How many people reading this are excited to read and study the Book of Revelation? Many Christians don't like this book, they say it is hard to understand. This writer finds it is the most fascinating book in our Bible. It is written FOR US. It is essential that we understand it.
To begin with, an in depth study of the Book of Revelation will give those who study it more knowledge and understanding of not only the Book of Revelation, but of things related to the supernatural entity we know as "God." God IS real. Most pastors today lack understanding of this book and it is not taught. The book is not "The Revelations" but "The Revelation."
Do not be overwhelmed by this wonderful book. "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must (soon) shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John." Rev 1:1 The word "servant" here is US. You and me. Those of us here. We are to understand these words.
The word, "revelation" means literally the Apocalypse. From word studies we find that the word also means (in its noun form): rev·e·la·tion [rev-uh-ley-shuhn] –noun
1.the act of revealing or disclosing; disclosure.
2.something revealed or disclosed, especially a striking disclosure, as of something not before realized.
a. God’s disclosure of Himself and His will to His creatures.
ban instance of such communication or disclosure.
something thus communicated or disclosed.
something that contains such disclosure, as the Bible.
1. the act or process of disclosing something previously secret or obscure, esp something true
2. a fact disclosed or revealed, esp in a dramatic or surprising way
a. God's disclosure of his own nature and his purpose for mankind, esp through the words of human intermediaries
b. something in which such a divine disclosure is contained, such as the Bible
[from Latin revelatio from Latin revelare to reveal ]
So, we see Revelation means "the unveiling." This is the revelation of God's plan to mankind. This book is an extremely important book because it tells us the full story of man and how God is dealing with him.
The Revelation is a massive vision given to John as he was on the Island of Patmos. He is given a vision of the fulfillment of this present age. The vision he is given is beyond you and I. The fullness of it is beyond us, it hasn't happened yet.
Revelation was written in 96 A.D. We know Rome was ruling the world at that time. It is one of the last parts of the New Testament to be written. Tradition tells us that John was the only one of Jesus Christ's original Disciples that died a natural death. John was thrown in boiling oil in Ephesus to kill him and he walked out of the boiling oil. He was banished to the island of Patmos. Patmos is in the Aegean Sea. It is a rock quarry. John was there because Rome was paving their world. There was
a saying that said, "All roads lead to Rome". Rome was mining and paved the world. From Patmos they obtained granite and rocks and turpentine. They paved about 200,000 miles of roads.
Why is that so important? The Gospel has just happened. Jesus has died and Paul is bringing the Gospel to a pagan world. There is a universal language that is called Greek. Even the Romans understood Greek. It's one thing to tell a person to go preach the gospel to all the world but if there are no roads, how does one get there? So, we see that Rome is playing into the whole plan of God. Those roads the Romans thought that they would use to conquer the whole world were actually used to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
In the meantime, John is cutting the rocks on Patmos. Envision this: John is cutting the rock and the rock is used to build a road that Paul is going to use to bring the gospel to the world. This is extremely exciting and should be to those who aren't aware of this. Indeed, we as Christians, have a great deal to be excited about today.
In the meantime, God has one last vision to give the Gospel-writer, John. From Revelation 1:9, "I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ." Interestingly, there would be a tremendous move across the world. As John is writing this vision, we know as The Revelation, Paul was bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ all over the world.
John is writing about things that must shortly come to pass. We read in Revelation 1:1, "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly (soon) come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John."
Revelation Chapter 1:3 tells us, "Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand." Revelation is the only book of scripture that one gets a blessing from God each and every time one reads it. Every time one reads this, there is a blessing from God. No other book of the Bible has that.
Unlike any other Book of the Bible, two-thirds of Revelation is prophecy. Two-thirds are direct quotes from other parts of scripture. Our entire Bible is two-thirds prophecy. To demonstrate the difference between the Bible and books from what are considered pagan cults, we can see that The Vedas of Hinduism and the Zenda Avesta from Buddhism have not one word of prophecy in them. The Koran, which we are hearing so much about today, has not a single prophetic verse in it. Never once does it attempt to talk about the future. Of the 30,442 verses in the Bible, nearly two-thirds (or approximately 20k verses) have to do with prophecy.
