Category: Revelation Study

The 7 Churches in Revelation (used by permission of Turning Point)

The 7 Churches in Revelation (used by permission of Turning Point)

This week’s lesson is the 7 Churches in Revelation. The notes you will find today are from my pastor, David Jeremiah.  You can find the notes and additional resources at http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/articles/seven-churches-of-revelation-bible-study.aspx

While exiled on the island of Patmos, the apostle John received a revelation from Jesus Christ that we now call the book of Revelation. In this vision, Christ gave John seven messages for seven first-century churches in Asia Minor. Read on to discover why Christ wanted to speak to these seven churches and what the messages mean for us today. Watch and listen to these messages here.

1. EPHESUS: THE LOVELESS CHURCH (REVELATION 2:1-7)

The church of Ephesus had many positive qualities; Christ commended them in five specific ways—they were dynamic, dedicated, determined, disciplined, and discerning (Revelation 2:2-3). But verse 4 reveals where they went wrong. “Nevertheless, I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” Everything about the Ephesian church looked good on the outside, but inwardly they had heart trouble. Their devotion to Christ was waning.

If you find yourself in this place with your relationship with Christ, here is a three-part formula on how to return to your first love.

Remember

“Remember therefor from where you have fallen” (Revelation 2:5).

If we have left something or someone, the first step is to remember where we started.

Repent

The next logical step after remembering where we started and realizing where we are now is to repent. This means to reverse course and go in the opposite direction. “. . . repent . . .” (Revelation 2:5).

Repeat

Repeating to the original good works will help you get back to the place where you began. “. . . do the first works” (Revelation 2:5). Return to what you did when you first became a Christian—the spiritual disciplines that kept you close to Christ and motivated to follow Him.

2. SMYRNA — THE SUFFERING CHURCH (REVELATION 2:8-11)

Christians in developed countries today think little about being persecuted for their faith. But there are churches in the world where such persecution is a daily reality. Such was the case for the ancient church in Smyrna. They suffered because of pressure, poverty, and persecution (Revelation 2:9). Christ’s words to that church can prepare all believers for what might come.

Be Fearless

“Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer” (Revelation 2:10). Because Christ is Lord over all of life’s circumstances, we have nothing to fear. Paul wrote that there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:35-39). Fear is a natural human response, but we live supernatural lives through the power of Christ in us.

Be Faithful

“Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10). Given the intensity of the persecution in Smyrna, I believe Christ was saying, “Yes, you may lose your life for My sake, but be faithful until the end.”

3. PERGAMOS — THE COMPROMISING CHURCH (REVELATION 2:12-17)

Pergamos was nicknamed “Satan’s City.” The Christians in Pergamos were surrounded by pagan beliefs and practices. In spite of their faithfulness in some areas, the Christians in Pergamos had compromised their faith in others. They had allowed idolatry to creep into their congregation.

Satan is still employing the strategy he used in Pergamos: What you can’t curse and crush, you can corrupt through compromise.

Wherever two or three are gathered together in Christ’s name, Satan will be there to try to corrupt the truth.

Speak the Truth in Love

Christians should not be combative or antagonistic. Wherever corruption or compromise tries to gain a foothold, we need to be vigilant, sober, and on guard and speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).

Remember the Lesson from Pergamos

Guard against the dilution of true doctrine by false teaching and authoritarian leaders. If that makes us intolerant in the eyes of some, then so be it. Christ will commend us just as He did Antipas, His “faithful martyr.”

4. THYATIRA — THE ADULTEROUS CHURCH (REVELATION 2:18-29)

There are Christians and churches today who feel a need to be relevant and all-inclusive when it comes to spiritual and moral boundaries. The ancient church in Thyatira must have felt that way as well. This church allowed an immoral individual to lead many others away from Christ (Revelation 2:20). What does Christ say to a church that is tolerating immorality in her midst?

THE THREAT OF DISTRESS (REVELATION 2:22)

When the prophetess refused the chance to repent, Christ warned of His judgment: “Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed.” Whether taken figuratively or literally, we should take those words as a warning. God is holy and will not abide rebellion forever. As Hebrews 10:31 says, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

The Threat of Death (Revelation 2:22-23)

This warning is not just to the prophetess but also to “those who commit adultery with her.” They would find themselves in “great tribulation” unless they repented of their immorality.

The Message to the Christians (Revelation 2:24-25)

The message for those that stood their ground and did not engage in the cult of immorality is to “Hold fast what you have till I come” (verse 25.)

