Summary: Before we delve into this great prophetic section of Revelation with all of its symbols we need to begin with an understanding of prophecy in general. Why should we study prophecy if it involves a lot of mysteries? If we can’t figure out what all of the
Purpose: To understand the reasons for biblical prophecy and see the big picture of chapters 6-18.
Aim: I want the listener to be motivated to walk closer to Jesus Christ.
INTRODUCTION: The book of Revelation comes to us in four great movements:
Chapters 1-3 Christ enthroned over the churches
Chapters 4-5 Christ enthroned in heaven
Chapters 6-20 Christ enthroned on earth
Chapters 21-22 Christ enthroned in the new creation
This was a welcomed message to the apostle John because he was experiencing severe tribulation at the time. Revelation 1:9 I, John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance which are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. (NAU)
Jesus is still King even when life is hard.
So, the entire message of Revelation is the exaltation of Jesus Christ as king of all things. Jesus is the Creator of this universe and therefore the rightful ruler of this universe. Because of sin, Satan has temporarily set himself up as the ruler of this world. We canï¿½t help but notice how things are going with Satan in charge. When the rightful king returns the earth, all sin will be purged from this world and perfect righteousness, peace, and joy will return.
Before we delve into this great prophetic section of Revelation with all of its symbols we need to begin with an understanding of prophecy in general. Why should we study prophecy if it involves a lot of mysteries? If we canï¿½t figure out what all of the details mean, why should we study it?
âž½I. Warnings about Prophecy
It is important that we who read this book today should read these passages with reverent restraint and respect for the sense of hiddenness that envelops these visions. What is clear, however, throughout the symphonic part of this book is that Jesus Christï¿½s reign is sure and faithful. The terrors are real, but the victory of Christ is greater and stronger.
âž½A. Donï¿½t neglect it.
One fourth of the Bible is prophetic and one half of Jesusï¿½ parables have to do with prophecy. All of the NT books have prophecy in them except III John and Philemon.
If that much of the Bible is prophecy, then it must be very important.
âž½B. Donï¿½t neglect the rest of Scripture
Some people "hobby-horse" about prophecy--itï¿½s all they talk about. God gave us the entire Bible and we should never ignore any of it.
Paul set a good example because he said, Acts 20:27 For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God. (NAU)
The whole Christian life is NOT just about prophesy.
âž½C. Donï¿½t think that you are a prophet
Godï¿½s revealed Word to man is closed. Revelation 22:18 I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; (NAU)
If we are not careful, we can be guilty of adding to Godï¿½s Word when we are looking for Godï¿½s will.
For example: If we arenï¿½t careful, when we say things like, "I prayed about it and I have a peace that God wants me to____" or "The Holy Spirit led me to____" we can wind up doing something that is contrary to Godï¿½s Word. When you want to know Godï¿½s will, go to Godï¿½s Word first to see if there are any commands or principles that will guide you.
I have heard many people try to justify doing something wrong because they "felt led" to do it.
âž½D. Donï¿½t forsake natural and literal understandings
If the Bible is showing us a truth through a symbol the context will make that clear. Look for key words like "as" or "like" as clues that it is referring to a symbol. For example, Revelation 6:1 uses the word "as" which shows us that the voice was not really thunder. Then I saw when the Lamb broke one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying as with a voice of thunder, "Come." (NAU)
On the other hand Revelation 6:4 talks about death as being real death: And another, a red horse, went out; and to him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that men would slay one another; and a great sword was given to him. (NAU)
Imagine how difficult it must have been for the OT believers to imagine that a virgin birth in Bethlehem would be literally true. Or, that the Messiah would actually ride into Jerusalem on a donkey, or be pierced in His hands and feet. It would have been easy to say that all of those things were symbols of something else.