific references that it’s hard to walk away from this book with a clear understanding. As modern day believers who aren’t running from Roman soldiers and ducking out on some psychotic emperor’s idol worship ceremonies, what are we supposed to be getting out of this mess? If Revelation was a message for ancient believers, is there really anything useful for us to learn from it? Absolutely.

What’s exciting about the prophetic books of the Bible is how many quotations from God they contain. As we read through Revelation, we were basically eavesdropping on Yahweh and Jesus speaking to seven communities of Christian believers who lived through the change in Yahweh’s Covenant. Remember that the book was specifically addressed to seven churches in Asia. In His letters to those churches, Jesus let us know that His target audience was a mix of legitimate Christians and posers. There were committed Christians, carnal slackers, and stubborn rebels. Continue reading

Applying Revelation 22: The Last Chapter


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This is a continuation of Applying Revelation 21: A Disturbing Paradise.

We’ve finally reached the last chapter of Revelation, and it’s a continuation of the vision that began in Chapter 21. An angel is still giving John a visual tour of an eternal paradise with many features that are specifically designed to appeal to ancient Jews living under Roman persecution.

Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. It flowed down the center of the main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations. (Rev. 22:1-2)

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Applying Revelation 21: A Disturbing Paradise


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This is a continuation of Applying Revelation 20: Millennial Madness.

We’ve reached the second to last chapter of Revelation, and as we near the end of this long series of visions, God focuses on giving ancient Jewish Christians a close up tour of what eternity will really be like. Well, to be more accurate, He completely snows John with images of a paradise that could only be considered wonderful to ancient Jews with a raging superiority complex. You see, in this vision, Heaven is a spruced up version of the real life city of Jerusalem—not the Jerusalem that we know today, but the ancient city which was sacked by the Romans in 70 AD after a long siege that began as a response to the Jews violently rebelling against Roman authority in 66 AD. Continue reading

Applying Revelation 20: Millennial Madness


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This is a continuation of Applying Revelation 19: Warrior Jesus.

As we dive into this next chapter of Revelation, we’re going to be getting into that famous “Millennial Reign of Christ”. Today many Christians are taught to believe that when Christ returns, He’s going to reign on earth for a thousand years of peace before the final judgment. Well, no, He’s not. The theology put forth in this passage is so absurd and so contrary to God’s actual values that we ought to immediately realize this is yet another round of empty promises which God has cooked up to pacify an audience of souls who have decided that they are better than the rest of the planet. Well, to be more accurate, these Jewish Christians who are being chopped down by Romans actually think they are far superior to any believer who has ever come before them—including guys like Moses, Abraham, David, and Job. Don’t believe it? That’s because you have glossed over this passage too quickly in the past. In this lesson, we’ll slow things down and help you see just how full of human arrogance this whole notion of a millennial reign is. Continue reading

Applying Revelation 19: Warrior Jesus


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This is a continuation of Applying Revelation 18: Seven Songs About Rome.

Here’s a fun bit of Bible trivia. There is no “J” sound in Hebrew. Jesus’ earthly parents didn’t call Him Jesus, instead they called Him Yeshua–a very common Hebrew name which often gets changed to Joshua in English Bibles today.

Now let’s think about the Name Yahweh. Yahweh was the special Name which God the Father picked for Himself when He established His first Covenant with the Jews. What’s a nickname for Yahweh? Yah. We find both Yah and Yahweh in use throughout the Old Testament. For example, Isaiah 26:4 actually says:

Trust Yahweh always, because Yah, Yahweh alone, is an everlasting rock.

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Applying Revelation 18: Seven Songs About Rome


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This is a continuation of Applying Revelation 17: Rome Gets It…Again.

The Roman Empire is so intensely hated by the ancient Jewish Christians that her downfall must be marked with an epic celebration. Rome was depicted as dying yet again in our last chapter when the saucy prostitute who personified her was mauled to death by the freaky Spotty Domitian beast. Now that her body has been ripped apart, eaten, and the leftovers have been burned up, it’s time to party. How do you party as an ancient Jew? You start singing songs of course–lots of them. In this chapter, we’ll go through seven songs that are sung about Rome, whose codename in this book is Babylon.  The purpose of these songs is to poetically reflect on Rome’s influence on the world.  Some of the songs are happy, some are mocking, and some are sad. We can find many more songs like these in the Old Testament, for God often wove songs into His prophetic messages about various nations. Continue reading

Applying Revelation 17: Rome Gets It…Again


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This is a continuation of Applying Revelation 15-16: Invincible Rebels.

Revelation is classified as a prophetic book. When Christians think of Divine prophecy, they usually think of future knowledge. This leads them to assume that Revelation must be predicting future events, because prophecy always has to be about the future, right? Wrong.

When you think of Divine prophecy, picture yourself standing with God in a super dark room. You can’t see anything that’s in the room until God suddenly turns on a flashlight. That’s what prophecy is: it’s a type of illumination which only God can provide. It’s God turning on a light and enabling you to see spiritual truths that you couldn’t see before. Now God can point His flashlight in any direction on the human timeline: the past, the present, or the future. He can adjust His beam to have a narrow or broad point. When He shines a light on some specific event in the past, you suddenly see that event in a whole new way. When He shines it on the present, you suddenly see current circumstances in a whole new way. When He shines it on the future, you get a glimpse of something that’s coming and learn principles which change what you focus on today. Continue reading