This is our final week on Revelation — and a great HURRAH to those who finished well! It’s been a great blessing to me to travel this with you!
Charles Spurgeon wrote that the Song of Love (The Song of Songs) and the Book of Love (the Bible) end the self-same way, with a plea for the Bridegroom to return. Do you want Jesus to return soon?
I do, and yet I don’t. There are those I want rescued before He returns, and I have always feared “the judgment of works,” but now I have hope I misunderstood it, picturing God bringing out every bad thought and deed for me to repent of, many of which I had not even recognized. Perhaps He will, but now I think not. I’ve heard sermons to that end, but now I think they misunderstood. And because “works righteousness” is a default of the human soul, it seemed to make sense, though terrible, to me.
Here is the verse, among several, those sermons were based on:
Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.
Campbell’s interpretation was new and so comforting to me, so I also went to his larger commentary with G. K. Beale for further elaboration, and this is what they wrote there, in part:
…works are considered a necessary condition for salvation at the final judgment. But how? Works are a sign demonstrating that a person has already met the ultimate, causal, necessary condition for salvation which is redemptive justification from sin by Christ’s death and resurrection.
And Dr. Campbell, in Mystery Explained, puts it like this:
At the final judgment, the works of believers will be recognized as the fruit of the Spirit within them, and thus as evidence that they are truly saved.
There is more about that, and more good news in this final chapter, but also warnings to remain steadfast in the face of trial, for His return is sure, and will be sudden. He will be coming to set up the new heaven and the earth and to reign forever.
In a famous conversation between J. R. R. Tolkein and C. S. Lewis, Lewis mourned that the myths and fairy tails he had always loved as a child were not true.
Tolkein insisted they were true, because every story that moves the heart does so because it taps into the real story, and “steers us, however shakily, toward the true harbour.”
We really do have a Prince, indeed, a King, coming to us on a white horse. He sees us as His beautiful bride and His face will shine upon us. Together we will bask in His love forever in a land beyond beauty’s imagination.
Here we go, for our final lesson, and I think you will agree that we’ve been blessed to study this book, just as Jesus promised we would be. I’ve certainly been blessed to study it with you! Thank you especially to those who stayed faithful through the whole study. I certainly understand those who dropped out, but know how thankful I am for you who stayed all the way through!
We will begin Lent officially in two weeks – but before that, I’m going to share some wonderful insights from Paige Benton Brown on the 1st two chapters of 1 Samuel. Oh my, it’s good. It’s all about the heart — and has truly impacted my heart! There are great insights on parenting as well.
- What thoughts do you have on anything from the above?
- What difference does holding the world view that this life is not all there is make to you personally?
Monday: Better Than Eden – THE BLESSINGS
We have been looking at Revelation through the Idealist view which, based on the genre of Apocalyptic literature and the Greek words that have to do with symbols, we see Revelation using “pictures that are puzzles.” In the same way, the descriptions of the new heaven and new earth are likely to be pictures that are puzzles as well. So use your imagination as we look at the opening.
3. Read Revelation 1:1-2
A. Describe the river of verse 1.
B. How is this similar to Eden — yet better?
C. Does it remind you of any words that Jesus used to describe himself?
D. While there truly may be a clear river flowing through the new heaven and new earth, what else might it represent?
E. Describe the trees.
F. How are they similar to Eden — yet better?
In Mystery Explained turn to 22:1-5 The Symbols of God’s presence in the City
4. Read the beginning of this section up to (of whom twelve is the number) and write down a few of things you learn about they symbols in Revelation 22:1-2. Why does he picture us walking through the river of life? And why 12 months?
5. Read Revelation 22:3-5
A. What will there no longer be, according to verse 3?
B. What will we see that Moses was not allowed to see? (vs. 4)
C. What do you think His name on our foreheads symbolizes (vs. 4)
David Campbell says that the “name of God” on us symbolizes his ownership and protection of believers. I am glad if I don’t have letters on my forehead, but soooo glad I belong to and am protected by Him.
D. What do you think no more night symbolizes?
I personally hope we still will have sunsets and starry skies, but no more of the darkness that wounds are souls. But if we don’t have literal nights, I know it will be something better.
6. Campbell says this is the fulfilment of Numbers 6:24-27. What do you see here?
Tuesday: Epilogue – THE WARNINGS
Turn, in Mystery Explained, to EPILOGUE: (22:6-21).
