Introduction to Revelation
The Lord Jesus Christ is the one great Subject of
the Word of God (Compare Luke 24:27; John 5:39), being the promised "Seed"
of the woman (Gen. 3:15). He is therefore the Master-key to the Divine revelation of the
Word. The whole Bible is about Him directly or indirectly, and as everything centers in
and around Him, apart from Him it cannot be understood.
A. The King and the Kingdom,
in promise and prophecy (The Old Testament)
B. The King presented,
proclaimed, and rejected (the four Gospels)
C. Transitional. The kingdom again offered and rejected
(The Acts and the earlier Epistles)
B. The King exalted and made
Head over all things to "the church which is His body".
The "mystery" (the later Pauline Epistles). The kingdom in abeyance
A. The King and the kingdom unveiled. The King enthroned. The
kingdom set up.
Promise and prophecy fulfilled (The
INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF REVELATION
The word "Revelation" is from the Greek = Apocalypsis
(an unveiling), sometimes called THE
It is the last book of the Bible and the only book of
the New Testament that is exclusively prophetic in character.
Revelation belongs to the class of apocalyptic literature in which the divine message is
conveyed by visions and dreams.
John, the "Beloved" disciple and the one used
of God to pen the gospel of John and the letters, I, II, & III John. The earliest
definite historical reference to this Apocalypse appears in the works of Justin Martyr
(A.D. 135), who, in alluding to the 20th chapter, said that John one of the apostles of
Christ, prophesied that those who believed in Christ would dwell in Jerusalem a thousand
DATE AND PLACE
Early interpreters of the book place it in the reign of
Domitian (A.D. 8196), almost at the close of the first century.
Revelation was addressed to seven churches of the Roman
province of Asia, which occupied the western third of what is now Turkey.
The key to unlock the meaning and scope of the book is
found in Revelation 1:10, "The Lords day" = the day of the Lord
(Jehovah). (See Isa. 2:12) being yet future. It follows that the whole book must
concern the things belonging to "THAT DAY", and consequently is wholly prophecy.
ITS HEBREW CHARACTER
The language of the book is Greek but its thoughts and
idioms are Hebrew. This links it with the Old Testament. and shows that its great purpose
is to declare Gods final dealings with the Jew and the Gentile as
such; and that "the church of God" of the Pauline Epistles and this
dispensation has a place in Revelation (See Rev. 2,3)
Again in Matthew (the Hebrew Gospel) are some 92
quotations from and references to the Old Testament. In Hebrews there are 102. In Revelation
are found no fewer than 285. This emphatically stamps its close connection with the Old
Testament and Israel.
SEVEN TITLES OF CHRIST IN REVELATION
SEVEN TITLES OF CHRIST IN REVELATION
The references of Christ in the book of Revelation
further attest its Hebrew character:
||"The Son of Man"
||(Rev. 1:13; 14:14)
||Never found in the Pauline Epistles to the
||"The Lord God"
||(Revelation 3:8 and see Rev. 22:6)
||Compare this title with Gen. 2:4-3:24 in
connection with "paradise"
||"The First and the Last"
||(Rev. 1:11,17; 2:8; 22:13)
||Never associated with "the church which
is His body"
||"The Prince of the kings of the
||Never used in connection with "the
||"Who is to come"
(=The Coming One)
||Occurs sixteen times in the Gospels, Acts,
Hebrews (10:37); three times in Revelation, and nowhere else
||"The Living One"
||A title only found in Daniel (4:34; 12:7) and
six times in this book. Thus linking Daniel and Revelation in a very special
THE BRIDE AND THE WIFE
The "Bride" and the "Wife" of Rev.
21:9 must not be confused with the "Wife" of Rev. 19:7. The latter is
Israel called out from among the nations for blessing in "the Land"; the earthly
consort of "the Great King" (Compare Psalms 45; Jer. 3:14). This
"wife" (Rev. 19:7) is connected with the Millennial Jerusalem which, with the
rest of the earth "that now" is, will pass away and give place to the new
earth with the new Jerusalem, succeeding and replacing the former. "The bride,
the Lambs wife" of Rev. 21:9, is still of Israel, but the Israel of the
"heavenly calling" (Heb. 3:1): all those connected with the "heavenly
country" and "the city with the foundations" for which they
"looked" (Heb. 11:13-16); the "Jerusalem above" of Gal. 4:26. Hence
the significance of the term "bride" (numphe) in Rev. 21:9.
