God peeled back a corner of heaven for Daniel, Ezekiel, and John. He wanted them to then give us a glimpse of the unseen world.
Seeing the holiness of God comforts the afflicted. It helps us separate the transitory from the eternal. It also reassures us that justice will come. I think about the families who have seen their loved ones martyred. I think of some of you whose hearts have been torn by atrocities done to your own. God sees and justice will be done.
Seeing the holiness of God also afflicts the comfortable, which we can so easily be in this western world. For so long we have been shielded from the atrocities that our brothers and sisters are experiencing in other parts of the world, and we have forgotten that God has called us to stand in the gap for them.
God has recently God has opened my eyes and filled my heart with compassion for my brothers and sisters in North Korea. I know He is calling me at the very least to pray for them. Rather than feeling burdened by one more thing to do, I feel privileged and thankful that He has awakened me. I want to tell you about these two books and then provide a 5 minute clip from Francis Chan and David Platt that applies not just to our brothers and sisters in North Korea, but to how we should respond to all our suffering neighbors.
“Escape from North Korea” tells the fascinating story of the underground railroad, mainly run by Christians, that is helping North Koreans escape right now.
“The World is Bigger Now” tells of an American Christian journalist, who, in endeavoring to film the plight of the North Koreans, was captured, but finally reunited with her family. While captured, she walked around her small space for seven hours each day, imitating Joshua’s walk around Jericho seven times, praying to be set free and reunited with her family. And, she was delivered from her 12 year sentence of hard labor. President Clinton came to North Korea to tell her and fly her and her co-worker back.
And here is the 5 minute clip from Francis Chan and David Platt. (Optional — but great)
If you are just joining us, you will need to get the e-book or paperback of Mystery Explained by David Campbell. We have finished the churches and are beginning in Part 3: The Vision of the Heavenly Temple. I recommend reading his introduction, especially the four ways of interpreting Revelation and the use of symbols. We are looking at the Idealist way, but are open to you expressing other views.
Recommended for those just joining us, and optional for those who have been with us. Good sermon on Revelation 4:
Sunday: Getting Started
- What stands out to you from the above and why?
- Read aloud Revelation 4, knowing it will feel mysterious, but endeavoring to grasp the main sense God wants you to have. Does this bring to mind any other Scriptures passages where a prophet was overwhelmed by a vision? If so, what?
- Does this comfort you in any way right now? Explain.
- Does this afflict you in any way right now? Explain.
Monday: Three Prophets over Many Centuries See the Same Thing
5. Read David Campbell’s opening two paragraphs in Part III: The Vision of the Heavenly Temple (in the ebook this ends is the section before GOD IS GLORIFIED)
A. What does John see and how is his vision linked both to Revelation’s introduction and the 7 letters?
B. What three prophets were given the same vision — is this repetition meaningful to you? If so, why?
C. Repetition is one way God confirms or emphasizes vital truths. Take one of the following core beliefs or moral commands and trace its repetition: the gospel; the validity of Scripture; the resurrection of Christ; God’s plan for marriage; God’s concern for the poor; God’s concern for the training of children in His ways.
D. Repetition is also a way God confirms His will for you. He may use His Word, His Spirit, the counsel of other believers, or even circumstances to reveal a plan for ministry or work, to reveal a sin, or to stop you from a dangerous path. Can you share a time like this from your life?
6. In Campbell’s longer commentary (with G. K. Beale) there are 12 parallels between John’s vision and Daniel’s vision in Revelation 4-5. Here are the two in Revelation 4. Find them.
A. Daniel (7:9) looks and sees a throne in heaven with God sitting on it. John?
B. Daniel (7:9-10) sees fire before the throne. John?
7. Read Campbell’s three paragraphs that begin “The use of the phrase,” After I looked… up to “John is ushered in”
A. Explain what time Campbell believes is being talked about and why.
B. At the close of these two paragraphs Campbell gives many Scripture references that use the phrase “last days” or “latter days.” Take one or two and explain the time they seem to be referring to.
C. There are seventeen mentions of the throne in Rev. 4-5. What does this represent and why is this important?
D. Does anything else stand out to you from these 3 paragraphs?
Tuesday: Symbols! Numbers!
Most of the views of Revelation see Revelation’s pictures and numbers as symbols, rather than, for example, a literal rainbow or a literal number 7.
8. There are so many symbols in this chapter — some easier than others. What do you think they represent?
A. Rev 4:3 — the rainbow. (Genesis 9:12)
B. Rev. 4:5 – Lightening and thunder from the throne (Exodus 19:16)
C. Rev 4:6 — a sea like glass (Rev. 15:2-4 – this recalls a historical event from Exodus)
9. We’ve already learned 7 represents completion. Why would that be important in interpreting the 7 churches?
10. Who do you think the 24 elders represent? (Guess before you read Campbell’s paragraph that begins “The vision continues…”
11. Read the paragraph that starts “John sees further heavenly signs” and explain the parallel between the plagues of Exodus and what is about to come in Revelation.
12. The Idealist view sees these events repeating throughout the church age. We should, therefore, expect plagues like Covid 19, or even the terrible mice plague that is happening now in Australia. What was the purpose of the plagues in Egypt for unbelievers and also for believers? How have you responded to Covid 19?
13. Read again Revelation 4:1-6. Meditate again. Share anything that stands out to you, is clearer, or confuses you.
Wednesday: The Eyes of the Lord
14. Read Revelation 4:6-8. What do you think all these eyes symbolize?
15. Read Campbell’s paragraph on the eyes that begins with “The vision continues. And around the throne”. What insight does He give?
16. Meditate on 2 Chronicles 16:9. What does this verse say and what does it mean to you personally?
17. In the final two paragraphs by Campbell in this section, what comfort can suffering Christians find here? How does this comfort you personally?
Thursday: Who Was, and Is, and Is To Come & Optional Sermon
I am personally struck by how numerous are the connections between Revelation and the historical books of the Old Testament, for my heart is penetrated that that same God who delivered our Israelite brothers from the devil of Pharoah and the frightening sea, is still at work and will be at work.
18. What does the phrase “who was, and is, and is to come” mean to you?
19. What two things do you learn about creation in Revelation 4:11?
20. Read again Revelation 4:6-11. Share anything that stands out to you, is clearer, or confuses you.
21. If you listened to the sermon above, share your comments and notes.
Friday: Let Us Not Forget our Persecuted Brothers
22. I find it personally helpful to read or watch documentaries about our persecuted brothers. Have you read anything or watched anything that you would recommend to us?
23. Pray here and now for a people group God puts on your heart that is suffering or has been deprived of the gospel.
24. What is your take-a-way and why?