The Revelation of Hope – Revelation 20:1-3 – Week 40 – Rob Covell

The Revelation of Hope

Revelation 20:1-3

Week 40

Rob Covell

Introduction –  In this Session we come to perhaps the most controversial subject in Christianity today, which theologians call the Millennium Reign, or the 1000 Year Reign of Christ. It is important to note that the Millennial Kingdom of Jesus was been uniformly understood for most of Church history as the Mediatorial rule and reign of Jesus through the Church. It was not until the early 19th Century that the Millennial rule of Jesus Christ became a hotly debated topic.

Today there are 4 schools of interpretation regarding the Millennium. These views are Postmillennial, Amillennial, Ebionite/Historic Premillennial, and Dispensational Premillennial (Christian Zionism) which was birthed by John Nelson Darby and CI Scofiled in the 1840-1860’s and Scofield in the late 1880-1890’s. Dispensational Premillennialism today is uniquely American and is not a widespread view throughout the rest of Christendom.

The intellectually honest believer in Darby and Scofield’s brand of Premillennialism needs to recognize 2 facts from Church History.
1 – Dispensational Premillennialism is a new teaching and understanding of eschatology in Church history in regards to its interpretation of Revelation 20.It is not comparable to Early Church Ebionite/Historic Premillennialism. (George Eldon Ladd)
2 – All Premillennialism was rejected by the Early Church Fathers. The Apostle Paul rejected the precursor to the Ebionite movement as represented by the Judiazers in his Epistle to the Galatians. The Ebionite movement grew out of the Judiazer movements from the Church in Judea. They were Levites that accepted Jesus as Messiah, but did not leave the Old Covenant expression of faith. See Acts 6:7 for their origin. In fact the Council in Jerusalem addressed this directly in Acts 15.

Below are a few quotes from some Early Church fathers on the Ebionite Heresy which held a Premillennial position of eschatology or end-times view.

“Those who are called Ebionites agree that the world was made by God; but their opinions with respect to the Lord are similar to those of Cerinthus and Carpocrates. They use the Gospel according to Matthew only, and repudiate the Apostle Paul, maintaining that he was an apostate from the law. As to the prophetical writings, they endeavor to expound them in a somewhat singular manner: they practice circumcision, persevere in the observance of those customs which are enjoined by the law, and are so Judaic in their style of life, that they even adore Jerusalem as if it were the house of God.”  Irenaeus, Against Heresies

“The matter in debate, therefore, or I should rather say your opinion regarding it, is summed up in this: that since the preaching of the gospel of Christ, the believing Jews do well in observing the precepts of the law, i.e. in offering sacrifices as Paul did, in circumcising their children, as Paul did in the case of Timothy, and keeping the Jewish Sabbath, as all the Jews have been accustomed to do. If this be true, we fall into the heresy of Cerinthus and Ebion, who, though believing in Christ, were anathematized by the fathers for this one error, that they mixed up the ceremonies of the law with the gospel of Christ, and professed their faith in that which was new, without letting go what was old.”   Jerome, Epistle to Augustine

In this study and commentary on the book of Revelation, we are taking the historic postmillennial view or as some call today the victorious view of eschatology.

The main question we should ask ourselves before we interpret Revelation 20:1-6 is; WHEN DID THE RULE AND REIGN OF JESUS CHRIST BEGIN?

When we explore the answer to this question, we have an amazing thing called UNITY become manifest. All Christians in orthodoxy believe that the Kingdom of God was inaugurated from Pentecost and continues until all things are summed up in Jesus Christ. See Acts 2:30-36. Matthew 28:18-20, Ephesians 1:20-23, Colossians 1:15-17, Colossians 3:1-4, and Hebrews 8:1-2.

All professing believers agree that Jesus is ruling and reigning at the Right Hand of the Father until all things are under His feet and believe that the completed manifestation of the Kingdom of God is after His Mediatorial Reign called the Millennium in Revelation 20. So in this sense all believers are Postmillennial.

The diversity of interpretations today comes from this question; EXACTLY HOW IS JESUS RULING AND REIGNING TODAY?

Premillennialists would say Jesus is ruling and reigning in a limited manner now and will rule and reign in a full manner in the Millennial Kingdom.

Postmillennialists would say Jesus began to rule and reign in full authority at Pentecost and is extending and enforcing His rule and reign now through the Church until His return. Thus the Millennial Kingdom of Jesus is a figurative term that defines the Church age.

Revelation 20:1

a) This angel comes down from heaven and has the authority or key to the abyss and a great chain. This angel is described in tremendous authority. We are not told who this angel is. However we see the example of the 5th angel in Revelation 9:1-3 having a key to the abyss. Perhaps this is the same angel. We also see in Revelation 12:7, the angel Michael fighting the dragon/satan and casting him out of heaven to earth.

Revelation 20:2

a) The angel seizes the devil and places the MEGAS HALYISIS on him for 1000 years. It is interesting to point out that John uses the all of appropriate metaphors for the devil, such as serpent and dragon which accurately describes his mode of operation as a stealth deceiver, sly predator, and ancient foe.

b) When look at 1000 years we are faced with an interpretation opportunity. Is this a literal thousand years or a metaphor for long period of time? Let’s let Scripture interpret Scripture to define how 1000 is used.

c) Deuteronomy 32:30 – “How could one chase a thousand, And two put ten thousand to flight, Unless their Rock had sold them, And the LORD had given them up?

d) Joshua 23:10 – “One of your men puts to flight a thousand, for the LORD your God is He who fights for you, just as He promised you.

e) Ecclesiastes 6:6 -“Even if the other man lives a thousand years twice and does not enjoy good things—do not all go to one place?”

f) Psalm 50:10 – “For every beast of the forest is Mine, The cattle on a thousand hills.

g) As we can see, when 1000 is used in Scripture it is used as symbolic prophetic hyperbole that communicates a “great measure” of something.

h) The next question we need to ask in our interpretation of verse 2 is; IS SATAN BOUND OR IS HE FREE TO BE COMPLETELY SELF- WILLED? OR IS SATAN UNDER ANY AUTHORITY IN REGARDS TO HIS ABILITY TO DO OR NOT TO DO? Let’s look at Scripture to interpret these questions.

i) Matthew 28:18 – And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

j) 1 John 3:8 – the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.

k) Luke 11:20-22 – “But if I cast out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are undisturbed. “But when someone stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away from him all his armor on which he had relied and distributes his plunder.

l) Colossians 2:15 – When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him. m) As soon as Jesus began His ministry the Kingdom of God has been plundering and binding satan’s ability to move freely in complete self-will because his dominion of darkness is being assaulted by the Kingdom of God by the authority of Jesus through His Church.

