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When John Saw Jesus

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
November 18, 2020 7:00 am

When John Saw Jesus

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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November 18, 2020 7:00 am

7 lampstands... 7 stars... a majestic being with white hair, blazing eyes and a voice like rushing water. Is this a dramatic preview for an upcoming sci-fi thriller? No! These are all elements of Johns vision of Jesus, vividly described in the book of Revelation.

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Welcome to the Bible, studio radio and Internet ministry of confessing Evangelicals featuring the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce for more information please contact us by calling toll-free one 804 88 18 and now the alliance is pleased to present the Bible study hours preparing you to think and act biblically. Some weeks now that we have been studying Revelation together beginning in chapter 1 thus far are study of Revelation.

Most of what we have said is introductory.

However, we come to verse nine with verse nine the first of the vision for the heart of this difficult, very intriguing again here is a vision of Jesus Christ standing in the midst of the seven lampstands represent the seven churches. Churches to whom the book as a whole is addressed in the specific letters in chapters 2 and three are addressed and the whole thing is introduced now raises the question, how are we to understand the vision for any of the following visions for that matter, or if I can put it another terms how literal should we be standard role of Bible interpretation is that you should always take the passage literally unless there is where reason for doing something else other words, if you try to spiritualize or symbolize something which is intended simply a straightforward statements, then you end up distorting would be like Mother telling her young son to make his bed, and then he can go out and play, and he goes out to play without making his bed, she asked him why in the world. He didn't do what she was saying. He replied by saying I thought that was a symbolic Revelation cemented very deliberately and generally speaking, that's the way you have to take Scripture. What I like indicate and suggest in our study of Revelation knows that in the case of this different book.

It needs to be inverted words, we need to make this book as symbolic Revelation unless there is an indication for taking some other way. That's because it is filled with visions we have them here in the first chapter, but as I said that's only the beginning of them and they continue throughout the whole book, so it would be proper to say that the book of Revelation is symbolized Revelation or communication. I want to indicate that John himself shows us of the very beginning that this is the way it should be understood. The first of these studies, I spent some time looking at three now this that are descriptive of what this book actually is most important being Apocalypse took some time to understand Apocalypse is like. We also looked at the word prophecy and finally we looked at the word letter book, as all three of those unique kind combination look at one other word now and it's not a noun, a suburban suburban that is translated made known to make known in your private there at the beginning where John writes that Jesus made it known God made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, now that is an English translation of the Greek verb in the Greek verb is some I know important words. I know means to make no communiqué but it also means to signify or to communicate by symbols which is the case here in Revelation. I say that's the case in Revelation is because in this chapter and other places throughout. John is deliberately echoing language that he finds in the Old Testament prophets, particularly in the book of Daniel many many echoes of Daniel and the book of Revelation and in this case, that word some I know is there in a very important statement in the book of Daniel, which John would've been aware of in its Greek translation. Daniel is speaking to Nebuchadnezzar who has just had that dream of the great golden statue and is explained to them what it's all about second chapter verse 28. Daniel says there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in the days to come.

