Revelation of Hope – Week 4 – Revelation 2:8-11

Revelation of Hope
Week 4
Rob Covell

Introduction –
In this session we will continue in the letters to the seven churches in Revelation 2. We come to our second church located at Smyrna. This letter is filled with encouragement for this church that was about to face a time of limited persecution and suffering for Jesus. We also see in this letter to the church at Smyrna the call to persevere, and the promise of the royal eternal crown of life.

Jesus describes the type of perseverance that the church in Smyrna had obtained in Luke 8:15.

Luke 8:15
“But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.

There is no rebuke for this church; only the defense, comfort and promise of the Savior; that He knows their affliction, and will deliver them from it. Lastly we see Jesus give them the promise of deliverance in the symbolism of the number 10 in verse 10.

Revelation 2:8
a) Smyrna – Root word Myrrh– Located in modern day Turkey just North of Ephesus, on the Aegean Sea. At this time Smyrna was a very wealthy and important city during the Hellenistic and Roman eras. Smyrna was a harbor city, located on a trade route, with an abundance of fresh water from the Meles River. The famous Greek Philosopher Homer was from Smyrna. One of the most famous ancient marketplaces called the Agora was located in Smyrna. The Agora will be important to us later in our study of Revelation 13 when we look at the Mark of the Beast.
b) Smyrna was the seat of Emperor Worship in Asia Minor, and was famous for its round portico buildings on the summit of Mt Pagos. These buildings were described as the “diadem” as they were considered the crown of culture in that city. Jesus gives John a play on words later in Revelation 2:10 that would have been familiar with the hearers as He offers them the crown of life.
c) The church at Smyrna was probably evangelized by Christians associated with Paul or John as it was only 35 miles from Ephesus. John was involved with this church as he appointed Polycarp as its Bishop/Leader.
d) Polycarp, a protégé of John was from Smyrna. He was Bishop in Smyrna and was martyred at 80 years of age. He would have been present when the Revelation was delivered to the church at Smyrna. You can read the story of his martyrdom online at Wikipedia. Irenaeus said this about Polycarp, “Polycarp also was not only instructed by apostles, and conversed with many who had seen Christ, but was also, by apostles in Asia, appointed bishop of the Church in Smyrna…always taught the things which he had learned from the apostles, and which the Church has handed down, and which alone are true.”
e) Jesus words have eternal authority, as He is the First and the Last. This means Jesus has preeminence in all things, and possesses eternal life within Himself. Jesus died and was resurrected. Our whole faith system hangs on not only on Jesus’ sacrifice for sin, but His resurrection from the dead. His resurrection is so important because it qualifies Him to be able to offer eternal life to us. Jesus is comforting this church with that truth. They can be assured that their faith will deliver them from the persecution they were about to face, and the death that many of them would die as martyrs.

Revelation 2:9
a) Smyrna was a very wealthy city at this time and the wealth of Smyrna revolved around the Agora. The Agora was the place of culture, business, and the trades. The Christian church being taught that Jesus was Lord of Lords and the Savior of all, would have avoided the system of mammon in Smyrna because it revolved around Emperor Worship. The city was wealthy; they were poor (beggary in the Greek) because of their fidelity to Christ. Jesus tells them they are rich in Him. In Luke 12:21, Jesus tells us that we should be rich toward God. The church of Smyrna was rich in God.
b) The slander/blasphemy – Greek – BLASPHEMIA – to slander a good name, speak in an injurious way about someone. The Jews who rejected Jesus as Messiah considered the followers of Christ as heretics. They made claim to be the people of God, to posses His Covenant, and host His presence at the Temple in Jerusalem. The Christian Church taught that they had a New Covenant given to them by God, that they were the Temple, and that they hosted the presence of God within themselves by receiving the Holy Spirit. Naturally the Jews who rejected Jesus as Messiah in Smyrna were speaking against the teaching of the Church. At this time the Temple and Church coexisted until AD70. Romans 2:29 – But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.
c) Jesus is affirming the church of Smyrna that they are the people of God. Jesus even calls the Jews who were slandering them a synagogue of Satan. Any place of worship that does not worship Jesus, is not partnered with Jesus. We see the Jewish persecution of the Church throughout the book of Acts, and finally ending in AD 70, when the Temple was destroyed.

Revelation 2:10
a) Perfect love casts out fear – This church was encouraged not to fear, as fear would rob them of their glory as the people of God and the integrity of their message. Fear – Greek – PHOBEO – to be put to flight, to be scared away
b) It is the devil who brings persecution, pain and suffering to people. Jesus came to give life to the full. The assignment of the enemy is in contrast to the comforting words of Jesus to His church in Smyrna. The devil may be the author of the imprisonment of God’s people in Smyrna, but faith cannot be imprisoned. Acts 16:16 and Acts 12
c) Persecution for ten days – This is symbolic and not literal. Jesus is telling the church that their suffering and persecution is limited and will pass. 10 is the number of God’s word, and God’s works. We have 10 Commandments, Passover was on the 10th Day of the first month, and The Day of Atonement was on the 10th day of the 7th month. God sent 10 plagues on Egypt. The church of Smyrna was going to be delivered by the God of the 10’s!
d) Jesus offers them a real crown of eternal royalty and victory all in the backdrop of the crowned rich city of Smyrna that boasted a false diadem of wealth and power.
e) Jesus calls them to be faithful – Greek – PISTOS – trusty, faithful, of persons who show themselves faithful in the transaction of business, the execution of commands, or the discharge of official duties