The Message to the Conquerors (Revelation 2:26-29)

This is a message to those who would choose to remain faithful to Christ “until the end”. Christ promised that they would reign and they would be raptured.

5. SARDIS — THE DEAD CHURCH (REVELATION 3:1-6)

With this church there are no commendations; Christ begins immediately with a denunciation: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.” The church was full of what we today would call “nominal Christians”—Christians in name only. Christ gives five specific directions for the church that is dead.

  • Be Sensitive to the Inroads of Sin in the Church (verse 2)
  • Be Supportive of Those Who Remain True to Christ in the Church (verses 2, 4)
  • Be Submissive to the Control of the Holy Spirit in the Church (verse 3)
  • Be Subject to the Authority of God’s Word in the Church (verse 3)
  • Be Sorry and Repent for the Sin of the Church (verse 3)
There is hope for those that do what Christ has directed. He promises eternal life for those that repent and submit to Him (Revelation 3:5).

6. PHILADELPHIA — THE FAITHFUL CHURCH (REVELATION 3:7-13)

Christ commended the church in Philadelphia for four things: they have an open door, they have a little strength, the have kept the Word of God, and they have not denied the Lord. If we want to be commended by Christ like this church, we will go through open doors of ministry, depend on His strength, and be true to Him and to His Word. What does this mean for us today?

The Potential of the Local Church

If Christ is present and the church is committed to Him, there is going to be a door of opportunity for ministry. Every church should pray for those doors to be recognized, opened, and walked through.

The People of the Local Church

Many churches today think there are too few people, there is too little money, there are too few gifts, and there are too few opportunities. Remember this simple truth: When we are weak or little, Christ is strong and big. Building the Church of Jesus Christ is not up to us. We depend on the head of the Church to give His Body the strength we need.

The Principles of the Local Church

In verse 8, Christ summarizes three principles that apply to every Church: open doors for ministry, depending on Christ’s strength, and keeping the Word of God. Being faithful to God’s Word will lead to open doors for ministry and depending on Christ’s strength since they are both taught in the Bible. When the Word of God is the first priority, everything else will fall into place.

The Priorities of the Local Church

Because the Church of Jesus Christ is His Church, we are to boldly identify with Christ regardless of the cost. We must proclaim Christ as the Bible does—the only name whereby we can be saved (Acts 4:12).

7. LAODICEA — THE LUKEWARM CHURCH (REVELATION 3:14-22)

The church in Laodicea was lacking in every way. It was a compromising, conceited, and Christless church and Christ said that it made Him sick (Revelation 3:16). Today’s Church should take note; those words may apply to us as well. We would be well advised to apply this counsel to our lives and churches today.

The Prescription for Spiritual Poverty

The Laodiceans were rich, but their riches were worldly, not spiritual. They needed spiritual wealth which can only come through Christ (Revelation 3:18).

The Prescription for Spiritual Nakedness

Nakedness in Scripture is a metaphor for defeat and humiliation, therefore Christ counsels them to procure “white garments” from Him that the shame of their nakedness might be covered (Revelation 3:18).

The Prescription for Spiritual Blindness

The only salve for spiritual blindness is repentance and submission to the Lord Jesus Christ, asking Him for the fullness and wisdom of His Spirit to restore our spiritual sight.

The Prescription for Spiritual Compromise

There is only one word of counsel for the spiritually compromised: “Therefore be zealous and repent” (Revelation 3:19). God doesn’t love us only when we are doing the right things. He loves us all the time and He wants us to repent when we need to.

God loves us too much to leave us the way we are.

The Prescription for Their Christlessness

Christ has this to say for any without Him: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20). When Christ is moved to the margins and pushed outside the Church altogether, He stands knocking and seeking to be invited back in.

The King Who’s Coming

The King Who’s Coming

It is nearly impossible to look at the world without noticing that it has spun out of control and that’s the bad news. The good news is this: the world is right on schedule to meet its appointed culmination. How will this happen? Well if you will pardon the pop culture reference, it will happen with the return of the King.

The Lord of All the earth is about to make His return and to restore a paradise that has been lost. Officially, we call this “Our blessed hope” and it can be articulated this way: “The Imminent Return of the Lord Jesus Christ in the clouds of glory to gather His Church unto Him, is the Blessed Hope of the church.” Following that event, will be the Tribulation, the days of wrath, which will then culminate in the Millennial Kingdom.

In this week’s lesson, we are going to look at the King Who Is to Come.

