Yet to Come (Part 1)

CASKET EMPTY  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  1:18:51
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We’re coming to the wrap up of our Casket Empty Series. This series has been fast. I do want to encourage you, to take the time for a more in depth study with our mid-week Bible Study on Zoom, you can do a study with a partner, as a family, or on your own. We still have a few books available that will give you more of the details than I’ve been able to give in our 20 minutes on Sunday morning. You have your timeline, and you have your bookmarks.
This is the second to last sermon in our series, and so once again I’ll share with you our in flight instructions as we fly over the New Testament looking down from about 40,000 feet.
Don’t get frustrated by the pace.
Try and see the connections.
Enjoy your flight.
We’re now looking at circa AD 95 until the return of Christ - and we don’t know exactly when that will be - not even Jesus.
Matthew 24:36 (ESV)
“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.
So as we’re getting into this, I want to give you a couple of insights into apocalyptic literature at the time of the writing of this book.
It’s written about the future.
It’s written using veiled references from the present.
It’s going to require interpretation.
And as you’re giving that interpretation you need to be careful. Remember good interpretation is always founded upon solid observation.
So, with that, let’s go.

Yet to Come (Part 1)

Our book begins this chapter with this sentence that I think sums it up well:
“The period of YET TO COME completes God’s pan of redemption through history with a glorious vision of the ending.”
The New Testament began with the introduction of Jesus as the Messiah, the Christ, fulfilling the expectations and announcing the arrival of the kingdom of God. I want to read the opening paragraph a bit because David Palmer puts it so well:
“His public ministry demonstrates the reality of the kingdom with healings, casting out of demons, and prophetic signs. His atoning death enacts the new covenant. His victory on the cross disarms principalities and powers. His resurrection dawns God’s new creation. His ascension enthrones him as exalted Lord. With heavenly authority, Jesus commissions his people to teach the nations. He pours out the Holy Spirit to empower their witness. He gathers all nations into the church to display God’s renewed humanity in Christ.”
Palmer, David. Casket Empty: God's Plan of Redemption through History: New Testament Study Guide (p. 295). Casket Empty Media LLC. Kindle Edition.
Palmer goes on with this:
At the same time, the New Testament also announces that the full realization of God’s purposes is still YET-TO-COME. The kingdom of God grows among wheat and weeds. Church leaders are in the pains of labor until Christ is formed in the lives of their people. The church is a bride still being perfected. The kingdom of God suffers violence, and an unbelieving world persecutes the church. False teaching assails the church, which has been entrusted with God’s truth. The end times have truly begun, and yet the spirit of the antichrist has gone out into the world. The kingdom of God is inaugurated but not fully consummated. An intense spiritual battle still remains.
Palmer, David. Casket Empty: God's Plan of Redemption through History: New Testament Study Guide (pp. 295-296). Casket Empty Media LLC. Kindle Edition.


As we look at the final book of the Bible it is important that we recognize it is singular, nor plural. This book pulls back the veil so to speak of what God is doing in the plan for redemption in history. It allows us to see God in the sanctuary, enthroned, worshiped, and surrounded by the heavenly hosts who fall before His holiness. God is in control.
The final book of the Bible is not so much about end times as it is about the person of Jesus Christ. Palmer says, “God reveals Christ’s present rule and future glory. This reality produces hope and strengthens our resolve in times of distress. Jesus is revealed as the exalted Son of Man and Lord of the church. He is worshiped in heaven and stands worthy to enact God’s eternal purpose.”
When we read this book in this light it is a book of hope, a book of light, and a book of glory.
As John is writing this vision down, he is in exile on the island of Patmos off the coast of present day Turkey. We start with this bold heading:

