Books Of The Bible
I Have The Keys Of Death And Hell
Revelations Series • Chapter 1
First Lesson • Revelation 1
Leader: The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place;
Congregation: He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw.
L: Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of the prophecy, and blessed are those who hear and who keep what is written in it; for the time is near.
C: John to the seven churches that are in Asia:
L: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come,
C: And from the seven spirits who are before his throne,
L: And from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
L: To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
C: Look! He is coming with the clouds; every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and on his account all the tribes of the earth will wail. So it is to be. Amen.
L: I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.
C: I, John, your brother who share with you in Jesus the persecution and the kingdom and the patient endurance, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.
L: I was in the spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet saying,
C: ‘Write in a book what you see and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamum, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.’
L: Then I turned to see whose voice it was that spoke to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands I saw one like the Son of Man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash across his chest.
C: His head and his hair were white as white wool, white as snow; his eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined as in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of many waters.
L: In his right hand he held seven stars,
C: And from his mouth came a sharp, two-edged sword,
L: And his face was like the sun shining with full force.
C: When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead.
L: But he placed his right hand on me, saying, ‘Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living one. I was dead, and see, I am alive forever and ever; and I have the keys of Death and of Hades.
C: Now write what you have seen, what is, and what is to take place after this.
L: As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather. Immediately after the suffering of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see “the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven” with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
Bulletin Cover: Revelation 1
Rev. 1:9 • Prophet John On The Island Of Patmos
Patricia Marvenko Smith
I Have The Keys Of Death And Hell
Today we are beginning a summer series of sermons from the Book of Revelation. There will be twelve sermons on the Book of Revelation, beginning with Chapter 1 and ending with Chapter 22. The focus of today’s sermon is Revelation, chapter one.
Why preach a series of sermons on the Book of Revelation? For several reasons: Because the Book of Revelation is the inspired Word of God. Because there are so many great Biblical passages in the Book of Revelation. Because Jesus, the Risen Christ, speaks so powerfully to our world today through this book. Because the Book of Revelation is often widely misunderstood. Because the Book of Revelation is often neglected in the mainline churches. Because more conservative denominations and their interpretations dominate the conversation about the Book of Revelation. Because many of us do not agree with the more conservative denominational interpretations of this book. So for these and many other reasons, we are going to going to focus this “summer series of sermons” on the Book of Revelation.
This series of sermons is going to try to avoid two positions: the fanatics/fundamentalists and the reformers. Let me explain.
I am going to try to avoid the interpretations by groups of people who have been called “the fanatics/fundamentalists.” “The fanatics” are those people who believe that the Book of Revelation is prewritten history. That is, such “fanatics” think that the Book of Revelation was written two thousand years ago, but it was specifically describing a historical situation today in our times.
I would like to give two illustrations of such “fanatics/fundamentalists.”
The first “fanatic’s” name was Melchior Hoffman, a Lutheran pastor during the Reformation, who was convinced that the Day of Judgment was coming in 1534 in a city by the name of Strassburg. The End would come when Hoffman was imprisoned in Strassburg. Well, Hoffman was imprisoned, but the world did not end. Throughout history, there have always been people like Hoffman who thought that the end of the world was going to occur in their lifetime, and they had the necessary information to determine the exact date of the End. For these “fanatics” like Hoffman, the Book of Revelation was treated as pre-written history from many centuries before, that Revelation predicted the End of the World in 1534, and Melchior Hoffman would be there in prison in Stassburg to see the End of the world.
A second example of such a “fanatic” was Hal Lindsey from our contemporary world. That is, thirty years ago, Hal Lindsey was the most popular “fanatic” on the globe. Lindsey was a tugboat captain from New Orleans who attended Dallas Theological Seminary. He wrote the book, THE LATE GREAT PLANET EARTH in 1971. It was THE rage of that era, as I distinctly recall. That book sold over 28 million copies and was made into a movie narrated by Orson Welles. THE LATE GREAT PLANET EARTH interprets the Book of Revelation as pre-written history from twenty centuries ago, that the Book of Revelation and the Bible specifically prophecied about historical events from Lindsey’s time in history.
