OceanSide church of Christ

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Introduction (4)

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.

3.      There is a blessing pronounced on those who read the book (Rev. 1:3).


C.     After the introduction to Revelation, we will be studying the book chapter-by-chapter. 


D.    Let’s begin with an Introduction to Revelation.


I.                   THE NAME OF THE BOOK

II.                THE AUTHOR OF THE BOOK



V.                THE THEME OF THE BOOK

VI.             THE KEY VERSE:  Revelation 17:14






A.    NOTE:  The date of the book will determine how a person interprets the figures in the book of Revelation.

1.      Written before A.D. 70:  the book pertains to the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple.

2.      Written in A.D. 96:  the book pertains to the affliction of the church at the hands of the Roman Empire


B.      Arguments for the A.D. 70 date and the destruction of the city of Jerusalem.

1.      The Syriac Version of the New Testament

2.      The persecutions mentioned in the book are well-suited to the time of Nero.

3.      The reference to the fact that these were impending events.

4.      There is mention in the book of the Jews being part of the hardship these Christians were suffering. 

5.      The letter notes the activities of Judaizing teachers within the churches.

6.      The images found in Revelation indicate that the Jewish state was still in existence.

7.      The representation in the vision that the temple of Herod was still standing

8.      There is the indication that apostles other than John were still living.

9.      The date of the book is assigned to the sixth emperor of Rome

a.      Revelation 17:10


And there are seven kings:  five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.


b.      The lineage of the Roman emperors usually begins with Julius Caesar.

1)      One (Julius), two (Augustus), three (Tiberius), four (Caligula), five (Claudius), six (Nero), and seven (Galba).

a)      Note that five have fallen:  Julius through Claudius

b)      One is:  Nero (A.D. 54-68)

c)      The other is not yet come:  Domitian

2)      Milton S. Terry in Biblical Apocalyptics tells us that this order of the Caesars was the one which appears in Suetonius and Sibyline Oracles (150 to 180 A.D).  (see Wallace, p. 33).

10.  The number of the beast has been associated with the name of Nero Caesar.

a.      The number of the beast is 666 (Rev. 13:16-18)


And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their hand, or in their foreheads:  and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.  Herein is wisdom.  Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast:  for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.


b.      “It has been shown by various scholars that the Hebrew consonants, the Latin letters and the Greek characters, in the official name of Nero Caesar, when broken down into numerals, all add up to the sum of 666.  An impressive column of scholars, commentators and historians have verified this fact with a finality that cannot be questioned” (Wallace, p. 34).

11.  The fact that there were only seven churches in Asia at the time of the vision sets the date before the destruction of Jerusalem.

a.      Revelation 1:4, 11


John to the seven churches which are in Asia:  Grace be unto you, and peace…What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia:  unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.


b.      After the destruction of the city of the Jerusalem and the scattering of Christians in the region of Judea, many more churches sprang up in Asia.  Before the destruction of the city of Jerusalem, there were only seven churches there.

c.       “There were but seven churches in Asia when the Revelation was given” (Dr. Tilloch in Dissertations, p. 32 as quoted by Wallace, p. 36).

12.  There are phrases in the letters to the seven churches that indicate the things envisioned would occur within the life of these churches.  NOTE:  A late date to the book would mean that many of the things mentioned by the author would never impact his immediate readers.

a.      “To him that overcometh” (Rev. 2:7).  If the events were far into the future, they would not have to be worried about overcoming.

b.      “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer” (Rev. 2:10).  Suffering was coming soon.

c.       “Ye shall have tribulation ten days” (Rev. 2:10).

d.      “I know they works…and thy patience…” (Rev. 2:19).  Patience is the ability to endure under trial.

e.       “I will also keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth” (Rev. 3:10).

13.  The parallels between Matthew 24 and the signs of the fall of Jerusalem and the book of Revelation point to the early date.

a.      Matthew 24:34 – Revelation 1:1

b.      Matthew 24:21 – Revelation 1:9, 3:10; 7:14

c.       Matthew 24:2 – Revelation 18:10, 21

14.  From Revelation 10:11, it appears that John was eventually going to get off of Patmos and engage in the work of ministry again.  If the book was written in A.D. 96, this would not seem to be as likely to happen since John would have been an older man.


And he said unto me, thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.


15.  Galatians and Hebrews were definitely written before the destruction of the city of Jerusalem.  Both books have phrases that appear to be indirect quotes from the Revelation:  “the Jerusalem which is above…the mother of us all, mount Zion…the heavenly Jerusalem, etc.  “…as John manifestly did not compose ‘the warp and woof’ of the visions and apocalypses of Revelation from the few expressions in the two preceding epistles, it rather follows that these allusions in the epistles were adaptations from Revelation” (Wallace, p. 44).

16.  The Hebraic element in the book was still used before A.D. 70.  It had virtually disappeared at the later time assigned to the book, that is, A.D. 96.


C.     Arguments for the 96 A.D. date and the Roman Empire