"THE BOOK OF REVELATION" Chapter Five The scene that began in chapter four continues. Whereas the theme of chapter four can be stated as "God is on His throne!", the theme of this chapter may be called "Worthy is the Lamb!" John's attention is drawn to a scroll in the right hand of God. Written on the inside and on the back, it is sealed with seven seals. A strong angel proclaims "Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?" At first there seems to be none in heaven and on earth deemed worthy to open the scroll or look at it. This prompted John to weep (1-4). But one of the twenty-four elders tells him not to weep, for One described as "the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David" (cf. Gen 49:9-10; Isa 11:10) has prevailed so to be able to open the scroll and loose its seals. In the midst of the throne and of the living creatures and the elders, John sees a Lamb standing as though slain (i.e., Jesus - cf. Jn 1:29), with seven horns and seven eyes. The seven eyes are explained as the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth (cf. Zech 4:10). As suggested before (cf. Re 1:4; 3:1; 4:9) they represent the Holy Spirit, while the seven horns are indicative of great strength (cf. Deu 33:17; 1Sa 2:10). The Lamb is then seen as taking the scroll out of God's right hand (5-7). Taking the scroll prompts the four living creatures and twenty-four elders to fall down before the Lamb. Each possessing a harp (perhaps symbolizing praise, Hailey) and golden bowls of incense which depict the prayers of the saints, they sing a new song praising the Lamb as worthy to take the scroll. They proclaim His worthiness on the basis of being slain and redeeming by His blood those from every nation who are made kings and priests to God who shall reign on the earth (cf. Re 1:5-6; 2:26-27; 1Pe 2:9). The voices of thousands of angels around the throne then join in with their praise of the Lamb who was slain as worthy to receive power, riches, wisdom, strength, honor, glory, and blessing. Finally, every creature in heaven, earth, and sea join in with praise for both Him who sits on the throne (God) and the Lamb (Jesus). To which the four living creatures say "Amen!" and the twenty-four elders fall down and worship (8-14). This awesome scene should certainly encourage the faithful Christian. As stated by Ray Summers: "Such a scene was calculated to bring new courage and new hope to the hearts of John's first readers, the persecuted Christians of Asia; it brings the same cheer to Christian hearts in any age. Believing in the power of God (Ch. 4) and the redeeming love of God (Ch. 5), there is no enemy or force of evil which Christians need to fear. They can enter the conflict or endure the evil knowing that God is still on his throne; he has not laid aside his scepter; he has not abandoned his throne to any other." What will the scroll reveal? I believe it divulges God's righteous indignation upon those who rejected His Christ and persecuted His people. Also, how His suffering saints would eventually overcome. As long as the scroll was sealed, the workings of God was still a mystery. But as the seals are broken (Re 6:1-8:1), we have: "the Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants -- things which must shortly take place." (Re 1:1) POINTS TO PONDER * What is revealed about the Lamb (Jesus), and what His death accomplished * The impact this scene would have had on the persecuted Christians in Asia OUTLINE I. THE SCROLL AND THE LAMB (1-7) A. THE SCROLL IN GOD'S RIGHT HAND (1-4) 1. Written on the inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals 2. The proclamation by the strong angel a. "Who is worthy?" b. "To open and the scroll and to loose its seals?" 3. The initial response a. No one, in heaven, on the earth, under the earth! b. No one, able to open the scroll, or to look at it! 4. John's reaction: "So I wept much, because no one was found worthy..." B. THE ONE WORTHY TO OPEN THE SCROLL (5-7) 1. Comforting words of the elder to John a. "Do not weep" b. "Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David" c. He "has prevailed" 1) "To open the scroll" 2) "To loose its seven seals" 2. John's description of the Lamb a. Standing in the midst of the throne, the four living creatures, and the elders b. A Lamb as though it had been slain 1) Having seven horns 2) With seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent into all the earth c. Who takes the scroll out of God's right hand II. THE LAMB IS PRAISED (8-14) A. BY THE FOUR LIVING CREATURES AND TWENTY-FOUR ELDERS (8-10) 1. Each having: a. A harp b. Golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints 2. They sang a new song... a. The Lamb is worthy! 1) To take the scroll 2) To open its seals b. Because: 1) He was slain 2) He has redeemed them to God by His blood out of every tribe, tongue, people and nation 3) He has made them kings and priests to God, to reign on the earth B. BY THOUSANDS UPON THOUSANDS OF ANGELS (11-12) 1. Their voices heard around the throne, along with the living creatures and the elders 2. Saying with a loud voice: a. Worthy is the Lamb who was slain b. To receive power, riches, wisdom, strength, honor, glory, and blessing C. TOGETHER WITH HIM WHO SITS ON THE THRONE (13-14) 1. John now hears those in heaven, on earth, under the earth, and in the sea saying: a. "Blessing and honor and glory and power..." b. "Be to Him who sits on throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!" 2. Upon which: a. The four living creatures said "Amen!" b. The twenty-four elders fell down and worshipped Him who lives forever and ever REVIEW QUESTIONS 1) What are the main points of this chapter? - The scroll and the Lamb (1-7) - The Lamb is praised (8-14) 2) What did John see in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne? (1) - A scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals 3) What did a strong angel proclaim with a loud voice? (2) - "Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?" 4) How did John react when it seemed none was worthy to open the scroll? (3-4) - He wept 5) What did one of the twenty-four elders then say to John? (5) - "Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and it seven seals." 6) What did John see? (6) - A Lamb as though it had been slain, with seven horns and seven eyes 7) Where was the Lamb? What did He do? (6-7) - In the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures and the elders - He took the scroll out of Him who sat on the throne 8) What happened when the Lamb had taken the scroll? (8-9a) - The four living creatures and twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb - They each had a harp, and golden bowls of incense (the prayers of the saints) - They sang a new song 9) What did they proclaim in this "new song"? (9) - The Lamb was worthy to take the scroll and open its seals 10) Why did they deem the Lamb worthy? (9-10) - For He was slain and redeemed people to God by His blood - He has made them kings and priests to God 11) What did John then see and hear? (11) - The voice of thousands of angels around the throne, the living creatures and the elders 12) What were they saying? (12) - "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain" - To receive power, riches, wisdom, strength, honor, glory and blessing 13) What does John hear next? (13) - Every creature in heaven, on and under the earth, and in the sea - Offering blessing, honor, glory and power to both Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb 14) What happens then? (14) - The four living creatures said "Amen!" - The twenty-four elders fell down and worshipped Him who lives forever and ever