Revelation 20:3

a) The abyss – The Greek ABYSSOS – bottomless pit, depthless darkness – The mission of the angel was to keep the devil from having the ability to deceive the nations anymore.

b) Jesus is the Light of the world, and the Church are His light bearers. Satan not having the ability to deceive the nations – Greek – ETHNOS – or the whole of the human family, speaks of Jesus Christ taking back or redeeming humanity on a mass scale. If Jesus has the authority to redeem the nations than satan has no authority to prevent it. Before Jesus Christ came at the First Advent, the Kingdom of God was not operating at an authority level to displace darkness and take dominion.

c) Mathew 28:19 – “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,”

d) David Chilton – “For all these reasons, it is generally suggested by both postmillennial and amillennial authors that the binding of Satan, so that he should not deceive the nations any longer, refers to his inability to prevent the message of the Gospel from achieving success.”

e) When the 1000 years are ended the dragon is released for a MIKROS CHRONOS – Now at every point satan is being limited and challenged by the advance of Kingdom of God through the proclamation of the Kingdom by the Church as we win the nations. At some point in time God will decree that satan is freed for a short time for one last rebellious press until he meets a quick demise. We will discuss this in detail when we get to Revelation 20:7-10.

f) In Matthew 13, Jesus spoke about the parable of the tares and the wheat. He gave the disciples the interpretation of the parable that at His return there will be both wheat, those who believe and tares, those who do not believe. It is implied that the wheat outnumbers the tares. The postmillennial view point recognizes that although the Church Christianizes the nations, total conversion is not achieved, but Christianity is manifest as the norm. Satan being let out for a short time is the final showdown between himself and God, and those who have agreed to live in rebellion with him.

Questions and Answer Time:

Source Material:  Harold Eberle – Father-Son Theology, a Systematic Theology Christian-History.org  Don Walker – The Beast of Revelation White Paper  Josephus.org David Chilton – Days of Vengeance  The Apocalypse Code – Hank Hanegraaff   G. Davis Dean – The Revelation of Jesus Christ  Blue Letter Bible.com  Preterist Archive.com 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  Wikipedia  Rapture Fever – Gary North  The Prophets Dictionary – Price  Vines Expository Bible Dictionary  Wayne Grudem – Systematic Theology

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Revelation of Hope – Revelation 19:11-21- Week 39 – Rob Covell

The Revelation of Hope

Revelation 19:11-21

Week 39

Rob Covell

Introduction –  As we completed the first section of Revelation 19, comprised of the 5 Fold Antiphonal Song, we start the second part of Revelation 19 with a vision of the Rider on the White Horse, Jesus Christ.

Revelation 19:11-21 gives us the most majestic, powerful and authoritative view of Jesus Christ in the Scriptures. These verses present to us the highest Christology found in Scripture. In fact I believe that a season of prayer and meditation on these verses will bring a transformation of the way we personally view Jesus Christ spiritually and think about Him.
What we believe about God colors our lives in every area. Having the highest view of Jesus releases truth, perseverance, faith, breakthrough and miracles into lives. We can only re-image Jesus accurately as His representatives on earth, by growing in our personal experiential knowledge of Him.

As we begin this Session, I want us to set our hearts on Jesus, the Rider on the White Horse and ask the Holy Spirit to bring us revelation and illumination as we go verse by verse and gaze on the Glory of our Savior.

Revelation 19:11

a) John sees heaven opened – Everything has been removed from view except the glorious and victorious Lord Jesus Christ. There is nothing that competes with Him as we gaze on Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

b) The White Horse is prophetic symbolism of the strength, power, authority and purity of the Holy One. This horse is war horse, and this clear view of Jesus on the white horse presents Him as conquering King.

c) Faithful and True – Jesus is the only Faithful Witness who represented the heart of the Father in perfection. He was the obedient Son of Man (Adam), who fully obeyed the Father and brought Him pleasure. Jesus said in John 14:9, “anyone who has seen has seen the Father.” Philippians 2:6-11 presents Jesus as the faithful and obedient Son who loved the Father so much He became obedient unto death.

d) Jesus being the Faithful and True One is our source of acceptance of the Father. When we speak of Jesus as faithful and true, we are speaking in terms of Him being trustworthy, the source of truth, the One who worked an obedience we were incapable of, but invited to draw from it and be strengthened from His work. Grace is in full view here when Jesus is call Faithful and True. In the letter to the Laodicean Church, Jesus used this title.

e) With justice/righteousness He makes/wages war – Greek – Justice/Righteousness – DIKAIOSYNĒ – integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, correctness of thinking feeling, and acting, in a broad sense: state of him who is
as he ought to be, righteousness, the condition acceptable to God – When we look at the justice and righteousness of Jesus in regards to Him waging war, our perspective needs to be pointed to the truth that Jesus is conquering and warring against anything that disagrees with the heart of the Father. All injustice, evil, oppression, either spiritual or in the natural realm is battlefield of this war. Jesus wages war with truth as the Word of God, and uses the Church to advance His heart. This is a war against the demonic realm (Ephesians 6:10-18, 2 Corinthians 10:4), and a war of the Love in the natural realm.

f) Revelation 19 is understood in the context of Jesus with His Church behind Him, going out in the power of the Gospel to conquer spiritual realms of darkness and convert the globe to Christianity; to disciple nations. Matthew 28:18-20.

Revelation 19:12

a) Revelation 19:12 takes us back to the same imagery and symbolism as Revelation 1:13-16.

b) Jesus having blazing eyes speaks of His passion, intensity and zeal for His Church and His cause. Beholding His gaze burns away every lesser love and empowers us to co-labor with Him.

c) On His head are many crowns or diadems – There is no number of crowns listed because Jesus is infinitely powerful and the Only Sovereign. His kingdom is everlasting and the advance of His kingdom is never ending.

d) Isaiah 9:7 – There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.

e) Jesus having a Name only He knows points to His divinity as the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. Only God fully knows Himself. To know someone’s name in ancient thought is to know them intimately. The mystery of God’s Name is the great pursuit of our faith, because as God is infinite and self-existent, we will never exhaust exploring the nuances of His NAME.