The Israel of Rev. 19:7 is not spoken of as bride (numphe),
because she has become wife (gune). Compare the "married to you" =
am become your husband (consummation) of Jer. 3:14. Here (Rev. 21:9) the term
"bride" indicates clearly that the betrothal has taken place and that the
marriage will be consummated when the bride shall have come down out of heaven.
John sees her coming down in Rev. 21:10.
The loose way in which we speak of a "bride"
as not only a contracting party at the time of the marriage ceremony, but also of her
after she has become wife (gune), is responsible for much confusion as to the
"wife" of Rev. 19:7 and the bride-wife of Rev. 21:9. Strictly speaking,
"bride" is to be applied only to a betrothed virgin (Greek parthenos =
Hebrew bethulah), when the marriage (legal) ceremony takes place. Directly after,
she ceases to be "bride", and has become (legally) "wife", although
from the forensic point of view consummation of the marriage may be delayed (Comp. Matthew
Numbers hold a prominent and significant place in Revelation.
These in order are:
||occurs eleven times
||occurs eleven times
||occurs 33 times
||occurs 3 tunes
Seven is thus seen to be the predominate number, occuring 54 times. Seven is the Divine
number of Perfection, and is generally recognized as God's thumb print.
||occurs twice (including 13:18
||occurs 9 times
||occurs 22 times
||occurs 7 times
||occurs 4 times
||occurs 9 times
||occurs 13 times
||occurs 3 times
||occurs once, 5:11
||occurs once 9:16
SEVEN IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
Among every ancient people, especially in the East, a
religious significance attaches to numbers. This grows out of the instinctive appreciation
that number and proportion are necessary attributes of the created universe. This
sentiment passes over from heathenism into the Old Testament.
The number seven was regarded by the Hebrews as a sacred
number, and it is throughout Scripture the covenant number, the sign of
Gods covenant relation to mankind, and especially to the CHURCH.
The evidences of this are met in:
the hallowing of the seventh day
the accomplishment of circumcision, which is the sign of a covenant, after
the part played by the number in marriage covenants and treaties of peace.
It is the number of purification and consecration (See
Lev. 4:6,17; 8:11,33; Num. 19:12).
Seven is the number of every grace and benefit
bestowed upon Israel; which is thus marked as flowing out of the covenant, and a
consequence of it:
||The priests compassed Jericho seven
days, and on the seventh day seven times, that all Israel may know that the city is given
into their hands by God, and that its conquest is a direct and immediate result of their
covenant relation to Him. (Joshua chapter 6)
||Naaman is to dip in Jordan seven
times, that he may acknowledge the God of Israel as the author of his cure.
||It is the number of reward to those
who are faithful in the covenant (See Deut. 28:7; I Sam. 2:5)
||to those who are forward in the
covenant (See Lev. 26:21, 24,28; Deut. 28:25), or to those who injure the people in it
(See Gen. 4:15,24; Exod. 7:25)
||All the feasts are ordered by
seven, or else by seven multiplied into seven, and thus made intense still. Thus it is
with the Sabbath, the Passover, The Feast of Weeks, of Tabernacles, the Sabbath-year, and
Similarly the number appears in Gods dealing with nations outside
the covenant, showing that He is working for Israels sake and with respect to His
covenant. It is the number of the years of plenty and of famine, in sign that these are
for Israels sake rather than for Egypts. Seven times pass over Nebuchadnezzar,
that he may learn that the God of his Jewish captives is king over all the earth.
SEVEN IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
Seven also occurs as a sacred number in the New Testament. There
SEVEN PETITIONS in the Lords Prayer
SEVEN PARABLES in Matt. 13
SEVEN WORDS from the Cross
SEVEN GRACES (Rom. 12:6-8)
SEVEN CHARACTERISTICS of wisdom (See Jas. 3:17).
In the Apocalypse the prominence of the number is marked. To a
remarkable extent the structure of the book is molded by the use of numbers, especially
the numbers seven, four, and three.
Seven's in Revelation:
1. Seven spirits before the throne.
2. Seven churches.
3. Seven golden candlesticks.
4. Seven stars in the right hand of Him who is like unto a son of man.
5. Seven lamps of fire burning before the throne.
6. Seven horns of the lamb.
7. Seven eyes of the lamb.
8. Seven seals of the book.
9. Seven thunders.
10. Seven heads of the great dragon.
11. Seven heads of the beast from the sea.
12. Seven angels with the trumpets.
13. Seven plagues.
14. Seven mountains which are the seat of the mystic Babylon.
Fours in Revelation:
1. Four living creatures round the throne.
2. Four angels at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds.
3. The New Jerusalem is foursquare.
4. Authority is given to Death to kill over the fourth part of the earth, and he employs
Three's in Revelation:
TRISAGION, or "thrice holy," is sung to God the Almighty, to whom are
ascribed three attributes of glory.
