Summary: Special notes on the Book of Revelation
SPECIAL NOTES ON
By Denis O’Callaghan, Ph.D.
The proper designation of this last book of the Bible is given in the first three words: "REVELATION, or unveiling, OF JESUS CHRIST." The order of communication is as follows: God gave the Revelation to Jesus Christ; He signified, having sent through His angel to His servant John, and John, having seen, wrote to the angels of the seven churches the things which he saw; said things to be testified to in the churches (Cp. 1:1, 2, 4 and 22:16).
We believe some suggestions as to certain words and phrases occurring in Revelation would not be amiss.
The word "church" (Greek "ekkleesia") occurs in both singular and plural 20 times; seven times in the singular, and 13 times in the plural. Always the seven churches of 1:4 are meant (Note 22:16). The entire Revelation concerns these_ churches. What John saw he was to write; what he was to write he was to send to the seven churches (Cp. l:ll).
Why attempt an interpretation of Revelation of any church or churches other than the seven churches of 1:4? These seven churches are represented by the seven lampstands (Cp. 1:20). The seven lampstands depict dispersed Israel. The special messages written to each of the seven churches (chaps. 2 and 3) afford sufficient evidence that they are Jewish and Kingdom churches.
By comparing Paul's prison epistles with the Seven Letters of Revelation, one can hardly fail to note the decided contrast. The churches of Revelation are dealt with on an entirely different basis than is the Church of the mystery. The representation of Christ in relation to the churches of Revelation is in itself an impressive point of contrast.
Note the question of works and the corresponding warnings and promises. Note the following words, designations, and expressions:
1. The Nicolaitanes. 2:6, 15.
2. The Claim to be Jews. 2:9 and 3:9.
3. The Doctrine of Balaam. 2:14.
4. The Woman Jezebel. 2:20.
5. The Synagogue of Satan. 3:9.
6. The New Jerusalem. 3:12.
These and many other words and expressions are worthy of note. One might mention the hidden manna, 2:17; apostles, 2:2; paradise, 2:7; second death, 2:11; sons of Israel, 2:14.
That Revelation is prophecy and not history is proved by 1:3, 22:10, 18, 19. This last book of the Bible is all future. In Rev. 1:10, we read: "I became in spirit in the Lord's day ..." The day of this text is not Sunday, neither is it the Sabbath; it is, however, the future day of Jehovah. It will be a day peculiarly the Lord's. The Lord will be exalted and judgment will be with speed (Cp. Isa. 2:11, 12).
1. The "Lord's day" of Revelation can fit in only with "The day of the Lord" of Old Testament prophecy.
It is claimed by some that John was banished to the island called Patmos. This we do not believe. A literal reading of 1:9 conveys an entirely different sense. Note the reading: "John, and your brother and fellow-partaker in the tribulation and in the kingdom and endurance in Jesus Christ, became in the island which is called Patmos through the word of God and through the testimony of Jesus Christ." As he became in the island, so he became in spirit. The Greek word "egenomeen" should be translated "became" or "came to be" instead of being translated "was."