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God's Not Mad at You
“Is Revelation chronological?”

“Is Revelation chronological?”

OCTOBER 8, 2021

/ Programs / Key Life / “Is Revelation chronological?”

Steve Brown:
Is Revelation chronological? The answer to that and other questions on Key Life.

Matthew Porter:
Key Life exists to communicate that the deepest message of Jesus in the Bible is the radical grace of God to sinners and sufferers. Life’s hard for everyone. So grace is for all of us, but there is a lot of confusion about how grace applies to real life. So, here’s seminary professor and author, Steve Brown and Pete Alwinson to answer your questions.

Steve Brown:
Thank you Matthew. Hi Pete.

Pete Alwinson:
Hey man. Happy Friday.

Steve Brown:
Hey, you shined. You hit it out of the park. Thank you very much. Man. I know your schedule. And I think when you come in here, you know, it’s a hassle to do it on Fridays, given you’re the busiest person I know, but you come in and do a whole week just cause you like us, is so cool. It was a great teaching on James. And thank you very much.

Pete Alwinson:
Well, thank you. And we love our Key Life audience. Don’t we?

Steve Brown:
Yeah, we really do. We really do, by the way, we love that you’re a part of this. And not only that, we love your questions. You can call 1-800-KEY-LIFE, 24 7. Or you can write to

Key Life Network
P.O. Box 5000
Maitland, Florida 32794

or

Key Life Canada
P.O. Box 28060
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 6J8

And of course, you can always e-mail your questions to Steve@keylife.org. And if you can help us financially, please do. You can include a gift in your envelope. You can charge it with your credit card. And we’ll use every dime for the glory of God. If you can’t help us, we get that. So pray for us. But if you can help, you help a lot of other people, only about 10% of the people who benefit by this ministry are able to help us financially. So when you help us, you help your brothers and sisters in Christ and that makes you a champion. Hey Pete, lead us in prayer and we’ll get to some of these questions.

Pete Alwinson:
Alright. Father, it’s so good to come to you today on Friday. We stop for just a minute and bow before you Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And thank you that we can talk to you, that our access to you as never limited, that you are a God who listens to us and hears us. And responds to us through your word, through your Spirit because of all that Jesus has accomplished. And so Lord Jesus, thank you, that you’re the only mediator that we need, between God and man. And so we come to you, Lord and Father, we ask that you would continue the work that you started in us and you know where you want to develop us. We say today, we know that we haven’t arrived at Christ-likeness. We know that we have much to grow in many areas of our life. So build us, build the fruit of the Spirit in our lives, Lord, we pray, love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, self-control. And then, we pray, you’d use our pastors and teachers and leaders this week-end to continue that process as we worship together with your people. We give you honor and praise and glory and commit this time of Q&A to you. In Jesus name, we pray. Amen.

Steve Brown:
Amen. Pete, I sat under your teaching for a lot of weeks, as you were teaching the book of Revelation. And benefited by it in unbelievable ways. In fact, I changed a lot of my views as a result of your teaching.

Pete Alwinson:
Wow.

Steve Brown:
This is a question that’s certainly is for you. Should the events of the book of Revelation be understood as happening chronologically?

Pete Alwinson:
Well, that is a big question, isn’t it?

Steve Brown:
It’s very big.

Pete Alwinson:
And, you know, Luther and Calvin, both struggled to understand that issue. And so, they didn’t write commentaries on it.

Steve Brown:
They’re smart. They’re kind of, if they had had a broadcast, they wouldn’t have done one on Revelation either.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s right. That’s right. Well, when we get to heaven, we’ll get Revelation figured out, but there are two basic schools. One is to take it linearly and chronologically, and the other is to take it cyclically. And, I think if you’re going to get in and jump in, I take it more cyclically now, based on William Hendriksen’s, More Than Conquerors, his book. And then G.K. Beale’s book on commentary on Revelation. Great, great books. But, good brothers and sisters differ on this. And we have to understand that some really great Bible teachers and commentators have taken it linearly. So, that doesn’t answer the question, but it says that you can, you can come up with false conclusions, by taking it either way. And you can come up with good conclusions by taking it either way.

Steve Brown:
That’s what I learned from you was, as you preached and taught on Revelation for those weeks, you know, it was, it had nothing to do with agreement or disagreement or which view or which, that’s a great book.

Pete Alwinson:
It is.

Steve Brown:
It’s a book that teaches so much about God. And it does teach about the future.

Pete Alwinson:
It does.

Steve Brown:
How the plane’s going to land, however you take it chronologically or not.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s right.

Steve Brown:
And it did that for me too.

Pete Alwinson:
It’s a book for every age of the Christian Church, until Jesus comes back. You can’t, you have to see it, at least in that way.

Steve Brown:
That’s true. Addison Leach, one time he was the Dean at Gordon-Conwell Seminary, and he became my friend over the years. He was married to Elizabeth Elliott, and he was a delight and he chose to be my friend. You couldn’t choose to be his friend. And he was kind to me, up until the day of his death. But we were at a conference one time speaking, one of his former students came up to him, said Dr. Leach, are you pre-millennial or post-millennial and then asked the question, this questioner asked about chronology. And I’ll never forget what Add said, he said, I don’t know? And then he said, my view is, just the way you just did. This is where I come down, but I could be wrong. And then he laughed and he said, you know what I think? I think that somebody is going to get the key, and it won’t be somebody in a seminary. It’ll be a layman or a laywoman, who are studying the Scripture, and when they say what they think, everybody else is going to go, Oh, that’s it. I understand. I’ll never forget Add Leach saying. Alright, moving on. What does the Bible teach you about covetousness?

Pete Alwinson:
That it’s wrong.

