The Apocalypse in Space and Time:

1. Historical Setting of RevelationThe New Testament book of Revelation was likely written by the Apostle John early in the era of persecution of Christians under Nero. Across the vast empire, Christian people were being targeted for oppression, imprisonment, exile, and death. The church needed a strong message of encouragement, and the book of Revelation provided it. Chapter 17 of Revelation provides helpful time references that can guide our exploration of the precise timing of the book. This introductory lecture examines that chapter and the historical context suggested by its message.Play Audio Play Video
2. The Letters to the Seven ChurchesThe book of Revelation was originally addressed to seven churches in Asia Minor, today's western Turkey. Each of the churches represented a condition of Christian fellowship in crisis, as each faced the prospect of imperial oppression from Rome. At the same time, the churches give insight into the conditions of the church throughout her history, and for this reason it is useful to consider the counsel offered by Jesus, through the Apostle John, to each of them. Play Audio Play Video
3. Views of Revelation in the Third and Fourth CenturiesThe chiliasm (pre-millennialism) of the second century gradually gave way to a view of Revelation as describing events of the first century in apocalyptic terms. The greatest voice in this regard was St. Augustin, whose treatment of Revelation 20 established a perspective that would survive nearly unquestioned for a thousand years, and continues have have abiding influence to the present time. Play Audio Play Video
4. The Historicist approach to RevelationThe dominate view of the Book of Revelation during the Reformation period was the 'historicist,' largely because it provided a biblical framework by which to understand and interpret the evident corruption of the Roman Catholic church, and the bloodshed experienced by those aligned with the protestant cause.Play Audio Play Video
5. Jonathan Edwards and Post-MillennialismThe Puritans added a new aspect to the historicist view of Revelation with their post-millennial eschatology. The most thorough and formidable expression of this view came through the pen of the great Puritan divine, Jonathan Edwards, whose treatment of the subject would leave a lasting impression on generations to come.Play Audio Play Video
6. The 2nd Great Awakening and the Millerite MovementThe end of the Age of Reason and beginning of the Age of Anti-Reason in the early 19th century saw the introduction of a new variety of theories as to the meaning of the book of Revelation. The most important voice in this movement was that of William Miller, who used a historicist approach mixed with the emotionalism of the Second Great Awakening to produce a precise calculation as to the time of Christ's return. While Miller eventually died disappointed, his contribution spawned a number of related movements that shared his conception but reworked his timetable. This lecture surveys this extraordinary moment in Christian historyPlay Audio Play Video
7. Ellen G. White and Renewed Pre-MillennialismThe early nineteenth century witnessed the rise of a variety of religious perspectives, and included among them was a recovered vision of a pre-millennial eschatology from the book of Revelation. The movements varied in many ways, but the shared common denominator involved an expectation of the soon return of Christ and the establishment of a rule over the earth for a thousand years. Many of this millennial movements died out in subsequent decades, but a few persisted and remain important to the present day. One of those was the movement started by Ellen G. White and her husband, James White, and known to us as the Seventh Day Adventists. Play Audio Play Video
8. John Nelson Darby and DispensationalismDuring the Second Great Awakening of the early 19th Century, a parallel movement in England produced the innovative eschatological scheme known as Dispensationalism, the creation of John Nelson Darby. This movement was widely popularized in American through James Brooks and his most famous protege, C.I. Scofield. Play Audio Play Video
9. Dispensationalism in AmericaThe system of eschatology worked out by John N. Darby came to America largely through the influence and support of James H. Brookes, pastor of Walnut Street Presbyterian Church in St. Louis, Missouri. A prolific author and effective speaker, Brookes gave the dispensational message a powerful voice that began to reach large numbers of evangelical Christians in America in the late 1800s. The influence was greatly expanded, however, by the young protege of Brookes, C.I. Scofield, who embraced the Darby/Brookes views and incorporated them into a publication that would become one of the most important in shaping the views of evangelical Christians in America, the Scofield Reference Bible. It would be impossible to overstate the sweeping impact of the Scofield notes in subsequent American Christian history, and to this day the Scofield Bible, along with its many editions, revisions, and republications, has remained a staple of conservative Christianity in America.Play Audio Play Video
10. The Preterist View of RevelationThoughout the history of the church, there have always been those who maintained that the colorful and powerful images of Revelation refer largely to events that took place in the first century, and are related generally to the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple, and the definitive end of the Old Covenant era. While this view has often not been the majority outlook, it has persisted, and continues to offer a compelling perspective for the thoughtful reader. This lecture offers a summary of the major aspects of the new usually called 'preterist.' Play Audio Play Video
11. Things that must soon take place (Rev.1:1-3)John begins his remarkable book by assuring his original hearers that the things described in the following pages would take place in their near future.Play Audio Play Video
12. A Benediction of Praise (Rev. 1:4-6)John's introduction to the Apocalypse includes a powerful, Trinitarian, benediction, celebrating the eternal and transcendent majesty of the Father, the individual and personal presence of the Spirit, and the truthfulness and authority of the Son.Play Audio Play Video