"THE BOOK OF REVELATION" Chapter Four The visions of Revelation now begin in earnest. Upon seeing a door standing open in heaven and hearing a trumpet-like voice promising to show him of things which must take place, John is transported to the throne room of God. He describes what he hears and sees with vivid and colorful imagery. The One on the throne radiates like jasper and sardius stones, surrounded by an emerald rainbow. The colors may reflect the characteristics of God, such as holiness, righteousness, justice, and mercy, or they may simply signify His splendor and majesty. (1-3). John takes special note of twenty-four elders clothed with white robes and crowns of gold, sitting on thrones around the throne of God. Summers and Hailey suggest that they depict the twelve patriarchs of Israel and the twelve apostles, who represent the redeemed of both covenants now united in Christ. Note that in Rev 5:8-9 they do seem to speak in behalf of the redeemed (4). From the throne proceeded lightning, thunder, and voices, which may illustrate divine power and judgments coming from God. Before the throne are seven lamps of fire, explained as the seven Spirits of God. This likely symbolizes the Holy Spirit in His work of illumination and revelation of God's word to man (Summers). A sea of glass like crystal is also before the throne, perhaps symbolizing the transcendence of God that presently separates God and His people (5-6a). There are four living creatures, similar in some respects and yet different in others, united in their constant praise of God for His eternal holiness. Though not exactly like the cherubim seen by Ezekiel (cf. Ezek 1, 10), they appear to serve similar functions. Hailey suggests they may be a special order of heavenly beings, perhaps the highest and closest to the throne, who serve God's majestic will (6b-8). As the four living creatures praise Him who sits on the throne, the twenty-four elders join in by falling down, casting their crowns before the throne, and praising God as the Eternal Creator (9-11). This scene, along with that in chapter five, appears designed to set the stage for what follows. At the outset, we are shown the first guarantee of ultimate victory: God is on His throne! (Summers) The praise offered by the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders reinforce the truth that the One on the throne (and in ultimate control) is none other than the Lord God Almighty, Eternal and Holy, the Creator who holds all things together. He is therefore worthy of glory, honor and power! He is the one to revere, not some man! POINTS TO PONDER * The implication of the vision of God on His throne * How this vision along with the one in chapter five sets the stage for what follows OUTLINE I. THE THRONE SCENE (1-8) A. JOHN TAKEN TO HEAVEN (1) 1. After seeing the Lord and hearing the letters addressed to the seven churches 2. Upon seeing a door standing open in heaven, and hearing a trumpet-like voice a. Being told "Come up here" b. In which he will see "things which must take place after this" B. HE DESCRIBES THE THRONE SCENE (2-8) 1. The One on the throne a. Like a jasper (sparkling white) b. And a sardius stone (fiery red) in appearance c. With an emerald rainbow (various shades of green) around the throne 2. The twenty-four elders a. Sitting on twenty-four thrones around the throne b. Clothed in white robes c. With crowns of gold on their heads 3. Other elements around the throne a. Lightnings, thunderings, and voices proceeding from the throne b. Seven lamps (the Seven Spirits of God) burning before the throne c. A sea of glass, like crystal, before the throne d. Four living creatures in the midst and around the throne 4. The four living creatures a. Unique characteristics 1) The first was like a lion 2) The second was like a calf 3) The third had a face like a man 4) The fourth was like a flying eagle b. Similar characteristics 1) Each had six wings 2) Full of eyes in front and back, around and within 3) Do not rest day or night, praising the holiness of the Eternal God II. GOD PRAISED AS THE CREATOR (9-11) A. PROMPTED BY THE LIVING CREATURES (9) 1. Whenever they give glory, honor, and thanks 2. To Him who sits on the throne, the Eternal One B. OFFERED BY THE TWENTY-FOUR ELDERS (10-11) 1. Who fall down before Him who sits on the throne 2. Who worship Him who lives forever 3. Who cast their crowns before the throne 4. Who proclaim God worthy to receive glory, honor, and power a. For He created all things b. And by His will they exist and were created REVIEW QUESTIONS 1) What are the main points of this chapter? - The throne scene (1-8) - God praised as the Creator (9-11) 2) When the Lord finished with His letters to the churches, what did John see? (1) - A door standing open in heaven 3) What did John hear? What was he told he will see? (1) - A voice like a trumpet, saying "Come up here..." - Things which must take place after this 4) What was the first thing he noticed? (2) - A throne set in heaven, and One sitting on the throne 5) How does John describe the appearance of the One on the throne? (3) - Like a jasper (sparkling white like a diamond) and a sardius stone (fiery red) 6) What is the color of the rainbow around the throne? (3) - Like an emerald (various shades of green) 7) What is around the throne? (4) - Twenty-four elders with crowns of gold, clothed in white robes, sitting on thrones 8) What proceeds from the throne? (5) - Lightning, thunder, voices 9) What stands before the throne? (5) - Seven lamps of fire burning (the seven Spirits of God) 10) What lies before the throne? (6) - A sea of glass like crystal 11) What is seen in the midst and around the throne? How are they described? (6-8) - Four living creatures - One like lion, one like a calf, one with a face like a man, and one like a flying eagle - They have all have eyes in front and back, around and within, and six wings 12) What do they proclaim without rest, day and night? (8) - "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!" 13) When the creatures offer glory, honor, and thanks to God, what happens? (9-10) - The twenty-four elders fall down before God on the throne - They worship Him, casting their crowns before the throne 14) Why do the twenty-four elders deem God worthy of glory, honor, and power? (11) - He created all things, and by His will they exist
"THE BOOK OF REVELATION" Chapter Three The Lord continues His letters to the churches in Asia, with this chapter containing those written to Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. The church in Sardis is rebuked for having a name that they are alive, when in reality they are dead. With their works not perfected before God, they are exhorted to be watchful and to strengthen the things which remain. They are also told to remember how they had received and heard in the past, to hold fast and repent. Otherwise, the Lord will come upon them as a thief in the night. Notice is taken, however, of a few in Sardis who had not defiled their garments and are still worthy, who are promised to walk with the Lord in white (1-6). The church in Philadelphia is promised an open door that none can shut because they had kept the Lord's word and not denied His name. Their enemies, those who claim to be Jews but are not, will be made to worship before them, and the church will be kept from the trial that was about to test those on the earth. With an announcement of His quick coming, they are exhorted to hold fast what they have that none take their crown (7-13). The church of Laodicea is then described as lukewarm, for which the Lord threatens to spew them out of His mouth. While claiming to be rich, they are blind to their true condition. Therefore the Lord counsels them to buy from Him those things they truly need. His strong words are indicative of His love for them, and the fact that He stands ready to re-enter their hearts if they will open to Him (14-22). As before, each letter ends with wonderful promises to those who overcome. In most cases, the manner in which the promises are to be fulfilled is illustrated in the visions to come. POINTS TO PONDER * To examine the last three of seven letters to the churches in Asia * To glean what we can about the condition of each church: their strengths and weaknesses, the warnings and promises given OUTLINE I. LETTER TO THE CHURCH IN SARDIS (1-6) A. THE LORD'S SELF-DESIGNATION (1a) 1. "He who has the seven Spirits of God" - cf. Isa 11:1-2; Zech 4:1-10; Re 1:4; 4:5 2. "...and the seven stars" B. CONDEMNATION AND WARNING (1b-3) 1. Condemnation