"Presenting the Book of Revelation"
Onething 2006 – DAVID SLIKER Presenting the Book of Revelation to the End-Time Church I. UNDERSTANDING THE BOOK OF REVELATION A. The Book of Revelation is the prayer manual for the persecuted church, continually pointing towards the long awaited promise manifested in the “great reversal” of Daniel 7:9-28 – that the persecuted saints, the poor and the beggarly (1 Sam. 2:7) will have victory over their persecutors and shall inherit thrones of glory (1 Sam. 2:8; Luke 1:52; Rev. 20:4) judging and governing those who had ruled over them wickedly. This Daniel 7 reversal happens in context to Rev. 5:8 and 6:9-10 prayers ascending to the throne by the saints of God. 1. To interpret the book differently is to remove the very power and message of the book for those believers who are under great pressure seeking to be victorious in the hour of the greatest trial in history – yet will overcome the Satanic rage against them by the blood of the Lamb, the word of their testimony, and radical abandonment unto death (Rev. 12:11). B. Theme: The reality of the second coming and reward has the divine intention of providing fuel for the heart of the believer, particularly in relationship to pressure and persecution. John is commissioned as a messenger to write and prophesy (Rev. 1:19; 10:11) while the listener / reader is commissioned to hear and obey (Rev. 1:3; 22:14, 18). II. UNDERSTANDING THE CRITICAL FRAMEWORK OF THE BOOK OF REVELATION: A. The Book of Revelation is a call to perseverance unto great reward: the outbreak of persecution to come at the end of the age will be far greater than anything the 1st century believers had to stand against; the man that will arise in Revelation 13 to oppose the church will be a far greater threat to the people of God and the nations of the earth than any Roman Caesar. The principles of the book are applicable to any generation that stands for God in the face of opposition and the storms of life; but the fullest application of the book is for the final generation alive at the time of the Second Coming. 1. The Father is looking to bolster this generation (as well as every generation of believers) with a revelation of His Son that energizes the heart to resist darkness and pressure on an unthinkable scale. The beauty and faithfulness of Jesus as well as the promise of eternal partnership with Him serve to bolster and strengthen the heart of a people of faith that will live not for today’s comforts but tomorrow’s promise. 2. The glory of the saints is that they are willing to lay aside the short-term immediate rewards among men to lay hold of a future promise given by an invisible God – and faith places more “reality” behind those promises than the temporary pleasures and comforts that can be gained now. More resources available at: www.heisatthedoor.com Onething 2006 – DAVID SLIKER Presenting the Book of Revelation PAGE 2 B. The Book of Revelation is one of the clearest depictions of the perfect leadership of God: the study of the end-times is the study of the leadership of Jesus as He guides history, the nations, and His Bride to their ultimate destinies while maintaining the dignity of man’s free will in the process. It is the fascinating portrayal of the perfection of His leadership as He moves and shifts the events of history to bring about His desired end – the establishment of the earth as a resting place and home for His Father to dwell among men again. 1. The great desire of the Father is to return to a garden of delights with His creation, and the labors of Jesus honor that desire in defeating His enemies and establishing a people that are able to dwell in the light and power of His glory and consuming holiness. 2. God’s very being is a fire that consumes all that does not agree with Him – and the leadership of Jesus is focused on cultivating a people that walk with God in full agreement that they could know Him and love Him in safety and intimate union with His very being. 3. The book of Revelation is the depiction of the final stages of the plans of Jesus to purge the nations of those who hate His leadership and despise His Father’s ways while establishing this eternal people who would abide in Him forever. C. The Book of Revelation is the clearest depiction of the tender, merciful Judge in the Bible: Most assume the book is about the wrath of God poured out on the wicked and rebellious. The book of Revelation is not about how mad God is – it is about how bad human beings are in the light of a merciful and tender God. 1. God desires all men to be saved and come into the knowledge of Him and His truth (1 Tim. 2:4) – his final and last resort to rebellious men is the final, furious outpouring of His wrath when all other options have been exhausted. Even then, God finds a way in His commitment to the nations to show undeserved mercy to them. The unfolding vision gives us a context to the kind of shaking God must bring to the nations in the hopes that they will come to their senses and turn in the light of His revealed heart. D. The Book of Revelation is the clearest depiction of the victorious Bride in the Bible: The key facet of the book that many miss is the place and role of the Bride of Christ at the end of the age in partnering with Jesus in His war against sin and darkness. The prayer and worship movement, as well as prophetic preachers, play a prominent role in the unfolding drama of the collision between two kingdoms. (Rev. 5:8; 6:9-11; 8:1-6; 10:1-11:14; 12:13-17; 14:1-15:3; 18:4) 1. God establishes a purified, fiery, mature Bride as a critical component of His mercy strategy to save the nations from themselves and their own desire for darkness. The burning and shining Bride at