Steve Brown:
Yeah, God’s against it.

Pete Alwinson:
God’s against it. It’s the last of the 10 Commandments. And you know, it’s interesting how it being number 10, they’re sort of cumulative in some respects and it’s sort of, because it’s so easy to be covetous about everything.

Steve Brown:
Oh, it is.

Pete Alwinson:
Anything, on somebody else.

Steve Brown:
We’re talking about other people, you and I are ordained, so we don’t struggle with that.

Pete Alwinson:
Exactly. This is a sin other people experience.

Steve Brown:
But it’s a biggy, isn’t it?

Pete Alwinson:
It really is.

Steve Brown:
And you know, all of the Big 10 are, you know, I used to think, well, I haven’t done that. And I haven’t done that. And I haven’t done that. And I haven’t done that. And then I began to see beyond the actual law, to the reality of my heart. And man, I don’t escape a single one of them.

Pete Alwinson:
Isn’t that amazing? You know, the whole idea of no other gods and making idols. I mean, it’s, I mean, it’s prevalent, as Calvin said, our hearts are idol factories for crying out loud.

Steve Brown:
That’s true.

Pete Alwinson:
So, you’re right. And the Sermon on the Mount is that powerful explanation that Jesus gives.

Steve Brown:
That goes deeper.

Pete Alwinson:
Takes it and flushes all that out.

Steve Brown:
And, you know why? To make you feel guilty and have a miserable life. Oh no, Luther was so right about, and I agree with Luther on the law.

The law is given as a mirror, so that we might understand his grace.

If it weren’t for the law, I never would have gone to Christ.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s right. That’s right.

Steve Brown:
But once I recognized and I’m convicted by the Holy Spirit, I don’t have any other place to go.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah.

Steve Brown:
I really don’t. It’s pretty scary.

Pete Alwinson:
Once you see you’re a law breaker and that God is just.

Steve Brown:
Yeah, you’re scary.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah.

Steve Brown:
And out of that fear comes the reality of God’s love in our life. And that’s the Gospel.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s right.

Steve Brown:
And it’s not just how you get saved, it’s how you live the Christian life.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s right.

Steve Brown:
Because it’s ongoing and it’s always, I love the Law. And the Psalmist says it’s perfect.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s right.

Steve Brown:
But I don’t love it because it makes me feel guilty. I love it because it sends me to Jesus.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s right. It does humble us and then sends us to Jesus.

Steve Brown:
I’m confused by this verse,

Moses lifted up the snake in the desert in the same way the son of man was lifted up. He must be lifted up too.

When Moses used the snake on the stick. Well, it was the stick. He really taught the Israelites not to worship idols, but wasn’t this idolatry? Now, in the New Testament, even Jesus is comparing to this and I’m unsure if he is referencing idolatry again?

Pete Alwinson:
Well, you know, I mean, idolatry we just talked about the 10 Commandments. Idolatry is always everywhere. It’s always a potential, right. But I think here, he’s just trying to get the one point that Moses lifted up the stick. Jesus is going to be lifted up. It was put before everybody, as the serpent was put before everybody, Jesus is going to be put before everybody. So if anything, I think the reference is really to the work of Jesus.

Steve Brown:
Yeah. Don’t make so much out of it.

Pete Alwinson:
Right, don’t read more into this verse than is intended. The big idea, the main point, as an illustration, is that Jesus is going to be put on a cross for us.

Steve Brown:
That’s true. And that’s the point that he makes in passing. It doesn’t become the central focus of the New Testament teaching. It’s like, you remember how Moses lifted up the snake, the rod, and he picked up the snake, god told him to pick up, by the tail? And it’s not in the text, but Moses said, Lord, let me explain something to you. If I pick that thing up by the tail, the business end is going to be loose and I’m going to be in trouble. And God said, do it. And the snake became the rod of God. Now, there’s some great teaching in that, but that’s not what Jesus was talking about.

Pete Alwinson:
Right, right, right, right. That’s right.

Steve Brown:
Let’s see. I’m a Christian. I also drink alcohol, a beer on occasion, but not to the point of getting drunk. I love my church, but I won’t join the church because their covenant requires no alcohol. Am I wrong? Is it a sin to drink alcohol?

Pete Alwinson:
Well, you know.

Steve Brown:
You’re going to get into trouble no matter what you say.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s exactly right. We’re going to offend somebody here. Right? Well, what do you think, Steve?

Steve Brown:
Well, I think you’ve gotta be careful. When I talk about critical race theory and I know the hearts of the people that are involved in that, but I’ve come to the conclusion that nobody has the right to tell you what’s wrong or right, except God. He has the authority. You can’t deal with race with racism. And with something that’s not fixable because you’re guilty and you’ll be guilty because of who you are until you die. So, I really do believe in that context. And also in this context that only God has the authority and man, there’s a lot talking about race. We’ve got a lot to repent of, and I get. But it’s God who tells us about justice. It’s God who tells us about human value. It’s God who does that. And he’s the only one who has the right to do that.

Pete Alwinson:
So, there’s one law giver, and God does not say don’t drink alcohol. He says, don’t get drunk.

Steve Brown:
Yeah. And I’m a teetotaler, I don’t do it. I’ve never tasted alcohol, cause I can’t get it down. So, so that’s no great favor on my part, but you can’t go further than the Bible goes.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s right.

Steve Brown:
Because God is the only one with that authority.

Pete Alwinson:
Having said that I would say, don’t join the church, if the covenant says, use your freedom in Christ, but don’t join the church, because you’re doing the right thing.

Steve Brown:
Good stuff. Got to go. Key Life is a listener supported production of Key Life Network.

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