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Thursday, September 17, 2020

These times demand that as we work on our series "As if Doctrine not Given", we must also approach The Revelation...

 A Special series:

Go to Part Two


 Lessons from the Wilderness, Volume 23

  …A Study in Revelation… Part 1

A Search for the Truth at the end of the Age

αποκαλυψις ιησου χριστου

(The Revelation of Jesus Christ)


…Preface…

1 This is the revelation which God gave to Yeshua the Messiah, so that he could show his servants what must happen very soon. He communicated it by sending his angel to his servant Yochanan, who bore witness to the Word of God and to the testimony of Yeshua the Messiah, as much as he saw. Blessed are the reader and hearers of the words of this prophecy, provided they obey the things written in it! For the time is near!

From: Yochanan

To: The seven Messianic communities in the province of Asia:

Grace and shalom to you from the One who is, who was and who is coming;

from the sevenfold Spirit before his throne;

and from Yeshua the Messiah, the faithful witness,

the firstborn from the dead and the ruler of the earth’s kings.

To him, the one who loves us, who has freed us from our sins at the cost of his blood, who has caused us to be a kingdom, that is, cohanim for God, his Father—to him be the glory and the rulership forever and ever. Amen.

              Look! He is coming with the clouds!a

Every eye will see him,

including those who pierced him;

and all the tribes of the Land will mourn him.b

Yes! Amen! [1]



Figure 1. John's Vision of Fallen Babylon, by Gustave Doré.


    Today I begin a task that many before me have done or at least attempted, and undoubtedly many more will endeavor.  Over the course of, well, however long it takes, we are going to do an in-depth study of what has to be one of the most controversial and little understood books of the Bible, The Revelation of Jesus Christ.   A study of the Revelation is not without its pitfalls; there are many elucidations out there, some by much learned men, some by those not quite so learned (it is of the latter class that I belong) yet, because there is so much misinterpretation of this book we have to take a fresh look at it with eyes determined to seek truth, and not be held in the sway of pulp fiction.  We will examine this book not only in the view of Daniel and other prophets, but also from the Torah and the Messianic Chronicles or Writings (New Testament), for I believe that the truths we are seeking can only be found if we let Scripture define our interpretation, and not be influenced by the vain imaginations of man.  As always, we will begin our investigation in Scripture from the viewpoint of searching for the intent of Yahveh as He preserved His word in the Greek and in the Lashon HaKodesh, the Sacred Tongue, or the Hebrew language.  What is generally missed in most interpretations is that some, if not most of the Messianic Chronicles or Writings, were probably written in Hebrew originally, and then transcribed into the Greek[2].  While this belief does not have much empirical data to back up this hypothesis, the fact that the Gospels were written to the believers of Christ first in the Jewish community and then to the Gentiles tends to lead some historians to explore this possibility.  The reason we bring this point up is not to engage in this on-going discussion, but to remind you, my beloved, that the Scriptures cannot be understood by applying a modern mindset to interpretation.  We must begin to see them from the eyes of the writers and the ears of the hearers.  Without a Hebraic mindset, we lose so much in our understanding.

 


Figure 2 A photographic reproduction of the British Library Manuscript (Matthew 1:18-25).

     This figure shows a reproduction of the Gospel according to Matthew preserved in the British Library.  This manuscript was preserved by Jewish scribes from the 1st century and discovered by a 14th-century Spanish rabbi named Shem Tov Ibn Shaprut.  While this may not be conclusive evidence for the purist, it raises the interesting possibility that Hebrew language Gospels were used before the Greek and that without an understanding of the Hebrew mindset we will not be able to discern Scripture as Yahveh intended.  It is with this in mind that we will examine Revelation, and we will try to gain a new and fuller insight of this marvelous book, written for us with the promise of a blessing for all who read and comprehend.  We live in exciting and perilous times, and we must be ready to recognize the signs and seasons so that the great and terrible day of the Lord does not come upon us as a thief in the night.  Brothers and sisters - I hope you will join me on this journey of discovery and truth and that you can keep your minds and hearts open to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Truly we need His guidance to get at the truth of Yahveh’s Holy Word and to be ready for the Revelation of Yeshua Ha’Machiach, Jesus Christ, at the close of the ages.  I pray that the Spirit of truth will guide me also, and that I be not swayed by my own leanings, but be led to give voice to the full council of Yahveh, and His Redeemer, Christ the Lord, Amein…


 …Introduction…

    As in all things, a general awareness of the situation the Apostle John was in at the time of the Revelation will help us to draw out the correct interpretation of his Holy Spirit inspired words.  To this end, we must know how to study the Word of Yahveh.  One of the ways (though for sure not the only way) is to use the inductive method of study that says we must always ask ourselves certain questions when studying Scripture, and these questions consist of the following five areas:

 1.       Who?

2.       What?

3.       When?

4.       Where?

5.       Why?

 

Though the order of these five elements can be switched around, to utterly understand what it is we are reading, these questions must be asked and answered:

 

1)      Who?...

a)       …wrote it

b)      …said it

c)       …is mentioned

d)      …whom is the author speaking to


2)      What?…

a)       …are the main events taking place

b)      …are the major ideas

c)       …what are the doctrines or teachings being introduced


3)      When?…

a)       …was it written

b)      …did it take place

c)       …will it happen


4)      Where?…

a)       …was this done

b)      …was it said

c)       …will it happen


5)      Why?…

a)       …was it written

b)      …was this mentioned

c)       …the emphasis or lack concerning of a certain event

d)      …does this happen or not happen, depending upon the case

 From this list, you can see that a careful study of Yahveh’s word really requires a bit of effort.  After all, it was not just to fill up space in the Bible that Yahveh said:

Proverbs 25:2 (1901 ASV)
It is the glory of God to conceal a thing; But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.[3]

A sixth element can be added to the list and that is the question “How?”

