WHY DOES THE BOOK OF REVELATION NOT BEING PREACHED TODAY?
That’s a good question. I’ve heard various replies over the years: “It’s to difficult to understand” or “It’s scary to hear about beasts–a dragon, lake of fire, hell, etc.”
My purpose in this study, is to address the issues and difficult questions that always arise when we read the book on the surface.
THE REVELATION in the bible is NOT a ‘light read’ of biblical metaphors. Like All Scripture, the words describe an unveiling of the truth–past, present, future. It is NOT like a “crystal ball”; no fantasy made up by man.
First, A Disclaimer–
As I began this investigation study in the last Book of the New Testament, and… for as many times I’ve read and studied the words in the past, I still come with some anxiety. But since I was prompted going forth by the Holy Spirit– ( I don’t debate with the Holy Spirit), I found myself underlining words and phrases in Chapter One; making notes in the verses, following up with other biblical passages to give me (“you”) a spiritual glimpse–the “needed keys” available into the mysteries often overlooked.
My intentions throughout the course of this study is not to debate this study. Nor do I intend to blog about every chapter in the Book. I will be posting only what the Spirit directs me to write and proclaim. So grab your Bible, ink pen, highlighter, and let’s get started!
The theme is not the seven churches, not the seven bowls, the seven trumpets, the Beast, the Antichrist or the symbolism. The THEME is Jesus Christ Victorious!!!
REVELATION CHAPTER ONE – AN INTRODUCTION:
Key Verse 1:19 (N.I.V. Bible Translation will be used in this study unless so noted.):
“Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later.”
REVELATION is broken into 3 major parts according to Revelation 1:19 –
1. What John has seen.
2. What John is presently seen.
3. What is coming.
In other words, write down the past, present and future events: “Write therefore, what you have seen (The Past)” – the Lord Jesus as the Glorified One.
**NOTE: “Revelation” not Revelations” (plural). It is the “Revelation” of JESUS, not of John. If your Bible says The Revelation of St. John the divine…IT’S WRONG.
A. The PREFACE, the PROLOGUE, the Warm-up begins – Revelation 1:1-3:
“THE REVELATION of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending His angel to His servant John, (2) who testifies to everything he saw–that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. (3) Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.”
IMPORTANT WORD “KEYS” for the study in UNLOCKING the doors–
I want to show you an invaluable KEY when reading and understanding in any biblical study. I underline with pen on the bible pages, certain words that stick out to me. Then, with the leading of God’s Spirit, I use resources I have at hand (Expository Dictionary, Vine’s Complete Dictionary, etc.–or even Google).
The following KEYS (steps) is one idea on how to approach each chapter. If you have your own methods, you might incorporate some of these:
1. “REVELATION”=apokalypto (Greek); where we get the English word “Apocalypse”: (unveiling, disclosure) of Christ Jesus.
2. SERVANTS= All believers.
3. SOON TO TAKE PLACE=
Vs. 1:3 “…because the time is near.”
Vs. 22:6-7 “…must soon take place.”
Vs. 22:10 “…the time is near” or “…at hand”
Vs. 22:20 “…I (Jesus) am coming soon.”
4. ANGEL= Messenger of God (anyone, human or heavenly, who proclaims God’s message).
5. JOHN= identifies himself as John
Vs. 1:1 “…to His servant John”
Vs. 1:4 “John”
Vs. 1:9 “I, John”
Vs. 22:8 “I, John”
6. BLESSED= the first of the seven beatitudes in the book; Greek word “Makarios” = “HAPPY, HAPPY” are those who will enjoy eternal life in glory (See footnote [i]).
“BLESSED”= a favorable circumstance God puts on a person– Psalm 1:1; Matthew 5:3.
Vs. 14:13 “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on”
Vs, 16:15 Jesus speaking, “Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed.”
Vs. 19:9 “Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!”
Vs. 20:6 “Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection…”
Vs. 22:7 “Behold, I am coming soon! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book.”
Vs. 22:14 “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.”
7. PROPHECY= means foretelling the future as well as proclaiming any word from God.
B. The GREETINGS & DOXOLOGY (Hymn or Verse or Praise to God) – Revelation 1:4-8:
–More KEYS on the Key Chain…
8. SEVEN SPIRITS= The Holy Spirit in each church?
The SEVEN CHURCHES listed are located 50 miles apart forming a circle in Asia Minor, moving in a clockwise direction.
Using Bible Maps can give you an additional perspective in understanding.
9. A KINGDOM OF PRIESTS= this Old Testament designation of Israel is applied to the New Testament Church:
1 Peter 2:5: “you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood…”
1 Peter 2:9: “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood…”
10. PIERCED= ekkenteo, Greek found in John 19:37; Revelation 1:7 and refers to each text to “piercing” Christ on the cross. “Karah”, Hebrew word used in the OT is a symbolic anticipation of the future suffering of Christ:
Psalm 22:16: “For [like a pack of wild] dogs they have encompassed me, a company of evildoers has encircled me; they pierced my hands and my feet” (Amplified Bible).
