In our sixth week of our sermon series, we shed a new vision on the Book of Revelation. Greg empowers the church to interpret the text through the non-violent, self-sacrificial love of Jesus. There should be a joy found in the hearts of the church—the bride of Christ—as we look forward to the final consummation of Jesus and the church.
This week we conclude our sermon series The Forest In The Trees, by learning about the final book of the Bible—Revelation. Over the last five weeks, we have walked through Scripture identifying the overarching story of the Bible and God’s message to the world. The themes of covenant, kingdom, and Christ are those reoccurring themes we find from the beginning to the end. Jesus tells us that all of Scripture points to Him, which means we are to interpret the entire Bible by looking to Jesus being crucified on the cross.
There are many misconceptions regarding the interpretation of Revelation. It is important for us not to read this book and take the images literally. Revelation makes no sense if read in this manner. The apostle John used apocalyptic language when he wrote the book. Apocalyptic literature is a very symbolic, surrealistic type of poetry. This type of literature uses images meant to create emotive reaction, in order to motivate behavior.
The Book of Revelation is not an end time prophesy, and should not be used as such. The symbols found in this letter were all common to the recipients who heard it. The purpose of the book was to address believers in different cities that were being persecuted and oppressed. Revelation was written to inspire Christians to set aside any temptation to retaliate in the same manner as the Romans—the sword.
Jesus is depicted through very violent imagery by John; He is described as wearing a bloodied robe and having a sword in place of His tongue. If we take this symbolic imagery of Jesus literally, then we would have to conclude Jesus has a split personality. Jesus comes to declare the good news of the gospel and this good news includes victory for His bride—a victory found through self-sacrificial, non-violent love. Revelation must be interpreted through this image of Christ; otherwise we will end up with a distorted image of Jesus. The apostle John did something brilliant in this text, by using violent images to symbolically motivate the believer as to how not to fight. The message of Revelation is flipped upside down. For example, the sword in the mount of Jesus is a symbol of the truth found in the Word. The blood on Jesus’ robe was there prior to any slaughter found in the text, because it symbolizes the death and blood experienced on the cross.
The church is supposed to face our battle in the same way. We are to look as Jesus in all our life experiences, and respond with self-sacrificial love and peace. The church is to see the cross as Jesus’ marriage proposal. In the end of Revelation, John describes the joy to come in the consummation of the marriage between Christ and the church. The eternal Kingdom will be something like an eternal feast or the ecstasy between a new husband and wife when their marriage is consummated. Believers should set their hope in this joy to come as we continue to live out the example of Jesus and a life of self-sacrificial, non-violent love.
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13 thoughts on “New Creation”
Thanks for this wonderful sermon (especially the second part), i was very blessed by it.
Thanks for a wonderful message. There is so much bondage here on earth right now; to envision the earth renewed, harmony, all things made to be once again as they were meant to be is glorious.
I would like to ask that if the leaders could please, please more rhetoric of the glories of His coming changing us, His sons and daughters, yes, and also His creatures, His creation, the fullness of His presence also changing them and changing us toward them – please, more rhetoric that includes them in these pictures that are so wonderfully painted by this church, by the theology that Greg so beautifully shares with us. When He comes again I envision all the gates that hold them prisoner in the factory farms, in the slaughter houses, on the fur farms, in the puppy mills, the vivisection labs, where they languish in misery, loneliness, heartache, physically broken and in pain, in captivity all over the place as mankind pays them no mind or significance, all these gates will break open, they too will be changed, they too will worship their creator along side us and perhaps for the first time we will see all of them in the beauty they were created in, each one is a Word of God, and our relationship with them will be transformed to be as it should be – they are significant to their Creator, they are creatures of the same God as us, the Bible says they will also praise the Lamb along side us.