Now those words. He has shown are again in English translation of that same word that John borrows here at the very beginning of Revelation is doing is making a deliberate parallel between what he is about to write down and what is found in the book of Daniel audit revealed to Nebuchadnezzar what was going to calm in terms of the sequence of empires leading up to the establishment of the kingdom of Jesus Christ but he didn't do it in literal or pedantic language he did it by means of symbols, he signified it by this image of the great golden statue now drawn here. Revelation is picking up the same thing he is saying in effect that he is going to present symbolize Revelation the kind of thing that we might see in a dream is reality thing that is real doesn't exist in exactly the visual form in which it presented bothersome people because it sounds like here suddenly are not taking the Bible literally kind of literalism that is embodied in goes beyond the symbols of other words were dealing with the reality here which is greater than we can express in simple the doctor kind of language so it's communicated in symbols in order to carry our minds to something even greater point to book that I read not long ago called angels in the architecture by Douglas Jones, Douglas Wilson, two very brilliant writers is one of those books that impressed me as being significant enough that I mentioned it to the staff of Rick Phillips without God and read it right away has a chapter in the air on poetic knowledge that argues that for human beings who can see directly fully as God does, there is a sense in which all knowledge must be metaphorical or communicated by symbols. God knows immediately as knowledge is thought of as the immutable cognition, but that's not the same case with us. Our knowledge of always mediated means that it comes to us by language in the language that we used to speak of things is never the reality itself at a point beyond language to to the realities. For example, we call God our father, our father in heaven mean by that the gods exactly what we mean by the word father but that there are parallels there in heaven relates to us on earth someone as the father relates to his children, so we read in Psalm 103 verse 12 as a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him, he behaves in a fatherly way toward us. That's what the language means Jesus use the same kind of language, he said. Which of you, if his son ask for bread were given a stone or the asked for official give him a snake venue who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him lift fatherhood of God. In that respect has to do with the benevolence of a father to the children out with what Wilson and Jones are talking about. They say it's true of all human language, but it's true of all human languages.

Certainly true of the kind of language that describes spiritual things, and above all, the kind of visionary language we have in the book of Revelation. So put it another language is a sense in which we all have to become poets in order to understand Revelation, starting with this vision, we have a Jesus among the candlesticks which is in chapter 1 is a brief little quote from that book, Jones and Wilson say the true poet is one it was learned to think and speak of God, humbly on the creation of obliquely understanding what he does when we don't begin with. This heightened approach to reality.

We begin a rather mundane setting. John was in Patmos actual island Lord's day.

Patmos is rocky crescent-shaped island about 37 miles southwest of the mainland of Asia 16 mi.² in area and according to the Roman historian Tacitus was a place to which offenders are criminals were sometimes banished about in his annals, Christian apologists, Tertullian also wrote about it. He understood those words because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus debating John was banished there because of his proclamation of the Christian message and it's quite possible church historian Eusebius says that John was later released by the Emperor Minerva range from 96 to 98 a day and that he went back to Ephesus. That's the only data we have about that.

There's a reason for questioning. It probably the case Lord's day, probably return refers to something that is the only place in the New Testament. The sun is called the Lord's day. Some people read it been happy with that Lord's day. Also, is the day of the Lord.

I could refer to the final day of God's judgment that phrasing comes out of the Old Testament.

I suggested that's what John is saying is in the spirit brought into the presence of the day of the Lord, the final judgment of probably not what he say here at the beginning of a letter is doing is simply telling where he was when this happened when he received the vision mount encases readers may be thinking that Christ's kingdom is a political kingdom way many evangelicals in our day seem to be thinking that we can bring in the kingdom simply by getting Christians elected to positions of political power. John makes clear the very beginning of the vision that the kingdom about which she is talking is a kingdom that involves suffering that is true kingdom kingdom, the power uses the word suffering… Kingdom bustle IN patient endurance from NA's are three data center connected with a single article which means they they belong together as one part of the reality there describing it in different ways. Jesus brought the kingdom to us by means of his faithful witness, John has become a part of it because of his testimony, and therefore he is suffering because of lack of those to whom is writing is going to be suffering to us about the happen in this book is that John's vision is going to open the eyes of those to whom he writes to a reality bigger than and greater in their suffering once and begin to think of the kingdom of God and that light, I while he was worshiping and praying and meditating is what being in the spirit means he suddenly heard a loud voice: write down what he is about the city and send it to the seven churches seven churches are listed here in chapter 1 of the same churches to which the letters are addressed in chapters 2 and three churches at Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, via Tyra Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea. These words are very much like words in Ezekiel Ezekiel uses to report his commissioning in the voice like that sound of a trumpet this like the voice that Moses heard on Mount Sinai.

So you begin to pick up those phrases.

