Revelation

Reading 1,06 - 22 Chapters - 404 verses - 12,000 words




Vital Statistics


 Purpose:  To reveal the full identity of Christ and to give warning and hope to believers 
 Author:  The apostle John
 Original audience:  The seven churches in Asia, and all believers everywhere 
 Date written:  Approximately A.D. 95 from Patmos 
 Setting:  Most scholars believe that the seven churches of Asia to whom John writes were experiencing the persecution that took place under Emperor Domitian (A.D. 90-95). it seems that the Roman authorities had exiled John to the island of Patmos (off the coast of Asia)
 John, who had been an eyewitness of the incarnate Christ, had a vision of the glorified Christ. God also revealed to John what would take place in the future - judgment and the ultimate triumph of God over evil      
 Key verse Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near. (1:3)
 Key people:  John, Jesus 
 Key places:  Patmos, the seven churches, the new Jerusalem 
 Special features:  Revelation is written in "apocalyptic" from - a type of Jewish literature that uses symbolic imagery to communicate hope (in the ultimate triumph of God) to those in the midst of persecution. The events are ordered according to literary, rather than strictly chronological, patterns   


Author


    Four times the author identifies himself as John (1:1,4,9; 22:8). From as early as Justin Martyr in the second century A.D. it was been held that this John was the apostle, the son of Zebedee (Mt 10:2). The book itself reveals that the author was a Jew, well versed in Scripture, a church leader who was well known to the seven churches of Asia Minor, and a deeply religious person fully convinced that the Christian faith would soon triumph over the demonic forces at work in the world. 

    In the third century, however, an African bishop named Dionysius compared the language, style and thought of the Apocalypse (Revelation) with that of the other writings of John and decide that the book could not have been written by the apostle John. He suggested that the author was a certain John the Presbyter, whose name appears elsewhere in ancient writings. Although many today follow Dionysius in his view of authorship, the external evidence seems overwhelmingly supportive of the traditional view.  



Date


    Revelation was written when Christians were entering a time of persecution. The two periods most often mentioned are latter part of Nero's reign (A.D. 54-68) and the latter part of Domitian's reign (81-96). Most interpreters date the book c. 95. (A few suggest a date during the reign of Vespasian: 69-79).


Occasion


    Since Roman authorities at this time were beginning to enforce emperor worship, Christians - who held that Christ, not Caesar, was Lord - were facing increasing hostility. The believers at Smyrna are warned against coming opposition (2:10), and the church at Philadelphia is told of an hour of trial coming on the world (3:10). Antipas has already given his life (2:13) along with others (6:9). John has been exiled to the island of Patmos (probably the site of a Roman penal colony) for his activities as a Christian missionary (1:9). Some within the church are advocating a policy of compromise (2:14-15,20), which has to be corrected before its subtle influence can undermine the determination of believers to stand fast in the perilous day that lie ahead. 


Purpose


    John writes to encourage the faithful to resist staunchly the demands of emperor worship. He informs his readers that the final showdown between God and Satan is imminent. Satan will increase his persecution of believers, but they must stand fast, even to death. They are sealed against any spiritual harm and will soon be vindicated when CHrist returns, when the wicked are forever destroyed, and when God's people enter an eternity of glory and blessedness. 


Literary Form


    For an adequate understanding of Revelation, the reader must recognize that it is a distinct kind of literature. Revelation is apocalyptic, a kind of writing that is highly symbolic. Although its visions often seem bizarre to the Western reader, fortunately the book provides a number of clues for its own interpretation (e.g., stars are angels, lampstands are churches, 1:20; "the great prostitute," 17:1, is "Babylon" [Rome?}, 17:5,18; and the heavenly Jerusalem is the wife of the Lamb, 21:9-10).


Distinctive Feature


    A distinctive feature is the frequent use of the number seven (52 times). The are seven beatitudes (1:3), seven churches (1:4,11), seven spirits (1:4), seven golden lampstands (1:12), seven stars (1:16), seven seals (5:1), seven horns and seven eyes (5:6), seven trumpets (8:2), seven thunders (10:3), seven signs (12:1,3; 13:13-14; 15:1; 16:14; 19:20), seven crowns (12:3), seven plagues (15:6), seven golden bowls (15:7), seven hills (17:9), and seven kings (17:10), as well as other sevens. Symbolically, the number seven stands for completeness. 


Interpretation


    Interpreters of Revelations normally fall into four groups:

    1. Preterists understand the book exclusively in terms of its first-century setting, claiming that most of its events have already taken place.
    2. Historicists take it as describing the long chain of events from Patmos to the end of history.        
    3. Futurists place the boo primarily in the end times.
    4. Idealists view it as symbolic pictures of such timeless truths as the victory of good over evil. 

