Session 4: Endings

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  • Study

    Begin this session by reading Scripture and answering questions to reflect on the selected Bible verses.

    What two groups does the author address? Is the message positive or negative? What does he praise them for and what does he criticize them for?

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    What two groups does the author write to in this passage? Do you see any patterns in the way he writes in both chapters 2 and 3? Which of these two groups receives a better evaluation from the author? Why?

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    If you compare actions or behaviors of all four groups in the last two passages, which one receives the best evaluation? Which group receives the worst?

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    What patterns do you see in this chapter? What is the purpose of the horses? What kind of mood does this chapter set?

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    Do you think the images given are literal or figurative? Why?

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    In the fighting described, who is fighting whom? Who wins?

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    How would you describe the content of these chapters? How are the content and mood of these chapters different from the material you read in chapters 6 and 12?

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    What can a follower of Christ be assured of from these chapters?

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  • Learn

    Revelation is not considered one of the Catholic Epistles, and is the last book in the Bible. It was written by John the Apostle, and is a recording of a vision that he had while in exile. The writing found within the book is called
    “apocalyptic material” and was produced when many followers of Christ were suffering severe persecution. It is made up of two parts: a series of short messages to the seven churches of Asia Minor and a vision of the end times.

    Three Common Ways of Approaching the Text

    1. Some people believe Revelation is describing events that happened during the early Church, especially the Church’s persecution by the Roman government.
    2. Some believe the book was written about God’s ultimate victory over evil. This approach focuses on the overall mood and goal of the book, and does not focus on individual descriptions.
    3. This most recent approach sees Revelation as a roadmap of the future. This viewpoint says that Revelation provides a literal and specific history of what will happen in the end times.

     

    Regardless of which of these approaches is used, it does not impact a person’s standing with God.

    Messages to the Seven Churches

    • The first three chapters make up this section of Revelation.
    • These messages to the churches evaluate how faithful each church is to Christ and how that faith is expressed in their lives.
    • The various messages to the churches give us an opportunity to remind ourselves that our faith is not something we live out alone, but within a community of others.

     

    The book of Revelation is a book that focuses on judgement, but is also a book of celebration and victory. Even though followers of God may see and encounter evil, or be persecuted for their faith, Revelation loudly declares that God’s victory over evil is certain.

  • Grow

    Recalling the messages to the seven churches of Asia Minor, take a moment and evaluate your church. What would your church be praised for? Are there areas that might be challenged? (Note: This study only covers four of the seven churches. For further exploration, read about the other three churches in Revelation chapter 2 and chapter 3.)

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    If God ultimately triumphs over evil, what is your role in that fight? Are you a passive observer, or do you work to expand the Kingdom of God in your life?

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    What is your vision of heaven? When you think of being in the presence of God, how does that make you feel? Does it encourage any changes in your life?

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