Revelation 19:13

a) Jesus robe dipped in blood – The Greek word is BAPTŌ which means immersed. We are pointed to an allegory that communicates 2 truths. 1 – Jesus blood is the defeat of sin and death as well as the defeat of satan and his demonic hordes. 2 – Jesus blood is the sufficiency and all powerful substance that when applied, is the answer for all things.

b) Some theologians have presented that this garment is dipped in the blood of Jesus’ enemies. I personally do hold that view, because Jesus blood is the substance that conquers sin, defeats the satanic forces, and reforms nations, not the blood of His enemies.

c) His name is the Word of God – This communicates to us that Jesus is eternal. See John 1:1-3. Jesus, the Word of God also communicates that He is the Walking Torah. Jesus was the Perfect Law Keeper. When we look at Jesus life in the gospels, we observe perfect Law Keeping and righteous living. Jesus being
the Word of God means He never spoke without divine authority, and everything He said carried the true heart of the Father. We will unpack this more when we interpret Revelation 19:15.

Revelation 19:14

a) The armies of heaven – These are angels and saints. Revelation presents to us a mixed host of believers in heaven and angels worshipping and dialoging with God throughout Revelation.

b) These armies of heaven are led by Jesus Christ and follow in His authority.

c) The Church is included in this army, as we are in terms of position, seated with Christ in heavenly realms. See Ephesians 2:6 and Colossians 3:1.

d) In addition to this being dressed in white linen has already been interpreted for us by the angel in Revelation 19:8, as the righteous acts of the saints. Our acts of righteousness are simply Christian morals and purity, but acts of spiritual justice like presenting salvation, healing the sick, deliverance, generosity, and lavish displays of love towards all people.

e) Riding white horses imply that we ride in a similar authority of purity that has been imparted to us in Jesus Christ as He is Lord over us. We are submitted to His leadership, and as we are submitted we are led by Him to take territory for Him to rule.

Revelation 19:15-16

a) Out of His mouth comes a sword – In Revelation 1:16 we see this same prophetic symbolism of Jesus having a sword coming out of His mouth, which is His word. This speaks of the complete authority of His word to slay the demonic realm, silence every ungodly thought, and lay bare hearts.

b) Hebrews 4:12-13 – For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.

c) Striking down the nations- All people are brought to the obedience or the dominion of Jesus Christ either through the Gospel, their deaths, or at His return. Currently the striking down of the nations is through the Church proclaiming extending the Gospel of the Kingdom and discipling nations as they are converted. Jesus called for the global rule of the Gospel extended throughout the globe by His Church. Our role is much bigger than missions trips, or good works, or church planting. God is waiting for sons and daughters who have identity and live from identity in order to bring godliness to re-image societies to the obedience of Jesus Christ. He has given His word for the Church to use properly to accomplish this.

d) John quotes Psalm 2 in verse 15. Also reference Daniel 7:13-14.

e) Jesus treading the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty has a 2fold meaning. The winepress in Scripture is always used as spiritual symbolism for judgment of a nation. See Isaiah 63:1-6. The second meaning is in the context of Jesus judging Rome (beast) and Jerusalem (false prophet) for their
sins of unbelief and persecution of the Bride. Jesus pronounced judgment on Jerusalem in Matthew 23:35-36, Matthew 26:64, Luke 21:24 and Luke 23:28-30.  f) Jesus wears His title. The title on the robe communicates His true identity as Messianic King, and the title on the thigh speaks of strength, power, authority and covenant. See Genesis 24:2 for the context of the thigh and covenant.

Revelation 19:17-18

a) Now the vision shifts and we are taken to a scene where the angelic realm releases the invitation of the destruction of Jerusalem. This angel is in the sun because he is standing in the full revelation of God. In Matthew 24:28 Jesus calls Jerusalem a corpse that will be eaten by birds of prey. We have already touched on this in detail in earlier sessions, but it worth mentioning that the Roman Emblem was an Eagle, and Roman Legion bore the emblem of lighting or fire from heaven because they perfected waging war by fire from the sky.

b) It is important to mention that in AD70 the siege and battle for Jerusalem claimed the lives 1.1 Million Jewish people in Jerusalem. Josephus records the vast piles of dead bodies and rotting animals as something that makes zombie apocalypse movies look pale in comparison. Please read George Peter Holford’s book, The Destruction of Jerusalem.

Revelation 19:19-21

a) The beast being Rome generically, and Nero, specifically, and the false prophet is the apostate Jerusalem who rejected Jesus as her Messiah, and chose the covenant that God was putting away instead of the New Covenant.

b) We already learned that the mark of the beast in Revelation 13, referred to the Roman Agora, and the demand for Emperor Worship in order to buy or sale. We also learned that Nero is the man, 666.

c) Being thrown into the lake of fire – Our being removed 2000 years from the context of the culture in the First Century causes many of us think of this as hell. However to the Jewish mind, this would be a glaring reference to Sodom and Gomorrah, and everlasting overthrow of those cities for their disobedience to God. We already interpreted this type of symbolism in Revelation 19:3. See Isaiah 34:10, where the Lord uses similar language in regards to the destruction of Babylon.

d) Again we see the reference to the sword that came from the Rider’s mouth. David Chilton in his commentary says, “The message of the Gospel, the Wordsword of the Spirit, goes out from Christ’s mouth and destroys His enemies by converting them, piercing them to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, judging the thoughts and intentions of their hearts. The Beasts are doubly losers: Not only are they defeated, but the very nations that they led in battle against Christ are conquered by His victorious Word”. Martin Luther sang, “He must win the battle.” As the Gospel progresses throughout the world it will win increasing victories, until all kingdoms become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever. We must not concede to the enemy even one square inch of ground in heaven or on earth. Christ and His army are riding forth, conquering and to conquer, and we through Him will inherit
all things.

Summary:  As we have approached this verse by verse commentary in Revelation, we have approached it from the Historical perspective of the Early Church Fathers, and not the futurist view that originated with John Nelson Darby in the 1860’s. I mention this because it is important acknowledge that the futurist interpretation of Revelation is a new interpretation of Revelation and it colors the way we see the current events around us and shapes the way we relate to the world and even shapes our view of the Church. As you have studied with me, I am positive that you have noticed that this book has been interpreted in light of what the Early Church Fathers have said, the real history and culture of the times it was written, and that I have presented the highest view of Jesus Christ and His Church to you. I want to thank you for keeping an open mind and being Bereans and embracing a Victorious View of Eschatology.
Jesus definitely returns in Body as the Triumphant Messiah, the dead are raised, the Judgment comes and eternity is inaugurated just as the Scriptures teach and the Early Church Fathers confirmed in the Nicene Creed.

