Ultimate Purpose
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2. Ultimate Purpose
Revelation 1.1

"The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John." (Revelation 1.1) ✞

Given Through Angels

Blue AngelIn Exodus 19 and 20, Moses received the Law directly from God's hands. However, twice in the New Testament, it is said that angels gave the Law. Some scholars define "an angel" as "a supernatural spiritual being who is God's servant." We might think of a muscular white man with wings such as the "Angel of the Revelation" by William Blake (1757-1827), showing a colossal figure with a tiny book in his hand. Then there is "The Wounded Angel" painting by Hugo Simberg (1873-1917)) which was voted Finland's "national painting" in 2006.

Wheel of Seventy Two Angels

Interestingly, there is a "Wheel of 72 angels of God," also known as the "72 names of God." The 72-fold name originates in Exodus 14.9-21, which says, "Then the angel of God, who had been traveling in front of Israel's army, withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front and stood behind them, coming between the Egyptian and Israeli armies. The cloud brought darkness to one side and light to the other throughout the night, so neither went near the other all night long. Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night, the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land." Each of the 72 angels supposedly rules over five days in each year. The angels are each given specific qualities, symbols, and a prayer.

God's Transcendence

G. Lloyd Jones explained the wheel of 72 angels in his 1983 book, "The Discovery of Hebrew in Tudor England: a third Language" (Manchester University Press, New Hampshire, U.S.A.) He asserted that "to overcome the problems posed by the doctrine of God's transcendence, the early Jewish mystics developed an emanation theory in which the alphabet played an important part. The early Jewish mystics divided the universe into ten angelic spheres, each governed by an intermediary or emanation of the divine. There were seventy-two inferior angels through whom one could approach the intermediaries. People achieved contact with this celestial world by manipulating the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The 72 names were made pronounceable by the introduction of "El" ("merciful God") or "Ya" ("strong God") to the four consonants of the name of God, "YHWH" or "JHVH." The earliest mention of this kind of reconstruction appeared between 1150 and 1200 AD. 'God's transcendence," by the way, is defined as the "aspect of a deity's nature and power that is wholly independent of the material universe, beyond all known physical laws.' This definition sounds strangely similar to modern String Theory and the concept of a String Theory Heaven, which may be just a quarter inch from the end of one's nose!

Through Angels

In Acts 7.53, we read of an angel similar to the one who addressed John of Patmos, "you who have received the law that was given through angels but has not obeyed it." Again in Galatians 3.19b, "The law was given through angels and entrusted to a mediator." God entrusted Revelation's ultimate purpose and vision to John of Patmos. Like angels, humans play an essential role in Jesus Christ's revelation and God's ultimate purpose in his coming. Similarly, God seeks today to find a person to whom he can entrust his truth and use as his mouthpiece. Your destiny might be as one God charges with a message to others.

Theological Timetable

Roman BannerRevelation is the "unveiling" of "that which must soon take place." History is not haphazard, and it has a purpose. It is entirely wrong to use the Book of Revelation as a theological timetable for what will happen in the future, maybe thousands of years from now or even next week. As John of Patmos sees it, second-century Roman Empire cultural events color his world and work themselves out immediately. ✞

Revelation's Message

Finger of GodThe message of the Biblical Book of Revelation is that Jesus is full of both love and justice. The Revelation apocalyptic vision of John of Patmos is, in many respects, fantastic and indescribable. Therefore, John presents them in terms and picture language that the people of his day can understand. "Apocalypse" means "unveiling" or "disclosing," and the future Jesus is therefore unveiled here. We see him not as Galilee's preacher or even as the Savior on the Cross, but as the Universal Lord, the great "I am."

Word Pictures

When seeing these scenes in our minds, we don't have to understand every detail. We only need to allow the Revelation word pictures to flow over us. Everything points us to Christ, the Apocalyptic Lord. He was and is the glorious, victorious Lord of all. At the appointed time, the risen and ascended Lord will burst onto the world stage. The message of "Revelation" is of Jesus' tremendous love, power, and justice. Everyone will then know that he is the Universe's Lord! Those who love him will greet him with songs of praise. Those who don't would rather not be there!

Apocalyptic Writing

Jesus FaceGenuine apocalyptic literature unveils details of the unseen spiritual realm and its impact on history. The term "apocalyptic literature" refers to the end of the world, where the Greek phrase "apokalupsis eschaton" means "the revelation at the end of the age." Revelation's apocalypse vision travels through the unseen spiritual realm. An apocalypse is a unique name given to a particular type of literature. Interestingly, it was popular in the Apostle John's day and in our own time in literary works such as Margaret Atwood's book called "Oryx and Crake."

Questionable Documents

Many apocalyptic documents circulated simultaneously as John of Patmos wrote down this vision, such as "the Apocalypse of Baruch." Others are attributed to famous people like the "Gospel of Abraham," "Daniel," "Elijah," even "Peter," and "Thomas." Early Church leaders rejected all of these as not genuine and therefore not included in the Biblical Canon. It was pretty clear to the Apostolic Fathers as it is to us today that many apocalyptic books are of not the same quality or authenticity as the Biblical books. I suspect that on the few occasions when an apocalyptic book is read in a service today, it is often to substantiate a questionable theological point. God's inspired Word has the distinctive mark of authenticity, which these other secondary readings do not have.

Understanding God's Will

HorsemenRevelation's apocalypse vision is the unveiling of God's will for us. Saint Paul used this phrase differently and explained that he traveled to Jerusalem by "apokalupsis." That is, he went because God revealed to him that he wanted him to go there. Similarly, Saint Paul received his gospel not from human lips, according to Galatians 1.11-12, where he writes, "I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it. Rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ." Saint Paul received the Gospel of Jesus Christ by "apocalyptic revelation."

The Preacher's Message

Apostle JohnThe message of the preacher today is also an "apocalypse" in one sense. God reveals to human beings his mysteries, especially Jesus Christ's incarnation. "Apokalupsis" is mainly used in "The revelation of Jesus Christ" of the power and the holiness of God, which is to come in these last days. That will mean judgment and justice for some, but it will be an unveiling of praise, glory, grace, and joy for Christians. ✞

"Ultimate Purpose"
by Ron Meacock © 2021

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