July 12, 2023
Beginning with Chapter 1 of the Book of Revelation, David and Karen Mains share their insights into this powerful section of God’s written Word. This series of Podcasts intends to encourage listeners to diligently study this amazing, divine Book, because it will reveal all we need to know, so that we can prepare for the future.
In these past years, Karen, and more specifically say the last year and a half, I have spent hours in the New Testament book of Revelation. I’m guessing I’ve read through it. I know 50 times, probably 100 times, and in my mind, I’m thinking more than that because I’m just thinking week after week after week. I’ve been doing this. I haven’t mastered it, but I do believe I have a good handle on it enough to begin to share with people. And I know this isn’t the first time I’ve talked about Revelation.
David: I’m not sure what I’m wanting to do this visit, Karen, is it going to work, but I feel prompted to try it.
Karen: Well, and I’m not sure I’ll do my part all that well because you haven’t told me what it is you want from me.
Intro: Welcome to the Before We Go Podcast featuring Dr. David Mains and his wife noted author, Karen Mains. Here’s David and Karen Mains.
David: In these past years, Karen, and more specifically say the last year and a half, I have spent hours in the New Testament book of Revelation. I’m guessing I’ve read through it. I know 50 times, probably 100 times, and in my mind, I’m thinking more than that because I’m just thinking week after week after week. I’ve been doing this. I haven’t mastered it, but I do believe I have a good handle on it enough to begin to share with people. And I know this isn’t the first time I’ve talked about Revelation.
Karen: No, you did a whole series on it. How long ago was that?
David: It’s been probably three, four years now, and those are still available. People can hear them.
Karen: It’s a very complicated and difficult book to understand, but what’s intriguing to me is how engaged you have been, even given that past study of it. I mean, it seems to me that the more you get into it, the more there is to understand. Is that true?
David: I think it’s fair. I always try to do overview, and I’ve stayed with that. All the sentences run on to the next one that doesn’t say, “Okay, that’s the end of that topic.” You have to figure out how those fit together. And I believe the Lord has helped me in a wonderful way, and I’m grateful, but it’s not a normal book. What I’m wanting people to do, Karen, is to read these ahead of time. The chapters we’ve signed, they can’t do it for today. I ask you to read chapter one for today, but then next time we get together, we’ll talk about chapters two and three.
So, if they can read those ahead of time, at least they’ll be conversant with what the general topics are. But now we’re on to Revelation. You know what that word is in the Greek, Karen?
David: The Greek word is apocalypsus.
Karen: Oh, apocalypsus.
David: Then we get apocalypse.
Karen: So, what is that? How is it used here? What is the meaning here in the scripture?
David: The simple meaning of the word is to uncover something that is concealed. But in the New Testament, it’s usually the distinctly religious connotation, designating the supernatural revelation of divine truth, unknown to men, and they are incapable of discovering these truths.
Karen: So, humans are incapable of discovering the truths on their own.
David: Without this we would never know where history is headed. But this is the interesting thing. Where is this message coming from? And I’m wanting you now to start to read from the book of Revelation. What it says in chapter 1 in the very first paragraph. Start it out. Okay?
Karen: I have NIV, New International Version. “The revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place.”
David: Okay, who gave it to Jesus?
Karen: God gave it to him to show his servants what must soon take place. Okay.
David: Now God doesn’t reveal to Jesus ahead of time like it’s saying here in the Gospel is Jesus talking about the end time signs. It says nobody knows when that day is going to be. I don’t even know. He says only the Father in heaven. But now it’s something different because it says God has given this to Jesus and what does Jesus do? Continue to read.
Karen: “He made it known by sending his angel to his servant, John who testifies to everything he saw. That is the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.”
David: And we’ll stop right there. Okay? Because we have the sequence. God gives this what is going to be revealed to Jesus. Jesus gives it to an angel which is consistent as you go through the book of Revelation. Unnamed angels giving messages. You’re not always sure whether it’s one or a number of angels. But angels play a prominent part in this book and then the angel gives it to John and then John writes it out. We got what the message is here.