13. The Coming of the Son of Man (Rev. 1:7-11)John promises his hearers that in the tumultuous times awaiting them in the near future, they will not be left alone, but that the Son of Man would be coming to rescue, deliver, and protect them as he brought judgment on the unrepentent.Play Audio Play Video
14. A Vision of the Son of Man (Rev. 1:12-20)John turned to see the one speaking to him with a voice like a trumpet, and saw one 'like the Son of Man.' His riveting description includes elements that could only be applied to deity, and the impact on John that he reports represents the common experience of God's people throughout history when confronted with the glory of a holy God.Play Audio Play Video
15. The Loveless Church (Revelation 2:1-8, 10/13/2019)In the first of his seven letters, the church of Ephesus receives commendation for its faithfulness to the truth of Christ, but it also receives a critique for neglecting the heartfelt love that had once characterized the life of this community of faith.Play Audio Play Video
16. The Letter to the Church in Smyrna (Rev. 2:8-11)The church at Smyrna received only commendation in the word from the Son of Man, and were acknowledged as those who were truly wealthy, even though hostility from their local community had reduced them to material poverty. Play Audio Play Video
17. The letter to the church in Pergamum (Rev. 2:12-17, 11/3/2019)The church in Pergamum seems to have landed in a compromise between the stalwart orthodoxy of the church in Ephesus, and the loving service of the church in Thyatira. In Pergamum, the Roman provincial capital, the Christians met with great fortitude the challenges confronting them at the 'front door,' but neglected the more insidious invasion entering through the 'back door.'Play Audio Play Video
18. The Letter to the Church in Thyatira (Rev. 2:18-29, 11/10/2019)In the fourth of the seven letters, the Son of Man finds qualities worthy of rich commendation, recognizing works of loving, heartfelt service in a community that needed such a credible witness to the gospel. He also finds, however, that the church has permitted an unhealthy influence to lead some in a direction that can only end in disaster.Play Audio Play Video
19. Letter to the church in Sardis (Rev. 3:1-6)The church in Sardis suffered from the same attitude as the city in which it resided, complacent self-sufficiency. And just as the city had been victimized more than one by a 'thief in the night,' so the church risked the same perilPlay Audio Play Video
20. The Letter to the Church in Philadelphia (Rev. 3:7-13)The church in Philadelphia, one of only two churches that received only commendation from the Son of Man, had weathered the storm of pressure and persecution from those of the 'synagogue of Satan,' but the church was assured that their persecutors would soon enough recognize the truth of the message of Christ, and find their way into the fellowship of the true Israel. Play Audio Play Video
21. The Letter to the church in Laodicea (Rev. 3:14-22)In the culminating expression of both rebuke and grace, the letter to the church in Laodicea combines severity of criticism with gentleness of invitation to Christians of all ages, calling them to open their door to the voice of the Son of Man. Play Audio Play Video
22. The Sanctuary of Heaven (Rev. 4)Having concluded the seven letters to the seven churches, John is summoned into the central sanctuary of the universe, seeing there that all the creation unites continually in a glorious service of praise.Play Audio Play Video
23. The Song of HolinessThe living creatures of Revelation 4, symbolizing the entire creation, sing a non-stop song of praise to the One who is Holy, Holy, Holy.Play Audio Play Video
24. The Universe Erupts in Praise (Revelation 5)The vision of God as creator, highlighted in chapter 4 of Revelation, is completed by a vision of God as the re-creator, the central image of chapter 5, as all the universe joins in a celebration of the lion/lamb of redemption.Play Audio Play Video
25. Birthpangs!As the seals are opened disruptive forces signaling the end of the Old Covenant and the beginning of the New, are unleashed.Play Audio Play Video
26. The Wrath of the LambThe sixth seal opened the twin themes of the 'wrath of the lamb' combined with the protection of those who were sealed and protected from the judgment poured out on Jerusalem and its inhabitants. Play Audio Play Video
27. An Explosion of Believers (Revelation 7:9-17, 3/8/2020)The 144,000, Jewish Christians who believed Christ and avoided the devastation that fell on Jerusalem, entered a time known as 'the great tribulation, but only a few years later, a vast multitude of believers exited the same tribulation, believers representing every people, language, ethnicity, and tribe in the world.Play Audio Play Video
28. The Seventh Seal (Rev. 8:1-6)As the seventh seal of the scroll is broken, the contents of the scroll, the New Covenant, comes to light in a vision of seven angels with seven trumpets that signal judgment and redemption.Play Audio Play Video
29. The First Four Trumpets (Rev. 8:7-13, 3/30/2020)The trumpets begin to sound, giving warnings of collapsing beauty, worship, authority, and order, as the civilization of Jerusalem begins its slide toward destruction.Play Audio Play Video
30. Diabolical Insanity (Rev. 9:1-12, 4/5/2020)In the first of the three 'woes,' the fifth of the seven trumpets, John describes horrifying creatures from the underworld, creatures that point to a loss of sanity in a city that plunged ever more deeply into the darkness of the judgments brought against her.Play Audio Play Video
32. The Mission of God's People (Rev. 10)Although the sixth 'trumpet' signaled destruction to Jerusalem, it also included a message of hope for God's people, who are commissioned to take a little scroll, the Gospel message, and deliver it to the world.Play Audio Play Video
33. The Two Witnesses (Rev. 11:1-8, 4/26/2020)The mission of God's people requires that they proclaim the message of the two witnesses, a message both sweet for those who submit, and bitter for those who resist.Play Audio Play Video
34. Doomsday Party (Rev. 11:7-14, 5/3/2020)As life in Jerusalem spiraled toward its inevitable and catastrophic conclusion, the atmosphere in the city became a strange mix of despair and desperate celebration.Play Audio Play Video
35. Regime Change!The climactic 'seventh trumpet' announces the single greatest event in human history, the recovery of rule over the world by God's only Messiah.Play Audio Play Video