Revealing Revelation - Part 2

Unpacking The Symbolism In Revelation Chapter One.

Matt Stokes
Nov 15, 2020    39m
Revelation can be one of the most misunderstood books in the Bible. By unpacking the symbolism in Revelation chapter one, we begin to see the true message, and it is one of the eternal hope and strength found in Jesus Christ. Video recorded at Ocean City, New Jersey.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Matt Stokes: 00:01 As the Book of Genesis begins with the origins of the world. Revelation is a book of the consummation of the world. The divine program of redemption is brought to fruition. Christ is shown as Victor, before all creation in the Greek text. The title of this book is Apocalipsis where we get our word apocalypse, which added its essential. Meaning actually means the unveiling, the disclosure or revelation. So the book is a revealing of that which could not be known, and this book is a book of prophecy, not unlike Daniel or Ezekiel. It is filled with visions, symbols, and imagery that simply need to be understood and put in their proper context written by the Apostle John on the Island of Patmos. There is a unifying theme, that's why we need to be careful not to call it Revelations, there is a single critical central unifying theme upon which this book centers, and that is the unveiling revealing of the victory of Christ. These are not the revelations of John, this is the revelation of Jesus Christ

Matt Stokes: 01:15 Good morning everyone. Today is a communion Sunday, and so if everyone has your communion elements, I just wanted to ask you, would you, as I've said before, would you just take that clear cellophane top and just peel it back enough that you're able to access the bread. So that when we move into communion time, you won't have to work on the mechanics of your elements, but you'll be able to just kind of be in the moment and settle in.

Matt Stokes: 01:47 So we should get started right away. We're in the Book of Revelation, chapter 1, we started last week and we are going to pick up in verse 9, and get to the end of the chapter. I need to move at a rather high rate of speed because I want to leave time for communion. But of course, I don't want to rush this either, so let me just begin right away in verse 9, with your Bibles open. When I welcome all of you who are watching online to have your app open. But again, I want to create that culture that we always had here, I think in the midst of technology, we might have forgotten to continue to bring our Bibles to church. Can you raise your Bible up and let me just see how many people are still bringing them. Wow, okay, we are passing the...Thank you, Chris, he is showing me his phone. It looks like we're passing the 90% mark, so that's awesome that you're bringing your book.

Matt Stokes: 02:41 I'm going to be coming out of the New Living Translation, and ask you, God, to bless your word. After John begins the revelation, and begins to unfold these opening verses, he then says this "I, John, am your brother." The word in the Greek is [foreign language]. "And your partner." This word can mean companion, or it can mean comrade. "In suffering" Which is the word, literally, it's the word tribulation. It's where in the Greek, it literally means to be crushed or to be pressed. "In God's kingdom and in the patient endurance to which Jesus calls us." "I, John, am your brother and your partner in suffering and in God’s Kingdom and in the patient endurance to which Jesus calls us."

Matt Stokes: 03:47 So as we begin this first verse, this is a really powerful thought that just kind of like comes at you, and hits you so hard. Do you realize that John, the great apostle, the last living apostle, he wants you to know something in the midst of this Epic Book of Revelation. Hey, I'm your brother, and I'm your partner. I look at this, you know, and I just wonder, regardless of how many differences there are with all of us that call ourselves part of the Coastal community, do we call each other brother and sister in Christ, do we? Or have we allowed so many, as Matthew Maher would say, outliers to come in and disrupt the one thing that Christ prayed for in John 17, "That the deepest longing in his heart was for us to be unified, just as he and the Father are unified." He wanted us to be unified with him, and then to be unified with one another.