The messages at this church are fantastic. I grow more and more every time I listen and the truth of God’s word is spoken to my heart. I think that, and I think this church and the leadership knows, too, the animal kingdom is undergoing a holocaust of extreme proportions, bondage unlike any other, and I think it would be very helpful for us as His church, His people, His sons and daughters, to begin to incorporate into our thinking, into our consideration, into our mindset and lifestyles, the inclusion of the animal kingdom so that His Kingdom can be furthered now in this area, to open the minds and hearts of the people; to connect more of these messages to the animal kingdom as well as to us – connect suffering, needs, pain, and brokenness and the redemption story – to them, as well as to us.
All things will be made new, praise God, all things restored! In painting the picture in our imagination as to what the Kingdom looks like, so that we move toward the Kingdom lifestyle here and now, I think it would be extremely helpful to include the earth and the animal kingdom in these imaginings. To make connections in our everyday lifestyles – where our products come from all the way to the packaging that stuff comes in, what our clothes are made out of and how that happened, where what we eat comes from, and what, if the food is from animals or their products, did they go through to get to the plate, where our entertainment comes from (zoos, horse racing, circus, in film, etc) when animals are included; how prescription drugs came to be and what kind of suffering was behind the testing of these drugs – does all of this line up with His Kingdom values?
To make the connection and to begin to draw them into the Kingdom with us, to change us so that we see them as an integral part of the Creation story, fall, and redemption; so that peoples eyes and hearts can begin to change, the values we place on them become more Christ-like; our relationship with them restored as it was originally intended; that we will treat them more Christ-like; as Sons and Daughters that we will speak up for them and be His hands and feet and His voice in how they should be treated, to become more Kingdom like now toward them, that is something I pray for every day, I pray the churches will bring them into the rhetoric of Doctrine to bring about these changes; I pray for all of God’s church everywhere to have their eyes and hearts opened to them for Jesus’s sake and for His glory, for His Kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven, and for Jesus to be recognized as Lord of All Creation. Amen.
As a side note to the above post, I would like to add this link to a blog post by a Christian woman named Lois. The material on her blog and FB page are Biblical and educational.
This post is a daunting reality check, and a must read. In the words of Lois in her post: “An article in the Washington Post this week, however, made me change my plans because I think it demands that we stop and pay attention. This is what we, as people of faith, need to open our eyes to, to open our mouths about, and to open our hearts for.”
Kathy, again thanks for your post, you write beautifully…and the link. I read her blog and it’s makes me feel nothing but terrible and heart broken with an incredible helpless feeling. But, I wish everyone would read it because if each individual could make even a few different choices it would make a difference. Looking to the book of Revelation and the final consummation of Jesus and the church is the only thing that truly gives me comfort for what these poor animals endure.
Yeah, keep up the good work Kathy D. I can’t tell you how relieving it is to know that there are other believers who actually care about these issues.
God bless you.
Thank you Jill and M85 for your comments. Jill, I agree…..just a few different choices…..would make all the difference in the world for them. I am praying that the knowledge of what is happening to them becomes standard knowledge, taught in our schools, and hopefully, in our churches. There are those that tell me “patience”…… And I understand the mindset behind that, yet…..all I can imagine is that word being spoken to the suffering animals……”patience”…….patience while you suffer, are tortured, live and die in pain, agony, loneliness and all the rest of the horrors they endure. Patience when looking in on their world just doesn’t compute. In the words of Paul McCartney: If slaughterhouses had glass walls, we would all be vegetarian.
It gives me comfort too Jill to think of Jesus coming again and restoring all of creation to it’s original intent. Personally, I think of this knowing now that I have about the animal kingdom and it’s plight as part of the cross that I am to bear, suffering with Jesus. I can only imagine what our Lord sees and hears and how it must grieve Him so……and so I must allow the knowledge He has given me to spur me on to helping them in all ways I can.
I am glad to know there are other believers who care about animals, too, thank you both!! There are a number of believers who do care I think, and I am praying the numbers continue to grow! There are a couple other websites for believers, Not One Sparrow (there is a closed prayer group and a grief group as well within this group that for those interested, message the facilitator to become a member – great prayer and support there, I’ve met believers all over the world through this group who have a passion for the animal kingdom and all the concerns connected to the issues facing animals); another group is Animal Christian Concern – ACC (pronounced “Assisi”); there are others but these are the two that I am most familiar with.
