These chapters in Revelation meant something to the original readers. The seven churches read these chapters and were instructed in the moment for their current place as the church bearing the Gospel of the Kingdom and the King.
Remember that prophetic texts are not given to satisfy the curious but to instruct the saint.
Many of us have had Revelation taught as a futuristic document having not bearing on today except that I’m intrigued and form some opinions about how the future is going to work out.
I don’t believe that is the primary mission of Revelation.
These texts are intended to instruct now and in the future. That is the nature of apocalyptic literature.
These chapters of Revelation are telling of what is and what will be again.
The identity of nations and rulers is almost irrelevant to the larger identity of the Dragon and who it is the Dragon is fighting and why.
Bible Study 101:
Don’t get caught up in terrible hermeneutics (bible interpretation) by asking questions the text does not answer. “Who is the identity of rulers and nations?” is a stupid question because the text never answers that question. It’s stupid because it will lead people to speculate rather than exegete, and this creates many idols and much to “undo” in one’s decision-making structure. Speculation leads to speculative theology, which can lead to error. Exegesis leads to a systematic theology, which can keep you in the bounds of orthodoxy.
4. The church is called to trust and persevere
A. Father’s purposes stand as good but sometimes bitter and sometimes sweet
1. Job 42:5
2. Father does not waste the death of his saints
3. Ordination to this calling is not fatalistic, it is a gracious gift of grace
guided by the only, and good, God of all creation, Jesus, for his purposes.
B. Don’t believe the thought(s) that questions the goodness of Jesus
C. Don’t believe the thought(s) that drive you away from the church
D. Don’t believe the thought(s) that question Jesus love for you
E. Don’t believe the thought(s) that Jesus’ love for you must not be in the form
5. Do not fear Satan
Satan is a created foe and can only harm the temporal body and cannot harm the soul
A. Satan’s greatest leverage is fear
1. Avoid fear of spiritual conflict
2. Don’t avoid spiritual conflict
3. Be aware of Satan’s schemes
4. Take on the armor of God Ephesians 6:10
6. The church worships in the midst of great conflict
A. Don’t forget the chief mission is the worship of Jesus
B. Righteous judgment is a reason to worship Jesus as much as grace
7. Jesus rules over the Gospel, nations and the kingdom of hell, so persevere
The lie is that there are two kingdoms and Jesus rules over one and Satan rules over the other and that these two great and equal forces are in conflict and the outcome is up to us. Don’t believe this.
Listen to the Manual.
Jesus not only rules over his created order, but he also rules over his created order of hell that was made for Satan and his angels and he will do so forever.
Matthew 5:22, 29, 30
A. Hell is real
B. Hell is conscious
C. Hell is righteous
8. Jesus will execute justice in righteous wrath on his enemies
A. If you are out of the Gospel, don’t delay, repent now
9. Jesus will reward his faithful