Yesterday, April 28, 2019, we covered the first mystifying book of the Bible, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ. This book is written in an Apocalyptic style, which is highly symbolic. We find this same style in many other books of the Bible, at least in part. Parts of Daniel, Joel, Amos, Zechariah. We find it in Isaiah 24 – 27, Ezekiel 38 – 39, Daniel 7 – 12, and Zechariah 9 – 14, and others that we will be referring to as we go through this study. The prophets of the Old Testament easily recognized such language as well as the New Testament early Jews and Christians. The imagery is one of the reasons that people are mystified and often overwhelmed by the study. It is easily ranked as the last book to study, not only because it is the last book of the Bible, but because of the symbolism. Out of all the Apocryphal literature, both in and out of the Cannon, this book is touted to be the greatest ever written.
One should approach this book with great expectations of learning and not bewilderment. Revelation is an open book in which God reveals His plans and purposes to His church. Revelation means “to uncover that which has not been previously revealed before.
All His Word has been revealed from Genesis 1:1 to Jude 25.
The opening verses tells us that God, the Father gave Him, Jesus, to show His (Jesus) servants (doulos – slaves), that is John and us, what must soon take place.
Those who take some verses and manipulate the book to fit their own weird methods of explanation need to be carefully avoided by us. Just because it is a well-known author, does not make it true.
“Lector cave” – “Reader Beware!”
The Book of Revelation is not a hopeless jumble of symbolic vision. It is a carefully written record of what John saw and heard. It gives frequent explanations of its symbols, theological, and practical meanings. Other symbolic books, like Daniel, Ezekiel, and others previously mentioned in our introduction help us to understand those symbols Revelation does not explain. Don’t over complicate it. God wants us to understand it, as he explains in the opening verses.
Revelation 1:1–3 (ESV)
The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him [Jesus] to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, 2 who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. 3 Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.
Did you notice how Chapter one ends with Jesus’ explanation? Jesus Christ explains to John:
Revelation 1:20 (ESV)
As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.