a. They have a name that they are alive, but they are dead b. Their works have not been found perfect before God 2. Warning a. Be watchful and strengthen the things which remain and are ready to die b. Remember how they had received and heard c. Hold fast and repent d. If they don't watch, the Lord will come upon them as a thief C. COMMENDATION (4) 1. There are few names in Sardis who have not defiled their garments 2. They shall walk with Him in white, for they are worthy D. PROMISE AND EXHORTATION (5-6) 1. He who overcomes... a. Shall be clothed in white garments b. The Lord will not blot his name from the Book of Life c. The Lord will confess his name before My Father and His angels 2. Hear what the Spirit says to the churches II. LETTER TO THE CHURCH IN PHILADELPHIA (7-13) A. THE LORD'S SELF-DESIGNATION (7) 1. "He who is holy, He who is True" 2. "He who has key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens" - cf. Isa 22:22 B. COMMENDATION (8) 1. The Lord has set an open door before them and none can shut it 2. For they have a little strength, have kept His word, and not denied His name C. PROMISE AND EXHORTATION (9b-11) 1. Concerning the "synagogue of Satan" (who claim to be Jews, but are not)... a. He will make them come and worship before their feet b. He will make them know that He has loved those in Philadelphia 2. Because the church has kept His command to persevere... a. He will keep them from the hour of trial b. Which is coming to test those who dwell on the earth 3. Behold, He is coming quickly! a. Hold fast what they have b. That no one may take their crown 4. He who overcomes, the Lord will... a. Make him a pillar in the temple of His God, and he shall go out no more b. Write on him: 1) The name of His God 2) The name of the city of His God, the New Jerusalem which comes down out of heaven from His God 3) His new name 5. Hear what the Spirit says to the churches III. LETTER TO THE CHURCH IN LAODICEA (14-22) A. THE LORD'S SELF-DESIGNATION (14) 1. "The Amen, the Faithful and True Witness" 2. "The Beginning of the creation of God" B. CONDEMNATION AND WARNING (15-20) 1. Condemnation a. They are neither cold or hot 1) He wished they were cold or hot 2) But because they are lukewarm, He will spew them out of His mouth b. They are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked 1) Though they say they are rich, wealthy, and in need of nothing 2) Therefore He counsels them... a) To buy from Him: 1/ Gold refined in the fire, that they may be rich 2/ White garments, that their nakedness be not revealed b) To anoint their eyes with eye salve, that they might see 2. Warning a. As many as He loves, He rebukes and chastens; therefore be zealous and repent b. He stands at the door and knocks; if any will hear Him and open the door, He will come in and dine with him C. PROMISE AND EXHORTATION (21-22) 1. To him who overcomes... a. The Lord will grant to sit with Him on His throne b. Just as He overcame and sat down with His Father on His throne 2. Hear what the Spirit says to the churches REVIEW QUESTIONS 1) What are the main points of this chapter? - Letter to the church in Sardis (1-6) - Letter to the church in Philadelphia (7-13) - Letter to the church in Laodicea (14-22) 2) For what does the Lord condemn the church in Sardis? (1-2) - They have a name that is alive, but they are dead - Their works have not been found not perfect before God 3) What does the Lord exhort those at Sardis to do? (2-3) - Be watchful, and strengthen the things that remain and are ready to die - Remember how they had received and heard - Hold fast and repent 4) What warning is given to them? (3) - If they do not watch, He will come upon them as a thief 5) What did the Lord find commendable at Sardis? What did He promise them? (4) - They had a few people who had not defiled their garments - They shall walk with Him in white, for they are worthy 6) What did the Lord promise to those who overcome? (5) - They shall be clothed in white garments - He will not blot their names from the Book of Life - He will confess their names before His Father and the His angels 7) What had the Lord done for those in Philadelphia? Why? (8) - Set before them an open door which none could shut - They had a little strength, had kept His word, and not denied His name 8) What was the Lord going to do to those who claimed to be Jews but were actually the synagogue of Satan? (9) - Make them come and worship at the feet of those in Philadelphia - Make them know that Jesus had loved them 9) What did the Lord say He would do for those in Philadelphia? Why? (10) - He would keep them from the hour of trial that was coming upon the earth - Because they kept His command to persevere 10) What warning and exhortation does He then give? (11) - Behold, I come quickly! - Hold fast what you have, that none may take your crown 11) What promise does the Lord give to him who overcomes? (12) - To make him a pillar in the temple of His God - To write on him the name of His God - To write on him the name of the city of His God, the New Jerusalem - To write on him His new name 12) For what does the Lord condemn those at Laodicea? (15-16) - They are lukewarm, neither cold nor hot 13) What does the Lord say He would do because of their lukewarmness? (16) - Spew them out of His mouth 14) What had they claimed? What was their true condition? (17) - To be rich, wealthy and in need of nothing - Wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked 15) What does the Lord counsel them to do? (18) - To buy from Him gold refined in the fire, that they might be rich - To buy from Him white garments to cover their nakedness - To anoint their eyes with eye salve, that they might see 16) What justification does the Lord give for such a strong rebuke? (19) - As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten 17) What does He say to such Christians? (19,20) - Be zealous and repent - He stands at the door and knock; those who hear and open the door, He will dine with them 18) What will be granted to him who overcomes? (21) - To sit with the Lord on His throne - Even as the Lord overcame and sat with His Father on His throne 19) What exhortation is given at the end of each letter in this chapter? (6,13,22) - "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches"
"THE BOOK OF REVELATION" Chapter Two In this chapter John is instructed to write to four churches in Asia: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, and Thyatira. The Lord generally follows the same format: His self-designation, commendation, condemnation and related warning, exhortation and promise. Each letter closes with the admonition, "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." This suggests the letters were not just for the personal benefit of the churches addressed. The church at Ephesus is commended for its steadfastness, especially against false apostles. But while standing for the truth, they had lost their first love. Exhorted to repent and be restored by doing the "first works", they are warned that their "lampstand" would be removed if they did not repent (1-7). The church at Smyrna is commended for being "rich" despite their tribulation and poverty. Unlike most churches, there are no words of condemnation directed toward it. While they would experience a little persecution, they are exhorted to remain faithful to death (8-11). The church at Pergamos is also praised for its steadfastness, but faulted for allowing false teachers in their midst. The Lord threatens to come and fight with the sword of His mouth if there is no repentance (12-17). The church at Thyatira is also commended, for their last works are more than their first. But they too have a false teacher and followers which jeopardize the condition of the church. Despite giving this "Jezebel" time to repent, she has not and so the Lord intends to make her and her followers an example before the other churches (18-29). I find noteworthy the connection between these letters with what was seen in chapter one, and what will be seen in succeeding chapters. In most cases the Lord's self-designation borrows something