Summary: A recap of the teaching already given on Revelation, chapters 1 through 6.
In Daniel 12:4, the prophet is commanded by the angel-interpreter: “Close up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end.”
Directly contrasting that, John, the writer of Revelation, is commanded by an angel: “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of the book, because the time is near.”
The Revelation to John is revealed as an open book intended to be read by believers for the purpose of encouraging them to keep their faith strong in during a time of great suffering.
Let me start by sharing who God is talking to in this book. It is not us, today’s Christians. What we see in a study of the Bible is that God has primarily dealt with the Hebrew nation (Jews) all the way through the Old Testament and even in the New Testament up until Jesus died upon the Cross.
All this time, God kept trying to bring mankind back into loving fellowship with Him, but they kept ignoring Him and following their own sinful desires. Finally, He sent His Son to show us the way back to Him. And even though many Jews did receive Jesus as their Messiah, the nation itself did not. So, when Jesus died, God opened up His gift of salvation to everyone on earth, no matter who they were.
And He continues to offer that same gift of salvation today to anyone who will accept it through Jesus. There will come a day, however, when He closes that door. From that point on, God will again deal primarily with the Jewish nation.
We are in the “church age”. We are referred to as “the people in the parenthesis”. Let me clarify that. From the beginning of time until Saul dropped to his face on the road he was traveling on, God worked primarily with the Israelites. When Saul fell down and received Jesus, things changed. Now, Paul, as he would become known, was given a calling from Jesus to preach to the Gentiles since the Jewish nation had rejected Jesus.
And from that moment until the coming Rapture, God will be working primarily through the Gentiles. That would be us. From the Rapture until the end of the Tribulation, God will be working primarily through the Jews once again. Hence, we are the people in the middle; the people in the parenthesis; the church age.
The book of Revelation was written, not so that we could learn some interesting things, but to help those in the Tribulation period have something to hold on to so they could keep their faith strong in the face of great persecution. It was also written to help people of that time see who Jesus really is and what He means to them.
We can use this book today to understand that God has a definite plan, and a time table for that plan, and by using it, we can see what is coming, and that encourages us to grow our own faith and to prepare ourselves spiritually so that we will be ready to meet Christ when He comes.
Tonight, we will try and give you an overview of what we have learned so far in our study of the Great Revelation.
There is some who question whether the John that wrote this book is the Apostle John. While some think that, most agree that it is the one and the same man. John was a pastor and a theologian, but he was also an artist. He had been given the ability to paint vivid pictures of Godly things, using nothing but words.
He is being held as a prisoner on the Greek island of Patmos, because he was being persecuted for preaching and teaching about Jesus Christ. While he was there, he received a vision.
In Revelation 1:10 John starts by saying,
‘I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day …..’
This does not refer to Sunday as the Lord’s Day. It is referring to the Day of the Lord that is yet to come. The End Times when the Lord will pour out His wrath on a sinful world. So, we know that John was in the spirit, or praying in the Holy Spirit, when the revelation came from the Angel.
In this revelation, he is given a glimpse of heaven. He is also given information to give to the seven churches of his time. Each of these churches were sliding away from the original teaching of Jesus, and because of that, sin had started seeping into the churches.
John wrote letters to these churches, telling them the information Jesus had given him. This information was to serve as warnings to bring them back into correct alignment with the Lord.
Briefly, here is the plight of each church and the summation of the letters Jesus had John write.