    Fortunately, the fundamental truths of Revelation do not depend on adopting a particular point of view. They are available to anyone who will read the book for its overall messages and resist the temptation to become overly enamored with the details.



How to read Revelation

    When the story gets so bleak and the bad guys are winning, it’s a relief to sneak a peek at the end of the book—the good guys DO win in the end! Revelation reminds us that in the end justice and mercy triumph over evil, and every sorrow is comforted. Because Jesus has won the victory over sin and death, we are exhorted to live lives consistent with God’s coming kingdom.


    This great prophecy is the climactic book of the New Testament. The four gospels describe Jesus’ life on earth. The many letters describe the ministry of the resurrected Christ. Revelation presents Jesus Christ as the glorious coming King who deserves your love, worship, and total allegiance. The assurance of his ultimate victory gives each of us courage to persevere in the midst of life’s challenges. Our confidence lies in the hope that the world will “become the Kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ. He will reign forever and ever!” (Rev 11:15).   



Revelation Interpretive Challenges


No other NT book poses more serious and difficult interpretive challenges than Revelation. The book’s vivid imagery and striking symbolism have produced four main interpretive approaches:


  1. The preterist approach interprets Revelation as a description of first-century events in the Roman Empire. This view conflicts with the book’s own often repeated claim to be prophecy (1:3; 22:7, 10, 18, 19). It is impossible to see all events in Revelation as already fulfilled. The second coming of Christ, for example, obviously did not take place in the first century.


  1. The historicist approach views Revelation as a panoramic view of church history from apostolic times to the present— seeing in the symbolism such events as the barbarian invasions of Rome, the rice of the Roman Catholic Church (as well as various individual popes). the emergence of Islam, and the French Revolution. This interpretive method robs Revelation of any meaning for those to whom it was written. It also ignores the time limitations the book itself place on the unfolding events (cf. 11:2; 12:6, 14; 13:5). Historicism has produced many different— and often conflicting— interpretations of the actual historical events contained in Revelation.    


  1. The idealist approach interprets Revelation as a timeless depiction of the cosmic struggle between the forces of good and evil. In this views, the book contains neither historical allusions nor predictive prophecy. This view also ignores Revelation’s prophetic character and, if carried to its logical conclusión, serves the book from any connection with actual historical events. Revelation then becomes merely a collection of stories designed to teach spiritual truth.


  1. The futurist approach insists that the events of chaps. 6-22 are yet future, and that those chapters literally and symbolically depict actual people and events yet to appear on the world scene. It describes the events surrounding the second coming of Jesus Christ (chaps. 6-19), the Millennium and final judgment (chap. 20), and the eternal state (chaps. 21, 22). Only this view does justice to Revelation’s claim to be prophecy and interprets the book by the same grammatical-historical method as chaps. 1-3 and the rest of Scripture.       

 