Our text this week is Revelation 1:10-18

10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like the sound of a trumpet,

If you look back to Exodus Chapter 19, when the Lord made His visitation Sinai, His visitation was preceded by the sound of a trumpet, and it is interesting to note, that in most of human history, the blast of a trumpet announced the arrival of a coming King. In 1 Thessalonians 4:17, we see that, at the Rapture, the arrival of the King to gather His people to Himself into the clouds is accompanied by the sound of a trumpet. So we have two possible things in play here: 1. John heard the sound of a trumpet heralding the arrival of the King of the Universe. 2. The voice John heard was as loud, distinctive, and piercing as a trumpet blast. I tend to think that number 2 is the more likely scenario although 1st is a possibility.

11 saying, “Write in a book what you see, and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.”

We are about to be treated to a glimpse into the Eternal Throne Room. Not only that, but we are about to receive a privilege unmatched anywhere in Scripture. Ever the teacher, the Lord Himself is about to give us the definitive exposition on the Scripture. We are going to see, in the imagery He uses, the Lord of all the Earth in resplendent glory and majesty.

We need understanding with verse 12-16 This vision is absolutely not a physical description of Christ in His Glory; we are not yet at the point where we will be able to behold Him as He now is. Instead, this is the lesson: Christ gives us a composite of Old Testament symbols representing the Lord of All:

 

10 Noteworthy Items

  1. One like the Son of Man

First, we need to note that this was not some otherworldly creature. The person that John saw was human in form. Over 80 times in the Gospels, Jesus refers to Himself or is referred to as the Son of Man. This term does not simply identify the humanity of Jesus; His use of it to refer to Himself shows that He identifies with us. The One who is God above all gods, whose own precious blood redeemed the church, has humbled Himself to the point of being able to identify with the Bride. Since she can never be God, like the groom is, He has brought Himself to her and came in her likeness, as a Son of Man.

  1. “Clothed” in a garment down to the feet

By being clothed in a garment down to the feet, Christ shows Himself in His High Priestly role. (Hebrews 2:17 and 3:1) From the Ascension until this point in Redemptive History, Jesus has filled the Office of ha Cohen Gadol, the High Priest continually offering intercession for His saints before the Throne of God the Father. His shed blood at Calvary was the final atoning sacrifice which then left the role of the High Priest to be intercessor before God.

  1. Girded about the chest with a golden band

In Matthew 28:18, Jesus tells us that all authority in Heaven and on Earth has been committed to the Son. In the Ancient World, a gold band was a symbol of power and authority. Kings, Satraps, Governors, etc. wore these bands around the waist as a sign of their authority.

  1. His head and hair were white like wool

This identifies Christ with the Ancient of Days (Daniel 7:9-14). Not to be confused with the “white hair of old age,” this is a blazing white that speaks of righteousness. White is, perhaps, an insufficient adjective. This is absolute, superlative, holiness; a holiness so bright that leaves no room for any shadow. The white is Shekinah, the personal divine holy presence of God Himself.

  1. His eyes were like a flame of fire

In Greek, this phrase literally says “eyes shot fire.” Two things are in play here: first, this phraseology indicates indignance at the apostasy of the churches since the Church not being what she should be would certainly arouse the indignance of Christ. Secondly, eyes like a flame of fire speaks of the omniscience of Christ. Every thought and motive must pass through this gaze and all that is impure will be burned away.

  1. Feet like fine brass, refined in a furnace

If we look back to the Tabernacle for a moment, the altar of burnt offering was covered with brass and its utensils were made of the same material (Exodus 38:1-7). Glowing hot, brass feet are a clear reference to divine judgment. Jesus Christ with feet of judgment is moving through His church to exercise His chastening authority upon sin.

  1. Voice like many waters

When you stand near a waterfall, every other sound is drowned out by the thunderous roar of the waters. This is a picture of Jesus on the Day of Judgment; every voice, every sound will be brought to stillness before His authority. That is to say, when Christ calls His Judgment Court to session, the entire cosmos will come together and be convened.

  1. In his right had He held seven stars

Many times in Scripture, we see that stars and angels are used interchangeably and since the word angelos means messenger, it is clear that these would be messengers to the 7 Churches. What is not clear is whether Christ is referring to 7 actual angels or to the pastors of the 7 churches that He was sending His messages to. That Christ holds them in His hand shows Him as absolute Lord over all things, including the Church.