Matt Stokes: 05:00 So as I read this, I just got stuck here for so long. I am your [foreign language]. "I am your brother, and I am your partner." And I just think, he says, do you know what, he says, I'm your partner in suffering and tribulation, in the pressing of life. And in the kingdom of God, and in patient endurance to which Jesus calls us. It just makes me think, you know, what? If we really suffered, I think a lot of the outliers would stay outside. Because we would notice the importance, and the impact, that we should have by the blood of Jesus Christ washing away our sins, and giving us forever forgiveness, and the hope of heaven. Instead, we sometimes, and I'll speak for myself, get so comfortable, particularly in America, with so much of what we have, that we let so many other things creep in. I'm telling you, that when a missionary dies on the field and they take that shovel and they throw the dirt on, it doesn't matter if they were Methodists, or Baptists, or Pentecostal, they all weep for one another when they die on the mission field, trying to share Jesus Christ, giving their life for the lives of the lost.

Matt Stokes: 06:16 And because we don't suffer that way, we let so many other things creep in and divide us. And I'm saying, let it not be so among us, because we're called to suffering. And I think if we actually follow through on our calling, and again, I'll speak for myself, I think I would let less of these little things get in the way of my unity with you. Because we're not really suffering in this country, not the way they do in Somalia, and Sudan, and Pakistan, and Iran, Indonesia. Do think they're fighting over the same things that we do? I don't think so. I want to challenge you, as much as I'm challenging myself, to let abound yet more and more, as it says in the scripture, that we should be fervent in our love towards one another.

Matt Stokes: 07:06 Listen to this. I'm going to have to move through this quickly, but just let me hit you with this. Romans 15 says this, "Dear brothers and sisters, I urge you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to join me in my struggle, by praying to God for me do this because of your love for me given to you by the Holy Spirit." Two words, I want you to hear there, my brothers and sisters, and the love that you have by the Holy Spirit given to you. Galatians 5, "For you have been called live in freedom, my brother and sisters, and then he says, use your freedom to serve one another in love." Ephesians 6 says, "Peace be with you, my dear brothers and sisters, and may God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you love with faithfulness." Peter says, in First Peter, "You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart." Again, Peter says, "Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize..." I wish I could get into that word with you right now. "Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted and keep a humble attitude." John, the writer of Revelation also writes in his epistle with Matthew, just finished his series through. First, Second and Third, John, "If we love our brothers and sisters who are believers, it proves that we have passed from death into life. And then First John 3 also says, "We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us, so we ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters."

Matt Stokes: 08:42 Hopefully I'm pressing home that point, and I would love to stay here longer, but I'm going to continue. But please don't forget that the greatest longing in the heart of Jesus, is for us to love, by this all men will know you're my disciples. Not by your political platform, not by your social status, not by your stance on some particular issue, of but by way that you love one another. And I challenge you, Jesus said, to love one another the way that I have loved you. It says here that, look the last sentence that it says to which Jesus Christ calls us. He calls us to it. I'm sorry. I've got to stay here for a second, okay, he calls us to this. Remember we talked about calling, what's your calling? You don't have to wonder what your calling is, your calling is to love and suffering, right? I mean, it says right here that you're called to love one another, and to suffer for him. First Peter chapter 2, it says, that we are actually called, it says, because Christ suffered for us as an example that as he suffered, so too we should suffer. Wow. Romans chapter 8 says, somewhere around 16, 17, it says that you are joint heirs, you are co-heirs with Christ, and because you suffer for him, you will also be glorified with him. So we all love that last line, and the first line, but what about that middle line about suffering? First John chapter 2 says, "The one who says that I know him, ought to walk even as he has walked." And how did my savior walk? He walked out of the city of Jerusalem, and he walked up a Hill with a cross on his back. And he allowed nails to be driven through his hands and feet, as he cried out for forgiveness for those who were hurting him, that's how he walked.