Revelation 2:11
a) We can only receive spiritual revelation and illumination from God when our spirits are open to hearing. God speaks in veiled language that can only be understood in the context of relationship with Him. All Christians are given the grace to hear Him as we claim not only a relationship with God, but we claim to have His very flame in us in the Person of the Holy Spirit.
b) Hearing His word impacts us to the point of unwavering faith, as His word contains authority, power and creativity to form in us all we need.
c) Not being hurt by the second death – This is deliverance from the Great White Throne Judgment – Revelation 20:11-15
d) The Scriptures teach that Adam gave us the inheritance of death as mankind’s first representative before God. Jesus, who is the second Adam, gives us life as God’s perfect representative as a Man. Romans 5:14, 1 Corinthians 15:22, 1 Corinthians 15:45 – Jesus will not allow us to be admitted into to eternal judgment which is the second death in the spiritual reality that we call hell.
e) Scripture comforts us with these words – we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. – 2 Corinthians 5:8
f) There is no call to repent or change course for this church, as they were already moving in the perseverance of faith.

Source Material:
Blue Letter
Charles Taylor – Commentary on the Book of Revelation
George Eldon Ladd – Commentary on the Book of Revelation
George Eldon Ladd – The Gospel of the Kingdom
Loraine Boettner – The Millenium
Harold Eberle – Victorious Eschatology
Holman Bible Dictionary
Strongs Concordance
NIV – Interlinear Greek New Testament
NASB – Interlinear Greek New Testament
Jonathan Welton – Raptureless
George Peter Holford – The Destruction of Jerusalem
Rapture Fever – Gary North
The Prophets Dictionary – Price
Early Christian Martyr Stories – Bryan M. Litfin


Revelation of Hope – Week 3 Revelation 2:1-7

Revelation of Hope
Week 3
Rob Covell

Introduction –
In this session we begin the letters to seven churches from Jesus. Each of these seven churches were real churches, in real cities, and the exhortations to each of them were specific, and meaningful to them in the context of their culture and times. These are not seven epochs or seven symbols of the church age. To impute this symbolism to the text is to hyper-spiritualize the text. Revelation is a symbolic book, but we should be careful to follow the natural interpretation when it is obvious to us.

Revelation, Chapter 2 introduces us to the encouragements of Jesus Christ to His Bride to overcome, to persevere, and to change their hearts. We see Jesus as the faithful Bridegroom preparing the Bride to walk in victory over the attacks that they were beginning to face at that time. The letters to the seven churches serve as encouragements to us today, as they contain the promises of God to those who hear them. These promises would have provided the motivation and courage to face the persecution that the churches of Jesus Christ were about to experience at the hands of the Romans and the unbelieving Jews.

Revelation 2:1
a) Ephesus – At this time (AD65-68) Ephesus had an estimated population of 225K. Ephesus was seaport city, with a strong economy, and a it was the seat of government for the Region. The Temple of Artemis was in Ephesus and was considered one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world. This church exploded under the ministry of Paul, where the Lord worked extraordinary miracles through Paul. Acts 19 documents the birth of this church. The Ephesian church stormed the mountain of religion and challenged the worship of false the false idol Artemis to the point where there was a riot. Christianity was displacing the economy of those who made silver idols.
b) Jesus held the stars in His right hand. The right hand is symbolic of the power and authority of Jesus. The right hand is associated with power in war, strength in battle, and the authority to rule. Jesus is the Lord of Lords, the King of Kings. His messengers or angels carry the authority of His message.
c) Jesus walks among the 7 lamp stands. In the last session we looked at the imagery of the 7 lamp stands contrasted to the menorah in Exodus 25:37. Jesus is present and walks among His churches, knows their ministries and their hearts as a corporate community of worshippers. He is intimately acquainted with their ways.
Revelation 2:2-3
a) Jesus affirms the Ephesian church, that He knows their deeds. Greek – ERGON – business, employment, the thing which one is occupied by, enterprise or undertaking – This church was occupied in that which God called them to do.
b) Hard work – KOPOS – a beating, beating the breast with grief or sorrow – The Ephesian church knew suffering and persecution. Their success as a church that overthrew ungodly powers, and lead to a riot in Acts 19. Timothy was martyred at Ephesus as he was evangelizing a mob who was feasting at the Temple of Artemis. Jesus knows the pain of persecution, the beating of the body and death. Jesus is able to sympathize in fullness with all who endure for Him.
c) Perseverance – Greek – HYPOMONE – Steadfast, constancy, and endurance – Characteristic of a man or woman who is not swayed in their pursuit of faith. This church was unbending in the purity of their doctrine, and faithfulness to Jesus.
d) The Ephesian church walked in a discernment that exposed liars, imposters, and those who claimed to have apostolic authority. Everyone today wants “Apostle” on their business card, and it is newest buzz word in Christianity at this season of our faith. While we do not discount that God gives the Body of Christ the gift of the Apostle, we are aware that many seek to abuse the title, gain the title, and exert power through the title. A true Apostle looks like Jesus, and is the most mature expression of our faith. 2 Corinthians 12:12 – The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with all perseverance, by signs and wonders and miracles.