When I discovered what was happening in our world to the animal kingdom, how invasive the matters are, my whole world view was changed. It was an awakening like none other, and it brought me back to Jesus, as, ironically, I set out to save animals and ended up being saved by them! Also Ironically, it has helped me seek to understand spiritual warfare – they too are a part of the war and are used by Satan – Satan’s stronghold over us in this area is powerful.
Thank you both, again – God bless and keep you both! 🙂
Hi Kathy, i understand the “patience” thing you are talking about: it’s so easy for humans to be “patient” because they aren’t the ones suffering… the whole issue of animal cruelty is so huge and so diabolically monstrous it can absolutely crush a person. The Lord has been showing me that i can’t carry the weight of it all so now i’m trying to do the things that i believe God has shown me are for me, while at the same time seeking to influence others: like being a vegan and seeking to avoid animal suffering. Yes, Jesus Christ is the ONLY HOPE for the animal kingdom and i’m sure lots of animal rights activists would embrace the Gospel if it were actually presented properly like Greg Boyd does in his church. Sadly lots of professing christians are either completely unaware of what is going on in the factory farms or even worse are ACTIVELY PROMOTING CRUELTY by demonizing vegetarianism and animal welfare: i’ve met these people and have been attacked by them. This is not just about animals, all this cruelty is hurting humans beings above all: on average evangelicals tend to have some of the most unhealthy diets imaginable while new agers tend to eat super healthy, how is that possible?! I’ve met so many believers with major health issues (diabetes, heart disease, obesity, hypertension and risk of cancer) who refuse to change their lifestyle! Satan’s stronghold is truly incredible.
May God bless you and keep you.
Hi Kathy & M85,
It’s so refreshing to discuss this with people who get it. I too get resisitance regarding the animal kingdom. I tend to shy away when this happens and I need to be more bold. The websites you mention Kathy help convict me and remind me to pray about this all the time, and remember my food choices. My son has never really liked meat. When people notice this or we tell them this, their first comment is always “where is he going to get his protein”. For nine years I’ve listened to ignorance about this. He is 9 years old and the healthiest child. He has had one antibiotic in his life and it wasn’t until last year. This is unheard of for kids now a days. I finally started telling people who comment on his diet… you should be asking me to write down what he eats vs. telling me what he should eat.
Yesterday, Greg’s message (11/10/13) of the biggest threat for christians also leads into this topic. I hope he touches on this in his mini-series. Our country has gone amuck with consumerism and that goes for food choices too. I think of Las Vegas alone and all the buffets and meat in one city and it makes me grieve. I’m so thankful to be in a church who’s pastor care so deeply about this and is bold enough to talk about it to a large audience, of which most are in denial or don’t want to think about it.
Thank you to both of you also, for caring so deeply!
Hi M85 and Jill,
It is very nice to have a conversation with both of you on this topic, thanks!
Jill, there are Vegan food pyramids, you can find them online; I keep one posted on the wall at work; along with another sheet that shows sources of Vegan protein. I couldn’t get this picture to copy so I could print it, but here is a picture of a complete protein: http://www.globalrph.com/protein_powder.htm. Having them on the wall at work has provided opportunities for me to share them with others! Maybe you could keep a few on you and hand them out to folks who question where the protein is to come from! 🙂
I am anxious to hear Gregs 11/10 sermon, I usually watch on the blog which means I am behind a week all the time. I am praying that pastors begin talking about this subject more and more in order to bring it into the psyche of the listeners.
I too am grateful for Greg’s heart on these matters. He takes these things seriously. I too am grateful he speaks out and is bold – In Ephesians, Paul teaches us to put on the full armour of God; He also asks to be able to speak boldly the mystery of the Gospel. In our culture today, I see this as a very important aspect of speaking out about the mystery of the Gospel. In some ways today, the Gospel is just as much a mystery as it was in Paul’s time – another reason I appreciate WHC – I believe the true message of the whole Gospel is being taught and brought to light.