Source Material:  Harold Eberle – Father-Son Theology, a Systematic Theology Christian-History.org  Don Walker – The Beast of Revelation White Paper  Josephus.org David Chilton – Days of Vengeance  The Apocalypse Code – Hank Hanegraaff   G. Davis Dean – The Revelation of Jesus Christ  Blue Letter Bible.com  Preterist Archive.com 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  Wikipedia  Rapture Fever – Gary North  The Prophets Dictionary – Price  Vines Expository Bible Dictionary  Wayne Grudem – Systematic Theology

Living in the Father’s Blessing – Psalm 23 – Week 2 – Rob Covell

Living in the Father’s Blessing

Psalm 23

Session 2

Rob Covell

Introduction

As we conclude this 2 week series on Living in the Father’s Blessing, we will firm up our understanding that a child of God should have a faith expectation for God’s goodness to color our lives.

In the last session we learned that Jesus freed us from the curses of the Law, through the cross, so that we are relating to the Father in a faith relationship that is dependent on Him. See Galatians 3:10 & Galatians 3:13
We are building the paradigm for us to live in a daily expectation of God’s favor, love, forgiveness and abundance to be present in our lives.

I want to recap the last session by reminding us that we can only experience that which we have faith for, or that which we have been healed from. The purpose of this series is to have a healed perspective in regards to God’s abundance and blessing on our lives. Nothing speaks more to the goodness of God, than Him providing, healing and blessing His kids.
David knew the favor and goodness of God and walked in a reality that transcended his Covenant. David experienced New Covenant grace, and was so moved by the kindness of God that he wrote Psalm after Psalm about his experiences with the Lord. We are going to learn from David’s life story as we unpack Psalm 23, and root ourselves into the truth that God gives us provision, comfort, abundance, protection and joy as an abiding reality of His love towards us.

Psalm 23:1

a) David’s life experience of being a shepherd gave him a grid and a metaphor for seeing the loving care of the Lord as the True Shepherd. I want to highlight some ancient shepherding practices that will help us understand David as he declares that God is his shepherd, “I shall not be in want”.

b) The duty of Ancient Shepherds was to keep their flock intact, protect the flock from predators, and guide the flock to shearing, etc. David protected his flocks from lions and bears. The Lord protects His people and guides us in destiny.

c) For a flock to be healthy, they need to be moved from healthy pasture to healthy pasture. God will move you forward in every season of your life. You can expect to go from glory to glory. See 2 Corinthians 3:18.

d) Jesus called Himself the Good Shepherd in John 10. Jesus’ discourse in John 10 is a contrast to Ezekiel 34, where ungodly shepherds brought ruin to the people, but the Lord would search for them, find them and rescue them. Ezekiel 34:11-12

e) “I shall not be in want” – Hebrew – CHACER (khä·sār’) – to live without lack, or to have a need, or to live without decrease. Philippians 4:13 – And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

f) Jesus told us to live in the care of the Father in Matthew 6:34-35, and rest in His ability to care for each of us daily.

Psalm 23:2

a) The Hebrew in verse 2 uses the word pictures of green pastures and quiet waters, as metaphors for resting in the Shalom of God. Green pastures are literally new grass in Hebrew, and quiet waters is literally waters of rest and refreshment.

b) There is a contentment that comes into our lives when we choose as an act of will to live in the reality of God’s care. This is how David kept his peace during his tumultuous life.

Psalm 23:3

a) “He restores my soul” – Hebrew – SHUWB (shüv) – To turn back

b) Soul – Hebrew – NEPHESH – soul, self, life, creature, person, appetite, mind, living being, desire, emotion, passion – David is saying that God not only forgives him, but God turns David’s heart back towards God.

c) In the Hebrew, “He guides me in paths” – literally means that God guides the person in well-worn or entrenched paths. This carries the thought that God’s ways are secure, and are trustworthy ways to walk out our life paths.

d) “Righteousness for His Name’s sake” – David is describing the sanctification process. The Lord will be faithful to raise His children in a way that will bring Him glory and uphold His purposes for them. The Hebrew says, “just cause, or justice”.

Psalm 23:4

a) The valley of the shadow of death is a Hebraic metaphor for being exposed to death, or death’s shadow. A shadow in Hebrew culture is synonymous with the grave or Sheol the abode of the dead. See Job 10:21, Psalm 44:19, and Psalm 107:10.

b) David is saying that he will not fear or reverence evil or death because he is secure in Yahweh’s care for Him. The Hebrew word for evil, RA`, means bad, disagreeable, malignant, causing pain, evil, worse than worse. David is choosing to live free from fear of the worst of the worst things, because God is with him.

c) “Your rod and staff comfort me” – Hebrew for rod – SHEBET – rod, staff, branch, offshoot, club, scepter, tribe, mark of authority

d) Staff – Hebrew – MISH`ENAH – support of every kind

e) Many of us have been taught that these words refer to a long rod and shorter heavier club that a shepherd would use to injure sheep that wander and in some cases break one of their legs and carry them until they heal to teach them a lesson. But a look at the Hebrew words tells us otherwise. A loving God does not hurt His children. David describes God’s loving care throughout this Psalm, and any interpretation contrary to this denies the internal truth already present in Psalm 23.

f) David is speaking about having God’s authority and support over his life.

Psalm 23:5

a) When David is speaking about having a table prepared for him in the presence of his enemies, he is referring to 1 Samuel 16:1-13. From the narrative in 1 Samuel 16, we can see that David was probably the illegitimate child of Jesse. Later on in 1 Samuel 17, we see that David’s brothers held him in low esteem. David said in Psalm 27:10, “Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me”.

b) David’s head was anointed with oil as he was anointed king over Israel, and his cup overflowed. The cup speaks of fellowship and destiny in Scripture.

c) David experienced the acceptance of God in His life and overcame some of the most painful rejection a person could experience. The spirit of rejection keeps us out of the promises of God because it attacks God’s Fatherly nature and creates unbelief in His promises and causes us to doubt God’s goodness.