Revelation 2:4
a) Against you – Greek KATA – to throw down – Jesus has the authority to correct His church. He is being merciful to the church at Ephesus by calling them back to His heart. Hebrews 12:7 It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? – The Lord carries the authority to discipline children. We have to be very careful when we step into a role of being disciplinarian, as this is a role reserved for the Lord. Keep in mind Jesus is addressing a church not individuals. As a corporate Body of Christ, we are accountable for the expression of faith in our communities.
b) You have left your first love – Greek – APHIEMI SY PROTOS AGAPE – Divorced or sent away our preeminent Love. The Ephesian church was rich in works, true in doctrine, able to stand up in trials, yet lacked the passion for its Bridegroom God, Jesus Christ. Jesus is more interested in the exchange of our hearts with Him, than the religious works of keeping a ministry functioning. Paul describes AGAPE love in its fullness in 1 Corinthians 13.
Revelation 2:5
a) Remember the height from which you have fallen – Greek PIPTO – to descend to a lower place – This word is verb and speaks of the path which leaves the high place or place of revelation, wonder and worship, and descend to a realm devoid of the anointing.
b) Repent – Greek – METANOEO – to change one’s mind – Jesus is asking the Ephesian church to remember their early days (Acts 19). Remembering our God story often invokes the passion to love again.
c) When churches (EKKLESIA) no longer function to seek the heart of the Lord, worship Him with passion and love, and embrace religious works instead of relationship, their lamp stands are removed. This was never the intent for churches, because we have the promise that the gates of hell will not overcome the church. We also know that the kingdom we belong to is ever increasing and is everlasting. Our church destinies depend on our hearts.

Revelation 2:6
a) To hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans – Greek – MISEO – to hate, to detest – Jesus uses the strongest word for disagreement in this verse. Nicolaitan means “victor over laity”, “destruction of the people”.
b) Jesus loves His Bride. We are His beloved, and He bled for His church! Apparently there were some in Ephesus who using the place of power to rule over the people of God and destroy them. From the very nature of the word Nicolaitan, we assume that these leaders sought to rule over God’s people. The Lord is the only rightful ruler of His church. His leaders/shepherds are meant to encourage the rule and reign of God in the hearts of His people. Not displace Him as King.
c) Note: Some commentators connect the Nicolaitans with a sect of heretics who taught sexual liberty, drunkenness, and the indulgence of the flesh in light of the grace of God. It is my opinion that this sect is not being mentioned here because they appear about 200 years after this exhortation of Jesus to the Ephesian church was written. I defer to the literal meaning of the text and the implications of the natural definition of the word Nicolaitan.

Revelation 2:7
a) Spiritual ears are the ability hear supernatural or spiritual truth and comprehend it. Having the ability to have supernatural or spiritual senses are possible for all Christians because we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit.
b) Jesus offers the Ephesians a promise, not a condemnation.
c) Eating from the tree of life is feasting on the eternal life that Jesus gives to His beloved ones. It is not only a promise of heaven in the future, but a reality now through communing with God. Feeding our spirit by communing with God satisfies our souls, and gives us a first fruits reality of the realms of God.
d) We are over comers by nature. We can say this with authority because we have the very flame, the Holy Spirit in us. We are in relationship with the Lion of the Tribe of Judah (the tribe of praise). The impartation of His strength in us is our inheritance.
Source Material:
Blue Letter
Charles Taylor – Commentary on the Book of Revelation
George Eldon Ladd – Commentary on the Book of Revelation
George Eldon Ladd – The Gospel of the Kingdom
Loraine Boettner – The Millenium
Harold Eberle – Victorious Eschatology
Holman Bible Dictionary
Strongs Concordance
NIV – Interlinear Greek New Testament
NASB – Interlinear Greek New Testament
Jonathan Welton – Raptureless
George Peter Holford – The Destruction of Jerusalem
Rapture Fever – Gary North
The Prophets Dictionary – Price
New – search for saints martyred in Ephesus

Kings and Priests Week 1 – The Manifestation of the Kingdom

Kings and Priests
The Manifestation of the Kingdom Acts 19
Rob Covell

This week we start a new series called Kings and Priests. I thought it would be appropriate to take this session as an opportunity to for us to see a panoramic view of what the Manifestation of the Kingdom of God looks like today. If we are going to learn about the Kingdom of God, and our roles as Kings and Priests, the best place to start is to see it or observe it in the everyday.

First let’s examine the definition of what a kingdom is from the original language that Jesus used, when He spoke about the Kingdom of God.