1. Three woes.
2. Three unclean spirits like frogs.
3. Three gates on each side of the heavenly city.
The use of the number's Seven, Four and Three are so remarkable and
continuous that it requires an analysis of the whole book for their perfect illustration.
Revelation was written for the express purpose of
declaring : "the things which must shortly come to pass" (Rev. 1:1), in
order that the evils in the church might be corrected and that they might be prepared for
the events that were about to confront them.
|Holds that Revelation is simply a
picture of the conditions prevalent in the Roman empire of the late first century, cast in
the form of vision and prophecy to conceal its meaning from hostile pagans.
||Contends that the book represents
in symbolic form the entire course of Church history from the time of its writing to the
final consummation, and that the mystical figures and actions described therein can be
identified with human events in history.
On the basis of
the threefold division given in Revelation 1:19, suggests that "the things whicht
hou sawest" refer to the immediate environment of the seer and the vision of
Christ (Rev. 1:9-19), "the things which are" denote the churches of
Asia, or the Church age, which they symbolize (Rev. 2:1-3:22), and "the things
which shall be hereafter" relate to Christs return & Gods city.
||THE IDEALIST (SYMBOLIC)
||Treats Revelation as purely a
dramatic picture of the conflict of good and evil which persists in every age, but which
cannot be applied exclusively to any particular historical period.
Note: For the sake of this study we will only explore
the HISTORICAL and
STRUCTURE AND CONTENT
Revelation contains four great visions, each of which is
introduced by the phrase "IN THE SPIRIT".
Each of these visions locates the seer in a different
place, each contains a distinctive picture of Christ, and each advances the action
significantly toward its goal.
|The First vision
||Pictures Him as the critic of the churches,
who commends their virtues and condemns their vices in the light of His virtues.
|The Second vision
||Deals with the progressive series of seals,
trumpets and bowls, which mark the judgment of God upon a world cominated
|The Third vision
||Depicts the overthrow of evil society,
religion, and government in the destruction of Babylon & the Beast,armies defeat.
|The Fourth vision
||Is the establishment of the city of God, the
eternal destiny of His people.
THE STRUCTURE OF THE BOOK AS A WHOLE
A. Ch. 1
B. Ch. 2,3 THE PEOPLE ON THE EARTH
C. Ch. 4,5 IN HEAVEN
(The Throne,Book, and Lamb)
D. 6:1-7:8 ON EARTH (6 Seals,144,000)
C. 7:9-8:6 IN HEAVEN (Great Multitude,7 Seal)
D. 8:7-11:14 ON EARTH (Six Trumpets)
11:15-19 IN HEAVEN (The Seventh Trumpet)
D. 11:-19- ON EARTH
C. 12:1-12 IN HEAVEN
(Woman,Child, & Dragon)
D. 12:13-13:18 ON EARTH (Dragon, Two Beasts)
C. 14:1-5 IN HEAVEN
D. 14:6-20 ON EARTH (The Six
C. 15:1-8 IN HEAVEN (The
Seven Vial Angels)
D. 16:1-18:24 ON EARTH (The Seven Vials)
C. 19:1-16 IN HEAVEN (The
Marriage of the Lamb)
D. 19:17-20:15 ON EARTH (Final
B. 21:1-22:5 THE PEOPLE ON THE NEW EARTH.
A. 22:6-21 CONCLUSION
In this book all the other books of the Bible come and
meet. In it is the consummation of all previous prophecy.
Daniel foretells as to Christ and the Roman destruction
of Jerusalem, and the last Anti-Christ.
Revelation fills up the intermediate period, and describes the millennium and final state
Daniel, as a godly statesman, views the history of
Gods people in relation to the four world-kingdoms.
John, as an
apostle, views history from the Christian Church aspect.
The term APOCALYPSE is applied to no Old
Testament book. Daniel is the nearest approach to it; but what Daniel was told to seal and
shut up till the time of the end, St. John, now that the time is at hand is directed to
Forward to the Next Section: John to
the Seven Churches