For Lindsey, the Beginning of the End began on May 14, 1948, when the land of Israel was officially established. By reading closely and carefully the Book of Revelation and other similar prophecies in the Bible, Lindsey and similar “fanatics” thought that the End was coming soon, that there would be a final battle of Armegeddon fought in the Middle East between Russia and Western Europe, that Russia was “Gog and Magog,” that the ten horns in the Book of Revelation represented the ten nations of the common market of Western Europe, etc. He also thought the swarms of 30 million Chinese soldiers swarming all over the Middle East was prophecied in the Book of Revelation. The book, THE LATE GREAT PLANET EARTH, was the rage in the 1970s, and people actually thought the contents of that book were true, that it was an accurate interpretation of the Book of Revelation and other similar prophecies. The popularity of the book, THE LATE GREAT PLANET EARTH, was so great that you could not say a word against it, without offending the enormous horde of “true believers” who believed Lindsey’s interpretation of the Book of Revelation. I personally experienced that fanaticism of those people who passionately agreed with Lindsey’s erroneous interpretation of the Bible.
A second position that I will avoid in this summer series of sermons is the position of the reformers during the Reformation e.g. Luther, Calvin and Zwingli. Martin Luther himself, our namesake as a denomination, did not consider the Book of Revelation as Scripture. For Luther, the Book of Revelation was not fully Scripture but was attached as an appendix to the Bible. Martin Luther assigned two books to what he considered were “inferior” books: James and Revelation. Luther considered the Book of James as an “epistle of straw” because that book didn’t mention Christ nor did it understand grace. The Book of Revelation was considered inferior because it was so abstruse and obscure and unusable for the normal and average Christian. Luther was unappreciative with its complex symbolism. Other great reformers such as Zwingli and Calvin had similar thoughts.
In this series of sermons, I am going to avoid either the positions of the fanatics or the positions of the Reformers. I believe that the Book of Revelation is fully Scripture, is fully the Word of God. I also know that the Book of Revelation was part of the earliest list of books that belonged in the Bible. That list, the earliest list, is called the Muratorium Fragment from about 180 CE, and the Book of Revelation was on that earliest list of the books which were to be in the New Testament. The Book of Revelation was also included in the three great ancient Greek manuscripts on which all New Testaments are based: Alexandrinus, Sinaiticus, and Vaticanus, written from 350-425 CE. The Book of Revelation was fully the Word of God in all these ancient resources, and will be treated as being fully the Word of God in these sermons.
This summer series of sermons will have more teaching than you are usually accustomed to from this pulpit.
To begin this series on the Book of Revelation, I would like to make three introductory comments about the Book of Revelation.
First, the Book of Revelation is addressing itself to a time of great persecution in the early church. The Book of Revelation, according to most scholars with whom I agree, was written in about the years 85-90 CE, after the time of Emperor Nero and during the reign of Emperor Domitian. There was a great deal of intense religious persecution under these two Roman emperors, Nero and Domitian, and I would like to briefly speak about both. You need to know about Nero and Domitian to more fully understand the Book of Revelation.
As you may know, Emperor Nero was crazy. He was a lunatic. He murdered his mother. He kicked his wife so severely that she died. He was the one who set the great fire to Rome and then blamed it on the Christians. He persecuted the first Christians. These Christians were mauled by dogs. These Christians were covered with oil, tied to stakes, and lit on fire to provide light for his evening parties. He fed the Christians to the lions in the Roman coliseum. He is the one who had Simon Peter crucified upside down in Rome. He was the one who had the Apostle Paul’s head cut off. The persecutions under Nero were vicious.