Greek – BASILEIA (bä-sē-lā’-ä) Royal power, kingship, dominion, rule, – not to be confused with an actual kingdom but rather the right or authority to rule over a kingdom – of the royal power of Jesus as the triumphant Messiah – of the royal power and dignity conferred on Christians in the Messiah’s kingdom

So we see from the very definition of this word that when we speak of the Kingdom of God, we are speaking in terms of an immaterial authority that originates in God’s authority to rule and reign. We may be in a kingdom realm that is spiritual first; but it does not prevent it from being manifested in the natural realm.

Next, let’s look at a few verses that connect the Spiritual or Supernatural Kingdom of God to the physical or natural realm.

Matthew 4:23 – NASB
Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people.

Matthew 9:35 – NASB
Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.

The message of the kingdom begins with words, and is proved by power.

This is exactly what we see in Acts 19, in the city of Ephesus, when the Church in Ephesus agreed with Paul’s apostolic gospel of the Kingdom.
Acts 19:1-7
a) Ephesus – AD 53-55
1. The fourth largest city of the known world at that time. EST POP 225K
2. Wealthy seaport city, and influential in the flow of goods, and wealth
3. Home of one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world. Temple of Artemis.
4. The seat of regional government

b) The baptism of the Holy Spirit – The second experience after salvation. Apollos (Acts 18:24) may been the one who was teaching about John the Baptists preaching and ministry.
c) We see a similar encounter in Acts 8:14-17
d) The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is the catalyst for not only a personal empowerment and change but also a societal change. As members of a culture we set the tone of our neighborhoods, cities and nations. Jesus described us as lights, salt, and leaven of the kingdom.
e) Tertullian 160-220AD – “We the Church are but of yesterday, but we have filled every place among you-cities, islands, fortresses, towns, market places, the very camp, tribes, companies, palace, senate, forum – we have left nothing to you but the temples of your gods.”

Acts 19:8-10
a) Paul preached the Kingdom of God. Paul explained the rule and power of Jesus Christ. We can look at the power of the Ephesian Church as an example and expression of what Paul taught them.
b) The foundation for city wide change is the Baptism of the Spirit, and the teaching of the rule and reign of Jesus Christ. Understanding the rule and reign of Jesus transcends every culture that Christianity of planted in.
c) Paul taught and ministered where the people were receptive and had a heart to receive. Notice Christianity was called the Way at that time in church history. The lecture hall of Tyrannus became an apostolic equipping center. The gathering place of the church serves as place of hosting the Presence of God, Worshipping the One true God, Equipping the Beloved of God, and it is the epicenter of which the rule and reign of God emanate.

Acts 19:11-20
a) Extraordinary Miracles – Greek – TYGCHANO ( tün-khä’-nō) DYNAMIS (dü’-nä-mēs) – Literally means to throw a spear or javelin with power – To hit the mark with power – God was using Paul to launch the attack against the dominion of the enemy, and display the offensive power of the Kingdom of God. We war with love that reveals the Father’s heart for the injustice of the Fall of Humankind that was instigated by satan.
b) The power of God is manifested by the visible signs of the greater rule and reality of Jesus. Signs and wonders are the conclusive proof that the message of Jesus is truth. Signs and wonders always point to the person of Jesus Christ, and glorify Him and who He is.
c) The power encounter between Jesus and the demonized man in Mark 5, prove the rule of Jesus over the satanic realm. Ephesians 6:12 – For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
d) The Seven Sons of Sceva demonstrate that one cannot use the Name and Authority of Jesus without being relationship with Him. Their power ministry was short lived because they did not know the Name they used.
e) The movement of these verses begins to show us that the reformation of a region begins by the Spirit of God and then flows to the 7 realms of influence in a society. Government, Education, Religion, Family, Arts, Science, and Business – The regard of the Person of Jesus is the open door for the church to begin to have a voice. Acts 19:20 – the first realm of demonic influence in Ephesus to fall was Religion. Religion is the primary mountain of culture because it is the moral compass of a people that directs a culture. The kingdom of God takes root in the heart, is empowered by the Spirit of God, and then revival and reformation demonstrate the kingdom of God.

Acts 19:23-31
a) The church of Ephesus has now brought down the demonic religious power of the Temple of Artemis/Diana. One of the Seven Wonders of the World at that time. The riot in Ephesus as fueled by the church so transforming the culture of Ephesus that the idolatrous worship that fueled the economy of Ephesus was being displaced by the economy of the Kingdom.
b) Verse 31 reveals that Paul had even penetrated the government of Ephesus. Keep in mind that Paul had only been in Ephesus 2 years, and the church of Ephesus was only 2 years old as well. After 2 years the church of Jesus Christ has reformed a city the size of Rancho Cucamonga, CA.

From this study of the demonstration of the Kingdom of God through the Apostle Paul and the Ephesian Church, we can see clearly that the Kingdom of God brings societal change by displacing inferior powers.

Now that we understand what the panoramic view of the Kingdom of God looks like, we can now begin to look at the individual realities of truth that empower each one us to live in the Kingdom realm in increasing measure. Over the 5 weeks we are going to look at the following: The Entrance Into the Kingdom, The Life of the Kingdom, Ministering in the Kingdom, The Power of the Kingdom and The Fulfillment of the Kingdom.

