HOPE CHAPEL Sunday Service Notes
Teaching Series: “The Bible - Jesus’ Story”
Today’s Topic: “Week 5: Jesus in Revelation”
“Bible Project” Videos - for further study
Overview of Revelation 1-11 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nvVVcYD-0w
Overview of Revelation 12-22 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QpnIrbq2bKo
Article: “The Symbolic Nature of the Portrayal of Jesus in Revelation” - Duncan W. McKenzie https://sites.google.com/site/antichristandthesecondcoming/the-symbolic-portrayl-of-jesus-in-revelation
Through this series, I have been attempting to demonstrate how the consistent character of the Scriptures is Jesus!
The Bible presents us with a circular narrative:
Understanding Apocalyptic Literature -
If apocalyptic literature is to provide us with a heavenly perspective, how does Revelation describe Jesus–what is the heavenly perspective of the Messiah we serve? There are actually many symbolic representations of Jesus including ‘one like the Son of Man’ (Rev.1,14); ‘a slain lamb’ (Rev.5 +);‘a first born male child’ (Rev.12); ‘the Word of God riding a white horse’ (Rev.19); and ‘the one on a great white throne’ (Rev.20).
We will examine two of these images of Jesus–Jesus as the Lamb and Jesus as the King.
1) The Slain Lamb - Revelation 5:1-9
“Then I saw a scroll in the right hand of the one who was sitting on the throne. There was writing on the inside and the outside of the scroll, and it was sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel, who shouted with a loud voice: “Who is worthy to break the seals on this scroll and open it?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll and read it.
Then I began to weep bitterly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll and read it. But one of the twenty-four elders said to me, “Stop weeping! Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the heir to David’s throne, has won the victory. He is worthy to open the scroll and its seven seals.”
Then I saw a Lamb that looked as if it had been slaughtered, but it was now standing between the throne and the four living beings and among the twenty-four elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which represent the sevenfold Spirit of God that is sent out into every part of the earth. He stepped forward and took the scroll from the right hand of the one sitting on the throne. And when he took the scroll, the four living beings and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp, and they held gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. And they sang a new song with these words: “You are worthy to take the scroll and break its seals and open it. For you were slaughtered, and your blood has ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.”
If this is to indeed be understood literally John is painting a very strange picture–a conquering lion pictured as a slain lamb with seven horns and seven eyes. However, as we read it John makes it clear that he is using symbolism liberally
We can also know the meaning of other symbols that John doesn’t explain from studies of apocalyptic literature
When we understand the symbolism in John’s description of Jesus as a slain lamb we are permitted a view of the splendour of the Christ who is Ruler of all. “Clearly, Jesus is not a literal lamb, let alone one with seven horns or seven eyes. Taking the picture of a slain lamb literally would mean there is an actual lamb on God’s throne in heaven. Taking the slain Lamb symbolically speaks of Jesus as God’s perfect sacrifice for man’s sin; the seven eyes and seven horns speak of him possessing the Spirit of God as well as God’s knowledge and power. Again, the symbolic interpretation of how Jesus is portrayed is much more powerful than the literal interpretation.” (Douglas McKenzie)
2) The One on the Great White Throne - Revelation 20:11; 21:5-7, 22; 22:3-5
20:11 - “And I saw a great white throne and the one sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from his presence, but they found no place to hide.”
21:5-7 - And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.”
21:22 - “I saw no temple in the city, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.”
22:3-5 - “No longer will there be a curse upon anything. For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and his servants will worship him. And they will see his face, and his name will be written on their foreheads. And there will be no night there—no need for lamps or sun—for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever.”
What does the symbolism tell us?
Jesus is both the ‘lamb that was slain’ and the ‘one who sits on the great white throne.’ He is able to ‘open the seal’ and He is the One who ‘makes all things new.’ His Bride is the Church and He will reign as King from the great white throne with God. There will be no Temple, because God and the Lamb, whose presence once presided in the Temple, now lives eternally among His people.
To understand the Book of Revelation and its portrayals of Jesus, one must possess a sound understanding of all that comes before John’s vision on the Island of Patmos. We really cannot understand Revelation fully when we isolate our study of it from the rest of The Bible - Jesus’ complete Story.
Next week: “Be Different” - Lessons from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church
First licensed for pastoral ministry in 1994, Pastor Jane Peck has served in camp and church ministries in three denominations, five provinces and in a variety of roles. Her most recent position is that of Pastor at Hope Chapel which she began in 2020. She is excited to see what God can and will do in the days to come!