  1. Out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12)

A two-edged sword speaks of judgment and portends to judgment on those who would attack Christ or His Church. The Standard of Judgment that Christ uses is none other than Sacred Scripture, His Word. What will determine your salvation and your righteousness? Nothing more or less than the standard laid out in the Bible.

  1. His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength

Think back to Matthew 17:12 on the Mount of Transfiguration. His countenance (face) is blazing in unmistakable resplendent glory.

Looking down to verse 17…

17 When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last,

It is possible that John simply passed out, but it is also possible that the shock of seeing Christ in His glory caused John’s aged heart to fail and, as He did so often in the Gospels, the Lord healed John with a touch.

“Do not be afraid”; when one is approaching the Sovereign Lord in His majesty, there is a measure of fear but that is not all that is alluded to here: The Lord, in His all-consuming holiness could have struck John dead for any sin, at all, that he had. Jesus, though, has an excellent memory, and knowing John as the Disciple Whom Jesus loved, he reached out in His grace and mercy and strengthened him.

18 and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.

I know Baptists don’t do this, but every time I read this verse it makes me want to jump and shout. I don’t think most people get this verse. The Living One who was dead and it alive forever more!! Stop and get that. The Source of Life, who was murdered by His creation is alive forevermore! No one will ever again take His life from Him and the life that He gives to His Church can never be taken to her either!

 

NOTE: Audio will be available at a later time

 

The Promise of a Davidic King

The Promise of a Davidic King

There are several prophecies of the continuation of the Kingdom of David and of Messiah’s Rule. In this lesson, we will post a prophecy and the associated passage of Scripture, followed by the New Testament Fulfillment Passage.  (This lesson, is the precursor to the lesson The King Who’s Coming.

David’s royal line will be perpetual

2 Samuel 7:16

Psalm 78:67-70

New Testament Fulfillment

Luke 1:33, 2:11   John 7:42  Romans 1:3

The Scepter will not depart from Judah

Genesis 49:9-10

New Testament Fulfillment

Hebrews 7:14 Revelation 5:5

The Branch of Jesse (David’s father) is to rule

Isaiah 11:1-5

Zechariah 12:8

New Testament fulfillment

Luke 3:23, 4:18   Romans 11:26 Revelation 22:16

God promises David a kingdom

Psalm 89:2-4    Psalm 132:11

New Testament Fulfillment

Luke 1:32

An assurance of government from David’s Throne

Isaiah 9:6-7

Jeremiah 23:5

New Testament Fulfillment

Luke 1:33

Messiah to be born in Bethlehem

Micah 5:2-4

New Testament Fulfillment

Matthew 2:1-6

 

Unmasking the Apocalypse Recording and Notes

Unmasking the Apocalypse Recording and Notes

https://soundcloud.com/user-138132460/unmasking-the-apocalypse

 

Text: Revelation 1:1-3

What is an apocalypse?

apocalypse/revelation

Greek: apokalypsis (Luke 2:32; Rom. 8:19; 16:25; Gal. 1:12) Using the roots apo (G0575), “from, away,” and kalypto (G2572), “covering, veil,” this word means “an uncovering, revelation, disclosure.” What is being disclosed was previously hidden. In the New Testament this word is typically used of spiritual things, such as visions (2 Cor. 12:1), spiritual truth (Luke 2:32), or eschatological events (Rom. 8:19; 2 Thess. 1:7; 1 Pet. 1:13). In these cases, what is revealed could be known only through supernatural disclosure. The entire Bible is God’s progressive revelation of who He is and how He is saving His people, and the Book of Revelation focuses on His final revelation when He returns to establish His eternal kingdom.

Why should I try to study Revelation? Isn’t it too hard to understand?

This is a very understandable and legitimate question. John gives a good clue in the first phrase, which introduces this book as “the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Revelation gives a unique picture of Jesus Christ, and the New Testament, really the entire Bible would be incomplete without it. In chapter 1, when we see Jesus’ appearance, it is a perfect exposition of the Old Testament. The Gospels describe Jesus’ life on Earth from four different viewpoints. The letters discuss the deep significance of the resurrected Christ and what he accomplished. But Revelation shows Jesus Christ from a new perspective: Here we see the most definitive picture of Jesus as Divine Son and Lord of the Church. When John saw him in this exalted state, he fell at Jesus’ feet as though dead (1:17).