Revelation of Hope – Week 2

Revelation of Hope
Revelation1: 9-20
Week 2
Rob Covell

Introduction –
In this Session we will continue in the book of Revelation and complete the first chapter. We will be unlocking the book and demystify it by understanding its symbolism. So much of prophetic symbolism is spiritual hyperbole that communicates truth that was common the culture it was written to. We will see Jesus described in the most beautiful prophetic poetry that encourages our spiritual hunger to worship Him and imagine Him in His resurrection glory. Lastly, we will be comforted to know that no matter what season we are in, he is the faithful Victor who is Lord over everything.

Revelation 1:9
a) Brother and Companion – ADELPHOS -SYGKOINONOS – Greek – This means that John was “one united to one another by the bond of affection and participant or joint partner”.
b) Tribulation or Suffering in some translations. The Greek word is THLIPSIS, which means “the pressing”. John was familiar with suffering for the Church of Jesus Christ. His brother James was martyred by Herod Agrippa I about AD 44, Peter and Paul were put to death during the reign of Nero. Both Paul and John were writing to the Church during the reign of Nero, who was a horrible individual who mercilessly persecuted and murdered the faithful. John passed away in Ephesus in AD 98, was buried there during the reign of Trajan.
c) Kingdom – John identified himself with the being under the authority of a greater King than the one persecuting him. Beloved, which Kingdom are we identifying with?
d) Perseverance proves faith and trumpets our heart! The Church was very young at this point in church history. The Apostles labored as Fathers who longed to see the Church matured to the point of steadfastness, endurance and perseverance.
e) The reason for the “pressing” was the Word of God and the Testimony of Jesus Christ. Reference John 15:18-20 and Luke 6:46-49 – All of us who claim to have experiential knowledge of Jesus are expected to be faithful to our Bridegroom. Experiencing Jesus builds the grace to endure and overcome all things.

Revelation 1:10-11
a) The Lord’s Day – The Early Church set aside the first day of the week for worship, rest and fellowship to observe the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This observance still stands today several millennia later.
b) In the Spirit – What an amazing way to describe the atmosphere of intimately worshiping Jesus. Being “in the Spirit” is the doorway for encountering God. We should have an expectation for encounters as we worship Jesus.
c) The Word of God, Jesus Christ’s voice is described like a loud trumpet. The word in the Greek is MEGAS – a mega-loud voice. This indicates the importance of the message Jesus is about to give John. The Lord can speak in a multitude of ways from the still small voice to extreme loud voice. We should be encouraged that however God speaks to each of us, we being His children will always hear when we are in the Spirit.
d) Jesus commissions John to write the words of God on a scroll (BIBLION) – a written document, scroll or small book. The Revelation was written to 7 real churches at that time. This truth is one of the keys to understanding the book of Revelation as it sets the context of what we are reading. It is important to keep in mind we are more than 2000 years from the events prophesied in Revelation. As we continue in the book, we will see clearly that the ones receiving the Revelation would have understood what was delivered to them plainly.

Revelation 1:12-16
a) Seven golden lamp stands – The menorah in Exodus 25:37 is symbolic of the Church of Jesus Christ who is the light to the world and the fulfillment of this type and shadow found in the Old Testament. Jesus will interpret this prophetic vision later in verses 19-20.
b) One like the Son of Man – This is a direct reference to Daniel 7:13-14. The prophecy in Daniel is confirmed here in verse 13-16. Jesus Christ is revealed in all His glory.
c) Jesus Christ stands among the lamp stands (churches) in glory and authority.
d) Golden sash around the chest. Symbolic of the chords of majestic glory and love emanating from the bosom of Christ for His Bride the Church.
e) Hair white as wool – This is symbolic of the perfect purity of Jesus. The head being the seat of emotion, thought, and decision; Jesus is perfect in pure thoughts, righteous judgments and is perfect in wisdom.
f) Eyes of blazing fire – Symbolic of Jesus’ passion for His Bride. His eyes burn with desire for His Beloved. Jesus is unmoved in His loving devotion to redeem mankind and have intimate relationship with people.
g) Bronze feet – Bronze is a metal resistance to corrosion, and is a strong alloy. The bronze is a symbol of Jesus being incorruptible and eternal. It is also a picture of His strength as Lord of Lords and King of Kings. This reveals His power and authority as the resurrected Christ.
h) Voice like rushing waters – The voice of Messiah is creative, authoritative and unstoppable. Hebrews 4:12
i) Jesus holds the seven stars who are angels that faithfully fulfill their assignments. They are in the right hand of Jesus. The right hand in Scripture is symbolic strength, and victory in warfare. Colossians 2:15
j) Hebrews 4:12 – Jesus is the Word of God; His words contain creative power and unstoppable decrees. Jesus has victory in His voice. Colossians 1:16, John 1:3-4
k) Face a brilliant as the sun – The thought here is that the face of God is covered in glory and unapproachable light. This is symbolic of the Omniscience of God, who possesses all revelation, knowledge and wisdom. Jesus is the Light. Paul encountered this Light in Acts 9 and described it in Acts 26:13.
Revelation 1:17
a) John was familiar with beholding Jesus as a GodMan, reclining close to His chest, talking with Jesus, walking with Jesus, and touching Him after His resurrection. John now encounters Jesus in pre-incarnate glory and majesty as the God the Son.
b) John falls down at His feet as though dead. This glorious display of Jesus overwhelmed the ability of the physical body to stand in His presence. Our physical manifestations are reactions to His presence.
c) Jesus indicates that John was in fear. Perfect love casts out all fear and leaves awe in its place. Jesus tells John do not be afraid and touches Him. Touches from Jesus comfort us, drive out fear and leaves us in awe of Him and ready to do His will.
d) Jesus the First and Last – This description illustrates the truth that Jesus has preeminence in all things. No matter what has touched our lives, Jesus completely sympathizes and understands humanity and has authority over it. Hebrews 7:25