from the vision of the Son of Man in chapter one, which relates somehow with the particular message in which it is found. Also, we will see how most of the promises to those who overcome will be fulfilled in the unfolding of the visions that begin in chapter four. POINTS TO PONDER * The condition of each church: their strengths and weaknesses, the warnings and promises given * How the fulfillment of most promises is described later in the visions to come OUTLINE I. LETTER TO THE CHURCH IN EPHESUS (1-7) A. THE LORD'S SELF-DESIGNATION (1) 1. "He who holds the seven stars in His right hand" 2. "Who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands" B. COMMENDATION (2-3,6) 1. For their works, labor and patience a. They cannot bear those who are evil, having tested those who say they are apostles but were liars b. Their perseverance, patience and labor for His name's sake, not growing weary 2. They hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, as does the Lord C. CONDEMNATION AND WARNING (4-5) 1. Condemnation a. The Lord has something against them b. They have left their first love 2. Warning a. Remember from where they have fallen b. Repent and do the first works c. Or the Lord will come quickly and remove their lampstand from its place D. EXHORTATION AND PROMISE (7) 1. Hear what the Spirit says to the churches 2. To him who overcomes, He will give to eat from the tree of life in the midst of the Paradise of God II. LETTER TO THE CHURCH IN SMYRNA (8-11) A. THE LORD'S SELF-DESIGNATION (8) 1. "The First and the Last" 2. "Who was dead, and came to life" B. COMMENDATION (9a) 1. For the works, tribulation, and poverty 2. But they are rich C. EXHORTATION AND PROMISE (9b-11) 1. The Lord knows those who claim to be Jews but are a synagogue of Satan 2. Do not fear what they are about to suffer a. The devil is about throw some into prison, that they may be tested b. They will have tribulation ten days 3. Be faithful unto death, and He will give them a crown of life 4. Hear what the Spirit says to the churches 5. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death III. LETTER TO THE CHURCH IN PERGAMOS (12-17) A. THE LORD'S SELF-DESIGNATION (12) 1. "Who has the sharp two-edged sword" B. COMMENDATION (13) 1. He knows their works, and where they dwell, where Satan's throne is 2. For holding fast to His name 3. For not denying His faith even when Antipas was killed among them C. CONDEMNATION AND WARNING (14-16) 1. Condemnation a. They have those who hold the doctrine of Balaam 1) Who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before Israel 2) To eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality b. They have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which He hates 2. Warning a. Repent or He will come to them quickly b. He will fight against them with the sword of His mouth D. EXHORTATION AND PROMISE (17) 1. Hear what the Spirit says to the churches 2. To him who overcomes, He will give... a. Some of the hidden manna to eat b. A white stone with a new name written on it which no one knows except he who receives it IV. LETTER TO THE CHURCH IN THYATIRA (18-29) A. THE LORD'S SELF-DESIGNATION (18) 1. "The Son of God" 2. "Who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass" B. COMMENDATION (19) 1. For their works, love, service, faith, and patience 2. Their last works are more than the first C. CONDEMNATION AND WARNING (20-24) 1. Condemnation a. They allow that woman Jezebel 1) Who calls herself a prophetess 2) To teach and beguile His servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols b. Whom the Lord had given time to repent of her sexual immorality, but she did not 2. Warning a. He will cast her into a sickbed b. Those who commit adultery with her will have great tribulation, unless they repent c. He will kill her children with death; and the churches will know that He searches the minds and hearts d. He will give to each one according to their works e. For those in Thyatira who do not follow her doctrine, or have not known the depths of Satan, as they call it, He places on them no other burden E. EXHORTATION AND PROMISE (25-29) 1. Hold fast what they have till He come 2. To him who overcomes and keeps His works until the end... a. He will give power over the nations, just as He received from the Father b. He will give the morning star 3. Hear what the Spirit says to the churches REVIEW QUESTIONS 1) What are the main points of this chapter? - Letter to the church in Ephesus (1-7) - Letter to the church in Smyrna (8-11) - Letter to the church in Pergamos (12-17) - Letter to the church in Thyatira (18-29) 2) What pattern is generally followed in these letters to the churches? - Self-designation, commendation, condemnation/warning, exhortation/promise 3) What is often the basis for the Lord's self-designation in the letters? (1,8,12,18) - The description of the vision of the Son of Man in chapter one (cf. Re 1:10-20) 4) For what does the Lord commend the church in Ephesus? (2-3) - Their works, labor, patience - Testing those who claimed to be apostles, but were liars - Persevering and laboring for His name's sake, not growing weary 5) For what does the Lord condemn them? (4) - Losing their first love 6) What solution does Jesus give for restoring their first love? (5) - Remember from where they have fallen - Repent and do the first works 7) What warning does Jesus give the church in Ephesus? (5) - Repent or else He will come quickly and remove their lampstand from its place 8) For what else does Jesus commend them? (6) - That they hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans (about which little is known) 9) For what does the Lord commend the church in Smyrna? (9) - Their works, tribulation, and poverty (but they are rich) 10) Who was guilty of blasphemy in Smyrna? (9) - Those who say they are Jews, but are a synagogue of Satan 11) Why were they not to fear what they were about to suffer? (10) - Their tribulation will be short (ten days) - If they are faithful unto death, Jesus will give them a crown of life 12) For what does the Lord commend the church in Pergamos? (13) - Their works, holding fast to His name, not denying His faith even when Antipas was killed 13) What is said about where they dwell? (13) - Where Satan's throne is, where Satan dwells 14) For what does the Lord condemn them? (14-15) - Having those who hold the doctrine of Balaam - Having those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans 15) What warning does Jesus give the church in Pergamos? (16) - Repent or else He will come quickly and fight against them with the sword of His mouth 16) For what does the Lord commend the church in Thyatira? (19) - Their works, love, service, faith and patience - Their last works being more than the first 17) For what does the Lord condemn them? (20) - Allowing Jezebel to teach and beguile His servants to commit sexual immorality and to eat things sacrificed to idols 18) What does the Lord say about the woman who calls herself a prophetess? (21-23) - He gave her time to repent, but she did not - He will cast her into a sickbed, and those with her into great tribulation unless they repent - He will kill her children with death 19) What exhortation does He give the church at Thyatira? (25) - Hold fast what they have till He come 20) What exhortation is given at the end of each letter? (7,11,17,29) - He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches 21) List the promises given in this chapter to those who overcome (7,11, 17,26-28) - To eat from the tree of life which is in the midst of the Paradise of God (cf. Re 22:2) - Not be hurt by the second death (cf. Re 20:6) - Some of the hidden manna to eat - A white stone, on which a new name is written which no one knows but him who receives it - Power over the nations, as He received from His Father (cf. Re 20:4) - The morning star (cf. Re 22:16)
