* a start of a series going through Revelaiton
a) Verse One: The Revelation of Jesus Christ
– What is “Revelation about?”, simply, it’s found in this verse : ‘The Revelation of Jesus Christ’ Himself.
– Revelation simply means, the “unveiling off”. Usually if something is ‘unveiled’ it is hidden, for example: at Christmas time we get gifts covered in wrapping, and we don’t know what that gift is, until the day we remove the wrapper, and what was given is revealed.
– Revelation, the entire book, across every page – has it’s focus in the “Revelation of Jesus Christ, or said differently in the “unveiling of Jesus Christ?”. Now that sounds a bit odd doesn’t it, why unveil something that has already been unveiled?
– We know that in times gone by, Jesus who was the promised Messiah to the Jews was “unveiled”, and He come to earth to die on our behalf.
– However in that situation He came as a God, but in the form of a man, as a lamb, meek and humble. The Revelation is the Counter to that, it’s God coming, or Jesus coming in ALL HIS GLORY and not to “Save”, but to JUDGE, and once and for all to deal with the SINFUL, those who reject HIM, and those who mock HIM.
– This is the only “prophetical” book in the New Testament, by that I mean, it’s the only book,that tells of the future, and guarantees that it will come to pass.
– So simplistically, Revelation, in a nutshell is all about Jesus Christ – it’s history written in advance.
As we go through Revelation, and as I’m sure you been through a few Bible studies, often times you walk away with an overload of information, and barely remembering and that will happen here as well. But the aim, is to offer you two things:
– Some key points to help you remember the book
– Give you the skills to “unravel revelation on your own”. Revelation because of it’s symbolic nature is often twisted and abused by “men” to mean this or that. Today, I want to help you determine how not to do, and just give you the skills to study this book on your own. When I say study, I don’t mean, “study” like you would for an exam; and for some men or women that may apply; but simply, as you read it for enjoyment, or to learn, to spend time with Christ – that you may be able to put together the pieces without the “preacher/teacher”.
– The only way to “learn any book”, is too read it yourself.
– Secondly, at the start of every “session” or “teaching time” I will start with a SHORT QUIZ, nothing difficult or something written by hand, but something verbal, just to jog your memory, and if you forget no problem – someone else will remember, and it will help you too remember. Cause that’s the real AIM – to allow you to remember!
b) Some Guidelines:
– Now I want to give you some guidelines when you deal with the “book” of Revelation. This will help you as I mentioned before not make any mistakes with “interpreting” revelation.
(1) The Book is primarily dealing with the “Jews” and the Unsaved (so keep that at the back of your mind).
(2) At this point at which these events occur in Revelation Chapter 4 onwards, has to do when the Church of Jesus Christ has been raptured or taken away
(3) There is much Symbolism in the Book of Revelation, and I mean much. There is John given tremendous insight into “future events”, and the only way He can relate to what He is saying sometimes is through “imagery” of His own time. By “symbolism”, let me explain. Symbolism, I mean metaphor, simile or allegory. For those of you who didn’t like English in school, it’s when someone tries to explain an object, using something else which is a resemblance or like that object. A great example of is Pilgrims Progress, a wonderful book, written by John Bunyan, where he writes a story about a man named Christian, who is on a road or path to Enter into the Kingdom. This story, falls as a parallel, to us as Christians, as all the challenges we will face, but more so, in our faith in believing Jesus Christ, so we can enter into heaven. it’s a great book, and is great for it’s great resemblance to a Christians salvation and Christian’s walk. Consider,
– Read with me, Revelation 1:12-17. Here there is “imagery” or “allegory”. Now that
sounds weird right, one who appears to be a man likened as unto the “Son of God” who is in the middle of “seven candlesticks” and He had in his hand seven stars. Now a mistake we could make it try apply this for ourselves, and come up with what the “seven stars” could be, or what the “seven candlesticks” are; but here is the PRINCIPLE that is so key. When dealing with “Revelation” and it’s symbols, it’s pictures – we either go back to the Old Testament to help understand what is being described or deal with, or we find the answer in Revelation itself, or we do nothing. And by doing nothing, I mean, don’t be smart about trying to over-think that which is not explained, as if God does not provide complete understanding, leave it alone. It’s not a principle I advocate lightly, I believe it’s good to test scripture and to think outside the box about some of the things God says; but in Revelation, in a book of Prophecy where too much license can be taken to the abuse of others, we need to tread carefully, lest we cover up the “horse-prints”.
– In this portion, we don’t need to go any further for understanding this symbolism; read Revelation 1:20. The mystery is explained by scripture itself.
(4) This leads to the next Principle; the “best” interpreter of scripture, or rather the best understanding of scripture is not found in commentaries, or in men, or in preachers, or in teachers, but in the Bible itself (as we have just seen). Just remember the “principle” in regards to the Symbolism that I mentioned and you will steer clear of error.
(5) Revelation must be first and as with all scripture – be interpreted or understood, literally. That is, if God describe “locusts” coming out the earth with man-like faces, and that’s what was coming out of the earth. We should not try to extend our selves to too much “application”. That is perhaps the “locust” is a representation of men in the future who will have “evolved” to having their own rocket packs etc. First see it for what it is, and then make the application. That is perhaps one of the greatest lessons you can learn, in approaching your King James Bible.
e) Dispensation Alignment:
– (Most Important Thing to Remember Tonight)
– Revelation 1:4, 8, 19 – Revelation is broken down into three parts – The Past, The Present and The Future
– Secondly, what’s important to keep an eye on; is in Revelation; there is a continual switch between events that are occurring in Heaven, and those occurring on Earth.
– REFER TO ‘Diagram’.
b) General Facts:
(1) Author: As we know it’s John (John who wrote the Gospel of John, The Epistles of John (1,2,3) and Revelation itself)
(2) Time: AD 90
(3) John has been exiled to an Isle of Patmos and it is here He is given the “Revelation of Jesus Christ”.
(4) Revelation is “directly” linked to Daniel, that two go hand in hand, so we may make reference to it. Both are tremendous books of Prophecy
(5) Characters in Revelation:
i. The Lord Jesus Christ – the Lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the world.
ii.The Great Dragon – the old serpent Satan (whom we saw in Genesis at the fall). Here he makes his last ditch attempt to rebel against God, and he will be supported by two ministers – the Beast and the False Prophet
iii. The Two Beasts – one religious, and one political
iv. The Anti-Christ – He will be the false messiah (Read John 5:43) Also known as the False Prophet
v.The Two Witnesses – Who will be used by God to bring about “revival”
vi. King of the North (Russia)
vii. King of the South (Egypt)
viii. Gog – the last dictator of Russia, is also the last actor in this great drama, Gog will head up the great army of the North.
1. Israel was given the promise of a Messiah (Jesus Christ), and they did not prepare themselves for His coming. Let us not make the same mistake. Secondly, when Jesus Christ comes this time round there will be no “grace”, no “mercy”, when Jesus comes a Second Time, He will come in full Glory, and in full Power, and in Judgement! There will be no time for “repentence”, for calling upon Him – every knee will bow then and recognize Him for who He truly is; as opposed to the first time, when they rejected Him, the King of the Jews, the God.