Matt Stokes: 10:47 "I was exiled to the island of Patmos for preaching the word of God and for my testimony about Jesus Christ." I already talked about that last week. He uses that same phrase here again, look at that, maybe you want to draw a line from verse 2 down to here. He's using that same phrase about the word of God, and his testimony, personal pronoun. My testimony about Jesus Christ. What's interesting about that is, watch what happens next, and then we'll talk about it. Verse 10. "It was the Lord’s Day, and I was worshiping in the Spirit. Suddenly, I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet blast. It said, “Write in a book everything you see, and send it to the seven churches in the cities of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.” Write it in a book and send everything you see, send it, singular, to the seven churches. So apparently there's one letter that is going to all seven churches, so what does that mean? Just an interesting piece that I was just studying, and just saw, like this isn't in any commentary. But if you just look at the grammar, that means that the church in Ephesus saw what it said to Laodicea, and Pergamum saw what it said to Sardis, and Thyatira saw what it said to Philadelphia, they're all getting the same letter, that's written to all the seven churches.

Matt Stokes: 12:10 But this is the part that I want you to kind of really center down on, is the fact that he's exiled to the Island of Patmos for the preaching of the word of God and for his testimony. And what I want to tell you is, is that there is a promise of exile for those of us who proclaim the word of God and share our testimony. And some of us in this room, you know that, some of you have been thrown out of a church because you decided to stand up for the truth of Jesus Christ. Some of you have been expelled from your friendships because you decide to share your testimony. Some of you have been ignored by the people that you thought were your friends for life, because you decided to say, I've become a Christian, like I'm a follower of Christ. And I'm saying, as Christ said, and I've said it many times before, Jesus said, a servant is not greater than his master, if they persecuted me, they're going to persecute you. A servant is not greater than his master, Jesus said, if they hated me, they're going to hate you. And so you see the Apostle John here saying I was exiled, but there was a reason that I was thrown out, there was a reason I was expelled, there was a reason that I was ignored, displaced, and that's because I proclaim the word of God and I let people know my testimony.

Matt Stokes: 13:26 Now here's what's also interesting about that, he said he was worshiping in the spirit, and he heard a loud voice. Now in my Bible, and I would like you to do the same, take a pen, and I drew a line from worshiping in verse 10, to I heard in verse 10. And then it said, in verse 11, and then I saw, in verse 12. And the reason I'm saying that is this, you might be banished in some way, you may be cast out in some way, you may be displaced in some way. That's what happened to him physically, it may happen to you relationally, it may happen to you emotionally, it may happen to you socially, but guess what? That does not stop Jesus Christ from speaking to you. He has a revelation when he got exiled, when he was banished, no matter how far he was ostracized and pushed out of society and cast away from other people, God still met him there and spoke to him there in exile.

Matt Stokes: 14:29 And what I'm saying is, is that God can and will speak to you in any situation. Did your spouse kick you out of your marriage? Did your place of occupation, kick you out of your work and your job? And I'm saying whatever's happening in your life, did your expectations, did you get kicked of your expectations? Because the doctor called you and he said, you got to come back in because there's something on your films, and that doesn't look good. I'm saying whatever type of exile, or banishment, or disappointment, you might be experiencing, Christ can speak to you in the midst of any situation. In fact, I would go as far as to suggest that's when he speaks to you the most. He was worshiping in the spirit. I was exiled to the Island of Patmos, oh, and by the way, while I was exiled, kicked out, banished, expelled, displaced, I was worshiping that is what I decided to do, I decided to worship him. And guess what happened? I got caught up in the Spirit. I was worshiping him in exile, and I got caught up in the Spirit so much so, to the degree that there's this voice that's coming from behind me, and it's as loud as a trumpet blast in my ear. Does anyone want to hear the words of Christ with that much volume? I do, right? I want to hear Christ speak to me. And I'm saying sometimes that involves suffering, sometimes that involves isolation.

