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Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Way of the Lamb?

Greetings to you all in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ!

I hope you and those you love are having a good week.

As we prepare for worship this Sunday (April 25), here are the
Scripture lessons and the sermon title:

Isaiah 55:6-9
Revelation 7:9-17
Sermon title:  The Way of the Lamb?

The sermon this week will be based on our text from Revelation.  It
will focus on the image of the Lamb of God, particularly on what this
depiction suggests of the nature of God and of God's response to evil
and suffering in the world.  As we explore this together, we will then
consider what it means for us today to follow in "The Way of the

While there is much confusion about how to interpret Revelation, there
are characteristics of Apocalyptic literature that enable us to better
understand this book's witness to Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God.

As you no doubt are aware,  Apocalyptic literature employs a wide
array of symbols to convey meaning.  Since the end of the 18th
century, a number of examples of Apocalyptic literature have been
discovered (most dating back between 200 BC-100 AD).  By comparing
these examples, we have discerned common uses of symbols, especially
colors and numbers.

Here are a few that you may find helpful:


White = victory
Red = war, conflict
Black = lack of something (like food, for example)
greenish-gray ("pale" in some translations) = death


3 = the realm of the spirit
3.5 = the time evil is allowed to run its course
4 = the created order
7 = complete, mature
10 = fullness, all, total
12 = people of God

Of course, it is important to remember that numbers are used
symbolically that also include multiples and combinations of numbers
(example:  144,000 in Rev.. 7:4).

Questions to consider:  Revelation 7:9-17

What is the setting for this vision?  Where does it take place?
Who is there?  Where are they from?  What are they wearing?
What do you think are the significance of the white robes and palm
branches?  What does white symbolize in Apocalyptic literature?
What are the people doing in this vision?  Are they quiet?  Sad?  Joyful?
Who is the Lamb?  How do you know?  Why is this image used?  What is
the point of this image?
How did the Lamb respond in his time of tribulation at the hands of
the Roman authorities?  Did he trust God?  What did God do for the
What have the people in the white robes experienced? (v. 14)
What were the followers of Jesus experiencing at the end of the first
century AD in Asia Minor?  Do you think the original hearers of
Revelation would have been able to identify with the people dressed in
white robes?  Why?  Or why not?
Have you ever suffered as a consequence of your faith in Jesus Christ?
What happened?  Did your experience change in any way your
relationship with and understanding of who Jesus Christ is?  If so,
Based on the experiences of the church at the end of the first
century, what do you think it means to say "they have washed their
robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb"?  (v. 14).
(Remember what white symbolized in Apocalyptic literature)
To these people, does God keep his promised and fulfill his purpose
for their lives?
Do you trust God to do the same for you and the people you love?  How
does your answer to this question influence the way you make decisions
in your daily life?
What does it mean for us to be washed in the blood of the Lamb and to
follow in his Way?

 See you Sunday!


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