As to whether or not Revelation is too hard to understand, bear this in mind:

  • We read Revelation according to the normal rules of language. Therefore, what appear to be metaphors or similes are just exactly that. If you understand the literary features of Revelation, you will be halfway to a correct understanding of the message therein
  • We read Revelation literally. That means, for example, when the book talks about locusts, it means exactly that; locusts not attack helicopters or other such nonsense.
  • Over half of Revelation refers back to the Old Testament. If you do not understand the Old Testament, correctly, you will never get Revelation right either.
  • God promises blessing to those who read the words of the Revelation (Ch 1 vs 3)

 

What does Revelation really unveil?

  • Revelation reveals Jesus as Divine Son and Lord of the Church
  • It reveals the nature of the Church through 7 types and what the end result will be for each church.
  • It reveals the Divine Judgment Machine and how God deals with a Christ rejecting world
  • The total triumph and finality of redemption is revealed including the final destruction of Satan
  • Lastly, the Kingdom is revealed.

Quoting John MacArthur on Revelation

“The book of Revelation contains truths that had been concealed, but have now been revealed. Though it nowhere directly quotes the Old Testament, 278 of its 404 verses refer or allude to Old Testament prophetic truth, and it amplifies what was only initially suggested in the Old Testament.

The Apocalypse reveals a great many divine truths. It warns the church of the danger of sin and instructs it about the need for holiness. It reveals the strength Christ and believers have to overcome Satan. It reveals the glory and majesty of God and depicts the reverent worship that constantly attends His throne. The book of Revelation reveals the end of human history, including the final political setup of the world, the career of Antichrist, and the climactic Battle of Armageddon. It reveals the coming glory of Christ’s earthly reign during the millennial kingdom, the Great White Throne judgment, and depicts the eternal bliss of the new heaven and the new earth. It reveals the ultimate victory of Jesus Christ over all human and demonic opposition. The book of Revelation describes the ultimate defeat of Satan and sin, and the final state of the wicked (eternal torment in hell) and the righteous (eternal joy in heaven). In short, it is a front-page story of the future of the world written by someone who has seen it all.

But supremely, overarching all those features, the book of Revelation reveals the majesty and glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. It describes in detail the events associated with His second coming, revealing His glory that will one-day blaze forth as strikingly and unmistakably as lightning flashing in a darkened sky (Matt. 24:27).”

That last point, Children of God, is why we study Revelation- so that we might see Christ the Redeemer and Christ the Lord in all His glory and give Him the worship that is due Him.

Even a cursory glance through the book of Revelation reveals that Jesus Christ is its main theme. He is “the faithful witness” (1:5); “the firstborn of the dead” (1:5); “the ruler of the kings of the earth” (1:5); “the Alpha and the Omega”(1:8; 21:6); the one “who is and who was and who is to come”(1:8); “the Almighty”(1:8); “the first and the last”(1:17); “the living One”(1:18); “the One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands” (2:1); “the One who has the sharp two-edged sword” (2:12); “the Son of God” (2:18); the One “who has eyes like a flame of fire, and … feet … like burnished bronze” (2:18); the One “who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars” (3:1); the One “who is holy, who is true” (3:7); the holder of “the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens” (3:7); “the Amen, the faithful and true Witness.”(3:14); “the Beginning of the creation of God” (3:14); “the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah” (5:5); “the Root of David” (5:5); the Lamb of God (e. g., 5:6; 6:1; 7:9-10; 8:1; 12:11; 13:8; 14:1; 15:3; 17:14; 19:7; 21:9; 22:1); the “Lord, holy and true” (6:10); the One who “is called Faithful and True” (19:11); “The Word of God”(19:13); the “King of kings, and Lord of lords”(19:16); Christ (Messiah), ruling on earth with His glorified saints (20:6); and “Jesus … the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star” (22:16). The book of Revelation reveals the majesty and glory of the Lord Jesus Christ in song, poetry, symbolism, and prophecy. In it the heavens are opened and its readers see, as did Stephen (Acts 7:56), visions of the risen, glorified Son of God. (MacArthur NT Commentary)

Are those who read Revelation really blessed?

Yes, we are really blessed by reading Revelation. For starters, it is given for our comfort as we face a world that is falling apart, where wickedness abounds so much that even Sodom would blush with shame; Christ and His righteous will triumph. The spirit of lawlessness may kill the body (God will allow some to be martyred) but antichrist will never triumph over the Righteous Lamb and those of His Elect.

Remember that blessed does not simply mean happy, even though that is an acceptable and accurate translation of the word used here. It also means favorable circumstances granted by God and it also connotes having shalom (peace and wholeness) with God.