6)      How?…

a)       …did this happen

b)      …is it done

c)       …is this truth illustrated.  The reason for so many questions is not to bog the student down in the minutia of the details, but for the student to gain a sense of the context and the times of what they read.  Observation is especially important in studying Scripture.  Without careful observation, without a sense of the context and the themes introduced, the student will find that what they read will become colored by their own presuppositions- what you think, what you feel, or what other people have said.[4]  This leads us to a very dangerous place, as Scripture clearly warns: 

2 Peter 3:16 (KJV)
16As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. [5]

    By careful observation and with even a cursory examination of the 5 W’s and an H, many pitfalls can be avoided; then the true rich and deep intent of Yahveh’s word can come through.  I bring this method of study up for this specific reason: we must not let what we think we know or have heard about the Book of Revelation (or any other Scripture for that matter) cloud our conceptions as we study for I will assure you of this one fact: what you think you know about this marvelous chapter (and the rest) of Scripture may not at all be what it truly means.  Truth is not subjective.  What Yahveh intended for us to learn through the visions and sights John was led to write about will surprise most of you, dear beloved; I know it did me. If you don’t go into this or any other study with an open heart and mind but instead approach your studies with pre-conceived notions, then you will wrestle with all you might learn, and I fear –well, fear you’ll come away disappointed.  If on the other hand you are, as I say constantly about myself, “teachable and correctable”, then many unfathomable and unplumbed truths await.  The convention of our study must, as a way of getting the most out of it, be a verse by verse study as the occasion allows.  This of course takes the most time but yields by far more precious gold and silver of the Holy Writ.  The thing to remember is that The Revelation of Jesus Christ is just exactly that: the unveiling of our Blessed Savior, in all of His splendor and glory, and not some so-called “Christian” author’s attempt to interpret the end times.  It is all about Christ, His Glory, His Honor, His Power, His Second Coming (and let us understand exactly what His Second Coming means… it does not refer to the “rapture”…  More on this later.)   These concepts belong to Him, and a careful study will show you the Risen Lord in His majesty as you probably have not seen Him before.  So, if you are ready my brethren, let us open with a prayer and seek the King of Glory, in the Revelation of Jesus Christ…

 “Heavenly Father, it is with all humility I approach Your Blessed Word, in all fear and trembling do I come before Your throne of grace and ask for wisdom and understanding to come upon the words of this study, wisdom to know the difference between my thoughts and conceptions, and the reality of divine Truth.  Father, I ask that it be Your Holy Spirit, the Ruach HaKodesh, that leads not only myself, but any who take this journey with me in Your Holy Word, and reveal for us The Truth, The Way and the Life, Christ Jesus, Your Son.  Father, I know many have come to these words before I have; where appropriate, if they have seen Truth, let us build upon what they have laid; if not, then open us up unto Truth, for Your Word is Life, and none but You O Lord are truly able to reveal the depth, the purity of this Divine Truth; it is for this reason we humbly ask for guidance in the name of our Lord and Savior,

Yeshua Ha’Machiach, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, Amein and Amein…”


Till next time, may the Lord Richly bless you and keep you, my beloved.

a Daniel 7:13

b Zechariah 12:10–14

[1] Stern, D. H. (1998). Complete Jewish Bible: an English version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B’rit Hadashah (New Testament) (1st ed., Re 1). Clarksville, MD: Jewish New Testament Publications.

[2] Eusebius gives this quote in his treatise Ecclesiastical  History concerning Papias, who was the Bishop of Hierapolis in Phyrgia - [" And John the presbyter also said this, Mark being the interpreter of Peter, whatsoever he recorded he wrote with great accuracy, but not, however, in the order in which it was spoken or done by our Lord, for he neither heard nor followed our Lord, but, as before said, was in company with Peter, who gave him such instruction as was necessary, but not to give a history of our Lord's discourses. Wherefore Mark has not erred in any thing, by writing some things as lie has recorded them; for lie was carefully attentive to one thing, not to pass by any thing that he heard, or to state any thing falsely in these accounts. . . . Matthew composed his history in the Hebrew dialect, and everyone translated it as he was able."] Papias was a companion to Polycarp, disciple of the Apostle John.  In the afore-mentioned quote, it must be understood that when Eusebius says “…as lie has recorded…” doesn’t have the same meaning as the word “lie” today.  Today it means “falsehood”, but in the time of Eusebius it had the meaning of “as passed on from old”.

[3]  American Standard Version. 1995 (Electronic edition.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[4]  How to Study Your Bible, by Kay Arthur, ©1994 by Precept Ministries, Harvest House Publishers

[5]  The Holy Bible : King James Version. 1995 (Electronic edition of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

 



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