Psalm 23:6

a) Goodness – Hebrew – TOWB – good, pleasant, agreeable, agreeable to the senses, better or best, glad and prosperous, welfare, bounty, morally good, happiness, welfare and benefit.

b) Love/Lovingkindenss – Hebrew – CHECED – (kheh’·sed) – goodness, kindness, faithfulness c) David lived in the expectation of God’s favor on his life. David gained the understanding of living in God’s blessing and favor through his knowledge of God. Ephesians 1:17 – that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.

d) At the end of this Psalm, David declared his eternal security. Philippians 1:6 – For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

The Revelation of Hope – Revelation 19:1-10 – Week 38 – Rob Covell

The Revelation of Hope

Revelation 19:1-10

Week 38

Rob Covell

Introduction –  In this Session we will begin our verse by verse exposition of Revelation 19. We will break Revelation 19 into 2 Sessions so that we can take our time and be wooed by the Holy Spirit into the revelation of the glory of God for His Church and gaze on His salvation narrative. As we do this I am sure we will all be captivated by His love for the Bride, His Church.
Revelation 19 begins with a 5 section heavenly antiphonal worship song that will direct our hearts into the faithfulness of God to His Bride.

As Revelation 18 was the indictment of the unfaithful prostitute of the world system, specifically Rome and apostate Jerusalem in Revelation 16, we see in Revelation 19 the fidelity and honor of the Bride of Christ, the Church. Revelation 19 completes the contrast of 2 women. The spiritually adulterous Woman riding the Beast, and the Pure and Spotless Bride of Christ, the Church.

The second part of Revelation 19 shows us the wide view of the authority, and power of Jesus Christ as a conquering King and exalted Messiah, The Lord of Lords and the King of Kings. We also see the Church following the leadership of Jesus bringing the His kingdom to the nations of the world.

Revelation 19:1

a) As the great multitude in heaven witnessed the destruction of the Adulterous Woman/World System of Rome, they praised the Lord for His righteous judgments. This multitude was most likely made up of believers in heaven and the angelic assemblies. The sound in the spirit realm that John was witnessing must have been an amazing experience. One can only imagine the volume and reverberations of their voices praising God.

b) It is interesting to note that the only uses of the original word Hallelujah in the New Testament are used in Revelation 19. They are used 4 times in connection to the defeat of the adulterous world system and re-conquest of the earth by Jesus and His Church.

c) 3 truths about God are highlighted to us in verse 1. Salvation – SŌTĒRIA – Greek – deliverance, preservation, safety, salvation, deliverance from the molestation of enemies, future salvation, the sum of benefits and blessings which the Christians, redeemed from all earthly ills, will enjoy after the visible return of Christ from heaven in the consummated and eternal kingdom of God. Only through Jesus Christ can our whole person be saved, kept and delivered to eternity. This is a work of God and not man, and this truth keeps us from the spirit of religion which robs God of glory by denying this truth.

d) Glory – Greek – DOXA – good opinion concerning one, resulting in praise, honor, and glory, splendor, brightness, magnificence, excellence, preeminence, dignity,
grace. All goodness belongs to the Godhead. He is true and trustworthy to place trust in Him. The Early Church needed to be convinced of His goodness and His promises. Otherwise they would have never prevailed against the Beast of Rome or the persecution of the unbelieving Jews who denied that Jesus was Messiah.

e) Power – Greek – DYNAMIS – strength, power, ability, inherent power, power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature, or which a person or thing exerts and puts forth, power for performing miracles, moral power and excellence of soul, the power and influence which belong to riches and wealth, power consisting in or resting upon armies, forces, hosts.

f) Salvation, Glory and Power belong to God alone. These declarations of worship point us to the truth that the Lord can be completely trusted for all things in life.

Revelation 19:2

a) True and just are His judgments – The judgments of God on the great prostitute or MEGAS PORNE in the Greek, reveal to us the righteousness of God. We tend to think of judgment as a very negative thing. In fact it is when humans are involved. However, God, being completely undefiled, pure and possessing all knowledge makes perfect judgments.

b) It is important to mention that Revelation is a prophecy. 1 Corinthians 14:3 – But one who prophesies speaks to men for edification and exhortation and consolation. Or strengthening, encouraging and comfort. Revelation would have been a tremendous comfort to the believers in the First Century through the Third Century as they experienced the Great Tribulation. Reference Revelation 1:1-3

c) The Lord had avenged the blood of His servants. The Greek word DOULOS – servants, bondservants, devoted to another to the disregard of one’s own interests. Those who as an act of their will, join themselves to the purposes of Christ will be defended, and avenged. The number of martyrs in the Roman Coliseum in Rome was estimated at 500,000.There is no way corroborate this as a hard number, but anthropologists find no shortage of skeletons from that era, and Church History documents thousands of Christians being martyred in that era. In Revelation 6:9-10 the martyrs asked, “how long” will it be before you avenge our blood?

d) The first verse of this antiphonal worship song is comprised of verses 1-2.

Revelation 19:3

a) Verse three starts the second verse of this worship song. It begins with the glorious Hallelujah declaration of the believers and angels in heaven.

b) The smoke goes up forever and ever. This is Old Testament speech that communicates the finality of the judgment. We would reference Genesis 19 in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and Isaiah 34:10 where it prophesies that the smoke of Babylon’s destruction would rise of forever.

c) Isaiah 34:10 It will not be quenched night or day; Its smoke will go up forever. From generation to generation it will be desolate; None will pass through it forever and ever.

Revelation 19:4

a) Now John can see in the Throne Room of heaven and see the 24 Elders and 4 Living Creatures worship God and they give their overwhelming approval on the judgment of Rome and Jerusalem, and ultimately the entire world system. Amen is the word of strong agreement, or may it be done, or this word is firm and faithful. This is the third verse of the 5 fold antiphonal worship song of believers, angels, elders and creatures singing back and forth in heaven.

b) It is important to point out the fluidity of this vision, where in one verse John is one place and then suddenly in the next he is in another spiritual place. It is serious error to read Revelation chronologically. It is best understood by allowing the Scriptures to interpret Scripture. Many of the themes and ideas were already given to us the Old Testament apocalyptic books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel and the Minor Prophets. These themes selfinterpret Revelation.

Revelation 19:5

a) The voice from the Throne is understood as the voice of Jesus encouraging His people to praise Him and the works of the Father. See John 20:17 – but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.’”

b) Those who fear God great and small – Greek PHOBEO – to reverence, venerate, to treat with deference or reverential obedience – Being afraid of God is not fear of Him doing harm to us. It is us recognizing the love, grace, goodness, glory, power and majesty of God and willingly and lovingly submit to Him. He is perfect in all of His ways, and His ways will do us no harm. Jesus being the perfect representation of the Father showed us what His leadership looks like.

c) This is the fourth verse of this antiphonal/worship song/liturgy in heaven

Revelation 19:6

a) As we come to the last chorus of this song, the volume increases because Jesus had encouraged the worship to a crescendo. It is a 3 fold increase. Voices, waters and thunders!

b) 3 – The number of resurrection, newness of life, and power. It is a common number found throughout Revelation.

c) As the last begins, it begins with high praise and worshipful declarations! Our God reigns, He is glorious and we take pleasure in who He is!

