Summary: The first 3 chapters of Revelation have often been seen as separate from the rest of the book. But that doesn't make any sense. Why would Jesus spend 3 chapters on local churches who were not part of the rest of the story?
OPEN: This morning I’m going to teach you a little about something that’s called “Hermeneutics”. Hermeneutics is the description of how to read and understand your Bible.
When I was in Bible College I had a professor who told us that whenever the Bible had a lot to say on a given topic, almost every scholar was unanimous in agreement as to what the Bible said on those topics. BUT, whenever there are only 2 or 3 verses on a given topic there will be a whole host of opinions by various scholars on what the Bible meant.
II Timothy 3:16-17 tells us: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”
So all Scripture is God-breathed.
It’s all good stuff.
Every verse and every chapter has power and meaning.
But a few years back, it occurred to me that although every verse is God’s Word, God has a tendency to spend more time and ink on certain things in the Bible than he does on others.
Genesis has 50 chapters and covers a time period of about 2000 years. As you can imagine, there’s a lot of early history that Genesis doesn’t tell us about.
But by contrast, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy have a total of 137 chapters and cover only 120 years of God’s history.
One book – Genesis – covers about 2000 years.
Four books – Exodus thru Deuteronomy – cover 120 years.
Where’s God’s focus? Where’s He spending His ink and paper?
Well, obviously on those four books.
That’s not to say Genesis is unimportant. It tells us of the beginnings of God’s creation and of Israel… and lays the foundation for everything else we believe about God.
But the next four books focus on God’s righteousness and His expectations of His people, and obviously God felt it was important to spend His ink and paper on telling His people these things.
Now, in the Old Testament there are 3 sections.
There’s HISTORY and POETRY and PROPHECY.
The History section consists of one long continuous story from Genesis thru Esther.
The Poetry section is only 5 books.
And the Prophecy section is made up of the 5 major prophets and the 12 minor prophets.
The History books make up almost half of your Old Testament.
And the Prophecy section takes up almost the other half.
Now God used poetry because it speaks to people in ways that no other literature can. But let me repeat, the History section is almost half of your Old Testament and the Prophecy section makes up almost the other half.
Well, the history is valuable because it shows how God interacts with His people.
And the prophecy is valuable because it shows God’s judgment on nations, and (more importantly) it tells us that SOMEBODY’S coming.
That’s right - Jesus is coming!
Now, let’s go to the New Testament.
The Book of Acts has 28 chapters and covers about 10 years of the church’s existence.
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John have 89 chapters that focus mostly on the last 3 ½ years of Jesus’ life (and even more intently on the last week of his earthly ministry).
ONE book (Acts) with 28 chapters covered 10 years of church history.
FOUR books with 98 chapters (Matthew thru John) focused on 3 ½ years of Christ’s ministry.
Where was God spending His ink and paper?
That’s right – the Gospels.
And that makes sense because the Gospels tell us all about Jesus.
It doesn’t mean Acts is unimportant… it just means the Gospels are more so.
The Gospels lay the foundation of what everything else in the New Testament is all about.
Now let’s look at how God constructed the New Testament.
God gave us 5 books of history (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Acts).
And then there are 21 books/letters telling us how we ought to live our lives as Christians.
Five books of history, 21 books telling how to live.
And how many books of prophecy?
One book. Revelation.
So, there’s ONE book of prophecy… and 21 books telling us how we ought to live our lives.
Where’s God spending His TIME and His INK?
That’s right, God is mostly focused on how we should live.
But now, if you listen to the TV evangelists… where do most of them spend most (if not ALL) of their time?
They make lots of money on their books and teaching videos and appearances.
But they focus principally - if not entirely - on this one book of prophecy.
Let me repeat: Revelation is an important book.
All Scripture is God-breathed… it’s all valuable.