A JOURNEY THROUGH THE BOOK OF REVELATION

 

In chapter 1, John relates the circumstances that led to the writing of this book (1:1 - 20).  In chapter 2 and 3, Jesus gives special messages to the seven churches of Asia Minor (2:1 - 3:22).

 

Suddenly, John is caught up into heaven, where he sees a vision of God Almighty on his throne.  All of Christ's followers and the heavenly angels are worshipping God (4:1 - 11).  John watches as God gives a scroll with seven seals to the worthy Lamb, Jesus Christ (5:1 - 14).

 

As the first four seals are opened, riders appear on horses of different colors: war, famine, disease, and death are in their path (6:12 - 17) .  On the other side, multituds are before the throne, worshiping and praising God and the Lamb (7:1 - 17).

 

Finally, the seventh seal is opened (8:1 - 5), unveiling a series of God's judgments announced by seven angels with seven trumphets.  The first four angels bring hail, fire, a burning mountain, and a falling star-the sun and moon are darkened (8:6 - 13). The fifth trumpet announces the army of warriors on horses (9:13 - 21).  In 10:1 - 11, John is given a little scroll to eat.  Following this, John is commanded to measure the temple of God (11:1,2).  He sees two witnessroclaim God's judgment on the earth for three and half years (11:3 - 14).

 es, who p

Finally, the seventh trumpet sounds, calling the rival forces of good and evil to the final battle.  On one side is Satan and his forces; on the other side stands Jesus Christ with forces (11:15 - 13:18).  In the midst  of this call to battle, John sees three angels announcing the final judgment (14:6 13).  Two angels begin to reap this harverst of judgment on the earth (14:14 - 20).  Following on the heels of these two angels are seven more angels, who pour out God's judgment on the earth from seven bowls (15:1 - 16:21).  OPne of these angels from the group of seven reveal to John a vision of a "great prostitute" called Babylon (symbolizing the Roman empire), riding a scarlet beast (17:1 - 18).  After the defeat of Babylon (18:1 - 24), a great multitude in heaven shouts praise to God for his mighty victory (19: 1 - 10).

 

The final three chapters of the book of Revelation catalog the events that finalize Christ's victory over the enemy:  Satan's 1000 year imprisonment (20:1 - 10), the final judgment (20:11- 15) and the creation of a new earth and a new Jerusalem (21:1 - 22).  An angel then gives John final instructions concerning the visions John has sen and what to do once he has written them all down (22:7 - 11).

 

Revelation concludes with the promise of Christ's soon return, an offer to drink of the water of life that flows through the great stree of  the new Jerusalem and a warning to those who read the book (22:12 - 21).  May we  pray with John, "Amen Come Lord Jesus" (22:20).

 

The Bible ends with a message of warning and hope for men and women of every generation.  Christ is victorious and all evil has been  done away with.  As you read the book of Revelation, marvel at God's grace in the salvation of his people and his power ove the evil forces of Satan, and remember the hope of his victory to come.

 

Why Study The Revelation?

 

The book of Revelation is packed with lessons for today's reader and brimming with prophecies concerning the future as well.  A thorough study is a worthy endeavor and full of blessings for those willing to pursue a studious investigation.  To understand  the entirety of the book in light of current world events requires an exhaustive and expository study of the book and it is to that end that this effort will precede.  This snapshot review of the 22 chapters of the book will take the reader on a stimulating journey intended to whet the appetite of any curious bible student.

 

The apostle John, the scribe and writer of the vision, was a prophet and traditionally has been identified as John the apostle, the son of Zebedee.  During his day, Rome made debilitating demands against Christians to recant their faith and accept the cult of emperor worship.  Theologians propose that the height of this intense persecution occurred during the reign of the emotionally warped Domitian who rule from A.D.  81 - 96.  This position regarding the dating of the events is consistent with the one held byh the renowned church father Irenaeus and other early Christian writers as well.