John Reed readers would understand the need these making us think about the Old Testament of saying what is happening now has parallels what happened in those great days in the past words he is intentionally placing himself within the prophetic tradition what he hears is the equivalent of the law of God which is given on Mount Sinai. I would hears the voice he turns around he turns around he sees the seven golden lampstands again that something would be recognizable easily. Anybody was familiar with the Old Testament because you have the menorah in the Old Testament seven branch candlestick was there in the temple enclosure which represented the people of Israel difference here is that these are separated candlesticks and they represent, not ancient Israel. But the universal church errors church represented by light shining. Maybe John is thinking about the sermon on the mount which he had heard where Lord Jesus Christ referred to his people as lamps are placed upon a lampstand or a city upon a hill, I saw something else to first thing he noticed was lampstands because they were shining course. But he saw standing in the midst of the circle of lambs one who he describes as being like the Son of Man lets the risen Lord Jesus Christ course we know that there's no question about it, but the description of Jesus is one like the Son of Man is borrowed from Daniel seven and Daniel 10 are other things that contribute to this picture what's most important about these words is that there in Daniel, will you have a description of one who is the mind that is separate from the ancient of days are God the father reading that paragraph is a remarkable Old Testament paragraph Daniel 713 and 14 in my vision at night I looked there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the ancient of days and was led into his presence was given authority and glory and sovereign power all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His kingdom is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away in his kingdom. One will never be destroyed. Here is the ancient of days on the father, God himself being approached by a step personality, Son of Man, to whom or given divine honors really remarkable in the Old Testament, it indicates knowledge, they are in the book of Daniel of what we would call a plurality in the Godhead, something that was later worked out in theology of the church of the doctrine of the Trinity and it's also a glimpse of what we would call the pre-incarnate glory of Jesus Christ is what John sees in Daniel this figure like the Son of Man exercises, primarily the function of the king it comes to rule with the ancient of days Revelation 1. The same figure is more of a priest and the prophet priest because he standing among the lampstands, presumably tending them. That was the duty of the priest but also a prophet because he's about give John a prophetic revelation when John turned and saw one like the Son of Man is something in his vision unlike anything he'd ever seen before. So he begins to describe it. These details have to be under Stewart is being borrowed from the Old Testament and as I've been saying all along body and symbolic revelation. This is not a literal picture of what Jesus would be like Jesus would come and stand here today as he is wouldn't appear like this is what John sees in the vision, and these images pointing back to certain things teach us about Jesus, who is like and what he has… Just run through them. First of all, verse 13 he is dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet with a golden sash around his chest. That's a close description of the angel that appears to Daniel in chapter 10 of that book, but the significance of the clothing is that it's the clothing of the Old Testament priests, Jesus is being presented as a faithful and high priest, one who as Priest made atonement are said by his death on the cross and who now lives to minister in the heavenly temple on behalf of his people is the mediator. He mediates for us. Secondly, verse 14 his head in his hair like wall is white as snow is an obvious way of identifying Jesus with the ancient of days because that's how God himself as described in Daniel seven. Clothing was as white as snow hair of his head was white like wool segment bonds head apart from his hair was white to say that his hair was white. One symbolizes is one who is ancient white hair is old ancient of days as white hair to show is without beginning or end. He was all eternity.

Jesus is identified with that one verse 14. His eyes were like blazing fire.

That image appears later on in Revelation see it again.

Revelation 19 verse 12.

It's a judicial images of the jocks because his eyes blazing like fire able to see everything through pretenses. You can't fool Jesus Christ virus associated with God's appearance to Moses at the burning bush on Mount Sinai says in Deuteronomy your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God protects that the author of Hebrews picks up is the fourth thing. Verse 15 his speech were like bronze glowing in a furnace. That image is also in Daniel. Daniel 10 seven suggest moral purity but also speaks of the force and to resist ability of Christ judgment because these are the feet with which is going to tread out the great winepress of God's wrath find it again in the 14th chapter told that his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. Verse 15 that's how Ezekiel describes the voice of the Almighty. Ezekiel read to his right hand he held the seven stars were 16 now and Daniel the 12th chapter of the stars of the wise among Israel which is a way of talking about those among the Jewish people who were believers as they were wise enough to perceive the truth and follow after God.

