Summary: What is Revelation all about? What are the mysterious creatures and other symbols supposed to mean? This is a series for personal and group Bible Studies discovering the real secrets in the book of Revelation.
What is Revelation all about? What are the mysterious creatures and other symbols supposed to mean? This is a series for personal and group Bible Studies discovering the real secrets in the book of Revelation. Most of the quotes are from the Public Domain King James Bible, not because I superstitiously believe it is more accurate, which it is not, but because copyright rules do not allow extensive quotation of most modern translations.
Being brought up on the KJV when it was popular, I have learned to read the words in modern English, for instance, pronouncing things like “readeth” as “reads,” “hath” as “has,” “saith” as “says” and so on. May I challenge you to do the same. If you prefer another translation, may I suggest simply placing it in front of you as you follow along in this study.
Revelation 1:1-2 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.
Is this the revealing of the meaning of the 4 horses, 7 seals, 666, 1000 years, 144 thousand, Armageddon, Babylon, Beast, Gog, Magog, Harlot, Lampstands, Olive Trees, and Trumpets? The first sentence gives us the purpose of the book. It is NOT primarily the revelation of such symbols, it is primarily the revelation or UNVEILING OF a person. Both meanings (ABOUT and BY Jesus) are relevant in a sentence which is perhaps purposefully ambiguous in both English and Greek. In the same manner, it is also the TESTIMONY about and by that same person, Jesus Christ.
Revelation 1:3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.
It is easy to dismiss Revelation as too mysterious to understand, or not central to Christian teaching. However, those who do, also dismiss the promised blessing for reading the book. Let’s not miss that blessing, and keep reading together.
Revelation 1:4-6 John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Whether the seven spirits are the seven angels of the seven churches or the seven-fold Holy Spirit is a question among theologians. Revelation is a letter addressed to seven churches in the geographical area of modern day western Turkey. The ancient style of epistle is obvious. It is also in another genre, called the apocalyptic genre, which we will come to see.
Revelation 1:7 Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.
Next we notice that at His return, Jesus will be visible, not invisible. This was also attested to at the ascension of Jesus. “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11) The theory of a secret return is a departure from this testimony.
Revelation 1:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord [God], which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
The Word “God” [in square brackets] is in the original Greek and most modern translations include it here. The words “the beginning and the ending” are from Revelation 22:13. God the Father and later God the Son, are both described as alpha and omega. Though this prophecy describes the dragon and the beast, we know that the end will be the same as the beginning, God reigns and all false gods are temporary. The Almighty means the ruler of all.
Revelation 1:9 I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Independent evidence suggests that John was a prisoner on Patmos.
Revelation 1:10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,