Matt Stokes: 15:59 He hears the voice of Jesus, Jesus reveals himself. He reveals the lamp stands, he reveals his identity as we're going to get into, this depiction of who he is, remarkable. "When I turned to see who was speaking to me, I saw seven golden lampstands." See, I drew that line from worshiping to I heard, and then to it said, and then to I saw, because it's one thing to be blessed with his voice, but it's another thing when you decide to turn and see. Because right now you might be hearing his voice, you might leave here and feel really blessed and be like, wow, okay, so we did the book Revelation, I felt like the Lord spoke to me. Okay, God bless you, I hope that he does. But it's one thing to hear him speak to you, but it's another thing to turn and see him. My kids they're so busy, like all the time. So like, they can be like filling up their hydro flasks in the morning before they're going to school in their sports thing, and I can be talking to them, like some instructions about what's happening today. It's one thing for them to be like, yeah, dad, okay, dad, yeah, okay, dad. Right? It's another thing when they actually stop, and turn, and listen. And I'm like, wow, okay, I have my kid's full attention. Okay, if I being sinful, and wicked, and human, and linear, feel that much endearment when my kids turned to me, how much more does your heavenly Father long to have you stop, slow down, and not just listen for his voice as blessed as that is, but turn and look at him.

Matt Stokes: 17:45 Psalm 27, David says one thing have I desired, one thing will I seek after, to behold as His beauty, to behold the beauty of the Lord. To inquire in his temple, just to be in his presence. John chapter 12, oh my goodness, there's no way we're going to get this stuff done. John chapter 12, right, it says that the religious leaders were all getting totally ticked because everybody was following Jesus, they're like great, now the whole world's following him. And it says, then came Greeks, Gentiles, like lost people from like another country, they're coming to Jerusalem for the feast day. They come like to the Jewish feast day. And it says, Phillip says, why are you here? And they say, that we might see Jesus. We want to see this one, we want to see this Messiah, the savior, that we might see Jesus. And it says in Philip told Andrew, and Philip and Andrew told Jesus, and then it says, Jesus starts speaking to them. And he says, he looks at them, and he says, unless a grain of wheat falls and dies, it won't bear much fruit. But when it dies, it will bear much fruit. The one who looks to save his life is going to lose it, but the one who loses his life for my sake, he shall find life eternal. My soul, Imagine these Greeks are like looking at him, and Jesus says, my soul was exceedingly troubled. And what shall I say to this hour, Father, save me from this hour? It's for this hour that I've come, therefore, Father glorify your name. And the Father says, I have glorified your name, and I will glorify it again. And it says, some people thought it thundered, other people thought an angel spoke. And Jesus said, that was not for my sake, that was for you. And like, this is John chapter 12, and I'm just saying like, here's these people, and they came to see Jesus and they got more than they bargained for. How about you? Are you, would you say that that's the longing of your hearts? The one thing that I desire, the one thing will I seek after, to behold your beauty, the beauty of the Lord, to inquire in your temple. Would the God that everyone who calls himself part of the Coastal community would be in each other's lives, pursuing one another to make sure that we are in the presence of Jesus together.

Matt Stokes: 20:23 "When I turned to see who was speaking to me, I saw seven golden lampstands. And standing in the middle of the lampstands..." Would you circle that word, middle? "...middle of the lampstands was someone like the Son of Man. He was wearing a long robe with a gold sash across his chest." And the reason I want you to circle that word middle is, hey, lean into this with me just for a second. We're going to get chapter 2 soon, and you're going to see that there's encouragement, there's also rebuke. But one thing I have against you, but this one thing concerns me, but this one complaint I have against you, but guess what? He's still in the midst of them, he's in the midst of the lamps. It doesn't say I looked and behold, I saw the son of man, and he was like looking at the land stands, he was behind the land stands, he's in the midst of the lamp stands, which of course is going to be symbolic of the churches themselves. What a blessing to know that at this point, right here, as we're reading this, Jesus is in the midst of the churches, he's in the midst of his people. It says in the scripture that he dwells within the praises of his people, anytime that we're with sincerity, and real fervency lifting him up, praising his name, it says that he dwells in the midst of that. I don't know what that means, I know that God's everywhere, at all time, because he's omnipresent. But there's something about the abiding presence of Christ in the life, or in the lives, of those that are truly seeking him.