Not all Jews did anymore.

All Gentiles in the church are Jews in the church do today, but here in Daniel verse 20 stars identified as the angels of the seven churches. Lampstands are the seven churches here is that link with the Old Testament. This is a New Testament equivalent in verse 16 that out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. You take this vision literally. That's the most ludicrous picture of all courses not to be taken that way sword as a symbol for God's word divided several other places in the Bible. It's in Hebrews. For example, author of Hebrews writes of the word of God is living and active and sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow, it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart of an identification of the word of God.

The sword of the Spirit in Ephesians 6 same figure comes back in Revelation 19 verses 15 and 21 letters. His final description. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance were 16, similar to the description of the angel in Daniel 10, but here it refers to Jesus Christ, worth remembering that all though daughter never seen anything exactly like this vision before he had seen something like this before because he had seen Jesus trance figured into his glory on the Mount of Transfiguration, according to Matthew 17 another gospel. So here he seeing something which he is somewhat familiar going to encounter most of these elements again, because when we get into chapters 2 and three, we find that they reappear at the beginning of the letter is the go to the seven churches we have to remember there as well as here that were talking about symbolize communication images are to be analyzed to death create a picture of picture of glory, and all Majesty associated with Jesus Christ is one of the commentator says I think it's worth reading is names GB care to compile a catalog is the un-weave of the rainbow.

John uses his allusion is not a ZIP Code which each symbol require separate and exact translation, but rather for their evocative and emotive power. This is not photographic art's aim is to set the echoes of memory and association ringing, humbling sense of the sublime and the majestic which men experience at the site of a roaring, lack of the midday sun is the nearest equivalent to the vote by a vision of the divine throne is seen the risen Christ. He wants to call forth from his readers the same response of overwhelming and annihilating. Wonder what she experienced in his prophetic trance leave and that might be too mild a way of referring to John's response because one thing that is characteristic of visions of people in the Bible have of God is that it strikes them with such terror as Majesty that they fall down as if their debt only we had that in the case of Isaiah vision that he has in Isaiah 6, or even closer parallels in Daniel aged 10 and that's what happens to John here says verse 17 when he saw this target fell at his feet as though he were dead.

What happens is a Jesus reaches out and lifts them up. It's the equivalent of a resurrection and then begins to unfold. Revelation a continues to the end of the chapter. The words that we have here contain Jesus self identification as commissioning of John I explanation of what he is seeing this new set of titles we have here, for Jesus adds to what we've already seen in verse five. Here Jesus is the first of the last of living one the one who holds the keys of death and Hades that first title the first of the last similar to the way God identified himself. Verse eight. Living one emphasizes Jesus victory over death died but is alive again we understand that the reference to holding the keys of death and Hades emphasizes Christ present will empower Jesus as the John.

Don't be afraid those are words to John. They might very well also be words to those to whom he is writing there going through difficult times as many people throughout history of the Christian church and many people are going through them today says don't be afraid of the reason not to be afraid is if he's the one who holds the future in his hands. Jesus Christ holds the keys way of saying he holds the keys to everything I want to look at verse 19. Particularly because that's difficult. Many people regard verse 19 is the key to understanding all of the proper sale is a sense in which it may be great, however you look at the properties that affect how you look at this verse are four main views verse 19 verse 19 talks about. He who is going to find it here right there for what you have seen what is now and what will take place later on the first year was a verse 19 provides a three part chronological sequence first glance it really seems to be the best way to take those words what you have seen would be the vision of Christ among the lampstands.

