Summary: We are at the beginning of the twenty first century and it appears that we are emerging from under the ominous threat of nuclear holocaust that marked the cold war.
THE REVELATION OF JESUS
We are at the beginning of the twenty first century and it appears that we are emerging from under the ominous threat of nuclear holocaust that marked the cold war.
Yet even as some preach that safety and peace is at hand, others warn of new possibilities for global catastrophe through the widespread destruction of our ecology. Many still prognosticate the end of the world.
How will history end? How will our world end? Will it end?
That is the theme of the last book of the New Testament. Originally known as the Apocalypse, which means “unveiling” or “disclosure”, of things known only to God. This book pulls the curtain back to reveal the end of the world.
What we find is a dramatic story told in a language that is quite hard to understand. Nevertheless, the ultimate point is grasped, Jesus is the Lord over all!
Everything around us changes, but He remains the same. He is the alpha and omega, the beginning and the End....who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty. 1:8
Around 96 A.D. something exciting happened on a rocky, desolate, six by ten mile island in the Aegean Sea. The Apostle John was banished to this island because of his faith in Jesus.
Ordered by the Lord himself to write down all that he saw and heard.
What we have in our hands, the book of Revelation, has been one of the most, if not the most debated book in the Bible.
Throughout history people have offered various interpretations to try to explain its meaning. It is important to understand that the book is written in a genre known as apocalyptic. Apocalyptic literature seeks to reveal divine mysteries that would otherwise remain hidden.
The problem is that sometimes what they try to reveal remains hidden. i.e. Daniel, Ezequiel, Zechariah.
If these writings are to supposed to reveal hidden realities, why are they so hard to understand?
One reason is that apocalyptic writings tend to appear during times of great danger. Thus the writer may find it safer to hide his meaning in images that his readers will understand but his opponents will not. We would call it encoding.
John wrote during the reign of the Roman emperor Domitian (A.D. 81-96). He was the first Roman emperor to demand that the entire empire honor him as “Lord and God.”
John, exiled by Domitian, may have been warning the believers not to give in to the emperor’s wishes.
In addition to the danger of the times, another reason apocalyptic material is hard to understand, John is trying to convey heavenly realities in earthly terms.
i.e. a 747
He runs out of words in his efforts to describe the indescribable. Therefore he resorts to metaphors and symbols to express what he has seen, heard and experienced.
So then, how should we interpret this book?
Look at handout
Let’s go to the text!
Why should we study Revelation?
1st A special blessing is promised to those who read, hear and take to heart the words of the book.
2nd It reveals God’s plan for the future.
3rd Revelation gives clearer detail concerning Bible prophecy than any other book in the Bible.