"THE BOOK OF REVELATION" Chapter One The Revelation of Jesus Christ begins with a clear statement of origin and purpose. Given to Jesus by God to show His servants things which must soon take place, it is designed to bless those who read, hear and keep the words of the prophecy (1-3). John then addresses the seven churches in Asia (western Turkey), offering grace and peace from each member of the Godhead with descriptive terms which become more significant later in the epistle (4-6). His greeting is followed with a declaration concerning the Lord's coming, and a self-designation as expressed by the Lord Himself (7-8). At this point John explains how he was commissioned to record the Revelation. While on the island of Patmos (likely in exile for preaching the word of God), he was in the Spirit on the Lord's day when he heard a loud voice behind him. The voice identified itself as "the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last", and then charged him to write what he saw to seven churches in Asia (9-11). Turning to see the voice, John saw seven golden lampstands and in their midst the Son of Man. Describing the awesome appearance of the Son of Man and his own reaction, John then records how Jesus comforted and then charged him to write what he has seen and will see (12-19). The chapter ends with the Lord's explanation that the seven stars in His right hand represent the angels (messengers?) of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands signify the seven churches themselves (20). POINTS TO PONDER * That the book was written to specific churches of things that would soon take place * The implications of what is said about Jesus, in the greeting by John and in the words of Jesus Himself OUTLINE I. INTRODUCTION (1-8) A. INTRODUCTION AND BENEDICTION (1-3) 1. Introducing the Revelation of Jesus Christ (1-2) a. Which God gave Him to show His servants b. Regarding things which much shortly take place c. Sent and signified by His angel d. To His servant John, who bore witness... 1) To the word of God 2) To the testimony of Jesus Christ 3) To all things that he saw 2. The benediction (3) a. Blessed is he who reads and those who hear this prophecy b. Blessed are those who keep those things written in it, for the time is near B. GREETINGS TO THE SEVEN CHURCHES (4-6) 1. From John, to the seven churches in Asia (4a) 2. With grace and peace (4b-6) a. From Him who is and who was and who is to come b. From the seven Spirits who are before His throne c. From Jesus Christ 1) The faithful witness 2) The firstborn from the dead 3) The ruler over the kings of the earth 4) Who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood 5) Who made us kings and priests to His God and Father -- To Whom be glory and dominion forever and ever! C. ANNOUNCEMENT OF CHRIST'S COMING (7) 1. He is coming with clouds 2. Every eye will see Him, and they also who pierced Him 3. All the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him -- Even so, Amen (so be it) D. THE SELF-DESIGNATION (8) 1. "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End" 2. "Who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty" II. THE VISION OF THE SON OF MAN (9-20) A. JOHN'S CIRCUMSTANCES LEADING UP TO THE VISION (9-10a) 1. Their brother and companion (9a) a. In tribulation b. In the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ 2. On the island called Patmos (9b) a. For the word of God b. For the testimony of Jesus Christ 3. In the Spirit on the Lord's Day (10a) B. WHAT HE HEARD BEHIND HIM (10b-11) 1. A loud voice, as of a trumpet (10b) 2. Saying to him... (11) a. "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last" b. "What you see, write in a book" c. "Send it to the seven churches which are in Asia..." C. WHAT HE SAW, AND HIS REACTION (12-17a) 1. Turning to see the voice, he saw... (12-16) a. Seven golden lampstands b. In the midst of the seven lampstands, One like the Son of Man 1) Clothed with a garment down to the feet, girded about the chest with a golden band 2) His head and hair white as wool, white as snow 3) His eyes like a flame of fire 4) His feet like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace 5) His voice as the sound of many waters 6) In His right hand, seven stars 7) Out of His mouth, a sharp two-edged sword 8) His countenance like the sun shining in its strength 2. Seeing Him, John fell at His feet as dead (17) D. THE LORD'S WORDS TO JOHN (17b-20) 1. "Do not be afraid" (17b-18) a. "I am the First and the Last" b. "I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen." c. "I have the keys of Hades and of Death." 2. "Write..." (19) a. "The things which you have seen" b. "The things which are" c. "The things which will take place after this" 3. "The mystery of the seven stars...and the seven golden lampstands" (20) a. "The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches" b. "The seven lampstands...are the seven churches" REVIEW QUESTIONS 1) What are the main points of this chapter? - Introduction (1-8) - The vision of the Son of Man (9-20) 2) What was Jesus intending to show His servants? (1) - Things which must shortly take place (cf. Re 1:3; 22:6,10) 3) How is John described in verse 2? - As one who bore witness to the word of God, to the testimony of Jesus Christ, and to all things that he saw 4) Who is this book designed to bless? Why? (3) - Those who read and hear the words of this prophecy, and keep the things written in it - For the time is near 5) To whom was the book addressed? (4,11) - Churches in Asia: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea 6) How is God described in the greeting from John? The Holy Spirit? (4) - Who is and who was and who is to come - The seven Spirits who are before His throne (cf. Re 4:5; Zech 4:1-6) 7) How is Jesus Christ described by John in this greeting? (5-6) - The faithful witness - The firstborn from the dead - The ruler over the kings of the earth - Who loved us - Who washed us from our sins in His blood - Who made us kings and priest to His God 8) What is said about the coming of Christ? (7) - He is coming with clouds - Every eye will see Him, and they also who pierced Him - All the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him 9) How does the Lord designate Himself? (8) - "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End" - "Who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty" 10) How does John identify himself to His readers? (9a) - Their brother and companion in tribulation - In the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ 11) Where and when did John receive the Revelation? (9b-10) - On the island of Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus - While in the Spirit on the Lord's Day 12) What did he hear a loud voice say? (11) - "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last" - "What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches in Asia..." 13) When he turned to see the voice, what did he see? (12-13) - Seven golden lampstands, and in their midst One like the Son of Man 14) How does John describe the Son of Man? (13-16) - Clothed with a garment down to the feet - Girded about the chest with a golden band - Head and hair white as wool, white as snow - Eyes like a flame of fire - Feet like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace - Voice as the sound of many waters - In His right hand, seven stars - Out of His mouth, a sharp sword - Countenance like the shining sun 15) What was John's reaction when he saw Him? What was he first told? (17) - Fell at His feet as dead - "Do not be afraid" 16) How does the Son of Man identify Himself? (17-18) - "I am the First and the Last" - "I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore" - "I have the keys of Hades and of Death" 17) What was John told to write? (19) - "The things which you have seen" - "The things which are" - "The things which will take place after this" 18) What is the explanation of the seven stars and seven golden lampstands? (20) - The seven stars are the seven angels (messengers?) of the seven churches - The seven lampstands are the seven churches (in Asia)