Then, after Emperor Nero, a short time later in the years 81-96 CE, there came an emperor by the name of Domitian. Domitian was the first emperor to take “emperor worship” seriously. He was the first Roman emperor to thought of himself as god and he also demanded that his subjects worship him as god. Other earlier Roman emperors did not that this seriously such as Emperor Claudias, but Domitian did. Domitian demanded that the people bow down and worship him, saying, “Caesar is Lord.” Of course, this was a violation of the first commandment for Jews and Christians. Christians believed that only Jesus Christ was Lord and so Christians also refused to bow down and worship Domitian as Lord. Jews and Christians were exiled from Rome. This is what the Book of Acts is all about, that Jesus is Lord and not Caesar.
A second introductory comment is about the author himself, John the prophet. John the prophet was a prominent church leader, perhaps the bishop of Asia Minor. Today, that would be the land of Turkey. Most scholars believe that John the prophet refused to submit to the worship of Caesar, and he was sent away to the Island of Patmos. Patmos was an island prison about thirty miles out into the Aegean Sea. The island of Patmos was about ten miles long and about six miles wide. The island was a rocky, barren slope. It had rock quarries where Roman prisoners had been sent to work. John the prophet, because of his leadership in the ancient Christian church and because of his refusal to worship Caesar as Lord, was then sent to the island prison of Patmos, so most Biblical scholars conclude.
John the prophet was a spirit filled man who experienced religious ecstasies. Like all great prophets of God, he was filled with the Spirit of God.
John the prophet also had an artistic, brilliant mind. Artists of all generations and all centuries have been attracted to the book because of its artistic beauty, and it is easy to create an art show based on the numerous paintings inspired by the book of Revelation. John could also be thought of as the equivalent to a composer of a symphony. That is, the Book of Revelation is the most beautifully orchestrated symphony in the whole New Testament. Hymn writers and liturgical writers often are attracted to the Book of Revelation for language to be used in hymns and liturgies.
John the prophet loves symbolic language. He loves symbolic numbers, symbolic animals, symbolic names, symbolic visions. A goal of reading the Book of Revelation is to try to understand as much symbolism as a person can. As a pastor, I will attempt to help you understand much of the symbolism in John’s language and visions.
John the prophet identified himself as the prophet. He did not identify himself as John, the beloved disciple, who wrote the Gospel of John. The books of the Gospel of John and the Book of Revelation are so different in their theology, their language, their Greek, their syntax. The Greek language of the Gospel of John is the best in the New Testament; the Greek language of the Book of Revelation is the worst in the New Testament. The Apostle John wrote the Gospel of John; the Prophet John wrote the Book of Revelation. That is what each book says about itself. The Gospel of John persistently refers to “the disciple whom Jesus loved” who was thought of as being the author of John. The Book of Revelation does not have one reference to “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” There are at least two people by the name of John who are authors of our New Testament books: the Apostle John who wrote the Gospel of John; the prophet John who wrote the Book of Revelation.
A third introductory comment is that the Book of Revelation is apocalyptic literature and was written during a time of apocalyptic Jewish/Christian literature. Let me explain. Apocalyptic literature is a genre of literature which was very popular during the time of Christ, from two hundred years before Christ and two hundred years after Christ. There are many apocalyptic books written during this period, and those other apocalyptic books help us to understand the Book of Revelation. Some of those books are: Enoch, Testament of the Twelve, Ascension of Isaiah, Assumption of Moses, Apocalypse of Baruch, and Ezra 4.
Apocalyptic literature is characterized by the use of symbolic numbers, symbolic animals, and symbolic names. Good numbers are 3 and 4, and a combination of 3 and 4 which equals 7. Other good and symbolic numbers are 10, 12, 40 and the number 1000. These are all good numbers in apocalyptic literature and not just in the Book of Revelation. The number 6 is always an evil number. The number 666 is the worst. The number 144,000 is not to be taken literally as 144,000 are to be saved but it is a symbolic number: 12 times 12 times 1000. But then we are getting ahead of ourselves.
There are also symbolic animals and combinations of animals and these animals usually symbolize empires. We hear about the dragon, the bear, the eagle.
Also in apocalyptic literature, a person is translated up into heaven (that is, travels up to heaven) and receives secrets about the future and comes back to earth and tells everybody on earth what the visions/secrets are. That is true, not only in the Book of Revelation, but in other apocalyptic books as well.