Revelation 19:7

a) The “Wedding Day of the Lamb has come” has been understood 2 different ways in Church History.

b) The first understanding is that the harlot Jerusalem has been divorced, and the marriage of the Church to Her Husband, Jesus, has been consummated by His suffering on the cross, His resurrection and finally the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost where the Church became the True Bride of God. This idea is found in the New Testament. See Ephesians 5:25-27 and 2 Corinthians 11:2-3

c) The second understanding is that we are seeing a very wide panoramic view of the whole of Church history culminating in the return of Jesus Christ as the Bridegroom and the Church coming into her fullness as a Bride. I mention both of them because I believe we need to be intellectually honest in our interpretation of Scripture, due to the statement “the bride has made herself ready”.

d) We must ask the following rhetorical questions. Is the Church a Bride now? Has each one of us made ourselves ready to be joined to Him? Or will there be a generation of believers that will finally live in the place of identity and fidelity to the point that Jesus returns because she is ready?

Revelation 19:8

a) The Bride is clothed in fine linen, clean and bright. The Greek words suggest more than our English words indicate. The fine linen indicates that this is a very fine raiment, and exquisitely made of the best material.  The word clean means purified by fire, pruned, free from corruption and sin, free from the mixture of dissimilar materials, and physically clean. The word bright means transparent and shining.

b) Our righteous acts, or acts of service is the transparent beautiful covering that reflects His true nature and character. It important to mention that we are covered by Jesus’ blood. That is what has washed us and made us clean before God. This is where faith and action kiss, and we act like our Father and our Teacher Jesus. In fact the Holy Spirit helps us by being the guiding internal voice of every believer in Jesus, to act according to our identity.

Revelation 19:9

a) The angel confirms that the vision John has just witnessed in heaven is true. This would confirm that those who received this prophecy in the 7 churches mentioned in the beginning of the book, could trust the vision and take courage that are not being misled.

b) Blessed are those who are invited! This takes us to Jesus’ parable of the wedding to the Pharisees in Matthew 22. In the parable, the King (God), invites His people to celebrate the wedding of His Son. They all have excuses on why they cannot come. Then King declares they did not deserve to come, so He sent servants out all over to fill the banquet hall with anyone who would come.

c) The invitation still stands today. That all who would accept the invitation to the wedding will be accepted.

d) God is in a good mood! He loves celebrations and celebrating. God’s narrative of salvation history is one of celebrating His relationship with humanity, and reclaiming what was lost in Eden.

e) I want to point out the Early Church Fathers held that the marriage supper of the Lamb is the Eucharist.

Revelation 19:10

a) Even the Apostle John almost fell into the temptation to worship angels or basically to prostrate himself to this angel. The angel corrects John and directs John to His attention to bow down to the Lord only.

b) It is interesting that the angel placed himself on the same level as John as one who holds the testimony of Jesus. This shows us that the angelic beings have free will and their hearts are in agreement with God. We also see that angels are servants and submitted to the purposes of God. Hebrews tells they are ministering spirits to minister to those being saved. That is us!

c) The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. Greek – martyria Iēsous eimi pneuma prophēteia – The testimony, the office committed to the prophets of testifying concerning future events, as one testifies before a judge, about Jesus, is the spirit, the immaterial essence that animates something, is the divine discourse of declaring the purposes of God.

d) Every time we speak about the salvation narrative of God in Jesus Christ we are declaring God’s future to that individual or to the people we are addressing. Numbers 11:19 – But Moses said to him, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the LORD’S people were prophets, that the LORD would put His Spirit upon them!” Today all believers have the Spirit of God in them, and we are all able to speak under the influence of the Holy Spirit.

Source Material:  Christian-History.org  Don Walker – The Beast of Revelation White Paper  Josephus.org David Chilton – Days of Vengeance  The Apocalypse Code – Hank Hanegraaff   G. Davis Dean – The Revelation of Jesus Christ  Blue Letter Bible.com  Preterist Archive.com 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  Wikipedia  Rapture Fever – Gary North  The Prophets Dictionary – Price  Vines Expository Bible Dictionary  Wayne Grudem – Systematic Theology

iLiving In the Father’s Blessing – Deuteronomy 28:1-13 – Session 1 – Rob Covell

Living in the Father’s Blessing

Deuteronomy 28:1-13

Session 1

Rob Covell

Introduction

In this Session we will explore the spiritual reality of living in the favor, abundance and blessing of the Lord. As kingdom kids, we are promised everything we need for life, and all of the things we need to walk out our destinies in Him.
2 Peter 1:2-3  Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.

This verse communicates so much to us about the Father’s blessing on the lives of His people.
1 – Grace and peace are multiplied to us by our knowledge of Him.  2 – By the knowledge of God, we are granted everything we need in this life. The knowledge of God opens up streams of abundance to us.  3 – God gives us everything we need for life because He is good and excellent. All in the Greek is PAS, which means all things! We are not living life in the place of lack, but of all things.

The key here is the knowledge of God. We can only experience that which we have faith for, or that which we have been healed from. The purpose of this 2 week series is to have a healed perspective in regards to God’s abundance and blessing on our lives. Nothing speaks more to the goodness of God, than Him providing, healing and blessings His kids.
As we look at the blessings in Deuteronomy 28, and build a foundation for us to have a transformed mind in our expectation of His goodness to be present in our lives. As we look at the Old Covenant blessings, we can see that the Law was based on performance that either brought a blessing or a curse.

A blessing for obedience and a curse for disobedience. As we contrast the Old Covenant to the New Covenant, we can see that the New Covenant is based on the goodness and grace of God in Jesus Christ, as opposed to the religious performance of the Old Covenant. I want to point us to 3 verses.

Galatians 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO DOES NOT ABIDE BY ALL THINGS WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW, TO PERFORM THEM.”

Galatians 3:13  Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE”

2 Corinthians 1:20  For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us.

These 3 verses point to the reality that we should have an expectation for the Father’s Blessing in our lives. As the Spirit cries out in hearts, Abba, Father, we are confirmed as children of adoption through Jesus Christ. And as this dynamic of the Holy Spirit moves in our hearts we are gain boldness and faith expectation for all the promises to become yes and Amen!