Revelation 1:18
a) Jesus conquered the grave. His resurrection proved His victory over death. (Ephesians 4:8) Death is the fruit of the curse from Adam, and Jesus being the Second Adam destroyed the curse of death and gives life. 1 Corinthians 15:45 – Resurrection is one of the great hopes of Christianity, because at the resurrection Eden is restored in fullness. Jesus is eternal life.

Revelation 1:19-20
a) John was commissioned to write about what is now. This references things that are current and present. This is a key to understanding the majority of this prophecy. John was to write about the current affairs of the time. Greek EIMI – to be present.
b) And what will take place later – Jesus is informing His church regarding their current season and the one to come after it. Jesus is faithful to His Bride and communicates His heart. The Revelation would have been a very comforting book to the First Century Church. They were young, persecuted, engaged in warfare for the faith, and needed the blessed comfort f their King.
c) MYSTERION – Greek – that which is hidden – God uses word pictures many times in the Scriptures to communicate deep spiritual truth on a plane that we can understand. The stars are the angels that carry His Word and decrees. We see in Scripture that angels have assignments and messages. This book illustrates the diversity of the spiritual order. Some commentators have suggested that the seven stars are people. In this instance, it is my opinion that they are spirits and not men, due to the focus and attention of the spiritual order that is thematic throughout Revelation. The lamp stands are the churches. It would have been comforting to the 7 churches to know Jesus was with them and walked among them in the spiritual realm.

Source Material:
Blue Letter
Charles Taylor – Commentary on the Book of Revelation
George Eldon Ladd – Commentary on the Book of Revelation
George Eldon Ladd – The Gospel of the Kingdom
Loraine Boettner – The Millenium
Harold Eberle – Victorious Eschatology
Holman Bible Dictionary
Strongs Concordance
NIV – Interlinear Greek New Testament
NASB – Interlinear Greek New Testament
Jonathan Welton – Raptureless
George Peter Holford – The Destruction of Jerusalem
Rapture Fever – Gary North
The Prophets Dictionary – Price

Revelation of Hope – Week 1

Revelation of Hope
Revelation: 1-8
Week 1
Rob Covell

Introduction –
We all approach the book of Revelation with a narrative that colors how we interpret this prophetic book. Many in the American brand of Christianity approach the book of Revelation with an American-Centric narrative that projects this book into our modern times and colors how we see the future of our country, our world and the future of the church. However this approach discounts the context of the book, discounts the culture in which it was written and the people it was delivered to. The Futurist view also discounts the real history that confirmed the book of Revelation to the First Century Church as being from God. In theological terms we are describing what is called a hermeneutic. A hermeneutic is basically the method and the preexisting paradigm with which we interpret Scripture.

I mention this, because what we believe about the future (our future) of the Church, flavors the spirit of our ministries, how we minister, and the message we project to the hearers of our message. If we have a pessimistic or negative view of the future of the Church, the Second Coming of Christ, and the End of the Age, our prophesies will reflect that view, the way we pray will be colored with that mindset, and the Gospel we preach will reflect that as well. If we have a very positive view of the future return of Jesus Christ, the future of the Church, and the End of the Age, our ministries will reflect that theological construct.

I propose that Futurist approaches to Revelation have an expectation of a very bad future for the world and predict all kinds of cataclysmic events and tribulations in the future. We can see this paradigm in the countless movies, books, etc produced by Futurist preachers.

In this study of the book of Revelation, I am proposing an interpretation of the book that is founded on the context of the culture, the history of the Jews and the Romans, and most importantly the Scriptures. The view I am presenting is a hybrid of the Post-Millennial/Historic view that I am calling a Victorious View of the future. The theological view of the interpretation of Revelation presented in this series emerged very early in Church history, and is supported by many respected theologians, and scholars. Many of you would be shocked to know that the Futurist interpretation of Revelation is a little over 150 years old and was founded on a trance/vision from a 20 year old named Margaret MacDonald in1830; it was propagated by John Nelson Darby, and CI Scofield. Futurism is the newest interpretation of the book of Revelation. We also need to mention an early proto-futurist named Francisco Ribera, a Jesuit Catholic Priest who lived in the late 1500’s. He developed his futurism to deflect the assault of the Reformers who claimed that the Antichrist would be a Catholic Pope. Both were wrong. This very pessimistic futurist view of Revelation has affected so many in the church by stealing their hope for the future, the glory and mission of the Church, and has kept us from building a generational expression of Christianity that has its hope founded in the truth of being over comers.