Apocalyptic books are pessimistic and believe that doom is right around the corner. These books are also deterministic and God controls everything.
At this time, I would like you to turn to your bulletin insert and together let us examine the first chapter of Revelation. These sermons from the Book of Revelation will be expositional sermons in which we more carefully look at the details of the Biblical text.
During these expositional sermons, please take out a pencil or pen and circle and underline words. As you do this, you will force your mind to slow down and actually see words and thoughts that you would not have seen unless you circle, underline and take a few notes.
Also, there will be images projected on the screen by means of a Power Point presentation.
-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, who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. Circle the word, “revelation.” That is the same Greek word as “apocalypse.” It means “unveiling.” Write the word, “unveiling”, near the word, “revelation.” Something is hidden behind the veil. You take the veil off and you see clearly. Or something is covered but then uncovered. Think of a pan with a cover as a lid. You take the lid off and see what is in the pan. It is uncovered. So the future is unveiled; the future is uncovered. The word, “revelation,” in English and “apocalypse” in Greek are the same word.
Circle the word, “soon.” Christ is coming soon. Revelation 22:20, at the very close of the book, says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Christians live with the awareness that Christ is coming soon, but none of us knows when “soon” will occur.
Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of the prophecy, and blessed are those who hear and who keep what is written in it; for the time is near. Underline the phrase, “the time is near.” That is always true for a Christian: we live in such a way that our time is near and coming soon. Life, for all of us, is a millisecond, and we meet Christ face to face.
John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Near the word, “seven” write the word, “whole.” Like all numbers in the Book of Revelation, the number seven is symbolic. It symbolizes wholeness and completeness. Asia does not refer to our Asian China or Japan but to Asia Minor, the land which we currently know as Turkey.
Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, Circle the words, “grace” and “peace.” He greets his readers with the phrase, “grace to you and peace.” This greeting sounds like the Apostle Paul’s letters.
Circle the words, “is,” “was,” and “is to come.” That is the way God is always described in this book. God always is, always was and always is to come. God is the ground of being, the essence of time.
And from the seven spirits who are before his throne, The seven spirits before his throne is the Holy Spirit, the complete Spirit, the fullness of the Spirit. This is God the Spirit. Write down the word, “Holy Spirit.”
And from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. This is God the Son. Jesus is the faithful witness or martyr. He is the firstborn of the dead. And he is ruler of all the kings of the earth. Jesus Christ loved us and freed us from our sins by his death on the cross.
This is the Trinitarian formula: Grace to you and peace from God the Creator, God the Spirit and God the Son; except that the order is God the Creator, God the Spirit and then God the Son.
Look! He is coming with the clouds; every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and on his account all the tribes of the earth will wail. So it is to be. Amen. Underline “coming with the clouds.” Christ will come again and all will see him. This is the only reference in the Book of Revelation to Jesus coming again on the clouds of heaven.
‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty. The Lord God is the beginning and the end, the Alpha and Omega. Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. The Lord God is the beginning and end. God always is, always was, and always is to come. The Lord God is always past, present, and future. There is no ending to God; there is no beginning to God; there is not confining God to a present moment.
I, John, your brother who share with you in Jesus the persecution and the kingdom and the patient endurance, Christians were living under the persecutions of two Roman emperors, Nero and Domitian. The Prophet John shared in that persecution. The defining mark of Christians was patience endurance. John never identifies himself as the “beloved disciple” who wrote the Gospel of John; this John always refers to himself as a brother, a servant, a prophet. The following is an artist’s interpretation of the prophet John on the shores of the penal island of Patmos.
Patricia Marvenko Smith
• Rev. 1:9
was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. The island of Patmos was a Roman penal colony. The island consisted of rock quarries in which the Roman prisoners worked digging the quarries out.
