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It was affirmed by Justin Martyr b. It was affirmed by Clement of Alexandria c. It was affirmed by Hippolytus d.

Revelation - Introduction

It was affirmed by Origin e. It was affirmed by Irenaeus 2. In chapters the writer seems to be over the churches of the province of Asia and strong tradition places the Apostle John in this position 6 4. Style is a major objection to apostolic authorship, however, this can be answered: 7 a. The work reflects a lot of apocalyptic reading behind it c. If it was written in exile, the tools for a scholarly approach may have been absent d.

There is a mood of emotional excitement which may not have lent itself to polished prose e. There may have been the help of an amanuensis f. It is not written as an Apostle, but as a prophet g. The curious language may be related to the setting forth of divine oracles and visions B. Internal Evidence : 1.

The writer calls himself John , 9; 2. The writer speaks with great authority as a prophet ; , 3. The writer demonstrates himself to be a Palestinian Jew steeped in temple and synagogue rituals, the OT and the Targum 4. The writer calls himself John without any further description, therefore, he must have been well known 8 5.

Many similarities exist between the Apocalypse and other writings of John: a. There is the sharp contrast between good and evil 9 III. There are two primary views concerning the time this book was written 1. Early in the seventh decade of the first century during the reign of Nero 2. This is probably the better choice: a. The churches of Asia Minor have a considerable history ; b. The persecution of Domitian was more universal than that of Nero which was centralized in Rome c.

If Revelation , 11, concerning the beast has the Nero redivivus myth in mind, then this too would support a Domitian date since it would probably take until the time of Domitian for the myth to fully develop 12 IV. The immediate destination for the book was the churches of Asia Minor described in chapters 1.

What I'm saying is: there's no doubt that some of the descriptions of the second coming were foreshadowed in AD 70 for these early Christians, but it was not the complete fulfilment as we clearly see from the book of the Revelation. The historicist speaks to us of Church history, and there is no doubt that there are parallels for many of these passages. The idealist looks at principles that are right throughout in the symbols, and there's no doubt that they are there.

But let us not rob the book of its essential prophetic nature: it's telling us about some things that are going to happen! Now here are the reasons why we must look at this book from a futurist perspective. One: the futurist interpretation is the only scheme where the literal, grammatical, historical rule of interpretation is intact. Let me take time for this: literal, if it says what it says, that's what it means; grammatical, whatever it literally says in the Greek language, that's what it means; historical, whatever it says in the historical context and culture - pulling those three together, that is the rule of sound interpretation right throughout the whole Bible, and here as well.

If the plain sense makes sense, seek no other sense. Now that is not espousing a wooden literalness when we come to the Bible. It's not a denial of the symbolism of the book of Revelation, but it is an acknowledgement that these signs and symbols in Revelation represent actual biblically interpretable realities. They are symbols and signs, yes, but they represent real things, literal things that are going to happen.

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If you have a working knowledge, particularly of the Old Testament, you will be able to interpret the majority of the symbols in this book, if not all. It's the only consistent method of interpreting the book of Revelation. The second reason for futurism is that it's the only view that harmonises the Old Testament and New Testament prophetical passages. Now, while there have been partial fulfilments of some Old Testament prophecies, and there have been foreshadowings of many of those prophecies, it is only the future events of the book of the Revelation that will bring them to completion - and there we see them coming to consummation and conclusion.

The third reason for a futurist approach is that it fits the chronological outline that John himself gives us in chapter 1 and verse The Lord tells him: 'Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which are to come'. Now that simply says, as an outline - if you look at the screen, you'll maybe not see too much of it - but you will see there in that first column at the very beginning the things that you have seen, and he's speaking of the vision of Jesus Christ, that we will look at probably next week.

The things which he has seen, the vision of Christ; the things which are - and when he speaks of the things which are in this next column, he's talking about the seven churches of Asia Minor that he deals with in chapter 2 and chapter 3, they were existent in his day. The things which are to come are the events that chapter 4 of Revelation right through to the end of the book speak of, things that are future: the tribulation period, the seven seals, the seven trumpets, the seven key figures, the seven vials or bowls, and then we find the Lord coming and setting up His earthly kingdom and reigning for a thousand years, and then the eternal state and so on.

So John gives us that outline: the things that you have seen; the things which are, the churches; and the things which are yet to be. Let me give you a classic example of the significance of how your method of interpretation relates to your understanding of this book. Turn with me to chapter 20, this is a passage of Scripture that talks about Christ reigning for a thousand years on the earth, it's the famous millennium passage.

Now the amillennialist school, if you look up at the screen, they spiritualise this passage and tell us that the first resurrection here is spiritual conversion. They say that the millennium, the thousand years, is a symbol of the church age, the period that we are now living in, which is also the tribulation - we're going through tribulation now, but we're also going through the reign of Christ in our lives, and then Christ will come and return and take us effectively into the eternal state.

Now what they, in effect, do if they spiritualise the book of the Revelation, and they spiritualise other Old Testament prophecies - I don't have time to go into it, but historically speaking what you're doing is using the Alexandrian interpretation that was later adopted, after Origen and other church fathers, by Augustine.

