Is history a line or a circle?
Paganism: circular view of history
Christianity: linear view of history
But where does the line go, and how does it get there?
Example: Marxism utopian by processes within history
Christianity leads to a new creation by God’s direct, invasive intervention
Major themes in Revelation I. The Sovereignty of God
Revelation 4: God is Creator and ruler.
Revelation 5: God has a plan; only the Lamb can execute it.
Identity of the Lamb with God: two songs of praise to God in ch. 4 (focus on creation); two songs of praise to the Lamb in ch. 5 (focus on redemption); one song of praise to God and to the Lamb in ch. 5.
The story unfolds when the Lamb breaks the seals.
II. Cosmic Warfare
Is this compatible with divine sovereignty? Can there be a real conflict if God is unquestionably
supreme? See Acts 4:23-28; enemies rage against God and yet fulfill his plan.
Chief antagonists: The dragon (Rev. 12); the beast out of the sea (political powers that oppose
God); the beast from the earth (religious powers in opposition to God); this is an unholy trinity.
God’s wrath, his total opposition to evil:
The seven seals seven trumpets seven bowls (three perspectives on the same thing)
Rev. 14:6-11; 19:20; 20:10
Is the doctrine of Hell necessary? Absolutely! Without it, nothing else fits.
What makes LOTR so compelling? The high stakes in the war.
III. A New Creation
Once God’s wrath has been expended, everything becomes new.
New heaven and new earth (Gen. 1:1; Isa. 65:17); unspoiled by sin, curse
New Jerusalem; likewise unspoiled, untouched by Babylonians
God has made his dwelling with man. This is who God is, forever.
What is not there?
A temple (see v. 16; compare 1 Kings 6:20)
sun or moon
anything unclean: what will it be like to have no ulterior motives, no selfishness, no anger, no lust, no shame, no need to hide our true selves, nothing but complete love for God and for others? Think of the strongest marriage you know; even that is riddled with sin. What will it be like to be free of all sin? This is normal for God.
Rev. 22:1-5: a new Eden:
God’s people all believers in Christ from all nations.
God’s place a new creation
God’s rule and blessing his personal presence with his people.
IV. A Call to Perseverance
If we are in a war, but we know that God is sovereign and has appointed the end, what follows?
Rev. 14:12; we must endure suffering by God’s design (6:9-11) so that we may inherit the new
Matt. 6:19-21: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and
where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither
moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is,
there your heart will be also.”
Our heart will tend to follow our greatest investments; where is your time, money, energy
oriented? To this life or the age to come?
What do we need to stir us to lay up treasures in Heaven? A vision of the glory of Heaven. We
must be heavenly-minded people.