Chapter 1 what is now would be the state of the seven churches which are applied in chapters 2 and three and then what will take place later would be the bulk of Revelation chapters 4 through 22, five, and any changes a bit at the end. The problem with this view is that both chapters 2 and three is one section of the bulk of it, which come later refer to things not only in the present or the future, but past present and future. In other words, it's all mixed together. This doesn't seem to be real historical sequence of all the phrase what will take place later. Daniel 228 and Daniel should mean that this the distant future, but the final days in which the Messiah, and since John is picking that up in Daniel. He seems to be saying that those final days in which the Messiah comes now the board that's what is talking about the second view is that this is a two-part sequence of the words of you understands what you have seen the refer to the entire vision and then that's broken down into two parts is what exists right now and what is yet to come in the future.

That's a better treatment because it links what you have seen the verse 11, which is what you see right in the book but again it doesn't tell us anything about the historical sequence was that the words refer to history as a whole. Earlier on this introductory material. I tried to point out different ways of looking at Revelation 1 of the most called an idealist view. It simply means that it regards, everything is merely being a description of history the way it is without any real suggestion of what is to come. I suggested that while there is some truth in that it is describing what life is like and what history is like weaknesses of the doesn't give us any real information about the future. I neglect verse 19 really is referring to is things that exist now, but at the same time are not yet entirely fulfilled. This view recognizes the words what will take place later.

Our deliberate reference to Daniel indicate that what he was prophesying the latter days is here is happening now because Jesus Christ is caught died on the cross he rose from the dead is now ruling the churches all over the same time everything we can say about Jesus Christ is not yet happened. He's gone once, but he is also coming again. So there is an anticipation of what's going to take place in the very very last days everything Revelation is now because it does describe the nature repeated cycles of history's corrupt age in which we live, but it also points forward to a literal future coming of Jesus Christ and glory. John was still on Patmos when he had this vision but he says that he had it in the spirit because he was in the spirit.

He was able see the on Patmos and his imprisonment to a larger heavenly reality. That's the reality that were to see as well were often bogged down with mirror trivia. Our life is filled with trivia any different types John God himself wants us to see beyond the here and now on the details of our lives to that which is eternal see that city that has foundations of builder and maker is the Lord's prayer our father we recognize as we come to this book, the difficulties of interpreting something with which we are not entirely familiar, and which is communicating reality center above and beyond anything we can fully understand.

You've also given it to us in Scripture and you will told us all Scripture is profitable, useful, you've given it for that reason I will look forward to benefiting from a study of this admittedly difficult book of all, as we have studied today. This vision of Jesus Christ we have a renewed sense of how great and wonderful and awesome our Lord is forget that in the trivia about Dave and the trivia of the season like this, we think of Jesus as the baby in the manger.

All the things we can deal with very well remind us we pray that he is the Lord of glory is coming again power one day to judge the world, grant that we might respond to him in faith and obedience and trust and hope.

Looking forward to that. Coming of the kingdom which he will establish forever. You are listening to the Bible study hours with the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance exists to promote a biblical understanding and worldview. Drawing upon the insight and wisdom of reformed theologians from decades and even centuries gone by.

We seek to provide Christian teaching that will equip believers to understand and meet the challenges and opportunities of our time and place. Alliance broadcasting includes the Bible study hour with Dr. James Boyce every last word with Bible teacher, Dr. Philip Aiken, God's living word with pastor, the Rev. Richard Phillips and Dr. Barnhouse in the Bible featuring Donald Barnhouse. For more information on the alliance including a free introductory package for first-time callers or to make a contribution. Please call toll-free 1-800-488-1888. Again, that's 1-800-488-1888. You can also write the alliance at Box 2000, Philadelphia PA 19103 or you can visit us for Canadian gifts mail those 2237 Rouge Hills Dr., Scarborough, ON M1C 2Y9 ask for your free resource catalog featuring books, audio commentaries, booklets, videos, and a wealth of other materials from outstanding reformed teachers and theologians. Thank you again for your continued support of this ministry

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