Beloved, the time is near. This is not kronos which is our normal method of keeping time; it is kairos, the age. John wrote well because we indeed are in last days and there is nothing left to be fulfilled; all that yet remains is for the Lord to consummate redemptive history and to deliver the Kingdom up to the Father.

 

Revelation Introduction and Outline

Revelation Introduction and Outline

 

Revelation Outline

Why Read Revelation?

“Why read this strange book? John gives a good clue in the first phrase, which introduces this book as “the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Revelation gives a unique picture of Jesus Christ, and the New Testament would be incomplete without it. The Gospels describe Jesus’ life on Earth from four different viewpoints. The letters discuss the deep significance of the resurrected Christ and what he accomplished. But Revelation shows Jesus Christ from a new perspective: as the mighty ruler of the cosmic forces of good. When John saw him in this exalted state, he fell at Jesus’ feet as though dead (1:17).

Although Revelation does not remove the mystery surrounding Jesus’ return and the end of the world, it does throw light on those events. It cannot be reduced to a mere timetable of events; it speaks lasting truths to every generation of readers. Revelation tells of Christ’s future triumph over all the evil in the universe. This crucial message of final hope was needed by its original readers in the first century and is still needed by us today.” —NIV Student Bible

Who wrote Revelation? John the Beloved Apostle (see Rev 1:1)

DATE: A.D. 96? There is some dispute about this though. From the Harper Collins Study Bible’s notes we learn “Many early Christian writers thought that Revelation had been written toward the end of Domitian’s reign (81–96 ce), but a few later writers thought that John had written a generation earlier, during the persecution that occurred in 64 under Nero (54–68 ce). Evidence supporting both dates can be found in the book. In favor of the earlier date, 11.1–3 suggests that the Jewish temple in Jerusalem (destroyed by the Romans in 70) was still standing when the book was written. Further, the code name of the beast in 13.18 is 666, widely thought to symbolize the name Nero Caesar. Other data, however, suggest a date late in the first century. For example, there are several allusions (13.3; 17.9–11) to the legend of Nero’s return, which circulated throughout the eastern Mediterranean during the two decades following his suicide in 68. Further, Revelation frequently uses “Babylon” as a code name for Rome (14.8; 16.19; 17.5, 18; 18.2, 10, 21), but the evidence suggests that Jews used this code name only after the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in 70.”

As a general rule, I favor the dating of approximately 96 A.D. We need to remember that there is, oftentimes, an already but not yet in prophecy. John certainly wrote to comfort Christians who were already under persecution but he also wrote to comfort those under persecutions yet to come.

The spiritual decline of the 7 churches (chaps. 2, 3) also argues for the later date. Those churches were strong and spiritually healthy in the mid-60s, when Paul last ministered in Asia Minor. The brief time between Paul’s ministry there and the end of Nero’s reign was too short for such a decline to have occurred. The longer time gap also explains the rise of the heretical sect known as the Nicolaitans (2:6, 15), who are not mentioned in Paul’s letters, not even to one or more of these same churches (Ephesians). Finally, dating Revelation during Nero’s reign does not allow time for John’s ministry in Asia Minor to reach the point at which the authorities would have felt the need to exile him.
THEME: The theme of the Revelation is Jesus Christ (Rev 1:1) in all His post-resurrection glory and majesty. He is presented in a threefold way: (1) As to time: “which is, and which was, and which is to come” Rev 1:4); (2) as to relationships–the churches Rev 1:9 through Rev 3:22), to the tribulation Rev 4:1 through Rev 19:21), to the kingdom Rev 20:1 through Rev 22:21); (3) in His offices–High Priest Rev 8:3-6), Bridegroom Rev 19:7-9), King-Judge Rev 20:1-15).

Christ is the central theme of the book, but all of the events move toward one consummation, the bringing in of the covenanted kingdom. The key-phrase is the prophetic declaration of the “great voices in heaven” Rev 11:15), lit, “The world kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ has come.”

