Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2018
Texts: 1 Corinthians 10:1–11; Revelation 12:1–17; 19:11–15; Ephesians 1:20; Revelation 11:19; 1:10–18
It’s easy to agree with the sentiment that history repeats itself. How often have wars ended with the winner demanding terms that inevitably lead to more wars? How many times have couples not learned from their mistakes and ending making the same errors in their relationship? Along with the idea that history repeats itself is the convincing quote, “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.”
There’s a similar phenomenon to history repeating itself that comes even closer to home called déjà vu (French for “already seen”). It’s a rare occurrence, but you know it when you feel it. Perhaps you’re with friends in a new restaurant and something familiar clicks in your brain and you think, “I’ve been here before.” Scientists and psychologists still haven’t nailed down exactly what happens in your mind when this experience takes place.1
To the person who carefully studies the Bible book of Revelation, there’s a strange mixture of history repeating itself and déjà vu. In this apocalyptic New Testament account, we will not only find history repeating itself, but we may have an interesting déjà vu experience that centers on the person of Jesus Christ.
Despite the popular notion that Revelation is a strange and unfamiliar book about beasts and scrolls, smoke and numbers that make no sense, the careful student of God’s Word sees a clear message about the Lamb of God—Jesus—who has a careful eye on His bride, the church. Woven through each chapter are references to the Old Testament that give us a deeper reality of the great controversy that will soon end.
A dominant theme in both the economy of Israel in the Old Testament and in the pages of Revelation is the sanctuary service. At the beginning of each of John’s visions there are references to the sanctuary. In Revelation 1, Jesus appears as a High Priest serving His people, walking among the seven golden candlesticks in the Holy Place of the sanctuary. In Revelation 4 and 5, seven lamps burning before God’s throne once more appear.
Christ promises that history will repeat itself. “To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne” (Revelation 3:21, NIV, emphasis added). You can choose to make Christ’s history your own. ~ cr
~ For Reflection
Connecting: Ask everyone to share one thing about the future that makes them afraid. What do all these things have in common?
Sharing: John said: “When I saw him, I fell at his feet as if I were dead. But he laid his right hand on me and said, ‘Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last. I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave’” (Revelation 1:17, 18, NLT). How does this encourage us when we think of the future?
1. Jesus always encourages us to not be afraid.
2. Jesus overcame all challenges in life and death and gives us the power to do the same.
3. Jesus has the keys (authority) over death.
4. Jesus is in charge of the future but only if we surrender our future to Him.
5. Jesus will never leave us or forsake us and will be alive forever.
Applying: Take a continuous video of each person in your group sharing why knowing Jesus as his or her personal Lord and Savior eliminates fear of the future or the end of time. Share the video with the rest of the church. Edit the video and post the finished version on the church website.
Valuing: What specific Bible texts give you the most peace? Share these texts with one other person in the group.
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