“Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take it to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.”
That’s the promise. How can we be blessed by this book? Let me share just two ways.
1. Lead you into worship and into His arms
If you read it out loud and picture what is being said, it may lead you into worship. One pastor, in speaking of our penchant toward idolatry (running to something other than God for help) said: “We worshipped our way into this mess, and by God’s grace we will worship our way out.” Revelation is going to help us do just that, simply by contemplating who Jesus is and what He is like.
One phrase in this chapter that moved me to worship is: “His voice as the sound of many waters.”
Listen to this 3 minute clip from this man, who is with Sonship, on how this phrase impacted him.
Water soothes me, whether is a steady rain on my roof, the sound of waves coming in, or even the mighty roar of a waterfall. No matter what is going on in my life, I know He is as faithful as the spring rains, as powerful as roaring waters. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the one “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Rev. 1:8) And He says to me, “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive forever and ever!” (Rev. 1:17-18)
2. Lead you to die to yourself
No one was expecting the Messiah to die naked on a cross. When Jesus was going through all those crazy mock trials on Good Friday, they kept expecting him to defend himself so that he wouldn’t be crucified. But as Isaiah prophesied, He set his face like flint (for us!) Like a sheep before his shearers is silent, He was silent (for us!) For the joy (us!) set before Him, He went to the cross. And at one point, when the high priest asked him if he was the Messiah, He did speak up:
“I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” (Mark 14:62)
God gave Daniel this vision (Daniel 7:13) and gives it again to John:
“Look, he is coming with the clouds,” and “every eye will see him, even those who pierced him”; and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.” (Rev. 1:7)
Dr. Campbell writes: “While it is certainly true that we will bow in worship and also in sorrow and repentance when we behold Christ at his final return, the same should be true as Christ comes to us now by His Spirit. We grieve over our disobedience and sin and bow in worship before him, and in joy over the reality of his forgiveness. And so in context, we take this coming with the clouds to refer to all of Christ’s comings.”
How does Christ come to us again and again? Through His Spirit, to comfort, counsel and convict. And we respond with worship, obedience, and repentance. What we learn from Christ here is that the way up is down.
Whether it is repenting to Him or to one another, the way up is down. And dying is always hard, but for believers, resurrection follows every dying to self. I think of how often Steve and I had to repent to one another, but how beautiful our marriage became. When Billy and Ruth Graham were asked the secret of their good marriage, they said they were “good repenters and forgivers.
The way up is down!
Please watch this (under 4 minutes)
I have a couple of things to share with you personally from Dr. Campbell – first, a big compliment:
These ladies should get a college credit by the time they finish!
Next, there were a few of you who wanted to know more about what he wrote in the paperback version about Margaret MacDonald and her vision in Scotland in 1830 that he said originated the view of dispensationalism. Both here on the blog, and in a private study I’m having, I sensed some were upset, so I asked him for more information and he so kindly went into detail. This is just for those who wanted to know more and his sources.
My daughter Sally tells of being at Covenant Seminary and hearing the young men above her floor argue about the end times and slamming doors. She thought it was good they were so passionate. As a peace-lover, I would not have had that reaction! I am continually praying that God will lead us to His truth and that even if we must agree to disagree, it will be in love. In The Mark of a Christian, Francis Schaeffer said what will be remembered in ten years is the tone of a disagreement — much more than the details. I am praying He leads us to a likemindedness, but if not, may He give us love and grace.
Sunday: Getting Started
Father, I pray for an excitement and a hunger for your Word for each participating here. Please come to us, kiss us, and help us overflow with Your fruit.
- What stands out to you from the above and why?
- Read Revelation 1 out loud to yourself and share anything that becomes “radioactive,” (jumps out) and your thoughts.