Matt Stokes: 21:47 Even in the midst of exile, even in the complaints that they might've had, that Jesus had against them. He's meeting, he's speaking, he's revealing as Revelation opens, despite all those rebukes against the church, Christ is still in the midst. He's describing what he looks like, "He was wearing a long robe with a gold sash across his chest. His head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow. And his eyes were like flames of fire. His feet were like polished bronze refined in a furnace." It was like, his feet were like polished bronze, no, no, no, no, like polished bronze, it's like refined in a furnace, yeah. "And his voice thundered." It thundered, but it thundered, it was like the sound of it says here, mighty oceans. It's in the King James, it says, "It was like the sound of many waters." I'm not talking about the crashing of waves upon the beach that we all know in Ocean City, I'm talking about, have you ever seen waves that crash up against boulders, and it's just, it's actually thunderous, right? That's the voice that he's hearing.

Matt Stokes: 22:59 And as you get this depiction, what's interesting and those of you are students of scripture might find this interesting as well is, this is the only depiction up to this point, and perhaps throughout the entire New Testament of Jesus Christ. Everyone wants to know what Jesus looks like. Well, I think he had long hair and he probably had a beard, because according to this verse. And you know, the woman pulled on his robe, so he probably had a robe. Like here's, we're just guessing, here is the one depiction you get of what Jesus Christ looks like. And it's talking about his hair, and his head, and his eyes, and his feet, and his voice, and this outfit that he has on, it's white, and it has this golden sash. All of these are symbols of purity, of power, of authority, and of judgement. If we had the time to get into it, but why is that so important? Because those who are reading this book, want to know that this is their savior, this is the resurrected Lord, this is the risen King.

Matt Stokes: 23:57 And this is how he's coming again, "He held seven stars in his right hand, and a sharp two-edged sword came from his mouth. And his face was like the sun in all its brilliance." And again, that two-edged sword is a symbol here of judgment, and vengeance, and the fulfilling of God's promise to his people, so it's not supposed to scare you, this was to comfort you. Okay? Oh my God, a two edged sword? No, like, this is supposed to comfort you, for all those that are suffering under injustice, for all of those who have been under the tyranny of those who are against equality. I mean, like, he's coming. "Vengeance is mine, says the Lord." Not supposed to scare you, it's supposed to comfort you, in a world that's filled with injustice, and inequality, and prejudice, and hatred, and division. You'll see when we get to the Book of Revelation, Jesus returns and says, behold, I make all things new. And of course this two-edged sword is a reference to the scriptures, Hebrews chapter 4, it says, "That the word of God sharper than any two-edged sword." It's not like a two edged sword, it's sharper than any two edged sword, and divides between soul and spirit, joint and marrow, thoughts and intentions of the heart. And then it says, and all things are laid bare before the one to whom we give account. Like, why would that last piece? It's like this really cool thing about the Word of God, and then he throws this piece in there, like, and by the way, he's also a righteous judge, and we will all give an accounting. Powerful.

Matt Stokes: 25:47 Verse 17, "When I saw him, I fell at his feet as if I were dead." So he sees his head, he sees his hair, he sees his face, he sees his feet, he hears his voice, he sees his hand, he sees his mouth, and all of this is symbolic in this apocalyptic literature, as we said, of judgment. But what happens? He falls, watch this, He falls as if he were dead, in the presence of all of this epic awesomeness. And what does Jesus do? He takes his right hand, and he is like, you're darn right I am. Like, no, he takes his right hand, he lays it upon John. And he says, don't be afraid. "Don't be afraid! I am the First and the Last." And so I just want to turn to you now and ask you, where are you longing to hear Jesus say, don't be afraid, in your life right now? Is it something to do with your children? So many of us here who are parents, you know, we would give our lives for our children, we would trade places with their pain for anything, because we love them so much. Is it something with your own health, something with your concern regarding your relationship, your marriage, where are you longing for Jesus to actually lay his hand upon you and say, don't be afraid, I'm the First and the Last, I'm the Alpha and the Omega. I'm the Beginning and the End.