the end of the age presents a clear option to the powerful and seemingly prosperous false final kingdom of the Antichrist as it is established in Rev. 13 and 17. IHOP-KC Mission Base www.ihop.org Onething 2006 – DAVID SLIKER Presenting the Book of Revelation PAGE 3 2. This Bride will not be hiding from or avoiding judgments from God – but will be participating in them through partnering with Jesus in proclamation, preaching, and prayer that will shake the earth and all of its leadership (Rev. 6:15-17); initially this will cause the nations to tremble at this new expression of authority on the church, then the nations will rage against her with great violence and persecution in their rejection of God Himself. E. The Book of Revelation contains some of the clearest depictions of the height of man’s wickedness in the Bible: the trembling and fear of the nations as God is revealing Himself to them in His tenderness towards them (Rev. 6:15-17) quickly turns to rejection and obstinate resistance of His agenda (Rev. 9:21) as the global pressure reveals the true nature of the wickedness and love of darkness residing in men. 1. That which is viewed sympathetically with ungodly mercy today in regards to “socially acceptable” or legitimized expressions of sin with a harmless face will be revealed for what it truly is in the light of the unimaginable pressure that will afflict the earth. What is hidden in men will be revealed – their rage against God will become openly manifest in expression of darkness that are unthinkable to us today. 2. Men are blind to the logical end of the darkness in their hearts as depicted by Paul in Romans 1:18-32; they instead choose to make their darkness and rejection of God socially acceptable while hiding their humanistic pride behind spiritual language; as Paul said, they have a form of godliness that denies the essential power of the cross for weak and broken men (2 Tim. 3:5). This culture of God-rejection and self-exaltation is depicted as mature in its formation and fully established by men in Revelation 17. 3. These will truly be the “days of Noah” again (Matt. 24:38) as all of the conditions of wickedness that provoked God to destroy the earth in a flood (murder, theft, sorcery, sexual immorality) will come to fullness again as men fully reject God and embrace their own agendas and lusts (2 Pet. 3: 3) to their own destruction (Rev. 9:21). 4. The great tenderness and mercy of God towards men can only be understood in its proper context – set against the backdrop of the lengths that men go to rage against and reject Him in their foolishness. The darkness of men makes the light of God’s goodness and kindness even brighter as He fights to rescue us from the darkness we enthrone. Jesus will go to the utmost lengths to save men from themselves. He took on the clothing of humanity to express His love for us (Jn. 3:16) and his love for men in their wickedness and rebellion has not diminished since He walked the earth the first time. IHOP-KC Mission Base www.ihop.org Onething 2006 – DAVID SLIKER Presenting the Book of Revelation PAGE 4 III. UNDERSTANDING THE STRUCTURE OF THE BOOK OF REVELATION: A. The book of Revelation is mostly literal: All the events and numbers in Revelation are taken in their plain meaning (literal) unless specifically indicated as symbolic as in Rev. 1:20; 5:6; 11:8; 12:1, 3, 9; 17:7, 9. Daniel used the same symbols. The combination of Revelation with Daniel brings to light the interpretation of most of the symbols. Thus, the majority of commentators who interpret Revelation in a plain sense or literal way agree on the symbols. There is no room, therefore, for subjective interpretations and “spiritualization” of the passages that dismiss the urgency of the final hours of history. 1. How do we know when a passage is symbolic? When it says it is symbolic then it is. For example, the angel tells John the seven lamp stands are symbolic of seven churches (Rev. 1:20). B. The book of Revelation is mostly chronological and progressive: Each judgment becomes progressively more intense than the last one. The increasing severity of the judgments is in relation to men increasing rejection of God’s mercy. Man’s resistance to God turns into complete rejection and rebellion culminating with the attempt by the nations of the earth to overthrow Jesus at His coming to claim the earth. 1. It is Jesus Himself who is releasing these seals as judgment against rebellion – these judgments are indirect at first (the first four seals – man’s unrestrained sin that results in violence and loss) but become intensely direct with the maturity of the prayer movement on earth. 2. These judgment events are literal (actual events), future (not yet fulfilled), and progressive (unfolding in a clear chronological sequence – one following the other in a sequential progression). 3. In the three series of judgments (seals, trumpet, bowls) there is a distinct relationship of the judgments within the series: the first four belong together, the next two are dynamically related, and the seventh stands alone. The four / two / one relationship of the events forms a pattern that helps us to understand the strategic leadership of God. C. The book of Revelation is mostly future: to place these events in their proper context is to maintain the power and impact of their scope and purpose. The book of Revelation is the apex of the crisis of man and his collision with the coming King and His Kingdom. These events should be understood as judgments that would be unparalleled in history as well as the culmination and ending of God’s plans to establish the earthly kingdom of Jesus on His Davidic throne over the nations of the earth. IHOP-KC Mission Base www.ihop.org