Prophecy is the prediction of future events. In fact, books considered sacred by all religions have not one word of prophecy or future events predicted. The Bible is full of such predictions. Some have already been fulfilled, others are in the process of being fulfilled in our day and still others are to be fulfilled in the future.
Fulfilled prophecy and attested miracles constitute the "twin pillars" which uphold the structure and inspiration of scripture. The reason why Christianity survives is because they have these twin pillars. Again, they are prophecy and miracles. We know that signs have accompanied those who believe. Those signs, for 2,000 years, have accompanied it and this is the reason Christianity has spread all over the known globe.
As we see it in Revelation, John is in the Spirit on The Lord's Day, and we see he heard a great voice behind him. "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day, and heard behind me a great voice as of a trumpet." Revelation 1:10 Here we see that John hears a loud voice and he sees The Lord, not as he saw him during their time together, not as you and I might believe we envision Him. John saw Jesus Christ, not as a humble, lowly Galilean. We tend to have this idea of Him with blue eyes and blonde hair. Jesus did not have these features. His name wasn't even Jesus. It is Yeshuah or Joshua, which means "savior." Jesus is the Greek form of His name.
Perhaps this is one reason why some Jewish people have trouble with Christianity because they see us worshiping a Greek god using a Greek name. They think it is some Greek god we are worshiping.
Why? In the Middle Ages, great painters depicted Jesus to look just like Apollo. He had long hair, and blue eyes. Jesus, the man, did not.
John doesn't see this type of image. In fact, he doesn't even see the Jesus he was used to seeing. He sees Jesus as not weak, not someone who is a humble carpenter. He sees Him splendid and in His Glory. The next time we see Jesus he is not going to be a lowly Galilean. He is coming back as a conqueror. He will conquer the entire world.
In Isaiah 9:6 we are told "the government" will be on His shoulders." and we know the He is coming back to rule with a rod of iron. (Rev 2:27, Psalm 2:9), He is coming back to put down all rebellion and all sin. He must do that. If one sees anything about Revelation, it is the account of how once and for all, sin is going to be dealt with.
Revelation 1:11 "Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last; and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamas, and unto Thatira and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodecia." There are those who don't understand about these churches. But, He is giving us a message here. It is very important.
Revelation 1:12 contains symbolism but also is the literal Word of God. "And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks."
Revelation 1:14-16 tells us, "His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp-two-edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength."
John is seeing the Resplendent Christ. There is a great deal of symbolism in the passages. Obviously the sword mentioned is the Word of God. But do not forget that this is the literal Word of God here. He (John) is given some special instructions. As John sees Christ, he notices that He wears an ephod (as a Jewish Priest might wear), His white hair symbolizes wisdom; His eyes as fire symbolizes judgment, His feet are as burnished brass. John is seeing it and writing it. He sees Christ standing in the midst of seven candlesticks with seven stars in his right hand.
What do these mean or what message do they convey? We must know what these mean.
The instructions are given here, "Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter" Revelation 1:19
Here he is giving us the Revelation "drama". Here is what The Revelation is about (based upon Revelation 1:19)
SCENE 1: Concerning the things which he has seen (Chapter 1). These are the things he has seen which are all about Jesus Christ.
SCENE 2: These concern the Church. This is the Age of Grace. Jesus is at the right hand of God, calling our name to Him. Interceding for us. (Chapters 2,3, and 4). After Revelation Chapter 4 the Church is not mentioned again.
A lot of people have their theories about the rapture. Some believe we will be raptured at any time; this is known as the pre-tribulaton rapture. Some people believe it will be in the middle of the tribulation (3-1/2 years). Others believe in post-tribulation rapture. I personally believe in pre-tribulation rapture and I believe this can be backed up by scripture. We (believers) are not to receive the wrath of God. This wrath of God is not upon us. Our sin was dealt with at Calvary. This is dealing with sin. It concerns the wrath upon the unrepentant sinners and nations.
SCENE 3: Chapters 4-22. This is pure prophecy. Some is being fulfilled at this time, others yet to be fulfilled. Jesus is now at the right hand of the Father, interceding for us. He is calling our name to God.
There is an imminent return of Jesus Christ.
Lea Sylvester's work may also be found at Rapture Ready