Now let’s look at the context of the book of Revelation, as this is the best way to understand any book of the Bible. When we look at the context and culture to which the book was written to, we build a hermeneutic that is rooted in the real time and history of the author and hearer.

Author: John the Beloved
Date: AD 65-69 – It is important to note that those who hold a futurist view of the book of Revelation have to claim a later date for this book, because most of it would have already been fulfilled. There is a mountain of evidence that places the writing of this book during the reign of Nero, and the Early Church Fathers mention that John was present in Ephesus in AD 95, being old and infirm, having to be carried to worship gatherings. There is division regarding the date of this book because the position of Futurists falls apart by accepting an early date.
Place: Island of Patmos – John mentions the place of these prophetic visions were on the island of Patmos in Revelation 1:9.
Context: This book was written to 7 historical churches in Asia Minor, who were shortly going to be facing a horrible wave of persecution and tribulation at the hands of Jews and Romans. At this time the Christian message was a challenge to Jews because it claimed the Church Body of Christ had replaced the Temple as the dwelling place of God that Jesus Christ ended the Temple sacrifices, and that Old Covenant Judaism was a rejected form of worship by Yahweh. The Christian message was offensive to Rome because Christianity preached no other Lord than Jesus, and held a refusal to worship the Caesars of Rome. John’s visions were a message from Jesus Himself to strengthen, warn, and encourage the churches to stay true to the Gospel of the Kingdom. Imagine being a First Century Christian, and hearing this prophesy for the first time. That is the truest context of this prophecy. Lastly, Revelation 1:3 says “that the time is near”, so in that context this was a very relevant letter to them. We owe the Early Church the acknowledgment of overcoming the persecution of Rome, and birthing centuries of the peaceful expansion of our faith.
Type and Shadow: The key to the interpretation of the book of Revelation is to understand Biblical word pictures and references. We will be focusing on the explanation of these word pictures and present the plain interpretation of these types and shadows throughout our study of the book of Revelation.

Revelation 1:1-3
a) Revelation – Greek APOKALYPSIS – laying bare, naked, a disclosure of truth, instruction, concerning things that were unknown
b) Jesus is the originator of the prophecies of this book. This is not a revelation of the devil, but of the glorious Son of Man.
c) The book is written to the bondservants of Him, the DOULOS – slave or servile people who regard Him as King.
d) That which will soon take place – EN GINOMAI – Greek – to come into existence soon. This book is naturally to be understood in this context, as being most relevant to the people receiving the book.
e) John writes that the things he saw were faithfully communicated to the churches receiving the Revelation.
f) Blessed – The people who are hearing the prophecy are blessed – Greek – MAKARIOS – Blessed/Happy – to be under the influence of divine favor – see BARAK in Hebrew
g) Time is near – Greek – KAIROS EGGYS – A fixed time when things are brought to crisis, being imminent. We can see from the Greek text that the Revelation was expected to be fulfilled quickly in a short amount of time. We need to be intellectually honest, and not impute a long epoch of time in the fulfillment of these prophesies.

Revelation 1:4-5
a) These 7 churches were real churches located in a specific geographic location at this time. These churches do not represent 7 epochs of Church History, and we are not in the Laodicean time of Church History.
b) We see a distinct Trinitarian line of thought in verses 4-5, with the Father, the Sevenfold Spirit of God and Jesus as the faithful witness, and Lord of the kings of the earth. Hebrews 3:1-3 describe Jesus as the true and faithful witness of the Gospel by His death and resurrection.
c) The Sevenfold Spirit or Seven Spirits of God – This is symbolic language for the perfection of the Holy Spirit. 7 the number of perfection or of being complete. What we have here is the typical type and shadow used as description of the Holy Spirit. This type of allegory or symbolism is used throughout the Revelation. See Isaiah 11:1-3
d) Verse 5 declares Jesus’ love for each of us individually by the pouring out of His blood for each of us on the cross. He freed us! The words in the Greek means to “loose a person or thing from being tied or fastened”.
e) These verses serve as an encouragement to readers of this Revelation who would soon face a season of persecution for their witness as believers in Jesus Christ.

Revelation 1:6
a) We are given the honorable position of being a kingdom for Jesus. This means Jesus rules, has authority over, and leads us as a kingdom. We are His realm of influence as the spiritual Body of Christ in the world.
b) Priests to serve the Father – What a wonderful picture of each of us as representatives of God. Priests offer sacrifices, reveal the knowledge of God, and minister to others. We offer the sacrifices of praise and prayer, we reveal the knowledge of God by our lives, and minister the heart of Father as we heal, prophesy, and demonstrate the power of the kingdom of God. Priests are also anointed. We are anointed by the Holy Spirit, and qualified by Him. The church is the reality and the realization type and shadow of the Levitical Priesthood with Jesus as High Priest. The book of Hebrews explains this reality in great detail.

Revelation 1:7
a) Verse 7 introduces us to the first interpretation of a prophetic word picture. We need to refer to Matthew 24:30 as we seek to understand verse 7.