Karen: We should remind our listeners that John is the only one of the apostles alive now. He’s an old man.
David: Yeah. He’s writing this in 80’s saying 90, 91, 92, 93 somewhere in there.
Karen: 80. Okay.
David: All the other disciples have disseminated the Word in many countries all around the world. A phenomenal response of people to this good news of Jesus.
Karen: They all died as martyrs. Am I right?
David: To the best of our ability to understand.
David: That’s tradition as all of them gave their lives. John is the only one who wasn’t martyred. But he now is this old gentleman. And he’s gone through a very difficult time and we’ll get to where he is when these revelations begin to come to him. Okay. But there’s one more sentence in that first paragraph. Read it for me.
Karen: “Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it because the time is near.”
David: Okay, so it sounds like this is a very important thing. God has given a message to Jesus. Jesus gives it to the angel. The angel or angels give it to John. And John disseminates that to the early church. And then to the church through the ages by way of the holy scriptures. So, this is something to take very seriously. Okay now we’re starting to just get a feel for what John is writing into whom. All right go ahead.
Karen: “To the seven churches in the province of Asia: Grace and peace to you from him who is…”
David: Who is that?
Karen: This would be God. Then .”..who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne and from Jesus Christ…”
David: So, we have the Father, the Spirit, and the Son. Ok. It came from Jesus Christ. Go ahead.
Karen: “…who is the faithful witness. The firstborn from the dead. And the ruler of the kings of the earth.” It can get confusing that sometimes, particularly in Revelations, we have a tripartite nature of God: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. And often they are not intertwined in the writings of the writer. Isn’t it? Cause I believe this is what John has done in here.
David: Ok. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and has made us to be a kingdom and priest to serve his God and Father through him be glory and power forever and ever. Amen.
David: This is something like John. Very much.
David: Ok. Go ahead.
Karen: “Look, he is coming with the clouds and every eye will see him even those who pierced him and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him so shall it be. Amen.”
David: Who is John writing about here?
Karen: He’s writing about Jesus Christ.
David: Yeah, that’s very obvious. Okay, “’I am the Alpha and the Omega’ says the Lord God who is and who was and who is to come the Almighty.”
So, this is a reference to God. So, the Trinity is very much here. Now all of a sudden, we’re going to start to take a turn because this is John telling how this is beginning to be revealed to him and what he went through. Okay?
Karen: “I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.” He was actually prisoner, wasn’t he? Was that a…
David: Yeah… That was a penal colony. It’s a Roman penal colony. He’s an old man. Penal colony is thought that far off waterwise from Ephesus. John was one of the pastors at Ephesus, a very large early Christian church. Okay. But he’s doing what he’s supposed to be doing and now he’s suffering because of the kingdom and he is there. I just want to put a couple of things in mind because as a prisoner he doesn’t have a sweep they’ve given him. He doesn’t have a secretary to take care of his. I mean he’s at hard labor and this is a very ruthless world. This is 90, 91, 92 AD. In 70 AD, you know what happened then?
Karen: Is that the fall of Jerusalem?
David: Fall of Jerusalem. Not long before the city fell many of the Christians escaped because of prophecies, but it was a terrible massacre in Jerusalem by the Romans, Titus. He was the son of the emperor.
Karen: But he was the head of the military campaign at this time. Okay, gotcha.
David: So, 70 AD all of Jerusalem is wiped out. Many, many prisoners apart from just the dead, the prisoners are sent to the mines like in Egypt to do slave labor. A lot of them end up in the Coliseums as blood sacrifices, if you please. So, this is a day when the whole destruction is incredible and now it’s 91, 92, 93 AD. We don’t know exactly. But it’s John, who in my mind, there’s no question, is the apostle John. But a lot of scholars say, “John who?” You know he doesn’t identify himself.
Well, I don’t have a problem saying he doesn’t have to identify himself because if it’s a message from God, he’s going to give it to Jesus. Jesus is going to give it to an angel. And the angel will give it to John. I don’t think God said, “Oh my goodness, the angel gave it to the wrong John.”