I was in the spirit on the Lord’s day. It was Sunday, the first day of the week, the Resurrection Day. Since the earliest Christian times, the day of worship for Christians has been Sunday, not the Sabbath or Saturday as in the Jewish religion. John the Prophet was in the Spirit; that is, God’s Spirit was alive in him. We Christians are to be “in the Spirit,” including in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day. Chances are, if you are actually listening to this sermon, you are in the Spirit. The Spirit of God, which is in you and me, is connecting us with each other at this moment.
And I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet 11saying, ‘Write in a book what you see and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamum, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.’ The seven churches are the whole church in Asia Minor, in Turkey. It was like being a circuit rider where a pastor would travel to each of the seven cities in a circle. In the following image, notice the location of the seven churches and also the island of Patmos. Take a moment and locate the seven cities and churches in Asia Minor. Notice the P which stands for Patmos.
Then I turned to see whose voice it was that spoke to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands. The seven lampstands are the seven churches.
I saw one like the Son of Man, Jesus was/is the Son of man. Jesus referred to himself as the Son of man in the gospels. Jesus’ primary reference to himself in the four gospels is that he was the Son of man. The Son of man was to come at the end of history and be the judge over the living and the dead. But at this point, the Son of man is in the midst of the churches of the world.
The following phrases describe the Risen and Victorious Christ. In the Book of Revelation, you will consistently find the most exalted pictures of Jesus Christ in all the New Testament.
Clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash across his chest. These were the garments of the high priest. According to the Book of Hebrews, Christ is the high priest. The prophet John was familiar with Jewish traditions and Scriptures and was most likely a Christian with strong Jewish roots.
His head and his hair were white as white wool, white as snow; This is a quotation from the Psalms, referring to God. All of the following quotations are from the Old Testament and referred to Almighty God, the Lord. God was the ancient of days.
H is eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined as in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of many waters. These quotations are from Daniel 10.
In his right hand he held seven stars, The seven stars are the seven angels that protect the seven churches.
And from his mouth came a sharp, two-edged sword, The sharp, two edged sword is the Word of God and is a quotation from Isaiah. Jesus spoke the Word of God in all of its truthfulness.
And his face was like the sun shining with full force. This is a quotation from Matthew. Jesus was shining like the face of Moses was shining when he had been in the presence of God on Mount Sinai.
When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he placed his right hand on me, saying, When the servant John knew that this was none other than the Risen Christ, John fell at Jesus’ feet as though he were dead. When you and I finally realize the true identity of Jesus Christ, we, too, fall on our knees in adoration of him.
‘Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living one. I was dead, and see, I am alive forever and ever; and I have the keys of Death and of Hades. As in his resurrection appearances, Jesus always begins with the invitation, “Do not be afraid.” Jesus then says that he is the first and the last, the Alpha and the Omega, just as God was the first and the last. Jesus then underscores: I was dead, but look, I am now alive on this day and forever. I have the keys of Death and hell in my hands.
In the Old Testament, when people died, they went to the land of the dead, the castle of the dead, the graveyard of the dead. That is where people lived for all eternity, in the castle of the dead.
That is our focus today: Christ has the keys to death and hell in his hands. Jesus has the power to unlock the doors to Sheol, the valley of the dead, the desert where the dead go to be in their next existence.
Now write what you have seen, what is, and what is to take place after this. The Prophet John is to write down what he has seen in his vision.
As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
This ends our Bible study.
I had a dream the other night, or was it a vision, or was it night or was it the day. I am not sure. But it was a very strange vision that entered my mind. I had gone out for a walk in the woods. It was dusk. It was getting darker and darker in the woods. From the woods, I came to a gigantic clearing. In front of me, across a pasture, about a hundred yards away, I could see this gigantic castle. The wall of the castle went north was far as the eye could see, and as far to the south as my eye could see. The walls of this castle were very high, hundreds of yards high, and gray, much like walls of a prison. There were no windows in those high, gray, concrete walls. I was afraid of that castle. The deepness and darkness and dreariness of those castle walls made me feel deeply uneasy. I watched. I listened. It was silent. I started to hear a voice, the voice of whispering winds blowing behind those castle walls, and the winds were murmuring to one another. Was it the wind? Or was it the sound of whispering voices in the wind? I am not sure, but I thought it was the sound of voices of people who had already died and they were whispering to one another in hushed tones. As I sat there listening as the dusk became darker and darker, I would hear like a burst of wind and in the burst of wind, there was an intensity of wailing sounds. The whispering wails and silent sighs became louder and then softer. I was afraid. I was afraid that the castle was haunted. It was a castle of death.