Matthew 24:30
1. Sign of the Son of Man in the sky – Josephus documented seven signs in detail. The parallel passage here is Luke 21:11.” Fearful sights and great signs from heaven.”
2. A meteor in the shape of a sword hung over Jerusalem for 12 months of which he eye witnessed.
3. On the eighth month of Zanthicus, before the feast of unleavened bread, a light shined around the altar as bright as the light of day for about ½ hour.
4. At Passover, before the destruction of Jerusalem a heifer gave birth to a lamb on its way to sacrificial altar. Josephus documents this in detail. This is the same season in which our Lord became the one sacrifice.
5. In the night, a bronze gate to the Temple that required 20 men to close was blown wide open.
6. After a Passover feast, before the setting of the sun, chariots and armed men were seen in the air, passing around Jerusalem.
7. At Pentecost that same year, the priests in the Temple heard murmuring that eventually came to loud voices that said, “let us depart from here”.
8. Josephus says the most fearful sign, was a prophet from the lower class, Ananus, during the feast of tabernacles before the destruction of Jerusalem, declared all thru the city, “a voice from the east, a voice from the west, a voice from the four winds, a voice against Jerusalem, a voice against bridegrooms and brides, a voice against the whole people.” This man was scourged, but showed no sign of fear or pain, he prophesied this over and over, and became casualty in the siege from a Roman war engine, as he prophesied his own death.
9. Tribes of the land – not earth – Greek word is GE – not Kosmos – The tribes of the land where the tribes of Israel, not the globe.
10. Again the reference to Jesus coming on the clouds is reference to Him coming in Judgment against the nation and the religious system.
b) Zechariah 12:10 uses the same language found in Matthew 24 and Revelation 1. The thought here is that those who rejected Christ would know the agony of their offense of rejecting Jesus as Messiah, and mourn their decision.
c) “Coming on the clouds” is a common Biblical metaphor for the judgment of God. See the following Scripture references. Psalm 18:11-12, Psalm 77:17, Psalm 104:3, Psalm 148:8, Jeremiah 4:13, Ezekiel 30:3, Joel 2:2 – The word picture here is that Jesus “coming on the clouds “ is a reference to His judgment on Jerusalem.
d) The (tribes) peoples of the (earth) land – We need to understand this in context of the Greek. PHYLE – Tribes – those descended from Jacob – GE – Arable land – This is a direct reference to the tribes of Israel, and not a global (KOSMOS) event. The correct understanding of verse 7 is that Jesus is coming to judge the land of Israel, specifically the Temple.

Revelation 1:8
a) Jesus is the beginning and the end, and uses the language of everlasting life to declare His Divinity in verse 8. Verse 8 teaches us that Jesus in the GodMan.

Source Material:
Blue Letter
Charles Taylor – Commentary on the Book of Revelation
George Eldon Ladd – Commentary on the Book of Revelation
George Eldon Ladd – The Gospel of the Kingdom
Loraine Boettner – The Millenium
Harold Eberle – Victorious Eschatology
Holman Bible Dictionary
Strongs Concordance
NIV – Interlinear Greek New Testament
NASB – Interlinear Greek New Testament
Josephus – The Antiquities
Jonathan Welton – Raptureless
George Peter Holford – The Destruction of Jerusalem
Rapture Fever – Gary North
The Prophets Dictionary – Price

Prophetic Encoragements for 2015

Beloved Refuge Tribe,

I woke up this New Years Day 2015, full of energy, faith and expectation. The feeling was so intense I realized that this was a supernatural “ENERGEO” of God that was all over me, and not just a good morning!

I began to seek the Lord and I feel that Refuge has stepped into an unprecedented season of corporate grace, faith expectation, and breakthrough in many areas relating to our assignments this New Year.

I bless you with the following Prophetic Encouragements for 2015!

1 – 2015 will be a year when discipleship becomes dreaming with God and moving in faith action and expectation towards our dreams. Some of us have been already encouraged with amazing ideas for the next season. Look for Spirit Lead TV shows, Prophetic Encouragement YouTube videos, books, multimedia projects, poetry, spoken word, rapping, music projects, and many other ideas from the Holy Spirit. Many will be dreaming and launching ministries they were too afraid to try, and see their ministries prosper. Look for new prophets and preachers to arise!

2 – 2015 will be year of craftsmanship and witty ideas! Just as Bezalel and Oholiab (Exodus 35:30-35) were filled with anointing of craftsmanship and creativity, the Holy Spirit will be anointing many who are willing to experiment and embrace this season and reject the lies of not being capable of creativity, and will be extremely blessed with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. Look for a new Renaissance at Refuge!

3 – 2015 will be year that launches a revival and reformation in Theology. The Holy Spirit will release revelation in the goodness of God, and bring purity to the message of the cross and the New Covenant! This theological revolution will bring increase to the manifestation of healing, prophecy, signs and wonders, as well as joy and freedom to our hearts!

Lastly Beloved, look for an exciting first 3 months at Refuge with amazing guest speakers, 2 totally radical conferences that are going to be announced soon, and 2 teaching series that will build passion in our spirit to embrace this New Year! I am so thankful for your generosity and love. I am inspired by your amazing passion for Jesus!

Rob Covell