Isaiah 53:5: “But he was pierced for our transgressions…”
John 19:34: “Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear…”
So shall it be! AMEN= A double affirmation.
11. ALPHA & OMEGA= first and last letter of the Greek alphabet.
GOD is saying He is beginning and the end; He is and was and will be.
C. VERSES 1:9-20 – “Jesus among the Seven Churches”:
12. SUFFERING, KINGDOM & PATIENCE= the three pivotal themes in REVELATION.
13. PATMOS= a small island off the coast of modern Turkey.
JOHN was imprisoned here until his release in 96-98 AD. [*Note: Suggestion: look up “Patmos” on a map for reference].
14. THE LORD’S DAY= technical term for the first day of the week; so named because JESUS rose from the dead on that day.
Also, the day Christians met together, took a collections, and why we attend church on Sundays today (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2).
15. IN THE SPIRIT= In a state of Spiritual Exaltation–not a dream, but a vision like Peter’s– [Acts 10:10].
16. SCROLL= pieces of parchment or papyrus sewn together and rolled on a spindle.
The book was not invented until about 2 AD.
17. SEVEN= Hebrew number of perfection or completion.
18. SEVEN GOLDEN LAMPSTANDS=the SEVEN churches (Vs. 1:20).
19. SON OF MAN=Jesus Christ.
Daniel 7:13, 14: “In my vision at night I looked, and there before was one like a Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and His kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.
Mark 8:31: He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that He must be killed and after three days rise again.
20. ROBE TO HIS FEET= traditionally, the high priest wore a full length robe to his feet.
Bible References: Exodus 28:4; 29:5.
Reference to Christ as the high priest supported the fact that He is wearing a golden sash around His chest.
21. WHITE LIKE WOOL= suggest wisdom and dignity.
Daniel 7:9: “I kept looking until thrones were placed [for the assessors with the Judge], and the Ancient of Days [God, the eternal Father] took His seat, Whose garment was as white as snow and the hair of His head like pure wool. His throne was like the fiery flame; its wheels were burning fire” (Amplified Bible).
Isaiah 1:18: “Come now, let us reason together,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be made as white as snow…”
22. EYES LIKE BLAZING FIRE=penetrating insight.
23. SHARP DOUBLE EDGED SWORD= the sword is the Word of God which is used for our protection, but also our divine judgement.
Hebrews 4:12: For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of the joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart. (Amplified Bible)
24. FELL AT HIS FEET= great respect and true awe!
25. LIVING ONE= Based on Old Testament references to the Living God; in contrast to the dead gods of paganism–Christ Jesus possesses life in His essential nature.
26. KEYS OF DEATH AND HADES (Sheol, or the place of the dead)= Christ has absolute control over their domain.
27. ANGELS=heavenly messengers, earthly messengers/ministers, personifications of the prevailing spirit of each church.
~THE BOOK OF REVELATION~
This book is primarily a book of prophecy; it seems to begin as an epistle or a letter. It addresses SEVEN different churches with SEVEN different problems or challenges.
It foretells things that are to come. But I want to mention again: It IS a REVELATION about Jesus Christ; REVELATION depicts JESUS AS:
“The faithful witness”,
“The firstborn from the dead”,
“The ruler over kings of the world”,
“The Alpha & Omega, the Beginning and the End”,
“The One who is and was and is to come, the almighty”,
“The beginning of all Creation”,
“The Lion of the Tribe of Judah”,
“The Lamb on the throne”,
“The Messiah who will reign forever”,
“The King of kings and Lord of lords”,
“The bright morning star”.
Lessons To Be Learn In This Upcoming Study:
* The church is warned on sin lifted to holiness;
* We will see vivid pictures of worship, the ministry of angels;
* Eschatology= Doctrine of last days.
* The final political setup of the world;
* The career and ultimate defeat of the Antichrist;
* Christ Jesus 1000 year reign; and…
* The final state of the wicked and the righteous–the unsaved and the saved.
As we go through The Book of Revelation in the weeks to come, I will try to point out ties between the Old Testament and the New Testament.
In Genesis the earth was created; in Revelation it will pass away.
In Genesis was Satan’s first rebellion; in Revelation Satan’s last rebellion.
In Genesis the sun, moon and stars were meant for the earth’s government; in Revelation these same heavenly bodies are for the earth’s judgement.
In Genesis the sun was to govern the day; in Revelation there is no night.
In Genesis the entrance to SIN; in Revelation the exodus of SIN.
In Genesis the curse was pronounced; in Revelation the curse is removed.
In Genesis death entered; in Revelation there is no more death!
In Genesis Satan’s doom being pronounced; in Revelation Satan’s doom is executed.
Feel free to point out in this series notes you made, discoveries you found in the comment section of this blog-site. It will be helpful to all who follow along.
PART 2 to follow in Revelation 3. So start reading in your own bible (ink pen) and I’ll see you there!
Sources for this Study:
Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words.
EXPOSITORY DICTIONARY OF WORDS – Stephen D. Renn.
NIV Complete Concordance.
Photos and Maps:
Wikipedia Maps -The Seven Churches in Revelation
New International Version (NIV)