"THE BOOK OF REVELATION" Introduction "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants--things which must shortly take place." (Re 1:1) So begins the book of Revelation, one of the most challenging books in the Bible. It is the first book that many new to the Bible want to study, while it is often neglected by mature Christians. It has been used by false teachers and prophets to lead people into doomsday cults. Yet when properly handled, it can be a wonderful blessing to those who read and meditate upon it. Who wrote this book? How is it unique? How should we interpret it? Why should we study it? These are questions we will seek to answer in this introduction. UNIQUE NATURE OF THE BOOK Revelation is certainly different from other books of the New Testament. It is also very different from any kind of writing that is familiar to most people today. Unfortunately, this has caused some people to shy away from the book; or on the other hand, to misuse it in propagating wild and fanciful theories. Most people conclude it is just too mysterious to understand. But it was actually written to make things clearer! The word "revelation" in the Greek is apokalupsis, which means "an uncovering" or "unveiling." It is therefore a book designed to uncover or unveil, not conceal. Part of the challenge in understanding the book is that it is written in a style not familiar to modern man. It is an example of what is called "apocalyptic literature" which was quite popular from 200 B.C. to 200 A.D. As such, it was a type of literature well known to the Jews and Christians of the first century church. Features of apocalyptic literature include the use of highly symbolic or figurative language. It was normally written in times of persecution, usually depicting the conflict between good and evil. There are other examples of apocalyptic literature in the Bible. In the Old Testament, for example, the books of Ezekiel, Daniel, and Zechariah each contain elements of this style of writing. In the New Testament, Matthew 24 contains apocalyptic elements. UNDERSTANDING THE BOOK The early church likely did not have the problem understanding the book as we do today. They were well acquainted with the style of apocalyptic literature. They were living at a time when the symbols of the book were likely familiar to them (similar to how a picture of a donkey fighting an elephant would be understood by us as depicting conflict between the Democratic and Republican parties). In fact, I believe the book was originally intended to be understood by a casual hearing, as implied by the opening beatitude: "Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near." (Re 1:3) This verse suggests a setting in which one is reading while others listen. The listeners were expected to understand enough to be blessed by what they heard. Our difficulty with this book is due to our unfamiliarity with apocalyptic literature as a method of communicating a message. We are also far removed from the historical and cultural context of the times which would make the symbolism easier to understand. To properly interpret the book, we must try to understand the historical context in which it was written. We must also interpret it in a manner that would have been meaningful to those to whom it was first addressed. It also behooves us to pay close attention to those passages or statements which are clear and easy to understand. METHODS OF INTERPRETATION Different methods of interpreting the book generally fall into four views: The "preterist" view - The book refers to events that were fulfilled in the first century A.D., or shortly thereafter. It was written primarily to encourage the original readers. Its value for today would therefore be didactic (teaching the value of faithfulness to God). The "historicist" view - The book provides a panoramic view of the experience of the church as it proceeds throughout history. This view finds in the book such events as the rise of Catholicism, Islam, the Protestant reformation, world wars, etc., ending with the return of Christ. As such it would encourage Christians no matter when they lived. The "futurist" view - Apart from the first few chapters, the book depicts events which immediately precede the second coming of Christ. Therefore most of the book has yet to be fulfilled (or is being fulfilled now), and its value is primarily for Christians who will be living at the time Jesus returns. The "idealist" view - The book does not deal with any specific historical situation. Instead, it is simply enforcing the principle that good will ultimately triumph over evil. As such the book is applicable to any age. PREFERRED METHOD OF INTERPRETATION I believe a proper interpretation of the book incorporates some of all these views. In my estimation, the "preterist" view has the most merit for the following reasons: * The book was written specifically to seven churches in Asia (modern Turkey) - Re 1:4 * Its purpose was to uncover or reveal "things which must shortly come to pass" - Re 1:1,3; 22:6,10 * John was told, "Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand" - Re 22:10 Compare the last two points with Daniel 8:26, where Daniel was told to "seal up" his vision, "for it refers to many days in the future". We know that his vision was fulfilled within several hundred years. John, however, was told "do not seal" what he had seen, "for the time is at hand". How could this be, if the bulk of Revelation refers to what has yet to occur almost two thousands later? This is a problem I see with the "futurist" view, which places primary fulfillment of the book thousands of years after its composition. Place yourself in the position of those Christians in the churches of Asia in the first century. They were told that the things described in the Revelation would "shortly come to pass", which should comfort them. But according to the "futurist" view, it has been nearly 2000 years and much of the book has yet to be fulfilled! That would be like someone today writing that something is soon coming to pass, when in reality it will be 4000 A.D. before it does! How would a book depicting events to occur thousands of years in the future comfort those who were suffering in the first century A.D.? This is not to say there are no "futurist" elements in the book. I understand chapters 20-22 to deal with the ultimate destiny of the redeemed, which would have been of great interest and comfort to the Christians suffering in the first century. My approach to the book, therefore, will be primarily from the preterist viewpoint, with occasional elements from other viewpoints. THE AUTHOR John, identified as one "who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ" (Re 1:1-2). While debated by some, he was most likely the apostle John, brother of James, and author of the gospel of John and three epistles. His authorship of this book is supported by the testimony of Justin Martyr (165 A.D.), Clement of Alexandria (220 A.D.), Hippolytus (236 A.D.), and Origen (254 A.D.). DATE OF THE BOOK Dating when the book was written is not without controversy. When one dates the book will certainly have a bearing upon one's interpretation of the book, especially if one follows the "preterist" view. Two dates are usually proposed: * An "early date", around 64-68 A.D., during the reign of the Roman emperor, Nero * A "late date", around 95-96 A.D., during the reign of emperor Domitian The external evidence (evidence outside the book itself) is inconclusive. In support for the late date, appeal is often made to a statement of Iraneaus who lived in the late 2nd century A.D. His statement is rather ambiguous, however, and can be understood in several ways (see Redating The New Testament, by John A. T. Robinson, for a detailed examination of Iraneaus' quotation). In support for the early date, the Syriac version of the New Testament (dating back to the 2nd century A.D.) says the book was written during the reign of Nero. The Muratorian Fragment (170-190 A.D.) and the Monarchian Prologues (250-350 A.D.) claim that Paul wrote to seven churches following the pattern of John's example in Revelation, placing the book of Revelation even before some of the Pauline epistles (Expositor's Bible Commentary, Vol. 12; p. 406). Because of the contradictory nature of the external evidence, I place more weight on the internal