Deuteronomy 28:1-2

a) As we look at these blessings, they are framed in the context of obedience and religious performance. However, the New Testament teaches us that the Law was powerless to provide the grace to obey and love God fully. The law was a tutor for us to lead us into the grace of Jesus Christ. So now that we have been kissed by grace and love, God is building in us the capacity for love and obedience. The New Covenant reality of this is, “have your heart pointed to me.”

b) We are set in a place of authority and influence as New Covenant kids. Jesus said “all authority has been given to Me”.  His authority has been delegated to us, and we have access by faith into the same authority. This is not the authority to rule and reign over people, or trample their hearts, but is authority over the spirit realm, and power to love like He loved. Loving people well will always give us access and influence.

c) Blessings – Hebrew – BĔRAKAH – The praise of God over you, blessings and prosperity, gifts, and a treaty of peace.

d) Come upon you – Hebrew – BOW’ – enter in, come on, to be enumerated

e) Accompany you – Hebrew – NASAG – to overtake, to have enough, to be secure

Deuteronomy 28:3

a) Your whole land will be blessed. We can live in a reality that no matter where we are, or what nation we are in we have access to this reality. As believers, we have the ability to manifest a blessing in the countries that we live in.

Deuteronomy 28:4-5

a) Our children will be blessed. The Lord is saying that our families will have divine favor over them. Our marriages will experience divine favor.

b) Crops and livestock speak of the economy that we live in. In that day an abundance in crops and livestock, speak of economic gain, and being well fed. The Lord is promising abundance and provision.

Deuteronomy 28:6

a) Blessed in coming and going, is a reference to peace being in the land. Often in the ancient world it was very dangerous to travel. It was a world without civility, common law or basic law keepers that upheld justice. The social law of the Old Covenant was truly revolutionary in that it established a moral compass for society to be become civilized.

b) The benefits of peace and free travel we have today in our country come directly from the Old Covenant Law and its ideas. This is another evidence of the latent power of Christianity in a culture.

c) Travelling without fear in the ancient world was a truly a revolutionary concept. The freedom to travel was necessary for the observance of the Levitical Calendar.

Deuteronomy 28:7

a)  The Lord is promising deliverance from their enemies. He did not say that they would not see an attack or that the enemy would try to face them. But He did say they would have deliverance and victory over them.

b) Though the enemy would come at them in a unified front, they would flee in a 7 fold defeat. 7 is the number is completeness, wholeness, perfection, and rest.

c) Isaiah 54:17 – “No weapon that is formed against you will prosper;  And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn.  This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD,  And their vindication is from Me,” declares the LORD.

d) Spiritual warfare is waged in the unseen first, then manifested natural as the fruit of evil. 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.

e) To summarize, despite the momentary and unified attack of the enemy, in the authority of Jesus Christ, every assault on the people of God will be defeated. 2 Corinthians 10:4 – for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.

Deuteronomy 28:8

a) The barn in ancient culture was their bank account and their cushion in a time of famine. The Lord is promising them that they would have an abundance in all seasons of life. This opens up the paradigm for having confidence in any economic season.

b) The Lord is promising that their hard work would bring a benefit to them. Proverbs 14:23 – In all labor there is profit,  But mere talk leads only to poverty.

c) The Lord loves business enterprises and ingenuity. These things reflect His greatness in us because they reflect His creativity, establish our faith, and bring an opportunity for blessing and praising God. Whether we are engage in a business venture or not, these principles are true in all areas of employment. We can all work in ways for our employers that bring them benefit and prosperity, which ultimately affects our lives for the God’s best. Joseph is great example of this.

Deuteronomy 28:9-13

a) The Lord is declaring over the Old Covenant faithful that they will be His covenant people.

b) The New Covenant reality is greater than the Old Covenant conditional promises. Romans 8:37-39 – But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

c) 1 Peter 2:9 – But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

d) The on-ramp to walk receive these promises is exercised by faith. No matter here we are at today, we can all choose engage these promises of God an increase in them.

e) 3 Fold Faith Strategy For Increase – 1 – Meditate on the Promises of God in Scripture. This builds the spiritual pleasure of enjoying God’s Word and builds in us a faith expectation to receive them. Thankfulness, Praise, Celebration and Worship point our hearts to increase our faith in God’s ability to provide breakthrough.

f) 2 – As the Lord gives us revelation on what to do and where to make changes, engage the process. Faith always requires action. Living faith demands a response. Perseverance in faith builds strength in the inner person, and makes more opportunities to experience God in the circumstances of our lives.

g) 3 – Generosity – We imitate God when we practice generosity. God is a giver, not a taker. He gave His Son, He promises to meet all our needs, He gives us a kingdom, He gives us forgiveness and grace! Generosity transcends money. Financial giving is only one nuanced expression of generosity. We can be generous in time and love. But generosity in all areas reflects God’s character as He is the most generous One and the author of generosity.

The Revelation of Hope – Revelation 18:14-24 – Week 37 – Rob Covell

The Revelation of Hope

Revelation 18:14-24

Week 37

Rob Covell

Introduction –  In this Session we will complete Revelation 18. Revelation 18 shows us the destruction of the Roman Empire from heaven’s perspective and details the spiritual warfare surrounding her fall. Revelation 18 is the judgment and the indictment of Rome from heaven’s perspective and in it, we see the angelic order announcing its destruction and the reasons for its destruction.

As we look at the real history of the Roman Empire we can easily see the fulfillment of the prophesied destruction of Rome in precise detail as prophesied by John.

We also see in Revelation 18 the destruction of the spirit of Babylon in every age during the Church Age/Grace Age. Just as the Roman Empire was destroyed for agreeing with the dominion of the beast and the shedding of the blood of the saints, all empires and tyrannies of men that oppress God’s people and shed their blood, are under the same indictment.

