Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Embracing God: Study 6 - Millennium & End of Sin: The End of the Dragon’s Tale

Study 6 - Millennium & End of Sin: The End of the Dragon's Tale

Scholars have said there is nothing in Revelation that is not also in the Old Testament. Many of the references are direct and obvious quotes or rewordings. Other phrases and ideas are vague enough that they require detailed knowledge and careful study of the Old Testament. The study of the Dragon in Revelation is one of the primary themes in Revelation. Let’s explore this ancient story carefully!

Read Revelation 12:1-2
How is the woman dressed? Does this remind you of any story in the Old Testament? (Genesis 37:9)
What is the woman doing? Why? (Genesis 3:15-16)
In the second study – about Creation – we saw this ‘first prophecy’ of mankind. How does this story retell the prophecy?
How does the Dragon story combine the Genesis curse and the promise?
What twist exists in the story of Jesus’ birth that adds something unique to the curse/promise? (Isaiah 7:14)

Read Revelation 12:3-4
Who does the Dragon represent? (Rev 12:9)
Why is there conflict between the Woman and the Dragon (Genesis 3:15)
Who do you think the Woman represents? (Isaiah 54:5-6)
How did the second half of Rev 12:4 play out in reality (Matthew 2:7-8,16)

Read Revelation 12:5-6
Who was the Son of the Woman?
Read Psalm 2 and reflect – what might this section of the Dragon story have brought to mind for ancient hearers?

Read Revelation 12:7-9
What result did ‘setting his sights too high’ have for Satan?
How does this remind you of our first study? (Review Isaiah 14:12-19)
What is the Dragon’s goal? (Rev 12:9)
Who is Michael? How is Michael vs Satan going to play out? (Daniel 12:1)

There’s a lot that can be said (and has been in these studies) about the time between the Fall in the Garden and the Return of Earth to the perfect pre-fall state. As we live through the final hours of this Earth’s suffering, we are experiencing the death throes of the Dragon as he thrashes about – knowing that his time is short (Revelation 12:12). We explored the Victory March last week – as Jesus returns in the clouds of Glory to claim those who have claimed His gift on the Cross – and this week we explore what happens after the Second Coming.

In our third study, we saw that the Day of Atonement was key to understanding the meaning and purpose of the Death of Jesus on the Cross. In the middle of that day, there were two goats. The first was sacrificed for the cleansing of the Sanctuary – This first goat represented Jesus who took the weight of the confessed sins of the entire world for all time and died as a sacrifice for us all. The second goat received both hands of the High Priest as all the gathered sin from the cleansing of the Sanctuary was transferred to its head. This act – only on the Day of Atonement – was the final act of removing sin from the Sanctuary – sin which had already been forgiven during the past year of Israel’s confession was now removed entirely from God’s presence.

In the Old Testament Sanctuary, the sacrifice of the second goat was the only time both hands were placed on the head of a sacrifice. It was also the only time the sacrifice did not die immediately after receiving the weight of sin upon it. At this point on the Day of Atonement, the High Priest had already purified the people and the Sanctuary. This Goat - representing Satan after the Second Coming – was sent walking with the blood of all the deaths from all offerings of the year upon its head. While the first goat took the punishment, the second goat took the blame. The entire metaphor holds together here only if that goat, guilty as charged, never returns and ultimately dies. This goat is not purifying anything. He’s not playing any role in forgiveness for sins. He is merely taking what doesn’t belong to God or His people – Sin – away from them both.

While the second goat was merely a metaphor, Satan deserves his time in the desert. He is the guilty party for all of sin. He is the tempter, the dragon, that old snake the Devil. He deserves – and will receive – the blame for all sin.

Read Revelation 20:1-3
What is this passage describing? What do you think it will be like for Satan?
As we saw in last week’s study, there are no humans alive on the Earth after Jesus’ Second Coming. Those who believe in Jesus have gone to the place he prepared for them. Those who do not believe are destroyed by the brightness of His coming.
How is this humanless state of planet earth like a bottomless pit for Satan?
How long will Satan be in this ‘locked up’ state? (Rev 20:2)
Without anyone to deceive – what will Satan do for so long? (go even more mad!)

Read Revelation 20:11-15
What happens after the 1000 years are finished?
What process occurs for every person who has not accepted Salvation? (Rev 20:12)
Then what happens to them? (Rev 20:13-14)
How do we know that this judgment and death do not happen to the Saved? (Rev 20:6, 15)
What is the difference between the First and Second Death? (John 11:25-26)

Conclusion and Call

Read Revelation 21:1-4
What is your favourite part of this passage?
Do you think this time of eternal peace will mean more to us or God? Why?
What do you think this will be like?
What excites you most about the new Earth?

From the moment sin entered our planet, God had a plan to solve it. We are now living just moments from that plan reaching the second of three major waypoints. The first, and most important, was the Death of Jesus in our place. The second, drawing ever closer, is the promised return of Jesus to claim those who have accepted the gift of eternal life. The third and final waypoint is the one we studied tonight – the end of sin, Satan, death and pain. Forever!
A day is coming when God will cleanse and perfectly recreate planet Earth. He promises that He will make His home here with us! Do you want to see this amazing day?


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