Revealing Revelation - Part 1
I'd like to invite you to study the book of Revelation with me. This is (in my opinion) one of the most exciting books in the Bible, and there is much to cover so we best get started. Let me mention some things quickly by way of introduction. Even though this is introductory material, it is necessary to make sense of the rest of this awesome book, so get your Bible, pens and paper, and let us get started.
The Revelation is sometimes misnamed The Revelation of St. John the Divine. Perhaps that is how it is referred to in your Bible. Realize that man-made headings and notes are not part of the inspired Word of God. They are merely man’s attempts to explain the Word of God. The Apostle John is the author of the book of Revelation. He was a great apostle, but he was not divine. God alone qualifies for that description. Neither is the book the Revelation of John. It is the Revelation of Jesus Christ. Lest there be any confusion about that chapter 1:1 is perfectly clear. “The Revelation of Jesus Christ . . .”
The word “revelation” comes from the Greek word “apokalupsis” which means to unveil. It is the unveiling of Christ as He comes to claim that which is rightfully His. Christ is the focus of the entire book. The Unveiling, the Revelation is entirely His. No one or no thing can take His place on the pages of the past, present, or future.
As we said, The apostle John the son of Zebedee (Matthew 4:21) is the author. John was responsible for the writing of four other New Testament books. He is the author of the Gospel of John as well as I, II, and III John. Revelation was written sometime around 95 A. D. from the Isle of Patmos where John was in exile.
He is the only apostle that holds no record of dying. All of the other apostles (at least by tradition) faced a martyr’s death, but we know nothing of John’s end. Tradition seeks to resolve the issue by claiming that the apostle died in Ephesus, but there is no historical confirmation of that.
John 21:18-22 says, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdest thyself, and walkest whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. This spake he signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me. Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved [John] following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee? Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou me..” Now look at Revelation 11:3. “And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth”. Now let us add Hebrews 9:27—“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment”.
Is it possible that John was translated directly to Heaven the way Enoch and Elijah were? If so, that may mean that he is one of the two witnesses of Revelation 11. Because of the description of the two witnesses some men believe they may be Elijah, Enoch, Moses, John the Baptist (?), or John the Apostle. Some believe the two witneses are Israel and the Church. Some believe the two witnesses are the Law and the Prophets (Old Testament writings). It makes no difference who these two witnesses are. The Revelation will take place just the same, but it may be that the very author of this precious book will take part in the yet future events that are described within. I need to add here also that in John 21:23 the Scripture goes on to say, “Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but if I will that he tarry til I come, what is that to thee”.
Before we go to verse one, let us consider a few things. The Book of the Revelation (and by the way, it is Revelation, not “Revelations”) is divided into two major parts. The first three chapters deal with the churches in Asia. God has a specific message for each church, and it is Jesus Christ Himself that delivers the message to John.
We will no doubt mention it again, but each of the seven churches represents a specific time period in church history. Even though Christ gave these messages to the church to deal with their present state, He was also giving prophetic indications of things to come. These seven periods of history have already taken place or are taking place. The present and past church age is unveiled in the first three chapters.
Chapter four begins the next major section. Again, we will look at it closer later, but chapter four begins at the time of the rapture. Everything from chapter four to the end of the book is unfulfilled prophecy. It will be fulfilled shortly. Events covered during this time yet future are the rapture, the tribulation, the final judgment, and the millennium.
Future events can be difficult to understand. The Bible tells us that we are to study to show ourselves approved. I understand the book is not easy, but God did intend for us to understand it and apply it. From time to time, it will be necessary to apply the laws of hermeneutics to get the full meaning.
One of the main difficulties of unraveling Revelation is its chronology. The book is not written in chronological order. Some events that are described take place simultaneously while others are listed first, but may not occur until later. Because of this it seems there are many interpretations. Please remember, they cannot all be right as they contradict each other.
Although I have established my beliefs and doctrines on Revelation, I will do my best to stay away from the controversial in this hub. No doubt, at some point I will address those questionable areas in other hubs.
When we next meet, we will begin to look at the book in detail. We will cover the seven churches, their plight and their prophetic significance. We will then turn to future prophecy examining the time of the tribulation from the point of the rapture to the new heaven and new earth. We will see the Great White Throne Judgment and much more so stay tuned.
The day is coming when the Lord Himself will return with a shout and with the voice of the archangel. No man knows the day or the hour, but what will follow is clearly outline in Scripture. The most important question you will ever need to answer is - are you ready? If not, I'd be glad to hear from you. I would count it a privilege to give you more information concerning the most important decision you will ever make. And by the way, to make no decision is to make a decision.
Do not forget that God promises a blessing to those that read and hear, to those who study the Book (Revelation 1:3). It is my desire to receive a blessing. So in Part 2 we will begin to make sense of Revelation. Hold on for the blessing. .