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OceanSide church of Christ
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A STUDY OF REVELATION (1)
Victor M. Eskew
A. If a class is asked which book of the Bible they would like to study, many would request the book of Revelation.
B. At the outset, let’s make three points.
1. The title of the book is Revelation, not Revelations.
2. It will be impossible for us to come to absolute agreement on this book.
a. Some will read the book looking for a broad, general application.
b. Some see the book through and A.D. 70 lens.
c. Others interpret the book from an A.D. 96 standpoint.
d. Then, there is also the premillennial interpretation of the book.
3. There is a blessing pronounced on those who read the book (Rev. 1:3).
Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep the things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.
C. After the introduction to Revelation, we will be studying the book chapter-by-chapter.
1. We will have a good overview of the book.
2. We will look at some of the difficult passages.
3. We will remove some of the fear that people have of the book.
D. Let’s begin with an Introduction to Revelation.
I. THE NAME OF THE BOOK
A. The name of the book is provided for us (Rev. 1:1a).
The Revelation of Jesus Christ…
1. The Greek word translated “Revelation” is apokalupsis. Therefore, some will refer to the book as “The Apocalypse.”
a. Strong (602): disclosure
b. Thayer: laying bear, making naked, disclosure of truth, instruction, concerning things before unknown, things previously withdrawn from view are made known to all, manifestation, appearance
c. Vine: an uncovering, the drawing away of the veil of darkness
d. Vincent: the unveiling of something hidden which gives light and knowledge to those who behold it
e. Barnes: “It is used in the sense of making known what is to come, whether by words, signs, or symbols, as if a veil were lifted from what is hidden from human vision, or which is covered by the darkness of the unknown future. This is called a revelation, because the knowledge of the event is in fact made known to the world by Him who alone can see it, and in such a manner as he pleases to employ…” (e-sword).
3. This is the only book of Apocalyptic Literature in the New Testament. There are numerous examples of this kind of literature in the Old Testament.
a. Daniel 7-12
b. Isaiah 24-27
c. Ezekiel 37-41
d. Zechariah 9-12
4. Apocalyptic literature is highly symbolic.
a. The Revelation contains a host of figurative language (See Rev. 1:1).
…he sent and signified it…
1) Strong (4591): a mark
2) Thayer: to give a sign, to signify
3) Vine: to give a sign…perhaps the suggestion is that of expressing by signs
b. There are two main purposes for symbolic literature.
1) “…these books were written in dangerous times when it was safer to hide one’s message in images than to speak plainly” (Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Ronald F. Youngblood, gen. ed., “Revelation of John,” p. 1084).
2) Symbolism captures the mind and imprints its images and meanings therein.
B. Some of the titles of the commentaries on The Revelation are interesting.
1. Avenging His Holy Saints, Apostles, and Prophets by D. Gene Wood.
2. Be Victorious by Warren D. Wiersbe
3. Because the Time Is Near by John MacArthur
4. The Days of Vengeance by David Chilton
5. Have You Heard? There’s A War Going On by Eldred Echols
6. The Lion/The Lamb by Jim E. Waldron
7. The Triumph of Faith by Willie Wallace Speck
8. The Cosmic Drama by Herschel H. Hobbs
9. Worthy Is the Lamb by Ray Summers
II. THE AUTHOR OF THE BOOK
A. The authorship of the book is set forth in the first two verses of the book (Rev. 1:1-2).
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which much shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.
1. It is called, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ.” Note, however, the words that follow: “…which God gave unto him.”
a. God the Father is the original author.
b. The words come from His mind.
c. The book, therefore, is inspired, that is written by man, but given to him by God. (See I Cor. 2:9-13).
2. The message was then given to Jesus Christ (See also Rev. 1:5)
3. He “sent and signified it by his angel…”
1) Strong (32): messenger, one who bring glad tidings
2) Thayer: messenger, one who is sent, angel, a messenger from God
b. This is an angel, a created being, who does the pleasure of the Godhead. He is sent with this message to John.
4. The angel ultimately gave it to the Lord’s servant named John.
a. The external evidence for John’s authorship is abundant: Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Origen, Hippolytus, and Victorinus. NOTE: All of these men lived and wrote from A.D. 110 to A.D. 303).
b. The internal evidence.