evidence (evidence from within the book itself). I believe the book itself supports a date of 70 A.D., before the destruction of Jerusalem and during the reign of Vespasian. This internal evidence includes the following: * In Re 11:1-14 the temple, which was demolished in August of 70 A.D., is still standing. Advocates of the "late date" naturally understand this passage in a strictly figurative sense. While somewhat figurative, the allusion to the crucifixion of our Lord (Re 11:8) compel us to think of the historical Jerusalem (Philip Schaff). * In Re 17:9-11, we find mention of EIGHT "kings". If these "kings" are emperors of Rome, then starting with Augustus the first FIVE were: Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius and Nero (who died June 9, 68 A.D.). Nero's death left the empire in an uproar. This may be the "deadly wound" in Re 13:3,12,14. Three men (Galba, Otho, and Vitellius) tried vainly to consolidate power over the empire, but it was Vespasian who restored order in 70 A.D. Thus, the "deadly wound" was healed, and Vespasian would be the SIXTH "king" (or the "one is" in Re 17:10). This would make Titus the SEVENTH emperor and Domitian the EIGHTH. * Notice carefully, that in Re 17:8,11 John was told that the beast "is not". It "was", and "is about to come" (ASV), but at the time the Revelation was being given, the beast "IS NOT"! If we understand (as I do) that the "beast" represents imperial Rome as personified in its emperors Nero and Domitian, then Revelation could NOT have been written during the reigns of either Nero or Domitian! * The condition of persecution that had been experienced already by those in the book are similar to that mentioned by Peter. He wrote to the Christians in Asia Minor also, just a few years before (cf. 1Pe 1:1). They were undergoing persecution similar to that described in Re 2 & 3 (cf. 1Pe 1:6; 4:12; 5:9); i.e., persecution by the Jews with the help of Roman authorities, something that had been going on since the days of Paul's first missionary journey. Therefore I suggest the internal evidence indicates that the Revelation was given during the reign of VESPASIAN, the SIXTH emperor, while the "beast is not". This would place the date of the book around the spring of 70 A.D. (as suggested by Philip Schaff, History Of The Church, Vol. I). A date between the death of Nero in 68 A.D. and the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. was also favored by F. J. A. Hort, J. B. Lightfoot, and B. F. Westcott (John A. T. Robinson, Redating The New Testament, p. 224). Another advocate of an early date is F. F. Bruce. Referring to Philip Schaff, who at one time held the "late date", I find his following quotation to be of interest: "The early date is best suited for the nature and object of the Apocalypse, and facilitates its historical understanding. Christ pointed in his eschatological discourses to the destruction of Jerusalem and the preceding tribulation as the great crisis in the history of the theocracy and the type of the judgment of the world. And there never was a more alarming state of society." "The horrors of the French Revolution were confined to one country, but the tribulation of the six years preceding the destruction of Jerusalem extended over the whole Roman empire and embraced wars and rebellions, frequent and unusual conflagrations, earthquakes and famines and plagues, and all sorts of public calamities and miseries untold. It seemed, indeed, that the world, shaken to its very center, was coming to a close, and every Christian must have felt that the prophecies of Christ were being fulfilled before his eyes." "It was at this unique juncture in the history of mankind that St. John, with the consuming fire in Rome and the infernal spectacle of the Neronian persecution behind him, the terrors of the Jewish war and the Roman interregnum around him, and the catastrophe of Jerusalem and the Jewish theocracy before him, received those wonderful visions of the impending conflicts and final triumphs of the Christian church. His was truly a book of the times and for the times, and administered to the persecuted brethren the one but all-sufficient consolation: Maranatha! Maranatha!" (History of The Christian Church, Vol. I, pp. 836-837) THE PURPOSE OF THE BOOK Its purpose is clearly stated at the beginning and end of the book (cf. Re 1:1,3; 22:6,10): To reveal "things which must shortly come to pass" In particular, it is a revelation from Christ Himself of the judgment to come upon those who were persecuting His people (cf. Re 6:9-11; 16:5-7). This judgment was directed especially toward those who had been deceived by Satan to attack the Church of Christ. As stated by Philip Schaff: "Undoubtedly he had in view primarily the overthrow of Jerusalem and heathen Rome, the two great foes of Christianity at that time." Again, I would suggest that the purpose of the book is to reveal how Christ was going to bring judgment on Jerusalem and Rome for rejecting God and persecuting His people. This judgment occurred with the destruction of Jerusalem in the fall of 70 A.D., and with the final cessation of persecution by Rome in 313 A.D. when Constantine became an emperor supportive of Christianity. In fulfilling this purpose, the book is designed to warn and comfort. For erring disciples, it is a book of warning ("repent" or else, cf. Re 2:5,16). For faithful disciples, it is a book of comfort ("blessed" are those who "overcome", cf. Re 1:3; 2:7; 3:21; 14:13; 22:14). KEY VERSE If there is one verse that summarizes the theme of the book of Revelation, it is this one: "These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful." (Re 17:14) OUTLINE INTRODUCTORY MATERIAL (Re 1:1-3:22) 1. Introduction (Re 1:1-20) a. Prologue and blessings (Re 1:1-3) b. Greetings and doxology (Re 1:4-6) c. Prophecy and proclamation (Re 1:7-8) c. Vision of Christ among the lampstands (Re 1:9-20) 2. Letters to the seven churches of Asia (Re 2:1-3:22) a. The church at Ephesus (Re 2:1-7) b. The church at Smyrna (Re 2:8-11) c. The church at Pergamos (Re 2:12-17) d. The church at Thyatira (Re 2:18-29) e. The church at Sardis (Re 3:1-6) f. The church at Philadelphia (Re 3:7-13) g. The church at Laodicea (Re 3:14-22) I. VISIONS OF JUDGMENT AGAINST JERUSALEM (Re 4:1-11:19) A. THE THRONE SCENE (Re 4:1-5:14) 1. God on the throne (Re 4:1-11) 2. The Lamb worthy to open the scroll (Re 5:1-14) B. THE OPENING OF SEVEN SEALS (Re 6:1-8:1) 1. First seal: The white horse and its rider (Re 6:1-2) 2. Second seal: The red horse and its rider (Re 6:3-4) 3. Third seal: The black horse and its rider (Re 6:5-6) 4. Fourth seal: The pale horse and its riders (Re 6:7-8) 5. Fifth seal: The martyrs under the altar (Re 6:9-11) 6. Sixth seal: Cataclysmic disturbances (Re 6:12-17) 7. Interlude (Re 7:1-17) a. Sealing of the 144,000 on earth (Re 7:1-8) b. The great multitude in heaven (Re 7:9-17) 8. Seventh seal: Silence in heaven (Re 8:1) C. THE SOUNDING OF SEVEN TRUMPETS (Re 8:2-11:19) 1. Seven angels prepare to sound their trumpets (Re 8:2-6) 2. First trumpet: Third of vegetation destroyed (Re 8:7) 3. Second trumpet: Third of sea creatures and ships destroyed (Re 8:8-9) 4. Third trumpet: Third of rivers and springs become bitter, many die (Re 8:10-11) 5. Fourth trumpet: Third of sun, moon, and stars struck, affecting day and night (Re 8:12) 6. Three-fold woe announced (Re 8:13) 7. Fifth trumpet (first woe): Locusts from the bottomless pit, sent to torment men (Re 9:1-12) 8. Sixth trumpet (second woe): Four angels with an army of two hundred million, killing a third of mankind (Re 9:13-21) 9. Interlude (Re 10:1-11:14) a. The angel with the little book (Re 10:1-11) b. The two witnesses and destruction of Jerusalem (Re 11:1-13) 10. Seventh trumpet (third woe): The victory of Christ and His kingdom proclaimed (Re 11:14-19) II. VISIONS OF JUDGMENT AGAINST ROME (Re 12:1-19:21) A. THE GREAT CONFLICT (Re 12:1-14:20) 1. The Woman, Child, Dragon, and rest of the Woman's offspring (Re 12:1-17) 2. The beast from the sea (Re 13:1-10) 3. The beast from the land (Re 13:11-18) 4. The Lamb and the 144,000 on Mount Zion (Re 