The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: Revelation 1:1
In this series of messages there is one motivation is that we discern the times we live in by contextualising His Word, particularly one book of the Word which gets the attention, which is the Book of Revelation. There are many pitfalls to this book which has given rise to doctrinal camps. This doctrinal positions have for the most part emphasized interpretations which we can lose the incredible conclusions we can come to by realising the context from which Revelation is written. The context is right there in Verse 1 of the 1st chapter, and it is this context we must cry out for at this time, a full and complete REVEALING of Jesus, King and Exalted Lord. Without this complete revealing, we can be truly versed in the Word, we can expound, we can interpret, but without the Church universal having this revelation we are simply apologists and theorists. Our theology does not come from a mental academic exercise but from an encounter from Jesus.
If we desire that God speaks to us through Revelation we must see it as a vision of eternity in our history, present and our future, and eternity future. It cannot be studied as a means of establishing a chronology as many have tried to do and have gone into error. It is also a history of God’s intervention in mankind, and the programme of Jesus Christ for the future, from heaven’s perspective.
Jesus’ RevealingNever before until now do we need a fresh new encounter with Jesus where doctrinal differences fade away in the power and glory of His Person
Revelation is about Jesus being revealed. In every moment of our day Jesus desires to be revealed as He is. For John to have this access and this privilege he had to pass through the price of his ultimate apostleship. John is not only the apostle to 7 churches here, but he is apostle to all of us, relaying to us what was revealed to him. This price is suffering, not bowing to the empire of his day over his testimony, given to him by God. The bodily suffering, the soul sifting, the spirit struggle in the midst of that struggle must have realigned his own priorities. We may have to evaluate in ourselves today; what is our priorities? When the world appeals to comfort and entertainment what will we do if we forgo these worldly attractions? In fact the Word is emphatic in condemning any love relationship between ourselves and the world. The world in ultimate banishes John to the island of Patmos, bereft of status and world possession, banished as the enemy of the state. This ultimate price is what brings John into a qualification to the greatest revelation of all the Word of God.
Therefore reading this between the lines of Scripture we see there is a price to the Church reaching the place where her love for Jesus is greater than that of the world, so that He may be revealed to her, and revealed through her. This struggle for our affection is the difference of being the appearance of, and the reality of. Until we win this battle in our souls we will not come into that full revelation of Jesus Exalted King. Until the Church comes into this place, she will not be ready for Jesus’ redeeming, and returning. There is unfolding a process here. You see revelation is the Greek word “Apokalypsis” which means “appearance” “disclosure”, “manifestation”, it is the fulness of this reality. God has chosen the Bride to bring this season into being. The Bride, I have come to see is the joining of two covenant peoples, one from Israel, one from Christ. What we will now see is how this process works, through specific steps, pauted by specific happenings throughout history, that speak to end times. I seem to believe, and after writing my first volume “12 Foundations of the Church” that seeds of this end time reality are being sown, grown, brought to harvest through the generations.
Jesus’ RedeemingWe must understand the principles of pleroma (fulness) in understanding that the seasons of God, in the generations are perfected by the Holy Spirit so that our redemption manifests in full, it is phased and conditional.
In a retreat last year I came to understand that God has specific transitions in His Redemption of the Covenant people, from people to sons. There are privileges and inheritances that are received by God’s people as they pass through the Baptisms to full knowledge of salvation. There are however specific steps and perfections which the corporate Body and believers must pass so that this full redemption can manifest within the realm of perfection and union with Christ. We are redeemed through covenants which God made, and ultimately made with Christ.
Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; 20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: 21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets usince the world began.Acts 3:19-21
This verse is a result of powerful preaching from Peter and demonstrates the full purposes of Jesus, His Salvation, that God would send Jesus again to them, before He sends Jesus for them. It also gives us the reason for Jesus’ role in heaven that restitution be made fully manifest, this has all to do with our full redemption. Our redemption brings a restitution of all that which was lost in the fall, restoring us to the state of perfection in which man was created. Then in the verse above the word “UNTIL” is conditional upon this restitution work being complete. And the way this work is assured a completion is the “times of refreshing” that come from the Presence of the Lord. The Presence of the Lord is a constant. The refreshing that comes is a special season which God completes a part of the full work that releases Jesus from heaven so that His visitation is to come FOR the Church so that He may come WITH the Church for a specific work.
