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Sermon #8603

The Spiritual Historicist View

A Sermon on the Spiritual Historicist View of Revelation



Sermon Description

How should one read the book of Revelation? Many do not even attempt to read it because it is confusing. In this sermon on the spiritual, historicist view, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones contends that the book of Revelation is not meant to confuse the reader, but just the opposite. Revelation is meant to unveil what was once hidden. It is intended to make something clear. Before he demonstrates how the book should be read, Dr. Lloyd-Jones addresses what he believes to be the ways people can misread Revelation. Examining various views, it is discovered that there are many problems with many modern approaches to the book. Dr. Lloyd-Jones proceeds to explain that Revelation is intentionally symbolic and that once the symbols are understood, the meaning of the book becomes clear. The book of Revelation is a telling of the story of redemption. The attack of the evil one, the final judgement, the overcoming of God’s people, and the conquering of Christ create the storyline. The story of God’s people is then told seven times throughout the book in seven different ways. It highlights one main point: since the coming of Jesus into the world, terrible forces have been attacking His people, but they will not prevail. The church will continue until final victory.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The preterist view: Everything in Revelation has already happened.
  2. The futurist view: Most of Revelation is yet to happen.
  3. The historical view: Revelation started happening after John's vision and continues until the final judgment. This view has three divisions:
  4. The church historical view: Revelation is a prophecy of church history. Most Protestant reformers held this view.
  5. The continuous historical view: Revelation's visions depict sequential historical events leading to the end times. This view has issues, e.g. going back to Jesus' birth in Chapter 12 and demanding very detailed historical knowledge.
  6. The spiritual historical view: Revelation shows spiritual principles of the church's life, conflict, and triumph. This is the view the sermon will expound.

  7. Reading Revelation without theories gives some impressions:

  8. It's about Jesus and the church. It was written to and for the church.
  9. It's meant to reveal, though in symbolic language (e.g. numbers, lampstands, seals, trumpets). We must consider its symbolic nature.
  10. It's meant to edify, not just satisfy curiosity about end times. It's strengthened persecuted Christians.
  11. There are natural divisions in the text: -- Ch 1-3: Jesus among the churches -- Ch 4-7: Jesus controls history; shows the redeemed and lost; spans from Jesus' death to final judgment -- Ch 8-11: Warnings of judgment; the church; from Jesus as high priest to final judgment -- Ch 12-14: Jesus' birth to final judgment; the devil's opposition; the redeemed -- Ch 15-16: Heaven, Jesus, his people, bowls of wrath, final battle, final judgment, redeemed and lost -- Ch 17-19: Destruction of enemies; Jesus in glory; bride of Christ; final judgment; redeemed and lost -- Ch 20-22: Devil's doom; church's triumph; new Jerusalem; Jesus amidst his people

  12. There's repetition and parallelism across the sections, all showing the conflict between Jesus/church and the devil/opposing forces. This began with Jesus' birth and continues until his victory.

Great Biblical Doctrines

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.