God Reveals the Present Rule and Future Glory of His Son

John speaks of Jesus’ eternal glory at both the beginning and end of this book:
Revelation 1:4 ESV
John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne,
And Rev 22:13
Revelation 22:13 ESV
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
This book was first circulated to seven Christian communities around the Roman province in Asia Minor, thus the mention of the seven spirit who are before the throne. It is a time of great persecution for Christians throughout the Roman Empire.
We remember that the Jewish War had broken out about AD 66 to 70, and that the temple had been destroyed. The persecution continued. The hostility towards Jews continued to grow throughout the empire.
In the opening three chapters Jesus addresses the seven churches that John mentions in his opening in verse 4:
Revelation 1:4 ESV
John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne,
As we journey through the book we get a variety of visions given to John, many of which resemble other apocalyptic visions from the Old Testament. Jesus stands among the 7 golden lampstands that illuminate the heavenly sanctuary as in the book of Daniel.
He is clothed in a long robe with a gold sash. His hair is white. His eyes are like a flame of fire and his feet like bronze. His voice resounds with divine authority like the roar of many waters. He holds 7 stars, and from his mouth comes a double edged sword. His face shines like the sun.
John is overwhelmed. When we think of the descriptions of God we see throughout the Old and New Testament all of these recount Jesus’ authority and oneness with God the father.
As Jesus addresses the seven churches and describes each on of them and their spiritual condition and concludes with a warning for those who disobey him and a promise of blessing for those who press on in faith.
We see the exalted Jesus worshiped in Heaven in chapters 4-5. He is the only one worthy of opening the 7 sealed scroll of God’s will. Jesus is the Lamb of God slain who purchased people from all nations.

The Lamb of God who Purchased People from All Nations, Is Slain

Jesus is the Royal Messiah, and as John looks towards the throne of God, he sees a Lamb standing. Jesus has given his life to carry the sin of the world. This takes us all the way back to the sacrifices of the Old Testament back in the opening 5 books of the Bible.
It also points to Isaiah’s vision in Isaiah 53:
Isaiah 53:4–5 ESV
Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.
and John 1:29
John 1:29 ESV
The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
The lamb stands enthroned in heavenly glory following his resurrection.
The book clearly points to Jesus as the Son of David and the Suffering Servant. He conquers the nations not by killing them, but by dying for them. His death and resurrection are the very center of the Gospel message and the biblical narrative as we learned from Paul:
1 Corinthians 15:3–4 ESV
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,
Throughout the book of Revelation we see a lot of 7’s. Remember the number 7 connotes perfection or completeness in many cultures, including Jewish and early church.
Seven churches, seven stars, seven spirits, seven horns, seven seals, trumpets, thunders, etc.
Seven - complete, perfect, “It is finished.”
Whereas the book opens with scenes of glory and worship there is also within this book a strong scene of judgment. This is where you might hear those sermons of hell, fire and brimstone. In chapters 6-11 of the book,

The Exalted Son of Man Releases Wrath and Gathers a People

Throughout these chapters the seven seals on the scroll are opened by the Jesus Christ and he begins to carry out the will of God. There is an escalating progression in these chapters. God’s sovereign purpose is made known as each seal is broken revealing God’s judgment and salvation.
Throughout these chapters the wrath is released AND God’s people are gathered.
You may remember God choosing a people way back in Genesis with the choosing of Abraham and his wife Sarah who would become the parents of nations and bless the entire world. We now see some of the completion of that in the book of Revelation. Remember 1 Peter 2:9
1 Peter 2:9 ESV
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
And now in Revelation you are seeing the separation of God’s chosen people and those that will face wrath, not God’s all out wrath though, it is measured. It demonstrates his mercy. This delay is designed to lead the nations to repentance as Paul wrote. Romans 2:4
Romans 2:4 ESV
Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?
The salvific promise of God is made known to the nations through the witness of the church in the world. His wrath will come, but salvation is there.
The challenge is for His church to continue to shine the light. Jesus’ warning to the church at Laodicea from Rev 3:15-16
Revelation 3:15–16 ESV
“ ‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.
and later in vs. 20
Revelation 3:20 ESV
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
In closing this morning, and as we come to the table i want to simply remind us all that

The Kingdoms of the World Belong to Jesus Christ

When we celebrate communion, when we pray the Lord’s prayer we pray for “thy kingdom come, they will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” The vision presented to us in Revelation is that this is the reality, and this reality will be true for us as well.
Revelation 11:15 ESV
Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.”
This is the full realization of God’s redemptive purpose.
As I wrap up this morning I want to encourage you not to be afraid of this book of the Bible. It is a beautiful depiction of what we can expect as God’s full plan is fulfilled, revealing God’s glory to all of us.
To God be the glory! Amen!
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