It filtered its way into Roman Catholicism, and then eventually into Reformed theology, and it's still with us today in amillennialism.

Introduction to Revelation and Verses 1-3 (Study of Daniel and Revelation)

You can see the danger of spiritualising and not taking this book literally. Then there is post-millennialism, again they see, as amillennialism, the first resurrection as a spiritual conversion, they see the church age and the millennium running together, but they believe that the preaching of the gospel and an improvement in humanity in general, like evolution but in a religious sense, will usher in the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and the eternal state.

They do the same as amillennialism, they spiritualise, but they actually invert the biblical order, because the Bible says things will get worse and worse and the Lord Jesus will come and He, at His coming, will usher in a better age in the millennial reign. Then there is pre-millennialism, which is the futurist approach.

It reads as the Bible is written, and as prophecy is written. It harmonises the prophecies in the Bible together, Old and New Testament, and it keeps the biblical distinctions that we have within the Bible, God's prophetic plan of history is not only for the church but it is for Israel, it is for the Gentiles and it is for the church. It keeps the biblical distinctions and yet marries together prophetic scripture in perfect harmony. Now, finally, if you'll bear with me for five minutes: the message of the book. Sweet says this, and it is profound, and I want to spend a bit of time on it: 'In form this is an epistle', never forget that, this is a letter to seven churches that was circulated around Asia Minor.

Warren Weirsbe puts it well, who is a pre-millennialist and a futurist, he says this: 'Do not get lost in the details, but try to see the big picture and keep in mind that John wrote this book to encourage believers who were going through persecution. Every generation of Christians has had its antichrist and Babylon, and the hope of the Lord's return has kept those saints going when the going was tough'.


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Now, yes, it is speaking of the future - hope for tomorrow - but that hope for tomorrow is meant to give you strength for today. It has an application for today: it was a book that wasn't originally given to these early saints to satisfy their curiosity about the future, it was given to them pastorally to comfort them, to give them hope for the days that lay ahead. Remember what we said: it was written by John, a persecuted Christian; it was written to the churches of Asia Minor, persecuted churches; and it was written for the purposes of encouraging and exhorting them, by reassuring them of this central fact - don't miss it - Jesus Christ controls the course and the climax of history!

The course and climax of history is in His control! That's why I chose the title 'Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow', because our present difficulties, your difficulties now, have a connection with the future. The central message of this book is clear: God is in control of history, Christ is coming back and He will come in judgement, rewarding those who have remained faithful to Him. Irrespective of what interpretation you have, or what method you use, the central idea on which we all should agree is: Christ will return some time in the future, and that will be a welcome sight to His people, will it not?

Warren Weirsbe puts it well: 'We are not the planning committee for the second advent, but we are the welcoming committee'. Our hope and prayer is, as John's, 'Even so, come Lord Jesus'. Can I finish with this story that I think ties together these two aspects: strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow, the fact that this book points us to the future but roots us in spiritual principles in the present. It's from the persecuted church in China, it's a conversation that was overheard by an author between an American pastor and a Chinese church leader.

This is how it went, and I'll just read it as it is, the American pastor asked the Chinese leader: 'What book in the Bible is most precious to you? The Chinese pastor said: 'Well, probably the book of Revelation, because The Chinese pastor: 'That too, but we don't just take Revelation to be a description of the way the world will end, we see it also as a description of the way the world is now'. He agreed, 'Yes it is, but I am telling you that it is also a description of the way the world is now. Suffering has made this clear to us in China, clearly prosperity has hidden this from you in America'.

As in Revelation, he used a beast to coerce us, communism; and a false prophet to beguile us, false bishops. When we resisted this idolatry with the testimony of the Lamb, we were slaughtered and jailed. In this way we saw that Revelation is a description of spiritual warfare that always goes in any society, including yours'. The American pastor said, 'But it's not going on in America today - you say we have that hidden from us, what do you mean? You could not miss that Mao Tse Tung was setting himself up as an idol and demanding worship, so the veil was removed and we saw the world as it really is - a place where idols are demanding our worship.

But this is not obvious to you in America because it is more subtle'. The pastor from America said: 'Maybe it's not happening at all, we are a Christian country and we have a Christian president'. The Chinese pastor said: 'I tell you, there are Caesars or idols in your society just as much as in ours, and even in your churches - and there are false prophets telling you that the idolatry is biblical, and beasts coercing you. For example, your Caesar may not be a person but an idea.

Introduction to the book of Revelation

In our fellowship', he said, 'we have a clever young man who lived with an American family for a year whilst studying. The couple was generous, but he noticed something about them: they were always exhausted. Both worked incredibly hard, though they had plenty of money.

They had three cars, two homes, expensive country club memberships - and, as far as he could tell, gave only a minimum to the Lord's work.


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  5. He told us: I felt so sorry for them, they thought they were free but they were slaves. They were dropping from exhaustion because they had to live up to something called the American dream, but they never knew that the pursuit of that life had stolen their heart from Christ'. The Chinese pastor said: 'You're right, and this is what we are afraid of here in China. Consumerism clutters up life so much that' - listen to this - 'we fail to see the world as it is: full of idols trying to steal our worship from God'.