Revelation 18:14-15

a) As we continue hearing the lament of the merchant class in the Roman Empire over the fall of Mystery Babylon/Rome in verse 14, we see that the world system at that time and today longs for fruit that is contrary to the fruit of Spirit and the treasure of the kingdom of heaven. Riches and splendor are cheap and plastic compared to the knowledge of God and a life centered on Him. The merchant class wept because of their lives were based on temporal pleasures and a false reality. Their wealth was gained by agreeing with a corrupt economy.

b) Mark 8:35-36 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?

c) We will receive the fruit of whatever system or dominion we decide to live in.

d) Contrasted to the destruction of the Roman Empire and the spirit of Babylon that continues today, Christians belong to a kingdom “where no thief comes near nor moth destroys.” Not only do we walk in present day promises now, we possess eternal wealth.

e) The fruit of the Spirit contrasted to the fruit of the world/sinful nature. Galatians 6:18-23 – As believers we have a distinct advantage in terms of life skills, quality of life and what we present to the world. If we are not manifesting the fruit of Spirit or the witness of the Spirit, we need to ask for more of the Spirit. We can never accomplish Christ-like living on our own. It is a grace given to us by Holy Spirit.

Revelation 18:16-17

a) Verses 16-17 take us back to Revelation 17:3-4 and the contrast of this woman, who is a false bride when compared to the True Bride, the collective Church of Jesus Christ. Dressed in purple – This color is reserved for royalty and the rich. We see a false or counterfeit identity of this unfaithful woman contrasted to the True Bride of Christ who is a royal princess arrayed in White!

b) Scarlet – Red can either speak of anger, passion, or redemption. This false bride/adulterous woman is inflamed with the ungodly passions of the spirit that animates this beast.

c) Glittering with gold – false glory

d) Precious stones – Gem stones speak of wealth and riches. Gem stones are used as descriptive language of the One who sat on the throne in Revelation 4. Also the tribes of Israel were represented by gem stones on the breast plate of the High Priest as a symbol being close to the Lord’s heart. This woman is arrayed in false wealth and riches, and is not a gem close to the Lord’s heart. She has no covenant.

e) Pearls are used in the context of wisdom and as a descriptive for the kingdom of God in Scripture – see Job 28:18 and Matthew 13. This woman has no wisdom or an enduring kingdom from God.

f) Her cup is filth. Cups speak of destinies: Jesus referred to his destiny as being the Lamb of God as a cup given to Him by the Father. Cups also speak of fellowship in Scripture as well. Psalm 116:12 speaks of fellowship with God as the cup of salvation. What we see here in the symbolism is that this woman has false fellowship and destiny of destruction.

g) Her title “Mystery Babylon, Mother of Prostitutes” tells the whole story. Rome is the embodiment of everything contrary to the goodness of God.

Revelation 18:17-20

a) In the previous Session we looked at the destruction of Rome in history by Alaric I in AD 410. In verses 17-19 we see this destruction in apocalyptic symbolism and language that is found throughout the Old Testament Scriptures.

b) It is important to keep in view that we are hearing “another voice” from heaven, so the things we are reading are from heaven’s perspective.

c) Verse 20 would have been particularly hopeful and encouraging for the First Century Christians who were reading or hearing the Revelation read to them in their churches. The church of the early Roman era suffered tremendously and the Lord took vengeance on Rome because of her persecution of apostles, prophets and faithful saints and her allegiance to the beast, as symbolized by the woman riding the dragon.

d) The Roman Historian Tacitus gives us the first non-Christian mention of our faith in secular history in AD 64. “Yet no human effort, no princely largess nor offerings to the gods could make that infamous rumor disappear that Nero had somehow ordered the fire. Therefore, in order to abolish that rumor, Nero falsely accused and executed with the most exquisite punishments those people called Christians, who were infamous for their abominations. The originator of the name, Christ, was executed as a criminal by the procurator Pontius Pilate during the reign of Tiberius; and though repressed, this destructive superstition erupted again, not only through Judea, which was the origin of this evil, but also through the city of Rome, to which all that is horrible and shameful floods together and is celebrated. Therefore, first those were seized who admitted their faith, and then, using the information they provided, a vast multitude were convicted, not so much for the crime of burning the city, but for hatred of the human race. And perishing they were additionally made into sports: they were killed by dogs by having the hides of beasts attached to them, or they were nailed to crosses or set aflame, and, when the daylight passed away, they were used as nighttime lamps. Nero gave his own gardens for this spectacle and performed a Circus game, in the habit of a charioteer mixing with the plebs or driving about the race-course. Even though they were clearly guilty and merited being made the most recent example of the consequences of crime, people began to pity these sufferers, because they were consumed not for the public good but on account of the fierceness of one man (Nero).

Revelation 18:21-24

a) Verses 21-24 introduce us to a Mighty Angel who is charged with an action in the spiritual realm that will manifest in the natural realm in the destruction of the Roman Empire and the city of Rome in particular, and this angel’s judgment declaration from the Lord. Verses 21-14 show us the spiritual warfare that surrounded the spread of the gospel in ancient Rome, and the victory of God’s kingdom over the inferior dominion of the beast/devil.

b) It is important for us to keep in mind that we are always warring for the destiny of our planet from a place of sure victory. Revelation reveals that truth to us as we seek reformation in our own nation.

c) The millstone is a symbol of the defeat of destruction in the Scriptures. See Deut. 6:24, Judges 9:53, 2 Samuel 11:21, and Mark 18:6

d) The sea here is symbolic of the mass of humanity under the Roman Empire. The angel in the spirit realm warred against the demonic forces empowering Babylon/Rome by this spiritual act and declaration.

e) Every system of Roman culture and society were affected by this decisive angelic action. In verse 22 arts and entertainment, manufacturing, agriculture, and wisdom/education, family, and religion were all condemned as corrupt because their rejection of the Gospel and their persecution of the Church.

f) The Spirit filled and Christ-like Church is aligned with the right Kingdom and possess better wisdom, and better systems of living than the corrupt systems that are aligned with the beast.

g) Verse 24 points us to the truth that righteous bloodshed will always be accounted for. Just as Jerusalem was held accountable for all the blood of the prophets, especially the blood of Jesus (Matthew 23:35-36), Rome was responsible for her persecutions of Christians and their righteous blood. Lastly, even today as the Church is being persecuted throughout the Middle East and Asia, all will be held accountable.

Galatians 6:7-8 – Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will
from the Spirit reap eternal life.

Source Material:  Christian-History.org  Don Walker – The Beast of Revelation White Paper  Josephus.org David Chilton – Days of Vengeance  The Apocalypse Code – Hank Hanegraaff   G. Davis Dean – The Revelation of Jesus Christ  Blue Letter Bible.com  Preterist Archive.com 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  Wikipedia  Rapture Fever – Gary North  The Prophets Dictionary – Price  Vines Expository Bible Dictionary  Wayne Grudem – Systematic Theology