Introduction To Revelation

by | Apr 17, 2023 | New Testament, Revelation

I. The Purpose Of The Book Of The Revelation

A. It Reveals Jesus

1. Revelation 1:1- “Revelation”-apokalypsis Uncovering of something hidden; unveiling.

2. The word apocalypse has taken on a meaning of total destruction, and yet technically, the word means an unveiling, as in the unveiling of a new painting or sculpture.

a. A painting or sculpture exists but is covered.

b. At the unveiling, the cover is removed and that which exists is seen.

c. What is unveiled may not be completely understood or appreciated, but it is visible.

3. The Book of Revelation is first and foremost a more complete unveiling of Jesus Christ.

B. It Reveals Jesus In The Midst Of His Church(es)-Revelation 1:17-20

C. It Reveals The Linear Chronology Of Future Events-Revelation 1:19

D. It Reveals The Rapture Of The Church-Revelation 4:1

E. It Reveals The Judgment Of God-Revelation 6:15-17

F. It Reveals The Coming Kingdom Of God-Revelation 21:1-7

II. Four Hermeneutics Regarding Revelation

A. Preterist-Most prophecies in Revelation fulfilled during the time of the Roman Empire.

B. Historicist- Prophecies fulfilled throughout history and are still being fulfilled today.

C. Futurist- Most prophecies beyond Revelation 3 are yet to be fulfilled.

D. Spiritual- (Symbolic or Idealist). Most prophecies portray the ongoing cosmic conflict of spiritual realities and may have many fulfillments throughout history.

III. Keeping The Main Thing The Main Thing

A. Missing The Main Thing

1. There are challenges in reading, studying, and teaching the Book of the Revelation.

2. The book is filled with metaphors, visions, and descriptions of things unknown to us.

3. The book has over 500 Old Testament references that need to be understood.

a. Understanding the meaning of the O.T. verses bring understanding of the book.

b. Revelation 1– Daniel 2:28-29 1:4 Isaiah 11:2 1:5 Genesis 49:11; Psalm 89:27 1:6 Exodus 19:6; Isaiah 61:6 1:7 Daniel 7:13; Zechariah 12:10-14 1:8 Isaiah 41:4 1:12 Exodus 25:37; 37:23 1:13 Daniel 7:13; 10:5, 16 1:14 Daniel 7:9; 10:6 1:15 Ezekiel 1:7, 24; 43:2; Daniel 10:6 1:16 Judges 5:31; Isaiah 49:2 1:17 Isaiah 41:4; 44:6; 48:12; Daniel 8:17-18;10:9, 10, 12, 15, 19 1:18 Job 3:17; Hosea 13:14

4. Teachers and students try to understand the timelines and every illustration/vision

a. Those things are worthy of our study, but they cannot be authoritatively determined.

b. There is great wisdom in not missing the primary themes because of secondary ideas.

B. Examples Of Misplaced Authoritative Statements

1. Issues of timing- Martin Luther- used greatly by God to stand against the incorrect teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, and to usher in what has been called “The Protestant reformation”.

a. He worked feverishly to finish translating the Bible from Latin into German because he believed that Jesus was coming back in 1530.

b. “It is certain from the holy scriptures that we have no more temporal things to expect. All is done and fulfilled. The Roman Empire is at an end, the Turk has reached his highest point, the pomp of Papacy is falling away, and the world is cracking on all sides almost as if it would break and fall apart entirely”.

2. Issues Of Who & What-What Does 666 Mean? Letters Of A Name?

a. Revelation 13:18- Some decided the Anti-Christ was Ronald Wilson Reagan.

b. Revelation 11:7-10- We used to think with the advent of satellite TV, that this was suddenly possible. Now that can happen with iPhones, and yet not the entire world has iPhones, etc. Technology is still developing, and indeed the entire world may literally be able to see this event. We don’t know how that will happen.

C. Cynicism About The Return Of Jesus

1. Not all cynicism about Jesus’ return stems from misplaced predictions, but some does.

2. Cynicism about Jesus’ return goes back to the 1st century. (See 2 Peter 3:1-14)

D. To Whom Was The Book Written?

1. Written in last 25 years of 1st century.

2. Under domain of Emperor Domitian, great persecution against Christians.

3. Written for 1st century Christians, as well as for us. We must remember that.

4. John wrote to tell them not about the “when”, but about the “what”.

5. He wrote to tell them that Jesus ultimately wins, and that we rule and reign with Him.

6. The first application was for them, then for us.

IV. What Are The “Main Things” Of Revelation?

A. The History Of Mankind Will End

1. Some teach that history is cyclical. That the world goes on with no definite ending.

2. The Bible says that history is linear: there was a beginning and there is an end, and that ending is described to us.

3. The Bible tells us how the beginning began, why mankind exists, and how the world will end and what will happen after that.

B. The Return Of Jesus

1. Revelation tells us of the birth of Jesus, his life, death, resurrection, ascension, and return.

2. Jesus’s return will be personal, physical and visible. (Acts 1:9-11)

3. He will separate the sheep from the goats. (Matthew 25:31-46)

4. It will be glorious. (Titus 2:13)

5. The heavens & earth will be destroyed & a new heaven & earth created. (Rev. 21:1)

6. However one interprets Revelation, all Christians agree on that. (The main things)

7. It’s important that we think our way through the Bible and decide what we believe not based upon the opinions of our favorite teachers, or the position of our movement or denomination, but upon what we read, understand, and decide within our own hearts.

C. The Headship Of Jesus Over All Created Things

1. The great history of mankind concludes under the headship of Jesus Christ. Philippians 2:9-11 9Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

2. Psalm 2:1-12 1Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, 3 “Let us break Their bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us.” 4 He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The LORD shall hold them in derision. 5 Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, And distress them in His deep displeasure: 6 “Yet I have set My King On My holy hill of Zion.” 7 “I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. 8 Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession. 9 You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’ ” 10 Now therefore, be wise, O kings; Be instructed, you judges of the earth. 11 Serve the LORD with fear, And rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, And you perish in the way, When His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.