In times past evangelists and ministers have preached the Second Coming as one event, but as we deepen our understanding we verify at least 7 or more comings. These comings have all to do with bringing the redeemed into the fulness of their Redemption. The fulness of Redemption of the saints means the fulness of Judgment upon those outside of this sphere. This is what happens throughout the Book of Revelation, in that all the enemy does are counter measures to what God is doing. As the saints near their fulness so the enemy and the world moves into greater cycles of judgments until God puts and end to this process. Then at the White Throne of Christ, the sons of God move into the fulness of their Redemption. We are being prepared by the Holy Spirit as Jude says:
24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, 25 to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.
The Holy Spirit sent by Jesus keeps us from falling from this Redemption process, and assures us our presentation perfect because we trusted in Him who perfects us. This is the process in which Jesus assured our full redemption. Revelation as a Book marks this process in very many different images and symbols. It is Jesus who supervises this process.
Jesus’ ReturningThe angels sang “Holy, Holy,” in Isaiah 6 as their worship, their being was centered in what was their heavenly vision, so as the Church has sight of Her Christ, and worships what she sees and has her being so He shall shake the very foundations and fill creation with His Glory
Jesus’ returning is not set in the same way as His coming to Bethlehem and the Virgin womb, which was set in Kronos (physical predetermined time) , His coming again is set in Kairos (conditional season of God) based upon the completion of the fulness of God’s covenant people. Matthew 25 speaks of the preparedness of God’s people to His coming, which is forecast to take longer what was expected. When we see the interaction of the Disciples with the Risen Christ, we see a vibrant expectation that He was now bringing the conclusion of the redemptive work. Yet Jesus in many many places in the Gospels was clear in His explanation of His return. It is set in conditions which even Matthew sets out in chapter 28, with the Great Commission which must be complete for God to wrap up the age. There are so many explanations which show the multifaceted conditions which must be met for Jesus to come again. This return is not anything else but to entrust Jesus full dominion by the Father. It is the transition between the rule of men, satan, and Jesus physically taking His position before all peoples and nations. The judgments sent via trumpets, seals and bowls were to show who is God, and if the peoples of the earth would recognise and repent, yet they would not, culminating with King Jesus being established physically upon the earth. We may discern some of these judgmental processes now. Yet in all those judgments we read in Revelation we read of an opportunity to turn and repent. When Jesus returns that time has run out. There is no opportunity to turn, who refuses to repent is counted with satan. Jesus return is a demarcation, completion of the redemption of His saints.
Jesus reigningAccording to the Parable in Luke 19, the question is who rules over us, who do we allow to rule over us now, dictates who we will unify with and who we shall dwell with for eternity.
James 4 talks about the submission being key to our resisting the enemy. Many times when the enemy comes we try to resist but we have lived by rejecting Christ’s reign and therefore the devil has all the legal reasons to oppress and depress us. Many times I have seen it where people have manifested demons and then when you try to get them free they are hanging onto unforgiveness and bitterness. Jesus reign does not begin at His appearing, it starts now, as we submit to Him, we will see that our resistance is more and more effective, and the devil flees every time. The fact is what we see in Revelation is that spiritual reign we recognise and submit to now becomes manifest in the physical in that day. Our redemption is pendent upon that submission we exercise to recognised authority.
One day I was struggling with a particular rebellious person, and when I asked the Lord what it was all about, He showed me that when people do not recognise the authority of the Lord through His ministers, through different units He set up, e.g family, this means that this authority seen in a bad light is seeing it through rebellion. Rebellion is spoken of by the prophet Samuel as comparable to witchcraft. This means that people speak Jesus Christ on their lips, go to Church yet they do not know what holy fear and submission is, to ministries, husbands or whatever authority, yet desire to move in the gifts and ministries. Jesus’ rule and reign when it manifests does not come as imposition but because we know what Jesus represents to us as Saviour and Lord our Love for Him leads us into submission.
If we cannot submit in this life we will never submit in eternity and will be counted as rebellious. Jesus reign starts in our surrender in the New Birth, through the Baptisms, through the Holy Spirit, through spiritual disciplines and respect of the ministers God places within His Church. These authorities, as parents, husbands, leaders are preparing us in our subjection to Christ. If we submit to His reign we shall reign with Him in Glory!
ConclusionAs Christ reveals Himself more and more to us we will transition more and more in our Redemptive walk and He shall return and we shall reign with Him as we have allowed Him to reign over us in this life.
This is a process we can map out throughout Revelation and other end time Scriptures. May we grow in our comprehension of this process so that we shall come into our eternal destiny and predetermined eternal life!