Thank you for your encouragement M85 – it is a nice reminder from you that we cannot carry the weight of this on our shoulders. And that all we can do is our best at not partaking in or causing any suffering of animals, to get involved as the Lord leads each of us together and individually I do have bouts of depression; sometimes the only thing that gives me any release, and I know this is the power of the Lord, not me – I get on my knees, and visualizing sitting face to face with Jesus, our hands are clasped together tightly and our foreheads are touching, our eyes closed together; sometimes this visualization involves talking with Him in prayer, others, just sitting with Him with all my feelings and I know He shares them; He basically carries my load.
Jesus is our only hope in all things for certain!! Prayer is something all of us can do. I pray for animals lovers and activists to start meeting regularly for prayer meetings. Pull a crowd of us, or just a few, together, praying in His name and according to His will – powerful. We could mess with Satan’s plans, and put dents in the stronghold, even tear it down in places – or like Greg would tell us, imagine it torn down completely – I’m praying and imagining that! What a glorious day it will be when the stronghold that Satan has over us and the animal kingdom is torn down completely!! I pray for prayer groups to begin popping up all over regarding this particular stronghold!! And for Christians eyes and hearts to be opened; Oh Lord Jesus soften us toward the animal kingdom – they need us to by your hands and feet and your voice so badly…..
Yes, there is a ton of health issues due to our diet. These could very well be the consequences of our behavior toward the animal creatures and disobedience to God – Lev 18:28 And if you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations before you. Matt 23:27 Woe to you Scribes and Pharisees, pretenders, who are like white tombs, which from the outside appear lovely, but from within are full of the bones of the dead and all corruption. Isaiah 66:3 But he who kills an ox is like one who slays a man; he who sacrifices a lamb is like the one who breaks a dogs neck; he who offers a grain offering is like one who offers swine’s blood; he who burns incense is like the one who blesses an idol. They have chosen their own ways, and their soul delights in their abominations.
It is far too easy for me to wonder why others don’t get what seems so plain to me. I once was blind, too. I commit to keeping in mind that we are all in the same boat, our fight is against Satan and His powers and principalities. Because I see, I have a responsibility (which, thank you M85 for the reminder, I can only handle by the power of His Spirit); I must opt out of the judging game (Greg’s sermons about this are incredible!!!) and instead, train myself when I catch myself doing it, to pray for them instead, pray blessings and ask the Lord to lift whatever particular darkness that binds them. This will be a life long endeavor, I only hope to get better at it! I think, when it comes to the animal kingdom in particular (the are so innocent) for me it is so easy to get frustrated and angry about what is going on (thus my depression) it is imperative that I pray for the perpetrators, and for God’s people to allow Him to lead in their lives. When He does, we will all be pointed in a similar direction I think, toward the peaceable kingdom. Oh Lord, Your kingdom come Your will be done on earth as it is heaven!!
It is nice to have both of your support. If either of you are interested, we could exchange email addresses or friend each other on FB, if you’d like.
Blessings to you both!
I’m having a hard time with the narration at the beginning of the sermon. I guess what I’m having a hard time with is that most messages (concerning Revelations, or the “end times”) talk about a time in the future (i.e. in the sweet by-and-by). At the beginning of the video, the narrator says [when Jesus returns] “sin dies and disappears in the light of His goodness and love. The advesary, satan, is finally, and forever defeated, and cast into darkness.” Jesus, when talking about his pending death, says himself that “NOW the Prince of this world (satan) will be driven out,” (John 12:31) and “the prince of this world NOW stands condemned” (John 16:11). The narrator makes it sound like it’s a future reality, but Jesus is saying it is “NOW.” (emphasis mine) The sacrifice for sin was already made at the cross, yet the narrator, again, is talking about a future when “sin dies and disappears.” Does sin get washed away again? Was the finished work of Jesus on the cross not enough? Jesus himself said, “it is finished.” When He died He destroyed the power of sin NOW, not at a later time and place. The narrator also says (referring to a future time), “No longer are people separated from God. Now He walks among them.” I guess my question would be, where has God been up to this point?