Karen: It’s sort of a scholar’s activity, isn’t it? You know, it’s a natural curiosity. Was this the real John? John the Apostle or is it another? You know, but the point is we need to get the meaning of what was being said here.
David: Yeah, good for these scholars. The reason they see that here is because the book of John, the Gospel, the good news, that’s very well written. It sounds like a different author when you get to Revelation, but at the same time you have a whole different subject matter and John, he’s seen these pictures in his mind where he’s heard these voices and he’s like, “How in the world am I ever going to communicate this”?
Karen: What he’s attempting to communicate is very hard to understand. It’s not black and white information. So yeah, of course it would sound differently because it is very different in its presentation and its topic.
David: Well, in fact, we’re going to get to that in just a moment. Let’s continue in chapter 1 here. Okay? “I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering.” Christians knew what that was about.
David: “…and kingdom”, they know what that’s about. And “patient endurance that are ours in Jesus Christ was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.”
Karen: So, this is verse 10. “On the Lord’s day, I was in the Spirit and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet.” Let me just make a diversion here. He says he’s in the Spirit. So, I’m thinking that’s kind of a spiritual state.
David: He’s in spiritual ecstasy or whatever. And then at this point in time he hears a voice. And it’s a loud, loud voice like a trumpet. I mean, if it’s quiet and you hear a trumpet sound all of a sudden, pay attention.
David: You’ve got to pay attention. Exactly. Okay.
Karen: “On the Lord’s day, I was in the Spirit and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet which said, ‘Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.”
David: Okay. Now, he knows these churches. Today would say they’re kind of on the highway. The country today is Turkey.
Karen: Turkey. Oh goodness. Okay.
David: So, now he’s just hearing a voice so far. A very, very loud voice. Voice like a trumpet. Got his attention, but it doesn’t stop there. Go ahead.
Karen: Okay. “I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me” and what he saw was not what he anticipated. “And when I turned, I saw seven golden lampstands. And among the lampstands was someone like a son of man.”
David: And that’s Jesus’ favorite reference about himself.
David: The son of man.
Karen: “He was dressed in a robe, reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire.”
David: So far, these are strong words, but now and now it gets a little bit more intense. His feet, go ahead.
Karen: “Were like bronze glowing in a furnace and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand, he held seven stars and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining and all its brilliance.” And I was thinking in my mind, this is when you fall on your face. And then the next verse says, “when I saw him, I felt at his feet as though dead.” Absolutely.
David: His whole system has gone bunkers. It’s just very frightening even though he walked with Jesus.
Karen: This is a transformed Christ.
David: The Jesus of Revelation is the same, but he comes off very differently than how he was in the Gospels. Ok. This is a very imposing and frightening figure. Ok. And how does he hold seven stars in his right hand? It’s a different world than the world we’re normally talking about.
Karen: Yeah. “Then he placed his right hand at me and said, ‘Do not be afraid. I am the first and the last. I am the living one. I was dead and behold, I am alive forever and ever and I hold the keys of death and Hades’.”
David: “Write, therefore what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later. The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lamp stands is this. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches and the seven lamp stands are the seven churches.”
So, these churches which were named previously in these cities or towns, the churches are the seven lamp stands and the stars are the angels of these seven churches. Which again is just kind of an interesting thing. We won’t spend a lot of time on it, but I’ve never thought that churches had angels apparently.
Karen: Appointed to them. My goodness. I never thought of that. So, let’s say that this is a description of what has happened through the centuries. So, you have churches that have angelic beings that are for them and protecting of them.
Karen: Assigned. That’s a good word.
David: God is not going to run out of angels there more than enough of those to cover the churches. In an encapsulating way I would say that God gave his son Jesus a revelation regarding the future. Jesus made this prophecy known by sending his angel to his servant John. John in turn, shared this unique revelation with the New Testament church. And also with all of us by way of the Holy Scriptures. So, this is a very fascinating thing. It behooves us to pay attention to what is going on.
