This past week I began teaching through the book of Revelation again. The study of Revelation is one of my favorite studies, but one of the most difficult as well. I enjoy this book so much that I used the study of Revelation when writing my thesis when receiving my doctorate. Most people are intrigued with the event relating to the future, but at the same time they do not understand much of what they read in the books of Revelation and Daniel.
I may try to blog through this book the best I can over the next several months. Beginning this coming Sunday you will also have the ability to watch to these lessons by clicking on http://www.ustream.tv/channel/thoughts-of-theology-josh-sharp .
In this blog I would like to give you a few tips to remember when studying this book as well as a brief run down of the chapter.
In Mark 13 the disciples came to Jesus and asked Him when the things that He prophesied against Israel would come to pass. In verse 32 Jesus answered the disciples and said, “but of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in Heaven, neither the Son, but the Father only.” It seems that when Jesus came to this earth as a man He forfeited certain information. Some have a hard time believing this, but when you consider the verse mentioned along with verses like Luke 2:40 you will have to agree this is true.
Knowledge about these end time events must have been some of the information He did not have. After His resurrection Jesus received from His Father the information that the disciples asked Him for. Before the close of the first century, while at least one of the disciples were still living, Jesus appears to John and reveals to him the information asked for many years before. This information is recorded in the book of the Revelation.
Points to consider
This is a prophetic book, not a historical book. This book does not record the past, but the future. This book is the summary and fulfillment of all prophecy left unfulfilled. There has been no new revelation since this one. Any person who claims to have a “new revelation” is in danger of the plagues promised in chapter 22.
This is the only book in the Bible to begin with a blessing and end with a curse. God promises a blessing to anyone who reads or hears the writings of this book. God also promises a curse to anyone who dares take away from, or add to the writings of this book.
This is a symbolic book. In the first verse we are told that an angel signified these things to John. The main word of signified is “sign”. This is a book of signs and symbols.
This book is not only symbolic but it is literal as well. This is where most get confused when reading or studying Revelation. This book should be taken literally whenever possible. Most things in this book are self-explanatory.
This book is given in consecutive order. The main events are as follows, seven seal judgments, seven trumpet judgments and seven vial judgments. Some claim that these three groups of seven are the same judgments repeated from three different viewpoints. This is not true. These are seven unique judgments that God will release upon the earth.
Tips for study
Do not seek to find hidden meaning to the words of the scripture. Be satisfied with the explanation that God gives to us and do not try to add something to it. For example all of us have read the emails that take a person’s name and transform the letters in their name to come up with the number “666”. I can’t tell you how many emails I have gotten trying to convince me that Bill Gates, Bill Clinton, George Bush and now Barak Obama is the antichrist.
Next you need to forget the idea that prophecy can only be understood after it is fulfilled. If this is true then prophecy has failed at its job. Why tell someone in advance what is going to happen if they are going to be unable to understand? That makes no sense. All true prophecy is clear in itself.
Lastly do not interpret God’s own interpretation of any symbol or prophecy, or change God’s meaning from what is plainly clear. If God clearly tells you what something is, looks like, or does, do not try to change it to mean something else.
In this chapter we are introduced to the main character of the book. The main character is Jesus Christ. It has always bugged me that most bibles will place a chapter heading over this chapter that reads “the revelation of saint John the divine.” This is not the revelation of John, but the revelation of Jesus Christ according to verse one.
Let me also say that this is not the book of “Revelations” as so many refer to it as. This is the book of the “Revelation”. This is a singular word. This book is not filled with many revelations, but it is one revelation. The word “revelation” means to unveil. It is like an artist removing a cloth that covers a statue so to unveil it.
In chapter one Jesus is seen by John in His glorified state. Jesus no longer is the humble carpenter walking along the Sea of Galilee. He is the risen, soon coming, and king of glory. When John sees the resurrected Christ he is so shocked and humbled that he falls at His feet like a dead man. Understand that John is a man that walked and talked with Christ while upon this earth. John had ate with Him, saw Him do miracles, watched as he was transformed, even laid his head upon Him.
As he does this the Lord tells him to fear not. This is the same message that Christ is sending today. I do not believe that Christ wants us to live in fear. What are we to fear? If Christ be for us who can be against us? Why be fearful of death? Why be fearful of hell? Christ holds the keys for both. Christ controls death and controls hell, so why fear, why not simply rest in Him?
Lastly we are given the key, or order to this wonderful book.
The things which thou HAST SEEN – This is described in chapter one. This is the revelation and appearance of the glorified Christ.
The things which ARE – These are the things wrote to the seven churches in chapters 2 and 3.
The things which SHALL BE HEREAFTER – These are the things that shall take place once the dispensation of the seven churches is finished. This is the future of the world described in chapters 6 and following.
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