3. Read Revelation 1:1-3 and share anything that stands out.
4. In Lesson 1 of Mystery Explained, read the page and a half about the prologue and answer:
A. What three words or phrases occur together here and only previously in Daniel 2:29?
B. In Daniel 2:29 and 2:45, when does Daniel say these things will happen? How is this different from Revelation 1:1?
C. In Daniel 2:44, how is the last Kingdom described, and who, do you think, is the “stone” not made with human hands?
D. How did Christ’s death and resurrection begin this Kingdom that would never end?
E. Compare the last phrase of Revelation 1:3 to Mark 1:15. What similarity do you see?
F. Share anything else that stands out to you from Dr. Cambell’s writings concerning this prologue.
5. If Revelation was written primarily to help us now, rather than to satisfy our curiosity about end times, how might that change how you study it?
Tuesday: John Greets The Churches
6. Read Revelation 1:4-5
A. In what two ways does John use the number seven?
B. List all the ways Jesus is described in these two verses – do any of these descriptions become radioactive for you? If so, why?
7. Read Dr. Cambell’s first six paragraphs under “John Greets the Churches” (Stop at “John’s words of greeting continue…” Highlight as you read.
A. Share one of your highlights.
B. What do you learn in his first two paragraphs about the number 7?
C. Why do we need to understand that Revelation is just as relevant to us as other letters to the churches in the New Testament?
D. The description of Jesus in verse 4 is a quote from Psalm 89:27 -29 and 35-37. Find this. What do you see?
E. Campbell explains we will see this phrase “kings of the earth” again in Revelation, and it refers to the kings who oppose Christ’s rule. I cannot help but think of those rulers today in North Korea, Iran, and China who are so viciously persecuting Christians. What does it mean to you that Christ rules over them? (This calms me, like the “voice of many waters.”)
F. Rev. 1:6 is a quotation from Exodus 19:6 but there is a change of tense in Revelation. Significance?
G. Dr. Campbell writes: “God has in one sense sovereignty limited himself to operating through us. The church is an imperfect vehicle composed of imperfect people, yet God has chosen to use these people as the means by which his kingdom comes….there is no plan B.” Significance to you?
H. Christ became a King and a Priest through His blood and “freed us from our sins by his blood and has made us to be a kingdom and priests” (Rev. 1:5b) We are called to walk in the way of the cross. The way up is down. Share a way in the past you experienced this.
Wednesday: Behold He is Coming with the Clouds
8. Revelation does deal with the end times, but only a small fraction of it does. We see it here in one verse in chapter 1 — Revelation 1:7. What does it say?
9. Read Dr. Campbell’s paragraph beginning with “John’s words of greeting continue” and share his main point and how we can apply it not just to His final coming, but right now.
10. Compare Revelation 1:7 with Zechariah 12:10. How has the group broader in the New Testament reference? (Cambell can help in the next paragraph if you don’t see it.)
11. Meditate on Revelation 1:8? What does this mean and what does this mean to you? (Campbell explains in his last paragraph before John is Commissioned…
Thursday: John is Commissioned (Part 1)
12. Read Revelation 1:9-16 and share main points or anything that stands out.
13. Read the first 5 paragraphs under JOHN IS COMMISSIONED…
A. In the first paragraph, how does Campbell illuminate how the word “tribulation” should be used according to John? Is this different than you have heard explained? If so, how?
B. In this section in Mystery Explained, we learn the significance of many of the symbols given to John such as “loud voice like a trumpet,” “seven lampstands,” “eyes like blazing fire” “feet like burnished bronze,” “voice like many waters,” and “sharp two-edged sword.” Share anything new you learned.
C. What does Campbell mean with the phrase “already and not yet.”
D. Why might God be showing you this today?
Friday: John is Commissioned (Part 2)
14. Read Revelation 1:17-20 and share anything that stands out to you.
15. Read Campbell’s closing section in Lesson 1 beginning with the paragraph “John responds to the heavenly vision.”
A. How is John’s response similar to Daniel’s in Daniel 8:15-19 and 10:7-12?
B. Share anything that stands out to you from Campbell’s closing section.
16. What is your take-a-way and why?