 

Introductory Remark

The three major divisions of Revelation must be clearly held if the interpretation is to be sane and coherent. John was commanded to “write” concerning three classes of “things” Rev 1:19):

I. Things past, “the things thou hast seen,” i.e. the Patmos vision, Rev 1.1-20.
II. Things present, “the things which are,” i.e. things then existing–obviously the churches. The temple had been destroyed, the Jews dispersed: the testimony of God had been committed to the Churches (1Ti 3.15). Accordingly we have seven messages to seven representative churches, Rev 2.1 through Rev 3.22. It is noteworthy that the church is not mentioned in chapters 5 through 18.
III. Things future, “things which shall be hereafter,” lit. “after these,” i.e. after the church period ends, Rev 4.1 through Rev 22.21. The third major division, falls into a series of six sevens, with parenthetical passages, making, with the church division, seven sevens. The six sevens are:
(1) The seals, Rev 4.1 through Rev 8.1.
(2) The seven trumpets, Rev 8.2 through Rev 11.19.
(3). The seven personages, Rev 12:1-14:20.
(4). The seven vials (bowls), Rev 15.1 through Rev 16.21.
(5). The seven dooms, Rev 17.1 through Rev 20.15.
(6). The seven new things, Rev 21.1 through Rev 22.21.
The parenthetical passages are:

  • The Jewish remnant and the tribulation saints, Rev 7:1-17.
  • The angel, the little book, the two witnesses, Rev 10:1 through Rev 11:14.
  • The Lamb, the Remnant, and the everlasting Gospel, Rev 14:1-13.
  • The gathering of the kings at Armageddon, Rev 16:13-16.
  • The four alleluias in heaven, Rev 19:1-6. These passages do not advance the prophetic narrative. Looking backward and forward they sum up results accomplished, and speak of results yet to come as if they had already come. In Rev 14:1, for example, the Lamb and Remnant are seen prophetically on Mount Zion, though they are not actually there till Rev 20:4-6.The end of the church period Rev 2 through Rev 3.) is left as indeterminate. It will end by the fulfillment of 1Th 4:14-17. Revelation 4 through Rev 19 are believed to synchronize with Daniel’s Seventieth Week (Dan 9:24). The great tribulation begins at the middle of the “week,” and continues three and a half years Rev 11:3 through Rev 19:21). The tribulation is brought to an end by the appearing of the Lord and the battle of Armageddon Mat 24:29, 30; Re 19:11-21). The kingdom follows Re 20:4, 5); after this the “little season” Re 20:7-15), and then eternity.

    As we study Revelation we should bear in mind two important passages: 1Pe 1:12; 2Pe 1:20, 21. Doubtless much which is designedly obscure to us will be clear to those for whom it was written as the time approaches.

 

THEORIES OF INTERPRETATION: There have been many approaches to this book, but these can be divided into four major theories:

  • Preterist theory: All of Revelation has been fulfilled in the past. It had to do with local references in John’s day. It had to do with the days of either Nero or Domitian.
  • Historical theory: Fulfillment of Revelation is going on in history, and Revelation is the prophetic history of the church, according to this theory.
  • Historical-spiritual (Symbolic) theory: This theory is a refinement of the historical theory and was advanced by Sir William Ramsay. It states that the two beasts are Imperial and Provincial Rome. The point of the book is to encourage Christians. According to this theory, Revelation has been largely fulfilled and there are spiritual lessons for the church today. Amillennialism, for the most part, has adopted this view. It dissipates and defeats the purpose of the book.
  • Futurist theory: This theory holds that the Book of Revelation is primarily prophetic and yet future, especially from Revelation 4 on to the end of the book. This is the view of all premillennialists and is the view which we accept and present.

 

We should note that at least 10 Themes in Scripture find their consummation in Revelation

  1. The Lord Jesus Christ (Genesis 3:15)
  2. The church (Matthew 16:18)
  3. The resurrection and translation of saints (1 Thessalonians 4:13- 18; 1 Corinthians 15:51, 52)
  4. The Great Tribulation (Deuteronomy 4:30, 31)
  5. Satan and evil (Ezekiel 28:11-18)
  6. The “man of sin” (Ezekiel 28:1-10)
  7. The course and end of apostate Christendom (Daniel 2:31-45; Matthew 13)
  8. The beginning, course, and end of the “times of the Gentiles” (Daniel 2:37; Luke 21:24)
  9. The second coming of Christ (Jude 14, 15)
  10. Israel’s covenants (Genesis 12:1-3), five things promised Israel

Christ in Revelation

Revelation has much to say about all three Persons of the Godhead, but it is especially clear in its presentation of the awesome resurrected Christ who has received all authority to judge the earth. He is called Jesus Christ (1:1), the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, the ruler over the kings of the earth (1:5), the First and the Last (1:17), He who lives (1:18), the Son of God (2:18), holy and true (3:7), the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God (3:14), the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David (5:5), a Lamb (5:6), Faithful and True (19:11), The Word of God (19:13), KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS (19:16), Alpha and Omega (22:13), the Bright and Morning Star (22:16), and the Lord Jesus Christ (22:21).