I love (and appreciate) the messages Woodland Hills (Greg Boyd) delivers. It’s a refreshing message of the love and grace of God (Jesus at the Cross) that so many people need to hear and have sink into their hearts versus a message preached by many churches that constantly remind us that we’re all still a bunch of sinners (with very little hope). I believe Greg preaches a wonderful message of the finished work of Christ (at the cross), and through that message many people (both believers and non-believers) are being delivered from a lot of religious baggage.
I tried to keep it short. I had/have a lot of thoughts running through my head, and that was only a couple minutes into the narration….I hadn’t even made it into the actual message/sermon yet when I just kept getting these internal “checks” throughout the narration.
Greg its not even funny how youve santized God for your own personal liking. You would throw that back @ me and I would say I dont wish those violent end time scenarios but that doesnt mean theyre not true.
There are so many OT & NT prophesies including the Book of Daniel that have never been fullfilled concering the messiah as the LION of the tribe of Judah that parallel perfectly with what the Book of REVELATION is teaching about a violent return. Thats why the Jews wouldnt except Jesus the 1st time becuz He wouldnt deliver Israel from her enemies namely the Romans. And as Jesus was ascending from the mount of Olives the Apostles asked him even then
” when will you restore the Kingdom back to Israel “.
Its so obvious that @ the time in history when Christ returns he has to use violence just as God did so many times in the Old Testament or else man would destroy himself and the world God created for him. Modern technology is allowing man to opress humanity in ways that were only hinted @ in Orwell, H G Wells & Huxleys writings and since the splitting of the atom he now has the power to destroy the world many times over. And Gods not going to let that happen. Do you really think the people in charge of this world who are demonically influenced toward greed, lust war & opression are really going to accept Jesus as King anymore than they did the 1st time he came ???
Of coarse theyre not ! ! !
Even less so now because for the 1st time in history they truly have a grip on all of humanity militarily, socially & economically. Also they have a grip on all the resources of the planet.
As you yourself have said in a number of sermons a while back the principalities of darkness are controlling this world and just who is going to ” DETHRONE ” them and how ???
Thats why they have to become his footstool.
All this is in scripture if u really cared to look ! ! !
I guess your Jesus is going to float down to the white house lawn in a white sheet on a fluffy white cloud with a bag of twinkies for everyone and tell whos ever in charge @ the time
” move over rover and let Jesus take over ” becuz the summer of love is finally really here.
Yes Greg God does still reserve the right to get angry and in truth the age of GRACE is running out and ” vengeance is the LORDS ” not yours or mine and ” the day of the LORD is coming with vengeance ” as its says in ISAIAH 61 right after the verse Jesus left off on in synagogue before the very next phrase
((( and the day of vengeance of our God )))
1 The Spirit of the Lord Jehovah is upon me; because Jehovah hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
2 to proclaim the year of Jehovah’s favor
((( and the day of vengeance of our God ))) to comfort all that mourn;
Wide is the gate Greg I wish it werent that way but those are Christs words not mine and fallen human nature is so insatiable that it will finally take violence to overthrow sATANs & fallen mans kingdom AKA false utopia.
I just got so excited that Jesus was bringing us twinkies®. Then I saw that you were being sarcastic.
Never thought I could have a diminished view of the second coming, until realizing it’s likely going to be twinkie-free.
TREVOR take your head out of the sand this is not funny the overall church is a splintered fractured basket case ! ! !
3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of the prophecy, and keep the things that are written therein: for the time is at hand.
18 I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, if any man shall add unto them, God shall add unto him the plagues which are written in this book:
19 and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the tree of life, and out of the holy city, which are written in this book.