Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Unveiled: Week 1 Introduction

He is Not Here-1
For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. Revelation 19:10
As I mentioned in the last post, The Spirit of Prophecy, I feel led by the Lord to start posting the notes from a Bible Study I've been leading on the book of Revelation and the Old Testament prophets. These notes are NOT an exhaustive study on the End Times and Revelation. The purpose of the Bible Study is to learn and discuss what the Bible says and to discover the Truth for ourselves. I understand there are many ways to interpret the Book of Revelation and there are many scholars I respect that completely disagree with one another regarding this powerful book. Some scholars, believe this book is symbolic and others literal in their interpretations. As I mentioned in the post, The Spirit of Prophecy, I believe these prophecies will be literally fulfilled just as the prophecies concerning Christ's first coming were literally fulfilled. As I say this, I want to also acknowledge that many of the scholars during Jesus' day missed Him because they had their own interpretations of what His coming would look like and when He didn't look like how they interpreted the scriptures they rejected Him and His teachings. You see, the Holy Prophets, saw one vision but this vision contained two comings. To learn more read, One Vision, Two Comings. The nature of Old Testament prophecy is often a near fulfillment that foreshadows a far off future fulfillment.  Because they were prophets to Israel, they didn't see the church age. The people of Jesus' day anticipated a reigning King coming to establish His Kingdom not a Suffering Servant. Although, Isaiah and David prophesied about a Suffering Servant coming to be pierced through for our transgressions, many miss interpreted these passages in scripture because they seemed to contradict the verses of a reigning King coming to establish His Kingdom. I think we also need to keep this in mind when studying future prophesy that have yet to be fulfilled. Many verses regarding the last days also seem to be speaking of two different events that usher in His Eternal Kingdom. 
  • Read Isaiah 61:1-3 and compare these verses to Luke 4:16-21. What did Jesus proclaim to the people in His hometown? What verse did He leave out? Why do you think He did this? Notice the words He closed the book, and sat down.  What had been fulfilled? What time had not yet come?
  • Now read Isaiah 11:1-9 
    • Who was Jesse? How is the root or stem of Jesse described? 
    • Has Isaiah 11 been fulfilled? 
    • What does verse 9 tell us about that day? Why will there be no hurt or destruction on God's holy mountain? Who will rule the earth during this time? How is He described? 
  • Read Isaiah 53
    • How does this chapter open in verse 1? 
    • How is Jesus described in verse 2. Compare this to how Isaiah 11 opens up (root of Jesse). Same person. Different descriptions of the same person. A Reigning King and a Suffering Servant.
    • Has Isaiah 53 been fulfilled? When was it fulfilled?
  • Read Jeremiah 33:15-17
    • In what days and at what time? Who is going to spring up? How is this ruler described and what line does He come from? How long will He rule? Has this been fulfilled yet?
  • Application: How can reading the Bible just for answers to our questions cause us to miss what Jesus is doing here and now? How does study our future with Christ encourage us to live our lives with an eternal perspective with our eyes fixed on Him, the author and perfecter of our faith. He Reigns in Heaven but One day He will reign on Earth. He is completely sovereign now and in complete control of all things accomplishing His eternal promises. 
Jesus is too big for our box. If our finite minds could comprehend His infinite glory and nature, He would be too small. Also, for the record, I've never been to seminary nor did I go to Bible college. I'm just an ordinary housewife with four littles who loves to study the Word of God and encourage women to grow in their love and knowledge of Jesus. I also want to mention, this Bible study is not a study of charts and timelines. Our time will be spent looking for and anticipating Jesus, growing in our knowledge and love for Him. Not just having all our questions answered. He is the Word of God, who is creator and sustainer of all things. When He comes again on a White Horse, He is called the Word of God.
  • Again, what is the purpose of this Bible Study? Why do we gather together to study God's Word? Discuss among your group why they desire to study God's Word. Spend time asking God to reveal Himself to you and your group in fresh new ways. Invite the Holy Spirit to move among your group using every individual to bring to light His amazing truths. 
The Bible study I lead is set up without homework. We read aloud the scripture verses and completely rely on the Holy Spirit to guide us in our discussion and reveal to us His powerful Truths straight from the scripture readings. I strongly encourage you to always begin your time in prayer, turning your time over to Him and surrendering the study to His leadership. It is His time, His Word, His revelation. He desires for you to know Him, grow in your love for Him as He further reveals Himself to you through His Word. These notes can be used in a small group setting or just for personal Bible Study. Our group time usually runs about 2 hours. These notes will be weekly postings. Today's posting is set up a little different as this is the introduction to the Bible Study.

Anticipating His Coming
We do not know the day or the hour of the Lord's return but we are to understand the times in which we live and eagerly anticipate His coming, as a mother eagerly awaits the impending birth of her child, with joyful expectation. Joyful expectation is how I would describe the last few months of pregnancy with Jocelyn. Every kick and contraction brought with it a sense of eager expectation as I anticipated her arrival. I spent my days dreaming of holding her and the moment I would finally meet my little mystery in the making, wondering about her personality and who she would look like. I was in one sense, mourning, as she would never again be so close to my heart but anticipating my life with her and wanting desperately for her  to be in my arms. As the impending arrival approached, so did the reminders of her arrival, as my body prepared for her delivery. The pain brought with it joyful expectation and excitement. I would soon behold my precious daughter and for the first time see her as she is, perfectly made. The frame which was once hidden from me will be made known. The moment of her revelation was at hand. It brought to mind, Jesus' words in Matthew 24, all these are the beginning of birth pains. 24:8 And later on in the chapter, No one knows about that day or hour. 24:36 Therefore, keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 24:42.
This thought came to me during the last few weeks of pregnancy, "As I've eagerly awaited the impending birth of my precious Jocelyn, I should also be joyfully expecting and anticipating the Lord's return."

The Word Revelation comes from the Greek word, Apocalypse, which means to uncover, it would apply to anything which had been covered up so as to be hidden from view, as by a veil of darkness or ignorance. It may also be applied to the disclosing or manifesting of anything which before was obscure or unknown. Barnes Biblical Commentary.
As the birth pains of Christ's arrival draws near my excitement and anticipation should increase. Just as it did with the pain of labor which brought forth joy and completion. The Book of Revelation is the revelation of Jesus Christ, who is coming again in great glory and triumph, as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. It's in essence, His revelation at His second coming, the culmination of events that usher in His eternal Kingdom and fulfill His eternal promises to all the called, chosen and faithful. 

End your time together reading aloud Revelation chapters 1 and  4, and 2 Thessalonians chapter 3. Will will be discussing these chapters in detail next week. These truths bring so much comfort in the midst of chaos.

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