Matt Stokes: 27:15 The writer of Hebrews, who I believe was Paul, will say, I'm the author and the finisher of your faith. Like yo', I wrote your book. I'm the author and the finisher of your faith, like I wrote your story, don't be afraid. Don't be afraid. And then he goes on to try and really strengthen him on why he shouldn't be afraid. Because look, "I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! I am the living one, [foreign language]. And really what he says is, I am the, and living end, which is a very hard thing to translate into English. But what he's really saying is like, I am continually alive, I'm alive, and alive, and alive, that's what he's really saying, here. I died, necros, that's where we get the word necromancer, which is someone who talks to the dead. Or you might have necropathy, which is like, when your bones start to like die inside your body. That's the word, it's the Greek word, necros. But look, I am [foreign language]. There's that word. [foreign language], I am alive forever and ever. And what is he saying? He's saying I am zoe. There's two words in the Greek for life, one is bios, and the other is zoe. Bios, where you get biology's, zoe, where we probably get the word zoology. Biology has to do with physical life, zoe has to do with the life principle in the universe. He says, I am Zoe, and I'm alive forever and ever, I'm the
life principle. And what he really says in the Greek, and I am the evermore, forever. Does that comfort anyone who's going
through trial, and tribulation, and chaos, and crisis, that he puts his hand upon and says, don't be afraid, I'm like alive. I was dead, yes, but now I'm alive forever and ever more.

Matt Stokes: 29:16 "I hold the keys of death and the grave." Death is Hades, the grave is thanos. Did anyone here see The Avengers, End Game? Remember the most evil character, his name was Thanos, that is a Greek word. Hades literally just means the grave, it means the departed life. Thanos actually is another word for the grave, but it actually means the miseries that are associated with sin and separation from God, and those that are destined for hell. Pause and give me your attention just for a minute. Jesus is like, I hold the keys to that. Okay? I hold the keys to the departed, and I hold the keys to their destiny. I hold the keys to death and destiny, I'm the one. I want you not to be afraid because I'm alive, I was dead, but now I'm alive forever and ever, and I hold the keys to death and destiny, no matter what happens to you. The keys are a metaphor, right, there a metaphor for authority. I got the keys, I got the keys, I hold the keys. I have the authority over death and destiny, no matter what happens to you, no weapon formed against you shall prosper. Jesus said, I'm the resurrection and the life, he that believes in me, even if he dies, yet shall he live? Because I hold the keys to, I have the authority over, death and destiny of everyone, from anywhere, who's done anything, at any time, I'm the authority.

Matt Stokes: 30:59 “Write down what you have seen—both the things that are now happening and the things that will happen." So for those of you who really like a simple outline of the Book of Revelation, you have it right here. There's three things contained in this book, the things that were, the things that are, and the things that will be. The things that were, are what he already saw up to chapter one, as he introduces himself, as he sees the lampstands, as he sees Jesus depicted as the coming King, the resurrected Savior, the living Lord, that's the things that were. The things that are, will be chapter 2, 3, 4, 5, that's the letter to the seven churches, what's happening in heaven. And the rest, let's say 6 through 22, that's going to be the things that are to come. So it was really easy to just wrap up Revelation in a really simple way, and that's just to look at the things that were, the things that are, the letters to the churches, and then the things that are yet to come, 6 through 22, as we see what we call the tribulation. All of that right here in verse 19.