 

Furthermore, this era of time in church history is known for its loss of vitality and for spiritual complacency in the churches.  Such spiritual lethargy is revealed in the descriptions of and warnings to the seven churches to which John referred in chapters two and three of the Revelation.

 

Virtually everyone is concerned about the future and what it holds for us.  Our human curiosity is piqued as we consider the future in light of current events unfolding on the world scene.  Those who write concerning the future and those who claim to have predictive powers attract hungrty and eager audiences.  The predictions of the future has become a marketable commodity that is subject to abuse.

 

Many people consult the horoscope longing for comfort.  Others pursue the signs of the zodiac and astrological predictions to give meaning and hope.  Cold comfort is the unfulfilling result.  Discovering the realities of the future and personal hope for the present does not lie in the stars, but rather is to be found in the last book of the Bible that authoritatively and accurately reveals the future and points us to the Lord Jesus, the hope of glory.  The book reveals the great climatic events that will bring the world to the brink of the close of human history when time shall be no more.

 

No book is as important in light of the days in which we live as the Revelation.  In this prophetic and inspired work, we see light and darkness opposing one another.  We read and envision God and the Lamb, Christ Jesus.  We are literary witnesses to the greatest bloodbath and the greatest carnage the world has ever known.  We read of the fire as it falls from heaven consuming all of which stands in its path.  We witness the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit who moves us toward the personal revival that will come in the last days.

 

The book also contains the graphic description of a river of blood extending two hundred feet in breadth and measuring six feet in depth and ten miles in length.  In the Revelation, we will be witnesses to the climactic and victorious return of Christ in person to the earth gloriously predicted within these prophetic pages.

 

For what reason should we study this literary biblical masterpiece?  The Church as a whole simply disregards the book as too vague and therefore not worthy of a serious look.

 

The first three verses reveal the reason for a contemplative study.  Revelation 1:3 promises, "Blessed is he that readth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy."  Those who dersire the blessing must take heed.

 

 Four primary views concerning the appropriate method of interpretation have emerged in the Christian community.  The preterist view purports that the events of Revelation are now past tense and therefore are not to occur in the future.  The events of the book are seen as a reporting of the past persecution of the early church under the oppresive hand of the Roman Empire.  Lessons abide within the book but one is to assume that no predictive components is to be found.

 

Others prefer the panoramic view of Revelation, also known as the continuous historical view and suggest that Revelation is a merte summary of secular and c hurch history in total.  The primary downfall of this perspective is that it is too inclusive and attempts to include all historical events, a virtually impossible task and one that certainly does not fal into the logical pattern of the Revelation.

 

Third, the parabolic or allegorical viewpoint maintans that the Revelation is written in symbolic language, a claim that is certainly true, and that is certainly true, and that the book does not necessarily depict actual and literal events.  Further, as the Bible speaks of the stars falling from heaven or refers to the moon turning to blood and the sun to darkness, it is not recording literal occurrences but rather symbolic events as representative of spiritual truths.  This view further maintains that the writings are primarily representative of the struggle between good and evil.  Few serious conservative scholars, if any hold this view.

 

 A fourth view is that the Revelation is toi read prophetic, the view from which we will proceed.  First, the writings of the book primarily deal with the future as God has so ordered it.  Multiple times in the first chapter, the book is referred to as prophecy.  As an interpretive rule of thumb, prophecy often include a double meaning that involves current and futuristic events.  For example, as Isaiah the prophet spoke to the nation of Israel concerning the coming of Jesus Christ and His incarnation in Isaiah 9 and 53, he referred to the One coming who would be the "wonderful counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace."  He came and He is coming!  Further, Isaiah stated that Jesus would sit upon the throne of his father David and that He would reign forever, a message of encouragement packed with future implications as well referencing His time on earth as the God-man and a fu;ture appearance as wel.  Jesus came-but will come.

 

A second reason to recognize the prophetic nature of the book is that many events predicted t