14:1-5) 5. Proclamations of three angels (Re 14:6-13) 6. Reaping the earth's harvest, and the grapes of wrath (Re 14:14-20) B. THE SEVEN BOWLS OF WRATH (Re 15:1-16:21) 1. Prelude to pouring out the seven bowls of wrath (Re 15:1-8) 2. First bowl: Sores on those who worshipped the beast and his image (Re 16:1-2) 3. Second bowl: Sea turns to blood, all sea creatures die (Re 16:3) 4. Third bowl: Rivers and springs turn to blood (Re 16:4-7) 5. Fourth bowl: Men are scorched by the sun (Re 16:8-9) 6. Fifth bowl: Pain and darkness upon the beast and his kingdom (Re 16:10-11) 7. Sixth bowl: Euphrates dried up, three unclean spirits gather the kingdoms of the earth for the battle at Armageddon (Re 16:12-16) 8. Seventh bowl: Great earthquake, great city divided, Babylon is remembered, cataclysmic events (Re 16:17-21) C. THE FALL OF BABYLON, THE HARLOT (Re 17:1-19:10) 1. The scarlet woman and the scarlet beast (Re 17:1-6) 2. The mystery of the woman and beast explained (Re 17:7-18) 3. The fall of Babylon the great proclaimed and mourned (Re 18:1-24) 4. The exaltation in heaven over the fall of the great harlot (Re 19:1-5) 5. The announcement of the marriage supper of the Lamb (Re 19:6-10) D. THE DEFEAT OF THE BEAST AND FALSE PROHET (19:11-21) 1. Christ the victorious warrior and King of kings (Re 19:11-16) 2. The beast, his armies and false prophet (land beast) are defeated (Re 19:17-21) III. VISIONS OF THE FUTURE AND BEYOND (Re 20:1-22:5) A. THE REIGN OF CHRIST AND HIS SAINTS (Re 20:1-6) 1. Satan bound for a thousand years, unable to deceive nations (Re 20:1-3) 2. Saints (martyrs and faithful) reign with Christ (Re 20:4-6) B. THE RELEASE AND DEFEAT OF SATAN (Re 20:7-10) 1. Satan released to deceive the nations once more (Re 20:7-8) 2. Makes one last effort, but defeated once for all (Re 20:9-10) C. THE FINAL JUDGMENT (Re 20:11-15) 1. Great white throne judgment, with earth and heaven no more (Re 20:11-13) 2. Death and Hades cast into the lake of fire, along with those whose names were not in the Book of Life (Re 20:14-15) D. ETERNAL DESTINY OF THE REDEEMED (Re 21:1-22:5) 1. The new heaven and new earth, God dwelling with His people in the New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven(Re 21:1-8) 2. The New Jerusalem described (Re 21:9-27) 3. The water of life, tree of life, throne of God and the Lamb (Re 22:1-5) CONCLUDING MATERIAL (Re 22:6-21) 1. The time is near, do not seal up the book (Re 22:6-11) 2. The testimony of Jesus, the Spirit, and the bride (Re 22:12-17) 3. Warning not to tamper with the book, and closing prayers (Re 22:18-21) REVIEW QUESTIONS 1) What is this book called? (1:1) - The Revelation of Jesus Christ 2) What is the meaning of the Greek word (apokalupsis) translated "revelation"? - An uncovering, an unveiling 3) What style of literature is the book of Revelation? - Apocalyptic literature 4) What are some of the typical features of such literature? - Highly symbolic; depicting conflict between good and evil 5) What is important to know to properly interpret the book? - The historical context in which it was written 6) What are the four major views of interpreting the book? - Preterist, historicist, futurist, idealist 7) Which view is suggested in this introduction? - Preterist, with a little borrowed from the other views as well 8) Who is the author of this book? (1:1-2) - John, who had born witness to the word of God and testimony of Jesus Christ 9) What dates are usually suggested for the book? - An early date (64-68 A.D.), during the reign of Nero - A late date (95-96 A.D.), during the reign of Domitian 10) Which date is suggested in this study? (and by Schaff, McGuiggan, and others) - The spring of 70 A.D., during the reign of Vespasian 11) What is the purpose of the book? (1:13; 22:10,16) - To reveal things which must shortly come to pass 12) Who do I propose to be the two major enemies used by Satan? - Jerusalem & Rome 13) What is the key verse that summarizes the book? - Revelation 17:14 14) From the outline above, what are the three main divisions of the book? - Visions Of Judgment Against Jerusalem - Visions Of Judgment Against Rome - Visions Of The Future And Beyond BIBLIOGRAPHY Back To The Future: A study in the book of Revelation, R. E. Bass (Living Hope Press, 2004) The Book Of Revelation, Jim McGuiggan (Montex, 1976) The Book Of Revelation, Foy E. Wallace, Jr. (Wallace Publications, 1966) Four Views On The Book Of Revelation, S.N. Gundry & C.M. Pate, Eds. (Zondervan, 1998) History Of The Christian Church, Vol. I, Philip Schaff (Eerdmans, 1910, 1985) The Lamb And His Enemies, Rubel Shelly (20th Century, 1985) More Than Conquerors, William Hendricksen (Baker Book House, 1971) New International Bible commentary, F. F. Bruce (Zondervan Publishing House, 1979) Redating The New Testament, John A. T. Robertson (Westminster Press, 1976) Revelation, Robert Harkrider (Truth Commentaries, Guardian Of Truth, 1997) Revelation: An Introduction And Commentary, Homer Hailey (Baker, 1979) The Time Is At Hand, Jay Edward Adams (Timeless Texts, 2004) Worthy Is The Lamb, Ray Summers (Broadman Press, 1951)
Muhammad or Jesus?
|by||Dave Miller, Ph.D.|
Muhammad: “Those who say: Allah hath chosen a son…speak nothing but a lie” (Surah 18:4-5).
Jesus (through John): “Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ?... Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either” (1 John 2:22-23).
*********************Muhammad: “Allah hath not chosen any son, nor is there any God along with Him” (Surah 23:91).
God: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” (Matthew 17:5).
*********************Muhammad: “[T]he Christians call Christ the Son of God.... Allah’s curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the Truth!” (Surah 9:30).
Jesus: “[H]e who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18). “Jesus…said, ‘Do you believe in the Son of God?’ He answered and said, ‘Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?’ And Jesus said to him, ‘You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you’” (John 9:35-37).
*********************Muhammad: “They slew him not nor crucified, but it appeared so unto them; and lo! those who disagree concerning it are in doubt thereof; they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a conjecture; they slew him not for certain, but Allah took him up unto Himself” (Surah 4:157-158).
Jesus: “‘And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.’ This He said, signifying by what death He would die” (John 12:32-33).
*******************Muhammad: “[S]ay not ‘Three’—Cease! (it is) better for you!—Allah is only One God. Far is it removed from His transcendent majesty that he should have a son” (Surah 4:171-172).
Jesus: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).Muhammad: “They surely disbelieve who say: Lo! Allah is the Messiah, son of Mary…. Lo! whoso ascribeth partners unto Allah, for him Allah hath forbidden Paradise. His abode is the Fire” (Surah 5:72-74).
Jesus: “[I]f you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins” (John 8:24).
*********************Muhammad: Polygamous, having multiple wives, as many as 12 at a time.
Jesus: Remained single, devoting Himself to His divine mission.
*********************The Jesus of the Quran: A mere human prophet, finite in his attributes, like sinful man, flawed.
The Jesus of the Bible: Perfect, infinite in all of His attributes, unlike sinful man.
*********************Islam is focused on Muhammad, who was merely a man.
Christianity is focused on Jesus, Who was God in the flesh.
According to Islam and the Quran—
If you believe that Jesus is the Son of God, you will be lost eternally in hell.
According to Christianity and the Bible—
If you do not believe that Jesus is the Son of God, you will be lost eternally in hell.
Jesus said: “Unless you believe that I AM, you will die in your sins” (John 8:24).
NOTE: The above verses from the Quran were taken from two celebrated Muslim translations:
Ali, Abdullah Yusuf (1934), The Qur’an (Elmhurst, NY: Tahrike Tarsile Quran), ninth edition.
Pickthall, Mohammed M. (1930), The Meaning of the Glorious Koran (New York: Mentor).