Read this short section up to 22:6-7 First exhortaion to holiness
7. What does Campbell say is the main purpose of this section?
8. Read Revelation 22:6-7. Daniel had said these things would take place in the latter days, or “after this.)
A. But the angelic voice to John uses different words. What are they? Significance?
B. This is accompanied by a warning in verse 7 – what is it?
Campbell writes: …though Revelation presents many “comings” of Christ to his church, the emphasis at the end of the book…is more heavily on his final coming. …soon may also refer to the sudden and unexpected nature of Jesus’ return.
9. What mistake does John repeat in Revelation 22:8-9? Comments?
10. We are such natural idolaters – it seems to be our default to trust in people, comfort, ministry… to find our security and identity in something other than Christ. What truth can you speak to your soul?
11. How can you tell from verse 10 that the end of this earth as we know it is near?
Wednesday: Judgment By Works?
12. Read Revelation 22:11. Dr. Campbell explains that verse 11 is not a command but a fulfillment of prophesy. What is it?
Turn to Campbell’s commentary on Revelation 22:12. It is in the section 22:11-12 Third exhortation to holiness and begins with the words “Christ speaks again: “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me…” Read up to 22:13-17 Fourth exhortation to holiness.
13. Now read Revelation 22:12
A. What does Dr. Campbell think is the primary meaning of “soon?”
B. How does he explain 12, often referred to as “the judgment of works.” Is this new to you or not? Explain.
Read 22:13-17 Fourth Exhortation to holiness to 22:18-20 Fifth exhortation to holiness
14. Read Revelation 22:13-17.
A. Having studied Revelation, does this give you any fresh appreciation of how Jesus describes Himself in verse 13?
B. Do you have any new insight into the symbolism of:
- Washing our robes
- Tree of life
- Gates of the city
- Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and immoral persons…
- Root and descendent of David
- Water of life without cost
Thursday: Don’t Add or Subtract from God’s Word
15. Read Revelation 22:18-19
A. What warning is given in verses 18-19?
B. What do you think it means to add or subtract from the Word of God?
Alyssa Childers, in her book, Another Gospel, said that we all have passages we don’t really like, and tend to disregard those — and that is a way of subtracting. I’ve asked myself what those are for me. It really is a warning to me to not just to not lie, but to not deceive; not just to not murder, but to not hate…all the high bars of The Sermon on the Mount. During this study, and seeing His hatred and wrath against sin, He has helped me when I have judgmental, even hateful, thoughts. I am turning them to prayer. That’s a big change for me — I’m eager to hear about any big changes for you.
I have also wanted to know about the role of women in the church all of my Christian life, for it is an area where godly people disagree. I don’t want to subtract from God’s Word, but I also have asked Him to show me what these restrictive verses mean — not just what men may say, but what He says. That may or may not be an area you struggle with, but I do know wherever you struggle, you can ask Him and He will help those who are earnestly seeking to obey. For me it was my favorite Covenant Seminary Professor’s book: Through His Eyes by Jerram Barrs that helped me the most. He goes through Christ’s encounters with women, for he says too often the role of women in the church is seen just through the restrictive verses, and not through the gospels as a whole. It was a balm to my soul. I want to obey the restrictive verses, but I also need to know how valued I am to Him.
16. Where do you want to either add or subtract from the Word — and how could you sincerely seek help from your Abba?
17. Read Revelation 22:20-21. How does this book end and what does it mean to you?
We’ve been in Revelation for nearly a year, beginning last April, with an 8 week break in Romans. What can I say?
18. What did you learn about:
A. What is one of the primary truths you learned about apocalyptic literature and how to understand it? Has this made a difference in the way you see Revelation? If so, how?
B. We learned that the 7 churches are us! Name one encouragement and one warning you want to keep in your heart.
C. What are some of the pictures or symbols of holiness that stood out to you from Revelation 4?
D. What did it mean that no one was worthy to open the sealed future for the world? Who was worthy, and why was that a very good thing?
E. What song was sung and how did that echo the Song of Moses?
F. What did the four horsemen of the apocalypse represent?
G. Who are the 144,000 clothed in white robes?
H. Why was there silence in heaven before the 7th seal was broken?
I. In what way are the four judgments of God (seals, trumpets, visions, and bowls) like the four gospels?
J. Who are the three counterfeit members of the Holy Trinity?
K. What is the Idealist view of the rapture and the millenium?
L. What will the new heaven and new earth be like?
19. Name two specific ways this study has impacted you that you believe will stay with you.
Thank you to each of you for sojourning through this, in part or in whole. It was a great blessing to me. Thank you too for your support in prayer and giving. We have been silent followers who appreciate a free study but are too shy to come on. Some are women who have served time and are hungry for the Word.
I am praying for you to know if you should journey through Lent here as well with me. I hope you do, but am praying you know! We will have a two week interlude to prepare our hearts. Then we will be doing this — so get your book now!