1) The internal evidence for John’s authorship is not as powerful as the external evidence. One reason is because the nature of the book is much different that the Gospel and his three epistles.
2) There are some words, however, that are common in all five books.
a) Logos or Word (John 1:1, 14; I John 1:1; Rev. 19:13).
1) Jesus used it (John 16:33).
2) It is found seven times in I John.
3) The Revelation has it seventeen times.
1) The gospel of John (8 times)
2) I John (4 times)
3) Revelation (10 times).
1) John 1:29, 36; 21:15
2) It is found in Revelation 28 times.
B. We also know that the Holy Spirit was involved in the disclosure of the Revelation as well (See Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22).
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches…
C. A brief biography of John, the apostle
1. John was the son of Zebedee (Matt. 4:21).
2. His brother’s name was James (Matt. 4:21).
3. “His mother was probably Salome (Matt. 27:56; Mark 15:40), who may have been a sister of Mary (John 19:25), the mother of Jesus” (Nelsons, “John the Apostles, Youngblood, p. 688). If Salome is his mother, John would have been a cousin of Jesus.
4. He lived in Capernaum on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee (Mark 1:21).
5. His father owned a fishing business and was prosperous because he had hired servants (Mark 1:19-20). John and his brothers were fishermen like their father (Matt. 4:18-22; Mark 1:16-20).
6. He and his brother were called by Jesus to follow Him (Mark 1:19-20).
7. John, along with Peter and James, became part of what some refer to as Jesus’ “inner circle of disciples.”
8. He and his brother were called “Sons of Thunder” (Mark 3:17).
9. James and John desired for fire to be called down upon a Samaritan village when it rejected Jesus (Luke 9:51-56).
10. They also requested to be on the right and left hand of Jesus in His kingdom (Mark 10:35-45).
11. John and Peter were prominent figures in spreading the gospel to the Jews in Jerusalem (Acts 3-5).
12. He and Peter were also dispatched to Samaria to give unto them the Holy Spirit after their conversion (Acts 8:14-25).
13. He continued for a long time to be a pillar in the church in Jerusalem (Gal. 2:9).
14. It is believed that John wrote five books of the New Testament: The Gospel of John, I, II, and III John, and Revelation.
15. He came to be known as “The apostle of love.”
16. At some point in his life, he was banished to the isle of Patmos (Rev. 1:9).
17. He was closely associated with the church at Ephesus according to tradition.
18. Tradition also tells us that he was the only apostle to die a natural death toward the close of the first century during the reign of Trajan.
III. RECIPIENTS OF THE BOOK
A. The immediate recipients of the book are the seven churches of Asia (Rev. 1:4).
John to the seven churches which are in Asia…
B. Two things cause us to understand that the book was intended to be read and applied by all the churches.
1. A blessing is pronounced on all who read the Revelation (Rev. 1:3).
2. The number seven (7) indicates perfection. The seven churches were representative of all the churches.
C. John is very familiar with these good brethren. He writes: “…who am also your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ” (Rev. 1:9).
IV. THE PLACE OF WRITING
A. John was writing from the isle of Patmos (Rev. 1:9).
I John, whom also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.
1. Patmos is a small Greek island in the Aegean Sea.
2. It is 13.15 square miles in size.
3. Presently, the population is just under 3,000 people.
4. Chora is the capital city.
V. THE THEME OF THE BOOK
A. The theme of the book is: Victory
B. The key word is “overcome.”
1. It is used 17 times in the book.
2. It is the Greek word “nikao,” from the Greek work “nikee,” or our Nike.
3. Where the word is found:
a. Overcometh (Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21; 21:7)
b. Overcome (Rev. 11:7; 13:7; 17:14)
c. Overcame (Rev. 3:21; 12:11)
d. Conquer (Rev. 6:2)
e. Conquering (Rev. 6:2)
f. Hath prevailed (Rev. 5:5)
g. Gotten the victory (Rev. 15:2).
VI. THE KEY VERSE: Revelation 17:14
These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is the Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
VII. THE PURPOSE OF THE BOOK