Matt Stokes: 32:04 And then we'll finish up here in 20, "This is the meaning of the mystery of the seven stars you saw in my right hand and the seven gold lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches." So the seven stars are the seven angels. So scholars may differ on what this means, the word anglos literally means messenger, that's what the word means. Many times it's translated angel, but it's also translated messenger, the one who gives the message. So some wonder is this actually, are there angels over these churches? Or is this actually, this is written, the seven stars are the messengers of the seven churches, the ones who deliver the message. I'm prone to believe it's the latter for two reasons. One, I don't believe that each church has its own angel. And like, oh, sorry, I'm over First Presb, I can't help you if you're from Coastal, right, like that wouldn't make a lot of sense, right? So is it really angels over particular churches, as spiritually beautiful as that might sound, it just doesn't make spiritual logical sense. And then on the other hand, by the way, there's also a rebuke to these churches, each church has their own particular rebuke. Is Jesus rebuking the angels, the messengers over the churches, or is this the letter that's given to the pastors that are overseeing these churches in this particular time, and he's saying, here's the message that's given to these people who are considered to be the leaders of these particular churches. I believe that's the case, this is the message to those messengers. Jesus says, write this down, this is my message to those messengers.

Matt Stokes: 33:48 And for years, I'll just say, you know, a lot of times I've heard pastors say, as I was growing up, you know, someday I'm going to have to stand before God and give an account for how I lead. And I thought, really, we're going to have to stand and give an account? I guess so, because it says that every man will stand up for the judges. But no, here literally there's a particular, and we could go through the scriptures if we had the time. We could go through the scriptures and we can see that there's a particular amount of intense responsibility that's given to leaders, to those who not just sit in the pew, but those who are proclaiming the message, and teaching that message, and are called to live out that message. There's a particular intensity when it comes to the word that is given to them, and the level of accountability and responsibility to which they're called, and I believe you're seeing that here unfold in these final verses of the chapter. And again, it's to the seven lampstands, and he unfolds it for us, so that there's no confusion, that's the churches.

Matt Stokes: 34:44 So as we move into a time of communion, let me just wrap up this message by saying this. We all wish, when we look at this, that we had a spectacular vision like John, right? I mean, who wouldn't want that kind of revelation. But according to the scriptures, we have access to the very same Jesus, Jesus said that he's the same yesterday, today, and forever. His wisdom, his power, his love, his victory, his forgiveness, his grace, is ours to know right now, right here, right now, For as much as you would pursue it, for as much as you would pursue, listen, him, because we're not talking about pursuing principles, okay, we're talking about pursuing a person, and his name is Jesus Christ, and he loves you. Like, look at this person here with, again, in all of that epic awesomeness, he also loves you. That's an important point that's being driven home in Revelation, this isn't supposed to be a scary book. It's supposed to be a book for those who are going through chaos, and catastrophe, and all kinds of trial and tribulation, and he's like, let me give you this revelation. I died for your sins, but now I'm alive forever, and I hold the key, I have the authority over death, over your death, and over your destiny, don't be afraid. I can meet you in any situation, wherever you get exiled, wherever you're ostracized, wherever you're expelled, I'll meet you there, you can dwell with me. If you live in the spirit, you'll hear his voice. It may be a still, small, soft, voice like it was to Elijah, or it might be as loud as a trumpet right behind your head, it might be like as loud as waves crashing upon boulders. Jesus is most often experienced in the midst of trial. Jesus is most often experienced in the midst of tragedy. So I just want to encourage you, all of you who are in that place right now, or you may be going into that place in the days to come, take comfort in the Book of Revelation.

Matt Stokes: 37:14 Let's pray. Father, as we move into this time of communion, we want to celebrate the fact that you were dead, but you're alive. And when you died, you were a sinless sacrifice, so that you could purchase something for us that we could never purchase for ourselves, and that is that forever forgiveness, that is that promise of our home in heaven. So as we move into this time, we pray, that we might remember you, your death, your resurrection, the promises that we have in Revelation. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Recorded in Ocean City, New Jersey.
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