    Revelation is about the future, but do not miss its message for the present. It doesn't just describe the world as it will be, but that iniquity works already - it describes the world as it is! May we see that in the weeks that lie ahead of us. October www. All material by David Legge is copyrighted. However, these materials may be freely copied and distributed unaltered for the purpose of study and teaching, so long as they are made available to others free of charge, and this copyright is included.

    This does not include hosting or broadcasting the materials on another website, however linking to the resources on preachtheword.

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    These materials may not, in any manner, be sold or used to solicit 'donations' from others, nor may they be included in anything you intend to copyright, sell, or offer for a fee. This copyright is exercised to keep these materials freely available to all. Any exceptions to these conditions must be explicitly approved by Preach The Word. Listen or Download: Click the play button to listen. Right-click or hold down on the Cloud icon to download MP3 audio.

    Read: Read or print the word-for-word transcript below for further study. This book is a revelation of Jesus Christ, not in the sense that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John revealed Him, but rather than the humiliated Christ, we have in Revelation an unveiling for us of the exalted and glorified Jesus Christ So many people get caught up with the intricate details concerning future events, that they miss the point that the Lord Jesus Christ is the chief subject of this book This is the only book that begins with this pronounced blessing upon those who read it, hear it and obey it Oh to God that you would listen with responsive hearts, and then it could be said of you that you're not only blessed because you're reading too and you're listening, but you are doing, you are obeying this word Whatever persuasion you are prophetically and theologically when it comes to prophecy, surely you have to agree that the coming of the Lord is at hand?

    We must face, all of us, whatever our prophetic persuasion, the fact that this is the only book in 66 books of the Bible that is called 'a Revelation' - the opposite of a dark concealment! Though we cannot understand absolutely everything contained within it, we must say tonight upon the authority of God's word that the total significance and focal message of this apocalypse is plain to the ordinary man and woman, it has to be if God's word is true Let us not rob the book of its essential prophetic nature: it's telling us about some things that are going to happen!

    John gives us that outline: the things that you have seen; the things which are, the churches; and the things which are yet to be Christ will return some time in the future, and that will be a welcome sight to His people, will it not? Warren Weirsbe puts it well: 'We are not the planning committee for the second advent, but we are the welcoming committee' Select a Study Series Choose a study series Wonder Of His Name, The.

    Translate This Page. In the Bible, good examples can be found in chapters of Daniel and chapter 24 of Matthew. Revelation takes its name from the first word of the book, apokalypsis , which is Greek for revelation. Thus, in the opening sentence, we are made aware that we are about to hear a message which was given: a from God, b to Jesus, c to an angel, d to John, e to the servants of God.

    Apart from a few exceptions where Jesus speaks directly to John, John is guided through the vision by the angel. Revelation, therefore, purports to be a message from God himself, though it comes by way of an angel and John. This position is supported by the writings of Irenaeus, who lived within a generation of John and had mutual acquaintances with him. In recent years, especially since World War II, some scholars have objected to this view on the basis that there are marked differences in style between Revelation, John's gospel, and the epistles of John.

    Furthermore, Revelation does not specify that the John who wrote it is the apostle of the same name. Those who defend the traditional view have countered that these works represent three different genres; were written at different times, under different circumstances, and possibly with the assistance of different amanuenses; and that there is no likely alternative in that time period by the name of John who has the necessary background.

    Where dissenters see differences in style, supporters of apostolic authorship claim that there are significant similarities between Revelation and the other Johannine works. It has also been suggested that Revelation was not written by just one author, but by several, and that possibly an original Jewish apocalypse was later updated by a Christian writer.

    The main objection to this hypothesis is that Revelation displays a clearly-defined structure and an overall unity of form and style which make multiple authors unlikely. Some modern scholars dispute this date. For further discussion, see the Wikipedia article entitled Book of Revelation. The location of writing was the island of Patmos, which was one of several islands in the Aegean which were used as penal colonies or places of exile by the Roman authorities.

    If one looks at a modern map, one finds Patmos in the southern Aegean, less than forty miles from the Turkish mainland. However, like most of the numerous islands in the Aegean, it is actually within the boundaries of Greece. It is about sixty miles southwest of the site of Ephesus and about a hundred and fifty miles east of Athens.

    It is of volcanic origin and is barren and rocky. It is about ten miles by six, but due to its irregular shape, it has a total area of only about twenty-five square miles, rising to about eight hundred feet at its highest point. Today, there are about three thousand inhabitants, who are centered around the main town of Scala.

    Matthew Henry :: Introduction to Revelation

    Near the town, there is a cave in which John is believed to have lived, and there is also a monastery named after him. Religious persecution had traditionally not been a practice of the Roman Empire. On the contrary, Rome had been extremely tolerant of different faiths until the time of Nero, who ruled from 54 to 68 A. Nero himself did not persecute Christians until 64 A. A significant development, however, was the practice of emperor worship. The seeds were being sown as early as the time of Julius Caesar, who after his death in 44 B.

    In 29 B. Caligula A. Domitian A. Glasson writes:.