Outline


I. Introduction (1:1-8)

A. Prologue (1:1-3)

B. Greetings and Doxology (1:4-8)

II. Jesús among the Seven Churches (1:9-20)


III. The Letters to the Seven Churches (chs. 2-3)

A. Ephesus (2:1-7)

B. Smyrna (2:8-11)

C. Pergamum (2:12-17)

D. Thyatira (2:18-29)

E. Sardis (3:1-6)

F. Philadelphia (3:7-13)

G. Laodicea (3:14-22)

IV. The Throne, the Scroll and the Lamb (chs. 4-5)

A. The Throne in Heaven (ch.4)

B. The Seven-Sealed Scroll (5:1-5)

C. The Lamb Slain (5:6-14)

V. The Seven Seals (6:1-8:1)

A. First Seal: The White Horse (6:1-2)

B. Second Seal: The Red Horse (6:3-4)

C. Third Seal: The Black Horse (6:5-6)

D. Fourth Seal: The Pale Horse (6:7-8)

E. Fifth Seal: The Souls under the Altar (6:9-11)

F. Sixth Seal: The Great Earthquake (6:12-17)

G. The Sealing of the 144,000 (7:1-8)

H. The Great Multitude (7:9-17)

I.   Seventh Seal: SIlence in Heaven (8:1)

VI. The Seven Trumpets (8:2-11:19)

A. Introduction (8:2-5)

B. First Trumpet: Hail and Fire Mixed with Blood (8:6-7)

C. Second Trumpet: A Mountain Thrown into the Sea (8:8-9)

D. Third Trumpet: The Star Wormwood (8:10-11)

E. Fourth Trumpet: A Third of the Sun, Moon and Stars Struck (8:12-13)

F. Fifth Trumpet: The Plague of Locusts (9:1-12)

G. Sixth Trumpet: Release of the Four Angels (9:13-21)

H. The Angel and the Little Scroll (ch.10)

I.   The Two Witnesses (11:1-14)

J. Seventh trumpet: Judgments and Rewards (11:15-19)

VII. Various Personages and Events (chs. 12-14)

A. The Woman and the Dragon (ch.12)

B. The Two Beasts (ch.13)

C. The Lamb and the 144,000 (14:1-5)

D. The Harvest of the Earth (14:6-20)

VIII. The Seven Bowls (chs.15-16)

A. Introduction> The Song of Moses and the Seven Angels with the Seven Plagues (ch.15)

B. First Bowl: Ugly and Painful Sores (16:1-2)

C. Second Bowl: Sea Turn to Blood (16:3)

D. Third Bowl: Rivers and Spring of Water Become Blood (16:4-7)

E. Fourth Bowl: SUn Scorches People with Fire (16:8-9)

F. Fifth Bowl: Darkness (16:10-11)

G. Sixth Bowl: Euphrates River Dries Up (16:12-16)

H. Seventh Bowl: Tremendous Earthquake (16:17-21)

IX.Babylon: The Great Prostitute (17:1-19:5)

A. Babylon Described (ch.17)

B. The Fall of Babylon (ch.18)

C. Praise for Babylon’s Fall (19:1-5)

X. Praise for the Wedding of the Lamb (19:6-10)


XI. The Return of Christ (19:11-21)


XII. The Thousand Years (20:1-6)


XIII. Satan’s Doom (20:7-10)


XIV. Great White Throne Judgment (20:11-15)


XV. New Heaven, New Earth, New Jerusalem (21:1-22:5)


XVI. Conclusion and Benediction (22:6-21)





Revelation Horizontal



What you have seen

(1:19)


Introduction

Prologue (1:1-3)

Greetings and Doxology (1:4-8)

John’s Vision of Christ  (1:9-20)





What is now

(1:19)






The Letters to the Seven Churches

(caps. 2-3)




To Ephesus  (2:1-7)

To Smyrna  (2:8-11)

To Pergamum  (2:12-17)

To Thyatira  (2:18-29)

To Sardis  (3:1-6)

To Philadelphia (3:7-13)

To Laodicea (3:14-22)

















What will take place later

(1:19)

The Throne in Heaven and the Scroll and the Lamb

(caps.4-5)

The Throne in Heaven (cap. 4)

Scroll and seven seals (5:1-5)

The Lamb been slain (5:6-14)








The 7 Seals     

(6:1-8:1)

1 First Seal: white horse (6:1-2)

2 Second Seal: horse fiery red one  (6:3-4)

3 Third seal: black horse (6:5-6)

4 Fourth seal: pale horse (6:7-8)

5 Fifth seal: souls of those had been slain  (6:9-11)

6 Sixth seal: great earthquake  (6:12-17)

144,000 Sealed  (7:1-8)

The Great Multitude in White Robes (7:9-17)

7 Seventh Seal: silence in heaven (8:1)







The 7 Trumpets   

(8:2-11:19)

The Seven Trumpets (8:2-5)

1 First Trumpet: hail and fire mixed with blood (8:6-7)

2 Second Trumpet: a huge mountain into the se  (8:8-9)

3 Third Trumpet: great star  (8:10-11)

4 Fourth Trumpet: third of the sun, moon, stars, was struck (8:12-13)

5 Fifth Trumpet: locust came down on the earth (9:1-12)

6 Sixth Trumpet: Release the four angels  (9:13-21)

The Angel and the Little Scroll (cap. 10)

The Two Witnesses  (11:1-14)

7 The Seventh Trumpet  (11:15-19)


Various characters and events

(Cáp. 12-14)

The Woman and the Dragon (cap. 12)

The Two Bests  (cap.13)

The Lamb and the 144,000 (14:1-5)

Harvesting the Earth and Trampling the Winepress (14:6-20)







The Seven Plagues

(Cáp. 15-16)

Seven Angels with Seven Plagues (cap.15)

1 First bowl: festering sores on people had the mark of beast  (16:1-2)

2 Second bowl: sea turned blood (16:3)

3 copa: los ríos y los manantiales se convierten en sangre (16:4-7)

4 Fourth bowl: the sun was allowed to scorch people with fire  (16:8-9)

5 Fifth bowl: throne of the beast, into darkness (16:10-11)

6 Sixth bowl: Euphrates dried up (16:12-16)

7 Seventh bowl: earthquake  (17:17-21)

Babylon, the Prostitute on the Beast

(17:1-19:5)

Punishment of the great prostitute (cap. 17)

Lament over fallen Babylon (cap.18)

Threefold Hallelujah over Babylon’s fall  (19:1-5)

Great multitude (19:6-10)

The Heavenly warrior defeats the beast (19:11-21)

The Thousand Years  (20:1-6)

The Judgment of Satan (20:7-10)

The Judgment of the Dead (20:11-15)

A New HEaven and a New Earth (21:1-22:5)

It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega  (22:6-21)


Notes