There was a door, one single door, a massive door, that was the entry to that castle of death. That door was made out of iron black bars, woven together like a spider web, and I could see through that black iron web inside the walls of the castle of death.
6000 hours passed. Or 6000 days. Or 6000 years. I am not sure. Visions are strange things.
Suddenly and slowly, through the black iron web of a door, I could see were six silhouettes standing 66.6 yards inside the castle iron gate. The six men were six feet, six inches tall. 666. They seemed to have a battering ram on their shoulders and they charged the massive iron barred gate of the castle to seemingly break it down so they could get out. They were a human battering ram and smashed at the door and suddenly, their bodies flew up into the air and were drawn by a magnetic force into the iron, spider web door. And their bodies hung on that door, as warnings for others who would try to escape.
It was deathly silent. Then, there were six bursts of wind that went up from within the wall and there was wailing inside the wall and then it quieted down again. Then I saw six hunched backed old women, very small, draped from head to foot in black fabric so they looked like short black tents. They looked like the witches, with a black caldron with a bubbling brew of fire and molten lava. These six witches leaned against the cauldron of molten lava and tipped their caldron of molten lava so it would consume the iron doors of the castle, but the bubbling brew tilted back on them and they all were consumed in the molten fire.
It was again deathly silent. The molten lava bubbled. Then, inside the gate and castle wall, there were what seemed to be six cosmonauts. You could see the insignia on their chests which said, “Star Blazers.” Before I knew it, they were in six space ships and the six space ships had laser guns. From six different angles, they flared through space and attacked that great iron gated door from inside the castle walls. All six space ships crashed into that iron gate and became part of that iron spider web of a door.
It was again deathly silent.
In my dream, I waited and waited. For seven days and seven nights. For 7000 hours and 7000 days and 7000 years. I saw a Spirit, no it was seven spirits, a whirlwind like I had never seen before. Right before me, that whirlwind spun faster and faster and higher and higher. That whirlwind lifted up off the ground went up and over that wall and into that castle of death. It became absolutely quiet inside that castle of death. The whirlwind disappeared. No wind. No sound. No movement. For three full days. On the third day, at the crack of dawn, I heard a clink in the iron barred door, the iron spider web, a distinct clink like the sound of a key in the lock of the door. I looked more carefully, and I saw a lock on that door. I saw what I thought was a key in that lock and the lock slooooowwwwly turned. The locked was unlocked and the iron, spider web gate was opened wide…by a wind.
He walked out. He had five wounds on his body. On both of his feet. On both of his hands. And in his side. His hair was white as wool. His eyes were like flames of fire. His feet were like burnished bronze. And he had the key to Death and Hell in his hands. He had opened that door of death and Sheol wide open and walked out. The first one out of the castle of death.
Then, out came seven people behind him. Then seventy more. Then seven thousand more. Then seven million more. Then seven billion more . Then seven quadrillion more.
Then, then, I woke up from my dream, my vision, my trance.
My head was spinning with my dreams, but I clearly remembered that Jesus Christ held the keys to Death and Hell. I clearly remembered that he was the first one to walk out from that castle of death. Amen.
Have a kettle with a lid on it. Have water in the kettle. Ask all the kids to guess what is in the kettle. Then say, “I have to take the lid off for you to see what is inside the kettle.” I did. Water. Jesus is the person who takes the lid off and can see into our hearts, into our lives and into our futures. Amen.
For the adults who are listening today, the English word, “revelation” is the Greek word, “apocalypse.” “Apo” means off; “calypse” means lid or veil. Off with the veil. Off with the lid. In order to see into God’s future.
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