Karen: So, it’s a message for the church at all times since the time of Christ. But for us today that would mean that we need to examine our times in light of going through revelation. And say, “Is this a message that is particularly pertinent to us and for those of us who are culture watchers”? And those of us who try to say, “where is America going?” And what is happening to our moral base. I would say that this is a message that really needs to be heard by the Churches of America today.
David: The message of the whole book.
Karen: Of the whole book.
David: Because we haven’t come to what the bottom line is in terms of the book yet. I would say that just from this introductory chapter, if I encapsulate what I’m hearing, I study diligently this amazing divine book of Revelation because it will reveal all you need to know to be prepared for the future.
Karen: Okay, well say that one more time and then give the overview of what you have in mind.
David: Study diligently this amazing divine book of Revelation because it will reveal all you need to know to be prepared for the future. So that’s kind of the introduction of what is being said here. And you got a great guide. You got Jesus, the living Son of God.
Now having said that, I’d like to just give an overview for the whole of the book. I change this all the time, tweak it, whatever. But over the years I’ve stuck with this. If you say “What is Revelation about”? It says that history is headed inexorably toward a bloody global showdown. And when I use that word inexorably, it means nothing’s going to stop it. History’s not just going to go on forever and then we’ll figure it out and say this is what happens. History is headed inexorably toward a bloody global showdown between the forces of good and evil, light and darkness, Christ and the anti-Christ, God, and Satan, which the devil wins decisively, however only temporarily. Jesus’ followers need to understand this and to prepare themselves accordingly. There’s a lot of words to come all of a sudden, but that’s where the book of Revelation is going. This is what it’s saying. There will be evil, evil days that are coming.
And it looks as though the enemy is won and he does win. He wins the day, but only for a certain period of time and then everything changes. It’s a wonderful book. It’s a book that people all around the world, especially in countries where religious practice is stymied. They don’t let people do it.
Karen: In the persecuted church.
David: Yeah. They’re preaching Revelation a lot. Not so much here in America. You don’t hear it unless it’s a prophecy conference of some kind. But it’s a book that especially I think needs to be in these times in my mind that are troublesome times. And there’s a fight going on that’s bigger than Republicans and Democrats. There’s a warfare going on between darkness and light, between Satan, what he wants to do; and God, what he wants to do. And we need to be aware of this and we need to know how to act accordingly. That’s basically what Revelation is going to teach us.
Karen: Are we going to go through the whole book of Revelation in these podcasts?
David: That’s my plan.
Karen: So, you would tell our listeners to begin to really review Revelation. Start reading it again. Start meditating on it. See what things the Lord brings to their mind.
David: Right down, “This is confusing to me.” You won’t have a problem as a listener with chapter two and three. Those are messages to churches. They’re pretty clear. It’s not a bad idea to say what precisely is Jesus saying to this church, to this church, to this church. And which of these churches is more like what I would say my church is or the church in the United States is? And that would be the thing Jesus would say to the churches of the United States or to our specific church. I’ve done this lots of times in different conferences. And usually, the people all come up with the same one. This church here, that’s what the American church is like.
Anyway, I’m not trying to force people to think one way or the other. I’m just saying it’s a good exercise as you go through the next two chapters. But blessed is the person who takes to heart the words that are written here. And we’ll try to make sense of all those so that you’ll say, “I understand what it is you’re trying to get across. And I think you have captured what God is trying to get across as he gives a message to his son, the son gives it to the angel and the angel to John and John to us. Thank you so much for these days and for these insights, God.”
Outgo: Friends, to prepare for next week’s podcast, please read Revelation chapters two and three. You’ve been listening to the Before We Go Podcast. And if you would like to write to us, please send us an email at the following address, firstname.lastname@example.org. That’s all-lower case letters email@example.com. If you’ve enjoyed this podcast, please remember to rate, review, and share on whatever platform you listen. This podcast is copyright 2023 by Mainstay Ministries, Post Office Box 30, Wheaton, Illinois 60187. Visit Mainstay Ministries for best-selling titles, and other resources authored by Karen Mains.
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