This book is indeed “The Revelation of Jesus Christ” (1:1) since it comes from Him and centers on Him. It begins with a vision of His glory, wisdom, and power (1) and portrays His authority over the entire church (2; 3). He is the Lamb who was slain and declared worthy to open the book of judgment (5). His righteous wrath is poured out upon the whole earth (6–18), and He returns in power to judge His enemies and to reign as the Lord over all (19; 20). He will rule forever over the heavenly city in the presence of all who know Him (21; 22).

The Scriptures close with His great promise: “‘Behold, I am coming quickly!’” (22:7, 12). “‘Surely I am coming quickly.’ Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” (22:20).

 

Keys to Understanding Revelation

Key Word:

The Revelation of the Coming of Christ

The purposes for which Revelation was written depend to some extent on how the book as a whole is interpreted. Because of its complex imagery and symbolism, Revelation is the most difficult biblical book to interpret, and there are four major alternatives: (1) The symbolic or idealist view maintains that Revelation is not a predictive prophecy, but a symbolic portrait of the cosmic conflict of spiritual principles. (2) The preterist view (the Latin word praeter means “past”) maintains that it is a symbolic description of the Roman persecution of the church, emperor worship, and the divine judgment of Rome. (3) The historicist view approaches Revelation as an allegorical panorama of the history of the (Western) church from the first century to the Second Advent. (4) The futurist view acknowledges the obvious influence that the first-century conflict between Roman power and the church had upon the themes of this book. It also accepts the bulk of Revelation (4–22) as an inspired look into the time immediately preceding the Second Advent (the “Tribulation,” usually seen as seven years; 6–18), and extending from the return of Christ to the creation of the new cosmos (19–22).

Advocates of all four interpretive approaches to Revelation agree that it was written to assure the recipients of the ultimate triumph of Christ over all who rise up against Him and His saints. The readers were facing dark times of persecution, and even worse times would follow. Therefore, they needed to be encouraged to persevere by standing firm in Christ in view of God’s plan for the righteous and the wicked. This plan is especially clear in the stirring words of the epilogue (22:6–21). The book was also written to challenge complacent Christians to stop compromising with the world. According to futurists, Revelation serves the additional purpose of providing a perspective on end-time events that would have meaning and relevance to the spiritual lives of all succeeding generations of Christians.

Key Verses:

Revelation 1:19 and 19:11–15

“‘Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this’” (1:19).

“Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God” (19:11–15).

Key Chapters:

Revelation 19–22

When the end of history is fully understood, its impact radically affects the present. In Revelation 19–22 the plans of God for the last days and for all of eternity are recorded in explicit terms. Careful study of and obedience to them will bring the blessings that are promised (1:3). Uppermost in the mind and deep in the heart should be guarded the words of Jesus, “Behold, I am coming quickly.”

 

Revelation Series: Bibliography and Recommended Reading

Revelation Series: Bibliography and Recommended Reading

Beloved, the following resources helped to shape the notes for out Revelation Study Series. Time invested in these resources will give you more insight into  Revelation.

 

The MacArthur New Testament Commentary

Moody Publishers/Chicago

© 1999 by John MacArthur

Used by Permission

 

Basic Theology: A Popular Systematic Guide to Understanding Biblical Doctrine

Moody Publishers/Chicago

© 1986, 1999 by Charles C. Ryrie, PhD

 

NIV Study Bible, copyright © 1985, 1995, 2002, 2008, 2011 by Zondervan

NIV Archaeological Study Bible, ©2005 by Zondervan

 

Q&A notes are adapted from the NIV Quest Study Bible, copyright © 1994, 2003, 2011 by Zondervan

 

THE IVP BIBLE BACKGROUND COMMENTARY: New Testament

© 1993 by Craig S. Keener published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.

Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines on the New Testament

by Warren W. Wiersbe

© 1993 by Victor Books/SP Publications, Inc.

 

Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown: Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (1871)

by Rev. Robert Jamieson, D.D. Rev. A.R. Fausset, A.M & Rev. David Brown, D.D.

Database © 2012 WORDsearch Corp.

 

The HarperCollins Study Bible, Revised Edition.

Copyright © 2006 by HarperCollins Publishers.

 

New Interpreters Study Bible

© 2003 Abingdon Press

 

 

The Open Bible®

Copyright © 1983, 1985, 1990, 1997 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

 

Preacher’s Complete Homiletical Commentary

© 2001 Baker Books

 

 

 

 

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